Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Impact of Bullying

Here is another uplifting story of a young boy named Jonathan who is a 7th grade student, but is also high-functioning autistic. Now as the story in the link above describes, Jonathan wasn't bothering anybody as he was just minding his own business. He just wanted to get back to his New Jersey home when all of a sudden a bully approached him and beat him up. This bully would end up breaking Jonathan's glasses, bruising him and splitting his lip.

The neat thing about this is what the local Cramden, NJ EMT's did to protect Jonathan. They called his mom and drove him home themselves. After they dropped Jonathan off at his home, the EMT's got to planning on what they could do to make Jonathan happy, and it turns out that later on that night they would come back to greet Jonathan again. The EMT's returned with some gifts for Jonathan as they would give him an American flag, a t-shirt that reads "Your Mother's Favorite Firemen" and a new pair of sneakers.

Bullying has been a hot topic for some time now, and it only stays a hot topic because the mentality of certain people doesn't change. We live in a society today where it's okay to trample over someone's dreams and ambitions. We live in a society today where it's the cool thing to single someone out and pick on them just because we feel like we can get away with it. We live in a society today that, by all intents and purposes, is simply apathetic and too much in a hurry to get things done without taking into account how hurtful some people's actions may be.

Like Jonathan I have experienced at least one form of bullying in my life. When I was a child I would get picked on a lot. I was singled out by the other kids in elementary school. I was even roughed up a couple times, but thankfully I never came home with a black eye or with a broken bone. Bullying isn't something that you should just accept because it isn't normal and it isn't healthy for society. However, like Jonathan demonstrated here, it is ideal to show restraint and keep your cool even when things get bad for you.

As an autistic person, just because I may look different and act differently compared to you doesn't mean that you can stand tall over me like an antagonist and tell me how things are going to be. Life isn't meant to work that way, and any sensible person would know that life doesn't work that way. You can't talk behind my back and create enemies for me just because you personally feel insecure about how I live my life. Bullying takes on more than one form, and sometimes some people aren't even aware that they are bullying others. In the case of autistic people, you can't blame us for wanting to be a little more guarded than other people.

I would like to congratulate Jonathan for his courage and I wish him the best in the future.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Friend Wish List

Take out the time to read this article posted in Yahoo! News about a 7-year-old girl named Molly-Raine Adams, who was asked what qualities she would like to have in a friend of hers. She wrote down a list of qualities that she found to be the most valuable, and as you can see when you read this article, it becomes clear as to what Molly-Raine is looking for.

It is not only honest and innocent of Molly-Raine to do this, but is also something that we should remember and not just brush it off after a few moments. One fact that I do know would be this. When you have any form of autism, you will experience plenty of moments when you feel lonely and excluded. My heart goes out to Molly-Raine and other autistic kids who are like her because I understand that feeling. I went through that feeling when I was a kid, even though I had no idea that I was autistic during my childhood.

Molly-Raine's story is one that you can relate to, but it's also something that if you happen to be a parent of an autistic child, you can rally behind. If you have an autistic child, son, daughter, nephew, niece, etc., you are obligated to defend that child. You would defend that child anyway if he or she weren't autistic, right? When your child needs something more than just the normal everyday care, you have to detect that. You have to be able to know the signs of your child going through rough times.

Don't we all wish that we had at least one friend in the world who not only understood us but knew how we were with our disabilities such as autism? Wouldn't we like to have that friend who we could turn to at any given time? Regardless of whether or not that friend of ours is autistic, wouldn't it be reassuring to know that someone out there has the compassion and empathy to listen to us and to get to know us better?

If Molly-Raine's family ever comes across this blog post, then I would like to extend my offer of interacting with the family in some capacity. If advice is needed as to how to deal with life issues as an autistic person, then I would like to help in any way. I would like to tell Molly-Raine's family that she is going to be okay as long as her family takes proper care of her and guide her through both the good times and the rough times.

Feel free to contact me at

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Steven's Gigantic Rant: Chillicothe, Ohio

Chillicothe, Ohio - The hypocrisy needs to stop

Now it's time for something entirely different. Having a different view on things partly because of the fact that I am high-functioning autistic, I feel that occasionally I should express my opinions on certain things that are on my mind. These comments that you are about to read are candid and not scripted in any way. This is how I truly feel about certain topics and I know that not everyone will agree with these opinions of mine. When you have a different point of view on things, sometimes you tend to pick up on some things that other people aren't picking up on, and hopefully I will bring up some good points, so away we go.

