On HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” a few weeks back they did a piece on Steve Gleason, a Special Teams specialist for the New Orleans Saints who was diagnosed with ALS after his playing career at a younger-than-usual age, and whose has gone through a rapid deterioration. But Steve’s mind and spirit are still strong, and his attitude is a lesson in staying positive in the face of adversity. It also provides a little perspective on the Saints “Bountygate”.
The piece is 18 minutes – longer than pieces we usually share – but well worth the time if you have it.
Earlier today we did an interview with Shannon over at Autism Live. Shannon emailed us to tell us not to wear green shirts, but she didn’t hit “reply all”, so Zev didn’t didn’t get the memo… and amazingness ensued.
The floating head fun starts around the 1 hour 53 minute mark:
This weekend in Malibu, Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete held their 14th Annual HollyRod Foundation Design Care Benefit. It was a great night with a lot of awesome people in attendance, and it raised a lot of money for 2 worthy causes – Autism and Parkinson’s Disease.
Holly and Rodney were kind enough to honor us with this year’s Champion Award, which meant a ton to Zev and I. The video they played before we went up to receive the awards was a real tearjerker, and sure enough it jerked the tears right out of me.
This was the video:
By the time that ended I was pretty much a wreck. I figured Zev would talk first so I could gather myself, but Holly handed him the mic and he handed it right to me so I had to try to talk through the waterworks. I managed to choke out a story about our friends Brett and Susie Sokol, who became a big part of our Amazing Race experience when Susie relayed to us that she had told her 12 year-old son Brett he had Asperger’s because of the way he responded to Zev on the show, which was incredible to hear.
When I was finished, Zev took the mic and called up his family and our friends who were there to support, and we all had a big group hug on the stage. It was a great moment.
Among others we met Paula Abdul, Arsenio Hall, Byron Allen, and Brian Grant – who does amazing things for Parkinson’s while living with it. Natalie Cole sang to us, Mark Curry made us laugh, someone bought a Shih-tzu for $10,000… lots of good things happened.
It was a night we’ll remember forever, and we have Holly and Rodney to thank for it. The world needs more Peetes.
We’ll post some more video when we get it, but in the meantime please give if you can to the HollyRod Foundation here: http://www.hollyrod.org/donate-now/
This is a Recent Article about a hacker who was busted for hacking into the US Military computers in the wake of 9/11 to tell them their security was crap. He called himself “Solo”.
When he was busted, part of Solo’s defense was that he was diagnosed with Asperger’s, and therefore in some way not responsible for his actions. He’s not the first hacker to make this claim. “The Geek Defense”, as they refer to it, seems to be a growing excuse for hackers.
On the one hand it seems like it may well be that people with Aspergers are less responsible for what they do than others, since sometimes it’s harder for them to censor their words and even actions. I know we’ve had a few moments I’d rather not talk about that may or may not have occurred had Zev not had Aspergers.
On the other hand, we would hate to see Aspergers being used to excuse obviously criminal behavior. There’s a big difference between not knowing when to censor yourself socially and not knowing when you’re breaking the law.
Where do you come down on this argument? Let us know.
Z & J
This is an amazing piece about Clay Marzo, a surfer with Asperger Syndrome.
As we’ve mentioned before, one of the things that’s been most apparent to Zev and I as we’ve met people on the spectrum – both high-functioning and low – is that many of them tend to have THAT THING – be it sports, bugs, chemistry, game shows, or in this case surfing – that they love and focus all of their ambitions on to an extent us “neuro-normals” can only dream of.
Clay shows that when someone on the spectrum does hone in on THAT THING and dedicate themselves to it, they’re capable of great things.
Let us know what you think of this – and please, if you know of more videos like this, or examples of people on the spectrum with unique talents… share it with us.
Thanks Tara for showing us this one.
Z & J
This is a poignant obituary for Jameson Lindskog, 23, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Jameson was a medic who had Asperger’s, and was known for telling it like it is.
The end of the article is heartbreaking:
“Even after he had been shot, Lindskog calmly instructed another soldier who came to his side on how to administer first aid to him,” the soldier would later tell Lindskog’s mother.
When he was done, Lindskog told him: “That’s it. That’s all you can do for me.”
Then he added, “Just hold my hand.”“
People on the spectrum can be just as brave as the rest of us.
This is a pretty odd story, if not a little twisted. A child beauty pageant is taking heat for awarding an autistic girl “Best Personality” – from the mother of the girl.
Child beauty pageants are controversial to begin with, so it really seems like Leonie Myles, the mother of Tahnee, was asking for trouble getting Tahnee involved in something like that… particularly considering the nature of Autism and the fragility that can sometimes come with it as far as self-image is concerned.
Ultimately this may not be that big of a deal, but it’s still an interesting situation… and even though it’s in Australia, it feels like a very American issue.
Here’s the link – let us know what you think.
This is a story from a few years back, but it’s one of our favorites…
Jason “J-Mac” McElwain, an autistic basketball player, got into a high school game in the 4th Quarter and tied a school record with SIX 3-POINTERS IN FOUR MINUTES. An incredible feat for anyone, let alone someone with autism.
We had the pleasure of meeting Jason when we went on CBS’ The Talk a few months ago. Great guy. Zev has a pretty nasty 3-Point stroke also – he’s been known to get on hot streaks of his own in our Men’s Rec League hoops games – so we asked if they could find us a hoop on the lot to conduct a little shoot-out… but there was no hoop to be found. The showdown had to wait.
But whenever J-Mac’s ready, Zev’s ready.
This is out-of-control, off-the-charts amazingness that shows what incredible achievements people on the spectrum are capable of…
‘BRAIN MAN’ Daniel Tammet – A high-functioning autistic savant – recited a series of 22,514 numbers over a five hour period after seeing them once. His memory skills include learning to speak Icelandic in one week. Click on Brain Man video link to watch a great piece about him…
One of the things we want to do here on this site is shine a spotlight on the talents of kids – and adults – on the Autism Spectrum.
Thanks to the Race, we’ve had the privilege of meeting a lot of great people and going to a lot of great Autism-related events, and one of the things we’ve learned is that kids on the spectrum generally have something they LOVE above all else, and they devote an incredible amount of time and passion to THAT THING.
For Zev it was two things really – The Amazing Race, and The Lakers… but we’ve met kids who love game shows, bugs, chemistry, sports, music, geography… the list goes on.
This is an article about Jacob, a boy genius who has Autism and is “so far advanced in his Indiana university studies that professors are lining him up for a PHD research role.”
It’s an incredible story, and we want to hear more like it. Please share other stories like this with us that you may know of… what is YOUR child on the Spectrum into? What is THAT THING, and what are they doing to pursue it?
We really want to know — please share your experiences with us.
We want this to be a place that highlights the gifts that Autism gives, rather than focusing on the negatives.
Z & J