On Thursday evening, American Idol viewers watched as judges Randy Jackson,
Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler eliminated and advanced contestants, ultimately
comprising the show’s coveted "top 24" spots. Included in that group
was James Durbin, who along with his fellow contestants, will now be performing
on live television beginning next week.
In his final solo performance before moving on, Durbin performed a rendition of
“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, clearly impressing the judges with a wide
range of vocals.
Durbin, who has been diagnosed with both Tourette’s and Asperger’s Syndrome,
was visibly nervous prior to learning his fate, with his grimacing and wincing
tics clearly noticeable to viewers.
As Durbin celebrated the news of his advancement, Steven Tyler quipped,
"Take that sh** Tourrette’s!" and noted that he was "a lightning
bolt." All three judges seemed pleased to see him advance and in an indication that Durbin is one of the frontrunners this season, Ryan Seacrest said
to viewers, “We now turn James over to you."
Durbin has been impressive since the audition rounds began but based on some
comments on Twitter and elsewhere, it appears he has a few haters as well.
Earlier this week, even TMZ tried running a "gotcha" piece on Durbin
that involved some unflattering comments he made last year, all while
insensitively referring to him as the "Tourrette’s Guy." Clearly, TMZ
isn’t well educated on Aspies and their lack of "filters."
As Durbin advances, it’s likely that the insensitivity and cruelness of others
will continue to emerge, as is usually the case when someone is different. However, James now has the
opportunity to silence his critics and show the world that individuals with
autism and other special needs are capable of achieving extraordinary things in
their lives, regardless of circumstances.
The seemingly endless reports of unethical and opportunistic individuals
related to autism seem to be occurring on a regular basis and where there’s money to be made, there will
always be those who are willing to take advantage of the misfortunes of
I myself received a rude entry into the world of autism and because of a
scamming therapist, my twin sons lost the opportunity for early intervention. Their diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism didn’t come until they were in
the fourth grade. Through my tears of grief, I also felt relieved that they would finally be in an appropriate program with a teacher who knew what she was doing.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case.
After transferring to a school with an inclusion program for autism, the first thing my sons’ new teacher told me was that she didn’t know anything about Asperger’s, but she would Google it when she got home. Their social skills consisted of one period of
playing a board game they could never finish by the bell. To make matters worse,
the primary function of their classroom aide was to make
my kids produce as much work as their neurotypical peers, raining down punishment if they didn’t.
I found out that special education teachers in my state are not educated in
autism, nor are the teachers who host children with autism in their mainstream classes. And, of course, neurotypical classmates have no preparation for having a person on the
autism spectrum in their midst.
Today, my boys are in their first year of high school. One is doing okay, but the other is
struggling. His school week is punctuated by spectacular meltdowns, leaving him humiliated before his teachers and peers.
It’s the same story year after year — glazed looks at the mention of best practices for Asperger’s, power struggles with teachers who don’t know what they’re
doing and constant efforts on my part to assure that his condition is helped instead of exacerbated.
A breakthrough may come in the form of a DVD entitled, "Intricate Minds: Understanding Classmates with Asperger’s Syndrome."
It is available at elementary,
middle and high school levels and designed to help neurotypical kids understand and appreciate their classmates with
Asperger’s Syndrome. Peppered with facts about the disorder, most of the video
consists of children speaking openly and poignantly about what it is like to have this
high functioning form of autism. While their stories are different,
the common yearning for acceptance and respect is very clear.
Although geared for students, this DVD is also an important training tool for all adults who encounter children with Asperger’s and high functioning autism. It can be adapted for families,
schools, counselors and health care professionals to help raise greater
awareness about their peers who struggle with these disorders.
My suggestion is that "Intricate Minds" become part of the curriculum at my son’s high school
– both for his teachers
and his classmates. The DVD is now in
the principal’s inbox. As a very tenacious advocate, I’m determined to sweep the sensory and emotional land mines from my son’s school
environment so he can reclaim his self image as a capable and sociable young
Last week, we
reported about an incident involving blogger Amanda Broadfoot while she was
on vacation with her family at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. While eating at
a restaurant on New Year’s Eve, Broadfoot’s 4-year-old son with autism was harassed
and bullied by a group of teens, causing the youngster to become visibly upset
and repeatedly hit his head. The situation escalated, but a manager eventually
claimed there was nothing else that could be done to help the family.
