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Fall, Family, and Football

By: Will Barrett

Fall is the happiest time in the South, especially October; every big sport is on at this time (college football, basketball, baseball), the temperature gets to that perfect medium where it’s not too hot or cold,  you can start wearing flannel shirts and be comfortable again, the leaves start changing colors…  I could keep going if I choose.  Not only is Halloween coming right up, but Thanksgiving is also around the corner, which means you can stuff yourself with some of Grandma’s best cooking, and the biggest holiday of them all, Christmas, will sneak up on you like a fat man in red fleece (no offense to Santa).  Girls around this time also fuel their pumpkin spice addictions with complicated coffee drinks, and Starbucks starts swimming in cash.

Other than perfect weather and college football, what’s the most important reason to love fall?  Think about it, the dropping temperature makes us seek warmth and comfort, the major American holidays have us all gathering around the dinner table, the turkey, mostly the Christmas tree, and at the end of December, we’ve given each other gifts that had thought put into it, gifts that show how much we appreciate and love each other… That, I believe, is what fall (and winter) is really about, bringing families closer together.  A lot of times we take it for granted, and we forget the most important thing in our lives is not how far you can get in your careers and how fast, it’s not how far you can get in the rat race for success, it’s always about coming home to the people that you love – it could be your mother, maybe your wife and children.  Regardless, they shouldn’t take second place to your own ambitions and desires.

We have a tradition in our family that we recently started: every Sunday afternoon, my family will get together in our house and eat.  It’s like a mini-Thanksgiving if you think about it. Everyones’ happy, laughing, telling stories, just having a good time in general.  Why on earth would anybody ever ruin something like this?  As a man with autism, I’ve found that to be one of the most confusing things about people: whether purposefully or inadvertently, they go out of their way to destroy something as precious as a family.  You can make every excuse you want, but the truth, no matter how you spin it, is that it’s just selfish.  Don’t ever take your family for granted, because if you start loosening your grip on it, it could slip between your fingers before you realize it.

God bless, and from all of us here in the South, Happy Fall Y’all!

Fundamental Attribution Error

Why do so many people make so many snap judgements?

I have been a victim of so many snap judgements, as I’m sure a lot of you have been.  There’s a reason we all do, and social psychology has narrowed it down to Fundamental Attribution Error, which is the concept that we instinctually judge others based on their actions or character, not the external factors or circumstances.  That seems to happen a lot in the world, and I think it’s one of society’s biggest problems: we live in a world that makes too many snap judgements, and we’re too quick to jump to conclusions about someone or something.

Consider this: the first impression.  It can be intimidating sometimes, feeling like you have to prove your worth to others in order to be accepted.  I find it to be a little demanding and choosy, don’t you?  Sometimes, because of Fundamental Attribution Error, we often neglect the circumstances involved when we meet someone for the first time; we fail to think outside that box of one-on-one conversation and consider what’s going on (or what has already transpired) outside that area.  If you try to engage in a conversation with someone who is in a less than pleasant mood, perhaps someone already got under his skin a few minutes prior to meeting you.  In that case, he just needs a little time to cool down.  Suppose someone cuts you off on the road.  Naturally, you’d be irritated, but we always assume it’s because he’s a jerk.  Maybe his dog was being a handful while he was trying to drive.

Yeah it’s hard to not get irritated when something like this happens to us, but it might be because we focus a little too much on how the present affects us instead of how it also affects those around us.  Circumstances are not always on our side, they’re not on anybody’s side most of the time, which is why we need to quit jumping to the first conclusion about someone that pops into our heads, and start getting on the same page with each other.  Don’t make that first impression the defining point of someone’s character, let their actions in more than one setting tell you who they really are.

The Georgia Autism Center

I have to admit that I was completely unaware that there was an actual autism center within driving distance of me.  That changed when a fateful shirt order, the biggest one we’ve had so far, arrived in my inbox, and when I read the address, I knew for certain this was a sign from God.

For the Georgia locals reading, the Georiga Autism Center (GAC) is in Alpharetta, located in a commercial district on Wetherburn Rd, next to the Hope Dental Group.

Since they’re local, and since their mission is so near and dear to my heart, I bundled up their shirt order and drove myself down there to hand-deliver it (people always seem to appreciate the personal touch that comes with it).  They’re not just exclusive to autism, this team of professionals works with relating cases that share similar symptoms of autism, such as attention developmental (hyperactivity) disorder (ADHD), and various learning disabilities and developmental delays.  And I’ve recently learned that they don’t just see children, but they see adults as well!

There’s an African proverb I read not too long ago that read, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  I fully believe that if we – as advocates for autism – are going to take people’s understanding of autism to new levels that we haven’t reached before, it won’t happen by individual efforts going in separate directions, but only by coming together and moving forward as a team will our dream be achieved.  I also believe that God has His hand in all the recent events that have transpired and am looking forward to working alongside the amazing team at the Georgia Autism Center.

