Flummox and Friends is a new show designed to help kids who are a little different get along with the people around them:
Social and emotional development is more than just “good manners” or being well-behaved. It’s the fundamental ability to connect with and relate to others: seeing another person’s perspective, altering one’s behavior based on the situation, drawing inferences from cues and context, even managing the expression of one’s emotions.
Starting from the time we’re born, we begin to learn a set of unspoken rules about how to connect and relate to others. But these abilities don’t always come naturally - especially for those who have minds that develop differently because of autism, attention or sensory challenges, or differences that don’t necessarily have a label.
Flummox and Friends is designed to support elementary school children who experience social and emotional struggles. They may be already receiving support—inclusion, speech therapy, social skills groups—or simply fit the category of “smart but quirky” without an official diagnosis.
The show can be used either at home or in an educational setting. With curriculum goals (as well as supporting materials) developed by practicing professionals in the field of social communication, teachers and therapists can integrate episodes into their existing classroom activities or therapy sessions.
Watch the pilot above. It includes an animated Dude I'm an Aspie short, featuring the voice of Dude creator Matt Friedman. There are also two other animated shorts, a robot head, and dancing.
I liked it a lot.
"Don't be sorry. You're entitled to feel that way."
It's okay to wish that you or your child didn't have autism, or Asperger's syndrome.
You don't have to refuse that mythical cure.
You can both love yourself and wish your life were easier.
You can be who you are and feel what you feel.
And you can say it.
We need sunshiney rainbows, and I am grateful to those who try to bring them to us.
But they are not all we need.
Our lives are painful.
Talking about them honestly is painful.
Listening to what we have to say when we tell the truth is painful.
We have to live, anyway.
And speak for ourselves, anyway.
And work on hearing each other, anyway.
The Great Hubbabutt emerges from a Dude's past.
This morning a couple of items really brought home for me the power of special interests in the lives of young people with autism.
--- Matt at Dude I'm an Aspie has written a lovely post that details his childhood cartooning, and explains how significant reviving that obsession has been in working with his Aspergers: "To understand Asperger’s as a positive thing, for me, is to understand why I made the Newses. They are irreverent, idiosynchratic, incomprehensible, and an essential portrait of who I was at age 10. The time I spent on them was unquestionably enjoyable, as I often churned out entire issues in a few days in bursts of free-flowing creativity. They are my most special of special interests."
--- George Maroun III is a nonverbal nine-year-old with autism. He loves opera singer Andre Bocell, and was able to attend a recent concert. Please watch the video on this page and see George be as happy as someone can be.
Why start with picture books if you think you have Asperger Syndrome or autism? Because understanding autism is hard, and is complicated by the emotional responses you may have if you recognize yourself in the traits of people on the spectrum. You don't have to buy either of these books to read them-- one is available in its entirety online, and the other you can easily finish in one quick sitting at a bookstore. But they both offer such quick, complete, and compassionate views of what it is like to have a little bit of autism that many people find it useful to have copies of their own so they can share them with people in their lives who they need to understand.