When circumstances of the event began to circulate through Facebook, Twitter and
the blogosphere, families of special needs children became outraged at both the
incident itself and Disney World’s response in the aftermath.
Earlier this week, on her
blog, Broadfoot reported that a Disney World representative finally followed
up with her and clarified the correct procedures in dealing with these types
of incidents. The Disney rep or "cast member" as they are called,
apologized to her and acknowledged that proper protocol was in fact not followed
during her ordeal. She also assured Broadfoot that steps would be taken in the
future to ensure all Disney cast members are reinforced with existing policies
on how to handle belligerent and harassing guests.
The Disney representative invited Broadfoot and her family back to Disney World
with complimentary tickets, and she is now completely satisfied with how the
matter was resolved.
While incidents like these are rare in family-friendly environments such as Disney World, they are a great reminder that
children with autism are frequently susceptible to bullying, regardless of where
that may be. And as parents, it is our job to continue fighting and advocating
on their behalf so these situations become less and less frequent in the future.
As unfortunate as this was for Broadfoot and her family, it does have a silver
lining. It will give Disney World an opportunity to review its policies with staff on how to deal with unruly guests, as well as better equip them to further
protect visitors in the future, including those with autism and other special
With all of the attention the autism-vaccine debate has received,
often overlooked is another source of infighting within the autism community
that involves neurodiversity vs.
disorder. Neurodiversity is a movement commonly seen among those with high
functioning autism and adheres to the notion that people with autism experience the world differently, not pathologically.
As such, they are not looking to be "cured" and advocate for greater
acceptance and awareness for themselves and others who are "different."
Ari Ne’eman is the director of The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and a strong
advocate for neurodiversity. His organization’s mission statement
ASAN seeks to advance the idea of neurological diversity, putting forward the concept that the goal of autism advocacy should not be a world without Autistic people. Instead, it should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights and opportunities as all other citizens. Working in fields such as public policy, media representation, research and systems change, ASAN hopes to empower Autistic people across the world to take control of their own lives and the future of our common community. Nothing About Us, Without Us!
Mr. Ne’eman (aged 22) has Asperger’s Syndrome and on December 16, 2009, was appointed by President
Barack Obama to serve on the National Council on Disability, the first person with an autism spectrum disorder to do so.
Senate confirmation unleashed a firestorm and even death threats against him.
Ne’emen’s outraged opponents contend that treating autism as an alternate way of
"being" rather than a debilitating condition will reduce research and funding for finding a cure. Simply put, children with low functioning autism don’t have the luxury of joining an
"autism pride" movement and parents worry about the negative effects
this type of attention will have on their children’s futures.
Andrew Solomon, author of
“The Noonday Demon," actually sees three sides to the debate: those who believe autism is caused by environmental toxins
(particularly vaccines), those who believe autism is genetic and those who
contend autistics are neurodiverse and feel they should be left alone.
There is a real fear by many that the heredity model will take precedence and lead to eugenics as more and more parents opt to abort
fetuses with a chromosome marker for autism, following the path of Down Syndrome
where approximately 92%
of all diagnosed fetuses are aborted. Do we really want to prevent the birth of the next Temple Grandin?
As for the neurodiversity movement, there is heated debate of whether or not
it can exist without impinging upon the quest for a cure to autism. Perhaps the answer lies with taking into consideration the messages from all groups. Most likely, heredity establishes a predisposition to autism, while environmental factors produce triggers.
Impartial research into the safety of our current vaccine schedule and other drugs such as obstetric and birth control
medications should be given priority, as well as the elimination of mercury and other toxic substances
from our general environment. Geneticists should continue to unlock the mysteries of the genome, which can’t help but
to expand our understanding of autism. Additionally, high functioning individuals should continue to galvanize their autism civil rights movement.
I recall my high functioning son being asked to write a two-page essay in school about what it’s like to have a disability and he
summed it up in a single sentence, “It’s like having brown eyes." To have reached that level of self-acceptance after all
he had been through was nothing short of amazing.
No one can deny the tragedy of a child with autism who is self injurious, nor a high functioning young person
who has "aged out" of their support systems and is cast adrift into a neurotypical world.
The key is for all segments of the autism community to keep working on
finding common ground so that the future is brighter for all of our children.
