The Life Autistic Documentary - Free Educational videos for Students in K-12 | Lumos Learning

The Life Autistic Documentary - Free Educational videos for Students in k-12


The Life Autistic Documentary - By Lumos Learning



Transcript
00:0-1 This program is part of the move to include initiative
00:03 made possible with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
00:07 , a private corporation funded by the American People ,
00:13 the Max and Helen Guernsey Charitable Foundation , in support
00:18 of educational programming on statewide Iowa PBS . Autism spectrum
00:27 disorder affects how an individual processes information and interprets the
00:32 world . As the prevalence of autism increases , so
00:36 do efforts to understand and provide assistance to those affected
00:40 by ASD . The Life Autistic series explores the successes
00:46 and challenges of individuals at different life stages . My
00:50 name is Tyler . Learn about my story and meet
00:54 others on the spectrum from the very young to the
00:58 elderly , living the life autistic . Well , sure
01:24 . Thank you for telling me . Oh , more
01:28 bubbles . The diagnosis of autism talks about significant impairment
01:36 and communication socialization . And , uh , this last
01:39 category of these restricted , repetitive and stereotypical patterns of
01:42 behaviors . Autism isn't developmentally delayed . Autism is a
01:48 different operating system . Think of it in terms of
01:51 it not being right or wrong , but just a
01:53 different way that people take in information and how they
01:56 organize that information . And then how they share that
01:58 information with other people and these are all things that
02:01 are impacted by autism . So I think early intervention
02:05 is one of the most important things that , um
02:08 , we can direct families towards or identify for families
02:11 . When they get started . Kids grow and they
02:14 start with foundational types of goals and needs . And
02:18 really , those grow on each other . So I
02:20 think the earlier you can intervene , the better it
02:23 is to build those foundations and those blocks that they
02:25 need to succeed as they grow . Mhm . Uh
02:35 huh . I tell him , Good night , every
02:37 night , and he says , Then I love you
02:39 . That's something I did not know I'd ever here
02:42 . So that's been huge . He's always making just
02:46 strides forward and forward . Oh , I didn't hear
02:50 you say Go Ready , set , go . He's
02:57 always been very , very happy . But there was
02:59 a lot of moments of anxiety and stress and things
03:03 that we're seeing a lot less of , and I
03:05 think that's because he's just kind of figuring out how
03:09 to interact with the world . Better out came the
03:13 sun and dried up all the rain , so itsy
03:18 bitsy spider climbed up the spout again . I can't
03:23 imagine my life , our lives how it was a
03:27 year ago just because it's so different and we still
03:29 have a lot of work to do . But he's
03:32 just marching along , making huge , huge strides .
03:37 So my son Finn , he is four years old
03:42 . He has autism . He is very , very
03:46 inquisitive , very curious about the world , mostly items
03:50 objects , not necessarily people . So much so overwhelming
03:55 in that first beginning stages because it's a life you
03:59 never really could have even planned . Or you don't
04:01 even think about what a person with a child with
04:04 autism does to help them . You know , you
04:07 just you don't think about that . He was a
04:09 very easy , happy baby . Um , nothing alarming
04:14 as we started to kind of introduce solid foods had
04:17 a really big aversion to it , you know ,
04:18 kind of gagging . And the biggest kind of red
04:23 flag was there was no talking at all . He
04:25 just didn't have a lot of even really babbling .
04:31 We didn't think like autism because he did always give
04:34 eye contact , gave kisses and was affectionate . I
04:37 think it's probably his 18 month appointment . His doctor
04:40 suggested a developmental doctor , and by that point things
04:44 were kind of popping up a little more . You
04:46 know he's flapping his hands and spinning around in circles
04:49 and things like that . Hi , Ben is a
04:54 hard worker . He's going to try really , really
04:57 hard to do what you ask of him . What
04:59 do you say to Mom ? And this environment is
05:03 all new to him at the Children's Autism Project .
05:05 So to come in and and engage with all kinds
05:08 of new toys and new people and new kids really
05:10 does tell you a little bit about him as a
05:12 person . It's empty . That's a light . We
05:17 go five days a week here from 9 to 11
05:20 30 then he goes over to child serve and they
05:23 have an Autism Day health program . So during that
05:26 time , he's there for five hours . Mhm .
05:30 You're popping them . The research on early intervention in
05:33 autism is profound . The earlier a child is diagnosed
05:37 and intervention can begin , the more likelihood that you'll
05:40 have the most desirable outcomes and the most desirable outcomes
05:44 is to be as independent as possible Pipe cleaner .
05:48 Hi , good trying . So in this case ,
05:52 within one of the most significant barriers for him is
05:56 that he doesn't have a concept of safety it has
05:59 been . One of our major focus is to teach
06:02 him to stay with us without holding onto our hands
06:05 without running into other rooms . Stay with me to
06:08 the lion room , be safe . There we go
06:13 . That's staying together . His other area of big
06:17 need is his communication skills . He it has recently
06:21 learned to make some level of local language to get
06:24 his needs and wants met . However , he's not
06:26 always understandable . Clean , clean , clean . Being
06:35 understood is so important because it also is what establishes
06:37 trust . And he comes here . And he needs
06:40 to trust that when he says something , his words
06:42 have power , so that later in life , when
06:44 he's older , when he really needs to tell someone
06:46 that something's wrong or he needs help with something that
06:49 he has that built in relationship of communication . In
06:52 addition to that , behaviorally , there's some challenges .
06:54 He engages in some Syriana fee , and you might
06:58 have seen that with the pipe cleaner where he kind
07:00 of flips them around in front of his eyes .
07:02 And when he does those types of things , he
07:04 disengages from the people around him . Realistically , you
07:08 have to kind of keep in the back of your
07:09 mind . You know his future you have to plan
07:14 for Will he need assistance far into his adult life
07:19 ? We don't know that because that's kind of a
07:22 looming thing that you don't want to think about As
07:25 far as when I'm gone . You know what will
07:29 happen with him ? Will he be safe ? Will
07:31 he be loved ? Will he be taken care of
07:33 or will he be able to do that himself ?
07:35 What are you doing ? What are you doing ?
07:37 What are you doing ? He'll be six in June
07:42 . He is actually gonna start kindergarten this fall .
07:46 It's like you almost can't imagine how things were just
07:50 12 months ago . It's crazy . He's always steadily
07:52 made progress . But the amount of progress that he
07:55 has made is what is , um , just so
07:58 remarkable . It's really , really important to to be
08:02 in that intensive therapy world because that's how you see
08:07 progress . Everybody has to be on the same page
08:09 working really , really hard to get him to a
08:12 point where he is able to be the best He
08:16 can be yellow , yellow star . You got them
08:20 all High five . Good job . So Finn not
08:24 only receives speech therapy here twice a week , he
08:27 is also receiving occupational therapy , and he is also
08:31 receiving feeding therapy . He is getting a lot of
08:36 interaction with our therapists and his teachers today . He
08:41 asked for assistance multiple times for me , and he
08:46 requested for different objects or activities he wanted to play
08:50 with . So I would say in the last year
08:52 and a half he's hit this explosion , where he's
08:55 just started to speak more and use his voice to
08:58 change the environment around him . It's been really cool
09:01 to watch what , 231 of his behaviors that we
09:07 really , really dealt with was , um , screaming
09:09 , Uh , you know , a lot covering his
09:11 ears and screaming . And as he has made huge
09:16 progress in communication , especially , Oh , it's all
09:19 God that has gone way , way , way ,
09:21 way down . So his distress level , I would
09:23 say , in his anxiety level , that's all going
09:26 down . Finn works so incredibly hard . Every little
09:31 milestone that we meet with him or every goal that
09:34 we meet is so huge . You can't help but
09:37 feel like so proud and happy and excited . And
09:40 there are things that in a typical household wouldn't be
09:43 that big of a deal . But to us ,
09:45 they are there , such huge victories . So there
09:49 are some Children who appear maybe from the very beginning
09:53 , that something just isn't right . Then there are
09:55 others who we refer to it as a regressive form
09:59 of autism who appear to be developing in almost always
10:03 hitting their milestones until somewhere around that second birthday in
10:08 those Children , a set of skills and activities that
10:12 used to be in place just stop happening . It
10:15 may be gradual over time . There are Children who
10:18 literally were saying words and who end up nonverbal ,
10:23 and they lose those skills . Mm , mhm .
