Friday, July 27, 2012

Under The Banana Moon by Kimberly Gerry-Tucker

Kimberly Gerry-Tucker's memoir is not just another Asperger's autobiography; it is much more than that. From rich recollections of a childhood where things were often more real than people, where words often failed to come out, where one call almost feel the textures Kim paints with her words to the story of a how a family copes with the diagnosis, illness, and subsequent death of the husband and father from ALS, Under the Banana Moon is a window into Kim's world and her unique way of seeing and experiencing it.

Diagnosed as an adult with Asperger's at the same time her son received his diagnosis, Kim has been a presence in the online autism community since its outset.  Although she was always different and recognized that difference, it wasn't until she read Donna Williams' book that she got a sense of why she was different. Donna encouraged Kim to write this book and has taken the time to interview Kim on her website two times, first when the book was published on in 2010 and again this year when it became available on Amazon.

Kim's writing is fresh and interesting, and if the memoir were packaged as fiction, would do very well. We like interesting and different characters in our fiction, and this book is an easy, fast read that was reminiscent in essence (though not in style) to Fried Green Tomatoes--the warm feelings, the sense of connection to the interesting characters--all that you get in Kim's book--and it's a bit of a shock to stop and realize these are real people with real lives. Howie, her husband, is rich and real, from the way he insisted she wash his hair when they were first dating to how he is larger than life as an adult, controlling much of her life. He's flawed and human, but throughout the book, Kim's devotion to her husband and their family is steadfast.

When he falls ill, she is by his side, and they make the journey to various doctors together as a unit, with him somewhat begrudgingly letting go of control. It's a journey that would test the strength of any person and any relationship, and her care of him, all the way to becoming "the keeper of the penis" is not saintlike, but real. They fight, they laugh, but most of all, they get through it together.

Kim acknowledges how important her parents were in helping her become the person she is, how their love and acceptance helped her to function and grow. Kim married, had children, is a grandmother, a writer, a volunteer, and an artist and she's on the autism spectrum. Her autobiography is a testament to the reality that autistic individuals can have rich, full, productive lives and that it is easier to do this when they are accepted as they are for who they are.

We like our fictional characters to be oddballs, to beat the odds. We connect with them and can feel euphoria when we see them triumph. We connect with their struggles and we root for them. It seems to me that it's harder, though, when they're real people we actually have to deal with. We could and should do better at acceptance in the real world of the real people. After all, if we were all alike, what fun would that be? We rob ourselves and our society of the opportunity to experience the rich diversity of humanity when we confine our connection to those who are different to fictional portrayals.

Kimberly Gerry-Tucker's memoir is a worthwhile read. It's a fun read. It's also a very real one. I encourage you to check her book out at Amazon; it's an extremely affordable buy as a kindle e-book.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What do you think?

Kim and I had a request today. There is company ( Isis Insights) that has developed a behavioral collection data system.( that is currently used by seven school boards in Ontario) I went over to their site and took a look. This program documents behaviors- the frequency of them, analysis( i.e. triggers, how long they lasted, what stopped them), self care, etc. Currently, it is being used to develop IEP's in the best possible way for the individual-based on the input.

 Isis Insights is considering developing a home version of this tool. Giving parents a way to collect data from the time of diagnosis. So, they asked us to present you with this query..

"If available, would you take the time to collect data on behaviors/skills in order to obtain evidence-based data that could be shared with teachers, doctors, and support resources?"
. Here is a link to their website. Let us know what you think. Thanks so much

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Request for School-related Posts

Last year, I held a Beat the Back to School Jitters event locally, and we asked for articles from our bloggers so that the directory could hold a virtual event. I'm hosting the event again this year, and would like to request posts related to going back to school.

If you're on the spectrum, how did/do you get ready to go back to school? What tips do you have for kids?

If you're a parent, what do you do?

If you're a service provider or educator, what do you wish parents did to make the transition easier?

The event has its own blogsite, and I'll link to your articles there and here on the directory.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Calling all bloggers!

 Hi everyone Kim and I are gathering some information for a project and are asking for some help.  At the            moment, we are looking for blog posts dealing with these specific topics.
                                                                                                                   potty training

                                                                   IEP meetings                                                      
                                                                  sensory issues                                              

                                                                     DSM changes
                                                                 services for adults

 They can be something you have written-or something you have read that you have found helpful or insightful. We are looking for all opinions and points of view.   You can submit as many as you want. All we ask is that you leave a link and the topic it deals with down in the comment section.  Thanks so much for your help.    



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