Autism Grown Up Podcast

30. Turning Your Own Special Interests Into a Career with Autistic Data Scientist Bill Dusch PhD

September 19, 2019
Autism Grown Up Podcast
30. Turning Your Own Special Interests Into a Career with Autistic Data Scientist Bill Dusch PhD
Chapters
Autism Grown Up Podcast
30. Turning Your Own Special Interests Into a Career with Autistic Data Scientist Bill Dusch PhD
Sep 19, 2019
Tara Regan | Autism Grown Up
Show Notes Transcript

Bill Dusch, Ph.D. is #ActuallyAutistic, a Physics Ph.D., and a data scientist. He's also a really great friend of mine whom I really appreciate stopping by to have this conversation with me to share with you.

We discuss his path to his chosen career through special interests, figuring out what's the deal with social communication and breakthroughs he's had along the way, grad school (of course, right? Get 2 former grad students in a room, and we're gonna talk about it!), and how his life led to where he is today!


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About Autism Grown Up:

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Speaker 1:
0:06
[inaudible].
Speaker 2:
0:06
Hi there, welcome to the autism grownup podcast. I'm your host, Dr Tara Regan and I'm the coach and educator as well as founder here with autism. Grown up a website for autistic individuals, families and professionals to connect and get resources, ideas, information and inspiration when it comes to autism and growing up. And this podcast is an extension of that on the show. We share stories and strategies when it comes to autism growing up and adulthood. So let's jump right in.
Speaker 1:
0:46
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
0:47
hey everyone, welcome to today's episode. I'm very excited about this interview. So I'm just going to do a quick intro and then we're going to get into the interview itself. I'm interviewing one of my friends, Dr Bill dish. He is a physics phd data scientist and also an autistic self advocate and he is just like such an amazing person that I cannot wait for y'all to get to know him today. And to follow along and this episode kind of along his journey, we talked a little bit about, um, growing up and when he got his diagnosis and eighth grade and kind of navigating different social challenges growing up all the way up to college and into Grad school where he did find some more footing. Um, and socio such he's such a great storyteller and has such great passion about, I feel like autism is one of his special interests, interestingly enough.
Speaker 3:
1:52
And we also do get into how special interests have been like a huge motivator for him in terms of, uh, finding social connections with other people, whether it's online or in person, like in Grad School and Cause Grad school ultimately is a collection of people who are following their special interests in research and whatnot. And then how that led up to him pursuing a career in data science. So gave you the overview of the episode there. I'm excited about what you all think about it. Um, yeah, let's jump right in. All right. I'm so excited to have on the podcast, Dr [inaudible]. Hello. Hello. So happy to have you here. Sure. Happy to be here. Yay. So for, um, I already did kind of a quick intro that I got from you earlier, but can you introduce yourself to us? Sure. Uh, my name's, uh, Bill. Um, I got my phd in at, in physics at Penn state and I recently moved down here,
Speaker 4:
3:01
uh, and I'm now a data scientist, uh, that a large tech company and I'm pretty excited about what part they're saying right now. So
Speaker 3:
3:08
that is so cool. Yeah, you've been there for a year now, right? Yeah. Coming up on that. That's amazing. It is. Congrats on that.
Speaker 4:
3:17
Yeah, I actually just really glad that like the place, I'm at least professionally compare it to like Grad school and whatnot because I'm sure you know, Grad school sucks. So like, so
Speaker 3:
3:30
yeah, we actually met when we were both in grads. Yeah. So it was really cool, like graduate at the same time, the same year and then you moved down here. Yeah. So great to have you down in North Carolina. And again, but this is also where your family's from too. Yeah.
Speaker 4:
3:44
Well my family was not from here. They just moved down here. Right. Uh, while I was in Grad school. [inaudible]
Speaker 3:
3:51
so would you say you're from here now or would you still say you're from up north?
Speaker 4:
3:55
It's still, Sam are from up north. I just live here. I'm not going say I'm on a southerner and harvest like that.
Speaker 3:
4:01
No, no, I'd be like, I'm a Carolina boy. I feel like it's kind of complicated where we live, people aren't really from here. Yeah, yeah.
