Showing posts with label Autism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Autism. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic-A Book Review

April 1st, is that day that many of us dread.  Will we be tricked or will we impose a trick on someone else?


Now because of the current climate within our communities and world in general, the joke seems to be on us all.  There will be no pranks to play on anyone, if you are being socially responsible and socially distant from others and I hope you truly are.

So instead of doing a whole write up on practical jokes and such, I decided to go in the exact opposite direction.

Instead of bemoaning my isolation, I decided to learn something new!

It's fitting that it also falls in line with one of my New Year's Resolutions.  I promised myself that I would read more and at the same time look at many different genres that I might not have done before.  To that end, I picked up a book that really was entertaining and informative in so many ways.

Funny, You Don't Look Autistic, caught my eye.

It is an autobiography of a young man who early in his life (age 5)  was diagnosed with Autism.  What made this book catch my eye is that one of my granddaughters has been diagnosed with this disorder as well.  I wanted to understand it better so that I could have some meaningful conversations with her, her parents, and her siblings as well.  

Michael McCreary is the young man at the center of this book. He is very open about his life, family and what it means to be autistic.  

Now let's be clear, this is not a clinician's book, it is the story of a young man, who with the help of his family and a diagnosis of autism, is trying to find his way in the world.   Michael is very blessed in that his level of autism is high functioning in the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) scale.  The things he does are not things that all autistic children will be able to do.  His parents learn how to integrate Michael's abilities with his inabilities.  This makes for a very adaptable world for Michael.  Not all autistic children are that "lucky".   There are so many different levels of autism and we just don't understand all of it.  We are making great progress, but there is still much that we don't understand.

Most of you will remember the movie Rain Man (starring Dustin Hoffman), that was my first real glimpse at autism.  His level of autism is called Savant.  Savants are another whole level of Autism.  Yet it is so much more complicated and varied than what was presented here.

There are so many different levels of Autism

As I mentioned earlier Rain Man (a Savant) had a level of autism that allowed him to understand numbers to the point of being able to figure out a date, and being able to know it was a Monday or Tuesday....you get the picture. But autism has many different levels and with those levels people have certain abilities or lack thereof. 

Autism is here and with our growing understanding of the condition, children that are diagnosed with this can look forward to a better understanding from both parents and the educational system.

Sensory overload is a common trait in autistic children.  They either have too much or not enough sensory responses.  They may be bothered by the feel of clothes on their bodies, noises that we generally are able to push into the background , are like bells and whistles going off in their minds.  So their reactions to these stimulii is completely different than ours would be.  I know my granddaughter always has one leg of her pants rolled up to her knee, she just cannot handle the cloth rubbing on her leg.  One of my nephews needs headphones to block out sounds that are overpowering to his mind.  These are just some small examples of what having an autistic child can look like.  There are many and "Autism" is a misnomer.  The true way to speak of this disorder is to call it the Autism Spectrum.  Spectrum, lets us understand that there are just so many levels of this disorder in the general population.

Reading This Book Has Helped

Michael in this book has made me see what it is that can undo an autistic persons demeanor.  I did not understand sensory overload at all.  But reading about it through his eyes, it made more sense to me.

Autistic children, at least high functioning autistic children, usually have a gift of some sort.  Michael's was being on stage and making people laugh.  He fed off of the reactions to his "story" and made sense of his time with those reactions.  It also helped a lot of people who did not understand Autism to take a second look at what that means.  

If you want to learn more..........

I really recommend this book.  It is light-hearted, optimistic, funny, and yet opens some doors and windows into a disorder that has many parents, grandparents and the general public wondering.  I found it to be entertaining as well as informative and that to me is a double bonus.

If you are interested or want to delve into an Autistic life a little further, this book would make a really good read.  I'm glad I stopped to pick it up and I'm sure you will be entertained and learn something new at the same time.  It really is a winner in my books.

If you want to learn more about Autism there are many websites devoted to the subject and I offer a few here:



Now just in case you were wondering....April 2nd is World Autism Day.....Happy April Fools Day!








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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Accountant Reviewed

A Movie That Surprised Me

account ledger
Accountant Ledger image from Pixabay.com
This past weekend my husband and I watched the movie The Accountant so I would like to review it for you today. We both loved the movie but probably for a lot of different reasons; let me explain. 

First of all, I admire Ben Affleck as an actor; after watching this movie that admiration has grown exponentially! When one sees the cover of the DVD, women might think that they want to pass on this movie. After all, Ben is holding a gun in his arms so that probably means it is a shoot 'em up kind of film. It is; there is quite a bit of violence in it but there is more to it. It is the "more" that made me love the movie and become a bigger fan of Mr. Affleck.