In Sunday’s Doonesbury comic
strip, even famed cartoonist Garry Trudeau decided to weigh in on the autism-vaccine debate, taking swipes at Jenny
McCarthy in the process. McCarthy, who has become the de facto face of the
anti-vaccination movement, has taken a beating in recent months, particularly
when charges of fraud surfaced from a 1998 study attempting to link the MMR vaccine with gastrointestinal disorders and autism.
McCarthy often cited the Andrew Wakefield study in her debates, making her an easy target
in the messy aftermath.
A lot of the criticism McCarthy has endured is arguably self-inflicted.
However, the viciousness of the attacks towards her and other parents within the
"vaccine safety" movement has been unprecedented. As a result, autism
has unfortunately become an incredibly polarizing issue, creating the type of divisiveness that is typically reserved for politics.
One example of some of the mudslinging can be found over at a science-based
autism blog. In the comment section of a recent McCarthy story, a visitor wrote:
"I find it really hard to belive [sic] she’s still in the public eye at all!
Former porn actress who had a small part in a mildly amusing film about ten years ago (and that was several years after her ‘previous’ career), she probably just got a bit carried away when she realised she was getting coverage for opening her mouth."
David Kirby, a former New York Times reporter and author of "Evidence
of Harm," is another person who has found himself in the crosshairs of
pro-vaccine and science groups. His book, which addresses the thimerosal-autism controversy,
has been derided by many and he has since been portrayed as a biased
and delusional conspiracy theorist.
The vitriol has not been one-sided, either. Vaccine safety advocates and even McCarthy
herself have been just as complicit in fanning the flames of the now-toxic
autism-vaccine debate. In a 2009 Time magazine interview, McCarthy stated the following:
"I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their
fu**ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s
sh**. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism."
Additionally, there have been countless parents who have accused doctors,
pharmaceutical companies and others within the scientific community of knowingly
"poisoning" and harming children in the names of profit and greed,
often with little or no supporting evidence to back their claims.
It’s extremely disheartening to see the issue of autism, and those affected by
it, getting dragged so much through the mud. As members of the "autism fraternity,"
parents and families who are affected by the disorder should be unified for a
single cause to improve our children’s conditions and help the many others that
will soon follow our paths. Instead, autism has become a catalyst for a
tremendous amount of division and hatred.
Even Autism Speaks, one of the largest autism organizations in the world, has
not escaped the autism-vaccine debate unscathed.
Katie Wright, daughter of organization founders Bob and Suzanne Wright, was
interviewed by David Kirby in 2007 and suggested that vaccines may have played a
role in her son’s autism. The interview put Autism Speaks in damage control mode
and caused her parents
to post a statement to the organization’s Web site. The older Wright’s
distanced themselves from their daughter’s comments and stated that Katie’s
views "do not represent or reflect the ongoing mission of Autism Speaks."
This came, despite the fact that it was her son, Christian, who was the reason
the organization was founded to begin with.
As more and more studies continue to emerge disproving a connection, it is
becoming much more difficult to solely place the blame on vaccines as a cause of
autism. However, it is also hard not to sympathize with parents who are
unequivocally convinced that their children’s autism was caused or triggered by
Regardless of where we find ourselves in the autism-vaccine debate, it’s clear
that the attacks coming both sides need to be toned down. The time spent
bickering, quarreling and vilifying one another is time that can be spent with
our children, helping to improve their condition. Because in the end, it is they
who will ultimately suffer the most as a result of the infighting within the
This month, a shocking claim was made by the former chief of the American
Journal of Psychiatry, Nancy Andreasen, when she published her findings that
antipsychotic drugs, such as Risperadone, actually shrink the brain over time.
Ms. Andreasen began a long-running study in 1991 on schizophrenia patients
taking antipsychotics, periodically measuring their brain volumes with magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Two years later, she reported "progressive
brain volume reductions" in her patients and initially concluded that the
shrinkage was associated with "a worsening of negative symptoms, functional
impairment and cognitive decline." At that time, her premise was that the
shrinkage was due to the disease and that the antipsychotics failed to stop it.
Concurrent to Andreasen’s findings, other studies in both animals and patients
with schizophrenia indicated that the drugs might very well aggravate or
possibly even cause the shrinkage. Further studies then concluded that the occurrences
of shrinkage were in fact caused by the drugs themselves and were dose-related. Her findings were recently published in the Archives
of General Psychiatry, a journal of the American Medical Association.
