SPOILER alert: For anyone who has not read this book yet!
In Mark Haddonâ€™s book â€œThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,â€ it made me think of the visual thinking I have. The character in the book, Christopher, has much anxiety, panic attacks, sensory issues, and visualizing his plans to be able to function in a society which does not accommodate Autistic people like him that much. It showed how very intelligent, but concrete Christopher was too, even with math and science. It was pretty accurate portrayal of what goes on in my mind with a few differences.
I find that there were similar traits to how I feel in society. The similar traits between Christopher and myself are that we try to adapt to a society with many multi-sensory experiences in the world. For example, when Christopher was traveling to London to be reunited with his mother, he was trying to compensate by trying many different relaxation techniques. One of which was counting to 50 breaths so he could stay calm. He also was vocalizing a lot on the subways in London which I do a lot when I am on the subways in New York City. Some people actually are staring at me, but then I turn to say hello to not be known as a freak to them.
Christopher was very compassionate for animals and much feeling for the dog that his father killed which is why his father bought him a dog at the end of the story. Although his parents split up, his parents had their own way of living with their Autistic son, Christopher. In order for both of his parents to accept him for he is, the mother split a part from his father by finding another man which eventually she broke up with. The father hid letters the mother sent grieving for Christopherâ€™s forgiveness in the way she used to treat him. When Christopher lived with his father solely, the father didnâ€™t embrace and accept his son for he is, and always tried to construct his son to pass as normal as much as possible. His father eventually celebrated him too.
It was only until after Christopher found out his father killed the dog, Wellington, and Christopher sought out to find his mother, that both parents accepted their son. Acceptance is a process and everyone has the chance to work out their issues with themselves to celebrate who they are and other people. When a child has a disability like autism, many parents donâ€™t want to accept their child is Autistic, instead find a way to ‘fix’ them or make them ‘pass’, and not honoring the person their child is. Many parents look to organizations like Autism Speaks and Autism Science Foundation to fix their child to be like everyone else in order to â€˜normalizeâ€™ their child. But, what is normal, anyway?
All throughout my childhood, I was always Autistic, but was never diagnosed until I was an adult. I was always very anxious to be around society, I didnâ€™t like people touching me in a certain way, and still donâ€™t. I also had many other sensory issues like not wanting to be around abrupt noises and I do stim either with my hands or my whole body.
Autistic people need routines, a sense of knowing what is going to happen, and repetitive thinking in our way of doing things. Sometimes being Autistic can be frustratingly stressful causing a panic attack when we are not knowing what to expect from a new situation or person. New situations and people can be anxiety provoking for Autistic people like Christopher or myself. However, autism is a developmental delay which means we can learn to be comfortable with things in time at different times of our life. It is what makes an Autistic person a human being too.
When I meet other Autistic people I feel happier than when meeting a person who is not Autistic because I am able to communicate in the language of autism with anyone on the spectrum. I believe Christopher from Haddonâ€™s book would feel the same way. It does not mean I donâ€™t like meeting Non-Autistic people too, but there is a different feeling when meeting other Autistic people. Everyone has their unique properties of being Human, but most importantly everyone has people they are most comfortable with.
When I attended Autreat the last 2 years that Jim Sinclair ran it, I really loved being able to Flapplaud with our hands instead of clapping. The first year I attended Autreat, I loved being able to use interaction badges to know when we wanted to communicate with each other. I also enjoyed working with the Autistic children at Autreat in 2013 where I ran the childrenâ€™s program there because my friend who ran it became ill during Autreat.
Autistic people need to have the community we live in, to adapt to our needs and wants too. Police officers and other authority figures are becoming increasingly aware of what itâ€™s like for an Autistic person in the community. For each culture in Humanity, we learn different things from different people. It does not matter what culture we belong in, whether itâ€™s Autistic culture or Deaf Culture or any other culture in Humanity, we need to find a way to communicate and accept each other.
