Venture through the world of an Aspie writer and witness his insanity.
Author: Xander Bell (Christopher Wheat)
My real name is Christopher Wheat, Xander is my pen name. I really am an educator and writer. I do have Asperger's Syndrome. My goal is to establish a platform for the book I've written about the discrimination I faced at the hands of my former employer.
Has you’ve already read, I’m on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, not only am I a part of these sites, but I also join groups that deal with autism and I am friends with people who are either on the spectrum themselves or the parents of children with this disability. Because I have to keep my true identity to myself for legal reasons, I’m having a hard time deciding how to respond to these people who are desperate for answers. There is some information I know that might help and I could give my real life examples as to why I tell them these things, but I don’t want to compromise everything I’m working for with my book. So I will share an actual experience I had to help anyone with a low-functioning autistic child.
So I’ve decided to give some rather helpful advice on my blog without trying to disclose my personal information. One of the main things I read from people are the parents who are dealing with a child that is lower functioning. To any parent who has a low functioning child on the spectrum is if their brain has not fully developed yet; meaning a female tends to fully develop by 21 and a male by 25, then there might be an answer. This is NOT a cure because, as of yet, there is no cure for a neurological brain disorder, but there is a medication that might help. First, I need to let you know that I’m not a doctor or a pharmaceutical rep, I’m a Special Education Teacher and I know as a witness what this medication did for my child. The medication is called Namenda (Brand Name) or memantine. If you look this up, you’re going to find a lot of information with this medication for patients of Alzheimers. The drug is to help people with memory issues which would be your neurotransmitters and the like. When my child was born, doctors told us that you will have to take care of your child for the rest of your life because she is low functioning. However, another doctor was doing a study on the use of Namenda for children that are on the lower end of the spectrum.
Our child was one of those selected back in the 90’s. So we decided to give the medicine a chance and though it took a few years, we started noticing an increase in activity in our child. So much so that her NEW diagnoses changed from a lower functioning to a higher functioning autism. The medication worked. She had started taking the medication at age 6 and kept taking the medication for 7 years. This was finally stopped because our daughter had made such huge strides that she didn’t need the medicine any more. You must have 3 members on your team to make this work – 1. A Child Psychiatrist who understands autism 2. A Child Psychologist who understands autism and 3. A Pediatrician who understands autism. YOU MUST TALK TO THE TEAM OF DOCTORS BEFORE TAKING ON ANY MEDICATION!!! Remember that boys and girls on the spectrum are not the same! The symptoms are not all the same for each gender. We still have our rough days with our daughter, but she has graduated high school and college! Do your homework…check this out for yourself.
I will admit that I enjoy the movie ReadyPlayerOne. I haven’t had the chance to read the book because I’ve been too busy writing, but I would like to read it at some point. Since I am a child of the 80’s, I really did enjoy all of the references back to the 80’s and 90’s. One thing that really stood out in the movie was one of the main characters from the film, James Halliday. I really don’t know if the author Ernest Cline patterned James after this glaring disorder, but I have to give him all the credit. James Halliday, in the movie, clearly was a character who had Asperger’s Syndrome and I say very, very clever! Think about it. James Halliday didn’t care about the riches and fame that he deserved. Most normal humans would not ‘act’ that way. Heck, in one scene he was cleaning up after what seemed to be like a company party. The man is a billionaire and he’s the one cleaning it up! James did a lot of remembering about how life used to be and all the fun. His whole demeanor was very anti-social. Of course we’re not sure, but he might not have been at that company party. The most clear answer on his social angst was his one and only really ‘relationship’ with the opposite sex. James Halliday couldn’t take the ‘leap’ because this was a choice; he couldn’t take the leap because his disability held him back, basically he just could not express his feelings correctly. Many people with autism have a really hard time developing and maintaining a good relationship because of general lack of communication and letting loved ones know how they felt. Things got so bad for Halliday that he eventually lost his only real friend, Ogden Morrow…which was mentioned in the end of the movie. I believe if the friend knew that Og, his best friend, had autism, he might have understood him a little better. James knew that life was ‘terrifying’ for him. So the one thing that James Halliday did understand quite well, which was also mentioned, has much as he felt more free in his made-up world; real live can never be truly substituted with a gaming world. As he said in the movie, “It’s also the only place were you can get a decent meal.” I felt so bad for the James Halliday character because I know, in real life… over all, this does happens to a lot of real good people with autism.
Obviously in the months of May and June, graduation celebrations are happening all over the United States. Thus the gathering of parents, family and friends congregate to show their support for that person or persons who be receiving their certificate they earned through the hard work in their particular school. Now, I will need to define my terms, ceremonial you all get as I just described but, Etiquette is defined by: (noun) “the customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.” [Dictionary.com] Having sat through a college and high school graduation this year  my observations on this lost art will be grim.
Since I have Asperger’s I need you to note that I’m not fond of loud noises, having a routine, making sure everyone is doing the job they were assigned to do and large crowds. Witnessing the two celebrations, I can truly say that this lack of etiquette is not an economic status or a racial one; I believe this is due to lack of education. At this point, I can only speculate as to why we ended up with a full generation of people who have a lack of respect for those who are trying to run the ceremony. I am completely for cheering on your graduate when their name is called, but a prolonged screaming or chanting is just a little over the top. I’ve also noticed more people just shouting out the name of their graduate during a time of information or a certain speech that has nothing to do with the person. I find attending these functions to be more difficult every time. I really want to be there and support my graduate but, people standing up right in front of you to take a picture and stay standing or the random shouting is starting to take it’s toll on me. I find myself having to take medication just to keep my nerves in check because remember, it’s not just all of the annoying chatter, but there generally tend to be a lot of people stuffed into either an arena or an auditorium. I believe we’ve come to a point were people don’t care about the manner in which that behave. Maybe this is one those ‘entitlement’ things that they have a right to act like this even though every program I’ve ever read clearly states the proper behavior that needs to be followed. The root of the whole ceremony is respecting those who earned this moment. Not a time for people to try to steal away the graduates time to miss getting to hear their name called.
