Here's certain things that are similar to cats and dogs. Dogs are just hyper social and they have a want to please you way more than a cat does.
People are getting too far away from the real-world. Politics is just ridiculous, it's totally dysfunctional.
We should assume that some captive animals feel frustrated being locked up inside. Many captive animals try to escape as soon as they have an opportunity.
All animals and people have the same core emotion system in the brain. When people are suffering mentally, they want to feel better-they want to stop having bad emotions and start having a good emotions. That's the right goal with animals, too.
Animals don't have purely behavioral needs, and if an animal expresses a normal behavior in an abnormal environment, its welfare may be poor.
Lot of animals living in captivity don't mate successfully because there's something wrong with their living conditions that stops them from acting naturally.
Livestock producers observe that when rough, stressful handling practices are eliminated, cattle resume eating a full day earlier.
Seeking is a combination of emotions people usually think of as being different: wanting something really good, looking forward to getting something really good and curiosity. Seeking gives you the energy to go after your goals.
We found if you took the dog out for 45 minutes a day and worked with it that the solitary stress hormone, cortisol, went down. But then it went right back up again because they didn't keep doing it.
A cat can be social, but a dog, we've bred this hyper social animal that's really truly different and will do stuff for us just to please us with praise and stroking.
Label-locked thinking can affect treatment. For instance, I heard a doctor say about a kid with gastrointestinal issues, Oh, he has autism. That's the problem--and then he didn't treat the GI problem.
My problems are sort of more on a nuisance level. I can't stand scratchy clothes, I've got to have soft kinds of cotton against my skin, and I don't know why some 100% cotton t-shirts itch and others don't; it has something to do with the weave.
I'm seeing too many geeky, nerdy kids get addicted to video games and they're going nowhere. It's making me crazy.
I've got a lot of other people who do a lot of things for me, so I've gotten to a part in my career where I'm doing a lot of talks because I want to get kids turned on. I want to see these kids, these geeky nerdy kids, go out there and do something.
One of the big areas I'd like to see a lot more research done on is the sensory problems, and it's real variable. One kid's got sound sensitivity; another one can't tolerate fluorescent lights. I can't stand scratchy clothes.
Different cats don't like certain litter. They also don't like an unstable floor, no animal like's unstable floor. So if you put a thin piece of plastic down under a litter box and the cat walks on it and starts to slip, they don't like that. Any animal doesn't like an unstable floor.
Research is starting to show that a child should be engaged at least 20 hours a week. I do not think it matters which program you choose as long as it keeps the child actively engaged with the therapist, teacher, or parent for at least 20 hours a week.
Cats are great with clicker training. There's a great video you can get called Clicker Magic. There's a scene in that video where a cat is trained to go through a mini dog agility course -- it's all done with food motivation and clicker training. You can train them to do all sorts of thing.
Whereas an elephant that was scared to death that diesel powered equipment, equipment that ran on a gas engine, was just fine. Because somebody had attacked it with construction equipment. But if it had a diesel engine, it was bad.
The big companies are like steel and activists are like heat. Activists soften the steel, and then I can bend it into pretty grillwork and make reforms.
I know a lot of animal communicators and I think a lot of them are just good behaviorists because they pick up on a lot little posture things like how the eyes look, the posture of the cat ears, is it tense? They're picking up just a lot of their body cues from the dog, the cat or the horse.
I've been on antidepressants for years, and it worked to stop my anxiety and didn't limit creativity. Some of the best work I've done, in fact, is after I started taking the antidepressants.
I look at the successful people that have, you know, high functioning autism and Asperger's, they're ones where maybe the parents were in the computer industry and they just taught the kids programming at, you know, age eight and nine and they just went on into the industry with their parents.
Unfortunately, most people never observe the natural cycle of birth and death. They do not realize that for one living thing to survive, another living thing must die.
I'd rather have a kid come up to me and tell me that he loves dinosaurs or he loves airplanes or he likes training dogs or I like Shakespeare. I mean, just something.
I'm seeing too many kids where they get fixated on their own autism. I'd rather have them get fixated that they like programming computers or they like art or they want to sing in the church choir or they want to train dogs, you know, something that they can turn into a career.
Fear was my main emotion until I started taking anti-depressant medication. And I was one of the people where, as I got older, the fear got worse and worse. So I can really relate to an animal getting, you know, scared and traumatized.