The reason these discoveries are so alarming is that antipsychotics are now
widely prescribed to control behavioral issues and treat other
"non-psychotic" conditions such as ADD and autism. Journalistic
investigations have shown that antipsychotics are widely dispensed to children
on Medicaid at a much higher rate, mostly in lieu of individual therapy and
family counseling. Additionally, Medicaid reimbursements for the drug are much
higher than that of traditional therapy, creating many instances of
overprescribing. Courts also often order the use of antipsychotics for those
within the criminal justice system.
Even more upsetting, antipsychotics generate huge profits for pharmaceutical
companies, to the point where they find it cost-effective to absorb the many
lawsuits and false advertising complaints that emerge from their widespread
Long-term use of antipsychotics must be stopped and their use on the still
developing brains of children should be banned. There can be no justification
for giving antipsychotics to someone who is not even psychotic.
Where is the public outrage and mainstream media coverage on this issue?
These findings, along with the horrible side effects of massive weight gain,
permanent tremors and diabetes that are already associated with antipsychotics,
should prompt an immediate review of their rampant, off-label use.
Additionally, the media needs to do a much better job of disseminating this
type of information to the public once it’s known, so individuals
with neurological disorders and their families are better informed of the
potential health risks associated with these types of drugs.
It’s that time of year again when parents will meet with their school districts
and write their Individualized Education Programs or IEPs. These are mandated by the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and outline the individual
educational needs for each child with special needs. My close friend, who has her Masters
in Education once told me, “if every parent knew their IDEA laws, the school systems would go broke.”
Parents and caregivers of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) need to
be educated as an advocate in many areas of their child’s life. Picking up, reading and understanding the IDEA fundamentals from a recent copy
of “Wrightslaw: Special Education Law,” will give invaluable insight for
parents. There’s no excuse for being unprepared for these meetings, which will
ultimately play a large role in determining a child’s functionality and success.
I recently read about a mother whose argument with her school district was
related to her son’s handwriting. Her struggles to have her child
use assistive technology had merit.
A recent Japanese study involving middle and high school aged children showed that
children with autism, along with Tourette’s Syndrome, ADD and other co-morbid
diagnoses, had substantially lower grades when forced to handwrite their assignments. The implementation of computer keyboards and typing devices raised their grades from C and D
averages to A’s and B’s.
Furthermore, studies showed that by allowing these students to complete homework assignments at school and
not at home, grades also increased as a result.
Parents and caregivers who come prepared to IEP meetings are a far stronger force than most realize. By law,
they can never be excluded from these important decision-making meetings.
Parents have the right to be heard and research before meetings take place will prove to be invaluable.
Knowing when a transfer to another school or district is allowed is extremely important. Each state has its own interpretations of how and when they are willing to transfer or contract out for appropriate services. Knowing these rules will keep
parents from spinning their wheels and show school administrative teams that they
are well-informed and know their child’s educational rights.
My oldest son has a 504 plan, which is not as powerful as an IEP, but certainly provides for
appropriate accommodations. His 504 plan includes having no homework, the use of a keyboard instead of handwriting, allowing for quiet
time and allowing for frequent healthy snacks. These stipulations can all be a mandatory part of
a child’s program, but will rarely be offered. I even learned to bring in a supportive advocate at times when I knew it would be a
If the system does not provide, they must accommodate. Test scores and a specific diagnosis are the baselines for constructing a plan that will be therapeutic, stimulating and educational for
a child’s special needs. The IEPs and 504 plans also offer greater protection than those of typical students.
Leverage lies within the laws and a child with special needs is entitled to as much as double and triple the tax monies as the funding for a typical child.
This should put parents in a position of empowerment, not groveling.
I moved all the way across the country to New York where my son’s IEP would finally be written to accommodate his special needs.
He was then able to take advantage of New York’s five-day-a-week speech
program with a speech therapist who was fully acquainted with current autism research and
therapies, along with every other imaginable accommodating resource. My son went from mumbling
and speechless to fully conversational in two-months.
He also began playing board games, making eye contact, singing, dancing and most of all, was happy — all within only two months. I was completely in awe of the provisions given to my son
by the state of New York. I was also in disgust of the state where I came from.