The basic premise is that Christian Wolff (played by Ben Affleck) is a math savant who works for some of the biggest crime organizations in the world; cooking their books. He hides under the guise of a small town CPA, lives quite modestly and keeps a very low profile. He is hired by a legitimate multi-million dollar business when they think that there might be a discrepancy in the accounting of the company. Some money appears to be missing.

So far you might be thinking "well, this doesn't sound all that remarkable" and I would agree with you; so stay with me. Without giving too much away I need to explain more about Christian. It isn't so much that he is extraordinary when it comes to numbers, it is that he is actually an autistic savant. Ben Affleck portrays a very believable adult who falls into the high functioning spectrum of autism.

It is this part of the movie that moved me the most, the story of a man with autism. We see glimpses of his past in an era when not much was known about autism by the medical professionals and the parents of kids with autism. We see the abuses suffered by a child who can't grasp the concept of social skills, who can't cope when they aren't able to finish a process or their routine is disrupted. We see a misguided parent trying to help his child be able to function in society. It is all of this that touched my heart deeply.

This movie is one that I think men will enjoy because of the macho fighting scenes and that part of the story. It is one that women will be touched by because of the back story of a person with special needs. My husband and I watch a lot of movies together and we both loved this movie very much. I don't think that you will be disappointed if you watch it, too. There are a lot of surprises with twists and turns in the plot.





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Monday, August 7, 2017

Moodle Stressed Review

Moodles - doodles that change your mood.
What is a Moodle? In a Google search, the word "Moodle" brings up a variety of search results. The Moodle I am reviewing is a book series that was designed by the author to improve mood through doodling. This is a book that I personally would have picked up from the shelf, flipped through, then put back on the shelf and wandered away. But after seeing the Stressed volume put to use, I decided that I needed to help spread the word about the Moodle series.  


What is a Moodle and why is there a series?


The Moodle books were written and illustrated by Emily Portnoi. She describes the books as:


"...a new concept in therapeutic doodling - fun doodle books for adults or children, with the power to change your mood"  -- Emily Portnoi

Ms. Portnoi is a Designer, Art Director, and Illustrator. I think that her enjoyment of aesthetics and fun art is easy to see in the pages of her book.


Why I recommend the Moodle Stressed Volume


Since I admitted that this is a book that I would have leafed through then left behind on the bookstore shelf, why would I now recommend that very same book? I recommend it because one of my "kids" recommended it. And I watched as this young person "Moodled" into calmness.

There is nothing new about coloring, doodling, and fidgeting (keeping the hands busy while focusing on a task) as a means of relieving stress or anxiety. Ms. Portnoi writes that her books are a new concept in therapeutic doodling. I don't fully agree with that statement. Doodling/drawing is something that I've done with the kids I work with for just over two decades now (wow, time flies!). Some of the doodles in the Moodle book were very similar to things I've done with the kids over the years.

Are you still wondering why I recommend these books? I can see why you would be wondering that.  Let me explain a little more.


  • The size of the book is a handy size (approx. 6" x 7.8").   
  • The bold print of the illustrations is eye-catching and Ms. Portnoi's illustrations are fun and engaging.  
  • What is new about her books is the variety of activities. All of the suggested doodles are open-ended and can be as brief or detailed as the user chooses.  
  • The page corners are rounded and smooth
  • The pages are thick and a slightly "slick" paper stock (I am not a publisher, so I am unsure of the correct terminology). Not too slick for pens and pencils, but not regular rough paper stock.
  • The feel/texture of the pages were clearly pleasing to the youngster I was with while we colored in the book.

A few quick photos I took of some of the pages in the Stressed volume to show the variety of activities

The book is suitable for pencils, pens, and colored pencils. I did note that my young friend was using markers and gel pens. Some of the most vibrant and "wet" ink markers/pens did slightly bleed through the pages while some of the gel pens did not.

While this book was not my cup of tea, it was clearly very enjoyable for this young person. The activity did in fact improve mood and release stress in a remarkably short period of time. 

As we sat and colored, I realized that I should stock up on some of the books in this series. I think that the book series will be helpful for folks who need to calm, focus, release stress, and improve mood. In my mind, I created a list of some of the people I will recommend the book to - including folks on the Autism Spectrum and who have difficulties with symptoms of anxiety, impulsivity, and ADHD.


The Moodles series offered on Amazon - including Moodles Happy


Related Link


I enjoy coloring and doodling and was recently reminded of the importance of carrying supplies with me. I prefer mandala style coloring pages and discovered these small on-the-go adult coloring books.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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