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Home » Temple Grandin Discusses Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (Transcript)

Temple Grandin Discusses Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (Transcript)

Full transcript of an insightful presentation titled Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome by Dr. Temple Grandin, a noted expert and author on early intervention, educational strategies, visual thinking, social skills, medications and mentoring. Here in this presentation, she addresses sensory issues, brain function, social skills, job skills, medications and more…

Grandin presents around the world and is the author of several books including Emergence: Label Autistic, Thinking in Pictures, Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, co-authored with Sean Barron. In addition to several DVDs, her recent release of Animals in Translation maintained a top 10 position on the New York Times best-seller list. Based on statistics provided by the Autism Society of America, it is estimated that one in every 150 children born in the United States has autism and approximately 1 million in this country have this disorder, which does not include Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), Asperger’s and other spectrum disorders. A new case of autism is diagnosed nearly every 20 minutes, meaning approximately 24,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. per year.


Introducing Speaker: Please join me in welcoming Dr. Temple Grandin.

Temple Grandin – Author, Thinking in Pictures

Well it’s good to be here today. Once I press this button and my slides come on. If they work, that’s good. One of the things can’t emphasize enough with the young autistic children is early educational intervention. That’s just absolutely super important. I was 60 just this summer and by the time I was two and a half years old, I was in a very good program.

I’m — mother took me into a, you know, the children’s hospital in Boston and a doctor named Bronson Crothers referred her to a speech– to speech therapist that worked out of their home and they were just those a little experienced teachers that knew how to work with kids. And then my mother hired a nanny who spent hours and hours and hours doing turn taking games with me and my sister. We’ve got to be teaching these kids turn taking. See one of the things about being a child in the ’50s is it turned– everything you did with another kid that was fun involved turn taking. Turn taking is really important.

We got to teach that really, really early. As a teacher, I’m kind of grabbing the kid’s chin. My teacher did that with me. She said, come on, just pay attention. Some autistic kids you can kind of pull them out of it but there’s others where if you do this, you’re going to drive them into sensory overload. And one of the biggest most neglected areas is the sensory problems.

When a loud — school bell went off, it hurt my ears. This is a picture of a young man sent to me it’s actually from a book called Little Rainman. It’s — a young autistic boy drew this and showing how loud sounds hurt his ears. Now the thing is, is these sensory problems are very variable. One kid might like the sound of running water, another kid is going to — will get away from the sound of running water.

Now, high-pitched intermittent sounds, things like smoke alarms, those tend to be the worst things but these are really real problems. You know, if you have a child and you take them in at a big supermarket or a Walmart or some place like that, he just has a meltdown and start screaming, that is sensory overload. So you kind of want to figure out, if your child got a lot of sensory problems, what happens at Walmart or the big supermarkets or the shopping mall.

And if every one of those trips are screaming fit you’ve got really big sensory problems because some kids can see the fluorescent lights flicker on and off like being in a discotheque. It just drives them crazy or they go down the detergent aisle and they just want to gag because it’s just too much smells. Too much is overwhelming stimulation.

Now the thing is, one of the things they want to test me before is to make sure that I wasn’t deaf. So I got a hearing test and I wasn’t deaf. But the problem is auditory threshold tells you nothing about auditory detail. Auditory detail is the ability to hear hard consonant sounds. Like if I said cat or was it rat or bat, you know, differentiating between cat, rat and bat, and my speech teacher would enunciate those sounds. She’ll hold up a cup and say, cup. In fact, she used a lot of kind of aba type of things.

And the thing that’s most important that I’m going to be adamant about is that real little kids the two, three and four year olds, they need 20 hours of one-to-one with a really great teacher. And who that good teacher is? That’s the most important thing.

Now, this is work done by Ami Klin and he had with Aspergers and people with high-functioning autism watch who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Well, I have to say that’s a boring social movie and I wouldn’t be that interested in. I don’t even think I could keep the headphones on a plane for this one. And look at how many times a normal person looks at the eyes. I didn’t even know that people had all these secret eye signals until I read a book about it when I was 50 years old. But the other thing is most people explain this picture just from a social standpoint.

There’s also a big problem with attention shifting. Look at how many times the normal person looks back and forth, how quickly they can shift attention back and forth compared to the red line which is the autistic person. And the autistic person is looking at the mouth because you got to remember, they do not hear auditory detail very well. Some of these kids are like a really bad cellphone connection and when they get tired, it’s going to get worse.

You know, how you yell on the phone, you’re going, oh, it’s breaking up, it’s breaking up. That’s the way some of these kids’ hearing is. It’s like — and it’s going to vary as to how much of the signal get through. One of the places where there needs to be a lot of research done is in the sensory problems. I’m kind of really sick of all the theory of mind research because these sensory problems can be so debilitating. How can you socialize if you can’t even stand being in a restaurant, you can stand being at a sporting event or other places, a noisy restaurant, places like that.

Now, some people have visual problems. I didn’t have them. You know, where the image will break up like a mosaic. Donna Williams described this in some of her books. And oftentimes people will have these problems — they’ll have problems with depth perception.

Okay, how can you tell the kid’s got visual processing problems? Obviously, if he’s got sound sensitivity, he’s going to cover his ears. They do a lot of flicking around the eyes. That’s a tip-off. They’ll tend to tilt their head because they can see better if they look out the corner of their eye. Oftentimes, they hate escalators because they can’t tell when to get on and off the escalator. Fluorescent lights can be a big problem.

In fact, when they look at things, they may have to make accommodations for in college getting away from fluorescent lights is probably big number one. Problems with catching a ball and you go in and you do eye exams and they’re going to be normal. Their problem is inside the brain. Don’t get hung up on diagnostic categories. These diagnostic categories are not precise. They are labels, just like profiling a hijacker. It’s only sort of accurate. It’s — and I’m saying this really, really seriously. It’s not accurate like tuberculosis is accurate.

I mean what other kinds of syndromes do people sit around a hotel room and decide have diagnosing. I mean, that’s the same way building codes are figured out and, you know, engineers sit around hotel conference rooms and decide how to change building code. They’ve not done that in animal welfare codes. Now the thing is if the profile is used correctly, there’s a high correlation with brain scan data. But I find once you get out of the way from the big medical centers, profiles are not used correctly.

Okay. What’s the difference between Asperger’s and Autism? Well right now, until they change it, real simple. Autism has to be onset before age 3. There’s obvious speech delay along with the other autistic symptoms. Asperger’s, there’s no obvious speech delay. So to put it very, very simply, when the kid is 3, nobody’s running off to the doctor.

So what’s PDD? It’s early onset but not quite enough symptoms to call it autism. Now, a lot of these sensory problems I’ve been talking about. Dyslexics can have them. ADHD can have them. Lots and lots and lots of the different labels can have them. And I can tell you, I can’t wait until they can get high speed brain scanning and that could be used to diagnose the brain systems where we have problems.

