A new year… It’s 2016 and I know I didn’t do a year in review blog post for 2015 but I have no idea how I could’ve accomplished such a feat as 2015 was surely the most roller coaster year of my life. I started the year pondering if it  would mimic 2005 which was, at that point in time, the most roller coaster and influential year I’ve had. I talked about how 2015 would be “my year” but come February it all went off kilter and I did have three international trips of using myself in a social experiment, but nothing went according to plan last year and as with 2005, long term, perhaps it was for the best.
But now it’s a new year and this starts my 7th year as a speaker in the field of autism. It’s inconceivable to me that I’ve now been at this for seven years and already I’m on the road this year in north central Missouri about to give two presentations today for teacher professional development trainings. Much like last year I’ll be off to a flying start and this is exactly what I want.
One thing I’ll be on the lookout for this year is the progression of where we were in terms of awareness when I began and where we are now. It’s difficult to measure how much progress we’ve made in the world of autism awareness and understanding. Also, it’s difficult, at least for me, deem what more we need to do. I mean, what’s the next avenue we can utilize to maximize the impact of raising the levels of understanding. I’ve been saying this for several years in that I feel we’ve gotten to the point that people are aware of autism, but what does this mean? For the person that has no affiliation to the autism spectrum what does it mean to be aware? Does it simply mean the ability to give the definition? If one can define it, however, does that mean one can recognize what to do if they’re introduced to a situation where they are going to have an interaction with a person on the autism spectrum?
There’s story after story that comes out via social media about unfortunate encounters of a person with autism and any segment of the population be it a teacher, a police officer, a shop owner, or any number of seemingly infinite segments of society. Perhaps it’s just the nature of social media, but these number of stories seem to be on the rise which means we have to ask on if we are making progress or if we are just increasing understanding within those that already know it?
There are plenty of questions and I’ll try and get a better look at these questions as we move along in 2016 but then again I had plans on what I’d look for in 2015 and those plans went awry. This month will be a busy one with many presentations all over the state of Missouri and then on the 30th I’ll be off to a truly isolated island for the fourth installment of The Aspie Traveler with then the final installment tentatively planned for June.
It’s going to be another busy year, along with the second series of Asperger Insights scheduled to be released. Along the way, as usual, I’ll try and blog as much as I can about observations, thoughts, and insights. I can’t really lay out a plan because I have no idea what tomorrow, the day after, of the months ahead have in store but whatever may come I look forward to sharing the journey with you.