Wednesday, 23 December 2009

KIM PEEK r.i.p.

Kim Peek: The 'Real Rain Man' dies

Kim Peek, the genius who inspired Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man, has died from a heart attack at the age of 58.

Kim Peek
Kim Peek in 2006

Kim Peek was classed as a "mega-savant" and had memorised 12,000 books, including the entire Bible, but had difficulty with ordinary tasks like getting dressed and combing his hair.

His astonishing abilities included being able to read one page of a book with his left eye and the other with his right. It took him just eight seconds to read and remember a page.

He could also ask a stranger their date of birth, then tell them what day of the week they were born on, and what was on the front of major newspapers.

Mr Peek was classed as a genius in 15 different subjects including history, literature, geography and music yet still scored below average in IQ tests.

Script writer Barry Morrow was inspired to write Rain Man after meeting him in the early 1980s.

Dustin Hoffman went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of a savant called Raymond Babbitt who, like Mr Peek, reeled off endless sports minutiae.

During his preparation for the role Hoffman met Mr Peek, who was then 37, and helped him to overcome his deeply introverted nature.

Mr Peek's father Fran said: "Dustin Hoffman said to me, you have to promise me one thing about this guy, share him with the world." With his confidence increasing Mr Peek later took to the stage, amazing audiences with his recall and enjoying being known as the "real Rain Man." In 2004 Nasa scientists began studying him using technology designed to assess the effects of space travel on the brain.

Mr Peek, who was a Mormon, died in Salt Lake City, Utah. In recent years he also showed an ability to develop and change, even overcoming his literal nature by learning to tell jokes.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Click on the link below


Sometimes it's easy to forget that it's not just children who are with autism.
Young people grow up.
Become middle aged.
Grow to be elderly.

I worked for a nursing agency at various psychiatric hospitals for 3 years.
Pat greeted me, in her own inimitable way, on my very first duty.
Born into , (what was then), a mental asylum over 60 years ago, she had only
ever known lonliness, isolation, fear, cold and hardship.

She taught me to laugh . . . . and a whole lot more too.
Pat died at Christmas 2007.

Thank you Pat. I think of you this Christmas.

The two poems below are for you...with my love...and a smile.

What Do You See Nurse?

What Do You See, Nurse?
Crabby Old Woman

(NOTE: This poem was reportedly written by a woman who died in the geriatric ward of Ashludie Hospital near Dundee, Scotland. It was found among her possessions and so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. Though it was addressed to the nurses who surrounded the woman in her last days, it cries for recognition of a common could have been written to all of us).

What do you see, nurse... what do you see? What are you thinking - when you look at me:"A crabby old woman, not very wise;Uncertain of habit with far-away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no replyWhen you say in a loud voice 'I do wish you'd try.'"
Who seems not to notice the things that you doAnd forever is losing a stocking or shoe;
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you willWith bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.Is that what you're thinking, is that what you see?Then open your eyes, nurse. You're not looking at me!

I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still.As I move at your bidding, eat at your will:
- I'm a small child of ten with a father and mother, Brothers and sisters who love one another;- A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet, Dreaming that soon a love she'll meet;
- A bride at twenty, my heart gives a leap, Remembering the vows that I promised to keep;- At twenty-five now I have young of my own Who need me to build a secure, happy home.- A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast. Bound together with ties that should last.
- At forty, my young sons have grown up and gone, But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn;- At fifty once more babies play 'round my knee Again we know children, my loved ones and me...

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead.I look at the future, I shudder with dread.For my young are all rearing young of their own,And I think of the years and the love that I've known.

I'm an old woman now, and nature is cruel.'Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.There is a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,And now again my bittered heart swells;I remember the joys, I remember the painand I'm loving and living life over again;

I think of the years, all too few, gone too fastAnd accept the stark fact that nothing can last;So open your eyes, nurse, open and see...not a crabby old woman. Look closer... see me!