If I had to pay out of pocket in my former state for the services he was receiving in the curricular year, it would
have cost me in excess of a half-a-million dollars. Very few families have this
type of money, which is why so many get deprived of services in non-friendly
states. By the time my son has finished his two years of Early Intervention before starting Kindergarten in NYS, he will have received well over a million dollars worth of therapy. I did not have to beg or
borrow, these services were given to my son on a silver platter.
Had we not moved, my son would not have received appropriate therapy and would have cost taxpayers anywhere between 3.7 and 77 million dollars in his lifetime, depending on the eventual long-term services he would have required such as assisted living, medical, educational, personal and
other therapeutic needs.
If I wasn’t educated about the laws, I wouldn’t have known what he could and should be
getting. It’s despicable and injurious that so many states allow for this. A fellow parent of a child with ASD in the state where I lived has
successfully sued the school systems at least four times. Despite this fact, the schools
have not changed and are still non-accommodating.
Clearly, knowledge and leaving the door open to move are essential. Keep in
mind, because of the imbalance of services across the country, the state a child
lives in will determine the rest of his or her life. In many cases, even just a move to another county will make the difference. In other cases, like mine, moving over 3,000 miles away did the trick. If you don’t know what your child needs and what you can and cannot ask for, in most cases they won’t tell you either. Therefore, you need to be
prepared and educated.
Many head-start programs are beginning to accommodate the early intervention needs of a child with ASD. Each program is unique, and each teaches a child with ASD in different ways.
Be prepared. A child’s autism diagnosis changes lives forever and getting accommodating therapies from school systems will typically ensure that
a child realizes his or her high functioning potential, which will prevent them
from falling between the cracks.
Knowledge of the IEP process and IDEA laws will enable parents and caregivers to be an excellent advocate and resource for
their child’s growth, future, functionality and ultimate success.
The Autism Society of Minnesota recently hosted an "Autism and
Employment" conference in which managers from 3M, Cargill and Best Buy took
to the stage in praise of their employees with autism, counting them "among
their very best."
With a looming shortage of workers due to the retirement of baby boomers, more
companies are finding it advantageous to make accommodations in the workplace
for their employees with ASD. In turn, those employees are becoming known for
their extreme focus, ingenuity and dedication in the artistic and technological
fields to which they are innately drawn. Their love of routines and specialized
interests become assets when applied to the workplace environment.
At the conference, Temple Grandin, celebrity author and autism spokesperson, was
on-hand to share her wealth of experience, even offering some advice to job
seekers with autism. Since reading social cues is difficult, she recommended
presenting a portfolio or examples of one’s work as the best course of action
during the interview process. "I never got a job based upon my
personality," she quipped.
Grandin also exhorted parents to help their kids build skills well before they
would be entering the job market, such as having them order their own food at
restaurants, purchasing their own items at stores or having them run their own
small businesses such as mowing neighborhood lawns.
Fostering independence for children with autism is creating a promising trend of
doors being opened that were once closed. The intersection of employer
need and autism enlightenment is heartening news and will have a ripple-effect
throughout our society. For example, a parent with a co-worker on the autism
spectrum will be less likely to object to their child having a classmate with
autism. And since children mirror their parents’ attitudes, bullying at school
will be also diminished as well.
Another myth currently being dispelled about individuals with autism involves
their inability to sustain meaningful marital relationships.
Autism expert Tony Attwood has laid this falsehood to rest by quoting studies on
the attitudes towards marriage. Asking what marriage meant to them, neurotypical
individuals typically responded with "being in love," while those with
autism consistently cited the elements of having a lifelong friend and helpmate.
Many marriages come undone when one or the other spouse falls out of love or
becomes bored. People with autism, whose core values in a mate are an abiding
friendship and routines, are actually much better suited for the lifelong
commitments of marriage than their neurotypical counterparts.
Dr. Attwood believes that people with autism are the forerunners of a higher
evolution and that it is incumbent upon the rest of us to realize this fact.
Their burgeoning and continuing success, both professionally and personally,
bears out this wisdom.
And as our society continues to embrace the widespread acceptance of those with
autism, we will continue to see shattered stereotypes and misconceptions laid to
rest, as is currently taking place in the areas of employment and marriage.
Last night, viewers didn’t get to see much of James Durbin, other than a
quick glimpse of him emotionally celebrating in Room One, where he, along with a
few dozen other American Idol contestants, learned they would be advancing to
the next round, which will take place in Las Vegas.