10:30 When the two were born , they did everything on
10:33 time . Crawled , walked , rolled over . Everything
10:37 was pretty much almost a week apart between the two
10:41 . I can't even tell you when he really went
10:43 downhill , all of a sudden , it just seemed
10:45 like Jack just was miserable . And that's what's hard
10:50 . Your child is , you know , developing right
10:53 along . And all of a sudden they just kind
10:55 of go down on the paper . Can you ?
11:03 Color ? Jack is three years old . He loves
11:06 to color , which is a new thing that he's
11:08 just gotten into . He's starting to clap , which
11:11 he never did before , and stop his feet once
11:14 in a while . There's certain songs that he really
11:17 loves . If you're happy and you know it ,
11:20 then your face will surely show it if you're happy
11:23 and you know we clap your hands . When Jack
11:27 was little , we couldn't even get him to sit
11:30 . He would just run off and be crying .
11:32 He didn't want to sit and do anything , didn't
11:35 play with toys appropriately . And now , if you
11:38 give him a reinforce , our like his shaker ,
11:40 he'll sit in . My immediate family is my husband
11:45 , Sean , and we have a six year old
11:47 Max . My oldest son , Max is on the
11:49 autism spectrum as well , and then Jack has a
11:52 twin sister , Josie . Oh , no , you're
12:01 not all die . Where he's at now is he
12:04 loves school for him to take the numbers one through
12:06 10 , and they can be mixed up and he
12:09 can line him up . A year ago , I
12:10 wouldn't have thought he could do that Good for you
12:13 . Jack is a kindergartener here in Northeast Elementary School
12:16 , and he's in the general classroom . I would
12:18 say about 80% of his day . And then he
12:20 comes in here for a lot of intense one on
12:22 one work with his goals . Right now , Jack
12:25 right now is nonverbal . That's how I would classify
12:27 him . He does have some words , but he's
12:30 not using them to communicate so much as he's using
12:32 them just to identify certain things around the room .
12:35 Guy Pay pig , pig , pig , Jack Strength
12:42 . Right now in the classroom are his letters and
12:43 numbers . He's really just fascinated by letters and numbers
12:46 . It seems to be a characteristic of Children with
12:48 autism that they do like numbers because the order of
12:51 numbers is never going to change . He is using
12:54 a piece of assistive technology right now . He's had
12:57 it for about four weeks . If you want to
12:59 drink , tell me Drink , drink , please .
13:01 And thank you . Good job , Jack . One
13:05 of the biggest things that I would like to see
13:07 for Jack is for him to have a way to
13:09 communicate . Right now , he's not able to let
13:11 us know I'm hurt or I'm sick or I'm hungry
13:15 or I'm grumpy right now . Just leave me alone
13:17 . He doesn't have a way to say those things
13:20 . Jack has a one on one associate , which
13:22 he needs because of the fact that he could run
13:26 off at any point if somebody wasn't watching him .
13:28 And still , he's not completely potty trained , so
13:32 he needs help with that . Potty training is like
13:36 my next school that I would love to have done
13:38 . That's you keep working on the speech . I've
13:43 heard him say words . He said words at school
13:46 , so I know he can speak . It's just
13:48 getting it out of him . He's just a happier
13:53 child , and the earlier you can start doing intervention
13:57 , the better . That's been huge for Jack .
14:00 When we started , I thought , Oh , his
14:02 goal was to get him to sit for 10 minutes
14:04 without crying or running off , and then today you
14:08 see him and he'll sit and do work . Safety
14:14 is the biggest thing , especially for a child like
14:16 Jack , and that's why we do swimming lessons ,
14:19 because we want to make sure that he's able if
14:22 he gets in a pool or gets into a pond
14:24 or something , that he can get up and get
14:26 back to the side . Like if he fell off
14:27 a dock or something . Because that was my biggest
14:30 fear . Mm . I have had Jack on my
14:40 roster for the last year and a half . When
14:42 I first got him as an eighth grader , he
14:45 was displaying some more negative behaviors . Whereas he was
14:49 maybe having some self injurious behaviors . He got upset
14:54 . He would maybe hit his head a little bit
14:56 . He had We called them vocal aggressions . Sometimes
15:04 he would leave the area where he was supposed to
15:06 be because something else was bothering him . Or he
15:10 wanted to Just get out of work . Jack ,
15:13 over here . Get your tray . It's okay .
15:16 Get your trade . Well , animal Yeah , you
15:22 say ? Yeah , we're working on him , communicating
15:26 more so rather than the behaviors being the form of
15:29 communication , we're having him use his argumentative alternative communication
15:34 device to say what might be bothering him or ask
15:38 for a break . I would describe him as low
15:42 verbal , so he has the ability to speak .
15:46 And we hear that often in little snippets or short
15:49 little phrases or one word answers Rabbit the rabbit .
15:56 Good trying , Jack . But when it comes to
16:00 having a conversation , that's something . At this point
16:03 in time , he still has a little bit of
16:05 a wall in front of him that we need to
16:07 help him jump over nice hands . One of the
16:11 things that Jack does communicative Lee is he reverses his
16:16 sounds , or he'll put an initial sound at the
16:19 end of a word . So saying fish is very
16:22 hard for Jack . It sounds like Sri Shish because
16:25 he's not sure about exactly where to have proper mouth
16:28 placement . Yes , they're wise . You've got your
16:32 sounds good jump , Jack . I would say Jack's
16:37 area of strength is doing work tasks that are very
16:41 repetitive that have a clear answer for T High five
16:49 . Good job . 63 High five . Good job
16:54 . He needs to know . Here's how I started
16:57 . Here's exactly how I do it and here's how
16:59 I end it . You do see that no matter
17:03 what abilities or disabilities the students have , they are
17:08 teenagers , so they're going to have the same feelings
17:13 that a neuro typical student might have . Jack also
17:17 sometimes struggles with understanding social cues from other people .
17:21 One of the biggest challenges is he has feelings that
17:27 he doesn't know how to appropriately display and communicate with
17:31 us . So We're trying to help him navigate when
17:34 you're frustrated . This is what you could do .
17:38 We also really hit up the living component where we're
17:42 working on hygiene or , um , living skills .