Haddon, M. (2007). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. National Geographic Books.
Either we have services or we don’t have services, but what happens when we do or don’t have services…
It’s a CATCH-22!
Needing services and using the services:
1) Not having your own voice
2) Having your needs always met as a dependent for life
3) Being pitied with despair
4) Not having your own way of doing things accomplished with self-determination
5) Always being spoken to as a child
Not having/using services:
1) Being told you have to do everything on your own
2) Not having certain minimal services you need
3) Being told you don’t have a disability or you are not Autistic, etc.
4) struggling keeping up with everyday life skills
5) being told you are so-called ‘normal’ or just like everyone else
Either way it is a struggle for a Disabled person to live their life needing or not needing services. So, when is society going to understand disability? Society needs to give people who need the services the necessary things to ensure self-determination for success. Services are very important for my peers and I.
The social model of disability goes unnoticed because many people in the world look at the medical model as the key component in helping the disability community. Yet, the medical model of disability does not allow others to work with self-determination because medical professionals treat the disability rather than the person. They try behaviorist methods and medicine without having the person work on their own terms toward success. Society seems to not expect a Disabled person to live the way a Able person or Non-Disabled person can.
Every one has every right to be involved in their treatment plans whether they have a documented disability or not. Everybody has their own mind, their own body, and their own soul which gives them the strength to live their life. Many times due to many of society’s many people who we interact with, have dealt with abuses, neglect, and/or bullying which hurt self-esteem. In my opinion, this could be the reason why the medical model is continuously used to treat the disorder/disability rather than the person. The medical model also adapted thinking where everyone labels each other with something. This is called Eugenics.
Once society accepts disability, society will understand how to react to it and engage with those who have a disability much better.
Let’s start learning and finally accepting disability in Humanity!
It all started in the beginning of April, 2008 at Grand Central Terminal in New York.Â I had just finished my drama therapy session with Adaptations at the JCC Manhattan.Â I hopped on the subway, by the time I got to Grand Central terminal; I immediately searched the time schedule for my trip back to Tarrytown. Â I noticed I had to wait an hour for my train, so I decided toÂ get myself Carrot Cake from Juniors. After I got my food, I went to sit down in Starbucks, but I didn’t know what to do because I couldn’t find a seat. A woman with many bags and a trench coat on the chair asks me if I want to sit down. I replied with hesitation, “Okay sure.” So, she moved her stuff for me.
My phone barely had a charge on it, and she was sitting right next to the area where I can plug in my phone with the charger. She asked me if I wanted to charge up my phone and I told her I needed to charge it up. She plugged in my charger as I held my phone in my hand, but assured me to leave it on the table. She guarded it for me with her life. I had an immediate feeling my life was going to change from this point on.
For a good 2 minutes we had said nothing more. After a few minutes more, I was observing her bags she had all around her and a book she was reading on ‘Miracles’. She was carrying around a lot stuff in her bags including instruments in which she told me she plays here every so often at particular times even though I never heard her play any of her instruments.
I started a conversation with this woman by first asking her what she was reading. She explained to me it was a book given to her as a gift by someone who appeared and then disappeared. We started talking about lots of different things, but I noticed she seemed a bit depressed. She had told me she was a psychic who had not been able to do much of anything lately not even be the medium she is intended to be. She was trained by the celebrity psychic John Edward. I canâ€™t remember her name though.
An hour passed and my train left, but we were having a nice conversation about life, so I waited for the next train. As the next hour passed, she begins to reveal certain things about myself and my family. She tells me I am an Angel and I have helped her discover her psychic abilities once again. She began reading some of the spirits surrounding me. LikeÂ my late grandmaâ€™s mother-in-law Sophia, my middle name Scott is named for her. She told me Sophia was wishing me a happy birthday 2 months before my birthday because that is what the spirits do.Â Â I had given her inspiration and she began feeling a lot better and happier. Every time she said something right, she slapped my hand five.
