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The J-Mac Effect

 

Hot Topic............!!

Hot Topic…………!!

We all remember that viral-video of Jason McElwain : the Autistic Basketball manager made, star ” J-Mac.” If you don’t? Well then,  just Google it. He is everywhere. A talented, dedicated guy that got a 1 in a million chance to be a superstar!! That 2006 moment from his life was transformative. Transformative for him. More curiously transformative for others.

Watch his story HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1fw1CcxCUgg

Jason the beloved manager for the team. An Autistic young man that  so obviously loves the comradery of sports particularly, basketball.  All season long working his job, enjoying the ups and downs in the ‘life of a season’. It is magic. An excellent environment for any person Autistic, non -Autistic or any other difability. The endorphins that flow in that on-going setting are very powerful. I experienced this as a kid growing up and again in 2010 when my non-verbal son Wyatt and I joined the “A-League” in San Dimas California. An entire season of Baseball games and after game fun for 4 teams of Autistic kids of all sizes, ages, shapes and abilities. Transformative indeed. Good healthy outdoor activity with movement, patterning and friendship. It was magic.

Getting into the game, as you are.

Getting into the game, as you are.

Teamwork does ROCK.

Teamwork does ROCK.

Archives of that season HERE: http://autismhwy.com/blog/?cat=62

 

Letting people evolve their abilities naturally with supports and structures is how we ran that season. How most season’s run. Everyone was encouraged to play to their own ability and no one criticized anyone else’s style. Nice. An ideal atmosphere to learn and grow. Problems arise when you “tamper” with that simple formula.

 

This week I was surprised to see a NEW viral basketball video hauntingly reminiscent of the 2006 video I’ve cited. Time warp or something I will dub the “J-Mac Effect.“? Another basketball team manager with a difability and an enormous love of the game getting out on the court in the last minutes of the season.

Here is his ‘transformative’ MOMENT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1bIzYMXRfY

 

At first blush the majority of people see a wonderful thing…even MORE wonderful in that an opposing player kicked in with empathy for this latest team manager on the court. A great kid going with the obvious flow of what the crowd wanted. The coach makes dramatic proclamations that he had pre-planned and decided the last minute of  this  last game would belong to Mitchell come win or lose?!! Who’s moment is this again, Coach? Seems like he felt Mitchell needed his ‘J-Mac moment’ and the News, the crowd and everyone else became swept into that madness because, they needed it TOO. Whether Mitchell likes it or not he is on the spot to make this shot. Wow. Time for your transformation so everyone can feel good. It seemed forced and unnatural to me. If my son had been placed in that situation he may have taken his shoes off and thrown them to the top off the gymnasium ceiling! Mitchell is visably slumping and distressed as he misses shot after shot after shot. A lot of pressure thrust on someone unexpectedly. Had he not made a basket the angst aftermath could have been devastating for him. Happily, he got that hoop and  smiling photo op being lifted atop the team. But, at what cost?  Who was it really for? Fairy tale endings are best left for Hollywood. Forcing transformative moments is not what is needed. Understanding people with difabilities, including and respecting them as they are is.  So this video struck a very raw nerve with many.

Too HOT to handle.

Too HOT to handle.

 

This is a HOT topic and sets people off  igniting debate. Autistic adults do not want to be set up, coddled, infantalized and told they are so inspiring by merely being themselves. So why do we think our children will? Imagine how you might feel? Possibly hurt, insulted, marginalized and annoyed?  For Mitchell to be molded into the latest inspiration story was wrong even though his mom seems genuinely happy for this memory. Above all else intellectual respect is what feels good, what human dignity truly craves. It’s what people feed on, self-worth for the person you are and the things that you like to do. Whatever that is! Who wants to be patronized and turned into some coach and news stations idea of a ‘feel good’ story? The J-Mac effect.  To be respected  and appreciated for his loyal work, love of the game and for performing his managerial duties is what is expected, hoped for. That’s how Mitchell is a huge part of the team. Not some over the top Inspiration Porn for others trying to turn him into J-Mac. Yes, you heard me right…”Inspiration Porn” This is what Autistic Adults have dubbed this type of mass ‘back patting behavior’ when a person with differences is spotlighted (kind of.)

 

We have all seen this before. Like the recent Kathie Lee Gifford over the top debacle. The story about the ‘sad Autistic Kid’ that no-one sits with at lunch. Awwww, I know: let’s do a “feel good story” about the wonderful boy whom will sit with him. Bring them to New York for their big moment and to tell their inspirational story LIVE!!  Again good intentions gone awry….Kathie Lee’s big ego, I mean-idea to compose a song is the most inspirational ‘I.P.’ move ever.

