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  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 11:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WHO ARE WE?
    We are a group of researchers at Vanderbilt University, and we are currently trying to understand how children with Autism process language and how this ability relates to communication and social skills.

    WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THIS STUDY?
    You will fill out some questionnaires. We will conduct some cognitive and language assessments with your child. Your child will also watch pictures on a computer screen that records where he/she looks while listening to some sentences and complete some simple computer games. Total participation time will be about 4 hours with short breaks between games/tasks. 


    DO I QUALIFY?
    We are looking for children between 8 and 15 years old, with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis (including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or related diagnoses) with normal or corrected to normal hearing and vision. Verbal ability is required for this study.

    HOW MUCH WILL I BE PAID?
    You will receive $40 for full study completion and a report on your child’s language and cognitive development at no cost to you. On-site parking is complimentary as well. 

    This study was approved by the Behavioral and Social Sciences IRB at Vanderbilt University (IRB #180227) on 04/17/2018.






  • Wednesday, June 05, 2019 9:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How My Best Friend Helped Me See Myself For Me- Not My Autism

    By Chloe Sybert

    Hi! I’m Chloe, and I am convinced if you met my best friend Jasmyn and asked her to describe me, the fact that I am autistic wouldn’t even pop up in your conversation. This isn’t because she denies I have challenges, she acknowledges them- and has helped me through many, she simply sees me for who I really am and my deficits aren’t it. For years before I met her, I struggled to have this mindset. I hated who I was because all I saw was everything I couldn’t do, or rather everything statistics or websites said I couldn’t do. I would read that many autistics don’t find employment and I would take that opinion as a fact (which is a foolish because what do they know about my future?) I tried passing which is a term used to describe surpassing your autistic symptoms and coping skills in order to pass as neurotypical (I was miserable) I even prayed my autism away. So, when I met Jasmyn, I almost didn’t expect her to be so accepting and kind to me. This was a far cry from how I was bullied through grade school. Throughout the years of being friends with her, I have slowly learned that I deserve to be respected, I should treat myself like a friend, and I am more than a diagnosis. So, in honor of best friend’s day on June 8th, please allow me to gush about mine.

    How Jasmyn helped me embrace my autism:

    1. Shortly before I met her, I had ended a toxic relationship that I had only thought was good for me. I couldn’t see the red flags until after it ended. But looking back I learned that when this person used my autism as an excuse to invalidate my feelings and hurt me, that was wrong! Jasmyn never made me feel bad for crying more than others might find necessary, she never mocked me for getting too sentimental ( she was sentimental too ), and she was sincerely sorry if she hurt me. She didn’t use my disability as an excuse to hurt me or be rude. She appreciated me, never took me for granted, and she reminded me my feelings are valid.

    2. She encouraged me to talk positively about myself. This was hard for me at times, but she never got impatient or rude. She reminded me about my strengths and all I loved about myself during a time of great stress. I was battling OCD, and to get me through that time I wrote in journals called encouragement books. When we were hanging out once, and I was upset, I told her I couldn’t find anything to love about myself. She was very kind and responded with, “Of course you do” and she grabbed my book and read my own words aloud with no judgment at all.

    3. Jasmyn is very encouraging and is always reminding me to remember who I am. She never brings up my autism unless I’m insecure about it and she is telling me that she sees me for me and not my disability. She is very kind and has said things to me that I have kept with me because it has greatly improved my confidence. Over time I’ve caught myself being mean to me and I would stop myself because friends like Jasmyn wouldn’t treat me like that so I shouldn’t either, autism, or no autism.

    4. Finally, I can’t leave this out. I have always struggled to see myself as strong and capable. I’ve overcome a lot but I am my own worst critic. Well, Jasmyn, who’s a wonderful artist, painted me as a warrior. This means more to me than I can put into words! It is a reminder I am not my disability, I am loved, and I am capable. It is my prized possession and I will treasure it always.