I had spoken to her for over 3 hours at Starbucks when I told her I really had to get back to Tarrytown to my car to drive to Rockland. She said it was a great honor to speak to me and this was an arranged meeting, but soon we shall meet again some other times in the future. I asked her when we will meet again, but she told me only G-d knows when and to take this for what itâ€™s worth. As I left and started walking to my train, she rushed over, startled me, and began telling me one more thing which was very weird at the time. She had told me first something big yet small was going to happen to me in the fall/winter where I would require having surgeryâ€¦
All of a sudden starting Monday I saw my friend Leticia from Puerto Rico at work again who taught me Echo. On Thursday, I had my poetry reading at the JCC Manhattan which went well. On Friday, I get a call from ABC NEWS the next day about the On Call Plus Autism site. A month later, ABC NEWS comes to my work place to initiate the pictures of me at work and to do a verbal interview with me.Â My boss had no problem allowing media to come in because like a lot of people tell me he likes me a lot.Â At the end of the month of May, I am accepted in to the Autism Hub. In mid June, I get a call from my therapist about whether or not I would want to be filmed for an upcoming PBS special from NOVA. I instantly said I would because I wanted to help society in whatever way I can. He told me he asked me because I am one of the successful people with Asperger Syndrome who is working in a mainstream job. I started piecing together my true nature.
Many things began to happen which I could not believe. First, the producer Alexis called me up to make an appointment to meet with me. We decided to meet on a Wednesday when I am in Inwood where my work is. I waited by the A train for Alexis to finally meet with me after we had spoken on the phone. I had gotten a bite to eat at Pizza Haven off 207 street next to Dunkin Donuts when she finally came out of the A train. I saw Alexis, introduced myself, and we began walking toward Inwood Park to chat about the project. We met for over 3 hours where she told me everything about the NOVA project. I opened up about my life to her about Asperger Syndrome, Autism, and many other things. As we were talking in Inwood Park,Â it began to rain so we moved to the lobby of the office I work in on 207 and Broadway continuing our talk. (207 and Broadway is next door to the Dykman Farmhouse Museum) After we spoke, she walked me back to my car and told me we would be in touch.
A few days later, she had spoken to my mom already and the team at NOVA decided to choose to film me. It was extraordinary opportunity for me to become an asset to the world and help other people on the Autism Spectrum. In addition, it really in many ways helped out my family as well become closer and to build more positive experiences in our lives.
The filming began in August, after Alexis met with my mother and I at home in July. It was a flash of genius upon G-d to make this all happen. The filming felt good and I felt the special qualities inside me were finally coming out to show the world. I spoke for what it seemed endless. I met practically her whole team especially Jesse and Kyle. I was talking to the whole team in between filming about different things in life and about the film industry. One person I really seemed to like to talk to was Eddie who was one of the camera crew. He and I spoke about the French new wave movie Rififi.
The NOVA crew even came to my work to film me there as well. Every one at work including my boss didn’t know what to expect, but seemed to be curious. I hope it made my work environment understand more about Autism and Aspergers especially since ABC NEWS came in to the office in May.Â My boss was very cooperative and allowed PBS to come in to the office in September 2008.Â They filmed me with many other situations as well and every body will see it Monday night.
I had not thought of the psychic since I met her in April and when I got on the train back to Tarrytown that day, I just forgot about her until October 2008. In October 2008, I had a surge of panic because my arm became numb,Â my back began hurting me, and I began feeling very cold as if it were freezing in the dead night of the north pole.Â I sensed a spiritual feeling every time I stood still, so I kept on moving my body, and eventually stayed in my room.Â That night became a night of hell for me.Â My blood pressure rose well above 200/170 which is when I took my blood pressure to see why I was feeling out of sorts. During the night I had not complained about it, whined, or said anything about how I was feeling in my body. I lied on my bed wondering when it will all be over. I was up until 5:46 AM when I finally slept and hour and a half.