17:46 And one of the big living skills for Jack is
17:49 making his lunch . So we're trying to help him
17:52 understand It's your lunch . You need to be the
17:56 one that makes it , because as an adult ,
17:59 if he's hungry , I want him someday to be
18:01 able to go to the kitchen and do it on
18:04 his own . It's scary at times to think about
18:07 that , but it's a skill that he needed to
18:10 have last year . Yeah , where was this child
18:15 ? As a three year old , as a seven
18:18 year old as an eighth grader ? Right , gone
18:23 . It's everything that we do , and all of
18:26 the goals from here on out are very much aligned
18:29 to What is Jack Hope for himself in the future
18:33 ? What do parents hope for him in the future
18:35 ? And how can we meld those into applicable goals
18:40 that will make a difference for him for the rest
18:43 of his life ? Mhm . Probably down the road
18:46 when he's 18 1920 . If he's still , you
18:51 know where he needs full time care ? What do
18:53 you mean ? What do you do ? Is there
18:55 places that he can live That he can have help
18:58 where he can go out and get a job and
19:01 come back and live somewhat independently ? That's probably the
19:06 biggest goal . And the biggest fear . No ,
19:10 I'm uh huh , Yeah , yeah . I definitely
19:24 think he knows he's different . But understanding what role
19:28 autism plays in that is going to be a difficult
19:32 conversation . I don't think he necessarily feels bad about
19:36 it or feels sorry for himself . Generally is a
19:40 pretty happy go lucky kid . Kids , even before
19:47 a year start to babble . And Brandon didn't even
19:50 babble . He was just silent unless he cried as
19:56 he progressed . We still had no speech , and
19:59 that was really kind of a huge red flag for
20:01 us . Was that he wasn't saying anything . No
20:04 words , no sounds nothing . Yeah , In the
20:09 meantime , we were having some more tantrums and really
20:13 difficult behavior . He was difficult to take out in
20:17 public . We kept adding therapies . And so we
20:21 started with speech . And then we added ot occupational
20:25 therapy . And then we added feeding therapy Yes .
20:29 And then we added , um , the Children's autism
20:32 project here . So for a time , he was
20:35 essentially doing four different therapies . But there comes a
20:38 time where we can't do it all anymore . And
20:41 we have two other kids who are now in activities
20:44 . Carter plays basketball . Jana does dance , and
20:47 there's a lot of guilt . Where am I doing
20:50 Enough and trying to balance all three of them at
20:52 the same time ? Yeah , yeah , yeah .
21:01 Mhm . Brandon is obsessed with Mario Mario Brothers Super
21:08 Mario . He loves every Mario game , and that's
21:12 been an interest of his for a really long time
21:15 . And if we let Brandon , he would play
21:17 video games all day , every day . And so
21:20 we work on rotating different activities throughout our day so
21:23 that he gets some time with the electronics , but
21:26 then also has time to go outside or read or
21:30 cut paper or some of the other things that he
21:32 likes to do . One . Let's do some scooter
21:40 . Does that sound like a plan ? Yeah ,
21:43 Yeah , right . Thank him . Triggered it .
21:55 Oh , really ? Is that rough ? Yes .
21:58 How about tell you what we do ? A little
22:03 bit of chalk and you can sit and also see
22:05 Super Mario . I'll do it on the driveway .
22:09 There's no sun , so you don't have to worry
22:12 about getting sweaty . Okay ? What do you think
22:18 ? You want to go find some chalk ? Green
22:25 green scene ? Yeah . Dreams . It's kind of
22:31 like a mix right with green and yellow . Yeah
22:39 , yeah , yeah . I didn't . Yeah ,
22:41 not yet . Did a good job . I need
22:43 the time . Okay . No time or yet .
22:48 What do you think ? How did this Maybe after
22:51 the chop Middle school and high school are tough socially
22:58 for anybody . And for him , the gap will
23:01 get whiter as kids start to be interested in movies
23:04 and music and things like that and , you know
23:07 , interested in boys and girls and he's not going
23:10 to have those interests . He's still gonna be playing
23:12 Mario , probably . And so , um , friendship
23:15 is really hard . And that's a concern I have
23:17 for when he's an adult to being the parent of
23:22 a special needs child is a huge stress . On
23:27 day on , day to day , living right ,
23:30 he was stressed on relationships with ourselves , each other
23:35 with friends outside of our family , which makes us
23:40 a very tight and close knit family . There's a
23:42 lot of love between the five of us , but
23:45 it doesn't come without its challenges . Yeah . Oh
23:52 , yeah . What ? Color green . I don't
23:57 have any green the Children's autism project here . Really
24:01 , though I mean , has changed our lives .
24:03 I don't know where Brandon would be if we have
24:05 not spent the past 5.5 years here . Disease X
24:08 . We'll ask for a break if someone is out
24:12 an area that Brandon really struggles with his understanding why
24:14 people engage in social behavior and especially why they engage
24:18 in behavior that he doesn't like . So when Brandon
24:20 here is a baby screaming in a public location ,
24:23 he will get frustrated and attempt to yell at the
24:25 baby and tell it to stop crying . He doesn't
24:28 understand that they're not out to get him . And
24:30 so we do a lot of perspective taking on Why
24:33 is this person upset ? How is your behavior impacting
24:37 them ? My name is Brandon . I like to
24:41 play the Wii . Oh , Brandon is pretty famous
24:47 right now for saying it's no big deal whenever something
24:49 happens . And that's something that we taught him to
24:51 cope with . Those challenges every year . I think
24:54 we push Brandon on some phobia and some fear ,
24:57 and he always comes out on top . You're going
25:00 to move . Do you think you can do that
25:03 with decimals ? Let's go ahead and do this problem
25:05 today , please . How do we say that ?
25:08 First number 32 and one 10th times Times eight tens
25:21 . Good job . I am Brandon's general education teacher
25:24 . He's in my classroom 80% of the time .
25:26 Um , 20% of the time , he's in special
25:29 education . He really loves math . Anything on the
25:32 computer , I could see him just continuing his love
25:36 for computers and just being a whiz on the computer
25:39 . He's a very good speller . He's a very
25:42 good reader . It's the comprehension side of reading that
25:45 is a little more difficult , especially as books are
25:48 getting more challenging and there's a lot more inferring .
25:51 But my expectations for him in the classroom are just
25:54 like everyone else's . And he really rises to the
25:56 challenge . Yeah , man shows where your next round
26:04 , the shoulders . Show them the way . That's
26:07 it . Yeah . Okay . Yeah . On there
26:34 . Yeah . Thank you . Okay . Brandon is
26:41 only in special education classroom for 30 minutes . of
26:44 reading instruction and 30 minutes of social skills instruction .
26:47 So to work on that social emotional behavior piece he
26:51 now is working on over the last year having a
26:53 conversation and being able to start a conversation with his
26:57 peers and to carry on the conversation , how to
27:00 appropriately end it and not just get up and walk
27:03 away or say , I'm done . How do you
27:06 like we're gonna highlight that ? Thank you . Brandon
27:10 is the only student I've ever had in 22 years
27:13 to start from kindergarten through fifth grade . He's grown
27:17 a lot from this little kiddo that didn't talk a
27:20 whole lot , just trying to get him to work
27:22 and stuff . And then to this guy that who
27:24 now he talks and he'll have a conversation with you
27:27 and he'll ask you questions , greets you every morning
27:31 . It will be amazing to watch him over the
27:33 next seven years to see what he does for sixth
27:35 through 12th grade . No , maybe three . Depending
27:38 on the weather . Yeah , we know he's gonna
27:41 have limitations . We just don't know obviously what all
27:44 those will be in long term . What happens when
27:47 we're gone ? What will he do once . Once
27:51 . We're not around anymore . That also makes me
27:54 emotional . That's what keeps me up at night ,
27:55 is what happens when we're gone . Best for the
27:58 bullet . He has two amazing siblings , but that's
28:01 a lot of pressure to put on a sibling to
28:04 , so we want Brandon to be as independent as
28:06 possible . Brandon has changed our lives , and he's
28:15 had a huge impact on us , and I think
28:17 we both found a strength that we didn't know that
28:20 we had . We just hope that by raising awareness
28:23 and telling our story that people just be a little
28:26 more kind , that they will be a little bit
28:28 more understanding for those who are different from them .
