Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You have to listen to this...

Today on the radio program The Next Frontier, Anne Barbano interviewed the New York Times bestseller author John Elder Robison that wrote Look Me In the Eye. Robison at sixteen dropped out of high school, escaped his alcoholic father and mental ill mother and traveled the country with the band Kiss and built their guitars. Barbano spent the hour long interview prying information any parent of a child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) would find as valuable as gold, because Robison not only built fire throwing guitars and later talking toys, he himself had a difficult time communicating and socializing and grew-up with Asperger's syndrome.

During the interview Robison explained the spectrum as functional intelligence and that some people lack of functional intelligence not that they are lower functioning. Lower functioning sometimes gets defined as not as intelligent or mentally retarded. If you have ever come in contact with a individual with ASD that has a difficult time communicating (the indicator for functional level) knows that the IQ of these individuals is not factor. I have met children and adults with ASD that are non-verbal, but can write or type or even produce videos (click here to see) that are nothing less than intelligent.

The way Robison describes functional intelligence take the spotlight off whether the person lacks intelligence and on what can be done help that individual thieve in society. Robison convinces listeners that anyone can move forward to a functioning life, as he puts it "(I am) living proof of turning around your life and getting a good result." Not only is Robison a New York Times bestseller, but he also runs his own classic automobile business where he restores everything from BMWs to Rolls Royce.

Anne Barbano's interview Robison is must listen and that I have finished Robison's brother's memoir Running with Scissors (I had no idea they where brothers until this interview, what a family!), I will now go down to the book store and purchase my copy of Look Me in the Eye.

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