Thursday, September 2, 2010

My 15 Minutes of Fame Starts Now

I've had a handful of celebrity encounters in my adult life. 

My first temp job, I got to put Donald Trump on hold.

I've served coffee to Frank Oz.  I had to shove my theater's concession stand worker aside to do it, but I did it, and managed to chat him up a little beyond "I love you love you love you."

About ten years ago, Prince hit on me on the N train in Queens.  I turned him down.

Once I got to visit the late Jim Henson's office.  I'm going to imagine his spirit was in the room and count that as an encounter.

And now the latest, and perhaps coolest:  DaMomma approached me to ask if she could interview me.

I've been reading this woman's blog for three or four years - I know all sorts of intimate details about her life, her friends, her three children - but we have never met.  The characters from her stories have become just as real to me as people I actually see in the flesh - I'll be talking to Stu, and will find myself saying, "Oh, guess what Ren did?"  And in my head, DaMomma became this wise mother-figure, always coming up with some brilliant answer to whatever tough neurotypical-child parenting challenge the day had thrown at her.

But, you know, I don't know her.  And she certainly doesn't know me.

But then she read some of my blog (via the link attached to my name in a comment on some post or another of hers), and decided to contact me.  And suddenly there was a sort of relationship, instead of the one-way readership I had experienced the past few years.  Suddenly, I felt like a I had become a character in a favorite book.

She emailed me.  She said, "I've had some requests to do a bit on autism.  Would you be interested in helping me with that?"  Um, yes please!

That SHE contacted ME at all, let alone to ask for my help, made me feel like a freaking rock star.   And having the opportunity to explain my pro-neurodiversity agenda to a large general audience is tremendously exciting to me.  So please check out DaMomma's profile of lil' ole me, and catch up on her awesome adventures in parenting and in watching the last space shuttle launch in person!


  1. I just found your blog through Elizabeth. I can so relate to your blog. Our son Cullen was diagnosed with Autism almost a year ago and will be 4 in November. I am also in NY about 2hrs from NYC. You have just gained another loyal follower:)

  2. I used to have a cool job too,I was a tour-guide at Radio City. Now,I have the coolest job there is,I'm a Mom to a 4 year old.I just wanted to say that I'm inspired by you,by the obvious love you have for your son. I'm going to have a discussion with my daughter Lila about how there are many different types of kids out there,kids who may act differently,learn differently but that isn't wrong,it just is.

  3. I came here through her!! I'm glad to check out your blog, and learn a bit more about parenting an autistic kid from the inside view. Thanks!

  4. Also came through DaMomma, which I came through on from somewhere else!

    I used to substitute teach, and one of my favorite classes to sub was middle school autism. We had one school in the district with 2 classes of kids, mostly middle to high functioning Aspergers. I loved those kids! One of the teachers was great: patient, understanding, and knowledgeable about ASDs. I had done a lot of research on my own about it (owing in part to my mom's frequent allusions to me being "selectively autistic" as a child), so it was exciting to get to experience these children first hand as a group. The second teacher at that school, however, did not appear to understand the peculiarities of Aspergers kids. Her aides said they wished I were the real teacher of the classroom and said that some students in the class had daily meltdowns. Despite not knowing me from anyone else, I never once had any of the kids meltdown in the classroom. But then, I didn't yell at them like the uninformed instructor.

    The school provided a great structure for the students, with very predictable schedules, down to about every 10 minutes planned throughout the school day. Once a week (or every two weeks, I can't remember), the students went on a field trip. They would go to a store with a shopping list and an envelope with a small amount of cash and in small groups, we would help them to figure out how to buy what was on their lists. Then we went to a fast food restaurant where they were supposed to try to choose and order and pay for their own meals. This was very challenging for many of them. It was also a truly amazing experience. One of the girls in the group, a 16 year old named Jessica, decided that she wanted to hold my hand because my name was also Jessica. I think I melted a bit inside.

    A lot of people become irritated and impatient with Aspergers kids because they generally do look very normal but behave abnormally. Having been around so many of them, it's easier for me to recognize them and understand, but I see others and their reactions...and it seems to me that the only way to change that reaction in the general public is for them to be educated on the subject. Aspergers may be considered a disease, a "condition", but in many ways it is easier to conceive of it as a different wiring pattern in the brain. They see the world differently and approach it from their own angles. We maybe just need to tilt our heads to the side a little to see the picture in the right way at the museum of life.

    Keep on writing! :)



  6. I am so glad DaMomma did this interview with you! She was one of the first bloggers I ever "followed" and I have been a loyal reader for years. I can so relate to your situation and am so happy to find you! I am giddily re-reading everything you've written from day one!

  7. Awesome feature! Mazel tov!
    Cousin Sarah


Keep it civil, people.