SEARCH: Reaching For The Stars

Reaching For The Stars
by Lillian Csernica  

59480290_1266744913482742_2669551250839699456_nPeople with autistic spectrum disorder sometimes develop a strong interest in a specific subject. That interest can progress to what some might call an obsession. 

While neurotypical children may grow out of a particular “hobby” and move on to more age-appropriate subjects, ASD children often find what they like and stick with it. In the educational field, the term “preferred interests” describes the activities or areas of study that interest ASD people the most, distinguishing the interest from being a fixation or an instance of perseveration.

In January 2017, Kristin Patten Koenig and Lauren Hough Williams published Characterization and Utilization of Preferred Interests: A Survey of Adults on the Autism Spectrum. The study explains why these “preferred interests” are not drawbacks but vital elements… Continue reading in the Fall 2019 issue.

SEARCH: Bring the Zoo to You

Bring the Zoo to

by Lillian Csernica

DIYZooSummer is that wonderful time of year when people get out into the sunshine. A favorite destination is the zoo. There’s nothing like seeing a tiger roar in person or watching a hippopotamus enjoying a swim. Here’s a way to make it possible to visit the zoo every day, and the zoo can be completely different every time.

Materials:
A large pad of white paper, the type sold for finger painting.
Painter’s tape
Waxed paper
Craft sticks
Toothpicks
Pipe cleaners
Colored markers
Crayons
Play-Doh or its off-brand equivalent
Cookie cutters shaped like animals
Stickers (animals, food, plants and flowers, balloons, etc.)

This list can be expanded to include whatever you and your fellow zoo builders want to use. A trip to the dollar store can provide everything you need for less than ten dollars.

Time: 30 minutes for the basic zoo. You can add as many details as you like!
read more in the Summer 2019 issue.

SEARCH: The Wonders of Kyoto

The Wonders of Kyoto

by Lillian Csernica

Kyoto-cc-by-SAIf you’re interested in experiencing the wonders of both ancient and modern Japan, then you must visit Kyoto. I live in California. It took one car, three planes, a bus, and a taxi to get me from my home to the hotel in Kyoto. Does that sound exhausting? It was, but what I found in Kyoto made it all worthwhile.

Kyoto Station Kyoto Station is huge and beautiful. The clerk at my hotel assured me I could find whatever I wanted inside Kyoto Station, and she was right. In addition to the train station, you’ll find a theater, two malls, a museum, a bus station, a 540-room hotel, and at least two dozen restaurants. Kyoto Station has its own zip code. No wonder! It’s a city unto itself. Someone is always ready to help, both the officials and the everyday folks.

At Kyoto Station, they’re used to helping foreigners find their way around, and many of the taxi drivers are eager to practice their English language skills. One driver played American rock-n-roll on his radio. While we talked about his favorite bands, he opened the glove box and … read more in the Spring 2019 issue.

SEARCH: Qualified to Serve

Qualified to Serve
by Lillian Csernica

AutismMy grandfather, uncles, and father served in the U.S. Navy. I asked my son John if he wanted to join the military. Although, he doesn’t like guns or barracks life, he does believe people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder shouldn’t categorically be denied the opportunity.

However, if he had been interested, he would not have qualified. Any diagnosis of ASD disqualifies you for appointment, enlistment, or induction into the United States Armed Forces. Like most neurotypical people, the military mistakenly believe people with ASD all have identical symptoms. Military.com provides these specifics:

CANNOT JOIN IF YOU HAVE

  • Permanent motor or sensory deficits.
  • Care by a physician or other mental health professional for more than 6 months.
  • Symptoms or behavior of a repeated nature that impaired social, school, or work efficiency.
  • Specific academic skills defects, chronic history of academic skills or perceptual defects, secondary to organic or functional mental disorders that interfere with work or school after age 12.
  • Current use of medication to improve or maintain academic skills.

When it comes to determining fitness for service in the armed forces, the data available now shows .… Continue reading in the Winter 2018 issue of SEARCH magazine.