An AWESOME AUTISTIC Response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MwuJy07lQY

What is that???

& Can we stop??

 

Instead of these feel good stories really geared for and about the ‘non differing people’. Give these guys the kind of awe  and help they truly deserve: How about a story describing what it takes for folks like J-Mac and Mitchell to navigate the cool jobs they have landed for themselves and kept with a season of hard work, devotion and diligence? Give the audience ideas what it takes to support their success’. Treat them like the real valid team members that they are. Give them shots to play all season. Don’t turn them into a storybook ending that teaches nothing useful about inclusion and leaves everyone just sayin’ …..awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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NOW…We go to ~~11 !!

If 10 is the pinnacle…the peak. Where do we go from there? Well, naturally to eleven. The top of the scale with that little extra!! That’s how I am feeling. 2010 was a BANNER year for the autistic community! We saw…The “A~League” an Autistic little League season which evolved into an Autism Youth Sports League formation! AutismHWY.com is very proud to have played a BIG part in that!! Sports leagues~ create fun and social opportunities for spectrumites naturally~ and that is the way of the future!! AutismHWY.com will support all of those endeavors wholeheartedly! http://www.autismyouthsportsleague.org/

There was brilliant awareness created by Allison Dix’s Rainbowland Autism Services in Australia with their very fun RainbowDay Campaign! Read her awareness sheet here:

http://autismhwy.com/blog/?p=2322 Her fantastic positivity radiated to me . I then created a painting because of that positive awareness energy. A painting that comes full circle… (in a minute!)

In the spring I was contacted by ReasonTV…they needed a parents perspective on the vaccination quandry for a piece they were doing. “Do Vaccines Cause Autism?” So,Wyatt and I met the film crew at my local park!

I did it without thinking and later had doubts. Just because of the never-ending negativity that swirls around the subject. However, when they revealed the final story in early May I was quite pleased ! It has had over 14,000 views. Have a look here if you’ve never seen~ Wyatt and I. He carries his popped balloon lol… (His birthday had been the day before the interview) it is also a very LOW vibrational day for Wyatt. If you are familiar with him , this is highly noticeable. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez7FOi-s9dY

Later that summer Jeff Kellen’s spring creation the fb group…”Artists and Autism” was really taking off. http://www.facebook.com/ArtistsandAutism?ref=ts What an amazing idea and venture Mr. Kellen has. A safe nurturing place to share art, music and writings for the A.S.D. Community and their loved ones! The growth and positive out shoots from A and A is too numerous to calculate. Magazine articles in this country and abroad were written including beautiful artwork that was shared here in 2010 . People joined forces to create art projects for awareness. AutismHWY.com was invited to an awareness day at California’s Great America theme park near San Fransisco purely from ~ connections with A & A.

Jeff and Kara Kellen lovingly re-created 2 of my summertime submissions at the Fort Wayne Indiana chalkwalk!! They are both wonderful artists in their own right, aside from being such nurturing and giving A.S. D. mentors! Truly fabulous! I have loved my moderator role on A & A and cherish the connections I continue to make there! PLEASE sign-on if you haven’t already! We have such FUN on a daily basis!! Join us won’t you?

How can I continue exalting this Banner Year without mentioning ANCA’S Historical Naturally Autistic People Awards? This amazing empowering company http://www.naturallyautistic.com took awareness to whole new levels this Fall. Charlie and Leonora Collura and company put on a spectacular event! Showcasing the talent factor of the Autistic Population is something that has been direly needed! Thankyou for stepping up ANCA! This precedent setting event is set to continue on permanently!

ANCA also brought the much needed attention to the political arena receiving letters of commendation and support from the Canadian and Australian officials. The Governors of each united state that had residents involved were also notified and responded!! Beautiful. To quote a friend of mine… “This is hot stuff” !!

The way of our futures!! Not only does ANCA recognize and award autistic talent…they foster it and employ it!! What ~a concept, lets hope others follow suit and do the same! With the creation of their new magazine http://www.naturallyautistic.com/subscribe/ and so much more they are putting so many awesome wheels in motion for 2011 and beyond! We will all soon be racing down the AutismHWY!! Thankyou to Leo, Charlie, Anthony and all of ANCA . We know to expect big things from you as we move forward. PLEASE watch the cool slide show of the awards event on ANCA’S site.

