Are autistic kids better givers?


Researchers in Germany just published some interesting findings about the prosocial behaviors of kids with autism.

From the abstract of Helping and sharing with preschool children with autism:

We assessed helping and sharing behaviors in 3- to 6-year-old neurotypically (NT) developing children and children diagnosed with ASD. Children with ASD were more inclined to show spontaneous helping in the absence of the helpee than NT children. In the sharing task, NT children shared the resources equally between themselves and the recipients. In contrast, ASD children kept less for themselves and gave more resources away. In addition, the stronger the ASD symptoms were and the less cognitively weaker they were, the more children preferred to give resources to a rich than to a…

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Why I (kinda) stopped eating Chocolate


I stopped eating mass-produced Chocolate (note the capital C for Big Chocolate) about 18 months ago.  No Hershey’s. No Mars. No Kit Kat. No…gulp…York Peppermint Patties or Twix.

I’m not healthier or more ethical than you. I don’t think my small act is saving the world. I stopped eating chocolate for me.

It’s just that most of the time I ate chocolate, I thought about Michale, the farmer I met in Ivory Coast and how whether or not he could send his kids to school depended upon the price of cocoa, which swings wildly. I thought about the Solo, the slave, I met and how his parents didn’t know if he were dead or alive.


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What if mentoring doesn’t work?

BBBS banner image

The greatest gift you have to give to another is your time.

I believe that. That feels right. But what if it isn’t? What if you volunteered as a mentor and in the long run it was harmful to your mentee?

For years I volunteered as a big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). My little was 10, now he’s 19. (I think! He’ll probably read this and correct me. He’s like that.) The BBBS model of recruiting Bigs and selectively matching them with Littles and offering them match support is proven.

(From the Washington Post)

The prototype for all this – and the model from which [Wellesely College economist Philip] Levine suggests building –…

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“Don’t forget to explore!” A lesson in creating from my daughter


On Monday, Harper and I explored the woods. We found puff balls, a beer bottle, a rabbit, and a squawking heron. We climbed a deer stand and tried to patch a beaver dam.

When we walked from the woods into the clearing next to the pond, we saw what appeared to be snow flowers. It was as if tall weeds that had managed to stay upright through the winter bloomed petals of snow.

Harper wanted to show “everyone,” so we recorded a short episode of Harper & Daddy TV, our hit YouTube show. (I mean, like, one of our video has 100 views.)

While we were filming, we realized that the snow flowers had formed atop nearly invisible spider…

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Make the Living Room Great Again: A Fable

House fire by Ada Bee

(photo credit: Ada Bee)

The King of the Living Room surveyed his kingdom. He didn’t like what he saw. He hated his kingdom.

“This living room isn’t what it used to be,” the King of the Living Room said. “So sad.”

“When I was a child, the living room was much bigger. I used to be able to jump off the couch. I peed in the corner and now the whole damn room smells like urine.”

“So here’s what we are going to do. From here on out it’s the Living room first! Not the kitchen, not the bathroom, not the bedroom. Living room first! This living room is a disaster and I’m the only…

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Healthcare costs & system could leave kids like my son behind


Our son Griffin receives over $100K of therapies each year for autism.

“Are you here to get insurance to cover ABA?” (ABA is autism therapy.)

“Uh, no.” I said. “We’re here because we feel like Griffin should have a developmental pediatrician.”

This is how much insurance is in the discussion these days in the autism community, heck, in America. It was the topic of our first discussion at our first meeting with a new pediatrician.

I’m not criticizing him at all. The last note he had in our file from another doctor at his office was such a request from three years ago. Then Griffin was too young to get a diagnosis that would be acceptable for the insurance company.

This was pre-Affordable Care…

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Bring me & other Indiana authors to your K-12 school courtesy of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation

KT w HS students

“What’s your favorite color?”

“Do you drive an El Camino?”

Students say the darnedest things. These were just a few of the questions I was asked when I visited the Friends School in Richmond, Indiana, two week ago. I talked for about 20 minutes, answered questions for about 20 minutes and then visited an English class,

(For the record, I don’t drive an El Camino. But why don’t they bring it back? It has all the strengths of a truck and a car. It’s like the Blade of automobiles.)

Last week I had the opportunity to speak in an auditorium in Greenville, Ohio, where I went as a student to watch others share stories from its stage. Whether presenting to grade schoolers,…

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Is the Pope wrong about beggars?

Pope Francis

This week Pope Francis offered what to do when we pass beggars on the street: We should give to them without a thought. We should look them in the eye and maybe shake their hand. To give without engaging is robbing them of their human dignity.

The Catholic News Service reported on the Pope’s comments:

People who don’t give money to the homeless because they think it will be spent on alcohol and not food should ask themselves what guilty pleasures they are secretly spending money on, Pope Francis said.

“There are many excuses” to justify why one doesn’t lend a hand when asked by a person begging on the street, he said in an interview published the day before the beginning of Lent.

But giving something to someone in need “is always right,” and it should be done with respect and compassion because “tossing money and not looking in (their) eyes is not a Christian” way of behaving, he said.

Is he right?

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Union City Pride

Union City lady indiana

I haven’t watched a high school basketball game from start to finish since my wife hung up her sneakers in 1998. (Annie was #44 in the playbook and #1 in my heart, although I was too cool to admit it.)

That changed this past Saturday when I cheered on the Union City Lady Indians against Wood Memorial in the Class 1A State Championship.

“I don’t know why I’m crying,” I said to Annie after a girl from Union City drilled a three out of the gate. (To qualify crying: I had a single tear welling up in each eye. It wasn’t like I was ugly crying.)

“I had tears running down my face watching The Facebook video of them leaving town,” Annie…

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Facing Project on Nightly News in Flint

Screenshot 2017-02-25 09.06.44

Mott Community College is running a Facing College project focusing on the stories of immigrant students. They recently received coverage on Flint’s ABC channel 12.

Everyone has an opinion of what should be done politically about immigrants, even people who don’t even know or have conversed with a single immigrant. MCC’s Facing Project seeks to correct that.

Read the story and watch the coverage of their project here.

Here’s a video of the writers and storytellers getting to know each other…

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