Monday, April 25, 2011

My Products are now for sale!

Click here or on the title above, that says "My Products are now for sale". This page shows my "Love FLorida", "ASpie PIEce", and other designs on drink-ware, shirts, stickers, pins, and more. Use this page to navigate to other merchandise and designs. You can change "Andrew-Lerner" to either Love_FLorida, ASpiece, OsaMay11, or any of my future shop names.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"ASpiece" is a means to promote autistic awareness, specifically "ASpies", who have ASperger Syndrome. These ASpie pieces are now available for purchase.  Please click here.

My original phrase of ALtERNativE Reasoning helps define who I am, and how ASpies function. ASpies try to put pieces of different information together to reason out a puzzle PIE. They also strive to get along with others who operate differently. Understanding and tolerating each-others differences, are AS PIEces of a PIE, coming together in PEACE. The blue, gold, red, and green represent different ASPIE PIEces of a PIE chart, that come together for a solution, make peace and it's symbol. Both the pie-shaped PEACE sign, and myself were established on 2/21/1958. 

AS PIEces in a PIE, an Aspie learns to make it come together in Peace via Alternative reasoning. 6/22/11

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is technically a type of depression, but is quite different than the mental image you may have of typical depressive symptoms. Bipolar depression, as the name suggests, consists of two opposite behaviors that somehow co-exist in the same person. There is no cure for this condition, but it does respond well to treatment. It will require management throughout a person's life, much like heart disease or diabetes.
The key feature of bipolar disorder is severe mood swings from deep depression to mania. The lows experienced are very similar to major depression. Depressive episodes commonly last about 14 days. A quick upward shift in mood marks the beginning of a manic episode. Along with this improvement in mood comes increased energy, decreased need for sleep and a burst of productivity. This may be accompanied by a feeling of euphoria. Sufferers of bipolar disorder rarely seek treatment during manic episodes.
However, while the patient may sense productivity and energetic activity, others view it as being dangerous and out of control. Manic episodes usually include becoming very talkative, extremely excitable and active to the point of exhaustion. There is also a tendency to engage in risky behaviors.
Bipolar disorder is a complex condition that is remarkably difficult to diagnose. People often endure this condition for years before being properly diagnosed. Although the cause is related to brain chemistry, the disorder tends to run in families, indicating a genetic link. The disorder is recurrent--meaning that once a person experiences a manic episode, there's a 90 percent chance they will experience another one.
The primary treatment for bipolar disorder is medication. A combination of medications seems to be the most effective treatment. Antidepressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizing agents and anti-convulsants are commonly prescribed to stop the wide mood swings that characterize this disorder. During a lifetime of treatment, it is expected that medications will need to be adjusted or changed altogether. One single prescription is unlikely to work the same way all the time. Psychotherapy is used in some cases, but is rarely effective without medication.
If left untreated, bipolar disorder can be particularly dangerous. From 15 to 17 percent of untreated cases end in suicide (compared to about 10 percent of untreated major depression sufferers).
Like most forms of depression, there is nothing that the individual sufferer did to deserve or cause bipolar disorder. There should be no stigma or embarrassment attached to having the condition. The most important thing is to seek treatment and begin managing the disorder as soon as possible.
Written by Jan Howard