As an educator and having taught for a long time, we strive to help students understand the material that they need to learn. Of course, not all students learn the same way, in education we call this differentiated learning. Some students are visual, some are auditory and others are self read. Many students need the actually doing of, to grasp the understanding of a concept; hands on activities. Many times, there will be students who have a hard time learning the material like other students normally can. These, learning disabilities, are just a part of any teachers awareness for their students. As of late, I have felt that autism as been a little bit over diagnosed. Even though the student may have OCD or ADHD, this doesn’t qualify them as autistic. I can say though since I do have the actual diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome, it’s not too difficult for me to spot another person with the same disorder. There was a time when I had to have this talk with a parent about my concerns for their child because he had all of the calling cards for Asperger’s but, the father was refusing to get him tested. So, I turned to mom who had her suspicions but, she wasn’t too sure if she should have had her son tested or not. I told her she really needed to get him tested so he could receive the proper support he would need to be successful in school. I don’t know if she ever followed through but, I’d like to think she probably did. I’m noticing there really is a fine line between people who really are autistic and those who only have maybe one disability thus slapping the wrong label on the person to inflate numbers. Yes, there have been times when I had a student who was labelled autistic but, after hours of observation in the classroom I had some serious doubts about the diagnose. We really need to be careful.
Twelve couples with one autistic partner and one non-autistic partner featured in this book discussing areas such as Family, Socialising, Meltdowns and Change. Each chapter contained a section from the perspective of each person within the couple followed by a discussion/question and answer style section from authors Joanna Pike and Tony Attwood.
I realize this might be a bit of an odd title but, I’ll explain what I mean and remember; this is an aspie talkin’ here. Back on May the 5th, I was shopping at Target and to my excitement, I found a fidget cube. Not just any cube but, a Spider-Man cube! I’ve seen the spinners and I thought those were pretty cool but, really impractical to me. The fidget cubes have been around however, they were rather expensive. I really liked the cube and knew it would be very useful to me since I feel like I need something in my hand all the time! Once I spotted the Spider-Man there was no turning back…plus it was rather inexpensive. Ironically, late that evening I had the chance to finally go see the movie Avengers: Endgame. When you grow up from a child to an adult and only getting to see DC comic heroes on the big screen with no Marvel in site, it was a bit depressing. Ever since Marvel finally came on like a massive bulldozer, they have just crushed the competition. So I’ll have to admit when I saw the first Avenger’s movie, I was prided up with joying knowing this was something I had wished to see when I was a kid.
For the week of May 6th to May 10th, 2019; both important but, often forgotten professions celebrate Teacher and Nurse Week. There is some slight irony because I’ve had to deal with quite a few Nurses and Teachers these last couple of weeks. Last week, my wife Gaby had surgery and so I had to interact a lot with Nurses. I find my need for a nurse seems most prevalent is when either my wife or myself find ourselves in a hospital. I’ve experienced amazing nurses and not great nurses. I know one thing about both professions, they both are very difficult jobs and their salaries are terrible for the education they have to achieve. How do I know this? I’m an educator myself with a Master’s degree and my years of experience with the degree I have does not add up to where a ‘typical’ person makes with this combination. A little recognition isn’t too bad. Yes…I’m an aspie teacher. With my disability, this job can be extremely difficult. Standing in front of a class, communicating with lots of students is hard; not impossible. The nice thing about the students is they adapt well to whatever little quark I might have at any given time. When I deal with nurses, they might not understand my odd demeanor but, they’ll pick up on my OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in a hurry though! To all the Nurses and Teachers out there…Thank You!
I realize that April was Autism Awareness month and right now as I write this…it’s May. The reason I waited is because during the month of April, there are several news stories and lots of media that surround our disorder but, then what? It’s not like I have Asperger’s for a month then it goes away! Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that there is an entire month dedicated to the awareness of Autism. I guess I wonder, once the lights have gone down and the press head off to the newer stories to be told…does anyone that doesn’t have this disorder care any more? For us, this will always be a constant battle on the idea of is anyone really aware? I try my best to self advocate for any reason, just to remind people that I’m a little off and I’m not like everyone else. I almost feel like I need to wear a reflective vest that says ‘Caution, I’m autistic.’ The problem is regular people treat other people like they are all the same. Unless the people visibly see that I might be in a wheelchair or missing an appendage, they don’t see the disability in me. Autism Awareness is really, an all year event. This is a battle myself and many others have to deal with every day.
In this blog, my goal is to address any concerns I receive from readers and/or talk about different thing that either directly or indirectly deal with my disorder. I welcome any comments or question you might have. I have finish one book as I’m currently writing this entry but, I’ve already started the early stages of a second book. There is so much literature out in our world about autism but, sadly some people miss the mark. I believe this happens because the people who are writing these things either think they know everything or do but, don’t have the disorder so they only go by observations on a few people. If you ask me what bothers me the most, it’s probably the people who think they have all the answers but, have no background to truly the right to say anything at all. Yes, I do disagree with some people who have the same condition I do but, this is just a matter of a different point of view. So welcome! Enter at your leisure.
This site forms part of So, You’re Autistic (SYA)? at the University of Kent, a support programme teaching those with a diagnosis, awaiting a diagnosis, or self-diagnosed HOW to be autistic – to understand what being autistic means for YOU. We at SYA? are also consultants delivering workshops on autistic experience, neurodiversity, & stigma-reduction