Us visual thinkers like me, be good at things like industrial design, graphics, art, those kind of jobs.
You could train cats do things, a lot of people don't think cats aren't trainable. Cats can be trusted just a friend.
If you get a little kitty and he's down on the bottom, and he's laying on his chest, you know tucked up underneath, then that cat is not relaxed.
Things like microphones are dangerous things because you never know when they might feedback and squeal.
The animal that I have worked with the most is beef cattle, so that's my favorite animal, but I like all animals.
I think sometimes parents and teachers fail to stretch kids. My mother had a very good sense of how to stretch me just slightly outside my comfort zone.
I can remember being bullied and teased. It was absolutely horrible. I got kicked out of ninth grade for throwing a book at a girl who teased me. It was absolutely terrible.
It is important that our relationship with farm animals is reciprocal. We owe animals a decent life and a painless death. I have observed that the people who are completely out of touch with nature are the most afraid of death.
I'm a believer in biochemistry. But I tell people to try only one thing at a time to see if it works. And if you do give a powerful drug to a kid, it better have a big wow factor.
Some cats don't like different types of kitty litter. So might try different types of kitty litter sometimes that works. You know, they don't like one type that sticks to the paws and they don't like it.
I've got my one area I work in and I want to educate people about autism and I also want to improve, you know, animal handling and transport and make a real change out in the field on the ground.
I'm seeing too many smart kind of socially awkward kids, a lot milder than I was, not getting employment because they're not learning job skills.
I'm seeing too many kind of socially awkward kids that get through schools and then they can't hold a job because they haven't learned the discipline of get up in the morning.
The people that were socially awkward from my generation, they all had paper routes and that taught them the discipline of work.
I'm a child of the 50s. I was expected to have table manners. There needs to be some expectations for behavior. I'm seeing some children today, they don't push them enough.
I can explain how a person with autism thinks. I am very, very interested in how people think. It's been a gradual process of learning more and more about how my thinking process is different. You know it's bottom up -- you take specific examples to make concepts and then I put them in categories.
I've got a lot of people that are really good at taming animals and working with animals; and they can't explain how they do. They just get a feeling from the animal.
One area of study that still needs to be done is the kind of autism where kids have speech and they lose it. Some parents say it's happened right after vaccines. That group needs to be studied separately from others.
In my opinion, one of the greatest animal-welfare problems is the physical abuse of livestock during transportation.... Typical abuses I have witnessed with alarming frequency are; hitting, beating, use of badly maintained trucks, jabbing of short objects into animals, and deliberate cruelty.
I feel very strongly that we need to give beef cattle a really good life. When they go to slaughter, it needs to be painless.
One big question that's come up is: Has autism increased on the mild side of things? I don't think so -- they've always been here. Some of this is increased detection.
The thing is, autism is a big spectrum. Going from folks who remain nonverbal, all the way up to, ya know, famous scientists and musicians. And we've got to work on strengths. We also have to work on teaching basic manners and skills.
Costs for liability insurance are higher than costs for many procedures. There is a need to reform liability laws to stop out-of-control health care costs.
I played around with vegetarianism back in the '70s. One thing, my physiology just got to have animal protein. I get hypoglycemic, I get all light-headed unless I eat animal protein.
I think one of the worst things schools have done is taken out all of the stuff like art, music, woodworking, sewing, cooking, welding, auto-shop. All these things you can turn into careers. How can you get interested in these careers if you don't try them on a little bit?
The reason why feral kitties are hard to tame is because they have missed socialization the period -- you need to be touching and petting those kittens when they are real young.
In special education, there's too much emphasis placed on the deficit and not enough on the strength.
I think there's some kids that need to go from being a child to being a grown-up. You get out in the tech communities, the parents just apprentice their kid into the industry and they just skip being a teenager.
Some people with autism who don't talk, all they hear are vowel sounds. Like if I said 'cup,' they might just hear 'uh.'
I think a brain can be made more thinking or made more emotional. At what point does this become abnormal? Autism in its milder variants, I think, is part of normal human variation.
One of the places where research is needed is all the sensory problems. And you get sensory problems not just with autism, but with dyslexia, learning problems, ADHD, attention deficit, you know, things like sound sensitivity, problems with fluorescent lighting.
These diagnostic profiles like depression, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, it's half science and the other half is a committee of doctors bickering over what it should be, and it has changed. It's not precise like a diagnosis of tuberculosis would be very precise.
