I can't go to everyplace so I mainly speak at autism conferences and lots of teachers go to those conferences. A typical autism conference may have 400 people come to it, about a third of them will be parents and the rest will be teachers, speech therapists, guidance counselors, occupational therapists, and other professionals.
How long have you been doing the circuit of autism conferences?
I started some of the early ones back in the mid '80s but I really got on the circuit when Thinking in Pictures came out which was in 1995.
Do you notice much change in schooling or the way teachers look at things after coming to these conferences?
A lot of teachers say I've really given them insight. The other thing I talk about a lot in my talks is the sensory issues. A lot of kids with autism, dyslexia , ADHD, and other problems, they have problems with sensory oversensitivity. Like, loud sounds will hurt their ears or they may a real problem with tolerating fluorescent lights. They can see the flicker of fluorescent lights and that just drives them crazy because it's like being in a discoteque. Problems with touch sensitivity - like, I can't wear wool against my skin because it's like sandpaper ripping my nerves off.
Let's take that example. The wool sensitivity. You can choose to wear non-wool items. But what does a person do who finds himself in an environment with fluorescent lighting?
That's a real problem. I'd say when it comes to environmental problems that's big number one. One of the things that they can do is get a desk over by a window, bring in an old fashioned incandescent light bulb lamp. That will help blot out the fluorescent lights. Sometimes wearing a hat helps, or wearing colored glasses.
And you talk about this in sessions with the teachers? They're aware of this?