    In conclusion, my best friend has shown me that there is more to me than a label, I am a wonderful friend with lots to offer, and I deserve to treat myself with love, kindness, and respect, as well as get treated that way by other people. So to Jasmyn, thank you for being my friend.


    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Monday, June 03, 2019 9:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    "Diversity is being asked to the party.  Inclusion is being asked to dance." - Verna Myers 

    When Allison and Morgan were babies, I spent a grand amount of time doing everything a mom does for her children.  I suspected the natural progression would be less in my hands, and more in theirs, as time passed.

    As Allison grew, and became able to do things on her own, I'd step back and happily step in, whenever needed.  Being my first, it was much easier to hang on, than to let go.  School came.  Friendships came.  Invites and outings came.  Opinions, independence, and marriage came.  There are still times when she needs to talk to mom, to share about her day;  the good, the bad, and the ugly.  And of course, I Love that.    She'll ask for advice, weigh what I say, and then make her own decisions.   I've never had to be concerned about her finding her place in the world.  She knows how to reach out, and reach back.  She knows how to ask for what she needs.

    allison-jabe-wed-1159

    Morgan is on the autism spectrum.  Her walk has been anything but a natural progression.  I'm still stepping back, stepping in, side stepping,... whatever it takes to help her be a part of things.  She has come a long way.  Like her sister, she has definite opinions.    But in life's dance, she still needs a partner.  She needs someone to Ask her to dance and support her steps.  As easy as it is to do things FOR her, there is so much more value in doing things WITH her.  It takes more time.  It takes more patience.  When she nails the steps, the dance is beautiful, and uniquely her own.  The girl has MOVES. 

    Night To Shine Dance 2018

    I'm so grateful for the things I've learned from doing the mom dance with both of my daughters.  "INCLUSION is Being Asked to Dance."  The past few years, I've had the privilege of working WITH The Weekley Hall Singers.  They are a group of adults with disabilities who enjoy encouraging others with their music.  They were ready to be Included.  They were ready to be Involved.  All I had to do was Ask.

    Weekley Hall Singers Foyer 1

    Weekley Hall Singers Foyer 4

    The Weekley Hall Singers are Engaged. They are Enthusiastic. They give it all they've got. They make My heart dance.

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.





  • Monday, May 20, 2019 9:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When I began writing Cowboy Dreams, it was my intention to simply tell the story of my transition from earning my associate’s degree in general education to finishing my education with my bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and sciences with a minor in early childhood education. I had a desire to write about a fictional adventure so I decided to use my life’s current circumstances for its background. Of course, as the author, I allowed myself some embellishments for my namesake, Tricia Perkins. These creative qualities gave me the ability to truly imagine myself in a different way that would allow me to better relate to the reader.

    As I typed each word that eventually turned into a paragraph and then a chapter, I found I was able to fully immerse myself into my imagination in order to describe, in detail, what I wanted my reader to feel and experience as they read my book. For me, my writing process is simply just typing out my thoughts. There’s no brainstorming or pre-writing practices in order for me to organize what I want to say. Really, the only time I ever jot something down is if I have dialogue or a description I want to add and I’m not at my laptop. Otherwise, the only tools I need are my imagination, a laptop, and my Logitech mouse for easy correcting and synonyms.

    However, as I furthered into the story line and had family, friends, and a professional editor on craigslist critique it, I found that I still had a lot of work to do. A desire for writing a story and putting that desire into action only requires more work and a lot more time until the story’s edges are smoothed out and the unnecessary scenes are deleted. As with all forms of art, editing the format until it’s completion, is a process. For me, that process took a little over a decade to be completed. In fact, it took me from 2006 to 2018 until it was finally ready for publication on June 22nd.