Now some kids really good to read some autistic kids, not everybody these sensory things are very, very variable. I didn’t have these visual problems. They go to read white — the white paper with black print on it and the writing will kind of jiggle on the page because there’s problems with the circuits of process motion in the brain and they’re seeing motion when they shouldn’t be seeing motion.

Okay. Here are some simple, simple things you can do for visual processing problems, things you can do yourself. Why don’t you get an incandescent lamp or an old-fashioned energy waster bulb, put it next to the kid’s desk. Those twirly kind of fluorescent light bulbs, some of those are terrible. I normally do not see flicker on fluorescent lights but I stayed at a hotel where I saw flicker on a lamp that had those kind of bulbs and I could not read with it. Block fluorescent lights with a hat, sit over by the window.

Now laptop computer is the only computer that absolutely doesn’t flicker. I know a lot of people where a laptop just saved them. The TVs flicker, the TV tags flicker and the big desktop panels, a lot of those flicker because there’s a fluorescent light inside it. Only screen that doesn’t flicker are real skinny one, they’re so skinny like on a laptop, you can’t get a fluorescent light in there. Try putting a work on gray, tan, or pastel paper to reduce contrast. Some people are really helped with the Irlen colored lenses where you try on different colored glasses until you find the shade where it works.

Okay. I get out in the low income areas, I go, okay, people, let’s just go down to Walmart and we’re going to try on all of the pale colored sunglasses. And then I talked to one mom and her kid couldn’t tolerate — her 10-year-old couldn’t tolerate five minutes of Walmart. And they tried on some little pink children’s glasses and she can do an hour of shopping now that she was not able to do before.

Balancing games, you know, a lot of the OT things, a lot of things the OTs do with pressure and swinging and balancing like sitting on a ball. Someone’s help to stabilize processing, they make that bad cellphone connection work better. If I’ve taken that phone over by the — get it right up against the window, maybe it’ll work on this building. And then some people can be helped with prism glasses but those have to be done by a professional.

But the other things on here are just simple things you can try. I had a dyslexic student that would have flunked out of school without Irlen lenses and a laptop computer. Now, the problem with that is autism is very, very variable. So if you’ve got 20 people with autism, Irlen lenses may only work on two of them but they really work on those two. They’re not going to do anything for me, I don’t need them. Scientists have learned a lot about the brain. I get really fed up when people say, well, they don’t know anything about it, that’s a lot of rubbish. Actually scientists know a whole lot about the brain. It’s a very strong genetic basis in autism. The emotion circuits are abnormal and immaturely developed.

One of the big things about the autistic brain is these problems with the interconnectedness between different brain departments. I like to visualize the brain as this great big corporate office tower. And up at the top, you got the chief executive officer and then you got the, you know, the math department and you got the advertising department with the graphic designers. You’ve got sales department, all the different departments operations. And in the normal building, you got all kinds of internet and email connections and phone connections that wire together all the different departments.

Now, on autism what happens is, as the chief executive officer we’ll just give them one dial up, that’s all he gets. But then, maybe over in the graphic design department, they get a hundred internet connections. In other words, some departments get extra wiring, other — human resources, the social staff, sales, we don’t give the — we don’t even give them phones. You know, because we’re more interested in wiring up the geek stuff, you know, like the math department and things like that.

Now, the brain — let me tell you an interesting thing about the brain. You have gray matter and you have white matter. Gray matter is the brain’s processors. White matter is the interconnections between the offices of the different departments of the brain. Half of the brain is white matter. Half of the brain is interconnecting circuits.

Another interesting thing that’s been learned by Dr. Casanova at the University in Knoxville is he looks at these things called Minicolumns, they’re the brain’s primary processor units. And he found that people on the spectrum have more processors per square inch. But there’s a price you pay for that. Those little, teeny processors aren’t powerful enough to send out big trunk lines out the different departments of the brain.

We leave the CEO without very much wiring from the frontal cortex. And normal people have larger circuits with big trunk lines. So there’s kind of two ways you can make a brain, you can make a really social, leave out the detail, lot of fast connections or make it really go for detail but going to be poor on the long distance connections with the local connections. You know, sort of imagine the office building where down the math department, we got cables this big over the cubicle walls. And the cubicle walls are falling down because they got gigantic cables hooking up all these computers they brought in. That’s the — that would be the savant point.

Now, these are behavior problems that are caused by the Autism or the Asperger’s. These are mainly sensory things screaming when the fire alarm goes off, tantrums in a supermarket. I couldn’t tolerate scratchy clothes. There’s no way you’re getting wool against my skin. I just can’t tolerate it. Some kids have poor handwriting. There’s a good reason why keyboards were invented and I’m a big believer in introducing them early.

And then, a problem with fluorescent lights these are things we’re going to have to accommodate. These are the stuff we do not have to accommodate and I think we’re getting into kind of a generational difference here. Because let me tell you, table manners, pound that in, saying please and thank you, pound that in. Shaking hands with people, pound that in. Yes, you do have to sit through church and if you don’t like it, you got to sit through it. I wasn’t allowed to stim at the table. I was allowed to stim during rest period after lunch.

I was given– sometimes, I could stim but church and dinner were two places where I wasn’t allowed. And I think there’s sort of more strict upbringing I had was really helpful. Because I know — see people all the time, 40, 50, 60-year-old Asperger’s all over the place kept good jobs for years and years and years. And I think that more rigid upbringing was really helpful. There was absolute consistent discipline between home and school. There was no way I could play the teacher against mom, and vice versa.

If I had a bad day at school, they took away Howdy Doody show for one night. Sloppiness, I’ve seen autistic kids now, and Asperger’s kids, they go on a store and take stuff off the shelf and throw it on the floor. I wasn’t allowed to do that. I was taught when I was five years old you don’t touch it n a store unless you’re going to buy it. Making rude comments about people’s appearance.

This is an — and all these other stuff is not all right and having autism or Asperger’s is not an excuse for this. But you got to differentiate between the sensory problems because you can’t — sometimes the kid’s going to have a meltdown when they get tired. They just can’t stand it especially when they got overstimulated and they get a differentiate rudeness from getting overstimulated. You don’t ever, ever punish sensory problems ever.

Now, some kids, in how little you start, like they’re finally good at something like drawing. One of the things I want to emphasize is building on the area of strength. Kids that are on the spectrum are often good at one thing and bad at something else. We got to build on the area of strength. What is this person good at? It’s really, really important. Unfortunately in Special Ed, there’s too much emphasis on the deficits and not enough emphasis on building on the strength area. Also the kids will get fixated on something.

