|Autism Round Table: Perspectives from Fazli Azeem, Lars Perner PhD., and Dr. Stephen M. Shore|
We welcome any and all comments from the autism community and its advocates as to how best to implement the ideas and concepts briefly discussed in the following article.
Fazli Azeem is a Graphic Designer, University lecturer, Autism Awareness Activist, Numerologist and Aspergian.
Fazli is Pakistan's only self advocate for Autism Spectrum disorders and is also an Autism awareness activist. His research papers on learning disabilities have been presented at International Conferences in the UK, India, Bangladesh and Qatar. Fazli is currently a permanent faculty member for Computer Graphics and Multimedia design at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. His website is www.fazliazeem.com and he runs the non-profit www.autismpakistan.org
Lars Perner, an adult with asperger's syndrome, is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Marketing at the Marshall School of Business, He currently teaches Marketing Fundamentals (BUAD 307),. His other teaching specializations are consumer behavior and international marketing.
Lars' current research focuses on consumer behavior, non-profit fundraising, and "win-win" deals. He also maintains an active interest in the autism spectrum and currently sits on the board of the Autism Society of America, as Secretary and PSA chair.
Stephen presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, and the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies.
President emeritus of the Asperger's Association of New England, Dr. Shore serves on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, for the advisory board of the Autism Society of America, Unlocking Autism, MAAP and the College Internship Program, USA.
Kathleen: Hello gentlemen. Thank you so much for joining me today. For those who may not be familiar with your history I would like to point out that the three of you share some things in common. You are all lecturers in institutions of higher learning, you advocate heavily for autism awareness and you all three share a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. Given these three commonalities I would like today's discussion to focus on:
What the three of you are currently working on
How being an adult with Asperger's Syndrome positively impacts your professional positions and
Autism Awareness concerns that are specific to your particular geographic area. Ending with possible autism community collaborations for these areas
Fazli is in Pakistan. Stephen is on the east coast of the U.S. and Lars is on the west coast.
Fazli beginning with you, could you please share what you are currently working on in Pakistan, and surrounding areas, that relate to autism awareness. I say surrounding areas because I know that India is often a place where you do advocacy work.
Fazli: My diagnosis later in life (age 25), and the lack of awareness in South Asia (a region of over a billion people), includes India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) compelled me to step out of my comfort zone and routine, and make a visible change.
I started by contacting international experts on Autism, with whom I am still in contact, they are aware of the advocacy and situation in south Asia. Many countries in europe have experts working on the ground in bangladesh and india, and american advocacy and special education groups are active in india and nepal. One of the largest such initiatives is Christopher Flint and his AACTION Autism non profit trainers from division TEACCH and the university of chicago. They conducted India's first structured teaching workshops in 2008 in multiple cities, banglore and dehli. I attended their first workshop, it was a day after the 2nd south Asian autism conference ended in jan 2008 at dehli, india.
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