On January 10, 2017, staff members Rousina Arelleno and Shari L. Stamps attended the Kern Autism Network Conference series at the Canyon Hills Church located on 7001 Auburn Street. Dr. Suter’s office is one of several local sponsors who provide information about visual processing deficits in children and adults on the Autism Spectrum.
The guest speaker was John Elder Robinson, an adult with Autism, who is an international speaker and author of New York Times bestseller Look Me In The Eye, Be Different, Raising Cubby, and the newly released Switched On. He grew up without a diagnosis and found success in machines. At the age of sixteen, he acquired an interest in music and electronics. At the age of twenty one, he was the engineer for the rock band KISS where he designed their special effects guitars. He went on to design power systems for underground nuclear testing which led to establishing his own business restoring Land Rover, Mercedes, and Rolls Royce motor vehicles.
John finally received a diagnosis at the age of forty. He speaks passionately about the importance of getting rid of the stigma associated with an Autism diagnosis and shared his struggles with feelings of inadequacy. He gave good insight on how it feels to be on the Autism Spectrum and refers to the diagnosis as being a mixture of disability and exceptionality. He also advocated for the rights of individuals with Autism and finding what therapies worked based on the individual’s needs. He talked about a link between individuals with Autism and family members with Depression and Anxiety disorders.
It was an insightful presentation; at times humorous and at times very moving. John gave a very profound look into the world of Autism through the eyes of someone living with Autism. It was a good presentation and another great opportunity to exchange information with families and educators. We look forward to the next seminar in May.
Shari L. Stamps