One of the ways to reduce that barking would be to have volunteers come in especially for hte for the dogs and take each dog out for 45 minutes each day and spend quality time with the person -- that would help reduce the stress and in fact, one of my students did a study on that.
The most important thing in a shelter is that volunteers, especially with dogs, come in everyday, take that pet out for an hour of quality time.
In dealing with autism, I'm certainly not saying we should lose sight of the need to work on deficits, But the focus on deficits is so intense and so automatic that people lose sight of the strengths.
In the 50s and 60s, kids were taught how to shake hands. They were taught how to have manners. There needs to be a lot more of that kind of stuff because the autistic mind doesn't pick up social things and subtle cues.
There is three different ways that autistic kids will interact with animals.And they also need to make sure that they're not getting too rough with their animals -- they need to learn how to pet the dog properly, they can't be pulling its ears and things like that.
Some autistic people have savant skills. All autistic people do not have savant skills. Autism is a very variable disorder varying all the way from Einstein, emollient scientist, just a little bit of the trait, many scientist and engineers, down to somebody that's going to remain nonverbal.
When I was diagnosed, mothers were blamed for causing autism. There was no autism support. They'd put autistic kids in institutions. I had severe autism. But my mom wouldn't accept that. I was put in speech therapy. My mother was always pushing me to do stuff.
I don't define myself as autistic first. I don't want to be a professional autistic. I think it's important to have a real job.
I feel very strongly that if you got rid of all of the autistic genetics you're not going to have any scientists. There'd be no computer people. You'd lose a lot of artists and musicians. There'd be a horrible price to pay.
Autism's a very big spectrum. At one end of the spectrum, Einstein would probably be labeled autistic, Steve Jobs, half of Silicon Valley, you know, Van Gogh. And at the other end of the spectrum, you got much more severe handicaps where they never learn to speak.
It's much more work for the mother of an autistic child to have a job, because working with an autistic child is such a hassle until they go to school.
It's very important for the parents of young autistic children to encourage them to talk, or for those that don't talk, to give them a way of communicating, like a picture board, where they can point to a glass of milk, or a jacket if they're cold, or the bathroom.
It's very important for the parents of young autistic children to encourage them to talk, or for those that don't talk, to give them a way of communicating, like a picture board, where they can point to a glass of milk, or a jacket if they're cold, or the bathroom. If they want something, then they need to learn to request that thing.
Autistic children are very difficult to take care of, especially severely autistic ones. When I was 4, I had almost no language; when I was 3, I had none at all.
Neurotypical people seem to think and feel that it's okay to be rigid as long as their ideas are shared by enough people.
I don't want my thoughts to die with me, I want to have done something. I'm not interested in power, or piles of money. I want to leave something behind. I want to make a positive contribution -- know that my life has meaning.
What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?
You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.
I believe there is a reason such as autism, severe manic-depression, and schizophrenia remain in our gene pool even though there is much suffering as a result.
Steve Jobs was probably mildly on the autistic spectrum. Basically, you've probably known people who were geeky and socially awkward but very smart. When does geeks and nerds become autism? That's a gray area. Half the people in Silicon Valley probably have autism.
Social thinking skills must be directly taught to children and adults with ASD. Doing so opens doors of social understandings in all areas of life.
If by some magic, autism had been eradicated from the face of the Earth, then men would still be socializing in front of a wood fire at the entrance to a cave.
In fact, there are autism clusters, you know, around some of the big tech centers. You take two socially awkward computer programmers and put them together, that can kind of concentrate the autistic genes.
There's no black and white dividing line between a mild Aspergers, which is the mild autism, and computer engineer, for example.
There is a small segment of people with autism that have savant skills, where they can memorize entire maps of whole entire city. They can do calendar calculations. And this is similar to some of the skills that animals have.
Autism's an important part of who I am, but I'm a college professor and an animal scientist first. And I wouldn't want to change 'cause I like the logical way I think.
I strongly recommend that students with autism get involved in special interest clubs in some of the areas they naturally excel at. Being with people who share your interests makes socializing easier.
People on the autism spectrum don't think the same way you do. In my life, people who made a difference were those who didn't see labels, who believed in building on what was there. These were people who didn't try to drag me into their world, but came into mine instead.
I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.
But my favorite of Einstein's words on religion is Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind. I like this because both science and religion are needed to answer life's great questions.