Speaker 4:
4:14
I mean I actually know what they call Carey for example, like containment area for relocated Yankees.
Speaker 3:
4:19
Yes. Yes. So many northerners and the research tried to go Carrie. Yeah, sure. So, um, that's so cool that you, you have your phd in physics and then you went on to become a data scientists. Like I feel like those are two totally different trajectories. Like you've had to do like a lot of studying
Speaker 4:
4:39
yeah. To make it happen. Yeah, definitely. Um, I mean I always liked learning things and that really helped out. Um, yeah, I'm going to get to this. The key thing that's like whenever they see of like a obsessions or [inaudible] or where they, in terms of like a autism, what time if you find something which you know you could have like a goal toward things like that and I ended up obsessed and have your like your obsessions towards that. I found that you can easily do lots of things with that.
Speaker 3:
5:09
Oh okay. So would you say you're pretty like when you say you're obsessed or like data science is [inaudible] interests like what do you
Speaker 4:
5:18
I guess it's my special interest now basically as equip. I don't like that I had tons of special interest over the ages and things like that. But yeah it's been helpful cause like the fact it's also a livelihood too has been like very fulfilling so
Speaker 3:
5:33
that's fantastic to hear. I like that is a dream goal for like so many people autistic or not to have to do something that is like their main interest. Others also like the kind of the other side of it too, where if you do focus so much on your interest, you may fall out, fall out of love with it or not find it as like motivating. Is that something you've experienced at all?
Speaker 4:
5:59
Uh, I mean I guess in Grad School there are certain times race started to lose interest in physics. I guess I'm like that at least in terms of things, but I think it's still pushed through, or at least I found the sit down, like saying, okay, well I can use this technique to go into this. Guess my interest went from physics and data science to what I was able to, I can take all the two and things like that.
Speaker 3:
6:19
Okay. Yeah. So it was definitely the same. Like it's more of like an individual eyes type of thing, like, yeah, yeah, yeah. So yeah,
Speaker 4:
6:26
I'm not sure what causes or end the special interests, things like that. And even even that, even with like previous special interests and whatnot, I still like like them. Okay.
Speaker 3:
6:34
Really. Okay. So they're kind of like in what have been your previous special interests? I'm just curious.
Speaker 4:
6:40
There's somebody, um, let's say dinosaurs when I was already young. Yeah. Uh, I regularly really big kids all the face. I mean, I still like space of course. Um, let's see. There's a hobby I was in called micronations, uh, which is kind of like, these are fictional nations. I was a part of like kind of like a community where it just, people like made their own independent nations, like declare they were king of their bedroom out in the bed and bedroom became more like more like simulated nations like this in this fictional world, things like that. We had like our own forms, we debated things and whatnot. That to the good part of my, uh, like teenage years. So I'm like, ah, I'm not even sure it's the teenagers that like from like 13 to my early twenties, I think. Okay. Wow. I spent all my time online pretty much. Okay. I'll be a large part of that. And to that hobby. Yeah. I was actually diagnosed in eighth, uh, eighth grade, which is like roughly right after I, uh, like started doing a hobby actually, so.
Speaker 3:
7:41
Oh, really? Okay. Wow. That's a huge chunk of time to, to be in and then to be online doing it too. Was it mostly online?
Speaker 4:
7:50
Yeah, it was almost an entirely online app. All my friends, I guess you consider my friends at the time. I mean they were the, probably the closest Coleman of their offer friends, but we're online. I didn't meet them when I was dicot 19th. Okay. At least the ones I was at at the time in California, I visited with them there, so. Wow. Yeah, that was awesome. Yeah. Are you still in touch with any AH, some of them, like I'm still Facebook friends and things like that. I'm not proud of that hobby anymore, so I had some things to Belfast that like I went into a, uh, making constructed languages and kind of welding that was built off of like the micronations thing. There was lots of politics and micronations so, but not this pseudo sense. Bangor in Yas. Yeah. Oh my gosh, that's right. In hello? Like nation piece of Ais. [inaudible]
Speaker 3:
8:37
that's, it sounds like your interests like kind of build off of each other and like, yeah, you find like our connecting thought and move on to that next one. But they kind of build up together like as a nice foundation.