The Nurse's Response


What do we see, you ask, what do we see? Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee.
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss, But there's many of you, and too few of us.
We would like far more time to sit by you and talk, To bath you and feed you and help you to walk.
To hear of your life and the things you have done; Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, and your son.
But time is against us, there's too much to do - Patients too many, and nurses too few.
We grieve when we see you so sad and alone, With nobody near you, no friends of your own.
We feel all your pain, and know of your fear .That nobody cares now your end is so near.
But nurses are people with feelings as well, And when we're together you'll often hear tell
Of the dearest old Gran in the very end bed, And the lovely old Dad, and the things that he said, We speak with compassion and love, and feel sad When we think of your lives and the joy that you've had.
When the time has arrived for you to depart, You leave us behind with an ache in our heart. When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care, There are other old people, and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and fuss -
There are many of you, and too few of us.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


Cosette at craft class image

Here are 10 things every child with autism wishes you knew

1. I am a child with autism. I am not "autistic." My autism is one aspect of my total character. It does not define me as a person. Are you a person with thoughts, feelings and many talents, or are you just fat (overweight), myopic (wear glasses) or klutzy (uncoordinated, not good at sports)?

2. My sensory perceptions are disordered. This means the ordinary sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches of everyday life that you may not even notice can be downright painful for me. The very environment in which I have to live often seems hostile. I may appear withdrawn or belligerent to you, but I am really just trying to defend myself. A "simple" trip to the grocery store may be hell for me. My hearing may be hyperacute. Dozens of people are talking at once. The loudspeaker booms today's special. Muzak whines from the sound system. Cash registers beep and cough. A coffee grinder is chugging. The meat cutter screeches, babies wail, carts creak, the fluorescent lighting hums. My brain can't filter all the input, and I'm in overload! My sense of smell may be highly sensitive. The fish at the meat counter isn't quite fresh, the guy standing next to us hasn't showered today, the deli is handing out sausage samples, the baby in line ahead of us has a poopy diaper, they're mopping up pickles on Aisle 3 with ammonia. ... I can't sort it all out, I'm too nauseous.

Because I am visually oriented, this may be my first sense to become overstimulated. The fluorescent light is too bright. It makes the room pulsate and hurts my eyes. Sometimes the pulsating light bounces off everything and distorts what I am seeing. The space seems to be constantly changing. There's glare from windows, moving fans on the ceiling, so many bodies in constant motion, too many items for me to be able to focus - and I may compensate with tunnel vision. All this affects my vestibular sense, and now I can't even tell where my body is in space. I may stumble, bump into things, or simply lay down to try and regroup.

3. Please remember to distinguish between won't (I choose not to) and can't (I'm not able to). Receptive and expressive language are both difficult for me. It isn't that I don't listen to instructions. It's that I can't understand you. When you call to me from across the room, this is what I hear: "*&^%$#@, Billy. #$%^*&^%$&*" Instead, come speak directly to me in plain words: "Please put your book in your desk, Billy. It's time to go to lunch." This tells me what you want me to do and what is going to happen next. Now it's much easier for me to comply.

4. I am a concrete thinker. I interpret language literally. It's very confusing for me when you say, "Hold your horses, cowboy!" when what you really mean is "Please stop running." Don't tell me something is a "piece of cake" when there is no dessert in sight and what you really mean is, "This will be easy for you to do." When you say, "It's pouring cats and dogs," I see pets coming out of a pitcher. Please just tell me, "It's raining very hard." Idioms, puns, nuances, double entendres and sarcasm are lost on me.

5. Be patient with my limited vocabulary. It's hard for me to tell you what I need when I don't know the words to describe my feelings. I may be hungry, frustrated, frightened or confused, but right now those words are beyond my ability to express. Be alert for body language, withdrawal, agitation, or other signs that something is wrong.

There's a flip side to this: I may sound like a little professor or a movie star, rattling off words or whole scripts well beyond my developmental age. These are messages I have memorized from the world around me to compensate for my language deficits, because I know I am expected to respond when spoken to. They may come from books, television or the speech of other people. It's called echolalia. I don't necessarily understand the context or the terminology I'm using, I just know it gets me off the hook for coming up with a reply.

6. Because language is so difficult for me, I am very visually oriented. Show me how to do something rather than just telling me. And please be prepared to show me many times. Lots of patient repetition helps me learn.

A visual schedule is extremely helpful as I move through my day. Like your day planner, it relieves me of the stress of having to remember what comes next, makes for smooth transitions between activities, and helps me manage my time and meet your expectations.

