Friday, December 13, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
In the spirit of holiday beneficence I'd like to offer seven of my very best and most top secret gift ideas. You've tried giving vacuum cleaners, brooms, neckties and car wash gift certificates. Now you want more. You want something special; something no one else thought of first, at least in your house.
As long as you are the only one reading this blog, you are safe.
And now, forthwith, the list . . . .
#1 is a book - NOVEMBERS FURY by Michael Schumacher.
As we more into winter and the season of storms it's always good to think back to storms of years past. This is the story of the Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913, which swallowed a hundred men and a dozen ships on the Great Lakes. Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, it belongs in any armchair mariner's bookcase.
#2 is a light - and what a light!
The Streamlight Strion LED HL is the brightest little flashlight I have seen. It seems like flashlight technology gets better every year. The lights get smaller, lighter, and brighter with every iteration. The days of the old five-cell Mag-Lite that doubled as a head cracker are long gone. You'll need a separate night stick with this little light, baby!
#3 is a tool for learning which wire will bite you and which are safe
How many times have you licked your fingers, and stuck them in a light socket, only to get knocked across the room? Why did it happen? Because the electricity was turned on. Now, you can find live wires and sockets without putting your fingers in harm's way.
The Fluke Volt Stick is just the answer. Just touch the tip to a wire or socket. If the tip glows red, there's voltage present. For even more fun, buy two. Remove the batteries from the second one, and give it to your opponent!
#4 is a tool to record holiday memories.
Yes, a camera. And what a camera! The Fuji XE 1 will outperform a $6,000 Leica in most circumstances, for under $1,000. It's a very cool retro rangefinder design, updated with the latest technology including 16MP sensor.
#5 is a tool for managing children, livestock, and pets.
The Ozark Leather ten foot braided bullwhip will make quite an impression in a recalcitrant child, or an errant puppy. Masters of the bullwhip can make strange drunks dance on street corners at midnight. Imagine what you could do with a little practice !
#6 is an eminently useful article of clothing
With this vest, you too can be a lumberjack. Or at least you can look like one for TV. Johnson Woolen Mills is a family owned clothing mill in far northern Vermont. Their clothes are rugged and warm, able to shrug off briars, grease, and winter chill. With one of these vests, a pocketful of shells, and a good pump shotgun, you will be ready for anything.
#7 could even save your life!
How many times have you wished you could tighten a fire hose, shut off your neighbor's gas, or cut open the roof of a small car? With this tool, you can do all that, and more. If you keep it in the door pocket of your car, you will truly be prepared.
In addition to the uses above, this fine tool will break car windows in a single blow (just in case you are trapped inside.) It will cut a seat belt in two quick bites, for those pesky ones that won't let go. And it's a handy defensive weapon, if your passenger gets out of line.
I hope you enjoy these gift ideas, and get much good use out of them. If the recipients give you trouble, remind yourself they are easily confused and the best gifts may not be recognized as such at first.
Posted by John Elder Robison at 10:48 PM
Thursday, November 21, 2013
- I want effective early identification of autism across genders/races/cultures/socioeconomic groups so that every child can be matched up with the services he or she needs to succeed;
- I want us to recognize and support undiagnosed adults who struggle because of autism;
- I dream of effective and sufficient services for schoolchildren with autism;
- I wish for insurance coverage for autism therapies, for adults and children;
- I want to see community supports for adults with autism;
- I want therapies that work for people with social or communication challenges;
- I want therapies for the medical complications some people with autism suffer;
- I want to understand how autism affects our minds and bodies as we age;
- I dream of “fixes” for the most severe autistic challenges – intellectual/cognitive functioning included.
- I can understand that a young adult with autism might say, “I don’t want to be changed. I want the world to accept me as I am.”
- I can understand the adult with autism who says, “I hate being disabled by autism.”
- I can also understand that a parent would say, “I’m terrified about what will happen to my child when I’m not here. He can’t take care of himself.”
We must always remember that the most challenged members of our community have the least ability to speak for themselves. What do we do about that? Ultimately, we want to help autistic people with major communication challenges, problems in cognitive functioning, and other medical complications stemming from autism. But that's a long term game - there are no such fixes ready to roll out this year or next. That said, it's the goal of much basic research which is (sadly) sometimes criticized as wasteful by people who do not recognize the very real medical side of autism. It's more than a behavioral issue for many of us; schools and community service alone simply are not enough.
- Who’s going to speak for us, to fight for insurance coverage?
- Who’s our voice in education?
- Who’s going to educate the public, and build a more accepting society?
- Who’s going to do the basic research to solve our most severe problems?
- Who’s going to develop communication or organizational therapies, and disseminate them to the community?
Posted by John Elder Robison at 10:43 PM
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Meanwhile we are on to other challenges, like building neurodiversity on campus and developing high school to work transition programs.
I also invite you to read these thoughts on neurodiversity, now and two years ago
In early November 2013, Autism Speaks founder Suzanne Wright published an op-ed piece that laid out her views on autism, and what we should do about “the problem.” Those of you who follow my writing know I am a strong believer in science, and the promise of new tools to remediate the ways autism disables us. However, there is a vast gulf between the tone of Mrs. Wright’s words and my own. I believe we see the situation rather differently. As an autistic person this is a time when I must give primacy to my own life experience and feelings.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
|Alvaro Pascual Leone, MD, Lindsay Oberman, Phd, and me in the lab|
Straight off the Random House News Wire:
Posted by John Elder Robison at 8:05 PM