Speaker 4:
8:50
Yeah. Like even my con world stuff, I, I involved a physics yeah. When I was, uh, like I have to build this, uh, solar system, so I have to use my, my interest in physics in order to like drive the characteristics for like, these are the like properties of this planet. Like it's supposed to have like this much rock ice. Whenever I sell stuff I'm doing stuff like that. I was reading papers, things like that. I do research there. What else guys? Yeah, many Grad students. I sit down. Yeah. And I remember I was thinking of like Asperger's and them's Kinda like Grad school school syndrome. I did a little in the context of like specialization and things like that. It was the way I was framing and if a time, so he'll get me straight. I guess. So. Oh really? Okay. Why would you say that's like when you came upon that realization but helped me push through at least the beginning, like my first year at Grad School, which I'm sh with more tough for the social reasons I'm not and like yeah, in context I haven't really serious to learn social skills until Grad school, at least not by myself.
Speaker 4:
9:56
I'm sure it was like taught it, but I didn't only put things into practice to know what to do and things like that until a Grad school where I pushed very through it. So I get definitely was like a huge difference in that. So. Oh that's really interesting. So for kind of like kind of like your later diagnosis in eighth grade and then beyond, what were some of the things, if it sounds like you connected with people based on like your special interests and, but then got more social like later on in Grad School? Yeah, I mean it was like when I was online that was different. Mostly because I didn't, when I was online, like a, for example, that micronation topic, whatnot. It was like people were connecting with each other, talking to each other with certain things in ways I didn't and I didn't understand why.
Speaker 4:
10:45
Oh Wow. Uh, yeah. I certainly know that I talk in a lot more about myself and talking with other people. I didn't know if there was any way doing differently. Things like that. Didn't know how to ask questions or from like the things like uh, if you talk people, if you ask questions about other people at themselves will spindle and just find them interesting. They, they'll find you. Interesting. I didn't know about that stuff. That's really know about that. When did you learn about that kind of ground school, which would still allow, there was actually a site called uh, succeed socially, uh, like cc totally.com. It's still there. There should have a book. I probably recommended it. That's the thing I actually used like to self study social skills. It's like steed socially and Alpha that in the show notes too so people can find that to a book and the website.
Speaker 4:
11:29
Yeah, there's a book correspond to it. I'm not sure what the name of something I bought it. I don't have it on me or things like I don't have that. But yeah that was that like a particularly helpful thing to help you kind of just like navigate early on and then you in Grad School? Yeah because of, I don't know, simple things like saying hey we should start hanging out or things like that. Uh, I I just know that wanted to hang out with, I wanted to hang out with people. I just didn't know how to express that.
Speaker 3:
11:57
How to get that out there. Like you still had like that strong feeling like I love that you're sharing that cause I think that's something that people overlook. They think that you're not going to want to come hang out with them cause you didn't say it like
Speaker 4:
12:09
yeah, that was actually true. I did think one guy who I liked as a friend said he didn't, he'd said like he, I thought I'd get a like me or I actually liked it. I was like, which was strange cause I did like him. I just didn't know how to like express common interests and things like that, so yeah. Wow.
Speaker 3:
12:25
So if you, so you didn't get any like social skills support in high school or under [inaudible]?
Speaker 4:
12:33
I think I did in high school. I think it was part of like a project actually. Some of bet. Yeah. Okay. So it didn't pay attention to it or something? I mean there's like, what's the point? I guess that uh, I didn't, I didn't see the benefits. I certainly didn't feel the benefits. I just fell, it was kind of being pushed on me. I just think saying, you must do this so it just died. It then click at the time or things like that. It's like I don't understand why I'm doing this. Yeah. Like I just want to be my friend, my computer
Speaker 3:
13:03
do in my social thing or even just like be in my head. So yeah. That's interesting. Like I like the end goal just wasn't like communicated to you either or just like I felt like another high school project.
Speaker 4:
13:16
Yeah. It's like certainly I go was what I wanted are gonna know or someone's very lonely, but uh, I don't, I didn't know like how it was
Speaker 3:
13:28
just like that. [inaudible] oh yeah. So, um, it sounds like Grad school was like a major door that opened for you. Yeah.
