Friday, December 5, 2014

Awkward Extrovert

This week was pretty rough after returning back from Florida.  I didn't think our family would ever get back into the swing of things.  

On top of that, I completely forgot I had registered for an overnight trip to the Autism and Asperger's Conference.  

Our school is working hard at gathering as many resources to serve our students even better.  
I think we really have a great team of people.  
Lots of ideas flow with this group!

I had to scramble to get ready, but it was a great day trip!

I dusted off my suitcase for a road trip!
Here with my partner in crime!

We were all really looking forward to the speakers, Dr. Temple Grandin and Dr. Jed Baker.
If you don't know Temple Grandin, then I encourage you to do some research.

To me, this woman is the authority on autism and research.   After all, she was diagnosed with having Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 3!

my autographed copy

Her story was most recently made into an award winning movie portrayed by Claire Danes.

Those with autism can have some major social impairments.
And, even though I'm an extrovert and I like being around people.....  
I have social impairments of my own (but in a different way).

For example, 
I am gathering quite the "Awkward Famous Photo" collection.

The year I received a Got2BSafe Grant I flew to Washington DC with my principal for the Hope Awards hosted by John Walsh.  
The Hope awards were the most depressing awards ever. It was one story after another about abducted children!
Fast forward to wine served with dinner, my emotional outbursts of "thank you" to John Walsh for ALL he does for children, and suddenly John Walsh and his wife are scared of me.

Really, they didn't turn their back on anyone else in the photos.  
(I can't look at this picture without blushing.)

I did a short interview for Honeywell on a DC talk show and I met fitness guru Pamela Peeke!  Author of:

When I exclaimed I was a fan, she took my name and address and told me she could "take all the extra fat off" me.
I never heard from her again (BTW:  I still have extra fat PAM).

Eric Carle had to move me along- 3 books ONLY!

I waited in line for four hours to meet the first American President to ever visit our small town.  As President Bill Clinton stepped from the platform to shake hands, I moved forward.  He shook my hand for a full minute (I think I reminded him of someone) while I shouted for someone to take. my. picture!

 not photoshopped
This was the result.

Today I was very fortunate to meet THE Dr. Temple Grandin!  She autographed my book.
Later in the day, after listening to her wonderful lecture, I found myself alone with her on the way to the bathroom.

I gushed to her "YOU DID A GREAT JOB!!!!! REALLY GREAT!"

She looked right at her shoes and said 'The loo is full' and shot out of the hall like she was on fire!

I think she liked Mrs. E. better!  ;) more pictures PLEASE.

Another great day. Another great memory.

Great Temple Grandin quotes:
-Figure out ways.   I was in the cattle business before I was an autism speaker, and the first thing I did in that field was to make myself be the very best that I could be. I was a good agricultural reporter and good at my design work. I sold my work instead of myself.

-We have to teach these children the universal rules.  We can’t over shield them.  The other problem is that the system does not differentiate between stupid, naïve and dangerous.

-I grew up in the 50s where we used a village to help each other.  I had people in my life who didn't give up on me: my mother, my aunt, my science teacher. I had one-on-one speech therapy. I had a nanny who spent all day playing turn-taking games with me.”

-I don’t like that schools are cutting out all of the hands on programs:  drawing, woodwork, sewing, building.  I would be nowhere without those programs.  I strongly recommend that students with autism get involved in special interest clubs in some of the areas they naturally excel at. Being with people who share your interests makes socializing easier.

-I’m getting very concerned about the number of high-functioning autistic adults that are not getting jobs and who are not learning to work.   In other states I’m seeing kids that are just a little bit geeky ending up on social security, just playing video games, which really drives me crazy. They’re graduating from college without learning one work skill. They’ve never worked in a store; they’ve never done anything.

-Teaching work ethic good mean the difference in an AU adult working in Silicon Valley creating games or playing video games in the basement and collecting disability. 

-The most important thing people did for me was to expose me to new things.

-I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.

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