Autism Is A Gift
April 10, 2013 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Go Nathan.
Go Sylvia.

Great production.
posted by mule98J at 5:46 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

A story about a boy and his dog.
posted by NedKoppel at 6:06 PM on April 10, 2013

A surprisingly wonderful find there.

I've known a couple of people with undiagnosed (but in one case pretty severe) Aspie tendencies and I can definitely grok the idea of Autism as a gift. It has a down side -- a bigger down side than the video might make apparent -- but it does also convey certain talents that can make a person seem almost superhuman in the right situation.
posted by localroger at 6:13 PM on April 10, 2013

Nathan fenced when he was 12 or 13. He and my son met on the strip many times. It was great to see how well he is doing as we hadn't heard anything about him since he stopped fencing.
posted by COD at 6:28 PM on April 10, 2013

Awfully dusty in here.
posted by Mizu at 6:39 PM on April 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

My best Aspie friend just left my hotel room. There are abundant rumors about our supposed affair. In truth, he is a combination of a brother/Dad who takes care of me when times are tough. I'll be sharing this link with him. Thank you for making it easier.
posted by kamikazegopher at 7:33 PM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

I don't understand the resistance from people like the middle school principal. If they think it's a bad idea, they owe it to the child and his family to at least articulate their reasons instead of taking the asshole route.

I'm glad Sylvia helped turn his life around and that he was able to flourish.
posted by shoesietart at 8:52 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't understand the resistance from people like the middle school principal.

Part of their job is to enforce rules and regulations, and conformity. The Pistols were not entirely wrong when they sang schools are prisons.
posted by vrakatar at 8:59 PM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Maybe if Rodney Dangerfield had a dog, he'd have got some respect too.

However it works (for the "owner" or for the crowd) it's wonderful that it did. Still amazing how little regard SOME EDUCATORS have for INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES. That's what makes us us, and makes Walt Whitman different from Charles Whitman.

But treating students as individuals means adapting teaching to individual differences, and then it's hard to justify 30+ students in a classroom.

You just keep being classy, US Education. Watch out because YOU WILL BE EVOLVED. As for Nathan, he's lucky to have found Sylvia ... and to have parents willing to fight the institutional bullshit.
posted by Twang at 9:54 PM on April 10, 2013

Dogs are so great, and it's great the way she helped the guy.

I don't know why people prefer cats over dogs. I'd love a quick explanation.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 10:53 PM on April 10, 2013
posted by BlueMarble72 at 10:56 PM on April 10, 2013

I just can't get over how the supposed adults behaved with such childishness. The bus just passing him like that? WTF? One thing to send a letter and say NO! Entirely different to just act like he didn't exist.

In those kinds of situations, it just isn't enough to "win" by getting what you're supposed to get. The person who denied you needs to pay, or it's all bullshit. That principal needed serious demotion, at the very least. You oughtn't be allowed to continue in that job if you get caught being a childish dick.
posted by Goofyy at 10:58 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The response he received at the middle school infuriates me. It really is a matter of power and control and as petty as hell.

My wife convinced me to bring home a Husky puppy on a Saturday morning five years ago, the question I asked on Sunday afternoon was "what do we do with this puppy when we both go to work tomorrow?". Her answer "you'll take it to work with you." It was a done deal, I follow directions.

Work for me was an alternative school for at risk adolescents, and, because I was the director, I could make the rules, and the new rule was "Bob can bring his puppy to school".

I honestly figured it would be a terrible idea. But, over the course of the next four years the pup pooped on the floor just once (and, that was my fault), and was a touchstone of peace and comfort to countless kids who were struggling.

Dogs can have an amazing effect on people, every single school should have a pack of pups.
posted by HuronBob at 4:10 AM on April 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

It's suddenly got so very dusty in here.

But as heartwarming as the video was, I can't help remembering that whilst for some people autism is a gift, for others it can be anything but. It's a spectrum and everyone experiences it differently. Some people find it a gift, others find it a minor annoyance, some find it a major obstacle and some find it all but crippling.

I'm happy for the guy that he's found a way of relating to the world that works for him, and that it's the love and support from Sylvia that helped turn it around for him. But at the same time it feels as if these success stories become more than that - they can become something used to shame others who for whatever reason don't and can't experience that same success.
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:00 AM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I can't help remembering that whilst for some people autism is a gift, for others it can be anything but.

I think for almost everyone on the spectrum, it's some of each. This is my son when he was seven, and I'm pretty sure that his musical abilities are because of, not in spite of, his autism. At the same time as he was doing that, though, he was completely failing to cope in school, getting suspended all the time, and eventually transferred to a self-contained autism classroom. I think it's important to recognize the talents and capabilites of autistic people, but also recognize their needs for support and accomodation. Autism Awareness Month seems to bring out the doom-and-gloom narrative of autism as an epidemic and a catastrophe. The success stories are an important counterpoint.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:18 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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