Speaker 4:
13:40
Yeah. Uh, so like in context in Undergrad I was still living with my, I was still living with my parents like a, I, uh, I commuted to college like a mile away from me, so I was like, there was no major transition to where I was kind of forced to have to change what I to do in Grad school. I was in middle of Pennsylvania far like four to six hours away from my parents saying I need to, uh, I need to change basically. So identity.
Speaker 3:
14:09
Who did it? You just did it. What are some things that you did change or did you like slowly introduce things or was it like something that you're desiring? [inaudible] oh, really? You barged right in? Yeah.
Speaker 4:
14:24
Uh, I tried to socialize most depart, polite, possible, like everything. I was invited 20, once. I'm trying to make clear, I wanted to get more invited to more things. Yeah. On, uh, I even went to like retrospect and realize why the hell hell did I do that? I would like Grad School, at least in the beginning, had these like a hundred person parties I went to for like the Grad school thing at that I didn't realize sensory overload was a thing at the time. Oh, okay. So I just remember I was there being awkward, friendly. I see social anxiety at the time cause I, yeah, yeah. Uh, issues before things like that. So it was really tough. But I was like saying I need to do this basically. Cause it's like if everything is linked just to mean pass, we'll just do it. So it's not like Karen thinks we've become less anxious, things like that. So,
Speaker 3:
15:12
so it sounds, well I'm, I keep saying it sounds like, I'm like, I like saying some of your words back to you because I think they're just so powerful and I'm excited about this conversation. But, um, did you do any research on autism beforehand? Because you mentioned that you didn't know what sensory overstimulation was and didn't know these like different social skills.
Speaker 4:
15:37
Yeah, I did a lot. I mean certainly throughout my life, once I got diagnosed. Yeah. Uh, but
Speaker 3:
15:43
cause it does that. Yeah. Cause like you're, you figure things out as you went along or like you learn more than
Speaker 4:
15:48
I actually read about, but like, yeah.
Speaker 5:
15:53
Oh,
Speaker 4:
15:55
it was more like
Speaker 5:
15:57
how [inaudible]
Speaker 4:
16:00
how it played out in the sense of, uh, how has shaped my identity changed over time. I think I certainly read things. They'd be like this, the debit click basically. Dot. Not Intuitively, yeah. As to how a certain trade or deficit I might have or strength affects me basically.
Speaker 3:
16:20
Okay. So can you tell me about like that moment when you like, can you give me an example of like when something clicked for you? Sure.
Speaker 4:
16:29
Yeah. Um, like I remember reading about theory of mind, like on Wikipedia, like I did about everything or Wikipedia. Yeah. Uh, I, um, I don't know what it was, so I really still didn't really comprehend that basic. A lot of people just like saying I studied beforehand, I knew it intellectually. I didn't know it intuitively. Yeah. I remember constantly saying that to myself, especially when it came to the realization, it's like, oh, this is this. I think it's like that once it finally made sense. So, uh, do they re do the audience don't know that much about theory of mind or should I expect them to,
Speaker 3:
17:02
um, go ahead and just like share like a brief short summary of it. Okay. It's
Speaker 4:
17:05
like the ability to know that other people have their own like mental states. It's also really to like cognitive empathy and ability to like understand how other people's perspectives, things like that. And uh, um, stop that. Autistic people like lacking, I mean maybe it's kind of like a developmental thing I think. Yeah. Yeah. So like younger might not know that much about older. They could get better of a time answer. I remember at the time when it started clicking for me, which was like, uh, um, during like my second year of Grad School, I realized I should, uh, I have the stability basically the earliest I was getting the signal and things like that. Once I realized that part of handling that could actually do it, I remember specifically thinking about my mom's perspective a lot and I started connecting with her in a way that I never did any other person before in my life.
