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This is the ongoing story of my life as a multi-platinum record producer, songwriter and founder of a non-profit aimed at directly assisting families coping with autism, all while coping with Asperger's Syndrome and OCD. I'm gladly sharing some of my thinking processes, behaviors and experiences in detail. Hope these real life observations can help.
I am not afraid to do work I don't like in order to feed my family.
I will physically put myself in harms way to protect my family and those I deeply love.
With deep thought, reason and spiritual guidance, I direct a path for my family to follow with love, joy, honesty, loyalty and integrity.
I treat my children as a gift to be cherished; to be loved; to be fully taught and respected; little people that will grow to become adult decision makers.
I protect my wife and children by ensuring their needs will be met financially, even if my life is cut short through no fault of my own.
I always seek to encourage my wife, understanding that she is helping me and not here to serve me.
I show the example by speaking or listening with love and respect to my family, never using a tone of condescension or sarcasm; never taking offense.
I show great compassion and forgiveness of faults and missteps. I encourage those I love to brush themselves off and try again. Learn from the experience.
I am not afraid to shed a tear for or with my family or those I deeply love.
I help those in the community with my time or treasure, but, never at the expense of my family who is my priority.
When I arrive home from work or business, my wife and children will run to greet me with hugs.
My family will only feel safe in my presence.
My family will always eat our meals together at home.
My family will recreate and use this time to really appreciate what we have as a family, even if it's something as simple as going to a local park.
I care more about the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well-being of my wife and children. Material things or elaborate and expensive traditions are a non-priority. Food, clothing and shelter are what we need and I take the lead in showing the importance of appreciating being content with these things.
My wife is my partner who stands beside me.
I respect the different make-up of my wife as a woman. I understand and am empathetic to her physical and emotional complexities. I embrace them with love from my heart and mind.
I treat my wife with honor, respect and loyalty. This is not my rule, but, God's. Nothing good will come of my life as a man if I do not follow this command.
I love peace. I hope for security. All for my family. This is how I feel.
I'm just... a man.
It's been a while since I've blogged simply because I'm actually busy with the tangible change that's needed across the board when dealing with the Autistic Community. This is the most difficult and unforgiving work I've ever done, but, it's also the most rewarding. I've gained new friends, learned new ways to communicate ideas and it has completely transformed my thinking concerning the value we all bring to the societies we live in.
Yeah, I still think we have a long way to go, but, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I don't think it's a train coming at me! Social networks like this one have helped me to reach out to news organizations, other philanthropists and many hard working people across the globe. I'm relieved the hear that we all, pretty much, seek the same things in life. We just want some peace so that we can enjoy our own personal happiness. We can all connect and talk to each other until we're blue in the face or our fingers cramp up from typing, but, in addition to conversing, we need to be proactive, step outside of the box and just do something.
If each one of us does something to help another, that's, like, 6 billion worth of people power! Now I know not everyone can do something. That's the point, actually. That "something" we do doesn't have to be grand or magnificent. Grand and magnificent are completely relative when you're talking about helping someone in need. Providing clothes for someone who lost their home in a fire may not be grand like raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the biggest corporate autism organization, but, it's certainly grand and magnificent to that family. Not only that, you'd be helping them right now. That's really doing something.
I'm currently working with the Dan Marino Foundation and Holly Robinson-Peete's non-profit, HollyRod4Kids. I'm actually being asked to give my expertise and provide the service AACF, Inc. offers. This is ground breaking for us here because I did everything from scratch. I literally started with... (wait for it...) nothing. I'm going to share with you the latest thing I've done which is to introduce the October discussion point courtesy of the Dan Marino Foundation. As you are reading this, I'm working with the HollyRod4Kids organization to help a particular family in need. This will be the first of many families to be helped hopefully before years end. This is actually sooner than I had planned to be helping anyone. The plan was January 2010. I guess someone wants me to give a lot sooner. Wonder who that might be? Hmmm.
Peace & L☮ve,
I'll get to my Canada trip to ANCA Consulting momentarily. I first want to acknowledge that I've been absent but, for good reason. I'm not much of a writer but, became one out of necessity. I feel it's important to let people know when they have a misperception about something, especially when it concerns an entire group of people and their families. In an effort to start changing the perception about who autistic people are and how their families brave stance to help and nurture them is important for the masses to know, I wrote a book about my own Aspie life. I now understand that without my experience as a record producer, I wouldn't be getting as much attention with this as I have. After several months of being interviewed or chosen to partner with other organizations to boost the level of attention given to the needs of the Autistic Community, I've learned a valuable lesson. I actually really understood it about a week ago when I talked to my long-time buddy MC Hammer on the phone.
