Thoughts and illustrations on living on the autism spectrum.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Square and Round

Square, you’re oddly shaped,
You don’t fit in there.
Round would be best to fill this role,
But since you’re here, you’ll have to do.
It may not be fair, Square, but we’ll make do.

You may not be aware, Square,
Of the way Round did it before you,
And how easy it came,
But surely you can do the same.
Not to compare, Square, but you’ve big shoes to fill.

Square, you have useful functions,
But very little flair.
Always strive to be more well-Rounded.
Or stay in your corner. Prefer solitaire?
See if I care, Square. Suit yourself.

Square, you’re rough around the edges.
Round rolls with everything that comes his way.
Not to put you down,
For not bein’ Round.
You’ve got too many sides there, Square. Just sayin’.

Round bounces back so easily,
When you fail, Square, you just sit and stare.
Don’t make excuses, just say you’re sorry.
It’s not your fault you were born a Square,
Just your burden to bear.

Your ways confuse me, Square,
Disrupt the flow.
You don’t sound like Round.
Hard to figure you out.
Can’t you act less impaired, Square? Just askin’.

You don’t like what I say, Square?
Defy me if you dare.
A three Round Square-off!
Are you down? Didn’t think so.
So don’t complain, Square. Deal.

No place for rebels here, Square.
We’ll break your spirit, Round off those edges…
No, what have you done?
It’s not possible!
You’ve broken the mold, and done it better
Than all who came before.
And now, no Round can never fill your shoes.
Well done, then. A Round of applause for you,
The perfect Square.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

“Dude, I’m An Aspie” Making First Animated Short

Fuzzy and pals are coming to life in animated form! Their first cartoon short will appear in the pilot episode of the TV show Flummox and Friends.

Flummox and Friends is an offbeat, live-action comedy designed to help kids navigate the social and emotional world. Viewers will join Professor Gideon T. Flummox and his friends as they put their minds to work creating inventions that help them understand the most perplexing scientific mystery of all: other people! Inspired by Pee Wee’s Playhouse, The Big Bang Theory, and the original Electric Company, Flummox and Friends lets families talk about social and emotional challenges as they watch and laugh together.

The show is targeted to elementary school age children who are struggling socially or emotionally, with or without a diagnosis of autism or a related condition. A key difference of Flummox and Friends from typical children’s educational programming is its message of acceptance of the kids who watch, with no expectation that they need to change who they are. The pilot episode was recently filmed thanks to a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign. The creators hope to produce more episodes and bring the show to the air in many potential outlets, including cable TV, online, and DVD.

I’m thrilled to be working with Flummox and Friends! It was a natural fit, given that we both mix a quirky sense of humor with information that respects the intelligence of all ages. It reminds me of some of my favorite shows growing up, and I know it will be well-received by children on the spectrum and their families.

“We’re so excited that Matt will be contributing his talents to the Flummox and Friends pilot!” says Executive Producer Christa Dahlstrom. “Matt’s characters and illustrations are a perfect compliment to the live action story line of our show and representative of the eclectic mix of music and animation we hope to incorporate in every episode.”

Stay tuned for further updates as we start work on this awesome project, and be on the lookout for the Flummox and Friends pilot! Until then, enjoy this video preview:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dude, I'm An Aspie! (Kids' Edition)

My name is Fuzzy and I have Asperger’s syndrome. What’s that mean, you ask? Well, you’re in luck, cause I’ve made this helpful guide!

Asperger’s is a type of autism. Sometimes it makes me look different from others. Like when I have trouble being around other people, putting my thoughts into words, or knowing what other people are thinking. But other times, it seems invisible, and I blend in with everybody else. So, some say Asperger’s is like having “a dash of autism.”

Why do I have Asperger’s? No one is sure where it comes from, but it's not a disease, just a difference in how my brain works. It isn’t my fault, just something I’ve always had and always will. Like having a big nose. I was BORN with Asperger’s, and I’m PROUD of it!
Asperger’s is sometimes called Wrong Planet syndrome. That's because I act and think so differently from others, it can make me feel like an alien! But there’s nothing wrong with the way I am, and I’m not the only one who feels this way. I just see the world differently, that’s all.

It’s not easy to be different, but it can be a good thing too. Now that I know what Asperger’s is, I have a name for why I'm different. It explains why I am the way I am. So it kind of makes me happy! Like finding a box I fit in.
People can often misunderstand me. They might think I’m being rude because I don’t look them in the eye. But this is part of being an Aspie! I need to look away because it’s the only way I can concentrate on what you’re saying.

It’s easier for me to be around one person than many. When someone’s talking, they’re not only using their mouth, but also their face and their hands. That’s a lot to pay attention to! Being an Aspie means my brain works harder to understand all that. The more people in the room, the harder it gets to keep up!

When I’m in a crowded or noisy place, I can get very uncomfortable! Sometimes it feels like I’m spinning out of control. I need to leave and go somewhere quiet, or I might have a meltdown. It’s best to let me have some time out and some space.

Aspies can also have super-senses. I can hear things others can’t hear, like the refrigerator running. If there's a sudden loud noise, I might jump out of my seat. There are lots of other things I notice that others don't.

Other times, I can be super-sensitive to scratchy clothing, or fluorescent lighting, or certain food textures.

Repetition and routine are very relaxing to me. When I feel anxious, it helps if I fidget, or “stim” by rocking, or tapping my foot. Also, I like to perseverate on certain words or sounds, or repeat them over and over, if I like how they sound.

Did you ever notice most people love playing with lots of friends? The more they run around, holler, and act crazy, the happier and more excited they get! Well, many of us Aspies are the opposite way. Being around lots of people tires me out, and I often need time alone to “recharge my batteries.”

Aspies usually have special interests or hobbies that we like to do on our own, and spend lots of time on. We can go on and on talking about our interests. This can be anything from trains, to foreign languages, to mollusks, to duct tape.

Are there good things about being an Aspie? Yes! We are honest. We pay attention to the little things. We are good listeners, and good problem-solvers. Often, we become experts in our special interest area. Einstein, Beethoven, and Michelangelo are some of the famous folks believed to have had Asperger’s.

So that is a glimpse into my world. I hope it has helped you better understand me and others like me. If we were all the same, the world would be a boring place. Dude, I’m an Aspie, and I can be whatever I want to be, and do whatever I want to do!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Babble's 2012 Autism Spectrum Blogs

Dude, I'm An Aspie has been named to Babble's Top Autism Blogs for the second straight year. What an honor! Thank you!

The 2012 honorees were selected for being invaluable resources to families and individuals who might otherwise feel confused and alone when looking for information about autism. It's an excellent list, full of blogs I have turned to myself.

Dude, says Babble, is "a terrific resource for anyone curious about the experiences of a thirty-something with Asperger’s. But the highlights are his cartoons, simple yet effective, which convey the essence of Asperger’s in a more engaging way than a scientific book ever could...This blog is a must-read for anyone remotely connecting to the world of Asperger’s."

This is a compliment indeed. I am grateful to all of you who have been touched by what I do, and to Babble for sharing it with their readers as part of Autism Acceptance Month.

...and if that wasn't cool enough, I'm featured today on the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism's monthlong "Slice of Life" conversation series. Check it out, dudes!