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A Nurse with Asperger's

So how does a person with Asperger's syndrome move forward to become a nurse anesthetist, military aviation photojournalist, author, public speaker, advocate and founder of a non profit organization?

Just like the answer to "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"

PRACTICE!

On Anita Lesko's website, www.bornwithaspergers.com, she recounts, "When I was in elementary school, the Principle said to my mom that I would never amount to anything. Prior to 1994 when Asperger’s got translated into English, children went undiagnosed, and were simply viewed as the weird kid who didn’t fit in. The school system had no idea what to do with me. As I’ve now come to learn as I meet others my age, this was how it was for us back then. There was no such thing as early intervention, BCBA’s to work with you, no kinds of therapy, nothing. But here’s what I can tell parents with children on the Autism Spectrum: There’s really only one way to get better at socializing and functioning in society- and that’s PRACTICE. Get out there and interact with people. Sure, you’ll make plenty of mistakes. But it’s not about falling. It’s about getting up. I feel like I truly have a gift to share with millions of people. I’ve built a bridge from my Autistic side over to the Neurotypical side. Because I’ve worked at a job that literally forced me to interact with hundreds of thousands of people over the past 26 years, and being the only Autistic person in an ocean of “normal” people, I’ve learned how to interact AND act in the typical world. I never had any therapy, interventions, no drugs, no NOTHING. Just plain old fashioned interactions with others."

In an article published on the CDC web site Anita Lesko stated,"My gift of Asperger disorder gives me the ability to have what I call my ‘laser focus.’ It’s the ability to stay focused on a project for extreme periods of time with total focus and concentration. For example, once while in the emergency room for a broken wrist, the anesthesiologist who came to give me sedation started talking to me as we waited. He asked what I was studying in college, to which I replied ‘nursing.’ He suggested I become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. My ‘laser focus’ took over, and a year later after receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I was accepted at Columbia University in their Master’s degree program for Nurse Anesthesia. I graduated, passed my Board exam, and have been working full time ever since!"

With enormous thanks to Anita for sharing her story and for her tireless efforts advocating for people impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Bravo!

Read more about Anita in an article published on the CDC website. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/features/living-with-autism-spectrum-disorder-anita.html

Visit Anita's website and learn more about her books and "Flying high with autism foundation".
http://www.bornwithaspergers.com/index.php



Guest Blog post by Donna Maheady, this post originally appeared on ExceptionalNurse.blogspot.com

Donna Carol Maheady, ARNP, EdD, the mother of an adult daughter with autism and related disabilities, is a board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and an Associate Graduate Faculty member in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Maheady has conducted research on the experiences of nursing students with disabilities, published numerous articles and is the author of Nursing Students with Disabilities Change the Course (winner of the American Journal of Nursing 2004 Book of the Year Award), Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses working with disAbilities. The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disabilities. She is the founder of ExceptionalNurse.com a nonprofit organization for nurses and nursing students with disabilities http://www.ExceptionalNurse.com and can be followed at http://exceptionalnurse.blogspot.com and https://twitter.com/ExceptNurse.

Donna is one of the members of our Affiliate Program, you may see our continuing education courses on her site ExceptionalNurse.blogspot.com. To support Exceptional Nurses click on the course title of interest from the blog link. 


Posted: 2/14/2017 11:24:55 AM
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