Hello. My name is Stephen Pelzer, I’m 24 years old and I’m currently a camera operator for filming of the Autism Channel World News. I also research stories for the news program to use. A little while ago I was asked to start doing a blog for the Autism Channel. Here is my introductory post. I hope you’ll post comments – it can be lonely on a blog.
There are 3 main ways that people learn about autism. The first way almost everyone comes across the concept of autism is by watching movies and TV shows. Some TV shows include The Big Bang Theory, its recent spin-off show Young Sheldon, The Good Doctor, and Scorpion. A lot of people have seen or at least heard of the movie Rainman where Tom Cruise plays a man who learns that he has an autistic older brother played by Dustin Hoffman, and bonds with him during a road trip. My mom is a huge fan of the BBC show Doc Martin and my dad is a fanatic of Star Trek and its spin-offs. Both series have had at least one character with traits of autism. A TV show called Parenthood, which wrapped up in early 2015, had a kid who was diagnosed with autism in the first season and by the time the series wrapped up, his shadow married into the family. In future posts, I’ll talk about whether the media is getting it right, at least to me-and I hope you readers will comment.
The second main way people learn about the autism spectrum is by knowing someone with it, and it’s definitely a spectrum. One end of the spectrum is occupied by people who seem to be in worlds of their own and can’t or don’t want to spend much time away from them. I’ve met a few of those people and I just wish that there was a way to get to know them better. At the other end of the spectrum are the people dubbed “aspies”-people like Temple Grandin, Sheldon Cooper, Sherlock Holmes, my maternal grandfather, and me. I may have had other relatives with it but I can’t say for certain. I’ve been playing D&D since Christmastime 2016 and the players in my group “get” each other and have learned to live among non-Spectrum people, basically our equivalent of the Muggle world. There are moments where it’s hard for me to shift my focus to topics I don’t really want to focus on at the moment, but since the time when my parents first heard “Asperger’s” I’ve learned a lot, worked a lot, laughed a lot, and lived a lot, like most people. Let me know if you don’t really laugh that much. Many people know me for my jokes, and my cooking – but that’s another story. In future blog posts, I may post some recipes.
The last main way people learn about autism is in the news, but it’s not often portrayed positively or accurately. When a mass shooting focuses on the perpetrator having autism, it just sounds like trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense, and it disgusts me. The current statistics are that 1 in 68 people in the US have autism, but that doesn’t automatically make them potential time bombs waiting to go off, or brilliant scientists, or underage doctors, or undefeated detectives, or innovative inventors. Most of us are just living our regular everyday lives like ordinary people, but we whisper more about our focused interests than others. If you would like to post with readers about your special interests and why they interest you, do so by all means. Let’s try to make this our own news and write our own personal stories.
Welcome to the world of autism. Just join me and share your world with me too. Even if you’re not autistic, you might be interesting in one way or another. Stranger things have happened in this world.