28:30 And even though Brandon struggles with speech and he struggles
28:33 with social skills , he wants the same things that
28:36 we do . Sometimes it is really , really hard
28:38 , but sometimes it's also just amazing , because I
28:41 feel like we really have a idea of what's really
28:44 important in life , and sometimes it's not all that
28:46 superficial stuff . And if people could understand that ,
28:50 then um I guess we've done our job , isn't
28:53 going , Yeah , okay . Siblings of Children with
29:03 autism play a really important role for their brothers or
29:06 sisters . They often are models for developmental skills that
29:12 their sibling might be lacking , and because of that
29:16 , they often are the catalyst for their sibling .
29:20 With autism , developing communication skills or social or play
29:24 skills . They also are often their sibling with autism's
29:30 first friend , or maybe even their best friend and
29:33 quite often their greatest defender working with adolescents . It
29:36 is particularly challenging , uh , only because there's an
29:42 end to the financial support when they graduate at the
29:48 end of the 21st year or in the 21st birthday
29:52 , the world changes . It just gets overwhelming when
29:57 we sit down and try and think about what we
30:00 have to do in that very short amount of time
30:03 . But we have to get better at it .
30:05 We have to get better at this whole thing ,
30:06 because when I look at adults and we have this
30:10 growing number of individuals , you know that leading edge
30:14 of the epidemic of autism diagnoses when all of a
30:18 sudden everybody was like Oh my God , so many
30:20 kids with autism being diagnosed and like they're all becoming
30:22 adults now , I've also been here long enough to
30:26 know some Children that have started when they were in
30:29 preschool and now are transitioned into high school and doing
30:32 so well and even going to college or other dreams
30:36 that maybe they had for their child . We are
30:42 working on some job skill related things . Anything hands
30:45 on with Matthew is great . He is on more
30:48 of a functional learning program now , so we can
30:50 start kind of looking past high school . What are
30:53 things gonna look like ? Matthew is 1/9 grader right
30:58 now . I've had him since he's been 1/6 grader
31:00 . He comes from us to us from Corning ,
31:02 a different school district . Um , Matthew is a
31:05 lot of fun . He's got a very bubbly personality
31:10 . I know that when he first came to us
31:12 , Mom was worried because that wasn't always the case
31:15 . However , I think the pen to gotten his
31:17 learning style pegged a little bit . And , um
31:20 , we try to capitalize on that , and he
31:22 he's one of those kids that really does like school
31:24 . I mean , he comes here , you'll see
31:26 what he walked from the door . He'll have a
31:27 smile on his face . Do you guys like learning
31:30 ? Matthew ? Do you like learning . I could
31:37 just take your smile . Yeah , you do ,
31:38 don't you ? Very good . He's somebody who can
31:41 be distracted very easily . We are working on communications
31:44 . And in the past , if we've ever seen
31:46 any kind of adverse behaviors or anything like that ,
31:48 it's never been in a mean way . Honestly ,
31:51 it's just him trying to communicate . And so for
31:53 the last several years , we've just seen a study
31:55 increase in his abilities . Matthew , can you put
31:57 the pennies in the penny bag ? Yeah . Mm
32:03 , yeah . Mhm . Good morning , Matthew .
32:11 Because communication is a deficit . He has his communication
32:14 device . His is more of a physical nonverbal .
32:17 I think if if he had the ability to make
32:19 his vocal cords work in the way he wanted to
32:21 , he would . Because you'll see him , he
32:23 will try to say worse . He very much understands
32:27 how to use his communication device to communicate with others
32:30 , which is really cool . You know , he
32:31 uses that at school he uses at home . He
32:33 uses it when we go to our community outings or
32:36 community experiences . We do run into situations that were
32:41 just really not sure what he wants . Then what
32:44 do you have a very good different . I'm not
32:47 sure what he's wanting . I think it's true which
32:49 one ? Which one perfect example . They have so
32:56 much going on with their sensory systems . You know
32:58 , the lighting even , just like I'm sitting here
33:01 looking at you . They're taking in all of that
33:03 , and then all of a sudden they literally could
33:06 not hear you . Matthew kind of had been like
33:10 that in the past . You could tell he was
33:11 taking in all of his surroundings in his environment .
33:14 But now he's got that focus down to where he
33:16 can actually really dive into what the person is saying
33:19 and go beyond those scripted messages that we work on
33:23 . Kind of coping with those sensory systems . Thanks
33:29 . Yes , yes , very good . As an
33:31 adolescent , Matthew goes through all of those changes every
33:35 other teenage boy would go through . You know ,
33:37 we're starting to see him go through some hormone and
33:40 puberty changes . He's gonna eventually here need to learn
33:43 how to shave . There's different hygiene , things that
33:45 we're going to need to start learning , or he's
33:47 gonna need to start learning . Um , so we'll
33:49 work on that at school , you know , alongside
33:51 mom and dad at home . But hormones and in
33:53 puberty is the biggest thing , because that in itself
33:57 causes more attention issues it causes . My body feels
34:01 funny . I don't know how to deal with that
34:02 . You know , all of these things are going
34:04 , so it's more sensory challenges on top of what's
34:06 already there . Okay , brush teeth , right ?
34:13 You'll see . I also work on a lot of
34:16 sequencing things . So if you think about jobs that
34:18 we do every day , usually they have an order
34:20 to them . So just anything we can do to
34:22 help Matthew understand that there's an order and purpose to
34:25 everything that we do . Number one group work ,
34:28 which is a huge thing that we've been able to
34:29 accomplish this year , and his attention has greatly increased
34:33 . We work on the social aspect of it ,
34:35 so it's not just the content of what I might
34:37 be reading your teaching . It's more of the body
34:40 awareness , the social skills . If somebody else is
34:43 talking , whether it be appear or an adult ,
34:45 can I turn and actively listen in hopes that they'll
34:49 keep capitalizing on those skills and then be able to
34:51 use that outside of the of our room . It
34:54 doesn't do me any good if they can do it
34:55 here , but they can't do it , you know
34:57 , in the hallways , at school or when we
34:58 do our community experiences . Okay , we're gonna take
35:01 that We got are looking for our school and our
35:09 level through program does have a coffee shop that we
35:10 run . We always make our coffee shop baked goods
35:13 like today . It's , um , muffins . And
35:16 we have breakfast enchiladas . We do . Deliveries between
35:21 our high school are elementary and our courthouse downtown .
35:25 That's a great way to work on the social and
35:27 the communication goals that we've been working on here to
35:29 transfer them out . It also works on money skills
35:34 . I always like it when I get other teachers
35:35 that'll stop me in the hallway or staff that will
35:37 email me or even like we go to the courthouse
35:40 . I small enough town . Everybody knows , you
35:42 know , they'll say , you know , we can
35:44 really see the progress your kids are making , which
35:46 is really cool . That's the number . Now we're
35:48 gonna go for the day , so I need you
35:49 to look . Look first , can you find the
35:52 same ? What is today awesome . Today is Wednesday
35:56 . Do we agree with Matthew ? In the morning
35:58 ? We do coffee shop , and then it goes
35:59 to calendar and we have a little bit of a
36:00 calendar daily news time , and then I always have
36:03 a morning walk . It just was something that kids
36:05 started asking for it . Just getting out of this
36:09 setting helps them to be able to come back and
36:11 focus . So instead of doing like 10 or 15
36:14 minutes of group work this year , we've been able
36:16 to get upwards of 45 minutes at a time .
