|A short story about autism and Asperger Syndrome based on my experiences in high school in the late 1970's with a remarkable teacher.|
He had pulsed his desire for information through the cloud of bubbles, where it was absorbed and redirected many times, relayed by any who came into contact with the electro-chemical query. Like everyone, Zeeko did the same throughout his day, relaying dozens of messages, questions, or requests intuitively towards the most relevant destination. His kind had long passed the point where their organic bodies could be differentiated from artificial augmentation. Each had melded into the other, and individual intelligence now meshed with society's shared awareness.
It was the mega-clusters he was really interested in; the rogues who tore away from their clutch-sacs to drift along the Meridian Corridors. Those swift-running currents of space carried conglomerations of thousands of bubbles faster and faster until they passed through the Crevasse, and were lost.What was beyond that slit in the fabric of the continuum? Only a few had returned, telling of cultures on the other side which had been so long removed from this area of space that memories of their kin had faded into myth.
"Oh, alright," said Xander. "We'll play just one round. But that's it, okay?"
The black-haired boy nodded sharply before bolting towards the nearby indoor court. His light frame glided between each step, as if moving through water. Just inside the doorway he froze, and turned toward Xander. Behind him a glittering of pale, pink dust rose on air currents warmed by the late morning light that streamed through the transparent dome over the court. Off to one side a sagging, metal cage held dozens of solid-colored balls, similar to the one Armondo had in his grasp.
"So, will it be tournament rules or free-for-all?" Xander asked as he entered the room.
"Free-for-all with no time limit!"
"Woa, now. We need a time limit, little dude. Let's make it ten minutes. That way we won't be late for lunch."
Armondo pivoted, pushing with one leg against the cushioned floor mat. He was headed straight for the center of a circular goal post that jutted from the metal walls several meters up above him. Xander repeated Armondo's technique. Their bodies made long arcs through the air, until each landed on one foot. They both leaped again. Armondo shot the ball into the target, Xander's extended arms trying to block.
Caroline entered just as Armondo scored the point. She watched Xander playfully shove the smaller boy into the spongy netting between the arms of the goal post. Xander landed, and turned to look at Armondo gently bobbing up and down in his temporary nest.
Leaning against a padded support column near the door, Caroline shook her head in mock disapproval.
"Have you even played this sport before?" she teased.
"Sure, lotsa times," Xander chin pushed higher. "They don't call me the Splunk Kid for nothin', you know!"
"Right. Let me show you how it's done." Caroline removed a utility belt strapped around her upper thigh and set it on the floor. She grabbed a yellow ball from the pile in the cage before launching herself with both legs towards the boys. She was headed directly for Xander at high speed. The adolescent took a step back. At the half-way point she twisted up and away, still in mid-air. While upside-down, she deftly tossed the ball over Xander's head, just out of his reach. It arced into the webbing at the uppermost part of the goal, rolled down the incline, and collided with the other ball lying next to Armondo. The pliable surfaces stuck together. Descending, Caroline did a quick reverse flip to make a solid landing. Her auburn hair took on an orange halo where the sunlight peeked through.
Arms crossed, she peered at Xander with a slight tilt of her head.
"Splunk kid, huh?”
"Show off." He broke out a good-natured smile.
Caroline had learned the game of Splunk while growing up on Earth. She had been happy to see its popularity quickly spread through the Martian colonies, where players could perform acrobatic maneuvers that were impossible in the stronger Terran gravity. The Splunk balls themselves were made of stiffened, rubbery gelatin. Thrown with enough force they would fuse together, but too hard and they would disintegrate in the hand of the thrower. With aggressive play thus discouraged, the sport promoted tact and strategy, as well as grace of body movements.
Armondo scrambled out of the netting, holding the connected mass of red and yellow with both hands. He drifted to the floor, then ran up to the much taller woman.
"Wow, that was really somethin'! Do it again!" He absentmindedly played with the glob, kneading it with both hands, his gaze fixed solidly on her face.
"Sorry, kiddos, but I gotta get back to work." She picked up her utility belt, strapped it back around her thigh, and ruffled Armondo's hair on her way out of the play area. He stared back in awe, black locks sticking straight out.