The empowerment that I have witnessed is amazing! These things we’ve seen transpire for the Autistic Community in 2010 have been stellar! The brilliant Temple Grandin being documented by HBO! In typical Temple fashion…explaining AUTISM plainly and brilliantly to those keen enough to listen http://autismhwy.com/blog/?p=30. Thank goodness these filmmakers lost nothing in the translation and swept the EMMYS!! Unbelievable to many…perfectly sensable to us. I wrote a thankyou note to Ms. Grandin explaining that her words were priceless to people like me and telling her that her movie was the finest HBO had ever produced in my opinion. Do you know that this very busy woman sent me a card back thanking me for the thanks and informed me that the DVD’s would be available in August!! lol I love it!! A few days ago I found out that I will see her presentation this January in Pasadena! (Can the year get any better?….yes ~just wait!)

December 16 2010 became the holiday birthdate for Our long awaited and beloved AutismHWY.com!! Something dreamed of and conceived during the time of tragic loss . The death of my dear youngest brother. An idea…a hope a phoenix rising within my heart. A yearning for complete common knowledge of A.S.D. and all that involves. To make AUTISM a familiar subject. Something to accept and respect. Not something mystifying! Creating a community unto itself ~seperate yet, together. A.S.D.’s and N.T.’s getting it right for mainstream! A bridge for understanding and FUN! AutismHWY.com!!…Thankyou… to ALL the forces that helped me create this beautiful place WE now have to connect and build our futures. Dave Jensen!! https://www.valleyviewdrugs.com/ Alison Hayward!! http://firstsourceweb.com I love you both~ this amazing 2010 . THE BEST YEAR OF MY LIFE!!

So…as this amazing year on~line comes full circle…my year-ending FINALE. A year that has already been a year to be held up and revered. Two days before it ends a piece of my Autism Heart is painted by beautiful people I have never met, on a wall in Chattanooga Tennessee. An amazing thing to be a part of…even 1000′s of miles away! !To firstly be blessed by finding out on Thanksgiving nite that my design is the one that is chosen for an awesome MURAL project. A project spear-headed by the tenacious Tammy Faulkner Smith. Secondly to watch as Tammy, I and Steve Selpal http://home.earthlink.net/~stevoartist/id3.html quickly re-define the image. Steve also gridding it out for projection! THEN to see Tammy assemble, organize and pull off this happening is miraculous. If you knew more about Tammy Smith you would realize the “M” word is fitting. She is an angel walking among us. She made sure that all were involved. She created an enviornment of love and acceptance with the music and greatwill of T. Ran Gilbert!! http://www.t-ran.net/ Thank-you T-Ran for connecting with our kids.

WOW Look at this album on facebook. The teamwork and happiness in 39 degree weather is just INCREDIBLE! http://www.facebook.com/pages/AutismHWYcom/122875137738366?ref=ts#!/album.php?aid=51804&id=122875137738366 Stunning results! congratulations to all of you in Tennessee!

I have recently groused over the fact that I can not decorate a cake. Well this MURAL is the proverbial ICING on my CAKE…..so there!! haha~ 2011 is HERE and guess what people?…..Autistic People are EATING~CAKE and lovin’ it!! http://www.autismhwy.com ! Log~on and have a Happy New Year while you eat your piece of cake!! Yummmmmmmmmmm…!!

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“ART~~TECH!”

Time for another Artists and Autism HIGHLITE! For new readers~ A & A is a brilliant webpage on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Artists-and-Autism/366165741773?ref=ts

Focusing and showcasing ART on, in and around the SPECTRUM!! People with ASD’s and their care-givers are some of the most talented people on the planet! Has anyone ever seen or heard of Stephen Wiltshire…? Clay Marzo…? Scott Siegel…? 3 BRILLIANT MEN planted firmly on ASD ground! The perspective autism brings to their world is refreshing…just take a look at these 3 links and REFRESH YOUR WORLD!!

