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Florida Matters: Living on the Autism Spectrum

Bobbie O'Brien
WUSF Public Media

How do young adults diagnosed with a form of autism describe themselves?

This week on Florida Matters, we meet Andrew Casey, 23, who interviewed his peers about their diagnosis and how they define themselves. And Andrew explains how he manages with Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum.

Also on the panel, his step-mother Danielle Casey and Dr. Karen Berkman with The Learning Academy and Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida.

WUSF’s Dalia Colon also produced a video, Aspergers’ Syndrome, All Grown Up, that also features young adults talking about how they manage their challenges.

During the show, a variety of materials are mentioned that can help with understanding the range of autism disorders.

First up, “Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew” written by Ellen Notbohm:

  1. I am a child.
  2. My senses are out of sync.
  3. Distinguish between won’t (I choose not to) and can’t (I am not able to).
  4. I’m a concrete thinker. I interpret language literally.
  5. Listen to all the ways I’m trying to communicate.
  6. Picture this! I’m visually oriented.
  7. Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can’t do.
  8. Help me with social interactions.
  9. Identify what triggers my meltdowns.
  10. Love me unconditionally.

Other materials mentioned during the show:

Additional resources:

Bobbie O’Brien has been a Reporter/Producer at WUSF since 1991. She reports on general news topics in Florida and the Tampa Bay region.
Carson Cooper has become a favorite of WUSF listeners as the host of "Morning Edition" on WUSF 89.7 since he took the job in 2000. Carson has worked in Tampa Bay radio for three decades.