    Despite the long wait for my manuscript to take its final form and be ready for the public to read, the editing process allowed me to learn more about myself and how my Asperger’s Syndrome shapes my writing and my creativity. Through it, God has blessed me with such a detailed imagination that I often found myself reliving the emotions I desired to trigger in my reader as I reread my own writing. At times, I also found it very cathartic as my writing gave me new insight into how God views me.

    The writing process for my fictional story turned testimony was a learning adventure for me not only in my writing, but also in myself. In asking others for their constructive criticism, I was able to write a story that represents me in the best way for those I will never get a chance to meet. It tells of the real life heartache I dealt with from the emotional scarring caused by bullies to me expressing my thoughts and fears through a fictional character. Tricia Perkins is the embodiment of me in fictional form while Clay Gibson, the race car drivin’ cowboy after her heart, is the fictional embodiment of the man my heart desires.


    For those interested in finding out more about Cowboy Dreams, I have included the Amazon link below.


    https://www.amazon.com/Cowboy-Dreams-Patricia-L-Powell/dp/1532028040/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532015857&sr=1-1&keywords=Cowboy+Dreams&dpID=41km%252BoNIqlL&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch  

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Monday, May 06, 2019 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    I facilitate a game day for Autism Tennessee.  It happens between noon and 2:00 p.m. the first Saturday each month.  If you have autism or know someone who does, please contact me at 615-594-6529.  We have a lot of fun. It is open for all ages.

    One of our favorite games we play is one called, “Five Second Rule.”  The player is asked to name three things in five seconds. It sounds easy enough, but the time pressure can really add difficulty, especially if you are on the spectrum.  I was wondering why it can be difficult for some of our players. Social inhibition and fear of making a mistake or embarrassing yourself might be one of the reasons. But I am proud to report our group is very supportive.  The participants trust that this is one place they won’t be shamed for taking a risk at participation, even if their response in their mind is “wrong.”

    But the delay in response might be the result of deep thinking. And it got me curious about philosophers, and the link between that profession and autism. I found an a New York Times article on line called, “Beyond Understanding,” written by Andy Martin.  Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote a book called Logical Philosophical Treatise.  Martin tells us that Wittgenstein’s English translation of Proposition 7 would be ‘whereof one cannot speak thereof one must remain silent.’  

    That is exactly what I experience playing the Five Second Rule. The question was, “Name 3 things that come in chocolate.”  Simple enough if you mind is thinking of things that in chocolate as well as other flavors: ice-cream, cake, and cookies, right?  But what if your mind is on things that come ONLY in chocolate?  The question then becomes more problematic. Another example: “name three things with teeth.”  Again, if you are not thinking in a deep philosophical way, you might be able to easily access this response;  dogs, cats, and humans. But what if your thoughts are things like saws, combs, or a lawsuit that is practically airtight?  If your mind is not on animals, the answer might come much later than 5 seconds.

    It occurred to me that the 5 Second Rule game is not difficult for our players because the participants do not understand it.  It might be because they go to places much like Wittgenstein might. Here is Proposition 1 by Wittgenstein, according to Wikipedia:

    • 1 The world is all that is the case.

    • 1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.

    • 1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by their being all the facts.

    • 1.12 For the totality of facts determines what is the case, and also whatever is not the case.

    • 1.13 The facts in logical space are the world.

    • 1.2 The world divides into facts.

    • 1.21 Each item can be the case or not the case while everything else remains the same.

    Even with extensive research and consultation with professors of philosophy, I would not have a clue what any of that means. But I have faith that it is very meaningful. Martin tells us that “Wittgenstein has frequently been categorized as autistic.”  Wittgenstein was articulate and not visibly dysfunctional, but very awkward socially. Martin tells us that Wittgenstein “admitted to having difficulty working out what people were really going on about.”   Yet Wittgenstein had ingenious insights into the human social condition.  I look forward to similar insights from our participants of Five Second Rule at game day.