I felt very weird during the night when my blood pressure was extremely high and didn’t know what was happening if I was having a spiritual moment (because at that point I started to remember the psychic) or if I was just panicking about something. My breathing was very shallow and I felt very cold in a hot room. I felt like I was in the North Pole where it was below freezing. At that point it was October and only about 55 degrees at night. I couldn’t talk, scream, or push anything. I felt paralyzed the whole night. I also noticed a bright white light outside my window.Â I remember just before I felt paralyzed, I turned over and cried in my pillow wishing every one I ever knew a good life.Â I felt like I was dying.Â I noticed my arms crossing over my chest as if I was ready to die, but thenÂ my arms began to cross over my stomach instead. When I finally fell asleep, I felt good.
When I woke up after a rough night, I told my parents who immediately told me to call my cardiologist who could not be reached at the time, so I called the cardiologist I work for on his cell phone. He instantly picked up right away and told me to go to the ER. I wound up going to Columbia Presbyterian Emergency room as my parents drove me there. See, Rockland County hospitals are not the greatest hospitals and my family always had bad experiences in Rockland hospitals. I have seen a cardiologist at Columbia since 1999 when I found out from a Neurologist in Mount Kisco about a murmur he heard which wound up being an Aneurysm near my heart.
Columbia ER was surprisingly empty for the morning and the nurses took me in right away. I was there the whole day because they assessed me, took blood, an X-ray, and had me have a CT with Contrast of my whole Aorta to rule out dissection of the Aorta. At night time in the ER, the CT results came back and they said my Aorta was fine. The doctors told me to chill out.
The next day at work I get a call back from my doctors at Columbia telling me on the phone, they need for me to come in for more tests. They had found a mass and cysts on my pancreas. At first, they said it was nothing to worry about. Like any body would do, they begin to worry, and I began to worry. My life began to turn upside down. I knew I was getting filmed with PBS NOVA and the ABC Autism site was coming out shortly (Just after President Obama got elected), but I was scared. Adaptations was going through a rough time period so I counted on speaking to my therapist instead.
I had gotten multiple Endoscopy-Ultrasounds at Columbia to get it right because the first 2 times Columbia doctors didn’t get it right.Â The final time I had the E-US, they were finally very thorough because Dr. John Allendorf the general surgeon to help me ordered the test again.Â I waited a month later, whenÂ Dr.Â AllendorfÂ from the Pancreas Center at Columbia performed my surgery on December 30, 2008.
In the midst of all of this medical stuff in my life, PBS NOVA crew kept on telling me how wonderful I was doing on film. They said I was like a natural. I told them it must have been because I was in a Drama therapy group on Sundays at Adaptations. They just thought I was a natural to do this anyway and had nothing to do with drama therapy.
A year ago today, I was in the hospital still recuperating, but every one told me I was doing great. Some people who came to see me thought they were going to see a train wreck, but instead saw a miracle. I had gotten many gifts and cards from friends and family as well as support from the NOVA team.
When the ABC site came up in November 2008, I felt it was the beginning, but I knew something more is going to happen for me. I needed to help the world; my family, I, and every one else. I needed the world to sense thatÂ I amÂ a good person and by proving this I feel I helped a struggling psychic regain her strength to give insight to others. She was the catalyst who proved my inner nature to inspire people.
G-d created my innermost self to this world because the world needs heroes. I donâ€™t really consider myself a hero, but I do consider myself lucky. Although heroes are needed in this world now especially the fact every body is feeling down and negative because of the economy. We need to stop all of this negativity NOW! Every body needs to find their calling from inspiration.
The filming became clear what I was meant to do. I needed to make my part in the show clearly a positive unique heroic vision. I am here to prove to the world, with concentration, dedication, and much needed help, a person on the Autism Spectrum can succeed.
