When I was a child, intelligence meant one thing: good grades.  If you didn’t get them, your parents likely had “words with you” about your performance as a student.  After my son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with language impairments and borderline intellectual impairments, I started rethinking the world of IQ and Intelligence.

IQ (or Intelligence Quotient) is a standardized test mean to assess human intelligence.  It’s also used to determine if an individual has an intellectual disability.  Sounds simple, right?

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Chemistry and Autism 

The terms used to describe autism are often deceptive.  Disorder, Deficit, Impairments.  These words imply that the autistic brain is wired incorrectly, rather than wired differently.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined as a neurological disorder.  ASD is identified by deficits (or non-typical levels) in social interaction, along with restrictive/repetitive behaviors.  ASD may or may not include language impairments, mental impairments, or genetic factors.

For some individuals with autism, these terms are important, because they help them to obtain much-needed services and support.  However, for many people, they become hurdles to social integration and acceptance in a world where they are already struggling with social communication.

Illustration by Kevin Ruelle

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The Stuff I Never Did

When you work full-time, you quickly learn to prioritize chores and errands.  If  you’re like me, what you can’t squeeze in during the limited evening and weekend hours, gets shoved on a list of “Stuff I’ll Maybe Get to One Day When I Have More Time”.

My closets, cupboards, and garage have spent the last 9 years accumulating stuff.  Occasionally, I would find a couple hours to clear out some clutter or reorganize, but rarely enough to put a dent in the projects.

But now that I have time, I can finally get around to some of the stuff I never did.

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On the Other Hand: A Lesson in Perspective

The way we view life and the world around us is unique to our experiences and personality.   It’s hard to remember and make the concentrated effort to change our perspective, but if we can manage it the results can be more than worth the effort.

It’s both as simple and as complicated as changing our dominant hand.  Only about 1% of people are naturally ambidextrous.  Many people, such as myself, can write legibly with both hands, but writing with the non-dominant hand often feels unnatural and takes more effort.  Most people can train themselves to use both hands, but this too takes a concentrated effort.

One of the pitfalls of being in the majority (in this case right-handedness) is that you forget about the minority (about 12% of people are lefties).  This allegory can apply to many perspective issues and has taught me to rethink the way I approach the world.

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A Poor Hand Well-Played: The Moments that Define Us

Let’s face it. In life, people rarely get dealt a great hand to play.  In most cases, if you end up with a semi-decent collection of cards, you thank your lucky stars and make the best of it.  It’s never all good chances and circumstances or all bad ones, but learning how to make the best of a tough situation in life is not just a survival technique…

They are the moments that define us.

One thing I always remember when I am dealt a poor hand, is that…

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The Intentionally Unemployed

Today marked my last day at the office.  I am now intentionally unemployed.  Considering I have been working almost 18 years straight, stopping work feels somewhat unnatural.

Even though I cleaned out my desk and turned in my key, it still feels a bit unreal to me.

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The Final Countdown: Setting a Schedule, Goals and Expectations

My last day at the office is quickly approaching.  This coming week will be my last one working outside of the home.

In anticipation of that change, I finally decided that I better attempt to set a tentative schedule, goals, and expectations for myself.  I could easily hang out on the sofa watching Netflix or reading books all day if I let myself.


It sounds like such a simple thing, but really it’s fraught with inconsistencies. Good planning has to be like a tree.  It has to be both sturdy AND flexible enough to survive.  There’s still some question about how the mornings will pan out, but here is my tentative daily schedule plan:

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My 2017 Book List

Every year, I set a Reading Goal for how many books I plan to read that year.  In 2017, I got a little over ambitious with a goal of 75 books!

In 2016, I surpassed my goal of reading 50 books with 81 books, so I thought that 75 was reasonable.  It is definitely doable, but might have been a little overboard, even for me…but I finally achieved my goal with a couple days to spare.  Then I threw in an extra book for posterity.

I usually use Goodreads to track my books, and like to go through them at the end of the year to select my favorites of the bunch.

My 7 Favorite Reads of 2017

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