Adults with Autism See Interests as Strengths, Career Paths
Adults on the autism spectrum see their interests as possible fields of study and career paths, as well as ways to mitigate anxiety, finds a study by NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development....
A "Special Talk" on autism with Dr. Temple Grandin
Today and all of next week at
The Dallas Morning News blog, readers around the world are invited to virtually participate in the "Special Talk: Temple Grandin" online book club.
The bloggers have been discussing Dr. Temple Grandin's book, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism, and, next week bloggers will have the opportunity to see and discuss her movie starring Claire Danes, and Dr. Grandin's TED Talk. Each morning, a new blog post shares and focuses on a specific topic from Temple's work relating to autism, which readers can then talk about with one another throughout the day.
These daily discussions will ultimately lead up to Friday, June 19th at 8 a.m. when Temple Grandin will join in on a live phone call to answer questions from bloggers, which will provide even more commentary!
The Future Horizons Autism Super Conference in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex (Sept. 27-28) features Temple Grandin and will offer one ticket AND MORE for one blogger FREE Sept. 28!
The Dallas Morning News Blogging Team will offer ONE blogger a FREE 1-Day admittance to Future Horizons' event on September 28th, to personally meet Temple and have a photo op with her! In order to qualify to win, you must blog on The Dallas Morning News' Facebook or blogging website on Temple Grandin sometime this week or next week. Read more details below:
SPECIAL OFFER FOR DALLAS MORNING NEWS BLOG READERS: Meet Temple Grandin and have a photo opportunity with her on Monday, Sept. 28 at 11:00 and attend a Future Horizons’ conference on autism for the day FREE, which includes other speakers, like Dr. Jed Baker. The single recipient blogger will be chosen on June 19 from all bloggers who participate in the two-week blog about autism and Temple Grandin on the Dallas Morning News blog and Facebook sites. The qualifying characteristic of the drawing is that names will be taken from the bloggers who have actually participated in the discussion sometime in their two-week blog about Temple’s life and views. *Transportation and accommodations are not included.
The winner of this special offer will be drawn from the bloggers who’ve blogged anytime on the DMN site during the two-week program and will be notified by Michael Landauer of The Dallas Morning News.
Click here to join the book club! It's FREE and easy to register and participate. Don't forget to register your email address to get updates about each new blog post.
BOOK CLUB SCHEDULE:
- June 8: Autism diagnosis
- June 9: Sensory problems
- June 10: Learning empathy
- June 11: Encountering the world
- June 12: Medications and treatments
- June 15: Animals
- June 16: Genius and belief
- June 17: The movie
- June 18: The TED talk and collecting your questions
- June 19: Dr. Grandin answers your questions
Temple Grandin wins Webby award for Science AMA on Reddit
Did you know that Future Horizons' author and speaker Dr. Temple Grandin participated in her first "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session with Reddit last November? Even more, the discussion was just named the "Most Popular Science AMA. Ever." in the Social: Education and Discovery category of the 19th annual Webby Awards.
The New York Times calls a Webby award win the "Internet's highest honor" and Webby executive David-Michael Davis told Colorado State University that "the Temple Grandin Reddit AMA has set the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet."
Each year, Dr. Grandin travels across the United States to speak at autism conferences about her experiences, challenges, and accomplishments as they relate to autism. Not only does she deliver a unique, encouraging, no-nonsense presentation, but attendees also have the opportunity to spend time speaking with Temple in person.
To keep up to date on where Temple is headed next for an autism conference, bookmark our website and check our Attend a Conference page regularly. Your city or town could be her next destination!
8 Things You'll Gain from Attending a Temple Grandin Autism Conference
Dr. Temple Grandin's autism conferences are certainly once-in-a-lifetime experiences for anyone that knows or works with individuals on the spectrum. Here are 8 key takeaways and opportunities that attendees will gain from attending a Future Horizons autism conference featuring Dr. Temple Grandin and other renowned speakers.