If the kid likes airplanes, read books with airplanes, do math with airplanes. I’ve had people say, all he wants to do is play Pokemon. Well, if he’s good at drawing, leave him alone to draw pictures of Pokemon. Okay. Now we’re going to do Pokemon’s car, Pokemon’s house. In other words, broaden that out, broaden that out. Even somebody that’s non-verbal is going to have some areas of strength. We’ve got to build on those areas of strength.

Now, I’m a visual thinker. Everything I think about is like Google for images. Language narrates the pictures in my mind. I think about something, it comes up like pictures, photo realistic pictures. That’s how I think. And those are 16 millimeter movie reels in my head. They don’t have those anymore.

Now, when I design equipment, I can actually test-run it in my head. I didn’t even know that was a special skill. I thought everybody could test-run equipment in their head. I didn’t know it was a special skill until I started interviewing people about how they think. I didn’t even know that most people thought it works. Now, one of the things that’s been very interesting, has been found out, is the autistic brain is into details and a normal brain tends to drop out details and get overly vague. It’s a continuum.

Now, you want your air traffic controller and be a little bit obsessive because you’d like to not have the plane smashing with each other. You’d like to have your bridge engineer not forget about the details because otherwise bridge is going to fall down that simple. This is one of my projects that was built down in Brazil. And I like this one because I like to fantasize about what the archeologists are going to think this was for when they dig it up. And obviously, of course, it had great, great religious significance.

Now, how do you form a concept when you think in pictures? You form a concept by sorting pictures into categories. Making categories is the beginning of concept formation. And now this little boy sent me another picture showing how he’s sorting cats and dogs into different boxes. In order to differentiate a cat from a dog. Well, a dog is bigger than a cat. Okay. That’s one way you’re going to do it. But then, when you get a little tiny dog into the neighborhood, I can no longer sort them by size.

And when our next door neighbor’s bought a dachshund, I had to figure out why she wasn’t a cat. And I looked at her and I looked at her and I looked at her and I had to find a visual feature every single dog has that none of the cats have got. And every single dog, no matter how weird, has got exactly the same nose. In other words I found a visual feature where you could categorize all of the dogs. It’s sensory-based categorization. It’s not word-based.

You could also do it by sound, barking or meowing. That is sound-based. Now, I used to joke around about maybe having a big internet connection deep under the visual cortex and Dr. Nancy Minshew did a brain scan, special kind of brain scan on me and found that my big trunk line down the base of the brain and all brains has a big, huge trunk line that’s down in here where all of the processor units tie into that working from the front to the back of the brain and deep into the visual cortex.

And when I got copy of these pictures I’m like wow, well, that begins to explain it. You know, mine’s a whole lot bigger and there I got a great, big one on the right side but I pay a price for this. Man, I could not do algebra. It’s too abstract, there’s nothing there for me to visualize. And I’m finding a lot of kids where they need to go straight to geometry and trig. They can do geometry and trig, I’ve never had a chance to really do geometry and trig because I failed algebra so they kept pounding away on algebra.

I had a fantastic science teacher who took my fixations and used them to motivate me in science. Because when I was in high school, it’s terrible. Tease, tease, tease worst part of my life it was absolutely, you know, beyond. It’s totally dreadful. But now I had a goal becoming a scientist so I stopped goofing around in school but I just couldn’t do algebra, it’s just totally impossible.

Now I have found that on the– you know, since what happens in Autism and Asperger’s and Eric Courchesne has done research on this here in California. And Dr. Courchesne has found that there’s abnormalities in these interconnected circuits. There’s not enough of them to go around. So what tends to happen, one part of the brain is wired, maybe extra other part of the brain gets left out. And I had kind of found — there’s kind of three specialized types.

Now, you can have mixtures of these. The visual thinker like me photo realistic pictures, bad at algebra. Music and math minds, this is a type of visual thinking but it’s more abstract. It’s pattern thinking. It’s pattern thinking.

In my book, Thinking in Pictures, I explain visual thinking but in another book called Born On A Blue Day, Daniel Tammet is going to do a very nice job describing to the world of pattern thinking. Then another type, it’s a word thinker. They know lots and lots of facts. Oftentimes, they love history. They might make good journalists and then terrible at drawing. They’re absolutely not a visual thinker. Oh, I pressed the wrong thing there.

Now, I want to try to give you a glimpse into the mind of the pattern thinker. In these slides, a lot of them deliberately do not have writing. I’m trying to get you away from language. I got to get you into an alternate reality here. That praying mantis, that’s a work of Robert Lang, is made out of a single sheet of folded paper. That praying mantis, you see on that slide. Now you see the pattern that’s in the background there. That is the folding pattern for making the praying mantis.

Now I can’t — there’s no way I could possibly do this, absolutely no way. It’s another kind of mind. And these guys tend to be have trouble with reading English. That tends to be their weak area. Kind of you teach a concept? You teach a concept like not running across the street. I mean I’ve had parents say, well, my kid obeys a rule at home, but at school he runs across the street. At the church, he runs across the street. What you got to do is you got to teach him in many, many different streets. Many, many different streets go into the — not running across the street category. Then he’ll start to get a concept.

At the same way you teach a guide dog or seeing eye dog about intersections. You must show him many kinds of intersections because if you’re only showing intersections with white lines, he won’t know what to do if there’s no white lines. Or let’s say you only showed them intersections with stoplights, he’s not going to know what to do with intersections that have stop signs. You see different pictures. It’s very specific. Normal human being is — drops out the details. You know, play games with categories.

Dr. Nancy Minshew found that you could say — you could lay out some objects and you could say to an autistic kid, pick out the red things, and he could do that. But if you ask him to pick out new categories for these things I’m showing on the screen like maybe,  you know, make up new categories, round objects, contains plastic, contains cloth is an article of clothing, things that have metal in them. Play games with categories. It helps to teach flexibility of thinking.

One of the problems in autistic thinking is it’s very rigid. Now, when we were kids, we play lots and lots of that game 20 questions. How many people here know what 20 questions is? Okay, really good game because it’s teaching categories that red ball is red. It’s also round. It could be used — if is said, pick up objects here for recreation. The ball, the hats but it might depend upon who’s using the hats and where because that ball could also be used for hand therapy. It’s the same kind of ball that’s used for hand therapy.

When I was three and four years old, like we didn’t have IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) or anything like that when I was a child but we had an education plan for my summer on this little camp. I was going to learn the Lord’s prayer and I was going to learn to do my very, very, very best. And I learned the Lord’s prayer and I absolutely have no idea what it meant. And the only thing that meant anything to me was the power and the glory and I pictured a rainbow with electric tower in the base of the rainbow. That is the power and the glory and you might be interested to know that this picture here is no photoshop tricks or anything. I actually took that. It’s a real picture, no tricks.

