Monthly Archives: December 2012

Aspie Teens–The Future Can Be Bright.

As the New Year approaches, I want to tell others out there, especially those teens with Aspergers, that life does get better.

I want you to know that although we aren’t born with the ability to learn about initiating and maintaining social relationships by observing others, it is something we can and usually do learn as we mature.

I want you to know that people do fall in love with us and stay in love, and that there are nurturing relationships ahead.

If you are an Aspie teenager, all of this may seem impossible right now, but I promise you, these things do lie ahead.  Even for you.

I know.  I am living proof.

Love you all, and pray that you have a meaningful and sociable New Year.

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

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Bullying at School: Any Connection to Connecticut Tragedy?

We grieve for the innocents slain in Sandy Hook.

Make no mistake about it.  Those children were NOT responsible for what happened to them.  Neither were the adults.  Adam Lanza was solely responsible.

But more and more we hear about school bullying, and as the grandparent of children with Asperger’s, I often hear first hand about bullying in schools.

My grandson was beat up at the ripe old age of six, with other children chanting, “kick him in the head! Kick him in the head!”

When he fought back, school officials forced him to apologize to the group of boys who attacked him.

This is not only the case for kids in the Autism spectrum.   A young man with Tourette’s syndrome, told me “high school was hell.”

Another grandmother told me about her grandson, Carter** now eight, who has battled cancer since the age of two.  Because he is bald most of the time, sometimes bloated from meds and treatments, he is often ostracized by his school mates.

Tiny in comparison to his tormentors, taunted and attacked, Carter fought back.  School officials insisted he apologize to the bullies.

My grandson was fortunate.  His mother decided that if things didn’t change for her son, he would most likely end up in the court system.  So she spent every day at school with him, running intervention for him at recesses and lunch time, until he went into middle school.  For most parents?  This is not an option.

In high school, he lived in a densely populated area with 3 different high schools.  When he screwed up socially so bad he hated to show up in class, he went anyway, encouraged by the fact that in the fall, he could change schools.  He did.  Three times.

For most children, this is not an option.

Most children, no matter how traumatized at school, do not go on a shooting rampage.

I cannot even imagine the emotional pain of being beaten up by your peers for 12 years with no relief in sight.  Of having to show up every day in class feeling at best, out of place, and at worst, victimized, despised and rejected.

I don’t know if this was the case with Adam?  Probably I am way off base. Reading Adam Langham’s blog on typical shooters, I believe bullying may or may not have been a factor in the situation.

As Shannon A. Thompson points out in her blog*, “Even though I personally believe we cannot logically understand the illogical (situations like this), I still think we can try and/or cope.”

There has to be some logic to these attacks and we have to figure it out before more children die.

*http://shannonathompson.com/2012/12/14/sandy-hook-elementary-school-shooting/

** not his real name.

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How to Prevent a Massacre? Somebody Needs to Figure It Out.

Twenty-seven people dead today, mostly children.  It is impossible to comprehend the horror of your small child being shot down like an animation in a video game.

Some news sources are suggesting the shooter was developmentally disabled.  (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2248197/Sandy-Hook-elementary-shooting-29-dead-including-22-children-Connecticut-school.html)

Gun control advocate wearing badge against gun violence outside the White House. AP Photo.

How does this kind of rampage become possible???  Here are some thoughts on that:

  • Being able buy a gun, ammunition and liquor at the same checkout.

  • Playing video games 4 to 16 hours a day that feature human targets as scoring incentives.

  • Undiagnosed/untreated learning and/or emotional disabilities.

  • Lack of meaningful involvement in both household and community routine.

Or perhaps it was none of the above.

Maybe it was just the comprehension of life as another ‘game’ and the perpetrator was just looking to place as high scorer.

Interesting how these shooters include suicide in the plan.  I say ‘plan’ because what they do takes time and preparation: acquiring weaponry, ammunition.  Choosing a day, time and place, along with point of entry.  Not to mention psyching oneself up for the event.

Are there no warning signs?  No behavioural clues?

Can’t anyone tell us what to look for?

Who should have known this was about to happen?  Were his parents aware of his weapons cache?  Did people know this man was a ticking time bomb?

Is it really true that nothing can be done until somebody gets hurt??

 

 

 

 

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Review: “Unforgiving: Memoir of an Asperger Teen”.

Recently at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, I had the privilege of spending some quality time with a writer who has greatly influenced the development of my writing.

Vanessa Grant writes romance novels, but the concepts she talked about years ago at a VPL event helped me in developing every relationship in my book.

I am proud to call her a friend as well as a mentor.  Here is the review she posted after reading my memoir: Unforgiving.

Published by Vanessa Grant on

Write it forward – the best gift

 November 12, 2012 | 3 Responses

Last month when I met Margaret Jean Adam at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference (SIWC), I had no idea that she was going to give me a treasure.  When I first spotted her, she was standing behind the BC Federation of Writers’ booth at the conference. We chatted for a few minutes before she mentioned that she’d attended a workshop I gave a few years ago.

“I learned something very important from you,” she said suddenly. “You taught me that characters must experience personal growth from their relationships.”

I learned most of what I know about writing from other authors – either reading their books, or listening to them speak about writing. I love talking about storytelling, and giving the occasional workshop, so it’s a pleasure to learn that I passed on something useful, a truth I didn’t fully learn until I’d written a several books.

The next day she gave me an autographed copy of her most recent memoir: M. J. Adam’s Unforgiving – the Memoir of an Asperger Teen

I’ve  just finished reading Unforgiving, and I can tell you, M. J. Adam is one hell of a writer.

Unforgiving – the Memoir of an Asperger Teen is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

M. J. Adam has crafted an inspiring book, a definite must-read for anyone who has, knows, is, or was an Asperger’s teen.

I highly recommend it for anyone who cares about child survivors of any kind of trauma, and for teens struggling to understand themselves and the world they live in.

I cried when I read this memoir. I laughed. I cheered Margaret Jean’s indomitable inner strength, and felt honoured that she had shared herself so deeply with this reader.

I like to think that I write good books, and I hope they give pleasure to my readers. M. J. Adam has done something more – she’s written a great book about life and relationships and coming of age.

Unforgiving is a rare treasure.

The events that happened to Margaret Jean should never happen to any child. Yet they did happen, and the miracle is that each page of Margaret Jean’s memoir rings with love, the amazing power of healing, and the spirit of survival.

I’ve learned something important from you, M. J. Adam.

Thank you

Vanessa

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