AANE Blog

Authored by AANE staff, volunteers, adults, teens, parents, siblings, grandparents, couples and professionals.

Finding Out at 40: A Retrospective

11/13/2018
It was a day I will never forget and which would prove to be transformative in more ways than one. Looking back almost 10 years later, I could not possibly have imagined what would follow, granted how emotionally trying that day was for me and where I am today. This was the day on which I was told that I have Asperger’s Syndrome.... more

Projection or Recognition?

11/06/2018
First, I have two important messages. I would like to take a moment to remember Andre Friedman, who died on October 3, 2018 at the age of 90. Andre lived an extraordinary life: he was a Holocaust survivor, a learned scholar, and a world traveler fluent in four languages. For those in the autism... more

25 Miles of Inspiration

11/05/2018
Last Saturday, I found myself – as part of Team NESCA for AANE – at the starting line for a bike ride, waiting apprehensively for my turn to start, carefully balancing my bike between my legs, stretching my legs and checking my tires. I was a bit nervous, because I’m not an experienced or... more

Special Interest: The World of Game Shows

10/02/2018
For most of life, my primary special interest has been game shows. For five years, I produced, directed, and edited game shows for my local cable access TV channel. Producing these shows took tremendous effort. The cable channel’s staff acted as crew, but I was responsible for finding... more

Special Interest: A Love of Mathematics

09/19/2018
I've grown obsessive over many topics over the years: the rope swing on the playground, the "Pure Imagination" scene from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film, Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, minesweeper, knitting...  But more than anything else, and throughout it... more

Neurology & Context

09/04/2018
It’s almost fall, the academic year has begun so I thought I would address a slightly more academic topic. I’ve been thinking about many of the traits associated with Asperger’s and similar profiles and how they are perceived in our society and by ourselves. When a parent decides to have a... more

Teens: Anger, Depression, and Asperger’s

09/04/2018
Question A parent asked: “Is it normal for a teen with Asperger's to become increasingly angry, irritable, and almost violent while also becoming more suicidal? These behaviors don't seem connected to Asperger’s.” Answer A great question! First, however: It’s imperative that children or... more

Aspie Dad, Spectrum Son

06/15/2018
What an experience this has been! Fatherhood in this day and age is no easy undertaking regardless and who is or isn’t on the Spectrum. Take it up a notch when both father and son have Spectrum profiles. Without question, I am in the thick of the greatest challenge of my life, though the word... more

Why I Cycle for AANE

06/08/2018
I cycle for two main reasons -- biking is, first of all, the best form of cross-training and post-race recovery for runners, and also helps strengthen muscles (such as the quads) that would not be worked out through running alone (thereby preventing injury).  But the more significant reason is the... more

Considerations for Parents: Siblings of Children with ASD

04/05/2018
It happened again yesterday. As I was talking to a parent, she said her 11 yr old son who is identified as being on the spectrum was doing very well. He was thriving in a small classroom setting, with individualized instruction, interacted with peers and was happy. It was his younger brother who... more

Hiring Advice from a Software Test Engineer on the Autism Spectrum

03/19/2018
One thing I know for sure is that I would not be where I am today if I wasn’t on the autism spectrum. I have long reflected on the idea that our weaknesses are our strengths - and vice versa. When I was diagnosed, I realized that it was my condition that enabled me to thrive as a... more

Marital Challenges and Triumphs

02/18/2018
Challenges and triumphs: they go hand in hand in any marriage. I accept this reality, and I cling to the triumphs as a means of coping with the challenges. After all, mine is a neurodiverse marriage, and I’m the spouse with the Spectrum profile. There is never a dull moment in my household, I... more

The Good Enough Doctor

01/04/2018
Dr. Shaun Murphy may be fictional, but I am not. No, I’m not a surgeon - or a savant - like the TV character so brilliantly portrayed in The Good Doctor by British actor Freddie Highmore. But I am autistic, and I do treat patients every day. Two years ago, at the Asperger/Autism Network... more

How an Aspie Found Happiness in a Neurotypical World

11/27/2017
Well, it was not easy to find, it required a phenomenal amount of hard work, and it was not achieved overnight, but I did manage to find it. I know that I’m not the only one with an Asperger’s profile who is happy, so if you are an Aspie and have not yet found happiness, why not join us? I have... more

Inside Christopher’s World: An Autistic Perspective

11/17/2017
Originally published by SpeakEasy Stage Company in the 2017 production program for "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." Reproduced with permission. Every time that I pass through the Boston Public Garden, I think of Christopher Boone. For most of the year, the Garden is dotted... more

Rising Above Bullying

11/08/2017
All that I can remember from recess that day in 5th Grade was pitch black, followed by me opening my eyes and finding myself with my back on the ground, surrounded by a bunch of kids looking down at me, and the perpetrator standing directly over me. That’s it. There was no trip to the infirmary... more

An Aspie’s Perspective on Neurodiverse Marriage

10/26/2017
Marriage, for me, is many things. As somebody with an Asperger’s profile, challenging, though a challenge that has been well worth the effort. Alongside fatherhood, one of my greatest accomplishments. An experience that has both strengthened and humbled me. A job that demands nothing less than... more

How Dancing Saved My Life

09/25/2017
Throughout my entire life as an Aspie, troubles and tribulations have hit me from all ends.  This has resulted in extreme depression and, many times, hopelessness.  Not just once, but a number of times in my teens and early twenties, my loneliness and depression reached a height I would not wish... more

How Music Has Helped Me Along

07/26/2017
Throughout my life, my Asperger’s profile has accounted for a number of personal challenges which I have worked hard to address, with varying levels of success. Several of these challenges have either been greatly diminished, if not conquered, thanks in large part to my life-long immersion in the... more

