Last week I waited for an inspiring subject for my blog,
and—after running out of patience—decided in a eureka moment that waiting was a
worthy subject. This week I got
inundated with ideas and possibilities.
There was Passover, which Henry and I did not celebrate except for
eating matzoh ball soup. Our son Max was
away Los Angeles, Sarah went to a Seder at a friend’s house, and Henry was sick
with a bronchial infection. I could have
invited my frail 86 year old mother over for our ersatz Passover dinner, but I
didn’t want her to get sick too. So much for Jewish holidays and family
gatherings…. Oh well, NOT celebrating –I’ve learned from friends—is sometimes
better than being thrown together with relatives who don’t get along.
Wednesday I went to see Temple Grandin-- perhaps the world’s most famous and
accomplished adult with autism—speak at Pace University and sign copies of her
book, The Way I See It: A Personal Look
at Autism and Asperger’s. The presentation included an art exhibition of artists
with autism (including Sarah’s best friend). I had planned on writing about Grandin’s
presentation, but there was another speaker BEFORE Temple Grandin, who gave an
exhaustive (and exhausting) presentation on autism, savantism and art
ability. After arriving at 7 PM, I had
to wait till 8:30 PM to hear Temple Grandin speak. By that time, my stomach was growling so
loudly that it interfered with my auditory processing. Maybe I was experiencing my own temporary version
of autism: squirming in my seat, looking at my watch repeatedly, and trying not
to melt down over the fact that my reason for being at the event was STARTING
at the time I thought it would END. In fact, Henry had to leave before Grandin
spoke in order to meet Sarah, who was waiting for us to have dinner. Plus I was
coughing, sneezing and succumbing to Henry’s cold.
was wonderful—funny even when she wasn’t trying to be—and insightful about the
strengths and challenges of being on the spectrum. Many of her common sense ideas
resonated: more hands-on learning
experiences in schools so kids have opportunities to discover their
passion; teaching kids work skills by
age 12 by having them walk dogs or deliver newspapers; not allowing kids to
withdraw and play video games for lengthy periods; and making sure kids learn
how to shake hands. Perhaps her most
interesting insight was how neurotypical people think from the top down,
whereas she and others on the spectrum, think from the bottom up. For example, her “bottom up” thinking helped
solve the problem of why cattle wouldn’t walk down a metal pathway en route to
slaughter. The reason? Temple saw that the cattle wouldn’t move
because they were distracted by the lighting reflecting off metal. As soon as the lighting was changed, the
cattle moved. In a similar fashion,
Temple told us in that the Fukushima disaster could have been easily avoided,
but for providing water-proof doors, a simple design flaw.
really all I remember. By the time I got
home, devoured a salad and washed it down with cold medicine, it was too late
and I was too exhausted to start writing this blog.
Tonight I’m supposed to meet my friend for a drink. I thought about cancelling, but I don’t see
her often, and the last time I was supposed to meet her I had chicken pox (see
“Poxy Lady,”11/13), so a cold doesn’t seem like much of an excuse. Speaking of colds, I need to run to CVS and
buy more cold medicine. There’s not
enough multi-symptom Tylenol for both Henry and me to have our night-time
Friday is when I usually post this
blog, but on this week Friday is Good Friday.
Well, not exactly. In the morning
I have to take Sarah to be tested for the umpteenth time so she can qualify for
Medicaid and other services. We must
demonstrate that Sarah’s life skills are so poor, that she’s completely
helpless and incompetent, in order to get the minimal help and support that she
actually deserves in. Necessary but
As for Good Friday afternoon, Henry
is taking off from work and Sarah is off from school, so we will finally spend
some quality time together. We’ll eat
lunch and then take our daughter shopping
in celebration of her 35 pound weight loss. We’d promised her a “shop till you drop”
reward for her dieting perseverance.
be posting this blog Friday night either, because it’s my mother’s 87th
birthday, and we’re taking her out to dinner.
After a morning of depressing tests, a fun but tiring afternoon, and a
night out with Grandma, I doubt there’ll be time for my blog.
to do, so little time. And why must I be
sick NOW? I had my flu shot back in
October. Maybe it’s this freezing,
miserable, seemingly endless winter playing mind games and wreaking havoc on my
maybe I’m just blogged down.
Labels: artistic ability, Asperger's Syndrome, auditory processing, autism, blogging, bronchial infection, endless winter, flu shots, Good Friday, Jewish holidays, Passover, savants, seder, shopping, Temple Grandin