    Perhaps there is, in fact,  a link between autism and philosophers.  The male to female ratio for autism, according to Martin, is about 4:1, and most philosophers are male.  Hans Asperger wrote that the autistic mind is "an extreme variant of male intelligence." I like the way Martin described the link between autism and communication:


           “Language arises because of the scope for misunderstanding. We need noises and written signs. Language compensates for an empathy deficit. But with or without language, I can still misread the signs. Autism only arises when there is an expectation of understanding.”

    Who knows?  Perhaps the road to understanding will be discovered at game day.


    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Wednesday, April 24, 2019 9:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "When you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance." - Mark Sanders & Tia Sellers 

    Allison gets her work ethic from her dad.  She's seen him leave home before daylight, and come home after sunset all her life.  His dad did the same.  I admire their "sticktoitiveness".  But there are times when the job is thankless, when no one is applauding.    That's when the Mom in Me pleads with them, in order not to burn out, we have to have a balance.  When our world feels more like an endless ride on a roller coaster, after eating a footlong chile dog, we have to stop and get our footing.

    Recently, I attended the WOW festival in Cookeville, and enjoyed seeing Allison dance again.

    Allison Dance

    I love my daughter.  I'm proud of all she's accomplished, but I'm happiest for her when she's happy.  I hope she continues to dance, physically and spiritually.

    Sing your song picture

    I hope she'll always take the time to locate her joy.  And I hope I can talk her dad into a waltz or two.  

    Daddy Daughter Dance

    Until Next Time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy


    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2019 8:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This blog about autism and the workplace will be one of several about work.  Individuals on the spectrum are woefully underemployed. From what I have seen and have experienced personally, the best accommodation for people on the spectrum is for them to learn and use effective social and professional skills.

    This topic reminds me of a teammate from my high school soccer team.  He was a year younger than me. He was a skilled player. He was strong and tough, and he did not shy away from anyone.  He gave every practice his all. If I remember correctly, he was also a cross country runner. So, keeping up with the laps we did at the beginning of practice was not an issue for him.  He had good hustle.

    He had good stamina, but he was not very fast.  He was strong, but he was not the most coordinated guy on the team.  He had to put in extra effort to pass the ball accurately, but he could do it.  When he had the ball, though, he could not control it very well, and often lost it as soon as he gained control of it.

    Despite this, he had an excellent attitude.  He accepted criticism very readily from our very sour and cantankerous coach.  In fact, he would ask the coach at the end of each practice, “What can I do to be a more effective player, coach?  How can I earn some playing time?” He had no sense of entitlement. He was very humble. I think the coach allowed him some minutes in some non-consequential games, but he earned every second of that time.

    I’ve thought about that teammate quite a bit since then.  The key take away was how could any coach or supervisor reject that kind of attitude?  Let me share two things employers have the right to do, why I think they did them to me, and what I have found that works.

    Thing One:  Employers can deny you hours.

    If your employer does not like you personally, my experience has been that they can keep you employed, but they are not legally obligated to give you the hours you need.  Some of them may be doing this so you will quit the job. It often works.

    It doesn’t matter if your hours are far less than any other employees.  Bosses can deny you hours. It doesn’t matter if you are the most productive employee on staff.  The boss can still short you hours.

    Thing Two:  Employers can schedule you when they know you cannot work.

    Unless you have proof that you participate in prayer in a religion at the same time the boss schedules you, you must show up for your assigned shift at 3:00 a.m.  Bosses can

    do that.  It doesn’t matter if you requested time off for heart surgery one year prior.  Bosses can schedule you anyway. They can let other employees off and keep you on a short leash.  That is just the way it is.

    Now, employers are loathe to test this privilege.  Threatening your job over life-saving surgery isn’t likely to happen.  But if you are difficult to accommodate, they are likely to try less and less to conform to your schedule.  Generally speaking, if I cannot get time off to attend a social event, I show up for my scheduled shift. But if I am scheduled during a shift at another job that is outside my availability, I might say something like “I value all my employment, and I wouldn’t ask my other employer to schedule me when I am needed here.  I know you will work things out for me so I can have this time off.” Then, I offer to work during a time I am not scheduled.