Neurodiversity in the Library: One Librarian’s Experience

07/12/2017
Diversity is a word frequently used in the library profession. The literature that currently exists typically focuses on gender, ethnic, cultural, and sexual diversities. One group rarely mentioned is the neurodivergent. According to the National Symposium on Neurodiversity at Syracuse University,... more

Asperger’s and Anxiety: Befriending the Tiger

06/15/2017
Imagine this scene . . . You are thirteen years old and you walk into your school cafeteria. The lights are overwhelming, you feel swallowed by a sea of people, and your body is overcome by fear so intense, it feels as if you are being chased by a tiger.  The “Fight or Flight” response,... more

My Grandma

04/25/2017
This was originally presented at a luncheon for members of the AANE Grandparents Group on April 4, 2017.   My name is Charlie, I have Asperger’s, and I’m here to talk about my grandma. Ruth Kendall Houlton O’Dell Lewis (or Grandma Ruthie to me) was born in 1920, the 2nd of 6... more

Southern Blog

03/29/2017
Greetings from Music City, Nashville, Tennessee! I am a graduate from AANE’s AsperCoach Program. Being a certified AsperCoach is a rewarding experience for me, because I work with clients to attain personal goals in their lives and improve their self-sufficiency, independence, and self-esteem.... more

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Website is Replaced: Press Release

02/14/2017
Senators are seeking a “detailed explanation” from now-Secretary DeVos for the disappearance of the resource website for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) today called on new Secretary of... more

Learning to Love Yourself

02/02/2017
As somebody who has lived with Asperger’s Syndrome for almost 48 years, I have experienced more than my share of trials and tribulations. I have been bullied, both physically and verbally, more times than I can recall. I have heard people say unsavory things about me and ridicule me to my face... more

So, You Think Special Education is Expensive?

01/19/2017
"If you think meaningful special education is expensive today, rest assured, it’s nowhere near as expensive as tomorrow will be without it." On January 11, the U.S. Supreme Court will review a Colorado case to define the level of “benefit” required for more than 6 million students with... more

An Aspie’s Perspective on Work and Career

12/21/2016
I feel extraordinarily fortunate, granted my Asperger’s diagnosis, that I can honestly say that I have a rewarding career that I enjoy, that I excel at, that pays all of the bills, and which has become an integral part of who I am. Hard work, intelligence, optimism, patience, understanding the... more

Sibling Rivalry: Keeping Things in Perspective

11/23/2016
My name is Chase, I’m 25, and I have Non-Verbal Learning Disorder. My brother is two years younger than I am, and does not have any diagnoses. Not only is he younger than I, he also developed faster than most people. He became a black belt, hung out with his numerous friends or created things... more

The Self-Discovery of One Aspie Woman

11/09/2016
I had always thought of myself as a sensitive and independent introvert who had found her way after an anxious and lonely childhood. When I hit 40 years old, something shifted – so many of my peers had reached the traditional milestones of marriage, children, home buying, etc., none of which I... more

A Spectrum Son’s Tribute to His Mom

10/26/2016
On September 1, 2016, my Mom lost her long, hard-fought battle with dementia and passed away to what I hope is a better place than where she was during the final years of her life. If she is where I hope she is, it is very well-deserved by virtue of the kind of person she was, how she touched so... more

How Video Games Benefit Students With Special Needs

10/14/2016
A lot has been said about video games over the years. They have been called addictive and harmful to children and adults, but this is not necessarily true for everyone. In fact, many people on the autism spectrum can benefit greatly from picking up a video game controller and playing to their... more

Riding the Wave of Autism

10/01/2016
My son was born in the midst of a blistering hot week in late July of 1988. Born 3 months early, at five pounds, and dropping to four within a day, I could just about fit him in the palm of my hand. It would be Thanksgiving before he came home from the hospital. Complications followed surgeries and... more

Welcome to to AspieTown

09/19/2016
Imagine you're Chinese and you immigrate to America. You learn the language, you participate in the customs, and you enjoy the benefits of your new home while still maintaining your roots with trips to Chinatown and discussions in Mandarin with friends. It's the best of both worlds. Now imagine... more

Let’s Talk About Language and Autism

09/10/2016
AANE launched its new website this week. As we edited our new content, one question repeatedly brought us to a dead stop: “What word do we use to describe people in our community?” I went to graduate school 25 years ago. From the first day of class, social work professors drilled... more

Steve Silberman Offers Signal Boost for Autistic Voices

08/11/2016
AANE’s Zach Michaels sits down with NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman. His favorite moments are excerpted below. Supports and services are not causes and cures Silberman’s interest in autism and the research surrounding it was sparked by the surprisingly enduring impact of his 2001 article,... more

Remembering Oliver Sacks

09/10/2015
On August 30, 2015, the AANE community lost a beloved and inspiring leader and advocate when author and neurologist Oliver Sacks passed away from cancer. Dr. Sacks had an incomparable knowledge of the brain and its fascinating mysteries and puzzles. He was able to share that knowledge with both... more

Can Fiction Accurately Portray Asperger’s and Autism?

06/02/2015
Rain Reign is a much lauded recent book by noted children's author Ann M. Martin. It tells the story of Rose, a young girl with what is described as "high functioning autism." The book has been praised by critics and earned piles of awards. But here at AANE we wanted to know if Rain Reign rang... more

We Are Becoming a Family of Artists

02/02/2015
The first time I ever came to the AANE office, it was to participate in a painting workshop. It was there that I saw a copy of “Seeing with a Different Eye,” the catalog of the art exhibit from fall 2007 Asperger Connections Conference. I vowed to get some of my art into the next event, and my... more