On autism
2021 CIP Convocation: On Colleges and Vineyards

Speech video * 2021.05.06 * 9 minutes

To honor CIP Bloomington’s graduating class of 2021, I dip into the research from my master’s degree in geography to praise the College Internship Program as a real college in the original sense of the word. I also revisit the analogy of trees and vines to compare the neurotypical and the neurodiverse.

2015 CIP Keynote Address: How to Build a Better Brain

Speech video * 2015.10.23 * 54 minutes

The most thorough presentation to CIP yet, with slideshow. Topics include:

  • Analogies for autism
  • On “writer’s block”
  • Brain training through social formulas
  • The need for coaching and structure
  • Techniques for coping with Asperger’s:
    • Lessons from being a volunteer community-radio DJ
    • Lessons from playing and teaching chess
    • Lessons from improvisational theatre
    • Lessons from giving a TEDx talk
    • Lessons from Robert’s Rules
  • Volan’s Games of Comedy and Politics
  • This condition isn’t your fault: how guilt plays a role in autism
  • The need for coaching, structure…and other people’s help
A 15-minute Q&A follows the talk, including how I first diagnosed myself as being on the spectrum.
Trees and Vines: An Analogy for Understanding Asperger’s

Speech video * 2012.11.20 * 5 minutes

A soliloquy about the analogy of aspies as vines (compared to neurotypicals as trees). Excerpt from “Understanding your Asperger’s or LD Diagnosis: The Power of Knowing — Lecture Series.” (“A conversation between Dr. Michael McManmon and me about being diagnosed on the autism spectrum and the strengths and challenges it has provided them both with, and the importance of accepting yourself and utilizing your strengths. Dr. McManmon is the founder of the College Internship Program, a comprehensive postsecondary college and career preparation program with six locations in the US. Additionally, he is a published author and speaker in the field of Autism and Learning Differences.”)

2011 CIP Keynote Address: The aftermath of my TEDx talk

Speech audio * 2011.10.07 * 35 minutes

Second keynote address at Parents’ Weekend, College Internship Program, Bloomington, Indiana. This 20-minute address to college students on the autism spectrum and their parents followed up on “Approaching Autism Theatrically,” and ended with a Q&A. Most of my major ideas about autism are laid out here and in the TEDx talk. Karen Thomas, director of the Bloomington program, closes the talk with a few comments.

My TEDx talk: “Approaching Autism Theatrically”

Speech video * 2011.05.11 * 15 minutes

The talk that changed my life. It was like coming out of the closet. Except I would have been coming out of the closet about my continuing need to have a closet.

Ignite Bloomington 3: Facial Literacy

Speech video * 2010.09 * 9 minutes

This presentation on high-functioning autism and semiotics, and the esotericness they have in common. You can see many themes that I would explore in my TEDx talk the next year. A presentation made at Ignite Bloomington 3, during The Combine, September 2010, at Indiana University in Alumni Hall. The preceding presenter is Luci Englert McKean, the curator of TEDxBloomington who invited me to speak the following May. The emcee is Jennifer Hileman, and the following presenter is Amantha Lott.

Because of a mistake in post-processing of the slideshow, the presentation lasts more than 2 minutes longer than the 5 minutes normally allotted to an Ignite presentation. The hosts graciously permitted enough time for the slides to play out.

2009 Keynote Address, CIP-Bloomington Parents’ Weekend

Speech video * 2009.10.16 * 52 minutes

First keynote address at Parents’ Weekend, College Internship Program, Bloomington, Indiana. This is a wide-ranging talk, but on the basic theme of: how did I cope with what we now know as Asperger’s syndrome, long before it, or ADD, or even autism, was known and understood in America?

On Other Topics
Robert’s Rules of Order, Or, How I Learned to Stop Kvetching And Love the Gavel”

Speech video * 2010.04 * 5 minutes

A presentation made at Ignite Bloomington 2 at the Comedy Attic. This thing could stand to be revised, smoothed out, expanded. But a lot of ideas I still espouse are in this short talk.