1. A unique, personal, and insightful live autism presentation by Dr. Temple Grandin.
2. Encouragement regarding what can be possible for a person on the autism spectrum.
3. Inspirational ideas on ways to foster a child/person on the spectrum's interest in activities to build on capabilities.
4. Examples of how Temple overcame personal challenges of being bullied in school environments.
5. Insight on how Temple turned her passion for animals into a career in the field of animal sciences.
6. Presentations by additional renowned speakers in the autism field, such as Dr. Jim Ball, Dr. Raun Melmed, Temple's mother, Eustacia Cutler, and more.
7. Access to a wide variety of invaulable autism, Asperger's, sensory, and behavior resources at the conference book store.
8. CEUs/contact hours.
Jennifer O'Toole shares her experience at the White House Summit and goals for autism inclusion
Jennifer O'Toole, who is one of Future Horizons' speakers and the founder of Asperkids, recently had the opportunity to visit the White House Summit for the President's Council on Health, Nutrition & Fitness. The focus of this visit was to discuss the American Disabilities Act, with regard to health and fitness, and to ensure that all people with medical differences benefit from its programs in the best ways possible. Jennifer was invited to represent the autism community and provide insight on inclusion for people on the spectrum.
"We can tell and we know for sure that the best anti-depressant, the best sensory integration, the best stuff that just makes you feel better, happens when your body is healthy - when you're moving and you're eating well." - Jennifer O'Toole
"It was a great chance to be able to talk with people who were creating programming for, and hoping to entice the participation of, those of us on the spectrum." - Jennifer O'Toole
Watch Jennifer's video below where she talks more about her experience at the White House!
Jennifer O'Toole will be speaking at our upcoming autism conferences in Allentown, PA (Nov. 5) and Altanta, GA (Nov. 12), along with Dr. Temple Grandin! Jennifer's new DVD presentation, Autism and the Family, is also now available. To learn more about Jennifer and get updates on her projects, visit the Asperkids website, follow @Asperkids on Twitter, and like Asperkids on Facebook. Also, follow the President's Council on Twitter: @FitnessGov.
New comic features superhero with autism
“This is an opportunity for kids to have a hero like themselves.” – Dave Kot, creator of Face Value Comics
Dave Kot, founder of Autism at Face Value, has just released the first ever comic series that centers on a superhero with autism! Face Value Comics features a superhero named Michael who has the special power of autism and, according to NBC, he and other characters display “vivid facial expressions to illustrate social cues and how to respond.” The comic’s Facebook page describes the premise as:
"A comic book hero with autism in a steampunk world filled with aliens, robots & lots of misunderstanding!"
In this video by NBC, Brian, a young admirer of the comic, is interviewed. Brian talks about how he relates to Michael’s thoughts and experiences, saying that sometimes the "thought bubbles" that express Michael's concerns are similar to his own. Dave Kot also speaks to his inspiration behind the comic, as well as the relatability he hopes it achieves with readers.
The comic has gained such a large following and high praise since the release of only its first issue that it is currently sold out in print in many comic book stores! Face Value Comics asks fans to be patient while they wait for more copies to print, and in the meantime, to purchase a digital copy of Issue #1 for $2.00.
To learn more about Face Value Comics, “like” them on Facebook and visit Autism at Face Value.
If you're in need of more young adult resources, check out our Young Adult Library. Young adult experiences and advice will also be topics of discussion at our upcoming autism conferences featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, Dr. Tony Attwood, and other experts in the field. Visit our conferences section for more information on where our next autism events will be located.
"I think people with autism are heroes." - Dr. Tony Attwood
Dr. Tony Attwood's upcoming autism conferences:
*Columbia and San Marcos conferences are not sponsored by Future Horizons.