7. Focus and build on what I can do rather than what I can't do. Like any other human, I can't learn in an environment where I'm constantly made to feel that I'm not good enough or that I need fixing. Trying anything new when I am almost sure to be met with criticism, however constructive, becomes something to be avoided. Look for my strengths and you'll find them. There's more than one right way to do most things.

8. Help me with social interactions. It may look like I don't want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it's just that I simply don't know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. If you can encourage other children to invite me to join them at kickball or shooting baskets, I may be delighted to be included.

9. Try to identify what triggers my meltdowns. This is termed "the antecedent." Meltdowns, blowups, tantrums or whatever you want to call them are even more horrid for me than they are for you. They occur because one or more of my senses has gone into overload. If you can figure out why my meltdowns occur, they can be prevented.

10. If you are a family member, please love me unconditionally. Banish thoughts such as, "If he would just ..." and "Why can't she ... ?" You didn't fulfill every last expectation your parents had for you, and you wouldn't like being constantly reminded of it. I didn't choose to have autism. Remember that it's happening to me, not you. Without your support, my chances of successful, self-reliant adulthood are slim. With your support and guidance, the possibilities are broader than you might think. I promise you I'm worth it.

My 10 Things Autism all comes down to three words:

Patience. Patience. Patience.

Work to view my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see the gifts autism has given me. I may not be good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed I don't lie, cheat at games, tattle on my classmates, or pass judgment on other people?

You are my foundation. Think through some of those societal rules, and if they don't make sense for me, let them go. Be my advocate, be my friend, and we'll see just how far I can go.

I probably won't be the next Michael Jordan, but with my attention to fine detail and capacity for extraordinary focus, I might be the next Einstein. Or Mozart. Or Van Gogh.

They had autism too.


Thanks to USA the Big Brother and it's iron fist I will have to do it this way.......

....add the bits in blue to make a link.....then put it into your browser....

...and go there...but only do so if you believe that

the whole might of the United States of America

should be used to persecute a young man with asperger's syndrome

for wanting to find out about U.F.O's ! !

So.... freegary...that's the first bit.... .org ..... nearly there .uk

Hmmmmm, that seems to have done it. :-)

Do I get 60 years in an American jail too for standing up to Big Brother?

GARY McKINNON....given more time

Gary McKinnon given more time to challenge Alan Johnson's decision to extradite him

British computer programmer Gary McKinnon has been granted another seven days to challenge Alan Johnson's decision to extradite him to America to answer computer hacking charges.

Gary McKinnon 'will not survive the grave toll of extradition', says 'Natwest Three' mother
Gary McKinnon with his mother Janis Sharp. Friend and family say he is 'suicidal'. Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga

The news means that in theory that Mr McKinnon could be sent to America before the new year, if his application in the UK for judicial review is rejected, and he is refused leave to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr McKinnon was this afternoon given until Thursday 10 December to challenge a decision in the High Court by the Home Secretary to ignore fresh medical evidence about Mr McKinnon's autism.

Mr McKinnon's solictor Karen Todner of KaimTodner had asked for a two week extension until 17 December, however this was denied in a letter from the Treasury solicitors, on behalf of Mr Johnson.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mr McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp questioned why the deadline was not extended further: "It is rididiculous. They could have easily extended it until after Christmas. It does not make sense."

If a high court judge refuses permission to challenge Mr Johnson's decision, Mr McKinnon's legal team have 14 days to hear whether the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will take on the case.

If the Strasbourg court says no, then Mr McKinnon will be extradited, possibly before the new year.

Mr McKinnon, 43, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, is accused of hacking into networks at the Pentagon and Nasa. However, he insists he was searching for reports of UFO sightings.

A health report handed to Mr Johnson had warned the Asperger syndrome sufferer would be a suicide risk if he is sent to the US for trial on charges of hacking into top secret military computers.

It urged him to halt the extradition on the grounds that it would breach human rights laws.

A Home Office spokesman said: "At the request of Gary McKinnon's solicitors, the Home Secretary has granted an extension of seven days in which to apply for judicial review."

There were heated exchanges in the House of Commons yesterday when Mr Johnson was accused of being "spineless" over the extradition battle by David Burrowes, the Tory shadow justice minister and Mr McKinnon's MP.