Comment on the Erosion of Chillicothe, Ohio and Ross County:

It seems like everything that you hear that comes out of this little town isn't so pleasant, and there are many reasons for this. Sadly, Chillicothe and the Ross County area have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, such as the controversy surrounding the 6 missing women and a serial killer being on the loose, and the ever growing problem that is drug abuse. When I was a kid in the 1990's I lived in an apartment complex in Chillicothe, and there never was an out of control drug problem that stretched throughout the Chillicothe area. Now in 2015 that's all you hear. People resorting to smoking pot and taking other drugs in order to feel better about themselves.

"Chillicothe has gone to the dogs" 

This is one quote that I recently heard that pretty much sums up everything about this place. Chillicothe has indeed gone to the dogs. It's a haven for drug abusers, but it's also a utopia for people who just go with the flow. What do I mean by that? I mean that people who will follow the status quo of everything that has been developing in this area won't do anything to change Chillicothe for the better. I mean we have local elections coming up very soon as Mayor Jack Everson is stepping down, and most likely he isn't running for another term as mayor because he wants to get out of a kitchen that is becoming too hot for him.

Of course, it would have helped had Everson not pushed the status quo even more than it already has been. Should I be surprised? No. Especially when I consider how poorly he has handled the Chillicothe Police Department concerning issues regarding Roger Moore's dismissal and how lackluster of a job George Lavender has done in conducting the search for any clues and leads to the serial killer of the 6 women, it has become 100% clear to me that not only do the inmates run the asylum that is Chillicothe, Ohio, but whatever "leadership group" we have here lacks the integrity and spine that's needed to move this community forward.

Case and point, I once had a phone conversation with Jack Everson himself, and as I arrived at making my suggestion of implementing more creative outlets for Chillicothe, as in develop more representation for freelance writers, artists and people who are looking to improve the creative side of this town, he instantly shot it down. Everson basically told me that "his department doesn't do those sorts of things". Here is the Mayor of Chillicothe telling me that his part of the local government doesn't handle the sorts of things that revolve around the expansion of creative activities, the kind that would actually improve the atmosphere and well being of this community.

Everson also got around to telling me that basically the reason for establishing a multitude of restaurants was that he and other local leaders had to look at the culture of Chillicothe and Ross County and they had to make sure that whatever they brought into this community had to be in line with the culture.

This has got to be one of the most bogus, hypocritical and oblivious explanations that I have ever heard. First of all, let me provide a news flash. Chillicothe doesn't have a true culture to speak of. None whatsoever. Period. You do not defend putting up 1,000 to 10,000 new restaurant joints by saying that they make up the culture of your town. A culture of a town or city isn't developed through the placement of countless new restaurants that will go out of business 5 to 10 years after they are established, simply because of the fact that you basically stack restaurants on top of each other and right next to each other everywhere you turn in this town.

There is basically nothing to do in the Chillicothe-Ross County area. I know that this opinion is going to hurt some people when they read this, but deep down inside, I believe some of them know this to be true. The sad part of this is that we should know by now who is responsible for there not being anything to really do in this area. When you have a community being absorbed by drug addicts who apparently find it very easy to get their "fix", you only need to direct your attention back to those who are the top of the food chain, so to speak and pardon the pun.

So if I were to make suggestions of establishing something actually creative and helpful in Chillicothe, such as a chess club, a small writers guild-like group, programs for those who relate to Autism Awareness, or even a talent workshop where folks can just go in and try and see if they are talented in some areas, that would immediately get shot down? What's the alternative? Think about it... Why do you think many people in and around Chillicothe are turning to drugs? Because there is basically nothing to do here.

Majestic Theatre - One creative resource Chillicothe does have

We have some people here who have the drive and the passion to pursue their goals and dreams and would like to get even a minimal form of help from a community that they grew up in, but guess what? They can't get that help because their local leadership decided that it would be more beneficial for them to put up restaurants in places where there doesn't need to be restaurants. People here are basically being told that flipping burgers and making food is the ultimate high priority compared to everything else. That is the message that is being conveyed through the establishing of all these restaurants, and I feel that this is absolutely the wrong message to send to your community.

In an area where hope for improvement of one's self is sorely in need, that hope is nowhere to be found, and why is that? In my opinion, the why is this. Chillicothe, Ohio has established a system that is designed for you, the Chillicothe citizen, to FAIL. Any hopes and dreams that you may come up with will get crushed under this iron blanket of a foolish idea that "Being Chillicothe, if we just stick to what we know without ever asking questions nor changing anything, we will be just fine in the long run!"

In 2008 I watched the decline and eventual demise of the Frontier League baseball club known as the Chillicothe Paints, and while today they still operate in a lower ranked, college wood bat league called the Prospect League, nothing will ever allow me to forget just how little this same Chillicothe and Ross County community fought to keep the Paints in the Frontier League, as they resorted to excuses at the time. Remember the high gas prices in 2008?

