Monthly Archives: June 2012

Charles Bernstein, Aspie’s Repetitive Behaviour, and An SFU Lecture.


A New York poet, brilliant and lauded professor, was the guest speaker at an SFU event.  As an adult with Asperger’s, I watched in fascination as he delivered a talk about the future of literature in general, and poetics in particular in North American educational institutions.

These are the notes I made at his lecture:

Feet crossed under his chair, wriggling, prodding each other.

Hands arthritic, gripping, releasing each other and his forearms.

Body rocking, seat lifting off the chair.

Head pulling the body up, down, forward.

Foot tapping it’s mate.

Voice clips.  Eyebrows lift and fall.

Hands fist.  Foot taps.  Shoulders writhe.  Hands press his weight against the table edge.

A brilliant mind bouncing around inside the ageing cage of his body.

No notes on the body of the lecture.

This whole issue interests me, both as a person with Asperger’s and as a person observing what clearly seems to me to be another person with Autistic tendencies.

I was so intrigued by the motion of the man, I could not concentrate on the content of his message.  Does that ever happen to you?

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

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Anna Matchneva: Friend To Aspie’s And Their Parents.

Thanks to Stella Hui and the BC Autism Society, some of us had a chance to hear Anna Matchneva speak last Friday about the PEER program in BC Schools.  While most of the parents were there trying to learn how to help their children with what some of the other students  consider ‘weird’ behaviour, I was there as a person with Asperger’s as well as a concerned parent and grandparent of children with Asperger’s.  It’s always an interesting perspective, and I’m often amused at the assumptions the workers make about us Aspies.

But with Anna Matchneva, it was different.  She had a good read on us, a lot of insights into how things work for us, and how they don’t work, and what we can do about it.

With Anna, teaching the child to independantly correct the situation through adjusted thinking and responses is the key to achieving success in peer relationships.

Some of the things she suggests for Children with Asperger’s to help them manoeuvre in social situations:

  • Recognize other people’s interests.  Let them talk, and be supportive.
  • Learn to recognize and support other people’s feelings.  Accept that they aren’t always the same as ours.
  • Learn positive thinking.  Positive thoughts lead to better feelings which lead to more comfortable behaviour.  In the situation where you became angry and frustrated, what could you do differently next time?
  • When conflict happens, do not dismiss or blame the other person.  Try instead to put yourself in their shoes.
  • When you have a guest, let them do what they want.  Do not try to choose activities for them, or force your interests on them.

And for parents of Aspies, try to help them develop age appropriate interests:  in music, in games, and other past times that children talk about at school.

Anna Matchneva is an amazing person.  She works with iStep Ahead Serices Inc .  You can read more about this program at:

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Stephen Shore–Bridging the Gap

The great aspect of being an adult within the autism syndrome?  We get to talk about it, to write about it, to explain a bit about what we feel, and why we act as we do.

And I’ve just discovered a video by author and teacher Stephen Shore.  You can view it here:

Stephen Shore lives on the autism spectrum.  Like many others, he developed normally until 18 months of age when, as he put it, he got hit by the “Autism Bomb”.  Today he has a PhD and is an assistant professor of special education at Adelphi University.

Stephen’s books include:  Living Along the Autism Spectrum–What Does It Mean to Have Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome;  Understanding Autism for Dummies, and Beyond the Wall–Personal Experiences with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome.  His newest book is :  Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum.


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