Friday, April 08, 2011

Asperger Relief

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
The following are criteria for Aspergers that have been excerpted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV):
  1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
    • Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
    • Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
    • A lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
    • lack of social or emotional reciprocity
  2. Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities
  3. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  4. There is no clinically significant general delay in language
  5. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
They are often physically awkward and socially tactless.
You’ve probably known quite a few. Maybe they are even in your family. There’s that brilliant professor you had in college who looked at his desk the entire time he was talking to you and whose office was so overflowing with stuff there was nowhere for a visitor to sit. How about your brother-in-law the mechanic, whose work is superb but who insists on describing in minute detail exactly what he did to fix your car — and doesn’t seem to notice all your hints that you’re trying to leave already! What about your uncle or cousin or the sister of your best friend who is so socially awkward that you squirm with discomfort whenever they show up at an event, wondering what they’ll do next to embarrass themselves?
They are often physically awkward and socially tactless. They seem to be perfectionists but often live in chaos. They know more about some obscure or highly technical subject than seems possible — and go on and on about it. They may seem to lack empathy, and are often accused of being stubborn, selfish, or even mean. They can also be extremely loyal, sometimes painfully honest, highly disciplined and productive in their chosen field, and expert at whatever they decide to be expert at. They are the Aspies, adults with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The number of adults with Aspergers is still difficult to determine. The syndrome wasn’t even officially acknowledged in the DSM until 1994, even though it was described by Hans Asperger in 1944. The result? Many older adults weren’t diagnosed — or helped — as children. Teachers found them exasperating because they were so disorganized and uneven in their academic performance despite often being clearly bright. Other kids considered them weird and either bullied them or ignored them. As adults, they are only now discovering that there is a reason they’ve had difficulties with relationships their entire lives.
For many, having a diagnosis is a relief.
“I never could figure out what other people want,” says Jerome, one of my Aspie clients. “People seem to have some kind of code for getting along that is a mystery to me.”
Jerome is a brilliant chemist. He has the respect of his colleagues but he knows that he’s not well-liked. The finely tuned intuition he uses to do research breaks down completely in relationships.
“I know I’m well-regarded in my work. As long as we’re talking about a research problem, everything is fine. But as soon as people start doing that small talk stuff, I’m lost. It’s good to have a name for it. At least I know there’s a reason.”
Jerome is now starting to put the same intelligence he uses in his lab to learning better social skills. For him, it’s an academic problem to solve. Like many other Aspies, he wants to get along and have friends. He’s highly motivated to learn the “rules” most people take for granted. He just never understood what those rules were. Having the diagnosis has given him new energy for the project.
The press coverage of the syndrome of the last several years has been very helpful as well.
“I was working on a highly technical engineering project with a new guy last week. In the middle the morning, he put down his pencil, looked at me and said, “You have Aspergers, don’t you.”
Ted was explaining a recent encounter to me. “I got real nervous, thinking he was going to leave.”
“What did you say?” I asked.
“Well. I know now that’s my problem so I just said he was right. And you know what he said? He said, ‘I thought so’ and told me I could relax because he works with another guy who has the same thing. We had a great morning solving the problem. That wouldn’t have happened even a few years ago. I would have upset him somehow without understanding why. He would have gone back to his company thinking I was some kind of jerk. Things are just better now that there’s some understanding out there.”
Having the diagnosis has also saved more than a few marriages. Now that the kids are grown, Judy was ready to separate from her husband of 27 years when she first came to therapy.
“If Al and Tipper Gore could do it after 40 years of marriage, I figured I could manage it too. I don’t know what their problems were but I was just exhausted. I felt like I’d been single-parenting our two kids forever. Actually, I felt like I had three kids. Most of my friends couldn’t figure out what I saw in a guy who could only talk about one thing and who would rudely disappear in the middle of a social evening. He never seemed to be able to understand any of our feelings. Our finances were always a mess because he would lose track of bills. Yes, he was really sweet to me in our private life and he’s always been great about doing things like building the kids a tree house — that was really, really cool. But it became harder and harder to see that as a fair exchange for all the times I had to smooth things over because of something he did or didn’t do that bothered someone.
Then my daughter emailed me an article about Aspergers. It changed everything. I realized he wasn’t deliberately making life so hard. He couldn’t help it. As soon as he took an Aspie quiz online, he saw it was true. He does love us. He didn’t want the family to fall apart. He went right out and found a therapist who works with adults with Aspergers. He’s far from perfect but he’s honestly trying. He’s even apologized to the kids for not being more involved while they were growing up. I can’t ask for more than that.”
A diagnosis is primarily used to drive treatment decisions and to make it easier for clinical people to communicate with each other. But in cases like these, it can also be an enormous comfort to the individual and their families. As long as someone with Aspergers feels like they are being blamed or criticized for something they don’t even understand, they can only be defensive or bewildered. When the people around them feel offended or disrespected, they can only get exasperated, argue, or write them off. But when the thing that makes a relationship difficult is named and understood, it becomes a problem that can be worked on together. That shift can change everything.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Persecution Complex Symptoms

"Persecution complex has symptoms that show a person believes that others are out to get or hurt them in some way. It is utterly ungrounded in reality and at times exaggerated paranoia, but it reflects a belief that everyone has it in for them. It may be seen when the person interacts in normal ways and then over-reacts to perceived wrongs. For example, one person might see the affected individual as going to a restaurant, eating lunch and leaving and going to a library, checking out a book and then going to the dry cleaners to pick up some clothing. What the person with the complex sees is entirely different. They might see a waitress out to get their money by enticing them to get more of the expensive food on the menu and that the waitress purposely delivered their meal late and got the order wrong just to irritate them. Then they may feel that when they went to the library, the library personnel purposely did not offer to help them while they were perusing the shelves and that they chose to check out other patrons before them. After leaving there they may feel people who parked in the handicap spots at the dry cleaners are not really handicapped and they have it in for handicapped people and that's why they took all the spaces and it upsets the person because they have to park far away. After going in to pick up the dry cleaning, and being told it isn't ready yet, they assume it is because the workers did not like them and purposely delayed cleaning their garments and did others first. Of course in 99% of the examples above, nothing could be further from the truth, but the person persists in the belief that everyone does not like them and wants to make their life miserable. Persecution complex is not a recognized disease, but more of a set of symptoms akin to paranoia."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


This year we are going to experience four unusual dates: * 1/1/11 * 1/11/11 * 11/1/11 * 11/11/11   Take the last two digits of your birth year. Now add the age you will be this year. And the result will be 111 for everyone. This year October will have 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays and 5 Saturdays. This happens only every 823 years.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Do you think the poor are lazy?