Alexis Wineman on her journey with autism and meeting her hero, Dr. Temple Grandin
Alexis Wineman, the first Miss America pageant contestant with autism and Miss Montana 2012, recently attended a Future Horizons autism conference in Great Falls, Montana, where she met her hero, Dr. Temple Grandin. She was kind enough to contribute this guest post to FHautism.com about her journey with autism.
The Miss America pageant and my time as Miss Montana 2012 was a turning point in my life. I found courage and discovered new skills I never thought I was capable of having. For the first time, I saw a "future" for me.
A few years prior to the competition, I truly believed my life had no point. High school was something I was supposed to do and eventually drop out, because that's the story statistics tell. Those same numbers also tell us that we will likely live with our parents and the potential of finding a job is low. I had resigned to that destination because when I received the diagnosis at age 11, I felt as though all the dreams I had held up to that point disappeared when told what was "wrong" with me.
My family kept their gentle – but firm – hand on my back and forced me at times to "get out of my own head," telling me I wasn't just a statistic. At the time I didn't really understand what they meant, but over the past couple of years there have been moments that have helped me grasp the meaning better as well as build my self confidence.
One of those "ah-ha moments" was hearing my name, "Alexis Wineman," said over and over while Miss Montana 2012. I used to be called all sort of names, because my words fell silent due to my multiple speech impediments, so hearing my name and having people come up and want to talk and listen to me was new.
Middle and high school were hard years, but that was when I discovered Dr. Temple Grandin. When I first heard her story, I thought it was nothing short of incredible. I started looking more into her story and began researching her accomplishments. I was so moved, even crying at times while I read about her achievements despite what she had gone through. The more and more I read and looked up, the more the black storm clouds of self-doubt and hate evaporated from my soul, replaced with a feeling that shined stronger than anything I ever felt before.
It took me a while to realize that this new feeling was hope.
I remember watching the Temple Grandin HBO movie with my parents and seeing a woman – who I can say, without a doubt, is my hero – going through many of the same things I had and was still going through. She was the one person I wanted to meet more than anything, just to say 'thank you' for giving me hope.
When I got the call that Future Horizons had welcomed me to join their conference in Great Falls, Montana, where Dr. Grandin would be the keynote, I screamed. In that moment, all those years of speech therapy flew out the window because I couldn't speak or formulate a sentence. In fact, my mom had to remind me to breathe!
My nerves increased as the days led up to the conference. Who gets to meet their hero? And what if I fall silent again, like I did when I got the call?
The day came; my sister Danielle was by my side, and not only did I get a chance to meet and take a picture with Temple Grandin, Future Horizons provided us an opportunity to speak privately. My nerves miraculously were calmed by her. She is as lovely in person as I had made her out to be in my head.
Dr. Grandin and I share having mothers who believe in their daughters’ abilities and who never take ‘no’ for an answer. After we shared stories, she said, "I can tell I would like your mom." She and I both share the belief that opportunities for children and adults on the autism spectrum can only happen if we encourage each other to live outside our comfort zone from time to time.
Acceptance isn't just a campaign slogan for other people. With help from my family, I realized just before entering Miss Montana that I had to accept myself for my differences. If I didn't, then how could I expect others to?
I will admit, personal acceptance is a roller coaster. Despite the strides I have made, I still struggle with some things and I am finding new challenges as I enter adulthood. No matter how tough it gets, I know that the scared, hopeless, young girl I once was is now a more confident young woman who is no longer ashamed.
In fact, I am proud to say that autism doesn't define me, I define my autism.
The opportunity to spend time with Dr. Grandin is another turning point in my life. It ranks right up there with Miss America. It couldn't have come at a better time for me, as I look to start my second year of college with a commitment to continue speaking in support of autism acceptance. Dr. Grandin gave me the courage to keep doing that, even though it can be hard at times. A special thank you to Future Horizons for making this girl's dream come true, but more importantly for being a vital resource for so many families!