Speaker 4:
17:56
So wow. I guess the retrospect like also it's not just that it's also I have been improved my social skills in Grad school by that point, but like since I haven't seen my family that often, the skills that I learned at that, by that point in time I, they didn't see that or did it. They didn't know about it basically that I approached that point. Yeah. So it's not that I'd sit, I just like clicked. It was also the combination of the skills. I was learning least in practice. Like this muscle, the social muscle I was getting. Yeah, I like that. Like that term, their social muscle. It actually is a muscle cause I remember like having to use a one, it's fricking exhausting, especially if you don't use it or know how to use it. Things like that. Like I remember the beginning of Grad school, like how was it exhausting myself trying to do all these things that neurotypical people to help things over
Speaker 3:
18:48
and that can be so extra draining for you too. Like the build up of the lactic acid. If we're going to say muscle metaphor. Yeah. Can, yeah. Give me a pretty sore and like it takes some time to build it up. Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That's a wow. I just learned a lot right though. That's amazing. That is so cool. And then, um, so yeah, Grad school was just like a very pivotal point for you, I feel like. And that's also kind of like when I first met you and you were telling me about like all of these different things you're coordinating on campus and you were very involved with different things. Yeah. Grad School Union and different physics groups and things like that. Yeah. You
Speaker 4:
19:31
Bet. I mean probably like my w my worst place or at least during my worst place actually there's a period in time where I had to like go home for a couple of a months, like do like depressed and stuff like that. Don't want to one of the tenants bad. Okay. Um, I remember I had like a transformative experience basically that was like for example, the cognitive empathy thing. Yeah. And uh, I remember like it was, it was as I was changing my life and it was ending. I really got, I don't know that like, I mean I'm sure like other autistic adults through stuff they called, like autistic burnout, things like that where a black, there was times where I just went basically get a different factor. Sewers. Certainly like when I was Ryan, I was being diagnosed eighth grade or so, one time, uh, timing and Undergrad I actually had to like, uh, like leave for a semester basically.
Speaker 4:
20:18
Like just like kind of restart especially. Yeah. Cause my major was originally in biomedical engineering. I didn't like it, but I didn't like switching my major until physics at the last minute. Basically I was kind of like wow, it down because of it. And then second year Grad School, uh, don't go in details. But that was a constant pivotal moment too. But I especially the last time I remember I built like in this incredible sense of resilience that I haven't, that honestly it's been tough to see your mount long other neurotypicals I've been able to like to help other neurotypicals and things like that. Uh, able to release the stuff I've learned from it basically.
Speaker 3:
20:56
Yeah. Resilience is also just another muscle too that builds into it with so many different struggles we have across life and different aspects of um, things that can be really challenging for us mentally and socially. Yeah. Yeah. And you mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago about autistic burnout and I think this is like brand new in so many different ways. Like I don't think lots of professionals and parents really like in myself to like really understand it. Makes sense though. Intuitively like based on our like experiences with different autistic individuals and like ex being through like different things that are going on in their lives. And things that are challenging. But once you get into this adulthood piece where they're still like not a lot out there when it comes to care and support and like really understanding what are some of like a really negative aspects with things building up like depression and anxiety and other mental health challenges could really lead to something really serious like autistic burnout.
Speaker 4:
21:59
Yeah, I felt something. There's the person to like a masking for example, being able to like pretend you're a nerd to do things like that. It can be like real legs off sting. Like even I can talk after a while so I got six off thing for me. It doesn't bother me like compared to some other artists I know are autistics who probably a good number of them. Especially like on Twitter, I think it's like that who are, who like object to the idea of like having to do eye contact. I've realized at least in the sense of the benefits, uh, at least for connecting with other neurotypicals but it's still can be pretty draining especially for a long period of time. But lots of social of stuff cause it's like that. But at least I can relate to like introverts. It's like that with that stuff anyways.
