Fine

An exploration into the power of expression through words, music and gesture. This uplifting short documents the inspiring journey of Alwyn, a professional Blues musician who following a stroke, lost the ability to communicate verbally, and with it the passion and motivation to continue playing music.

In My Language

The first part is in my “native language,” and then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation. This is not a look-at-the-autie gawking freakshow as much as it is a statement about what gets considered thought, intelligence, personhood, language, and communication, and what does not.

Mac’s Story

My name is Mac and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 5th grade. Much of elementary school I spent frustrated and angry at my inability to understand my peers and converse with them. The diagnosis finally gave me a reason for my struggle; it galvanized me to work hard in trying to learn how to imitate and eventually understand the behavior of other people. It also helped when I started playing the “World of Warcraft” video game. When playing this game, I could see how people conversed in text form and was able to take the time to edit my responses without the awkwardness of making eye contact or the pressure to respond quickly. I began to improve socially and soon found I had made some good friends who understood I had difficulty, but thought no less of me. Though I now was able to talk to others, I still found it stressful. Something that has helped is my archery, which has taught me to keep calm and not let emotion get to me. I am currently a sophomore in a charter high school. Many of the negative symptoms that once plagued me have either disappeared from view or [...] continue the story

Ask Jai – Advice for Caregivers

October 2011

Dear Jai:

My wife has pancreatic cancer. Her visitors are coming less and less. What can I do?

Kevin

Kevin,

First, it’s time to rally the troops and give your wife’s friends and family members a pep talk about the important role they play in her life. Battling a life-threatening illness, enduring pain from cancer and its treatments, and facing the threat of dying might make people want close friends and family nearby to make them feel safe, loved, and not alone. Your friends need to know how much you and your wife need them to be a part of her daily life at this time. People may not realize the positive impact of their attention and energy, even if all they do is simply sit with the cancer patient watching television for an hour. Your wife benefits from their company, so make sure to communicate your and your wife’s needs to the loving group of people who surround you. Give them feedback on what is helpful and not helpful to your wife as she goes through different stages of cancer treatment. Open communication will be helpful to all involved.

Please also be sensitive to how your wife’s cancer [...] continue the story