Oakland, Calif. – Americans are in deep denial about our wealth inequality. In the US, the richest fifth have 84 percent of the wealth – and most of us don’t consider this to be a problem. In fact, we don’t even guess at the distribution close to correctly. In a recent poll by Duke’s Dan Ariely and Harvard’s Michael Norton, respondents thought that lucky fifth has more like 59 percent of all US wealth and favor them owning just 32 percent of it.
But our blindness to the amount of inequality and its effects on our society isn’t pure ignorance or apathy. It’s at least partly a function of how we talk about the issue. We say things like “the wealth gap” and “bridge the gulf” – phrases that obscure some basic truths about inequality.
It’s automatic and necessary to explain the world in metaphors – to describe abstractions by comparing them to concrete things. In the case of inequality, we’re characterizing the differences between the rich and the poor as though they’re objects affixed on opposite sides of a chasm. But viewing inequality as an economic canyon makes it hard to argue for policies that might actually diminish it. A canyon, after all, is a natural formation.
“Gap” isn’t a stirring call to action; it’s a clothing store. It may provide a ready image of where we are, but it says nothing about how we got here. Studies of cognition and decades of experience tell us that when we don’t provide an explanation, our audiences will fill one in themselves.
Poor is "bad," wealthy is "good"In this case, the cause-effect narrative for our “gap” seems to go like this: Those who are poor have chosen this condition. Whether it’s character flaw (lazy bum), moral failure (welfare queen), inherent defect (the bell curve), or all of the above, this story tells us what have-nots have not is ambition or intelligence.
It’s no accident that we routinely refer to the wealthiest as the “top” and the rest as the “bottom.” In English, good is up and bad is down. That’s why we say, “things are looking up” and “she’s down in the dumps.” No wonder we pull ourselves up (not forward or along) by our bootstraps. Calling certain folks upper class implies they are worth more not just materially but also morally.
Inequality isn't an individual choiceIf being rich or poor is understood as the result of differential effort, then we can conclude each category is simply a lifestyle choice. Inequality is then a sign that our economy is doing exactly what it should – rewarding the deserving and motivating the lazy. And the line of reasoning continues: Since there’s nothing wrong with this, there's nothing anybody should do about it.
We use this “gap” language all the time. And then we wonder why the statistics we cite, the graphs we generate, and the examples we offer of widening inequality don’t raise the eyebrows, let alone the ire, of many in our audiences. Using this language tacitly degrades individuals and makes current conditions seem natural. By employing it, we blind the public to the fact that inequality isn't an individual choice. Rather, it’s the direct result of the rules financial and political elites have crafted for their own enrichment.
In one economy, inequality hurts allA wealth divide further implies we have two separate economies, with the rich on one side of the gap and everyone else on the other. If we believe the wealth of a few has absolutely no relationship to the deprivation of others, then there is no solution for inequality. Because there’s no problem.
This is not just a false assumption but also a dangerous one. All of us engage with one another, producing, consuming, saving, and investing in our one economy. But the wealthy have managed to make off with the lion’s share. When wealth connotes moral goodness, it’s easy to believe that these riches are just desserts. As Dan Quayle argued against progressive taxation, “Why should the best people be punished?” Yet history shows that some people are unfathomably rich because others are inexcusably poor.
So how do we get the word out about economic inequality? Not just how much of it exists, but also where it comes from, and why it’s destroying the long-term stability of American society and the proper functioning of our economy?
Make no mistake: Impoverishing certain populations is, in fact, derailing our entire economy. As we suppress real wages for the majority, we shrink purchasing power and with it consumption and then available employment. Without money to maintain our homes and care for our families, we have less and less reason to follow the tacit agreements of civil society.
Not a 'gap,' but a 'barrier'Instead of a “gap between rich and poor,” we’re far better served calling it a “barrier.” A barrier connotes a big, imposing wall behind which a few can hoard the goodies, while those on the other side are left wanting. When you barricade yourself in, you keep others out. Instead of asking to “bridge the divide,” let’s insist on dismantling the obstacles that keep too many from the gains produced of their own hard work.
The metaphor of inequality as a barrier, wall, or other obstruction highlights several critical truths about our economy. It tells us these objects are man-made. This conveys that inequality is not some God-given, inevitable, natural wonder. We have built these barriers, and we can bring them down. In other words, there’s another way our economy can be structured if we elect and work for it.
Deconstructing barriersWe can start by deconstructing the foundations of these barriers – spotty prenatal care, no universal preschool, lead-painted walls, and cheap, accessible junk food. We can continue by combating overcrowded classrooms managed by a revolving cast of untrained teachers. We can improve the recreational and after-school choices for children. And we can work to eliminate the neighborhood violence, dirty air, and contaminated water that form the perfect blockade to adult success.
Crafting our inequality narrative from this metaphor, we would use phrases like this: Inequality holds people back from contributing to our nation. It sets in place obstacles not only to success, but survival. Trapping some Americans in poverty, policies that promote inequality exclude certain groups from making a living, no matter how much they work. The rules we’ve crafted block access to resources and opportunities, and prevent huge numbers of us from participating meaningfully in our economy.
Let’s have our language lay the blame where it belongs – on the obstructions erected by decades of greed and concentrated wealth and power, not on the people who find themselves trapped on the wrong side of them. This is America. Don’t fence me in.
Anat Shenker-Osorio, founder and principal of ASO Communications, is a communications consultant.