Carly Fleischmann interviewing James Van Der Beek

'Speechless With Carly Fleischmann' Is Back and Features James Van Der Beek

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Carly Fleischmann took the internet by storm last April when she interviewed Channing Tatum on the debut episode of her talkshow, “Speechless With Carly Fleischmann.” Now, the talkshow host on the autism spectrum is back with a second episode featuring actor James Van Der Beek.

The 10-minute interview, which aired Wednesday on Fleischmann’s YouTube channel, shows Fleischmann interviewing Van Der Beek using a communication device. The two talk about Van Der Beek’s success as an actor, as well as his roles on “Dawson’s Creek” and “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23.”

“It’s OK, to have challenges, It’s OK, to be supportive of people with challenges,” Fleischmann wrote on her Facebook page introducing the video. “And it is not all right to make fun of individuals with CHALLENGES because we all have them too.”

Fleischmann has become a major voice of autism awareness. She first gained notoriety when a video giving insight to how she processes the world went viral in 2012. It’s since been viewed millions of times and brought well-deserved attention to her book “Carly’s Voice.

“Speechless With Carly Fleischmann” will continue with monthly episodes. Next month’s episode features actress Beth Behrs, known for her role on “2 Broke Girls.”

You can watch the latest episode of “Speechless With Carly Fleischmann,” below. 

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I Want Funding for Autism Resources -- Not for Finding a Cause

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“Autism” a six-letter word that can change lives and affect so many people. Approximately one in 68 children are on the autism spectrum (and grow up to be autistic adults). Some people really want to find the cause for this. I respect that. But as an individual with autism, a young adult with autism, what I really want is acceptance.

I don’t want funding for support over finding a cause. Why, you may ask? Don’t I care about what causes my disability?

I want more of the money to go towards supporting those on the spectrum across our lifespans because while finding a cause can be important in helping us face challenges, I feel that we truly need to focus on the now, the present. How can we support individuals with autism and their families as they age? Are our needs being met? Do we have the services we need? Is funding and money being put towards that? Sometimes in life we have to prioritize, and in my mind, this is a priority.

Autism, a six-letter word many people are hearing daily. The diagnosis that can leave parents and individuals wondering, How will I do this? How will we do this? Will we get through this? Is there support available? How in the world will we pay for therapy? As individuals on the spectrum age, opportunities for funding become less and less, at least that is what I have experienced. Recently Ohio passed an autism insurance coverage mandate, which I think is great and a huge step for so many. But there is a limitation, an age cut off of 14 years old. What happens then? Who pays for the therapy then? What if the individual is making progress? I like to believe and live my life believing and showing that progress is indeed possible regardless of age.

Don’t give up. It may take a while for you to find the team you like and that meets your needs/the needs of your loved one. But in my experience, once you do that, you are taking a huge step in the right direction.

I’m so very grateful to have my village, my team — team Chloe, who is there to support me, love me, care for me, and help me learn. Autism has its challenges but with my team, lots of love and support, it’s easier. It may not solve everything, but it is a step in the right direction, at least for me, to know I am not in this alone.

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PBS KIDS to Air Autism-Related Episodes of Popular Children's Shows

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To help promote autism awareness, acceptance and understanding, PBS Kids will be airing autism-themed episodes of several popular children’s shows throughout April, Autism Awareness Month.

Read the full version of PBS KIDS to Air Autism-Related Episodes of Popular Children’s Shows.

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These Popular Kids’ Shows Will Have Autism-related Episodes in April!

Starting April 10, Autism Awareness Month, PBS KIDS will air a lineup of autism-themed episodes.

These episodes will help promote autism awareness, acceptance and understanding.

The lineup begins with a new episode of “Sesame Street,” that introduces Julia, a muppet on the spectrum.

Episodes of “Dinosaur Train” and “Arthur” will also be featured.

