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Shameless Self-promotion Sunday

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 12 years ago, in 2010, on the World Wide Web.

This is going to be the last Shameless Self-promotion Sunday for the next couple of weeks, so let’s make it a good one.

As some of you already know, I’m going to spend the next week clearing the deck as well as possible, and then departing for a voyage to India. (I am visiting L. during the last two weeks of her study abroad; we’ll be visiting Kochi, Mumbai, Dehli, and a few points in between, and coming back together toward the end of September.) I’ll be almost completely incommunicado while I’m away; which means if you want to get Shameless, you’d better get while the getting’s good.

So what have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.

4 replies to Shameless Self-promotion Sunday Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Gabriel

    Sad to hear you will be incommunicado Radgeek, you are one of the most scintillating lib bloggers around.

    After learning a friend of mine has been diagnosed with asperger’s syndrome I’ve been reading a lot on autism and how they perceive the world around them. The most striking things that stood out to me were the “rigidity” behaviors (i.e. stacking blocks, arranging cans, &c) as well as difficulties reading body language. The rigidity extends to thought and emotion as well: Many of them perceive the world in “black or white” terms, which can be problematic. For example, sometimes libertarians ask the question “Can you shoot someone invading your private property?”, and I wonder if the person asking this is autistic! Another example might be thinking that a conversation was either good or bad, but nothing in between. One account I found online stated he thought meeting an old friend had gone well, but his friend felt ill toward the end and had to leave. In his rigid, rule-based understanding this meant the outing was “bad”, i.e. his friend hadn’t had a nice time at all.

    As for the second problem, that of body language and social communication, I wonder if it’s really true that more than 50% of communication is non-verbal? For example, anger or sadness might be communicated more through gesture and tone than actual word choice. How do you even begin to educate an autistic person who doesn’t understand gesture, posture, tone, or expression when you don’t even understand it yourself since it’s all mostly automatic? Do you suppose any of those “learn to read people’s body language” books are worth anything?

    Have a great time in India!

  2. Roderick T. Long

    Rumor has it that there’s a wifi hotspot at the top of Mount Kangchenjunga — but only if you climb it barefoot and blindfolded.

  3. Gary Chartier

    I’ve been working on the presentation I’m supposed to give on October 15 at Libertopia. And I’ve been giving some thought to an article on intellectual property and natural law theory, which I’d like to finish before school starts in late September.

    On Friday, Elenor and I explored the Sawdust Festival in Laguna—an annual source of pleasure in more than one way.

· September 2010 ·

  1. Laura J.

    Gabriel,

    I have some experience teaching high school age students with Asperger’s syndrome in residential summer programs where most students are neurotypical, and depending on the particular kid, the particular activity at hand, the particular cohort they are with, et cetera, sometimes it can get extremely difficult – and sometimes it’s simply a total non-issue. When teaching teenagers with Asperger’s, it’s helpful to give explanations that are as literally-phrased and detailed as possible; the use of technical terms specific to the subject, however obscure, is rarely a problem, and is often quite helpful if the student already knows them or the instructor takes the time to define them. “Plain-spoken” explanations that would seem simpler to other students may end up more difficult for students with Asperger’s if too much of the information therein is expressed in the connotations and nuances of colorful expressions rather than the literal meanings of words. Also, many kids with Asperger’s get frustrated at the transitions between activities; it can be hard for them to adapt quickly to new situations that call for a different set of behaviors from them, but a good instructor can make it a lot easier on them by clearly explaining at the start of a session what activities will take place and when, and giving each activity a clear introduction at the beginning and wrap-up at the end. Lastly, teenagers with Asperger’s often have an uncommonly long attention span to things that have to do with particular hobbies and interests they enjoy, and may have an uncommonly short one for unrelated subjects; when conversations move away from their own idiosyncratic set of preferred topics, they may sometimes try to abruptly move conversations back to things they’re more interested in, or just drop out of an activity entirely by retreating to daydreams, writing or drawing in notebooks, fiddling with things with their hands, et cetera. I think this is really more a difference in degree rather than type compared with other teenagers – most teenagers have a strong need for lessons to be tied into their own existing personal interests, it’s just that kids with Asperger’s have a stronger one, and are less able to be socially graceful about it when their needs aren’t met. Anyway, I’ve had both some pretty bad experiences with kids with Asperger’s where miscommunications were the major problem, and some really good experiences with kids with Asperger’s when we had a good amount of overlap between stuff I knew and stuff they wanted to know. Teenagers with Asperger’s can be extremely sharp, driven, and eager students when there’s something they want to learn, and their instructors aren’t outright getting in their way through poor teaching practices.

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