Now, some people say autistic learning is just memorization and scripting. In the beginning, it’s just memorization and scripting but as I learn more and more and more and more things, my search engine, my mind works just like Google for images. So as I load more and more data in here, my search engine can put it around and categorize it in different ways and then you get less sort of robotic and less sort of like scripted because I can put it together under new categories. I think it’s important for autistic kids to see a lot of things.

When I was 15 years old the opportunity came up to go to my aunt’s ranch. I was scared to go but mother made me go. That was good. You don’t shove kids into surprises. Surprises cause panic. But some of these kids needed to be pushed a bit. Try new things and that was the best thing that ever happened. So visual thinker, you ought to be good at this. See this figure right here? How many of you see it in a pink and yellow figure, how many can see that? Oh, doing kind of bad, you know, well I don’t have the computer up here to demonstrate it. You know just kick yourself.

Now, when you take somebody that’s a really good visual thinker and you put them in a brain scanner, just the vision part of the brain gets turned on and other stuffs turn off. So now I’m going to show you how I can use visual thinking in a more abstract way. This is a visual symbol picture for the brain scan of the autistic person. It’s like this little bright cabin in the wilderness that, you know, that’s it’s all snow and you don’t have all these other interconnections.

The brain scan of a normal person’s like this lamp store, you see, you got so much other stuff you turned on. It actually covers up the visual thinking. In fact, there’s research that’s been done now in the brain that shows that language covers up visual thinking, musical thinking, the more detailed sensory-based thinking.

Oh, what’s that all about? Well, I know this is a stretch but that kind of remind me to talk about interconnectedness of brain systems. I know that’s a stretch, you know, skeletal building. I’m trying to give you an insight into how I was able — how I can do some abstract thinking by using these visual symbol pictures. But you see, I always have to go back to an image or I cannot think.

In fact, remembering numbers, I’m really terrible about that, absolutely terrible. I only have memorized like about seven or eight phone numbers. Thing is, when you hear a word, see a word, speak a word or think about a word, see that different parts of brain turned on? The normal brain is all kinds of interconnections while in autism, you know, some parts get extra wirings, some gets none but the tendency is for the frontal cortex, the brain’s chief executive officer, that tends to just get a few dialogues of its line. That’s all it gets.

Now, this is a piece of art that came from an Alzheimer’s patient that had no previous interest in art. It’s called Frontotemporal lobe dementia. In a frontotemporal lobe dementia aid out the language parts of the brain and then art talent showed up or music talent showed up. Then four or five years later, the Alzheimer’s wreck everything. But there was this period where the language was ruined and this art talent showed up and this is Bruce Miller’s work, published in the Journal of Neurology.

You know, this is a scientific journal this is published in. There’s another piece of this art from one of these people. One of them was a tape deck installer, you know, car stereo installer. For the visual thinker, you got to make teaching math concrete. You know, if you’re working with some of the non-verbal kids, work with blocks that are different lengths with different numbers so they can feel the numbers, see them. Cut up a piece of food that teaches fractions, half an apple, quarter of an apple or if that’s too messy then cut up cardboard circles.

Over here is just little things you can manipulate like, you know, four plus five equals nine and these little things that I can handle, little pieces I can handle and touch. So numbers are real, you can use pennies. Pennies work really, really well. Don’t use nickels or dimes that will be confusing, Use pennies because they are a unit of one. I think this is clever, this is from the TEACCH program.

We got five minus one equals four. And when you take a piece away you bag it in a baggy because you took it away. That makes subtraction concrete, I thought that was clever. Here is six minus five equals one. And you got five pieces in the bag because you took them away. And what’s this all about, boxes on forklift pallets? Well 10 years ago at CSU we had a giant flood, and it flooded that basements and 13, 14 of our buildings we had three feet of water roll across campus.

And I was very upset about books getting wrecked. You see in this– internet wasn’t that big at this time. And what they’re doing is they’re rescuing you know, wet books. But the idea of books being destroyed really upset me because knowledge was being destroyed. And I got the thinking about this, why was I so upset about the library had been trashed? I mean that one — when I was at the animal science meetings I open — I got the USA Today shoved at the door of my hotel, in the front page of USA Today was wrecked books of my university. And I got the thinking about this and I think I am what I do. Yes I’ve got emotions.

And when kids tease me it hurt a lot but my emotions are simpler. I can be happy, I can be sad, they’re more in the present. I can go back to where times — when there was an emergency landing on a plane and even joke about it. It kind of wasn’t a joke at the time, went down those emergency slides and let me tell you it’s scary, scary, scary. I thought the plane was going to, you know, they thought it had a bomb in it. I was like when I was senior in high school when that happened.

But I can play that like video back in my head and it doesn’t bother me but at the time it was very scary, I mean I was totally, totally white knuckles on emergency landing of a plane. They thought they had 10 minutes to get it down. And what I’ve done is I replaced emotional complexity with intellectual complexity. This is one of the reasons why I put so much emphasis on careers because I get social interaction through shared interests. We’ve got to build around the interests, you know, you look at people of high functioning autism or Asperger’s that have made a good adjustment. They were taught formal instruction and almost apprenticed into a career.

Mr. Carlock, my science teacher taught me how to use the — how to look things up in scientific journals. I mean real scientific journals, not the Encyclopedia Britannica or Today or the Wikipedia. You’ve got to get pass that and get to the real things. How do you get off the wild internet and get into the national library of medicine? Today you would have showed me things like PubMed, p-u-b-m-e-d, you type those magic little letters into Google and you’re into the national library of medicine.

You’re off the internet and you’re in — you’re off on what I call the wild net. And you’re into the national library of medicine and you can like get summaries of scientific articles for free. I mean that’s absolutely wonderful. I mean he would have taught me about that. I saw somebody that was at my age that’s very successful video photographer. Well he got some formal instruction in photography from a next door neighbor. Somebody ask that, you know, teach him, talent has to be developed, skills have to be developed.

Now the thing is Nancy did another brain scan on me and she showed me pictures of people and pictures of things. Well actually it was an old Pink Floyd video I think she used. Well I didn’t recognize it as that, let’s not figure out where she got all the weird cars and stuff from. And so I was looking at the things more and I was trying to figure out what year it was looking at the cars. So I was paying more attention to the things.

But the thing is you didn’t have people in this world interested in things. You wouldn’t have any electricity in this building. Tesla who invented the power plant would definitely be labeled autistic today, not Asperger’s, today autistic. And Einstein would have been labeled autistic today. No speech until age three and you open up any business magazine there’s all kind of Asperger’s profile all over. They are not diagnosed, that’s what keeps Silicon Valley going. And I’m saying that with all seriousness. We need to have people that are interested in things.

How do you think made the first stone sphere? It wasn’t the social people yakking around the camp fire. That’s for sure. Details. Right here you got little letters and you got big letters. And the person on the spectrum will pick out the little letters quicker because they tend to look for the details. Social interaction to shared interests, I just cannot emphasize that enough. We’ve got to get these kids that are getting teased in the things like computer club, robotics club, journalism club, music, art, and all of the, you know chess club and if they like history, a history club, all the things where they can do shared interest.