 

My New Years Resolution and Passion 2019

WRITTEN BY WILL BARRETT

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and very happy New Year.  At the time of filming this video, I am just getting back from the Passion Conference in Atlanta with my church, and this was my first time attending Passion.  For those of you who don’t know what it is it’s a Christian organization that started back in 1997, which is when I was born, and the audience is typically young adults between the ages of 18-25.  We get together and listen to all these famous speakers give sermons and give their testimonies, and all these contemporary Christian bands come and perform for us.

This was my first time going to Passion and I had an outstanding time.  We got to hear amazing sermons with solid messages and great bands and singers like Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Crowder, and of course, Passion Band and Passion City Band.  There were a few more groups whose names I can’t remember, but they were all solid performances.  I’ve actually already bought tickets for Passion 2020 over New Years at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

But that’s not what this video is about: this video is about what we’re going to be doing now that 2019 is upon us.  Everyone makes a New Years Resolution, and the point is for us to be better versions of ourselves that we were last year.  My resolution is the same: to be honest, we’ve been moving slowly ever since we started AUSOMETISTIC, but no more slouching.  This year, we’re picking up the pace.

I’m going to be much more active on YouTube, and on social media, so make sure you like, subscribe, and follow our pages if you haven’t already done that, I’ll leave links in the description box below.  We’re going to be making some big moves this year, and I’m going to make it my goal to make big things happen this year.  I’m not going to do something half-heartedly again, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to give it 150%.  The reason is is because I’m essentially bored with being lazy.  I am now too lazy to be lazy.  Quite a paradox, I know, but it’s true.

Because it’s a new year, we’re going to a new format: a few times a week or more, we’re going to post a new video.  Mom and I will be uploading new content, and what we would like for you to do, is to start asking questions in the comment section.  Absolutely anything, comment it on our Instagram, Facebook, our Twitter that we will soon be starting up, and we’re going to pick a question to dedicate a whole video to, and we will give you the entire spill on autism from our perspective.  I’ll be sharing stuff from my own personal experiences, and if it’s a question that I really can’t or don’t know how to answer, my mom will be taking over for those.  And trust me when I say this, she’ll give you a LOT of information.  She does better research than the FBI, just saying.

If we don’t get to your question right away, be patient with us, we promise to answer ALL of your questions.  And don’t limit yourself to asking just one, if you have more than one, fire away.  But that’s all I’ve got to say right now for the time being.  I am super tired right now so I’m probably going to take a nap.  Anyway don’t forget to like and subscribe, and Happy belated New Years!

Speaking at Eagle Nation

WRITTEN BY WILL BARRETT

So I did something on November 5th that was new to my speaking career: I spoke to two different groups of college students at Georgia Southern University.  This was the first time my audience only consisted of people my age and students like myself.  I was able to interact with them and relate to them on a personal level.  We had many of the same interests, and were able to talk about current trends happening in our demographic. They presented new questions for me to answer, and I learned a lot from them.  I’m confident the feeling was mutual.

I have enjoyed and appreciated the company of my previous audiences as well because being exposed to a more diverse audience is a good growth experience for me.  The conversations with older adults all have taught me something that can help prepare me for life.  Also, I learn what interests, and sometimes mystifies them about autism.  Thank God my mom continues to push me out of my comfort zone. One should never stop learning.

Georgia Southern (GSU) in Statesboro, GA is about 4 hours away from our hometown in Gainesville.  My first speech was that morning at 9:00, and I was speaking to a classroom  for rehabilitation therapy. The second speech was at 5:00, and it was for an organization called STRA (also students of rehabilitation therapy). The students and the members of STRA have chosen this field of study because they believe in the strength and determination of others.  They are devoting their lives to helping and encouraing others to achieve goals and to succeed. I admire their compassion and kindness.  It was an inspiring experience for me, and again, I’m confident the feeling was mutual.

I want to thank Haley for inviting me, and the students for their interest.  I also want to thank some awesome friends for showing up to support me.  Jackson, it was great to see you.  And Drew, your enthusiasm and friendship are unending, and I appreciate you making that trip.  You are one of a kind.

I am writing this over Thanksgiving break, and publishing it a day after.  While this is coming a day late, I would still like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and don’t forget to check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel!  I recently learned that aside from Google, YouTube is the largest and most commonly used search engine in the world.  With all of the attention going to YouTube, why wouldn’t I get involved in that?  So be on the lookout for new videos coming to my channel.  It is also called AUSOMETISTIC. I would greatly appreciate your support by subscribing to our YouTube Channel.

I’ve Struck Gold in Dahlonega

WRITTEN BY WILL BARRETT

Dahlonega has become my home away from home.  The treks that I have to make to class make leg days at the gym obsolete, and the surplus of familiar faces from North Hall evenly matches the new faces at UNG.  Even though I commute back and forth to campus four days a week, the hospitality of my friends both old and new never ceases to amaze me.  Even though their dorms are about as claustrophobic as a broom closet, they always make room for me.