I have been on the same dose of anti-depressants for 15 years, and my nerves still go up and down in cycles; but my nerves are cycling at a lower level than they were before.
As you may know, some of the stereotyped behaviors exhibited by autistic children are also found in zoo animals who are raised in a barren environment.
When you take a drug to treat high blood pressure or diabetes, you have an objective test to measure blood pressure and the amount of sugar in the blood. It is straight-forward. With autism, you are looking for changes in behavior.
Some autistic children cannot stand the sound of certain voices. I have come across cases where teachers tell me that certain children have problems with their voice or another person's voice. This problem tends to be related to high-pitched ladies' voices.
The squeeze machine is not going to cure anybody, but it may help them relax; and a relaxed person will usually have better behavior.
I think the core criterion is the social awkwardness, but the sensory issues are a serious problem in many, many cases of autism, and they make it impossible to operate in the environment where you're supposed to be social.
I've always thought of myself as a cattle-handling specialist, a college professor first; autism is secondary.
There tends to be a lot of autism around the tech centers... when you concentrate the geeks, you're concentrating the autism genetics.
If you start using a medication in a person with autism, you should see an obvious improvement in behavior in a short period of time. If you do not see an obvious improvement, they probably should not be taking the stuff. It is that simple.
I've worked with tons of people that I know who are on the spectrum -- but now I think severe autism has really increased.
The thing about being autistic is that you gradually get less and less autistic, because you keep learning, you keep learning how to behave. It's like being in a play; I'm always in a play.
What I've tried to do is combine both my personal experiences with scientific research. I like to cross the divide between the personal world and the scientific world.
Language for me narrates the pictures in my mind.
Language for me narrates the pictures in my mind. When I work on designing livestock equipment I can test run that equipment in my head like 3-D virtual reality. In fact, when I was in college I used to think that everybody was able to do that.
When I was in high school and college, I thought everybody could think in pictures. And my first inkling to my thinking was even different was when I was in college and I read an article about, you know, some scientist said that the caveman could not have designed tools until they had language.
Who do you think made the first stone spears? The Asperger guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.
Research has shown that a barren environment is much more damaging to baby animals than it is to adult animals. It does not hurt the adult animals the same way it damages babies.
I get satisfaction out of seeing stuff that makes real change in the real world. We need a lot more of that and a lot less abstract stuff.
Mild autism can give you a genius like Einstein. If you have severe autism, you could remain nonverbal. You don't want people to be on the severe end of the spectrum. But if you got rid of all the autism genetics, you wouldn't have science or art. All you would have is a bunch of social 'yak yaks.'
People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet.
I can remember the frustration of not being able to talk. I knew what I wanted to say, but I could not get the words out, so I would just scream.
Children between the ages of five to ten years are even more variable. They are going to vary from very high functioning, capable of doing normal school work, to nonverbal who have all kinds of neurological problems.
I was so afraid to go out west to my aunt's ranch. But the only choice my mother gave me was to go for two weeks or all summer. I wound up staying all summer. And that's where I learned about cattle. I could relate to their behavior, their fears.
Let's get into talking about how autism is similar animal behavior. The thing is I don't think in a language, and animals don't think in a language. It's sensory based thinking, thinking in pictures, thinking in smells, thinking in touches. It's putting these sensory based memories into categories.
One of my sensory problems was hearing sensitivity, where certain loud noises, such as a school bell, hurt my ears. It sounded like a dentist drill going through my ears.
I think that autistic brains tend to be specialized brains. Autistic people tend to be less social. It takes a ton of processor space in the brain to have all the social circuits.
I think that autistic brains tend to be specialized brains. Autistic people tend to be less social. It takes a ton of processor space in the brain to have all the social circuits. I mean after all, the first stone spear was not designed by the totally social people.
A treatment method or an educational method that will work for one child may not work for another child. The one common denominator for all of the young children is that early intervention does work, and it seems to improve the prognosis.
I had people in my life who didn't give up on me: my mother, my aunt, my science teacher. I had one-on-one speech therapy. I had a nanny who spent all day playing turn-taking games with me.
Computerized medical records will enable statistical analysis to be used to determine which treatments are most effective.
From a scientific standpoint, Aspergers and autism are one syndrome. Aspergers is part of the autism spectrum, not a separate disorder.
My mind works like Google for images. You put in a key word; it brings up pictures.
My mind works like Google for images. You put in a key word; it brings up pictures. See language for me narrates the pictures in my mind.
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