The last part of the filming was just before the summer of 2009 where they filmed me alone with my mother. Once the summer passed by, many people were very sad by dark negative things happening in the world.Â Things just so happen to come around just in the nick of time to help us out.
My experience with the filming of this latest project called This Emotional Life has been historic. It has also been a crazy journey since I met the psychic. In February, I serendipitously saw the psychic again who happened to thank me because she had been a medium for a lot of other different people who have been coming up to her for help since she met me. She was praying to see me again just to thank me. I happened to have been with my friend Manny that day, but just as he left, she again told me I am an Angel. I took it as if I am just a very good person willing to help. I believe my life will continue to shine even brighter than it ever has since the day I met her.
The psychic paints a lot on her trench coat and bags. Last time I saw her in February, she showed me her picture from the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times in Bryant Park which she kept in her bag. She considered me a good friend and I appreciated it. She even took a picture of me with her phone just so she can remember what I look like. It is a friendship I developed because I saw a good person who needed help. She felt I was an inspiration to her.
I realized another gift I have when I met with her afterward. It can help me realize someone’s emotions without noticing body language or facial expressions which I can not read. It is much deeper technique, but I noticed it only occurs when I feel relaxed. Every thing seems to happen for a reason… It seems like people are always right when they tell me to let things happen serendipitously and live each day to the fullest!
The PBS special This Emotional Life comes out on January 4 at 9pm on PBS and PBS HD. I hope a lot of people get to see this show in its entirety not just my part on January 4, but also on January 5 and 6 at 9pm.
Thank you every body for reading and supporting Drivemomcrazy.com (DMC). I am very grateful for the many gifts I have to be able to help a struggling psychic who became a friend, the gifts given to me at birth and throughout my life.
I know I truly am a Blessed Celebration.
posting soon enough and be sure to check out the show in its entirety since as it will help you in more ways than one. 🙂
Coincidences happen for a reason because they truly are God WINKS!!!
posting soon enough the fiction story Gregarious Revolution! To my loving family, we will have a great year!
Every time I walk in the city or my hometown, I observe two parallel worlds on one Earth. President Obama is trying to do something to constructively make American citizens live in harmony, but is struggling like any other President has in the past to get his agendas passed in to law. I wonder if President Obama had a chance to read my letter I sent to him and Joe Biden before they were elected. If the two of them did see the letter, it should make them think really hard about the general public. Jobs, healthcare, Neurodiversity… “Nothing about us with us” as the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network states every day. We pray he creates a life of harmony in America and the world.
One world is the Autism Continuum. Many people say any body on the Autism Spectrum has to be weary when telling others they are Autistic. Autistic could mean those people on the Autism Spectrum with Autistic Disorder constantly flapping their hands and not being able to talk. I prefer to say Autie/Aspie Community in the Autism Continuum since I believe any body can reach high functioning Asperger Syndrome in adulthood just by early intervention. It is important to teach somebody on the Continuum the necessary tools to succeed in this world because any body would be respected more. Otherwise when the person reaches adulthood, they will develop more and more problems.
Another world on Earth is the Neurotypical Continuum. The Neurotypical Continuum becomes a more accepted part of society than Autism by what I observe because majority rules. Many Neurotypicals are afraid of the unknown Autism Continuum. Neurotypicals don’t quite understand it and most doctors who are mostly Neurotypical have a very hard time diagnosing Autism and even Asperger Syndrome because they can not understand. If the Autism Continuum never existed, we would be missing a lot of great talents in the world which makes the world go round. I suppose that the Autism Continuum runs parallel to the Neurotypical Continuum.
Many people don’t like when they see someone they feel is different not acting/performing like them. Two parallel worlds are colliding on Earth. Eventually the worlds become one and every body teaches one another their different ways and sees a bright new way of doing things. There is so much the two parallel worlds can learn from each other if only every body would try to learn and not sneer at the unknown. The unknown can be very scary at times, but you must break away past it. Otherwise any body becomes anxious and worries about life.