36:19 So this morning walk is kind of provided an extended
36:21 learning ability for my students . Matthew is my first
36:26 student I've had who's going to be able to go
36:28 to Camp Camp Sunny Side . He does well in
36:31 new settings , for the most part , and he
36:33 loves to be outside . He's a kid that will
36:36 go , you know , play with the bugs on
36:37 the sidewalk , and he's kind of all boys .
36:39 So I'm really excited that he gets to go .
36:46 Mm , I think Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside really supports
36:51 individuals who haven't had an opportunity to be away from
36:54 home by giving them a safe environment for some campers
36:57 . They come and it is their first time away
36:59 from home , and they are very apprehensive and they
37:03 don't know what they want to experience or do .
37:06 And perhaps there's someone who needs that 1 to 1
37:09 support to be successful in the camp environment . What
37:13 we want to do for every single person is give
37:15 them an opportunity to do something they haven't done before
37:18 , because when you do something for the first time
37:20 in your successful , it builds confidence . And what
37:23 we know is the confidence that they experience here at
37:26 Camp . Sunnyside goes back with them in their communities
37:29 and their schools and their work , and they not
37:31 only have more confidence to try new things , but
37:35 they also experienced more success . And that's what Camp
37:37 is all about . Is creating that environment where you
37:40 are successful ? Yeah , Matthew is getting older now
37:45 . We're looking at more specific job skills specific ,
37:49 um , you know , activities that he might need
37:51 to know how to do to be successful . And
37:53 in Matthew's case , it is living , learning ,
37:55 working that we're focusing on more now so we can
37:58 help them be successful beyond high school . So building
38:01 those skills that he could potentially need in the workforce
38:04 . We don't have it really specific right now because
38:07 as he continues to grow and and shows things that
38:10 he likes and doesn't like , I mean , there
38:12 is no doubt in my mind that he will be
38:14 successful in the workforce . Well , that's mm .
38:22 I think that when you are relating to someone who
38:26 doesn't have speech or is very limited in their verbalization
38:30 , it's difficult . You don't get that reciprocal back
38:35 and forth , easy conversation . I think that people
38:38 need to remember they are listening . They are hearing
38:41 you . They are feeling it and they need to
38:44 have a voice . I like that . You do
38:47 like blocks . You pick them a lot very good
38:49 . Each of us has a communication difficulty of some
38:51 kind where there were verbal or nonverbal in one of
38:55 the most frustrating things , Um , that we experience
38:58 as humans is the inability to express ourselves the way
39:02 that we need to . Sometimes we nail it and
39:04 sometimes we miss it , so be patient and seek
39:07 to understand what the person is communicating . One of
39:09 the things people talk about with autism is theory of
39:12 mind theory of mind is the ability to look at
39:14 the world from someone else's perspective than your own and
39:18 realize that they are perceiving things differently . Cheers covers
39:22 . Yeah , we've got to stop looking at the
39:25 world from our own perspective and saying That's what's right
39:29 or wrong and recognize the greatness of saying Somebody looks
39:32 at something different , processes information , different . There's
39:35 value to them being a part of us . A
39:40 . You want a guitar ? A baby ? Good
39:45 job , Courtney . People always ask you , even
39:48 now , as Courtney is , 29 people will say
39:51 , Oh , and what does she do or where
39:53 does she work ? And so we still are explaining
39:56 that she lives in a group home in her neighborhood
39:59 and goes to a day program and about her diagnosis
40:02 , from where we started to where we are now
40:05 , it's huge for her to be able to have
40:07 those services and to have that full life and live
40:10 independently in a group home and for us , you
40:14 know , we're still kind of proud to be able
40:15 to say that . Yeah , Courtney had different traits
40:24 of autism right from day one , and she was
40:28 her first born . So we kept thinking , Oh
40:31 , you know , maybe she'll get through this or
40:32 things will be a little bit different . She did
40:35 not sleep . She never played appropriately with toys .
40:39 When Courtney was , too , we realized she taught
40:43 herself to read , and she could read and spell
40:46 everything She could not communicate . Could say a few
40:49 words . She would list what things were when Courtney
40:53 was 20 months old . Our second child was born
40:56 and I slept through the night . Like to be
40:59 held . Things were very different . And so at
41:02 that point , we knew something was off with Courtney
41:05 . And then when she was three , she was
41:07 formally diagnosed at the University of Iowa Child Psych at
41:10 the Autism Clinic after you received the diagnosis . Um
41:16 , there's a time where you're going to go through
41:19 some grieving , And that's because maybe the future that
41:23 you had planned for the child is going to be
41:26 a little bit different . And so you just have
41:28 to remember that you are not in this alone ,
41:30 but you're really important , and so is your child
41:35 . You know , when Courtney was young , she
41:37 was very active . When she turned 14 and started
41:40 having seizures , she also received an additional diagnosis of
41:43 epilepsy . She did slow down . It wasn't really
41:47 even a progression . It was just pretty quickly what
41:50 seizure started in those medications . She is much more
41:54 careful , much more slow . She still gets excited
42:00 and can be a little excitable , but it's it's
42:03 pretty short lived way you ready ? He stopped .
42:14 Oh , Kourtney is the oldest of three in our
42:21 family . She endorsed her siblings , and they adore
42:24 her as well . In high school , our son
42:27 wrote an essay about how Courtney was his hero because
42:31 she could face life always being positive with everything that
42:36 she dealt . All right , so storybook . What's
42:41 this , a good girl ? When we started to
42:46 think about possibly having Courtney moving out of our home
42:49 , she was 23 it was just a huge decision
42:54 . It took about two years before we found a
42:56 house where we could have a group home and felt
43:01 that we could turn over the care to the staff
43:04 of Christian Opportunity Center . She made the transition much
43:07 easier than my husband and I . We still have
43:11 her come home on weekends , carrot to They're just
43:16 regular homes in neighborhoods and so to support these individuals
43:23 . We wrap 24 7 , 365 day a year
43:28 care . I think Kourtney has made gains . Yes
43:31 , she has support and different things , but we
43:33 all have support in our lives . Hers is just
43:35 that . Maybe a little bit more care . Let
43:37 me help . Good job , Courtney . Yeah ,
43:42 it's the Blue Diamond with Diamond . We can't understand
43:48 what she wants all the time , and she has
43:51 to kind of think it through like if we'll say
43:55 , you know , what do you want ? And
43:56 she's knows what she wants , but she's trying to
43:58 process us to how to say it or how to
44:01 show it . So I think sometimes that is a
44:04 big challenge for her . All right . Do you
44:06 want carrots ? Cauliflower , broccoli , broccoli , Parkway
44:13 ? All right , Show me what you want .
44:16 Broccoli already ? It's broccoli we are going to have
44:22 . I think she enjoys writing the van because she'll
44:24 say music . So we listen to music in there
44:26 , and she may giggle and laugh and smile and
44:30 here , talking . So she goes to Easter Seals
44:39 program Monday , Tuesday , Wednesday and Friday . COC
44:43 transports her from her home to that program , so
44:47 The official definition is a Life Club is a day
44:49 program for adults with special needs . Courtney wears a
44:53 helmet for her safety . Kourtney is she's contagious when
44:59 she's saying kind of random phrases or she just smiles
45:04 spontaneously that is so contagious . Of course I love
45:07 you . Yeah , you know , sometimes when she's
45:10 really active some other times where she prefers to be
45:13 a little bit more quiet , Kourtney does have here's
45:16 friends that she interacts with every day . It typically
45:19 is those peers and those friends approaching Courtney there ,
45:24 John , just the understanding and kindness that they share
45:32 with one another is always very inspiring to me .