April 10, Sesame Street “Meet Julia”

April 10, Dinosaur Train “Junior Conductors Academy”

April 10, Arthur “When Carl Met George/D.W. Swims With the Fishes”

April 11, Arthur “Pets and Pests/Go Fly a Kite”

April 12, Arthur “Carl’s Concerto/Too Much of a Good Thing”

April 13, Arthur “He Said, He Said/Bunny Trouble”

We hope this spreads acceptance this April — and beyond!

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This Local Business Provides More Than Just Workplace Training for Autistic Adults

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Beneficial Beans Cafe and Garden provide workplace training and raise funds for adults on the spectrum.

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This Local Business Provides More Than Just Workplace Training for Autistic Adults

Beneficial Beans Cafe and Beneficial Beans Garden are located in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Their 12-week training program prepares individuals for community-based employment.

Employees learn time and task management, customer service, attention to detail and how to respond to change and feedback.

100% of the garden’s proceeds benefit adults on the spectrum.

The program was created by Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC).

SARRC hopes raise funds and foster job skills for autistic adults.

“They taught me that I can do anything, especially with the coffee, that I put my mind to,” -Kristopher Wipprecht, Beneficial Beans Garden And Cafe Intern

To learn more, visit autismcenter.org/beneficial-beans.

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My Son's Awesome Response About the Autistic Power Ranger

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Hot on the heels of the recent reveal that “Sesame Street” has their first autistic Muppet, there is a re-boot of the “Power Rangers Movie.” And you’ve guessed it, one of the Power Rangers is autistic.

As a parent of kids with autism, one who is a 9-year-old Power Rangers fan — I literally squealed with excitement when I heard the news.

The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are back! A group of ordinary school kids find themselves instilled with alien powers they must master as a team to save the world. Among one of those “ordinary kids” is one with autism.  This didn’t really strike home until I told my son, Anthony, about it.

“Anthony, you know the ‘Power Rangers’ movie that’s coming out soon?”

“Ohhhh yes.”

“Well, this is really exciting — the Blue Ranger has autism, like you. He will be a bit like you.”

“Oh mom, that will just make him even more like me.”

Then I listened as my amazing son told me the ways in which he is already like a Power Ranger.

1. He is brave.

Anthony struggles with several challenges. He is brave to get over his fears and worries every day.

2. He is strong.

Take a boy with autism and ADHD who spends all day jumping about and you get someone fit. He’s no longer losing weight due to his medication, so he is lean and strong — not unlike the Power Rangers.

3. He wants to help and protect people.

OK, he was beginning to pull at my heartstrings, but it’s true. Anthony tries to protect everyone. He seems desperate to keep everyone safe. The best way he tries to do this is by helping others follow the rules and his general empathy far exceeds what you may think you’d find in a 9-year-old boy with autism. He even wanted to protect the kids who bullied him at school so they wouldn’t get into trouble.

4. He moves fast.

Anthony loves speed. Roller coasters, driving on motor ways, he’s even into motor sports himself. It’s as if he should have been born on a planet with a faster spin. When he’s rushing around the house, he’s almost a blur.

5. He’s good at fighting.

OK, that sounds a bit of a disaster but it’s not, really. Both Anthony and his brother David are on the autistic spectrum and they are both sensory seekers. It’s a bit like having an itch that you need to scratch I guess. But it’s not an itch, it’s a need for pressure or loud noises or something else that stimulates their senses. This means they seek out touch and contact — hugs, rolling and rough and tumble play are in abundance in our house.

And my absolute favorite which I’m paraphrasing for comprehension:

6. “I’m not the same as everyone else and it can be difficult sometimes, but I’m still best when I’m myself.”

The Power Rangers are special and they are different from the other kids in school. This means they have to take on evil aliens and protect the world. But being who they are makes them stronger in their battles and leads them to victory. And at the end of the day, even though they are different, they’re also just kids who go to school.

Yes Anthony, you are awesome.

Needless to say, my eldest boy is super excited the “Power Rangers Movie” has just come out. Well done to those involved in the making of the movie, who made it even more relatable for our lad. His only suggestion was if he’d chosen a Ranger to be autistic it would be the red one, but only because red is his favorite color.

