Tag Archives: GRASP

Every Day We Need to give Thanks and Give Back

I have been through the worst, I’ve been through the pains, I’ve even been through many heart aches in my life with people in general. People have failed me, people have been disappointing me, but most importantly I need to remember what I do in my life and what I have in my life of the people who support me. Sometimes I feel my voice, my intelligence, and my way of being are not acknowledged and listened to. Or, is that what it may seem like to me sometimes? I know there are many people who support me in my network including my family.

Thanksgiving is a day that was started that turned around over many years. It first started as a racist holiday against indigenous people. I suppose now people are trying to save Thanksgiving because they are turning it into a day to be grateful for everything we have and will have or had already. However, Thanksgiving should not be a day just to be grateful because we should always be grateful. Thanksgiving instead should be a day for everyone as a community in the world to come together to rejoice, rejuvenate, laugh, smile, and cry together. Sometimes it can be hard to, but we need to try to be around people to show who we are.

It’s a day that the whole community enjoys each other’s company and becomes fulfilled with life. It’s a day we should cherish regardless of it’s racist roots in history because we need to imagine ourselves always being the loving person most of our families tried to push us to become including mine. Love is something we all need. We all love, we all may need kisses, we all may need hugs, and we all need someone to connect to, to be a human being striving for our success.

Traditionally on Thanksgiving, people make huge feasts of food which includes grilling, baking, or frying turkeys. For every food we have, for every drink we drink, for every food and drink leftover, let’s think about the people who don’t have food during this holiday season. What happened to these people? Are they forgotten? Are they lost? Are they gone? The people I am talking about are still human who are not forgotten, not lost, and not gone, they are just here because for whatever reason no one understood them.

Love your family no matter what. Love the incredible things you get from the people around you. Yes, sometimes people in your family may disagree with us even when both sides of the argument think they are right. No matter what there is no right answer to an argument. People differ on issues because of everyone’s life experiences, philosophies, and observations of the world. The problem is that when someone is Disabled, many Non-Disabled people just don’t understand the life of a person who is Disabled. They only guess about what difficulties the disability community feels, and there could be back and forth calling names to each other, but this does not solve solve anything except a bigger battle. We need to accept that everyone has different viewpoints and every one has different things they have to say. No one needs to be silenced while they listen to one side of a story, instead everyone needs to understand the whole side of every story.

There is a lot of unrest in the world right now because of racism, because of ableism, because of ageism, because of sexism, because of heterosexism, because of classism, because of so many other ways of discrimination in the world. Yet, we need to forget about our egos, forget about who does what to who, and just remember that we are a community. A community who loves, a community of amazing individuals in the Human race, who cherishes everything we can ever do in the world. Sometimes it can be hard to drop our guards of anger and drop our fears we may have, but it is a necessary part of being human to be able to let it go to be free and happy.

I hope you love, I hope you are smiling, I hope if you are crying you have someone to hold onto, and if you are angry you can let it go to feel joy. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s messy, and sometimes we feel we cannot let go, however regardless of what we think we can’t do, we can always make our own choices. If we choose love, we don’t fear. If we choose fear, we become hateful. Most importantly, if we choose fear and anger, then we need to take a deep breath in, to allow are happiness in, to remember what humanity is all about; having community.

I know that many parents fear for their children who may have disabilities. It can be hard, it can be rough, it can be really difficult trying to figure out how to help their Disabled child. People need to remember to look at the many Disabled people who have been successful with the many aspects of their life as a means to ask questions and reach out for support. Disabled people need to listen to these parents so that they can give advice that matters. These parents need to listen to the advice instead of seeming to ignore the words of the disability community speaking up. Disability cultures exist which includes Autistic culture.

More importantly, this happens a lot in the autism community way too much. Parents look to researchers and other professionals for help instead of looking to Autistic people for the help they need. Researchers and other professionals need to work with us by listening to the Autistic people who can really give a better understanding of what it means to be on the autistic spectrum. One can only guess what it’s like if they are not on the spectrum themselves.