Mr Burrowes said: "How ill and vulnerable does Gary McKinnon need to be, to not be extradited to the US? How can it be proportionate to allow extradition of a UK citizen who is suicidal and sectionable.

"Far from you saying you are powerless to stop Gary McKinnon's extradition, in the light of this medical evidence, you have shown yourself and your Government to be spineless."

Mr Johnson told MPs that Mr McKinnon, 43, had been accused of “serious offences” relating to hacking into US Government computer networks over 13 months and that he had no option but to agree to the extradition.

“There are very serious charges against Mr McKinnon. He has to answer for those charges,” he added.

GARY McKINNON denied appeal

Hacker denied extradition appeal

Hacker denied extradition appeal Computer hacker Gary McKinnon has been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against extradition to the US on charges of breaking into the Pentagon's computer systems.

His mother last night accused the Government of "throwing their people to the dogs".

Janis Sharp said her son had been "suicidal" since learning he was to be extradited to America after hacking into military networks.

She said Mr McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, had only been looking for UFOs.

At a fringe meeting of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, chaired by the National Autistic Society, Ms Sharp said: "When we vote someone in to protect our rights, we don't expect this to happen.

"We are the only country in the world that will extradite our own people with no evidence whatsoever," she told the meeting.

In July Mr McKinnon failed in his High Court bid to avoid extradition.


PRIME MINISTER.....step in & help NOW ! !

STEVEN WILTSHIRE 'the human camera'

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Director, Autism Research Centre (ARC)
Professor of Developmental Psychopathology
Fellow, Trinity College,

Department of Experimental Psychology

University of Cambridge

Research interests: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, sex differences and empathy.


I work at the ARC where we have 3 major programs: (1) cognitive neuroscience into the causes of autism spectrum conditions (ASCs); (2) diagnosis, screening and epidemiology of ASCs; and (3) clinical/intervention research into what helps individuals on the autistic spectrum. The first program includes genetic, endocrine, fMRI, cognitive (including perceptual) and behavioural studies. The second program includes the evaluation of screening checklists at different points across the lifespan, from toddler screens (the CHAT) to primary school screens (the CAST) and adult screens (the AQ). The third program includes treatment studies and special educational methods. For more details, see


Click on the link below:


By Cheryl Gillian MP for Chesham and Amersham
Published Monday, 26 January, 2009 - 22:17
The Autism Bill -- People with Autism need our support

As soon as I won the political lottery and was drawn first out of the private members’ ballot in December, I was inundated with numerous causes and issues, all worthy of support.

However, believing that a Private Members’ Bill should cover an area that could be overlooked by mainstream legislation, it was the Autism Bill that really captured my attention with devastating personal accounts such as this:

“She has quite calmly said that when we die, she plans to kill herself because she knows she will be completely alone and unable to care for herself. She weeps on a daily basis because she is so scared of the future. There is nobody to help her manage her daily life, and more importantly, who will love her when we're gone?” Parent of an adult with autism

The Autism Bill builds on the sterling work of my colleague Angela Browning and MPs across the House, such as Janet Dean and Liz Blackman. This is not a matter for party politics, but a critically important issue that is far too often overlooked and which affects people in every constituency. It is simply unacceptable how hard people affected by autism have to fight for the support that should be theirs by right. There are over 500,000 people with autism in the UK, yet despite the scale of the need, autism receives nowhere near the attention it deserves and there is a woeful lack of understanding, support and services for people affected by this serious, lifelong and disabling condition. The continuing postcode lottery of autism services across the UK is incredibly damaging. The National Autistic Society’s I Exist campaign revealed a stark daily reality for thousands of adults with autism who are isolated and ignored, unable to access support and often dependent on ageing families. Shockingly, it also revealed that at least 1 in 3 adults with the condition are experiencing serious mental health difficulties as a result.

It is the failure of the majority of local authorities to fulfil their responsibilities towards people with the condition, which has made the Autism Bill absolutely necessary. Very little current policy or guidance specifically applies to children or adults with autism and what is available isn’t being followed. One study found two thirds of local authorities have no idea how many children with autism there are in their area and, another, that just two are aware of the number of adults. Many local authorities are also failing to pass on vital information from child to adult services. Young people with the condition are thus being prevented from reaching their full potential, with the result that 40% of adults with autism live at home with their parents and over 60% are dependent on them for financial assistance. Many parents perform their role as carers without any assistance whatsoever, which can leave families isolated and often at breaking point.

