NPR highlights Autism and its social effects

All Things Considered of National Public Radio (NPR) is conducting a discussion about evolution entitled “Human Edge.”  The series explores what, exactly, gives humans an edge over other species.  This week’s installation focused on social skills’ role in enabling humans’ evolution.

27 year old Lisa Daxer, an individual with Asperger's syndrome, which is on the Autistic spectrum, strolls on Wright State University's campus. Photo credit Skip Peterson for NPR.

NPR chose to interview 27 year old Lisa Daxer, an individual on the Autistic spectrum, to highlight the extent to which the disease can affect an individual’s social experience, and the extent to which one’s social experience dictates one’s life. NPR’s article on Daxer can be found here.  You can listen to the entire story or read the transcript, both of which are furnished by NPR.  Daxer’s story provides significant insights into how a brain from an individual on the Autistic spectrum functions and interprets social experiences; if your child or a friend’s child is on the Autistic spectrum, please take time to listen to Daxer’s story.

Humans are social creatures; social interaction helps individuals develop a sense of empathy.  It also helps humans learn what is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” behavior, as far as other human beings are concerned.  Individuals with Autism are often unable to engage socially with others, unless they are explicitly trained on how to interact with others in an “acceptable” fashion.  Daxer actually has a list of things that she’s discovered are not appropriate topics of discussion; similarly, Brainjogging coaches children with Autism about what is appropriate behavior.  Lisa Daxer has a sense of humor: she refers to “normal” people, or ones without Autism or other significant disabilities, as “neuro-typicals,” meaning that their neurological processes are “normal.”  Daxer’s blog, Reports from a Resident Alien, provides insight about Autism from an individual with Autism.  Daxer touches on the ways in which Autism affects her life.  “Neuro-typical” and “normal” are relative terms; humans are only “normal” in terms of comparison with other socially ordained behavior.  Brainjogging can help your child cope with Autism and its toll on his or her social skills so that he or she can better integrate with peers and appear to be “normal,” for whatever the term is worth.

Ideally, all Brainjoggers with Autism will appear to others to be “neuro-typical” in terms of manifested behaviors and social skills.  Brainjogging’s students reach unbelievable heights: non-verbal children learn to verbalize short sentences; children with Autism are invited to friends’ houses; teachers and other children’s parents sometimes don’t even realize that a particular Brainjogger has Autism.  Just yesterday, a special education teacher at a nearby private school shared that a story about Brainjogging’s progress with children with Autism.  E., a kindergartner, was sitting in the lunch room when a third grade teacher said, “Wow, she has changed so much!”  Gone is the child that had massive temper tantrums that distracted from lessons; gone, too, is the child that couldn’t sit still.  Brainjogging is working wonders for this little girl with Autism in Columbus, Georgia!

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