45:34 I think so many of our clients , they've had
45:38 a lot of barriers in their life , things that
45:40 they could have they could have used as an excuse
45:43 . Um , but they're always working to improve their
45:46 life . They're always working to do better . We
45:51 go on outings every day of the week into the
45:53 community . Courtney does seem to enjoy going on outings
45:57 , and I think it's important for her to have
45:59 the experiences that she wants to have you hollow .
46:04 Yeah , fair . Hello . I'm gonna bow .
46:08 No One thing that we know about disabilities is that
46:13 people have the same wants , desires and goals that
46:16 people who don't have disabilities have . But there are
46:19 often isolated from the community which they live in .
46:22 And so we want to make sure that people have
46:24 the opportunity to develop those social skills that allow them
46:27 to better , um , fit with the community that
46:29 they're living with . Yeah . Mm hmm . Mhm
46:35 . When Courtney was six , I joined the Autism
46:37 Society of Iowa . We have really started to move
46:40 from autism awareness to autism acceptance to , you know
46:44 , accepting the employee with autism and giving them a
46:48 chance at work . And , um , the classmate
46:51 and the house in your neighborhood . That is a
46:54 group home that is full of adults with autism who
46:58 also lived their lives and then also always embracing the
47:01 family . Who's raising a child with autism ? Yeah
47:10 , it's very hard for people with autism to get
47:13 jobs that use their skills in the first place .
47:18 It's very hard to even apply for a job because
47:20 if you go online and you have autism , it's
47:23 probably very difficult to fill out an online job application
47:27 . And so right from the get go , You're
47:29 at a disadvantage . We know when people have the
47:32 opportunity to work . They have healthier life in general
47:36 because they're living with purpose . And I think employers
47:39 want to work and want to bring individuals with disabilities
47:43 into their workforce . But sometimes they're not sure how
47:46 to do it . I think just for businesses to
47:49 have a better understanding that in order to employ people
47:54 with disabilities not just autism but other disabilities , they
47:57 need to do recruitment . How do we assess them
48:02 ? How do we interview them ? How do we
48:03 get them in the door in the first place ?
48:06 Yeah , I was in my forties and I was
48:13 single . I basically wanted to find somebody before I
48:19 died . You know , I didn't want to be
48:21 , didn't want to die lonely . So I ran
48:23 across this person named Margot Mouse , and we started
48:28 emailing back and forth , and about 10 years ago
48:33 this weekend , we had our first date , and
48:36 I knew my life would be changed forever . My
48:40 name is Mike Deardorff , and I am 54 years
48:43 old , and I live in Grundy Center with my
48:46 wife , Margo . She's an occupational therapist at Grundy
48:50 County Memorial hospital and I have to step sons on
48:54 the autism spectrum . One is 21 the other one
48:58 will be 19 in July . And I am autistic
49:02 . I was diagnosed at the age of four ,
49:05 and I couldn't go to school until I had to
49:09 learn to talk . This was back in 1969 when
49:14 the ratio was one in 10,000 . Hardly anybody knew
49:17 what autism was , but I was one of those
49:20 10,000 , thankfully was able to start talking . And
49:23 then I was able to go to kindergarten and I
49:26 was just integrated , and I graduated on time ,
49:29 and here I am today . I did speech therapy
49:32 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics . So
49:34 naturally , that's Hawkeye Country out there . First down
49:40 , I always have been a fan , and I
49:41 always will be . Yes , Hawkeye football is probably
49:45 my favorite . I can't go to football games for
49:49 that because it's just too overwhelming for me . So
49:52 , um , just various situations , or if everybody's
49:56 talking at one time , that kind of gets a
49:58 little challenging to , and I may not react appropriately
50:02 . I'm kind of a home body in that regard
50:05 . Another thing , too , is sudden change .
50:08 That's something I'm not real comfortable with . I'm getting
50:12 better at handling it , but it's still something I'm
50:15 not real comfortable with . Getting married was obviously a
50:21 big achievement . I'm very proud to be married and
50:25 love my wife a ton , something I think that
50:29 helps in our relationship is that inherently ? I also
50:32 know what it's going to stress him out . He
50:34 likes the routines , and actually , it's kind of
50:37 a calming force in our house home because I'm much
50:40 more spontaneous . He's very steady in his demeanor .
50:45 He and so that really works well with the boys
50:48 because they know that they can depend upon him .
50:51 They both know that he would go to the ends
50:53 of the Earth for them . I would say the
50:56 successes I've had his parents as a parent is I
50:59 know what they're going through . Yeah , there's a
51:03 couple of steps here , so be careful . Both
51:06 boys or young men now are on the spectrum ,
51:09 Got are working . Yep , it ran about 10
51:12 minutes ago , so I should run again , Okay
51:15 . It can be a challenge , but it's also
51:17 very rewarding to see not only our relationship grow ,
51:22 but watching Alexandru grow more and more not only physically
51:27 but socially and psychologically , and that it's just amazing
51:33 just to watch them grow up live , then withdrew
51:38 over half his life . Now I didn't think we
51:40 would be really that tight when we first started .
51:43 But boy were pretty tight . It's time for the
51:47 alphabet show Bussi head away . The reason why we
51:54 can't do this interview actually in our home is because
51:59 if we were trying to do this at home ,
52:02 it would be intermingled withdrew , saying , No talk
52:05 , no talk . No talk is over . It's
52:09 done , it's closed . You can write on your
52:13 board this That's one of your favorite things to draw
52:17 . Oh , Nice . So withdrew . A lot
52:20 of things get to be closed if they're not what
52:24 he wants . What about cooking masters ? They had
52:29 , uh , word . He will have tantrums ,
52:34 meltdowns , those types of things . That's not to
52:38 say that there aren't wonderful celebrations of the things that
52:42 he can do . Oh , that's good job .
52:55 But I want to make sure that people understand that
53:00 his world is markedly different from anybody else's and my
53:05 world , and thus mix Alex's and Grandma's is totally
53:10 different than anybody else's . You know , autism isn't
53:14 just a diagnosis . It's not just this problem .
53:17 It's not that problem . It really is . It
53:20 totally overtakes your world in some ways . Good in
53:24 some ways . Bad . Mhm . Alex , who's
53:28 now 21 . He's a little bit higher functioning .
53:31 So Alex , he's this work ethic with Mike .
53:34 I have a job . I go every day .
53:37 This is what we do , you know ? And
53:39 it's worked out really well because he's been a really
53:42 great role model . I commute to Cedar Falls every
53:47 day . I work at a place called Talk to
53:49 Me Technologies , and it's about a 30 mile commune
53:54 about 35 40 minutes to get from home to work
53:58 . Talk to me . Technologies is a mid sized
54:01 company . What we do is provide speech devices for
54:06 people with complex communication needs . Yeah , Mike has
54:11 been here about a year and a half . Now
54:14 Mike's position is manufacturing associate . His main key job
54:19 responsibility is to disinfect the devices that we manufacture .