STEPHEN WILTSHIRE! http://www.stephenwiltshire.co.uk/

CLAY MARZO! http://www.claymarzo.com/

SCOTT SIEGEL! http://www.arrestmysister.com/media.html

NOTHING disabled or ordinary about that!! WOW….so much power and talent looking to be discovered and enjoyed! The sky is the limit…TRULY!! Our AUTISM Community is doing just that!! SHOWCASING and enjoying the value of OUR ASD Individuals!! Precisely why ARTISTS and AUTISM thrives. We appreciate and discover the beauty in our ASD lifestyles minute by minute. We seriously~ don’t have the time to be negative and down-trodden. ASD can be SO unpredictable…you need to be ready to hop into action at a moments notice, with a smile!! Kind of like the FIRE DEPT.!! I like that. We are all ASD ~FIREMEN / WOMEN!!…Heros in our own world. Thriving on HOPE and KNOWLEDGE fueled by POSITIVITY!!

Which is the perfect segway to our Tech Artists we are featuring this blog! Michelle Michels & Karin Mosberg . Each of these talented ladies have been creating Hope and Positive Vibrations through their vision, artistic talent and fantastic computer skills! Beautifully colored asthetic inspiration…..NICE!! Most often, with EMPOWERING words of encouragement and acknowledgment! SUPER NICE!!

CLICK HERE for Michelles vision… http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000775923218#!/pages/Autism-Creations/122692677778388?ref=sgm

Michelle Michels is the mother to 2 beautiful young boys on the SPECTRUM!! She has a talent for uplifting everyone with her great attitude and even GREATER Autism Tags. Visual Images with awesome attitude! Her NEW fb page is awesome…you can use the amazing signage she creates!! Her concept is timed perfectly for the heavy awareness campaigns that are building in OUR COMMUNITY!! Michelle’s ART is a big part of that…check this out! She is even taking requests!! VERY Fun!!! Thank you Michelle! YOU are providing self esteem … In AMAZING ways!

Karin Mossberg has an eye for geometry in all shapes and sizes!! 1 size DOES NOT fit all in Karin’s WORLD! BRAVO Karin !! Her STUNNING Computer images are mesmerizing! She utilizes brilliant colors and shapes like no one else. Her vision of empowerment resonates with us weekly on A & A !! Karin is an amazing Aspie with a huge heart. Her submissions inspire and create happiness for many! That is the pleasure we experience when we visit this awesome page! Thanks for decorating our lives with such HOPE , TALENT and BEAUTY Karin, Michelle, Stephen, Clay and Scott!!

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“GOT…PADDLES”??

Let’s hope so!! Especially if you’re “UP THE CREEK!!” Seriously though, something very fun and exciting is on the horizon! Locally~ here in Marina Del Rey at the MARINA DEL REY BOAT RENTALS 13719 FIJI WAY, MDR . The amazing organization “The Global Autism Project “has GREAT EVENTS planned!! ~”Paddle for Autism” ~How much fun is that?? Experienced kayakers taking ASD Individuals and their families for a spin!! Talk about an amazing sensory experience! This will be something new and exciting to expand our kids horizons as well !! Raising Awareness AND Funds for OUR~CAUSE!! What could be better!! All the info can be found here…It could be coming to your area SOON!! This event is scheduled for TUES, AUG. 31st 10:00 a.m.~4:00 p.m.

http://globalautismproject.org/paddle/

FUN~in the~SUN! With a little AUTISM AWARENESS in the AIR!!

The event is free…so come on out and test the waters! It is encouraged that you log on to the fund raising section… & send the fund raising link to ALL of your family and friends that will support US! What a great way to send GOOD Vibrations. These wonderful individuals living on the spectrum are so often excluded from these fun things in life! No MORE!! Times have changed and people now realize that ASD Individuals are fully capable of greatness and enjoying the extras in life! When our kids are exposed to new opportunities, amazing things begin to take shape!! Expanding their horizon on an event such as this…could translate to more opening up to what life has to offer in their daily lives!!

Some days we may not feel the strength to paddle on. …Yet we MUST! We must actually paddle harder and faster. Just to cut a swath for OUR ASD Individuals to participate!! It can be frustrating. That’s why fantastic organizations like this are here!! To SUPPORT US as we SUPPORT THEM. Through this constant co~operation we will get more and more of the exposure WE NEED!!The exposure to adventures and GROWTH!

After all that IS…what life is ALL ABOUT for all of us!! So please do what you can to support “PADDLE FOR AUTISM” and the amazing organization behind this FUN~VENTURE!! A day on the ocean and an evening to fund-raise and enjoy the memory of what transpired. Maybe even WIN a raffle or Auction PRIZE at El Bar later that evening!!

CLICK INFO for all the…FUN!! HERE!

ALSO…FACEBOOK PAGE for the AFTER~EVENT at El Bar! here http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122641584448451&ref=ts#!

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