Because when I was in high school the only refuges I had away from teasing were horseback riding, the science lab. The kids that were interested in those things were not the kids doing the teasing. They were refuges away from teasing, you know, some of these kids on — there’s some of these really smart kids that need to go from childhood to grownup hood. Skip high school and then they just go right straight to community college. I’m saying it’s absolutely serious, I’m running into quite a few of these. But they better learn some manners.

There’s a rule of community college. You don’t interrupt classes and there’s a rule here at this university. And our lecture, you’re allowed one question and you can’t be talking back and forth to the teacher, that’s the rule. I follow that rule. You know and then, for most classes unless it’s a small discussion class, like 15 students or less, that’s for darn good rule of the – and another thing with these kids, they are abounding with even skills.

I’ve seen a fourth grader that has to have Special Ed in English, needs to be in high school math. If you make him do baby math, he’s going to just misbehave or maybe he’ll need special ed. Math and needs to be, you know, reading college textbooks. In reading then let him do it. Keep building on that skill, I look into ones that are successful, these are the things that have been done.

Well there’s a lot of interesting stuff out there, have you wondered how Google actually works? Do you know that when you use Google you actually aren’t even on the wild internet, you’re actually in a gigantic server farm? Because Google has a program that goes out and collects all the information off all of web pages around the world, stores it in these big warehouses full of millions of computers and they’re called server farms.

Well if you really like computers you got to think this is just, you know, computer heaven. But we got to get kids exposed to interesting things. One of my big concerns, if you’re in this area in California you’re exposed to all the techie stuff. There’s a lot of Asperger’s go right in Silicon Valley to do this great and never diagnosed but to get out in the Midwest a lot of people working on educational don’t know anything about anything technical, it’s a big world out there.

How do you get into interesting places like that? It’s all who you know. You got to work on finding the back door I’ll show you — and business magazines write them up and they say – is ugly. Well when I was in high school I went boarding school. My roommate just swoon over the Beatles. I remember when the Beatles came out on the Ed Sullivan Show, Carol sees Ringo up there and she just goes, oh, Ringo.

Well, I have a friend who’s really into computers and we got to talk in about server farms. Man, it was like romance. And she’s going, oh, server farms. Oh nirvana, computer nirvana. Well we need to have people like that or you wouldn’t even have any internet. You like to use Google and stuff like that but you got to have people on the spectrum and make something like Google. Oh I’m serious.

Autism is a continuum, going from you know where is — when does geek and nerd become Asperger’s? You know what, from my own Asperger geek and nerd is exactly the same thing. And then you get down to non-verbal. So you’re going all the way from very severe all the way up to brilliant scientists, musicians, journalists, all kinds of different things. Well they didn’t like fortune, they didn’t like the business magazines get in there and photograph much because they don’t really like to have the normal people in there. But the one thing they didn’t let them photograph was look at all these electric panels. Man these server farms take a lot of power.

So the next thing that has to be figured out is how to get rid off all those electric cords and make a more energy friendly. Some Asperger’s got to have to figure that out. Some of the best social interaction I’ve ever had was working on construction. I love working with the construction guys. I love — we can just spend hours talking about how to build stuff. Also I was a good memory of the little boys club, you know.

Because I got emotions but construction workers sort of real get into the 10-year-old mode and we get talking about things like well and astronauts too can get into that. I read this book called I Have to Ride A Rocket. And one of the astronauts, it was like the NASA unofficial version of the space shuttle and the space station and I talked all about of outer pace and all kind of wonderful things but it just wouldn’t be complete book without 25 pages of shuttle toilet malfunctions. And yes, so I read the — we’re not going to any more of that.

Yeah but it was like one side so intellectually complex but then, they had get into the little boy’s club stuff too. Now the thing is — when I was a little kid, I was brought up with very clear values about right and wrong. I didn’t see sports people behaving badly like you do today. Like this horrible Michael Vick thing, sports people cheating and things like that. Movies and things when I was a little kid like clear cut values. My favorite TV Show Super Man and the Lone Ranger was very clear values about being a good person and a bad person it’s all very, very clear.

How about religion? I think one of the most important things teach people on the spectrum is being a good person. The golden rule taught very concretely with examples. Now when I was a little kid I stole a toy fire engine from another kid’s birthday and mother made me give it back. And she said “Well you wouldn’t like it if Billy stole one of your toys.” You see then I understood why I shouldn’t have taken that toy fire engine. I think OT, the pressure things, the swinging things, balancing on a ball is part of a good program. It can help stabilize some of this bad sensory processing, help to calm things down.

Another thing that I think is essential is exercise. A research on the benefits of exercise on the brain for everybody is absolutely clear. There’s a gigantic review article trends in Neurosciences just last month on the brain benefits of exercise. And there also were some papers in there on exercise reducing self stimming behavior. Those are referenced in Thinking in Pictures. This is my squeezing machine, when I got into puberty, I start having absolutely horrendous panic attacks. It was like a constant state of fear all the time because there’s a malfunction in my nervous system.

It was sort of like oh, wow, looking for predators, looking for predators, you know, all the time. A fear system is turned out all the time, it was terrible. And a panic pressure helped calm me down, some people are going to have this problem, others don’t. It’s now controlled, anti-depressant medication.

I was one of the ones that were saved by anti-depressant medication. It’s, you know, you’re in a whole medication thing. Some people need it, some people don’t, way too many medications just given out like candy. Thinking in Pictures has been updated 2006 and I updated the whole medical section in it. But the pressure — deep pressure is calming. Exercise is calming, slow swinging can be calming, balancing on the ball, balancing activities can also help stabilize the nervous system. I think it’s very important to desensitize these little kids to touch because helps you to have feeling of kindness. Firm pressure is calming little — don’t do little tickle touches, they’re scared, they’re bad.

Now, here’s a ruling system I still — I’ve taken all of rules of the world and I put them in four categories. The first premise of this rule system is if you want to have a civilized society, you can’t have really bad things like killing people, stealing stuff, burning down buildings, chaos in the streets. You see when I talk about those things I see pictures, and when I see chaos in the street, a bunch of people out there rioting and light stuff on fire. You got to control it.

Then you need to courtesy rules. Every society has courtesy rules and the interesting thing is, when I first developed this list I was in high school. I didn’t have the courtesy rules in there because they were pounded it in to me so hard when I was a little kid. Well I didn’t even think of them as a category. I actually put those in later when I started seeing, we get the generational thing there. Then you got to have a place where you can start to break some rules, the illegal but not bad.

I’ll tell you some places to break rules with stupid bureaucratic stuff in the educational system, like maybe kids 15 too young to go to community college, they go sign them up anyway. So once he’s big enough so you can pass him off as — they’d sign them up anyway. That’s a kind of rules you play.