That was your calling card for not doing anything, Chillicothe, and look where that got you. I remember we had a guy who reported for the Columbus Dispatch come down to Chillicothe once, and he ended up writing a SUPER negative article on the Paints, basically stating that since the team's ballpark, VA Memorial Stadium, was located next to the prison yard, that people should stay away from the place at all costs. I remember that time vividly, and yeah, it was terrible to find out what that Dispatch reporter stated. Sadly, everything snowballed from there, the Paints lost money, and soon lost their right to compete in the Frontier League, and the U.S. economy collapse of 2008 didn't help matters either. 

I will state this again for emphasis. The local leadership group in Chillicothe, Ohio has a system that is designed for you, the people, to FAIL. 

It also doesn't surprise me that more and more people are contemplating leaving Chillicothe altogether and moving out to other parts of Ohio (or out of Ohio entirely) where they can get such opportunities to be more creative and helpful, because these people have figured out that it's no use to try and fight a system that is so ironclad set in its ways that it won't change for even the slightest of suggestions, like the ones I made to Everson.

I could use either the huge excess of restaurants as an example or I could use the growing number of car dealerships in the Chillicothe area as an example, but let me make this point. Chillicothe and Ross County basically suffer from what is known as the "Put Too Many Eggs in One Basket Syndrome", and I think you know what I mean by that. At some point in the future, I can guarantee that both the Restaurant Industry and the Car Industry are going to collapse and fail, and when that day comes, what exactly will Chillicothe and Ross County do about it? What will their response be? You see, when you put way too many eggs in one basket, that basket is going to break at some point, and you will drop all of those eggs. Perhaps some of those eggs will come back to hit Southern Ohio leadership square in the face, but by then it will be too late to repair the damage that's already been done to this area.

This was a gigantic rant made by an autistic person, and while I am no expert in politics, I do happen to know the difference between having common sense and being downright foolish. Just connect the dots and see where Southern Ohio leadership stands on that spectrum. Their system has failed the people.

Steven's Epitaph for Chillicothe, Ohio: "A community that could have done more, but always settled for much less."

Chillicothe, Ohio: Where to be? I don't think so...

Friday, October 2, 2015

In The News: What We Have to Deal With

Singled out for abuse: It's not that hard to see

I have previously been posting editions of In The News as a recap of news events that happened in a single month, just highlighting the news stories that involved autistic people for that month. With this story, however, I feel that it's important to give this its own spotlight because it basically represents what we as autistic people go through on a normal basis. While this story talks about a kid at the age of 4 who is autistic, it should strike a cord with autistic people of any age.

A man whose girlfriend had a 4-yeard-old autistic boy was given the responsibility of taking care of the boy until the girlfriend came back home from work. Of course, if you read the story by clicking the link above, you will notice that this man not only neglected his duties, but he did everything to win the award of "Worst Parent-Like Role Model of All-Time".  It is absolutely horrific what this man ended up doing to this innocent and defenseless child.

To make it worse, the man actually tried to cover up his heinous act of violence by claiming that the boy had an accident and fell so hard that his teeth got knocked out. No. It's painfully obvious that this event was NOT an accident of any sort. How can anyone seriously imagine someone in their right mind doing this to any child, whether that child is autistic or not? Ripping out teeth by force? Why do we let certain people like this get away with such acts in today's world?

Truth be told, it looks like this man will be serving a very, very long prison sentence, and let's hope that is the case. This world doesn't need people like this man living free and plotting to commit other horrible acts of violence. As a society we should be able to know the warning signs of people like this, but unfortunately since the lines of morality have become so incredibly blurred in just a short period of time, many of us don't know the warning signs.

I have said it many times on this blog, and it really doesn't need to be repeated. As autistic people we live a hard life, and this life is harder than it should be. We live a life where other people make it virtually impossible for us to function and breathe, and you wonder why so many stories like this keep developing? Do you really wonder why that communication barrier between autistic people and people who are normal by comparison exists?

I'm not going to lie when I say this. Sometimes I really get sick and tired of other people's attitudes towards my condition. I really get sick and tired of people looking down at me and talking down to me, undermining my work and taking whatever value I have for granted. The rules of society are not fair for everyone, and I'm sure some readers of this blog can see that by now. If people just stepped back and thought about what they were going to do to improve the life of someone who is autistic and how they were going to be a positive role model for that autistic person, then maybe we would have less stories like the one in the link? Unfortunately, society contradicts itself all the time and loving the lie that a person lives leads to a failure of understanding the big picture.