I called Hammer to find out if he would be interested in directly working with me in a professional capacity to bring more attention to the needs of families coping with autism, autistic children & autistic adults. He simply said, "No problem. I just want to make sure all parties understand that my time is valuable." Hmm. For the first time since I started writing music years ago, since starting the non-profit and writing the book, I realized that I had not properly accessed the value that I bring to the message I'm trying to get across to the general public. EVERYONE that is doing even less than I am, has put a value on their ability to bring people together or share talking points on a talk show/news program. What TOOK me so long?! I finally woke up and realized that I could be funding this non-profit simply if I'd set a value to what I had to offer. ANCA Consulting out of Canada helped me with this way of thinking as well. Always looking out for my interests, they were concerned that I might be taken advantage of because of my good nature. This they observed just by having me stay with them when I was visiting.
I'm currently working on a press kit that will be available to anyone who wants to book me on a radio show, talk show or news program to discuss my experiences and thoughts on helping families and their autistic children (as well as autistic adults). It's become clear to me that my time is valuable, too. The very thing that makes folks interested in what I have to say, is the thing that will draw in a diverse audience willing to listen. That thing... music. However, the stresses and strains of giving attention to the book and the non-profit have taken me away from what makes me the person that everyone is excited about listening to. It's time to point my attention back towards being the multi-platinum record producer that helped make MC Hammer $45million dollars plus. It's time for me to turn those talents toward myself. I will write and produce music for myself to share with the general public. This is the value that I bring to getting the message out. This is the "thing" that I had not placed a figure on. I need to do this so that I can save my efforts of starting a non-profit solely designed to help those in need. This will also boost the visibility of the partnerships that I've made with other organizations also geared to helping the Autistic Community.
I'm back! I'm back and in a BIG way! I'm no longer going to allow my time to be unimportant or without value. If I am speaking to anyone, it is with the mind that I have to raise $4.5million for 30 families and if you are wasting time that I could be doing that, you are not interested in helping. My time is valuable. My time is valuable. My time is valuable. I said that three times for effect. If Hammers time is worth money, so is mine. I'm 50% of what HE did. He was the guy who performed the music. I was the guy who wrote the music he performed to. I'm just as valuable and I will not be wasting the time of these 30 families again. My apologies to you all. I know better now.
Peace & Love,
Blog on: Sunday, August 30, 2009 @ 16:56 EST
I recently visited a place called ANCA Consulting headquartered in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada. I didn't know what to expect really. I spoke with Leonora and Charlie Collura by phone and via the Internet video phone service, Skype. Nice folks, overall. They've been consulting with families that have autistic children for almost 15 years there. I figured their knowledge of how to address some of the fears many parents have about raising autistic children would be a healthy thing for me to discover. Little did I know that I would literally come back to the states with a totally recalibrated state of mind concerning autism and how to best help autistic children, autistic adults and their families (parents included) communicate with each other.
What ANCA does is difficult to explain. That's why I'm so grateful to have gone there to experience it. It was totally necessary for me to do that. To start, the name 'ANCA' is not an acronym. It is much more personal. The 'AN' stands for Anthony, the name of Leornora and Charlie's son who has brain injuries caused by medical professionals and is confined to a wheelchair. The 'CA' stands for Caroline, their daughter who's passed away. The deeply personal nature of what ANCA stands for is (I think) the reason for the powerful results that anyone who's been involved with them seem to have. I saw video after video of success story. I saw a presentation given to school teachers and education officials with one of the children who'd been through the ANCA program and I was speechless.
I'll tell ya more tomorrow.
Blog on: Friday, July 31, 2009 @ 02:25 am
It's 3:43 am Saturday morning right now. Earlier, at 1:44 am, I heard a "smash" and breaking glass in my living room . Someone has vandalized my home, my office, where I headquarter the Aid for Autistic Children Foundation. Here's the back story.
The neighbors that live directly across from me had a large party that started somewhere around 7:00 pm on Friday. As the evening progressed, I noticed young men were not only blocking the street (Massey Road) we live on but, some were disrespectfully trespassing on my property. (A sign is clearly posted, ya'll .) Anyway, I've always been one to let these parties flame out and then I can rest peacefully. I used to know the neighbors very well helping the since deceased husband of the home to obtain a small business loan so he could start his own painting business. We even shared our food at one time. Since his passing, the family has decided not to acknowledge me as their neighbor so I stay to myself and concentrate my efforts to helping the Autism Community in Macon and across the nation. Well, unknown to me, someone in the neighborhood called the Sheriff on this neighbor. This must have been enough to antagonize whomever the thugs were at this party. I was powering down my computer when I suddenly heard a smash inside my home office.