But he better not interrupt any classes, he better realizes this is a grown privilege. One of the things I was able to rise to the occasion of a grown up privilege. When I was a little kid, I was taken out in some very nice restaurants, the finest restaurants and I behaved. Because I liked fine restaurants and if I misbehave wasn’t going to be able to go, you know, it’s just that simple. And this places is little quiet places. The really good restaurants aren’t noisy and they weren’t the noisy places.

Then there’s rules like all the sins of the system. They’re very variable from one society to another. And if you break these rules, the penalties are drastic. Some little sexual transgression here I’ll get you on a sex offender list for the rest of your life and wreck your life. You’ll be nothing if you did it over Europe. You don’t touch the sins of the system. I figured this out in high school.

When I was in high school in a boarding school, there were three sins of the system, smoking, drinking and sex. And I found if I gave up those, they knew they can trust me on those, they let me do lots of the illegals but not bad if wasn’t too — if I just wasn’t too blamed about it I could get away with it. Einstein today would definitely be labeled out an autistic. They get concerned what would happen to a guy like Einstein today.

Did you know that when he wrote the most important paper ever written in physics he was a patent clerk, he wasn’t a big professor, he was a patent clerk. Can a patent clerk get a paper published today in the physics journal? I don’t know. Now, there’s two really good books out about famous scientists and musicians that probably were Asperger’s. One of them is Asperger’s and Self-Esteem and the other one is called Genius Genes, you can buy them on and these are great books to give to a smart Asperger student is being tortured and teased in high school. And you can see that he’s got a lot of famous companies there.

Well, this is the NASA satellite assembly building. And I like to call it that world’s biggest shored workshop for the socially challenged. And there’s lots of these shored workshops in Silicon Valley. We need to be getting these kids into these things because I do a lot of traveling around and I do a talk in a real tech area, oh there’s aspies everywhere. They’re just getting pulled in to this — into this industry. I get the most hits on my webpage from the tech cities. I can’t track users because I don’t make you log on.

But I can just track cities, I finally figured out the Plain Old Texas — I can’t figure out why Plain Texas was on my top 10. It’s where Texas Instruments is. And then of course this Redmond Washington, and then of course there’s Marina Del Rey here that’s Stanford area. How do — we need to be working a lot more on career development. We’re not doing enough on this.

I have a little book called Developing Talents which is just on career development. We need teenagers and start teaching work skills. You got to learn, you got to do what the boss wants. You got to be on time, you know, mentors are extremely important. Most of the people on the spectrum have been successful, there’s been a professor or parent or somebody that’s kind of apprentice to kid into a different — into the different fields.

You got to take kids out and show them interesting workplaces. They bring in trade magazine from all the different — all the different kinds of business and all the different kinds of jobs. Also, the way I sold my freelance design work was in a portfolio. I had to sell my work not myself. We need to short circuit the HR interview process and get a portfolio of work to the people that really would appreciate.

And don’t put too much junk in that portfolio, make sure it’s really neat four or five pages of like wow stuff and the other thing you better have is complete contact information. And don’t send email attachments, people don’t open them. I’m absolutely appalled at the number of people that write to me, email me call me and they do not have complete contact information. It’s just– then they wonder why I don’t contact them. This is a typical family history. The trait show up in the family histories. Autism is a continuum of traits.

There’s no simple genetics for autism, it’s definitely genetic but it’s not simple genetics. Mother side of the family, MIT trained engineer co-inventor of the automatic pilot for airplanes and in fact there’s two and a half times as many engineers in the family history of people with autism. And we got anxiety and depression on both sides of the family, that goes with the territory. We’ve got the non-visual thinkers they were all bankers on my father side of the family. Food allergies and we’ve got Asperger traits, of course all undiagnosed.

Educational resources for teenagers getting tortured in school lot of the great teachers are at the community college because they don’t have to have a teaching certificate. They teach chemistry, they just need to have a degree in chemistry and appall that they lack science teachers in the lot of the high schools, but those great science teachers are at your local community college. There’s all kinds of wonderful career stuff, they look at their catalogue for community colleges it’s like wow. You know, technical schools, lot of high schools have taken out drafting, welding, auto mechanics.

Well, for a lot of kids these are really great jobs and they’re not going to get outsourced. Online learning, lot of rubbish but also a lot of really good stuff, make sure if you’re doing online learning that you do with an accredited university and then of course university courses. Maybe that bored high school kid ought to be over here. We don’t tell the registrar or anything just sign them up, sign them up.

Now, there’s the meat plant where I first started my career, how did I get in? I met the wife of their insurance agent. You never know who can get you in to some place. Don’t look for the back door. Now, when kids teased me when I was in high school I responded by throwing a book and I got kicked out of junior high for that. You know actually it was ninth grade I guess that’s that first year of high school.

And I had to switch anger to crying and because I haven’t done that, I would have lost my career. Like in the meat industry does zero tolerance for anger, zero tolerance in the meat industry. You hit somebody in the meat industry you’re fired, period, period, kicked out of the industry, because everybody has knives, ironclad rule. Absolute ironclad rule, anger is not tolerated, you know anything beyond yelling is — there’s a zero tolerance at meat plants, always been that way.

So, I switched to crying and I’ve had some parents complain that teenage boy cries, be thankful he cries, because then he won’t hit or throw things or break the door, break the wall. Let’s look at jobs for the visual thinkers. These job lists are in the developing talent book, drafting, auto mechanics, you know, computer network, computer hardware more in programming, doing computer hardware, animal trainer, photographers, repairing computers.

And then let’s say in the future I mean now, we’re going to — we have also baby boomers, they’re going to need lots of medical stuff, how about fixing medical equipment. Somebody’s got to keep these MRI machines going. The normal people aren’t going to want — be bothered doing that. Look at the jobs that can used those areas of strength, how about our pattern thinkers, some music and math thinkers, all kinds of science jobs, engineering jobs, computer programming.

Now, a lot of computer programming things get outsourced, but there’s a lot of specialized things here in Silicon Valley, very specialized things, they’re hiring. As part of the country you can get in to that, out in the Midwest you’re probably going to get outsourced because they, you know, the rule simple coding that’s getting outsourced.

We have musicians, statistician, banks have this thing called quants that they use for picking stocks. I don’t have any idea how it works. It’s all done by computers. Well, most people are probably on the spectrum.

How about the verbal guys, all words? Journalism would be a good job for some of these people, translators, accounting jobs, special education teacher, speech therapist lots of record keeping kinds of jobs, archiving kinds of jobs. We got to be thinking about what’s this kid going to be able to do. And when they’re in college, they need to be interning in career-related things and I did this. I worked in a research lab one summer, I worked at a hospital for an showroom one summer those are very good experiences.