I’ve made some incredible connections up here already, not just among classmates and other students, but faculty-wise as well.  I drop by their offices every opportunity I get.  Their advice on handling college, as well as the opportunities they offer me to expand my career is appreciated more than they know.

Other than the friends who’ve dug their roots in the Gold Rush college town of Georgia, other friends from other colleges across the Peach State often visit to soak in the at-home feeling UNG gives to everyone (partly because UNG is right next-door to the town we all grew up in).

I’ve also had the pleasure of working with some of the most respectable gentlemen on campus, as well as the prettiest group of ladies.  Recently, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Phi Mu sorority came out to participate in our latest photoshoot for our new product line.  Since then, they’ve been making their support of our organization known, spreading the word, and for that I am grateful beyond measure.

In essence, Dahlonega, Georgia has been good to me, as I’m sure the other college towns where my friends reside has been good to them too.  When I first started college, I would’ve told you off the bat that I missed high school.  If you asked me now, I would tell you differently.  I’m having a blast so far, both in school, and in life in general.

A New Beginning

It has been a wild and crazy summer.  College has startedimg_0805, and this is how an empty nest feels – quiet and boring.  Even the dog is bored.  I knew things would slow down after graduation, but I had no idea it would come to a screeching halt.  Other than the sound of the washing machine or dryer, I swear I hear crickets chirping.  I know Will is having a great time at the University of North Georgia. I also know that he is studying and working diligently to make good grades.  He took one class this summer, and made an “A.”  Now he has a full course load, and so far, things are looking great.  Although I miss having Will here, I know he’s having a good time and meeting a lot of new people.  This is the time he has been preparing for since kindergarten.  Apparently, I didn’t prepare myself.  Just knowing Will is thriving, learning, and having fun makes this mom very happy.

Graduation, College, and Friendship

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Well, it’s been a long, hard road, but I’ve done it.  I’ve achieved something that I’m very proud of: I’ve graduated high school, finally.  After all those busy late-nights, I’ve successfully gotten my high school diploma, which now sits presentably in my room.  Now I’m ready for another milestone: college.

Right now, I’ve started a summer class at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia.   I decided to get a jump on things as has 90% of the rest of my senior class, although many have chosen different schools.  Luckily, my summer semester only consists of one class, which gives me plenty of time to focus on my main endeavor, which is to spread the message of Autism Awareness to the world.  While most of my work in my single class is very time-consuming, I’m still able to get the stuff that needs my attention completed.  The work comes in copious amounts every week, which makes me worried for my full Fall Semester classes.  My Fall Semester will start in late August, and I’m only partially looking forward to it.  It’s still my first year in college, so there’s a bunch of adjusting that needs to be done, and an even bigger learning curve than there was for high school.

On a side note, my best friends and I are starting to hang out more and more this summer, because I think the realization that we may not be spending as much time with each other soon scares us, but we’ve all agreed that we’ll be keeping in touch as often as possible.

Lastly, I’d like to apologize to those who have frequently visited this site between now and the time of my last post.  This site has some old content that REALLY needs to be updated.  The end of the year has taken a toll on me; I still can’t believe that I’ve finished high school.  I promise to start keeping this blog a little more up to date, and most importantly, to post more frequently.  As always, thank you for the continued support, and we hope to start accomplishing greater things in the future.

The Ausometistic Journey

Written by Kelly Barrett

Coco,Will,mamaoct2014Ausometistic became a word for us when I started writing our story. My title page started with “My awesome, fantastic journey with my awesome, autistic child.” The words all seemed to blend together on the page and in my mind as I read that line over and over. Our simple motivation is to encourage those with unique challenges of their own. I am a single mom with MS, and learned that my son had Asperger’s when he was four. My dreams for him took a drastic turn from imagining him as a brain surgeon, an astronaut, or an amazing chef, to a simple hope for him to have friends. After many varying medications, and therapies that had no effect, our doctor suggested the gluten free – dairy free diet. The diet made an obvious difference for Will. He made major improvements, and many symptoms that are indicative of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were much less noticeable; some even vanished altogether.
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Autism in Society

Written by Will Barrett

autism-in-societySocial cues that most people learn from observing others, or simply know instinctually, had to – and still have – to be explained to me. Maturity, I’m sure, influenced much of my behavior modification, and still does today. I’m very lucky to have friends that are willing to guide and help me. They are invaluable to me, and enable me to navigate everyday life. My friends aren’t trying to be charitable, or make the news by being nice to the autistic guy. They are genuine, good people. My friends are a closely knit group, and we support each other. They don’t mind answering questions for me that may strike them as odd or unusual, they just tell me the truth. That, to me, is the true definition of a friend.