    Why Employers Might Do These Things:

    If an employee is high maintenance, cannot get along with other coworkers, is difficult to schedule, or cannot perform the job, the employer is likely to let you go.  They will accommodate you within reason. Asking for instructions to be repeated, asking for time to process directives before responding to them, or asking to use a volume phone have generally been regarded as reasonable requests on my part.  Making frequent requests for time off, asking for forgiveness for repeated rude behavior, or failing to do the essential task of the job causes undue hardship and are not likely to be accommodated.

    It did not go very well for me at all when I became litigious.  Mentioning the word lawyer is a quick way to lose trust. Employees have very few rights anyway.


    What Works

    Recall my teammate’s question, “What can I do, coach?”  

    Here are similar questions I have asked that have worked:

    • “Will you please let me know if I have offended any of my co-workers?  It is not deliberate, and I would like to make amends if I can.”

    • “Is there a shift you need covered?  I am glad to help.”

    • “May I come in early and practice making pizzas during the slow part of the shift?  I would like to sharpen up my skills.”

    • “I know there is no opening right now.  Could I volunteer a few hours to get some experience?  Do you know a manager who might need me?”

    • “I am happy to come in and do the tasks you really need done.  When could I come in?”

    I cannot imagine too many employers who would respond negatively to this kind of approach.  When I have behaved this way at work, I earn much grace. Even with my 

    autism, I have found my employers to be very forgiving when I make social errors.  Most see my good intentions. When I give my employers an opportunity to see my good qualities despite my autism, things generally go well for me.

    Just like it did for my teammate.  He won “The Coach’s Award” for good attitude at the sports banquet that Spring.  I think he earned a letter the following year.



    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Friday, April 05, 2019 11:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Autism Tennessee has asked me to submit blogs about my experiences as a person on the spectrum navigating through a world of those who are not on the spectrum.

    People who do not have autism mean what they say, but they mean it the way they mean it, not how I interpret it.  When I take words literally, the results can be amusing and awkward at best, and tragically inappropriate at worst.

    Statement #1:  “It is o.k. to be completely honest with me.  You can say anything to me.”

    If I said exactly what I am thinking when others extend this invitation to me, the person might not be friends with me for long.  For example, I might be thinking, “Your hair looks horrible. When are you going to fix it?” Or, I might share the gritty details of the flu I had the previous week:  “It was a really nasty flu. I puked about three times a day. Phlegm was all over my pillow when I work up this morning.”

    I assure you, this is not what people who are not on the spectrum mean when they say it is ok to be completely honest with them.  I have generally experienced that the statement means that the person is more comfortable talking to me. Often times, they are ready to move past the pleasantries about the weather or the score of the big game the night before.  They are willing to let you know where they grew up or some of their favorite restaurants. They might be willing to share some of their most traumatic childhood experiences at some point, but that would come much later.

    Statement #2:  “Call me anytime.”

    If I called someone giving me this permission at three in the morning, I will probably be blocked the next time I try to call.  I could protest, “but you said I could call you anytime.”  That usually produces a “don’t be a smart aleck look.  You know what I meant.”

    I do  NOT know what they meant.  If they meant do not call past 8 p.m., then that is what I should  have been told. It doesn’t work, though. Others pick up that I am a pretty smart guy and don’t accept this explanation, even if it happens to be true.  

    This brings me to my next point:  I have found that it is pretty critical to be honest if others are going to let me into their professional or personal life.  If I really DID know better, it is more effective to apologize than to just blame my autism. The oddness to rudeness of the behavior isn’t protected by the ADA anyway.  So, I am out of luck if my employer has had enough of me. The good news is that most people make social errors, and most people are pretty forgiving if I just admit when I am wrong.  In fact, some find it refreshing to have an employee they don’t have to spend hours trying to break their denial.