Dr. Grandin's words for me were the equivalent to a Super Bowl coach's pep talk encouraging his team to keep up the momentum in the second half. Thank you, Dr. Grandin for your time, support and words of wisdom, which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am suited up and ready to head back out on the field for our team!
To stay updated on Alexis' autism projects and speaking engagements, like her page on Facebook and follow her on Twitter at @AlexisWineman. Also, don't forget to bookmark Future Horizons for updates on our upcoming autism conferences with Dr. Temple Grandin and other renowned autism speakers.
Photos courtesy of Danielle Wineman.
Former Miss Montana will attend Future Horizons' autism conference
“Autism doesn’t define me, I define autism!” – Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana 2012
Two years ago, Alexis Wineman became the first Miss Montana winner with autism spectrum disorder, and later the first person on the spectrum to participate in the Miss America pageant, winning America’s Choice and placing in the Final 15. Since then, Alexis has made it her goal to not only spread autism awareness, but also positively impact those that are affected.
“I will be successful if just one person encounters a child who is overstimulated without staring, if one teenager invites an "outcast" to lunch or just smiles at him or her, or if one employer gives a job to someone who might not be able to look the interviewer in the eye.” Alexis wrote last year.
We’re overjoyed to share that Alexis will attend Future Horizons’ upcoming autism conference in Great Falls, Montana on Saturday, June 28. Click here for details and registration! During the morning introductions, Alexis will say a few words about her autism story and her experiences thus far. Dr. Temple Grandin will be a speaker at the conference along with Beth Aune, OTR/L, and Sean Barron. It’s a day not to be missed!
By attending the Great Falls autism conference, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and hear noteworthy presentations by all four of these incredible individuals, who each aim to help those affected by autism.
If you’re interested in meeting Alexis in particular, she will arrive early to the conference and stay through the morning break.
Sixth grader writes compelling essay about friend with a condition similar to autism
Kendall Hazen and Katie Fahey met in their middle school science classroom, and it’s almost as if they were destined to be friends. Katie has a condition similar to autism, and Kendall knew from the first day of class that she wanted to get to know her.
In an essay that Kendall wrote for a writing contest put on by the Autism Society of Wisconsin, she talked about her bond with Katie, why she’s lucky to have her as a friend, and what she appreciates about her.
Kendall recalled Katie’s challenges, like getting used to a classroom full of unfamiliar faces, being unwilling to participate in gym class, and taking a long time to try something new. But she focused on Katie’s many strengths too, like how she’s a good listener but can also talk nonstop, her fascination with the water fountain, how she gives high-fives to everyone after class, and how she’s become less anxious about to trying something new.
“I also love [Katie] because she is not the typical middle school girl, and I'm not saying that because she has Autism.” Kendall wrote in her essay’s concluding paragraph. “I'm saying that because she doesn't care who likes her or if she's pretty or who she hangs out with. She is just herself and she has taught me some valuable life lessons. Such as: to just be me, not to be concerned with what other people think and, to value and accept people for their differences. I hope I'm her friend forever.”
Kendall’s compelling essay about her cherished friendship with Katie ended up winning first place in the contest for grades six through eight.
For more on autism, girls, and adolescence, check out the resources below:
Photo courtesy of GazetteXtra.
Architecture student designs inclusive city to better serve people with autism
When you imagine an inclusive city, what do you see? For Elizabeth Decker, an architecture student at Kansas State University, she saw somewhere that better served people with autism.
For Elizabeth’s master’s project in school, she chose to design a city that would enable adults with autism to live, work, and strive independently. Elizabeth was inspired by her brother with autism; she wanted to better understand him and his needs.
Below is one of Elizabeth’s project designs:
Elizabeth’s city focused on incorporating specific recommendations, such as:
- Affordable housing
- Health centers offering life skills
- An abundance of green space for sensory relief
- Vocational training opportunities
- Farmers’ markets and other outlets that offer healthy food
- Public transportation, linking important facilities and providing easy travel
Runner with autism races again in the 2014 Boston Marathon
Jonathan Brunot has severe autism, but that does not cloud his passion for long distance running. Today is a special day for Jonathan, as the 25-year-old will run the Boston Marathon and cross the finish line for the very first time!