We need to be grateful that some researchers and other professionals have started doing this, but everyone also needs to slow down and breathe too. All in all, everyone who isn’t listening and learning to the Disabled including Autistic people, need to start now. In return, everyone can learn about about each other if only they listen to the things to be taught from those who are different from them. Then, only then, people everywhere will understand and accept a cultural difference that is different from who they are.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!! Please listen, learn, and love the support network you have with the family that loves you no matter what. #lovenotfear

by the way…

This year is #GivingTuesday on December 2! This Giving Tuesday I hope you support The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network because A.S.A.N. really means to me the importance of community and accepting each other’s differences especially the cultural differences of Disability culture and Autistic culture. A.S.A.N. really is a breakthrough in the world because it really means that everyone who is Autistic or have other disabilities can express their voice or feelings of how they feel without being criticized. A.S.A.N. is about teaching the world what it means to understand each other’s cultural differences regardless of what they may be. It teaches everyone to be accepting even when it’s difficult to accept. Most importantly A.S.A.N. really teaches to love and educate people no matter who they are. The more people are educated, the more they will love, the less fearful and angry they become.

There are other organizations too that support Autistic people too. For example, they are Autism Women’s Network (AWN), Ollibean, Thinking Person’s Guide To Autism (TPGA), Association for Autistic Community, Autistic Community for Equality Facebook page, and G.R.A.S.P. (Global and Regional Autism Spectrum Partnership). When we think about cultures like Autistic culture, we need to think about supporting everyone without feeling like we are better than anyone else. We are all Human. We are all different and we are all learning from each other. The Autistic Rights movement only started about less 30 years ago, but we still have a long way to go.

I also trying to seek out funding for graduate school at CUNY. I started this crowdsourcing, to try to open up some doors. If anyone has any ideas for scholarship, please let me know!


Autism Network International’s Annual Autreat once again this past week!

Autreat was once again an amazing AUSOMELY Awesome time!! Please check your references in google as Autism Network International is one of the first Autism organizations which started in the 1990’s for and by Autistic people. Anyway, Autistics grow up to become Autistic adults and it’s proven when any one goes to Autreat. Though, any one from all ages can go to Autreat for their own Autistic space. Every year since 2009, Autreat will honor those Autistic children who crossed the ages from childhood to adulthood, from the ages of 18 to 22, by an honorable ceremony called ‘Autreat’s Amazing Adulthood Acclaimation Achievement’. This year I was a witness to one of those 3 Autistic adults. Autreat was at California University of Pennsylvania in California, Pennsylvania. I loved having my own Autistic space where I don’t have the Neurotypical pressures from society. I wish I would have known about Autreat in 1996, when I was in high school, because it would have given me a better sense of who I am in my life. However, we can only move forward and enjoy the fact I found Autism Network International now. This year at Autreat, I needed to step up to the plate and help the Autistic children’s program continue when the the leader in charge of the program did not feel well. As soon as I heard this person was not feeling well, I called my parents to send over my records by FAX to be able to work with the children at Autreat. I knew this was an important acclamation I needed to do, so I did what was necessary to keep the children safe, secure, and enjoying their time at Autreat while their parents can enjoy their space too. It was an outreach opportunity for me that I needed to do sacrificing some of my time, but still enjoying Autreat. During the goodbye ceremony, everyone at Autreat gave me a huge Flapplauding and a Woo HOO!! Great times at my second Autreat! Jim Sinclair expressed his gratitude for me, when I stepped up to the plate to help out. When I wrote on the wall of achievements about helping other Autistics in society, at the of Autreat, Jim exclaimed that “I am already doing that; helping other Autistics” and to keep it up. I immediately walked out feeling great and wanting to call my parents to let them know!! My parents were very proud of me. A lot of people at Autreat told me how I am so Ausomely Awesome! My leadership is growing… Autreat is a special place in my heart and in the hearts of many Autistic people everywhere. It’s a space where there is no judging, no grudges, no gossip, no drama, and no Neurotypicals antagonizing us. It’s a way for us to live a free thinking culture! There were so many great people there and this year proved that even more. It’s sad every year to leave Autreat behind until next year, but we have no choice to go back to Neurotypical society. At least we have the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and Greater Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership groups to go to during the year, but it still does not replace the essence of Autreat over the summer. From the children to Adults who have never been to Autreat, there needs to come a time for society to accept Autistics as the way they are. Autistic culture is everywhere!!!