Once in the corridor, Caroline pulled a square data collection device from her belt. She began pouring over vegetation growth and density readings she had gathered the previous day on her weekly foray around the crater's perimeter. The scanner's green glow reflected off the burnished metal walls of the pre-fabricated building.Just around the next corner she entered her cramped office and switched on an overhead light. Some reddish brown sediment had managed to get through the air filters and settle into a thin layer in the corner of the floor. She made a mental note to notify the maintenance crew of the problem. Walking over to her desk, she sat down and placed the scanner in its cradle to begin the download into the town's DNA-based storage system. She'd always thought of the underground vat of organic memory as a kind of disembodied brain, connected to storage systems in other communities through bundles of above-ground fiber optic cables, like a web of spinal cords laced across the Martian terrain. She watched the data transfer. Recent measurements from wind storms, which occasionally raged in the unclaimed desert areas, indicated they were still too intense to allow construction of the network hubs needed before a global, wireless communications grid could be established.
|Humankind is finally spreading out into the solar system during the 23rd century. Can they build a home from a landscape which seems unwilling to accept life on a grand scale? One woman faces the challenge, and the key to ultimate success may lie in her own untapped abilities.|
|It's the 23rd century, and the majority of the human race has autistic savant-like abilities that allow them to create and control advanced technologies, while a minority struggle to prove their humanity as they fight prejudice and discrimination.|
Donnie's Decision“Hey Floater!”
The shout tore across Zeeko's awareness. His lanky frame sloshed about in the gelatinous pool that had once been his home.
So many straight lines. So many edges.
Donnie stood over him.
"Floaters aren't allowed down here, so why don'tcha go back where you came from?"
Zeeko shivered in the cold morning air. The blue glow under the skin of his chest darkened slightly. He rolled his head towards Donnie, winced at the bright orange sun. He wanted to block it out with his hand, but could barely raise either arm in the gravity of this world.
"Can you hear me, freak?"
Soft pulses of air pressed against Zeeko's skin. He could see the lower part of the mammal's face distort, muscles pulling at the fleshy edges of its ingestion orifice.
Ah. Pressure wave communication.
Accessing what libraries he had left, Zeeko quickly absorbed the archaic dialect. In only a few seconds he learned the mechanism of taking in the surrounding gases and exuding them to create
|In early 2013 I became part of a book project that was gathering together the personal experiences and advice from over two dozen adults on the autism spectrum. I'm very happy to say that the book was published in Spring 2014. |
It's called "Been There. Done That. Try This!" and subtitled "An Aspie's Guide to Life on Earth". It was put together by Craig Evans, creator of the website autismhangout, and Anita Lesko, author of "Asperger Syndrome: When Life Hands you Lemons, Make Lemonade". All proceeds will go to charity.
There are 17 chapters, each on a different "stressor" as determined by an online poll to be the most important ones to us, such as anxiety, getting a job, meltdowns, relationships, and sensory issues. The authors include Temple Grandin, Liane Holliday Willey, Stephen Shore, Jennifer Cook O'Toole, Lars Perner, and Alexis Wineman, Miss Montana 2012. Seven of my essays were published.
In addition, Dr. Tony Attwood, who is widely regarded as the world's leading expert on Asperger Syndrome, ends each chapter with his suggestions on how to deal with the issue. Also included are art works by artists on the spectrum that relate to a specific topic.
The ebook is available to download for Kindle (entire book or individual chapters), Nook, or Kobo, as well as from Google Play Books. The paperback is available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Indigo, or can be ordered directly from the British publisher Jessica Kingsley. Here are the links for each of those:
Amazon US (Kindle) (read samples by clicking "Look Inside")
Amazon UK (Kindle) (read samples by clicking "Look Inside")
Barnes&Noble (Nook) (read samples by clicking "Read Instantly")
Google Play Books
Several weeks before publication the authors were sent a preview version as a pdf attachment. I read all 300 pages and was surprised at the variety of experiences and methods used to deal with the stressors, as well as the many similarities among us. I'm proud to be a part of this project and can highly recommend it to anyone on the spectrum, anyone whose life is affected by autism, or for anyone interested in understanding how we cope with the world in our everyday lives.