    In any event, I have found it is best to ask permission to call between 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays first, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays next, and ultimately, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. any day.  I have told folks, “Don’t tell me, as a person with autism, to call you anytime, because that means 3:00 a.m.” I have actually had people say that would be ok, because their phone is turned off anyway.  But I haven’t tested that yet.

    Statement #3:  “I can tell you are angry right now.”

    Telling me that I am angry, especially when I am angry, usually just makes me angrier.  I know what I am feeling. I don’t need someone else to identify my emotions for me. I can really hit the roof if someone adds, “You shouldn’t feel angry right now.”  It is like telling me it is inappropriate to breathe or let my heart beat or engage in any spontaneous involuntary behavior.

    My feelings are my feelings.  It is not an on and off switch I can control.  What I CAN control, however, are the behaviors associated with the anger I am feeling.  This what is really meant by the statement, I believe.

    I am a big guy.  For whatever reason, many of my best allies are petite women, probably because they remind me of my spiritual advisor, who is also petite and knows better than anyone how to get me calm,  Anyway, these friends remind me that I am a very big guy, and my anger can be really unsettling to someone who does not know me very well. I can get this stare like Judd Nelson got in “The Breakfast Club” when he was glaring down Michael Anthony Hall, who shared that he was in the math club AND the physics club.

    I believe what people usually mean by the statement, “ I can tell you are really angry right now” is that THEY feel a little uncomfortable with my intensity.  I think it is their indirect suggestion that I take a minute before continuing the conversation. I am proud to say it has been years since I have yelled at anyone at work. I just tell my supervisors I need a break.  They always grant it.

    So instead of getting into a therapeutic debate of the codependent implications  of letting someone else name my feelings for me, I try to recall the real message that the person wants to convey to me.  I am very impressed with my brave petite women friends who will struggle with me. I am touched to know they are not afraid of me.  They teach me how to gently say, “well, how do you know what I am feeling?” Then, we proceed to a calm discussion of the conflict, which I have many success stories of resolving.

    Anyway, I hope these examples of re-interpreting common statements provided insights to those who have autism and those who don’t.  If you liked this blog, I can do another one on this topic. If you’d like, I can share my insights in a future blog on the difference between when a woman is speaking “girl” or speaking “universal.”


    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Monday, April 01, 2019 11:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." -  Marianne Williamson

    Recently, Morgan had the opportunity to perform at Nashville Children's Theatre.  The evening was a series of one act plays and monologues, entitled "Conversations Over Tea", put on by Borderless Arts Tennessee and Nashville Children's Theatre actors.  It included friends with and without disabilities.  There were some excellent performances, and we were excited for her to be a part of it.

    Morgan's autism and anxiety can make her want to avoid "too many friends" and new situations.  It can often steal her joy, making it a struggle for her to hang for group activities, where she's not sure what "the script" is.  I've heard "practice makes progress" so we are always seeking new challenges, and saying yes to new things, to help her stretch her ability to cope.  In order to help her be successful this time, we took an early trip to NCT to give her a preview of what was in store.


    While I always hope Morgan will be able to give her best onstage performance, I'm much more invested in her performance off stage, Because That's Where Life Happens.

    The night of the performance, she was able to wait, listen to others, and clap for them.  She sat for over an hour before it was her turn.  I know it was hard.  I even heard her say to herself a couple of times, "I can do it.  I can do it.",  meaning she could hang in there. And she did!  So proud of my girl. 


    Here's a link to her performance at NCT - Brown Truck

    Here's a link to another performance at the Bluebird Cafe', an autism awareness event she's been a part of for several years - Circus Song and Brown Truck

    You can see the difference in her level of ease, when she's in a familiar setting.  I've seen her light up when she lets go of the anxiety, and enjoys the moment.  That's what we're aiming for.  On and off stage, we want Joy to be center stage.