54:24 I usually go through maybe between 10 and 15 a
54:28 day , depending on our workload . I usually have
54:31 enough work to do all day if they come in
54:34 for a repair or if they come back from a
54:36 trial or alone before they can go to the next
54:39 person . He manufacturers different components for our devices and
54:43 then also general office duties as well . Mike is
54:47 incredibly detail oriented . He has a drive to do
54:51 the best that he can and really helps us serve
54:54 as many clients as we can just by being so
54:56 meticulous in what he does . Really . The only
55:00 accommodation that we have for him is he does have
55:03 a door on his work area where he spends most
55:07 of his time because sometimes the environment does get a
55:09 little loud so he can choose day to day or
55:12 hour to hour if he needs to shut that door
55:14 and have a little more quiet . Mike came to
55:17 the company with the goals set out . Trying to
55:21 help other people with the same diagnosis that he has
55:23 in the autism community makes me feel really good When
55:27 I go home at night saying Hey , I helped
55:29 another person gain their communication and it makes me feel
55:34 proud to be here . I am an autism advocates
55:39 here in the state of Iowa , and I've been
55:41 doing this since 2013 , and my main goal right
55:44 now is to talk to law enforcement people and safety
55:49 people . If you hear a child a child with
55:52 autism missing , I would check the water every single
55:56 time . And for businesses , because hiring autistic people
56:01 , I feel is a good idea and not enough
56:04 autistic people are employed , and there's a lot of
56:08 talent in our community that hasn't been tapped into ,
56:11 And what I do is I talked to businesses about
56:15 why hiring a person on the spectrum would be a
56:17 good fit for the company . I think a common
56:21 misnomer that people think about autism is they're not very
56:25 smart , and that is not true . People get
56:28 that idea because of the way we do things ,
56:33 but we're not worse or better . We're just We
56:37 just think differently . Autism is Mike a great dad
56:43 . Working has a great job , goes to work
56:46 every single day . Autism is my brother , who
56:49 is beyond brilliant , however withdrew its grieving . The
56:55 fact that he couldn't get his driver's license , that
56:58 he's not going to get married , that he's not
57:01 going to have kids , that is autism . Autism
57:05 is anywhere in between so it really is a spectrum
57:10 . If you've met one person with autism , you've
57:13 met one person with autism because it's such a varying
57:17 spectrum . And I kind of compare autism to snowflakes
57:20 . No . Two people are exactly alike . Mhm
57:28 , mhm . Gary does recognize that he has autism
57:34 , and he says it makes him think differently .
57:37 And we've talked about how that's not a bad thing
57:40 in thinking differently . Can be seen as a good
57:43 thing . Gary doesn't want to be seen as autism
57:48 . He wants to be seen as Gary . Where
57:50 is up here ? I'll show you . Yeah .
57:54 Gary is 35 years old . He has a very
57:57 hard worker himself . He is incredibly kind people person
58:02 . He always wants to help . Gary does have
58:06 family . His family are natural supports to him .
58:11 Uh , lady named Katie , who is his guardian
58:16 . So not blood family , But she definitely is
58:20 family to Gary . I got family now . I
58:23 got Katie as a family . I got all of
58:25 it and I got I got I get to be
58:29 Uncle Gary . To who ? To Katie's baby .
58:33 Katie's baby . How old is Katie's baby ? He's
58:36 about two months , two months old . You hold
58:40 him Yeah , Yeah . Have you fed him yet
58:43 ? Do you change a dirty diaper ? Nope .
58:46 No . Well , the baby adores me . So
58:50 and then I got pets too . Okay . He
58:53 has dogs . Yep . Had three dogs . Wow
58:57 . You know what ? Colin likes it . What
58:59 I do , What she lays down her side and
59:02 let's me , Robert Belly Gary recently moved into a
59:08 brand new , beautiful home . He lives with three
59:10 other roommates . What is your favorite part about your
59:13 new home fishing Fishing ? Because you have a pawn
59:19 in your backyard , right ? What kind of fish
59:22 do you like catching ? Boo . Go And crop
59:24 e and bags . Half fish . Okay , cool
59:29 . Almost . What else do you like to do
59:33 ? I like to cook . Yeah , My favorite
59:37 thing every year is to go to is the Iowa
59:40 game . Who's your favorite team ? The Hawkeyes .
59:44 Mhm . They've been winning time A nine . Gary
59:55 is a very curious learner . He is huge into
59:58 people and loves making friends and having those relationships .
60:03 Right . Thank you , Tom . We're gonna have
60:07 a cookout this weekend at your house . Right ?
60:10 Who's coming ? Having friends come over ? Yeah ,
60:12 I told I told James I would ask you today
60:15 if he could come . Yeah , absolutely . And
60:19 so we're gonna grill out , right ? What else
60:22 are we gonna do ? Maybe fish , maybe do
60:26 some fishing , maybe play some games ? Yep .
60:28 Yeah , my shot lose on TV . Gary ,
60:35 Gary is interested in dating . We've recently talked about
60:41 that , and , uh , he brings up girls
60:43 and everything . He's interested in it , but he
60:46 just not right now , which is completely fine .
60:50 Gary , what are some ways that you are more
60:52 independent , do my own laundry ? Okay . What
60:58 else doing dishes ? Yeah . How are some ways
61:03 that you've grown as a person ? No bad behaviors
61:08 , no bad behaviors ? What does that mean to
61:09 you ? Um no Russian . So you've worked on
61:17 being angry ? Yeah , right . Mhm . You're
61:20 pretty happy person now , aren't you ? Yep .
61:23 Yeah , Yeah . Not too long ago . He
61:27 always had overnight staff . Now he uses an overnight
61:30 monitoring system so he doesn't require an overnight staff .
61:34 If he wants to stay home alone , he can
61:37 do that , which seems small . But for Gary
61:41 , that's huge . This is done . Okay ?
61:45 And now to be even able to go into the
61:47 community by himself is massive . I got a good
61:52 deal on a riding lawn more . Gary started working
61:57 on the farm on October of 2017 . Gary works
62:02 five days a week , Monday through Friday . We
62:06 need mhm . Yes , Yes , yes , yes
62:13 , yes . What parallel taking my mhm . Gary
62:22 works care balance . Autism is a farmhand all year
62:25 round , so there's a lot of variety of things
62:27 that he does . He will seed . Um ,
62:30 anything that goes into our field . Is he unseated
62:33 by individuals ? Autism , like this bear like this
62:38 Better in the summer than winter . Gary came to
62:43 us . Um , just needed a little fine tuning
62:47 on his skills . He needed to follow directions ,
62:50 take feedback , and he's really progressed in that .
62:53 Really ? Well , okay , that way doesn't tangled
62:56 on my fingers . You want to try out some
63:00 ? They go see when you get discouraged . Just
63:04 take a deep breath . Good job using your coping
63:06 skills . Scary . I'm very proud of you .
63:08 That was awesome . So you made a black and
63:13 gold Hawkeye flower basket ? Yeah , I bought that
63:18 one . Yeah , I bought that one that you
63:20 made , and I didn't know you made it .
63:22 Uh , that's really cool . So when you walk
63:25 by the tractor , what are you doing ? Making
63:28 sure the halls will bring enough to plant plants .
63:30 And Okay . Okay . So , like , in
63:33 the summertime , we play . You plant . What
63:36 kind of plants ? Um strawberries , tomatoes . Hope
63:43 I just stopped . Do you eat any of the
63:45 plants that you grow ? Yeah . What kinds ?
63:49 Eggplant . Sweet potatoes . So why that ? What's
63:56 your favorite vegetable ? Eggplant ? Because you can fry
64:00 it and flour and bread it . Mhm . So
64:08 Gary helps harvests all of the produce . Each piece
64:11 of produces , hand cleaned , hand packaged . And
64:14 then we deliver it to our community Supported agriculture members
64:18 . At the end of the season , we tear
64:20 apart the fields and we started on our fallen winter
64:22 projects . That one . What have you been doing
64:26 at work ? Poland . Plastic poem , Plastic .
64:31 What does the plastic do ? Helps the plants .
