United States of Autism

May 10, 2013

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The United States of Autism

Presented by Sandy Bishins

Wednesday, June 12 7:30pm – 9:25pm

in Gaithersburg, MD at AMC Loews Rio Cinemas 18 $11.99 General

Tickets Available

May 11, 12:00am

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The Event Program

  • Movie presentation of The United States of Autism
    Follow one man’s 11,000 mile, 40 day journey across the American landscape to visit twenty families and individuals affected by autism while searching for answers for his own son. With interviews from around the nation that include the widest spectrum of backgrounds – each conducted in the participants’ original language – the film weaves a broad and compelling tapestry across the spectrum of American life in all its faiths, disparities, colors, and cultures. What he learns along the way will change not only his life, but the lives of those he meets, forever. It’s a story about the best days that still lie ahead for our nation, the families, and the people who give America its heart.

Temple Grandin & The Autistic Brain

May 2, 2013

I went to the Historic Sixth & I Synagogue last night to hear Temple Grandin speak about her new book, The Autistic Brain.  Instead what she talked about was the need for employment for the autistic individual.  Yeah for her!  I work in the field of finding employment for students on the spectrum.  It is hard work!  But it is rewarding as well!  I have students in a wide range of positions… courtesy technician at Jiffy Lube; graphic design artist, bakery student, grocery store employees, office employees and a child care worker.  I have other students looking for work in dog day care, in recreation and internet technology.  I have students working towards transferring to a four year college and others considering vocational education.  I think Temple Grandin would approve.

She talked about the need for developing soft skills.  They are skills that can be taught such as eye contact and shaking hands. These are often over looked skills.  I agree with her…the lack of soft skills mastery is what make people on the spectrum stand out.  These skills are necessary in order to find employment.  Employers won’t hire people who can’t look them in the eye; they seem untrustworthy.  They won’t hire people who don’t understand how to dress for work; they seem unprofessional.   They won’t hire people with limp or too hard hand shakes; they seem impersonal. I try to teach these skills.  It drives the students mad.  They don’t believe me when I tell them how necessary it is, until someone else tells them the truth.  “Look me in the eye when you talk to me.”  If I could only impress my students with the importance of this.  It would improve their employ-ability exponentially.

She talked about her experiences:  taking coats and serving drinks at her parents’ parties; painting signs at a carnival to pay her bills in college; visiting her grandmothers ranch as a child.  All of these things taught her soft skills and how to overcome her autistic behaviors.  People need to work; to do something productive; to give their lives meaning and value.  Thank you Temple Grandin for reinforcing the things that I have believed from day one.  I applaud you!