Follow this journey at Rainbows are too Beautiful

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The Little Ways We Show Our Daughter on the Spectrum How Loved She Is

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I have been reflecting on love. Both how my princess shows this and how we ensure she feels and understands love. My princess has trouble showing any affection. As an example, the rarity of hugs is so sparse I only can remember a handful this past 12 months. Once at Christmas time and another before her surgery late last year. 

We don’t look for the “l love you, Dad” or the big embrace, nor the vocal approval, gestures or small niceties. The notion of sameness, predictability, safety is what is sought, and this is what is given. This gesture of love is received, and we see this love in her through reduced anxiety, her huge smile and her ability to adapt and overcome the little things because she knows it’s pleasing to her mum and dad.

The receipt of love is quite simple: it’s called adjustment, acceptance and seeking out ways our princess feels safe and protected. Love is seen again through her engagement and interaction with her siblings. The fighting and distance subsides, and closeness and plays enter the room. The rare and extraordinary occasion is celebrated not with balloons, high fives and cake; but instead, we have a quiet word, huge praise and a well done. In our family, love is infrequently verbalized from the children. Reserved with their feelings, it’s difficult to gauge where they are at and to explore their feelings further. We deliberately express our love loudly to all our kids with text messages, verbal “I love you”s and extravagant hugs.

The “I love you” is an important routine. It’s nonnegotiable. We want our kids to feel and know they are loved. Even though it may sound forced and at times unwanted or difficult to give, the message is important, and even though hard to ascertain, appreciated or at best tolerated. We have been exploring other ways to express our love for the kids, in particular, our princess, a girl who often misses social cues and prefers her company. We have had success recently, and although we have not seen many words exchanged we defiantly have seen love exchanged.

I have spoken several times of Jenna’s grandparent’s (my mum and dad) and the deliberate learning curve they journeyed after hearing of Jenna’s autism diagnosis. The questions, study, and willingness to learn has been nothing short of a Godsend for us. We went from feeling we were doing this all on our own to having a family that openly accepted Jenna for who she is and loves her the same regardless.

I thought I’d share some of the little but extraordinary feats they did to demonstrate the love they have for her. They brought a house 18 months ago and had discussions with Jenna about her wishes and what she would like in a house. Jenna’s response was “I want my own bedroom.” A huge ask and a huge imposition — I thought, “They will humor the idea but be unable to follow though,” as the request was vast and impractical. Mum and Dad set up a bedroom for Jenna shortly after buying the house. The bedroom became her safe place, a place her dolls live, a place to change clothes, etc. But it was bigger than this to Jenna. This bedroom was a place to escape the noise and in turn a place to be noisy. Mum and Dad created an extension of her home with them. They expressed to her she belonged, she was loved. Mum and Dad let me parent my child and coped with the meltdowns and extreme behaviors. They loved her and made it OK for her to express herself or be anxious. It doesn’t stop there, though. After a meltdown, Jenna is always quite sheepish, embarrassed and at times ashamed. Mum and Dad always took the time to understand the why. They also made the time talk to her and help her work through other ways to express concerns.

It’s an obscure way to show love, but one of my favorites and one Grandad takes much pride in is teaching our princess sarcasm, which often passes her by, sometimes leaving her embarrassed or uncomfortable. Dad patiently takes the time to explore the hidden meanings of jokes and even gets her to practice on him her latest script she is learning. In addition, Mum and Dad take the time to listen to her jokes. They laugh with her, not at her, and connect with her at her level. This is a special and dear time that she doesn’t do with any other people.

The little things scream “I love you” to Jenna. There is always Zooper Doopers in the freezer. Being a fussy eater, Mum and Dad have learned her staples of party meat pies and mac and cheese. It’s always offered, and it’s never too much trouble to cook her a separate meal or allow her to eat after the others have finished.

My favorite expression of love this year is time. Mum and Dad have invested in our princess. They have been there for her, changed plans for her and made room in their house for her. Because of this investment we have seen an acceleration of her skill set that we thought was years away. They’ve shown her love by giving her the best gift ever, time. Thanks, Mum and Dad.

Follow this journey on My ASD Princess.

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