    Until Next time,

    Know The Hope!

    Tammy



    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

  • Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NETFLIX AND CHILL DOESN’T MEAN WHAT I THOUGHT IT MEANT........
    AND OTHER THINGS AUTISM TAUGHT ME

    By Chloe Sybert

    Hey! Chloe here, and being autistic can be frustrating and wonderful at the same time. It depends on how you look at it.

    I could think,
    “Man, Autism really turned me into a socially awkward fool.”
    Or I could think,
    "There are plenty of socially awkward fools who don’t have autism! And now I’m a wiser, slightly less socially awkward person because I learned from my mistakes!”

    (For me) Autism is a wonderful thing, and I became truly proud of my diagnosis. With that being said, having autism makes things hard to navigate in life sometimes! Here’s some wise nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. (Thanks Autism!)

    1. The camera app on my phone app isn’t just there to take amazing selfies! I’ve always had trouble with feeling food on my face and have had many an encounter with fine members of the male population- with who knows WHAT on my face?! (for real!) you would think SOMEONE would tell me, but Noooooo! So hence the camera app! I turn that life saver on, check my face and teeth, make sure I’m looking fine as wine again- then (and only then) do I strut my stuff!

    2. Your going to laugh, but I literally had to ask my mom what "Netflix and Chill" means! Psst:Netflix and chill doesn’t literally mean Netflix and chill (I’m disturbed). The morals of this factoid are: A. I shouldn’t take everything literally or be so naïve, and B. If I’m unsure of the meaning of something, I should ask. But probably only ask someone I trust!

    3. Sadly not everyone can or should be trusted! I’ve always had a problem with being overly open, and overly trusting. It’s hard for me to tell whether people are genuinely not good for me, versus just imperfect people. I tend to get attached to people really quickly. The good side to that is, if your my true blue friend, I’m loyal to you, and you will always know how much I truly love you. The con is, I have befriended people who have quickly betrayed my trust repeatedly. It’s easy for me to be hurt. So I was talking to a professor about this. I told him I needed more concrete rules or formulas for navigating my trust spending (how much trust I give people). He suggested that I imagine everyone starts with 50 points. If they do something kind or something I deem worthy of friendship, I mentally add up however many points I deem fit. However, if they let me down, I mentally subtract points. ( they can be earned back). If they get too low, I will see their true colors and know I probably shouldn’t be around them. I just don’t walk around tallying up points in a notebook!

    4. As funny as I am, I have learned to be aware of over disclosure! Well, yes a lot of my insights are rather hilarious, some are inappropriate for certain audiences. Also I don’t need to over share everything about me!

    5. I learned my mom will comment on my … well unique sense of style. But that’s just because she cares about me. She means well and is not trying to insult me. Some of what she says is funny! And it teaches me valuable lessons. For instance: did you know if I wear the wrong sock, shoe, pant  combination to Hobby Lobby, my parents will look at each other and say , “Chloe, you look like Micheal Jackson!”? It’s true. It happened.

    6. I tend to over analyze every text I send to my friends. I’ve learned that true friendships will not end over a silly text. And true friends can always work out a dispute.

    7. I learned I should never apologize for being who I am or taking steps to ensure that I am comfortable at outings! True friends will understand and will want me to be comfortable!

    8. The world may not accommodate always me, but there are good people in this world. There’s plenty of people on my life or who I’ve encountered who have shown kindness and understanding and have accommodated for my needs! I have heard horror stories of ableism in the media, and while that breaks my heart, autism taught me there are good people in the world.

    There you go! Some wise words of wisdom! Wait! One more thing: it’s perfectly fine and acceptable to love yourself. It doesn’t matter if you have autism or not. You deserve to love who you are! Trust me- I’ve learned THAT the hard way!

    -Chloe


    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views or opinions of Autism Tennessee. The author and the blog are not be held responsible for any misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this blog by others.

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