Durbin’s performance was not aired, which was most likely a tactical move on
the part of the Idol producers (less is more).
James Durbin continues to be a frontrunner for the show, however, after viewing
some of last night’s performances, it appears he will have his work cut out for
him. One would find difficulty in finding another American Idol season
that was so stacked with this much talent. In fact, there’s a good chance
some of the contestants who don’t even make the Top 12 this year could have been
winners in previous seasons (i.e. Taylor Hicks).
As for Durbin, his heartfelt story of overcoming Asperger’s Syndrome, Tourette’s,
unemployment and the death of his father, coupled with his high ranging vocal
performances, still make him a strong contender to win it all. However, it
remains to be seen if he can continue his strong performances — singing in
front of millions of people on live TV is quite different that what the
contestants are currently doing. But regardless, Durbin still
has a significant amount of people supporting him, including a lot within the
special needs community, making him a strong Season 10 favorite.
Next week’s round will incorporate songs from The Beatles and it appears Durbin
already has a head start in performing songs from the band. Posted below
is a performance that has surfaced of Durbin performing "While My Guitar
Gently Weeps," recorded in his hometown when he was 19-years-old.
Craig Nicholls (Courtesy: thevines.com / Sophie Howarth)
In the Spring of 2004, an Australian group known as The Vines quickly became one of the hottest bands in the world, topping charts and mentioned in the same
breath as bands such as Nirvana. Lead singer/songwriter Craig Nicholls was
well-known for his unpredictable behavior and marijuana smoking, as well as his unhealthy
burger-only diet. Rude and uncommunicative in interviews, Nicholls was prone to messing up photographs with goofy
faces and his wild-eyed, guitar-smashing antics, enthralling a new generation of young music fans.
In support of a new album release, The Vines launched a grueling US tour followed by gigs in Japan. Nicholls’ onstage antics grew more out-of-control and dangerous as the tour wore
on. He verbally abused the crowd, even kicking at a photographer, smashing her camera.
Assault charges followed.
Thrown off both Jay Leno and David Letterman for tearing up their sets, no one would book Nicholls. By May 2004, it was all over for The Vines and their great promise was laid to ruins by the seemingly inexcusable behavior of their twenty-seven-year-old
Then fate and a perceptive friend intervened. Having seen his share of crazy rock n´ rollers, the band’s guitar technician felt that Nicholls had an actual neurological problem and hypothesized it
was Asperger’s Syndrome. Dr. Tony Attwood, the pre-eminent authority on the subject, was brought in and confirmed the layman’s diagnosis.
Nicholls expressed relief at finally being able to make sense of his life. While growing up, his obsessive and reclusive behavior concerned his parents enough that they took him to see a psychologist at age fifteen, but no mention of autism had ever been made.
Called as an expert witness in court the following November, Dr. Attwood announced his diagnosis and explained that after performing, Nicholls suffered from sensory overload and physically lashed out as a result.
He did not intend to hurt the photographer, he just couldn’t bear her intrusion into his personal space. Assault charges were dropped on condition of immediate therapy.
Dr. Attwood explained to Nicholls that the lifestyle of a touring rock musician with its erratic schedule, constant
changes and sensory overload was the worst career he could have possibly chosen
for someone with his condition. He then recommended that Nicholls curtail his touring, create a recording studio in his home, improve his
diet and stop smoking pot. Attwood emphatically stated that smoking marijuana
was one of the worst things a person with Asperger´s can do to themselves.
Nicholls has spent the last seven years coming to terms with being a rock star on the
autism spectrum. He’s taken long breaks, punctuated by the release of excellent new music and a smattering of live performances. No longer a pot smoker, he can’t even recall the many incidents that lead to the turning point in his life. When told of them, he is contrite.
Some of Nicholls’ best work came after his diagnosis, such as his ¨Get Free¨ performance two years
ago, which is posted below. His amazing stage presence is a testament to the gifts that autism bestows, even as he continues to shoulder its burdens.
Look for the release of The Vines’ new album ¨Future Primitive,¨ in April of 2011.
All information in this site is presented for support and educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for medical treatment or visiting a licensed medical physician.
Visitors who desire to apply or use any information listed herein are urged to consult with licensed healthcare professionals first. All information is deemed reliable but its accuracy can't be guaranteed.
Did You Know?
* In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
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