It proves why I want to help other Autistics out there and why I am now working with an agency in New York now helping other Autistics be interdependent like I have become. The explanation about interdependence proclaims that no one in this world is fully independent, everyone in this world is interdependent. Independence is important, but being interdependent is more important, because everyone needs to rely on someone at some point during a day, just take a look at people relying on public transportation or relying on car maintenance. I am currently working part time, but hopefully working full time soon. During my work with another Autistic adult, I am teaching him the very essential skills he will need to lead his own life like self-advocacy, independent living skills, social learning, to embrace who he is and be accepted by others. It’s important for anyone to learn to be self-determined, independent thinker. Something we all are learning to do as we age from one year to the next. Many people cherish certain things from Autreat, but for me, I cherish being able to independently choose what I want to do which is what I will be teaching. May be Autreat is only supposed to be for 1 week a year over the summer, but it lives in our hearts throughout the year to remind us it’s there once a year for any Autistic person needing to just get away from Neurotypical society for only a week. In the end, we need to feel included with Neurotypical society and feel accepted by the rest of the world. From Autistics being accepted and embraced by everyone, we will only have achieved a human rights victory where no matter who a person is, what they do positively for society, and where they come from, people will look at anybody as a human being with a beautiful mind. Hence, Autistics and Disability does not have to be looked down upon in society while neither does anyone else regardless of their religious beliefs, race, culture, sexuality, etc. A few years back in 2011, I went to Salem, Massachusetts to learn about the history of witches and why they were hunted. I learned so much like how society always tries to find some body of people to hunt down and dissolve. Human beings need to accept other Human beings from now on. Don’t look down upon anyone and believe that life is diverse from Human beings to Animals. By doing so, when a child reaches adulthood, they will find a woman or a man to love and teach the same to their children. GRASP and ASAN always talk about Neurodiversity, but it really is the essence of Biodiversity we need to all embrace. Next year Autreat once again for my 3rd year hopefully… I met friends in person for the first time and saw friends I’ve already known in person.

Looking forward to my future endeavors hopefully with full time outreach work! YAY!!! Any Autistic person from any age please somehow get to Autreat sometime in your lifetime.


Answering Questions: Life experiences with Aspergers

Question from a reader on Facebook: How did you cope when 1st finding out?  How are you coping/experiencing life better? How do you not let it affect you? 

It took me awhile to cope when first finding out. My mom gave me articles to read on Asperger’s Syndrome in 2004 when I began self-diagnosing myself.  I was feeling very shocked, but relieved.  I coped by just pushing myself because its important to feel positive and my mother encouraged me.  My mom tried to help me find groups for people with Asperger’s Syndrome to help connect more to other people.

The first group she found was the GRASP (Greater Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership) manhattan group in January 2005.  I immediately subscribed to join GRASP, but was too nervous to go to a meeting until early February 2005.  My life began transforming since my very first GRASP manhattan meeting.  I met every one there and didn’t realize how much I related to a lot of those people who went to the meeting too.  I remember talking to Michael John Carley after the first meeting as he shook my hand telling me inspirational words of wisdom.  The meeting was a success and so I kept on going back to the meetings as much as I could until they had to move the meetings further downtown in manhattan which made it harder for me to go. GRASP really helped me realize what NEURODIVERSITY means and helped me establish who I am and why I am here to live my life.  It happened at the right time in my life when I needed it.