When I was 14 years old I worked for dressmaker I’m just doing hand sewing for her. These were very good work training experiences. Bad jobs, multitasking, cannot do multitasking. A lot of the jobs are the entry level jobs. Waitress in a busy restaurant, I’ll be fired. Cashier in a real super busy place, I might be able to do it now, because the machines are so electronic now, they make the change and everything.

Yeah, you just have to scan the groceries I probably could do that. Old fashioned cash register, well, I would have been fired. My cash drawer would have never balanced. It would have just been a mess. I just don’t have very much working memory. And I also can’t remember long strings of verbal information. If there’s more than free steps I have to avoid it down. I hate these cellphones where one button has like five different functions, I can’t remember that. I just hate it, throw them against the wall.

How about people who have poor verbal skills? Again find areas things they like to do. There’s a lot of jobs you know, working in stores, restocking shelves, inventory. You have to take a little laser thing around and you got to do it on all the merchandise. They’re not going to outsource that one somebody’s got to physically go on the store, put the scanner on every bit of merchandise so I can figure out how much shoplifting is going on. No I’m serious they — that’s the only way they can figure out what they call shrinkage.

Somebody has to physically take the wand and scan all the stuff. You know that has to be done once a month. There’s a lady named Marcie Datlow Smith and she has a very good book on jobs for some of the more, severe types of autism.

There’s a gorgeous photograph that somebody on the spectrum made. No Photoshop here. We got to work on how, how can we get some of these work sold. You know this is professional quality work. Let’s talk about some medication things. I want to try to get you to think logically about treatments. Every case is different what works for one, doesn’t work for another. I have all this problem with the fear stuff and the panic attacks.

Other people that has Asperger’s don’t have this. It’s very, very terrible. I’ve kind of found that visual thinkers tend to really get into the fear thing. And the word thinkers tend to be calm but I can’t prove that. It’s just sort of something I observed over the years. How do you evaluate a treatment of drug or ABA or whatever it is? The first thing especially with drugs is worse versus benefit. To make it worth the risk, it better have a big wow this little works. You can look at things like cost versus benefit. I mean there’s some educational programs out there that’s such a rip off, it’s just so expensive, it’s like crazy and then, evidence of effectiveness.

Now of course I would much prefer to have scientific journal articles you know, the placebo controlled double blind studies, those are the best. But the problem we’ve got on the autism spectrum is it’s so variable especially when we’re dealing with some other things like the special diets. You take 20 subjects it only is going to work on two, but really work on those two. Now, you know, people go, oh, we tested that diet, it doesn’t work.

Well, I noticed anecdotally there’s people where those diets work. And so I do all the things I do other thing for my anecdotal evidence. Three families that convinced me it works that they didn’t start something else at the same time. I’ll give you a little statistics lesson. What side does paper says the diet doesn’t work or something doesn’t work. Look at your variability of the data, your standard there as the mean, your little arrow bars on the graphs. If the variability of the data is double in the experimental group than in the control group, somebody in there is responding. It’s just that something.

Let me call these little arrow bar lines. All the twice as big in the experimental group that tells you something. Let’s say you have a non-verbal person and they got a severe behavior then good now they’re — having all these note down saying hitting people or whatever. The first thing you got to do is rule out a hidden painful medical problem. It’s not there then I can’t tell you.

Big number one is acid reflux, and then bend them over because the acid is coming up here and burn up their esophagus. Acid reflux, that’s not a very easy way to get rid of it. You don’t want it get too bad. Get the head of your bed up so the acid stays in the stomach and do not lay down until half an hour after eating. Let your food get a little digested before you lie down.

How about tooth aches, ear aches, constipation, urinary tract infection, i mean you got to rule out all that kind of stuff. The next thing, it might be sensory. Or maybe it’s the fear of getting blasted. The smoke alarm went off last week in that room. So now this guy knows about smoke alarms going on.

So now every time he sees one he’s throwing a fit. Because he’s afraid it’s going to off and blow out his ears. It can be just of fear or maybe a microphone feedback and screeched. So now he sees a microphone and he’s afraid of it. Or it might purely out of behavior reason, you know then you do calming sensory methods. Then he might need some medication.

The big mistake that people make with medication is every time there’s some setback or some little meltdown, they’re giving him a whole bunch more of drugs. It’s like every time there’s problem they just — another drug up the dose, up the dose. And like they’re on eight or nine different things like crazy, it’s not even logical. You got to think logically about what you’re doing.

You try a drug, I mean, don’t try it at the same time you start a diet or a new school. You know at least have a few weeks in between there. Now, what did it do? And a good rule of thumb is you’re using drugs for behavior. You’re not using it to treat epilepsy or some other medical problem. There should be some wow factor.

Oh, he went from an — a five — this I’m telling, you know, I’m not talking about two-year-old here, but let’s say a 12-year-old kid. He went from five tantrums a day to one every two weeks. Yup that probably be some wow factor. But that’s the kind of, you know, thing you want. You don’t give powerful medications to make him a teensy little bit, high — less hyper. That’s not enough of a benefit to make it worth the risk.

Here are purely behavioral reasons for maybe a non-verbal misbehaving, frustrated because he can’t communicate, getting attention or getting out and doing something, those are your three main motivations. Behavior consultants are really good at figuring that out. Let’s just go through some of the medications. I like to use the military analogy. And we got light weapons and we got heavy weapons. Maybe that’s not politically correct but it’s an easy way for me to think about it.

Now, Prozac and drugs called SSRIs, serotonin and reuptake inhibitors, they are light weapons. They got less side effects than some of the drugs I call heavy weapons. Now that were — all the drugs on this list really work well for is anxiety, stopping a fear, stopping the panic attacks and all the anxiety and the OCD and the obsessive compulsive disorder. And in this class, you got Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil and the scientific names are up there. And it’s in– this is all updated in my book Thinking in Pictures, expanded edition. It came out 2006.

Now the thing with these drugs is you got to give a really small dose. People on the spectrum often need only one-fourth to one-half starter dose. That’s all they need. I’ve had probably a hundred parents say to me, did great on a little dose, went berserk on a higher dose. So if you overdose them, you’re going to get insomnia and agitation like puffy nose.

And if you look at the Prozac, it’s all up to generic now. You can get Prozac at Walmart now for 4 bucks a month. Lexapro and Celexa are still on patent, sometimes the Prozac wears off. Lexapro works really well. Then you get into a how do you pick out which one to use? Don’t try something a blood relative hated. Try something maybe a blood relative actually liked. You see there isn’t any super scientific way to figure out which one to use. Maybe, they’ll use the one where the drug salesmen come around and giving them pens and oh man, I went into the nose doctor when I broke my nose.

