Thursday, September 30, 2010

Q3 2010 Ends By The Numbers

As the third quarter of 2010 draws to a close, I have, today alone:

  • Had to admit making mistakes on four separate occasions - and that's not counting my earlier missteps I recounted on Blog Talk Radio today.

  • Been offered "weed" for the first time in many, many years (and possibly for the first time ever as a serious offer).

  • Pulled out from the garage with 20,400 miles on the odometer - note that the first two digits make up the square root of the last three.

  • Confirmed two close acquaintanceships.

Happy start to the final quarter of 2010!

(And yes, I'm a nephew of an accountant, and informally studied accounting myself. Plus as you might have noticed, I enjoy numbers.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It Gets Better

You may have heard of Dan Savage's recent challenge "It Gets Better" - he wants gays, lesbians and bisexuals to show by their personal examples how well they're doing now. The idea is to show those still growing up that it does get better, so hang in there.

Well, the same is true for young Aspies and autists growing up. It gets tough, being lonely, getting bullied (and not necessarily just by the students either) and feeling out of place. It's easy to wonder if life will always be that way, year in and year out.

So, we're having a Blog Talk Radio show - "It Gets Better" - tomorrow, 3-4pm ET/noon-1pm PT. We'd love to hear Aspies' and autists' success stories; just call in at (760) 695-5604. Or if you see on that page a button for calling in via Skype (that will depend on whether there's a Skype channel available) and you're logged into both Blog Talk Radio and Skype - both of which are free - you can use that. (Skype will enable you to listen to the show, and if you want to call in press 1 on your keyboard.)

Or just feel free to listen on the show's page, and do some live chat there too if you like.

If you're not able to make it, just drop by afterward and listen to the podcast any time you wish.

See you there!

EDIT: Megan McArdle of The Atlantic is spreading the word - thank you very much. Tune in this afternoon at 3 ET/noon PT!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Object Lesson: Social Skills vs. Technical Competence

Adrian Fenty has reached the end of his term as mayor of Washington, DC. He's long been known for (1) his record of accomplishments and (2) a personality which would strip paint from woodwork at ten feet.

On Fenty's record alone, no serious politician might have challenged him for re-election this year. Among other things, even the Washington City Paper, which had printed attack after attack on Fenty's personality (including the quotations from my above-linked previous post), endorsed Fenty based on his achievements: "Adrian Fenty: The Jerk D.C. Needs".

Given his problems winning friends and influencing people, City Council Chairman Vincent Gray stepped into the fray. And in yesterday's Democratic primary*, Gray trounced Fenty. Since the Democrats own the city itself lock, stock and barrel, for all intents and purposes Gray has now been elected mayor. In any case, Fenty has definitely been un-elected.

[*] For non-U.S. readers - primaries are elections held among voters registered to a certain party, to decide who will be that party's official candidate in the general election. Note that in places where most of the voters belong to one party, winning that party's primary virtually guarantees winning the general election.

As political columnist Tom Diemer summed it up:

[T]he incumbent's decisive defeat was a sobering reminder that being nice counts for something in politics, even when one has numerous accomplishments to boast about.

Fenty's prickly personality and stand-offishness turned off black voters -- and cost him even though he achieved much of what he set out to do in 2006 as the youngest mayor in four decades of home rule in the nation's capital.

[Emphasis in original]

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Screaming About Discrimination (SAD)

The Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach, North Carolina has announced a new policy: No screaming children allowed.

One might think it would go without saying for almost any public place. And owner Brenda Armes says that the policy has attracted more customers than it's repelled.

A few parents and others don't like it, and even claim it's illegal. You see, autistic children are more likely to scream and even go into meltdowns, so (by this line of reasoning) a policy banning screaming in effect discriminates against the disabled.

Yes, autistic children may scream, for example, due to a sensory overload that's no fault of their own. And people should understand and not jump to conclusions about children necessarily just having temper tantrums, or say that autistic children shouldn't be brought out in public.

Does that mean that any issue causing problems for others has to be someone's fault before an establishment may take action? Suppose someone loudly coughs and sneezes many times in a restaurant. Of course it's probably not her fault she's sick. So the management has to stand by while she disturbs everyone and maybe infects some people?

Of course not. The original idea of combating discrimination is that people can't treat others differently based on illegitimate criteria. For example, if a black person wants to eat at a restaurant, the management can't bar him based on a dislike of black people, because someone's being black does not harm the business or any individual.

However, screaming in a public place definitely disturbs others and harms the business, and management has every right to eject screamers. Even if they include some autistic children who don't mean to scream and are suffering meltdowns, not pulling ordinary temper tantrums.

We need to help autistic children learn to minimize and finally eliminate their meltdowns, not demand that everyone else put up with disturbances.

What do you think?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Radio Kickoff

Yesterday, A SPLINT kicked off our Blog Talk Radio series with an episode on how Aspies can get along better with NTs in school. If you missed it, feel free to stop by any time you like and listen to the podcast.

We'll announce a regular schedule shortly. If you've any time and/or day preferences for listening live - and maybe calling in - please let me know!