Over the weekend, Jonathan’s brother, Verlaine Brunot, shared his story with Autism Speaks in a heartwarming and honest guest post. Verlaine detailed some of the challenges that Jonathan faces because of his autism, but also really focused on his interest in running and the progress that he’s made since his diagnosis.
Jonathan participated in the Boston Marathon last year, but because of his autism, he never understood the tragedy that surrounded the event. This year, Jonathan plans to start and finish the marathon. Go Jonathan!
As we all remember the disheartening events of last year’s marathon, we hope that Jonathan’s story makes today a little bit brighter.
Follow Jonathan’s Facebook page and visit his website to learn more about his story and to read updates about his experience as he runs in Boston today. We wish him and everyone participating in the marathon all the best!
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Brunot's Facebook page.
UC Davis to focus on Temple Grandin in next Campus Community Book Project
UC Davis has chosen to spotlight Dr. Temple Grandin in their upcoming Campus Community Book Project, with a focus on one of her most influential books, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism!
According to The California Aggie, “the Campus Community Book Project aims to strengthen the UC Davis community through community discussion and the promotion of diversity. Events are planned throughout the year that relate to the chosen book, including lectures, films and discussions.”
Thinking in Pictures was chosen from 46 nominated titles by the UC Davis Campus Council on Community and Diversity, who selected disability as the theme for this year’s Book Project.
Mikael Villalobos, the administrator of the volunteer book selection committee, recognized in particular Dr. Grandin’s notability in the autism community, as well as her scholarly achievements.
“It is especially compelling that the author of the book is someone who has autism, is a prominent figure in the autism community and is also a scholar,” Villalobos said. “It gives the opportunity to see how we define disability and look at the limitations regarding these labels.”
We at Future Horizons are beyond excited for the UC Davis community to learn more about Dr. Grandin, who through her personal and professional triumphs regarding her life with autism and agricultural engineering has certainly made a positive impact on many.
If you are aren’t in the UC Davis area, but you’re still interested in learning more about Temple Grandin and her autism resources, worry not! That’s where we come in.
Future Horizons is hosting five autism conferences over the next four months, and Dr. Temple Grandin will speak at every single one of them! Attendees will even have a chance to meet Temple at her book signing before her talk. At each conference, other experts in the autism field will join Temple to educate, encourage, and inspire parents, individuals, students, and professionals that are affected by autism.
Check out our upcoming autism conference locations below:
If you’re looking for more immediate help, the Future Horizons online book store is jam-packed with Temple Grandin’s autism resources, from life-changing books to captivating presentations, including UC Davis’ selected title for their Book Project, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism. We offer many of Temple’s resources in print and eBook formats, so that you can utilize from the comfort of your own home.
Thank you, UC Davis for continuing the conversation on autism and for featuring Dr. Temple Grandin, who we think the world of, in this year’s Campus Community Book Project!
Future Horizons celebrates Autism Awareness Month - Hug Someone With Autism!
April has finally arrived! Future Horizons is excited to not only recognize, but also celebrate Autism Awareness Month from April 1 through April 30, as well as World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 2.
Each year, throughout the month of April, the autism community comes together to spread awareness in order to educate the general public about autism, as well as honor those on the spectrum. We encourage you to join us in our ongoing journey to educate as many people as possible about autism!
In honor of this special month, Future Horizons will offer weekly discounts on some of our best autism resources! Make sure to visit our home page all four weeks during the month of April to see which products we’re spotlighting. Check out our third Autism Awareness Month discount offer below!
From April 22-30, use code AAM to receive 15% off
any one of Future Horizons' New Releases!
As you consider ways to spread autism awareness, check out some of the resources below:
Happy Autism Awareness Month!
