Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Most within the autism community are familiar with Jason McElwain, who is on the Autism Spectrum and threw the winning baskets at the final minutes of the the high school basketball game a few years ago. This was the first game he ever played in and the last one of the season. He was the manager of the team and blew them all away with his talents.
J-Mac appeared on Good Morning America and Geraldo At Large and probably other shows I did not tune into at the time. He also made the national news when President George Bush made a stop at the local airport when on the East Coast to congratulate Jason and his parents on his accomplishments. Magic Johnson is set to co-produce a movie about Jason. This is a listing of all J-Mac videos.
In February of 2008 Jason appeared on Larry King Live. Here is the video. The Peetes Everday Heroes aired on XM Radio on May 9, 2008.
There are many high school students across the country who are on the Autism Spectrum who will be or have already graduated. Where do they go from high school student. Many probably have applied to colleges and others are probably heading into the work force.
I viewed and taped the airings on NBC back in 2005 that were also produced into a DVD entitled, The Hidden Epidemic with one segment that showcased high school students working in their community. These were the best segments from the entire week. It gave me ideas on what to work on for Matthew as he gets older and much insight into what is available for them as they get older.
This segment showed a town in the North East that welcomed autistic students to work in their stores. One boy along with his aide stocked the soda section of a general type store. Another boy with the assistance of his aide was vacuuming the rugs of a National Hotel Chain. A teenaged girl was making boxes at a Pizza Parlor before their lunch crowd arrived. This was part of her school-work program.
The May 29, 2006 issue of People Magazine had an article on mentoring a student on the Autism Spectrum. The girl is 15, the boy on the Spectrum is 13 and both are in middle school. It was a wonderful article that showed how mentoring can really work with peers. An organization that helps students similarily is called Best Buddies.
The title of the article, Katie Davis, 13, breaks barriers with classmate Vincent Benito, an autistic eighth grader. This was written by Richard Jerome and Lori Rozsa. I have tried to no avail to find a transcript of this article.
To obtain back issues check this link out, they also have a toll-free number to order 1-800-541-9000 and you can send email as well as getting bulk copies. A story this positive deserves to be sent out to everybody and for those whose children are not yet in middle school it is very encouraging.
Nicholas wants to work with animals and hopefully will be attending the Los Angeles Zoo High School Magnet. The other day on a TV Guide show called 25 things you did not know about tv animals Jack Hanna mentioned he started working for a Veterinarian at the age of 14 during summers and stayed there for four years. We already know the minimum age to volunteer at the Humane Society is sixteen and this is what Nick wants to do.
We recently viewed a special hour segment of Animal Cops on Animal Planet where a female officer explained what is involved in being a Humane Society Officer. My son was interested in this also, but likes cats and is afraid of dogs. Even though he knows he wants to work with animals, he changes the specialty often. Currently he is drawing his plans for building a sactuary. He got this idea from a show on Animal Planet called The Little Zoo that Could. This is about a Zoo that was damaged from Hurricanes in 2004.
These following stories are inspiring for parents who have a child on the Autism Spectrum.
Living with autism in college - CNN article, August 12, 2008
University Tailors a Program for Autistic Students
Four make History as they Graduate from Bellevue Community College - June 2008
College Planning for the High Functioning Autistic Student
Class of ‘08 - Autism doesn’t slow down Barron Collier High School senior
UC grad is special - and very able
Working With An Autistic Student
College Living Experience
Autistic Girl Overcomes Serious Struggles, Attends College
AHEADD - Achieving in Higher Education with Autism/Developmental Disabilities
Penn Autism Network
Disability Resource Guide Carnegie Mellon
Transition from school to work program
Nation's Only Charter School For The Autistic Prepares Students For The Working World
Autistic high school senior gets the job done - Student with autism gains work experience at Thermo Fisher Scientific, May 2009
Graduation caps 'long journey'
HealthCare Gift Cards
Life Skills for Vocational Success
Life Skills Mastery for Students with Special Needs
Autistic student packages dog biscuits
Autistic student, parents realize dream
Teen with Asperger's syndrome prepares for life after graduation
An autistic teen's big day offers his family a chance to look at how far he's come
Making the Transition from the World of School into the World of Work by Temple Grandin
Update: Midwestern Students & Peers Continue Autism Experiment October 2008
I have already purchased these two books to help prepare Nichols for middle school and college. I will have to look for a high school book one of these days.
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.