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November 2018

Judi’s Story Continues: Independent Study Resolution

By | Educational Success, Personal Stories | No Comments

For those of you following my story about the REEL People program and my son Josh, I wanted to give you an update. When we last left our hero, we were trying to get CSUF to recognized the REEL People program as an independent study.

Because Josh is an adult, I had to relinquish control of navigating the red tape to Josh. To my surprise, Josh took the lead. He contacted several professors to try and find a sponsor. He was turned down. He sent emails to the Chairman of the school, who did not respond. After several weeks of rejection, Josh went by the Chairman’s office. The Chairman’s secretary told Josh he would have to send at least three emails.

Overcoming Rejection

With perseverance, a few weeks later, Josh finally spoke to the Chairman of the film school. They set up a meeting. Josh showed, up but the Chairman was speaking with someone else in his office. Josh left but asked the secretary, “To please let the Chairman know that I stopped by.”

Feeling bad, the Chairman then contacted Josh by phone to arranged for a call that evening. Josh asked me to write up a script, so that he would know exactly what to ask. That evening, Josh spoke to the Chairman on the phone. The Chairman was supportive of the idea, and asked Josh to send him some additional information by email.

The next morning, we worked on the email. Josh suggested mentioning me in the email, not as his mother, but as the President of the Orange County Asperger’s Support Group. I thought that was clever. I also felt good that he valued my role with OCASG.

Communication Stopped

Well Thanksgiving happened, and all communication stopped. A week later, I was kind of worried. I spoke to Josh on the phone, and he said that he planned on going by the Chairman’s office to follow up.

But coincidentally, the Chairman called him that day. Josh stopped by the Chairman’s office on his way to class. The Chairman’s secretary informed Josh that he would need additional information. Josh called me. I supplied the missing data. Working with the Secretary, Josh completed the paperwork.

Josh Plays a Trick on Me

Later that day, Josh called me up. “Mom,” he said. “I need one more piece of information. Would you please check online to see what courses I am signed up for the Spring semester?”

I logged into the CSUF website. I started reading off the courses, “Black Representation in Film,” I started. “Production 2,” I continued. “Independent Study, Josh you got in!” I exclaimed.

Josh laughed, “I know. I wanted to surprise you. The Chairman of the department, is going to be overseeing the independent study.”

Earlier that day, I got a text from my friend Diane. She informed that her son Josh was approved for the independent study by Art Department.

So, as it stands now, both Josh B. and Josh C. will be together once more this January, to take the REEL People course.

Happy and Proud

I am so happy and proud. Happy that Josh got accepted into the program. Proud that Josh made it happen. Being able to self-advocate is critical for our kids. I am pleased that Josh is demonstrating the ability to understand motivations, communicate, and persevere.

Of course, I am still keeping my fingers crossed that there are no unforeseen surprises.

Vu Story: Bullying

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When I was young, bullying existed. Now whenever I turn on the news, I hear about bullying. It’s such an unfortunate epidemic that doesn’t seem to go away. Throughout my middle and high school years, I was called names constantly. Because my head was bigger than most people, the bullies would call me big head, jimmy neutron and monster. Monster was my favorite, because at the time I I thought it was a compliment. Here’s the story of when I was first called monster.

The Monster Nickname

It was during PE and we were playing soccer. I’ve always loved to play soccer. Every time we got to play it, I would get really excited. My love for soccer stemmed from watching the 98 World Cup. It was love at first sight. I was playing well on that day. And out of nowhere, a guy called me monster and a couple of his friends snickered. I’d thought they meant monster as in I was a good player. I kept playing hard. I felt really good that someone would give me such as compliment.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there. That’s when I knew it wasn’t a compliment. It was really annoying and I hated when it was time for my PE class. I started wearing long sleeve shirts under my PE uniform in order to make myself look bigger. I felt uncomfortable, but I was happy in some way because it was a way for me to stop thinking about my thin body.

I Wasn’t Beat Up. I Was Just Called Names.

Middle school and high school years were not fun for me. There’s a good side to this story because I wasn’t beat up or anything. I was just called names. Maybe it was because I ignored what they were saying and went on my business. Perhaps the reason that I did not get beat up was that I had a friend in PE. I made an effort to always stay by his side, so I didn’t look like a loner.

Workplace Bullies

Bullies are everywhere and they exist in the workplace too. Unlike grade school bullying, workplace bullying is more subtle and can be quite destructive. I once read an article on Yahoo about bullying in the workplace and I found it to be very informative. There are ways to help mitigate the bullying in the workplace such as evaluate the situation, stand up for yourself, document the situation, get superiors involved, and move on. I can’t speak to how effective these steps are as I’ve never had a real job, but from watching my mom, I can say that they do work.

I always wondered what it would be like to work. I had an inkling of what it’s like working from watching my mom. A lot of how I view the world is through my parents. I can see a stark contrast in how they look. My dad, who works alone, doesn’t interact with a lot of people. He looks relatively young for his age. People guess his age wrong all the time. They are amazed at how young my dad looks. My mom, in comparison, is often very stressed at work so it shows in her face. After reading about the article and telling my mom, she’s been less stressed in the workplace. It has been five years and my mom is very happy. Why do people feel the need to put down other people? Life is too short and we all should get along. Unfortunately, that is the reality so having steps in how to deal with bullying should be a top priority.

My Dream Job

Back when I was young, all I ever wanted to do was to be a doctor. This stemmed from the fact that everybody in my family expected me to become one. I had no idea of my condition. The signs were there when I was little. I would run and hide whenever people came over to the house. My family and I didn’t think much of it. Now being apart of the Orange County Asperger’s Support Group as an intern has taught me a lot. From going to support groups and talking to Asperger’s like me, I know more about myself than ever before. I’m seeing how I want to live my life. My dream is to someday open a business where I don’t have to work for anybody but myself. That would be my dream job.