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Janelle Dvorak

I would absolutely love to read a memoir of this sort, especially written by you. The love and care and occasional despair you and Mrs. M. have felt on this journey have been obvious.

Ann Petitjean

I am a teacher in the public school system. These blogs about this family's journey have helped me understand Asperger's. We see children who are dealing with this every year and these posts give us a family perspective. Keep writing! I will always read.

DaveH

Lance,
I suspect you're familiar with Michael Berube; blogger, Penn State prof and father of a Down's Syndrome son? I don't know if he could help you but I'd like to think that he'd listen to you.

mac macgillicuddy

The latest Writer's Market 2011 has a section listing literary agents by category. A whole group of agents under contemorary issues, and then you can cross reference with another section of the book that gives details on each agent, how to contact, etc. It's not exactly a personal in, but those two posts you mention are the perfect book proposal.

Also, a friend and colleague of mine is very involved in advocacy and may know some people who know some people. I'll check and get back to you.

Michael Bartley

I wish I had something concrete for you Lance. I can only add my voice to the others and encourage you to go forward with it. Write it, please. I'll buy it read it and when I'm done, I'll kiss the spine which is what I do whenever a book has moved me deeply. It will be great Lance that much I know. So, again, as we used to say to psyche ourselves up when standing beneath a great mountain to climb or raging river to cross, "Go for it."

Ohio Mom

Don't know if this will help, but the women who operate/run/manage (what is the correct verb for what one does when one has a blog?) http://thinkingautismguide.blogspot.com/ collect essays on line, then publish anthologies. Their first book just came out.

Cassandra

My father has Asberger's, and I've never understood the notion about AS sufferers supposedly lacking empathy. He's really not a sociopath.

I would absolutely love to read this book.

M.  George Stevenson

Dear Lance:
I'll mention it to a agent friend who, if he doesn't want to do it himself, will know whom you should contact. Send me a message on Facebook and I'll give you the particulars, once I've spoken to him.

Have you read Tim Page's book, Parallel Play? It's about being an Asperger's sufferer as well as the parent of an Asperger's child. He's a music critic (Pulitzer while at Washington Post) and it's about being an Asperger's sufferer as well as the parent of an Asperger's child. I've known him for more than 30 years now, so I have complicated feelings about the book, but it's done well so if you wanted to go straight to his editor, you might get somewhere so long as you offer some good stats about your blog traffic.

Lance Mannion

Thanks for the advice and encouragement, folks, I'm very excited about this.

Cassandra, I think one of the problems in dealing with Asperger's is that some people classify it as a form of autism and the lack of affect exhibited by some autistics is taken for a lack of empathy. It's a topic I plan to explore in the book.

M. George, thanks. I'll shoot you the note this morning.

I read Page's New Yorker piece a few years ago but I haven't read his book
. I just put in on reserve at the library.

Ohio Mom

Yes! Please write the definitive piece explaining that Asperger's and other ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) have NOTHING to do with sociopathy. This is something sorely needed, and hasn't yet been done -- at least as I have been able to determine via google. And I've tried more than once.

Sadly (and irritatingly) I keep seeing this mistake/slur all over blogtopia -- e.g., just weeks ago, for , on Crooks & Liars, Blue Gal wrote something along the lines of "Obama, stop being so autistic," when she really meant, "have some pity, already." (IIRC, the topic was Social Security).

Calling someone who is acting in an unfeeling manner "autistic" seems to be some sort of cool new slang. But unlike other slang, there's no wit here; instead, ironically, there's only the sort of meaness the person misusing the term is attempting to protest.

tatterfiend

I've never lacked for empathy. Just have a funny way of expressing it sometimes - for example, I don't enjoy touching other people, so hugging a sad person isn't an automatic reaction.

Linda Leeson

Lance, you're on to something with the empathy comment. My 19 year old Aspie avoids people because he finds others' feelings unbearably overwhelming. Just like he can't shut out the sound of a pencil scratching or the smell of a cup of coffee, he can't block out others' feelings. His primary emotional reality is his dogs and birds because the only thing they flood him with is love. I'd love to read your book--I'm so tired of the heartwarming articles about gentle tweeness and brave parents. It would be wonderful to read a book that's heartfelt and true.

K

Oh, Asperger's.

I have to say that I don't actually have it, but got accused of having it numerous times, mostly by my mother, before it got diagnosed correctly as depression and treated.

The main reason I mention this is that regardless of whether a person has Asperger's or not, society really seems to have a problem relating to the people who aren't super-gregarious or super-emotional folk. People who have Asperger's syndrome are usually a subset of this group.

In my case, it's more quasi-PTSD-esque-lite-ish combined with my personality in general (not to demean people who have actually had PTSD, but that's the closest explanation I could come up with for it): I'm already an introvert and not overly emotionally expressive.

Combine this with having been through a number of situations where I've been subjected to anything from manipulation to outright verbal and physical abuse by people who were, in all situations, being massively irrational, overemotional, and completely ignorant of reality. It all mashes together - and the result is a person who is moderately reclusive and fairly terrified and contemptuous when it comes to a lot of people: I don't know who's the nut in a room, or alternatively which people are safe and smart and rational enough to confide various bits of information in or help me, and this is painfully hard to figure out, to be completely honest, because it takes considerably more probing than might be considered socially acceptable in public. I'm also female, and there are added precautions that often have to be taken where that's concerned.

I'm an undergrad at present. I go to classes. I do well (I'm a biology major, I have a 3.5 cumulative GPA and a 4.0 major GPA, and I'm headed toward a PhD program). But I usually come straight home - and I commute to classes - because almost everyone else my age inspires in me a mixture of fear and contempt (I'm not friendless, but the only person I trust well enough to call my best friend lives abroad). Sure, I know how to conduct myself socially - there are plenty of people I know who as far as I'm aware have respect for me. In general, though, I find most folks vaguely terrifying. It's a sort of quiet terror that doesn't prevent me from getting things done and venturing widely in the world around me, but it's enough that I keep my distance from nearly everybody and can come off pretty coldly at times.

The whole point of this long and terribly disorganized essay is that sure, you can teach your kid what it takes to socially function when he needs to - don't talk in an outdoor voice indoors, make conversational topics flow smoothly, don't pick your nose in public, the whole bunch - but don't make your kid be anything other than himself. My parents tried to make me more social than I wanted to be and it plunged me into depression that lasted my entire childhood.

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