Many professionals fail to understand the complexities of autism and there continues to be a widespread lack of training in the condition within local authorities - over three quarters do not have an autism training strategy - which often means that adults with the condition receive inadequate support or fail to qualify for any support at all. As support tends to be delivered locally either via a learning disability or mental health team, people with autism frequently fall between the two, demonstrated by the experiences of this adult with autism:

“Because of high IQ, I am not eligible and do not fit into any category for support. They do not recognize my disability and send me away. Even if I was eligible, there is no autism support here for people like me.”

In particular, there is a huge deficit in the kind of low level, cost-effective and relatively easily provided support, such as social groups and social skills training, that can help adults with the condition to be more independent.

Some of the simplest things, though, can make the biggest difference.

Local authorities need to know how many people with autism there are in their area and share information with relevant bodies; without this the needs of people with autism will continue to be excluded from the commissioning and planning of services. So the Autism Bill aims to: improve information on the number of children and adults with autism; ensure effective transition from child to adult services; and to ensure access to appropriate support and services for people with autism in adult life – all things that local authorities should already be doing.

With an estimated cost to the UK economy of around £28 billion, it is not just families who are bearing the social and financial cost of autism. When the right support is in place at the right time, however, it could prevent people’s needs from escalating, not only vastly improving their quality of life and that of their families, but also removing the need for more costly intervention – reducing the burden on the taxpayer.

The Autism Bill is backed by The National Autistic Society along with 13 other autism charities. Many MPs, cross-party, have already offered their support to help create the first ever autism law and I hope many more will back this important bill at its second reading on the 27th February – it has the potential to radically transform thousands of lives in every constituency and community.

I hope that together we can pass a measure that will make a real difference.

The public can ask their MP to back the Autism Bill at


Campaigners from the NAS celebrate the passing of The Autism Bill

Campaigners from the NAS celebrate the passing of The Autism Bill

The Autism Bill passed its final stage in the House of Lords on 22 October 2009 to become England’s first ever disability-specific law. Once it receives Royal Assent, the Bill will officially become the Autism Act, under which the Government’s forthcoming adult autism strategy will be legally enforceable and must be published within the next six months.

Under the new law, the NHS and local authorities will have to provide diagnostic services for adults with autism and better training for health and social care staff, and they could face legal action if they fail to provide appropriate support for people with autism.

The bill was drafted by the The National Autistic Society (NAS) and steered through Parliament, as a Private Members' Bill with cross party support, by Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan. NAS chief executive, Mark Lever, said; “Thousands of adults with autism told us they were experiencing serious mental health difficulties due to a lack of support. After a year of lobbying, this is the watershed moment they have been waiting for - this law could literally transform lives”.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Over 500,000 people of all ages in the UK have disorders in the autistic spectrum. About one-third also have varying degrees of learning difficulty. All have impairment of social interaction, communication and imagination - the world appears a bewildering, confusing and often frightening place. I am hoping that my book will explain how people with autism experience the world and why they need an organised, structured environment. I will be looking at ways of improving communication, developing abilities and widening social interaction, and how to cope with stresses within the family.

This book is a basic introduction to the field of autistic spectrum disorders. It is primarily aimed at parents who have learned that their son or daughter has an autistic condition but it may also prove useful for health care professionals/ social care workers who are beginning to work in this area.
I hope that some people who know, or suspect, that they may have an autistic spectrum disorder would find also it helpful.

Although there are many variations, autistic spectrum disorders have in common problems affecting social interaction, communication and the development of imagination, associated with a narrow and repetitive pattern of interests and activities.

I have highlighted 'The Triad of Impairments' and described in some detail the many different forms that these problems can take. I have suggested ways of helping children and adults with autistic spectrum disorders cope with everyday life.

Let's hope that the publishers like it......there's a little way to go yet as my friend, ex-colleague from the 'front line' and undoubted secretarial genius, Kate Denkinson, and I now set out to produce the first draft.