Screenwriter T. Rafael Cimino and Asperger Syndrome

By Dan Coulter How'd you like to hear a pitch for a movie with a main character who has Asperger Syndrome? It's got everything: life and death situations, last minutes rescues, powerboat races, drug running, and glamorous parties. It's got a hero with loads of self doubt who overcomes all obstacles and gets the girl (a beautiful Bulgarian prima ballerina). We'll establish the hero's Asperger credentials with a restaurant scene where he's so overwhelmed by the routine sounds of customers and cutlery that he has to ask the waitress to repeat the specials six times. Then we'll...wait...what? You don't think you'd green-light it? Too much to crowd into one movie to be believable? That's okay. Be

Becoming Bulletproof Parents

By Dan Coulter Ever been frustrated or embarrassed by something one of your kids said or did in public? The stares of strangers can feel like bullets. If your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, you may sometimes feel like you’ve been machine-gunned.Wouldn’t it be great to have a way to deal with these situations that made you bulletproof? I found something that works sort of like a protective shield –- and it’s basically a matter of perspective. Most of us were raised to care a lot about what other people think. That’s generally a good thing. It helps us be aware of social rules and interact politely with other people. But when our kids do something embarrassing in public, feeling thos

Kids Need Each Other

By Dan Coulter I think kids need each other. Kids don’t just learn from parents and teachers, they learn from other kids. One of the most important lessons they can learn is how to get along with people who don’t look or think or act exactly like they do. That’s why I believe everyone -- typical kids, gifted kids, and kids with special needs -- should be interacting in schools. That doesn’t mean I’m opposed to advanced placement classes or self-contained classrooms for special needs kids. I’m in favor of these kinds of groupings, as long as they’re really designed as the best way to teach the students involved -- and are not an excuse to isolate kids from each other for reasons that don't

Feedback For Mothers

By Dan Coulter We all want to make a difference. We all crave feedback. As Mothers’ Day gets closer, I’m thinking about moms of kids with Asperger Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders who give a lot, but don’t always get a lot of feedback from their kids. The way their kids’ brains are wired sometimes makes it hard for them to express appreciation -- or let mom know how much impact she’s having. But so many mothers keep up the support, constantly working with their kids to help them overcome their frustrations and make the most of their strengths. Some of these moms see breakthroughs in younger children. Some watch for years for confirmation that they’re doing the right things and ma

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