Child with autism featured on mainstream magazine cover for the first time
Autism Awareness Month, the month of April, is just around the corner, and the celebration is already off to a great start! News broke recently that the April 2014 issue of Parents magazine features a child with autism on the cover, something that no other nationally-read parenting magazine has done before.
According to The Stir, the April 2014 Parents cover superstars are 5-year-old Daniel Molina, who has autism, and his 3-year-old sister, Chloe. The key headline on the cover, “Living in a Special Needs World” is an ode to a 24-page section on special needs.
Parents’ Editor-in-Chief Dana Points spoke to WSAV, and emphasized the importance of this particular issue of the magazine.
“It's important that all parents better understand how their children are co-existing in our schools and communities,” she said. “By sharing experiences, cultivating understanding, and maintaining an open dialogue, every parent can help kids of all abilities thrive.”
This cover photo isn’t the first newsworthy item to come out of Parents; last February, they became the first ever mainstream magazine to feature a special-needs child – a toddler with spina bifida.
To achieve equal inclusion and representation of all abilities in mainstream publications, will be when news such as this no longer newsworthy; when it’s considered the norm. However, this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction!
Photo courtesy of Love That Max and Parents.
Unsettling movie theater experience sparks "Movie with Max" event
Sometimes our most challenging experiences bring about unexpected support and waves of positive change. For Emily Colson and her son, Max, this was certainly the case.
Max is 23 years old and he has autism. When he and his mom ventured to a movie theater this past December, Max grew frightened during the previews. This was not a shock to Emily; Max had experienced this before, and she had coping strategies in place for them to fall back on.
However, unfortunately, some fellow audience members were unpleasant to the mom and son before they even had a chance to return to a level of comfort. In the end, Emily and Max were forced to leave altogether before their movie started.
On her blog, Emily recounted the negative movie theater experience, and she received an outpouring of support from readers. It was someone close to home, though, who was inspired to take action.
A friend from church, Renee Walston was so impacted by the cruelty that Emily and Max experienced, that she decided to rent out a movie theater for Max and anyone else affected by autism or other disabilities.
At first, Renee rented out a small theater, in case the idea didn’t receive much of a response. As it turns out, Renee underestimated how much good she was doing. Since then, the original theater in the Boston area has sold out completely, and additional theaters have been rented out to accommodate more supportive movie-goers. On March 27, the event now called “Movie with Max” will provide safe spaces for enjoyable showings of Muppets Most Wanted.
For updates about the March 27 event, and hopefully more to come, make sure to follow Movie with Max on Facebook! Visit Emily’s blog for information about her book, Dancing with Max, and her speaking engagements. Read more about this story at The Patriot Ledger.
If you aren't in the Boston area, but you're looking for a sensory-friendly screening of Muppets Most Wanted, check out AMC's Sensory Friendly Films program! They are screening the film this Saturday, March 29 throughout the United States.
Photo courtesy of the Movie with Max Facebook page.
Boy with autism has a message for LegoLand
“I’m learning every day to be like other normal kids – whatever ‘normal’ means!” – 11-year-old Brynjar Karl, in his video to LegoLand about his autism.
In this four minute video collaboration with his filmmaker mom, 11-year-old Brynjar Karl has set out to deliver a message to LegoLand. Brynjar is from Iceland and he has autism, but that isn’t all that defines him. His video gives a look into his life; he talks about his family, his friends, the challenges that he’s working through, and his much-cherished Legos.
It’s Brynjar’s dream to build the Titanic in Lego form. He has the project prepared down to the measurements of his favorite ship, but he has one big problem: not enough Lego pieces!
Brynjar’s ultimate quest is to build the Titanic at The Lego Factory in Denmark, with his mom filming the whole process on video – but why there? “So that I can show the world I’m truly a Lego Master!” he says excitedly.
From the looks of it, Brynjar is already quite the Lego Master, but we love that he is dreaming big!