I finally got officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome by Dr. Richard Perry in 2005 and really appreciate all the help he gives to me too.  By 2006, GRASP really had not had any meetings for me to go to and I needed a place to connect with and feel a part of community. Dr. Perry and a couple of people I met from GRASP earlier, told me about the Adaptations program at the JCC in Manhattan.   I remember trying to call the Adaptations program as soon as I could, but no body responded to me at first.  I was feeling very uneasy and even started my first job in May 2006 doing Ultrasound.  I really needed a place to go to find friendships which is very important for any one’s life.  I was encouraged to try calling the Adaptations program again later that year.  I finally called again and joined the program. After that, I really haven’t been to GRASP anymore which saddened me, but I knew the Adaptations program somehow needed me to connect.  I would like to go to another GRASP meeting in the future just to see those folks again.

Anyway, at first I wasn’t really doing much with Adaptations and my mom had to really push me like she always does. It wasn’t until 2007 that I really became an active member of the program. I was working at my job so I could not go as much as the others who were not working, but like I am always told work comes first! I have met so many people since 2005 who seemed to grow on me and help transform my life that I almost look back for a split second to see how I felt before.  I never had a real true friend pre-2004 and I have grown so much.  By the end of 2007, I met a person who I became friends with at Adaptations and I felt we could help each other.  Although we’ve had our ups and downs, I sense it has made us grow more as human beings.  I helped him break out of his shell and in a lot of ways helped so many others too.

My mother’s influence seemed to have latched on to me, in order to spread her word to help heal other people like I was helped.  Does it make me a integral part of the program? or Does it just mean I am able to inspire others to work harder and feel better about themselves? The Adaptations program which tries to influence members there to be more adaptive and flexible building community will always be there for any one no matter what for support.  Hopefully the idea of Adaptations’ goal of training to be adaptive and flexible spreads throughout all the members and beyond. I hope one day my dream comes true and the program expands worldwide for any one to enjoy. Every one deserves a place for an interactive community of enjoyment, learning, and respect for each other.  Isn’t that what life is all about?

I am currently in the realms of starting my own Autistic Self-Advocacy Network social support group in Rockland County, NY as well to spread Neurodiversity. This will help others learn to be self-advocates too even express themselves and learn to feel inspired to do well.  The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has been an inspiration to me and I hope I can be a part of them always. I love their saying “Nothing about us, without Us” because it really is a true statement.  The President of ASAN, Ari Ne’eman has been working with me on creating this group.

I also would like to plan starting my own International outing/Conference to help a Neurodiverse crowd especially people on the autism spectrum to meet a date, learn new skills, experience the world differently, and just enjoy life to gather every one from around the world!! I have recently been working on my ideas and planning it out in my sketches and journal. I want to start this outing/conference to see all the fishes in the sea and not feel limited by just a few.

By the way, when I was growing up I used to make up stories of working on outings/conferences, groups like these when I was downstairs in the basement where the family computer was.  I could spend endless hours in my basement doing this, making up characters, and situations by myself.  I used to even have a pretend company called BGAS (Boys, Girls, Adult, Senior citizen) club corporation.

I also am still working on my book about having surgery and being on autism spectrum. And as always I am very spiritual and always feel the connections with the other side with all my angels by my side.

I am coping with it now by trying to be proud of who I am and what I can contribute to this world. I have come a long way and know I have a way forward more to go.

At first I did let it affect me, but with all the support I have gotten I don’t need to be affected by it anymore. It is a part of me, but not everything about me. I am Autistic/Aspie, but I am also a person first!!

Can Asperger’s be misdiagnosed as Depression?

Absolutely!! There are so many different ways Asperger’s has been misread as other conditions.

Did you get diagnosed straight away accurately?

No, I was not diagnosed accurately for most of my life.  I was misdiagnosed with any thing and everything because other psychiatrists and doctors didn’t understand the autism spectrum. Now I hope all of these professionals who misdiagnosed me are finally educated.  If they are not educated by now, they are not humble.



Just a question for all of you from me: Who would you want to date? Another aspie/autie? or a Neurotypical? or no one?

I hope you liked it and read on,