Some company was making no allergy medicine, they had a cake in there. They had chines take-out, the cake with the name of a drug on it. There was pens and coffee cups and I was like — I’m like going, look, you know, what’s scientific about that? They’re giving out a Jillian-free samples of the stuff. That’s not logical or science.

Okay, these are the heavy artillery and these are the atypicals originally developed for schizophrenia. And there’s a lot of this thing given out way too casually. They have much more severe side effects. The first really severe side effect is weight gain. You cannot let a kid get 100 pounds of weight gain. You absolutely cannot let that happen. In some kids, they stimulate appetite.

The other side effect is tardive dyskinesia which was the shaking, the kind of palsy thing. And all these drugs are still patented. You see, drug companies don’t care about selling Prozac because it’s generic. They don’t care about the drugs in the Walmart pharmacy. There’s a lot of good drugs there, a lot of old stuff that really works really well. They want to sell the new stuff because they make more money on them.

Just to behind some of the business stuff and some of this is being given out when maybe a little dab of Prozac or Zoloft or something like that would work better and be safer. Now what the scientific research shows on the atypicals and autism is especially Risperdal. It’s very effective for very severe aggression, older children and adults, extremely effective for them. Tiny doses, again use little tiny doses. Don’t give them too much.

What about the weight gain thing, you know, do a little bit of the sort of, you know, cut out a lot of the big carbs that will help on cutting down on the appetite drop but you cannot let them get fat on this stuff. You just can’t. That’s a horrendous side effect. A low dose principle applies to these three classes, the SSRIs, tricyclics, it’s the old stuff I take and the atypicals, things like Risperdal and Geodon and Seroquel or Abilify, you know, some of those drugs.

Another thing is like my drug that I’m on, now is a gigantic black box warning about cardiac problems. You know, so most doctors don’t want to start new patients on it because problems with the heart. Well, I’ve been on it 25 years and, you know, it’s got a black box and still I want to keep taking it. So this brings up another thing. Let’s say, you’re really nice and stable on a drug, been on it maybe five years. You’re doing great.

And you read bad stuff on the newspaper about this drug. I won’t even pay attention to them. It’s going to do something bad it would have done it by now. I’ve seen too many disasters where someone’s been on a reasonable dose of something old. They tried to change it and it’s a real mess. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I cannot emphasize that enough. I’ve been on my stuff for 25 years, can I get off it? You know what? There’s not a single scientific paper that I can find on how to get people like me off of drugs when they’re like 60 years old. I don’t know. I don’t dare stop taking it. If somebody gets a paper on that, I’d like to have it, please.

Oh, not just the abstract, you give me the whole paper. I want to read it. You know, I don’t dare stop taking it. I’ve been on it for 25 years. I’ve been stable.

Here is some principles of using medication or supplements for that matter. Now, one of the most — one of the things on the alternative things that really helps a lot of people are the diets. And there’s a dairy-free and a wheat-free diet and then other one is called specific carbohydrate. And basically what that is, you take all the grains out. If it’s a grain, you take that out. And potato, you take out all the complex carbs. Had a yeast infection I’m kind of doing a modified version of that and it works for me. If a diet is going to work, it will work within three months. If it doesn’t work within three months, it’s not going to work.

Whether you’re doing a medication or you’re doing a supplement, try one thing at a time. You don’t want to be taking too much stuff. That’s ridiculous how much stuff people are taking. You want to figure out what are the relatively few things that work. A medication should have an obvious beneficial effect. And if it doesn’t, it’s not worth the risk. Let’s say you got somebody who’s a drug zombie.

They got them on nine different things, giant doses. You got to get them off to some of this garbage. You take one off at a time, slowly, really slowly. The other thing you got to be careful about is switching brands. They’re not bioequivalent. I know that’s just in my own two medications. You know if you’re on a generic white pill from Walgreens and then stay with that white pill from Walgreens. I switched to a generic. It didn’t work as well.

Now I also had to take Dyazide for my Meniere’s disease. And the cheap Dyazide that our discount supermarket sells doesn’t work as well as the generic Dyazide I get from this little specialty drugstore. There’s a difference just on most two drugs. So don’t be switching brands and things like that. When you find a brand that works for you, you just stay with it and don’t expect any medication or supplement to give you 100 percent control of symptoms because that’s just flat not going to happen. If it gets 90 percent control, they really happen. Also, my anxiety attacks went in cycles. They were worst on the fall, on the spring and I had to just kind of tough out these cycles.

Now, there’s a doctor up in Canada named [Joe Hudgens] and he works with the really severe non-verbals, the ones that get kicked out of group homes. And he has a three-drug pharmacy. A little bit of Risperdal, a little bit of Depakote it’s an old-fashioned epilepsy drug and maybe a little bit of beta-blockers. And he usually just use these two out of the three. Depakote, it’s an old epilepsy drug. It’s very effective for the kind of rage where it’s very random. Risperdal works for, man I hate this person with the blonde hair and I’m going to just take her out. That works well for — that works well for– I’m sorry, i didn’t — that’s directed rage.

That works well for Risperdal where Depakote works. It’s like this condition in dogs called Springer Rage where for like almost no reason at all, I mean, a dog will just bite you really hard. You pull him out of the garbage and he like bites you to the bone. That it’s a cycle motor epilepsy. And the Depakote works really well. That’s a very effective drug.

There’s a lot of scientific research but you got to do these big nasty blood tests out of the arm. You take any anticonvulsant or epilepsy drug. They’re called epilepsy drugs, anticonvulsants, or seizure meds, all means the same thing. At least two years, you better do three blood tests a year at a year to make sure it doesn’t mess up the liver. You have to do them. Where with the other medications, you don’t have to this ugly, not nice, needle stick in the arm. You know but this is a very effective drug but you do have to do those blood tests to make sure you don’t have a genetic thing where it can hurt your liver.

Now this is an old one. This is an ancient slide. I’ve had this slide for like 25 years. The beta-blockers are an old, old forgotten drug. They’re using them now to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s a blood pressure meds. They work really well for like hot and sweaty kind of anxiety, they are old but cheap, too. You got to look up all your interactions. You have to look up your interactions. Some interactions are deadly. Other interactions you can live with by adjusting doses and you got to look up your interaction well, the herbal stuff like St. John’s Wort for example, will strip some antibiotics out of your body and make them not work. The sort of aids drugs can be stripped out of the body that can be very dangerous.

So if you take — it’s okay to take St. John’s Wort but you got to make sure what it interacts with, what you got to do. Exercise we talked about and some people respond well with special diets. Weighted blankets are often really helpful to the sleep at night. Weighted vests, 20 minutes on, then you take off half an hour. A weighted blanket for sleeping also help — will often really helpful to get a kid to sleep. The omega-3 supplements, you know, the fatty acid supplements tons of good science now on those. Those are getting solid science behind them. Okay. that’s just some, you know, sources of information.

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