I immediately called the Sheriff and family members. It's about 2:00 am at this point. It was when the Sheriff arrived that he told me someone called about dogs barking at my neighbor's address. The officer was thinking the same thing as me. Someone from that party must have assumed (and we all know what assuming does) I was the anonymous caller and decided to retaliate through vandalism. My home office, car and brother's car are vandalized all because of an anonymous call about this party, which I chose to ignore in peace.
I suppose this is what I get for helping families with autistic children in my community financially in a peaceful manner. I feel sorry for the vandals that did this. I believe that for every action, there is an equal reaction. Unfortunately for them, this is not over and I won't have to lift a finger in retaliation. That's usually the way these things work out. They won't know it, but, their punishment is coming in some form.
If these vandals think I will stop what I'm doing or scare easily, they are sorely mistaken. I'm going to make this program for autistic children so successful, I will move it from this small modest home into an office space with security. Autistic children and their families need our help and uneducated, cowardly vandals (not even men enough to confront me face to face) will not stop me from accomplishing the goal of helping 30 families a year, every year!
As a matter of fact, I want all of Macon, Georgia (and the world) to send these punks a message. By purchasing my book, "Autism Is My Universe", available at www.Amazon.com, Aid for Autistic Children Foundation can move to a safer location if I sell enough books. My book is even being considered as a coaching tool for parents that are raising high-functioning autistic children. We can't let some random punks push back the efforts of the foundation! Let's show them that the majority of people in this world hold themselves to a higher standard. Help me spread the word by letting people know about this book and what we can accomplish through it's sale. I'm more motivated than EVER! Let's move some books, people!
Peace & Love,
Aid for Autistic Children Foundation, Inc.
Blog on: Saturday, July 11, 2009 @ 04:24 EST
P.S. - I'm posting pics of what these cowards caused because of their actions. Shameful.
This is the hood of my car.
Okay, everyone. Where do I begin? It's been a block buster month or so for me and my family. If the hunger strike wasn't enough attention, I'm having to recover from it while fielding calls from Internet radio hosts clamoring to get me on their programs. I'm SO thankful that the interest in an Aspie adults story like mine is receiving attention. I want the world at large to know that it's important to teach and coach beyond whatever label some doctor gives your child. Yes, the diagnosis addresses the fact that you have to be mindful of the nuances of a specific condition but, that does not relinquish natural parental nurturing power. The parents will always know best. Never believe the chatter that you are less qualified to care for your autistic child because you don't have a PhD or MD at the end of your name.
For those of you parents that are sick and tired of those same professionals not listening to you after you've given them an abject lesson on how to best teach or coach your autistic child, you are not alone. Many parents are simply beat down by educators, social workers and other officials threatening them with removing their child(ren) from a loving home if they don't comply with the teaching practices they want to enforce. For you, it's probably time to take matters into your own hands and home school. Yes, this is a difficult move that may require resigning from a job or at the least reducing work to part-time.
None of what families coping with autism go through is easy. I know this first hand. That's why I started the Aid for Autistic Children Foundation. Equally as important, there needed to be a place where parents, autistic children, autistic adults and others interested in this organic grassroots movement to change the direction of the autism conversation could congregate without the fear of reprisal. That place is here at Autism Support Network. I see ASN as the combination MySpace and Facebook specifically designed for the Autism Community. Here, we can speak freely, share, receive advice and most of all support one another.
I'm gonna soon be embarking on rejuvenating my recording career. I am being inundated with requests to go back to what I do best: music. I have to agree. A great deal of the requests are coming from tweens and teens! I am humbled and pleased to oblige! I will be dedicating the next 4 months to putting together the first EP single from my new CD, "Foundation". It's a fitting title because I am, in fact, building the foundation for fans to enjoy some new music from me. Also a literal foundation for the autism community's benefit to relieve their debt load. And a foundation for the young generation coming up to no longer hide in the shadows but, to speak eloquently through their talents about autism and how it does not stop them from being a complete, productive, loving and successful human being socially engaged in making our society better. More updates to come on this whole music thing...
Blog on: Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 00:59 EST
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