“Autism is a person who has discovered something more interesting than social interaction,” Tony Attwood
By Ron Sandison
On Thursday 10/17/16 at a conference in Michigan, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Tony Attwood, an English psychologist and world renowned expert on Asperger’s. His book The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers had a profound impact on my life and my understanding of my own ASD diagnosis. I learned from him practical ways to improve my social skills and methods to cultivate friendships.
Two years ago when I read his book, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with his practical wisdom. One humorous moment was when I learned that an individual with Asperger’s normally speaks in monotone and has little reflection in his or her voice. I recalled when I was a sophomore in high school, I was chatting on the phone with Kelly who asked me, “Why does your voice lack reflections? You sound like a Transformer.” I had a crush on her and felt embarrassed by her question. After reading Tony’s book I had the answer to Kelly’s question.
I was amazed by Tony’s dynamic presentation and clinical expertise. One profound idea he shared was that most children and young adults with autism unlike typical individuals have only three tools for dealing with anxiety and depression: 1. Isolation, 2. Disruption, 3. Special interests. He shared additional coping tools like exercise, yoga, meditation, and spirituality. He mentioned that 86% of people with autism battle anxiety and depression.
My whole life I have struggled with anxiety and depression due to sensory issues and hearing Tony offered me a new hope. As Tony stated, “The best method for dealing with anxiety is activities. Be active in life and engage your world.” I will remember my conversation with him the rest of my life and share in my autism presentations the wisdom I have gleamed.
Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of America. Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom published by Charisma House. Ron has memorized over 10,000 Scriptures including 22 complete books of the New Testament and over 5,000 quotes.
He frequently guest speaks at colleges, conferences, autism centers, and churches. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with a baby daughter, Makayla Marie born on March 20, 2016. You can contact Ron at his website www.spectruminclusion.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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