64:34 Girl helps the plants grow and keep the weeds out
64:41 . Well , Gary , eventually we want them to
64:42 work in the community . We're not sure exactly what
64:45 that job would be like right now . He likes
64:48 cleaning so he could get a job in the community
64:51 cleaning someday when he wants to be out there and
64:54 he wants to be independent and he wants to do
64:56 a good job . When he first came here ,
64:58 he was very unsure of himself . Very argumentative and
65:02 extremely attention . Ziggy , You know , now I
65:04 can pretty much say , Hey , Gary , go
65:07 work on this for me and he'll head that direction
65:09 . But before it was , I can't . I
65:12 can't . It doesn't work . And so instead of
65:14 saying I can't , he will flat out be like
65:16 I'm going to succeed at this . I think now
65:19 he stands a little taller . All right . Things
65:23 will be OK back there . Yep . I think
65:26 that it's important that as individuals , we just relate
65:30 to each other as you and I would or anyone
65:32 , Um , as a friend , as a colleague
65:35 , a co worker . Um , that's very important
65:38 for these individuals that they are treated with respect and
65:41 dignity of any adult . The biggest challenge , I
65:44 think that is facing adults with autism right now are
65:48 the same challenges that you and I face , right
65:50 . It's becoming involved or of our communities . And
65:54 then I would also say relationship skills , teaching them
65:57 how to have , um , good friendships as well
66:01 as intimate relationships . I think that working with people
66:04 with autism has really helped me to see the potential
66:09 that there can be for any person . Everybody can
66:14 make progress . Everybody can move into greater independence ,
66:19 More socialization . It might be in a different way
66:23 , but every single individual does have a potential for
66:26 growth . When I walked barefoot , I take in
66:32 the sensations of the earth like the grass , rocks
66:37 and dirt , because when you walk barefoot , you
66:41 actually receive positive energy from the ground , and it
66:46 helps calm you down , and it relieves the stress
66:51 of day to day life . Mhm . My name's
66:58 Tyler Leach . I'm 26 years old , and what
67:03 I want people to know about me is that even
67:05 though I have autism , I enjoy being around people
67:09 and making new friends . My autism is high functioning
67:13 , and while there are sometimes where some things might
67:17 be a little difficult , I think it makes me
67:21 who I am . Tyler was diagnosed when he was
67:27 22 months old , and he was developing normally with
67:31 his milestones , and all of a sudden I noticed
67:33 that he wasn't talking anymore . Wasn't even saying Mama
67:38 . I was devastated . He had occupational therapy .
67:42 He had speech therapy . I just took advantage of
67:48 what was out there and did a lot of networking
67:51 , a lot of research , a lot of reading
67:54 . Some of the challenges that I have faced were
67:59 difficulty being in areas with loud noise . Yeah ,
68:06 and a bit of anxiety . It took some resources
68:12 , a lot of patience and a lot of love
68:16 because back then I was very impatient with a lot
68:24 of things , and I think there were some times
68:27 where my family was impatient with the way my autism
68:30 was either . So I think by having the time
68:38 to focus on what I needed and to learn from
68:43 each other , I think it helped out a lot
68:48 . I went to college at Des Moines area Community
68:51 College or de Mac . I had a few doubts
68:55 when some of my class has proved to be a
68:59 little difficult . But I just put the time and
69:04 effort into the studies and gave myself some pep talks
69:10 so I can show myself that I can do it
69:15 . I work at Wells Fargo in Des Moines ,
69:19 as in operations processors , so I look at merchant
69:25 applications , enter their data into our computer system .
69:31 Mhm . Tyler is a great asset to us .
69:35 because the work can be repetitive and that's what he
69:38 really likes . So we'll be able to give him
69:41 more volume of work to do just because we know
69:45 that he'll be able to get the work done on
69:47 time and accurately as well . The diverse Abilities Team
69:50 member network is one that supports our team members with
69:54 disabilities . Tyler engages in our team member network as
69:58 a member , and so we'll have him invited into
70:02 colleges or into other speaking environments , and he might
70:06 be scared to death to do it . And he
70:08 always says yes to the opportunity to be able to
70:11 learn and grow . I say I'm pretty independent .
70:19 I cook meals and I do some clean on a
70:24 regular basis . I am able to handle the laundry
70:30 pretty well . I manage my budget . Seven 70
70:39 . Yeah , 27 for three . My grandfather and
70:42 I , we've played cribbage for a long time .
70:45 In fact , it was cribbage playing with him that
70:51 I learned how to count . Gonna run a four
70:56 . So these are the ribbons and medals that I've
71:00 won for Special Olympics . Special Olympics really means a
71:07 lot to me because I get to meet new friends
71:10 to the program and also get active . I also
71:16 drive to and from places every day , and I
71:20 never thought I was gonna get my driver's license ,
71:24 let alone a permit . But I took the time
71:29 and dedication into doing the drivers in class , and
71:33 it got me to where I am now . Thank
71:35 you . I'm a pretty social person . I enjoy
71:42 going to church . I attend autism walks and events
71:50 . I sometimes go to different sporting events on occasion
71:54 . I hope to get my own place eventually ,
71:58 and I also want to try to get into the
72:02 dating world . Though it is a little nerve racking
72:08 , there is a fine line about apparent possibly having
72:13 their own fear and holding their child back . I
72:19 think everybody's different . I just knew that my son
72:23 was going to have a life and the best life
72:27 he could have and do as much as he could
72:30 . And he is so passionate about being a role
72:33 model and making a difference for other people with special
72:37 needs . So I am very , very proud and
72:40 he's found his purpose and it's just a beautiful thing
72:44 . He looks at his autism as a gift and
72:47 I guess so , do I ? But I didn't
72:49 always look at it that way . My advice to
72:53 people who have a loved one with autism is ,
72:56 too . Check out the resources that are available to
73:01 you because they do help in the same way that
73:06 they've helped me and just take the time to learn
73:12 about your loved one and be patient with them because
73:18 it's a big learning process . And when you take
73:23 the time to learn about them , you might even
73:26 learn something about yourself , then put a leave a
73:38 little space and put a capital P for him because
73:43 of the autism , there's just certain things in his
73:45 life that kind of get in his way . There
73:48 you go , but he's figured out ways to make
73:53 it work now . He's not gonna be able to
73:56 tell you that because he's nonverbal . I think one
73:59 of the things that we have done is his parents
74:01 is to help him to understand that he's got to
74:06 also help himself . So our son , J .
74:12 P . Is 38 . Here's a young man who
74:18 exudes love for others , and people do really in
74:23 turn share that with him were therefore last time we
74:27 came . J P was born in April . So
74:32 had him going to childcare at about five months ,
74:35 and that's when we began to have the medical issues
74:39 , chronic upper respiratory infections , chronic ear infections .
74:44 But even before then , one of the things that
74:48 we noted was he wasn't lifting his head on his
74:53 own and he wasn't trying to roll over . Now
74:58 he's a year old and he's not walking . And
75:01 he wasn't developing speech . The doctor referred to it
75:06 as a proxy to totally new term for us because
75:11 the muscles were not developing as they should , which
75:14 would allow him to be able to form words .
75:20 The other thing also was our pediatrician had us working
75:25 with a child psychiatrist because he wanted to be able
75:30 to get a full picture of what was going on
75:33 with JP . Now , mind you , he's two
75:36 years old . At this point , he's having the
75:38 issues with digestion , and he's not forming words .
75:42 He's not walking . He can't hear . He was
75:46 finally healthy enough . At about age 2.5 . He
75:50 was now making sounds , trying to express himself still
75:57 using sign language . But we still don't know that