Learning About Autism

I don’t have anyone in my family or know anyone in my circle of friends who has Autism, so I had not paid attention to it.

Yesterday Mn/DOT offered a brown bag presentation about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Mn/DOT’s Affirmative Action Office partnered with the Autism Society of Minnesota to raise awareness of ASD and to educate people about working with ASD. 

I went to the session, presented by Sherrie Kenny, CEO/Executive Director of Autism Society of Minnesota, and Larry Moody, a retired engineer with ASD. I found the presentation very informative and interesting. I learned a lot.

I was glad I had the opportunity to learn about ASD. As more and more kids are diagnosed with ASD and more families are affected by ASD, it’s good to be informed and educated about it so we can better recognize, deal with and help people who have ASD.  

April is National Autism Awareness Month. 

Be sure to visit Autism Society of Minnesota. Get in touch with them if you need help with your family or if you are looking for educational resources for your organizations. There is also a lot of information out there on the Internet. 

Be informed, prepared and involved. You never know when ASD will hit someone you know.

Below is a handout from the presentation provided by Autism Society of Minnesota.

Autism is a puzzling neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to:

  • Communicate
  • Socially interact
  • Learn in a conventional manner

 Social Interactions:

  • Difficulty reading nonverbal cues
  • Less likely to look at other people’s faces
  • Difficulty initiating and maintaining interaction
  • Difficulty maintaining joint attention
  • Difficulty repairing social breakdowns


Difficulty with Communication:


  • Delay in development of speech
  • Lack of functional speech
  • Echolalia
  • Unusual rhythm, pitch, or other voice qualities
  • Limited functions of language
  • Poor ability to initiate and maintain conversation
  • Difficulty with gestures
  • Difficulty with pretense or speculation
  • Concrete or idiosyncratic language
  • Lack or inappropriate emotional expression

 Resistance to change:

  • Insistence on specific routines
  • Everything in its place
  • Difficulty coping with uncertainty
  • Unwillingness to engage in others interest or activities
  • Unusual knowledge about a limited topic
  •  Sensory Processing Abnormalities 

Selected resources: 

  • Developing Talents by Dr. Temple Grandin
  • The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships by Dr. Temple Grandin
  • Business for Aspies by Ashley Stanford
  • Asperger Syndrome and Employmen: What People with Asperger Syndrome Really, Really Want by Sarah Hendrickx
  • Asperger Syndrome and Employment: Adults Speak Out about Asperger Syndrome by Genevieve Edmonds
  • Asperger Syndrome and Employment: A Personal Guide to Succeeding at Work – DVD by Nick Dubin
  • Asperger’s on the Job by Rudy Simone
  • How to Find Work that Works for People with Asperger Syndrome by Gail Hawkins
  • Job Success for Persons with Developmental Disabilities by David Wiegan
  • Managing with Asperger Syndrome by Malcolm Johnson
  • Temple Grandin, HBO movie
  • The Way I See It by Dr. Temple Grandin

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