Speaker 3:
22:41
[inaudible] that's generally what I pull from too because I am a heavy introvert. Yeah, sure. Um, so what are some things that are like working for you now as you are? Like you live out on your own younger own apartment. You have two little cats, which you share lots of great pictures. Yes. They'll also is like a Twitter account, which I can share with you guys too. How do you Augie? I mean, okay, fine. Yeah, no go ahead. Go ahead. It's up to you. Yeah. Okay. No that's good. Yeah. Cause I mean you're getting up there, you're just telling me about how your account is public and you, yeah, I've talked with other folks on there too and you get a lot of shares too and lots of likes on stuff you share about your
Speaker 4:
23:26
cats and that cat. Yes. About your cat. I made this physics joke work between and then for projects. Yes. Performing like a court system I made a pun. Okay. It's for those who don't know, there's this fear of called do there's fear which basically links symmetry with conservation laws like a, uh, like between space and momentum, more time and energy, things like that. Yeah. So there's this, there's this picture of bycatch in a, this grid and s but they're ops not symmetric and, and rotation wise cause you're different colors. Okay. [inaudible] one's a Calico, one's in orange and one's an orange. I store hair. Why not? So I said okay. That means the law, conservation of England, mantle missing unserved. And at the reason why I only say that is because one of my cats is named Emmy after Emmy another who was a [inaudible]
Speaker 3:
24:21
who wrote me that. Oh okay. So circle. Yes. Then you lost me in the middle of it though. I'll look it up please. You mentioned it but I liked that we have gotten to like a little bit like little snippets of deepness with like some of the research like mine and I feel like is there stuff on autistic burnout or is that something that's just [inaudible]
Speaker 4:
24:43
sure. It's self advocate. Um, I think mostly done by self advocates. Okay. Just like some anecdotal experiences. I mean there's, there's various articles I've read, but it was like, I don't, I'm not sure if it's been done like professionally or things like that with terms of ratios, things like that.
Speaker 3:
24:57
Researcher, she'll look at it. Yeah. My hand on my face be like, hey, I think that's really important that they be thinking about. That really resonated with me. Yeah. At all. Honestly, I kind of wish that I wish researchers looked at my brain, Alicia before and after. Cause I could tell like there's been a lot that have changed over the years really. So like a longitudinal brain scan of stories would be really intuitive. See a time machine and a longitudinal yeah. That too. So we should build the time of shame first using NIH funding. But uh, yeah. So you, you have a job, you work as like as a data scientist and you by yourself and you have two cats and uh, what are some things that have, like you've found to be really helpful for you to get to this point? Sure.
Speaker 4:
25:48
Um, uh, I got since in some really good mental health thought habits or tells me like I've gotten into meditation like this alkaline space. I've been, uh, getting into a, we're not getting into, I've been using for a couple of years now, so I'm just getting started. Yeah. I can, I can use to do like a 20 minute meditation everyday if I want it to. So I've been trying to get it pretty regularly, especially during times of extreme stress. So it's really helpful there. Yeah. Um, I also have this other app called a daily Dalio, which is kind of like this a mood journal. So I can say like within one five, like how is my, it's been like the one to like woo. Best thing ever. The very good benefit of it is I'm able to have like a realistic assessment of what my mood has been. So like a cop combats negativity bias, like in the say, okay, I've been crappy this day for the past five days I've actually been pretty happy. So overall it's, it's a good thing. It's a very good frame. A framework. Yeah. Like framing how while you were, cause before I had that, when I was feeling bad or whatnot, I think of everything is bad thing. It's like that. So it helps reduce the cognitive distortion there.
Speaker 3:
26:54
Dalio. Yeah. That's amazing.
Speaker 4:
26:57
As I've been doing, uh, let's see, journaling when it got really tough. I have been doing this as much but I haven't, uh, my, my stressors, they are like significantly less now that I'm after Grad school than before, so. Okay.
Speaker 3:
27:08
Yeah. That's so cool buddy. And then even like with the transition from Grad school to working is like a big one too. Yeah, we experienced that was tough.
Speaker 4:
27:20
Yeah. But it was because of how many things are happening simultaneously. Yes. Yeah. So, uh, I was moving down there and that was tough by itself cause my dad has being difficult. But part of the reason why it's being difficult is because my mom was dying of cancer, so, and uh, it was just quite a lot of once and then all the moving, having to move all my stuff, especially in since like my dad had helped me with a move one second filing mucus. She had to, he had to take care of my mom and whatnot. Passed away two weeks after I moved down there. By the way, I don't recommend that, but because of the resilience resiliency skills I got, uh, earlier in Grad school that I mentioned like five years earlier, uh, I was able to actually push from that problem. [inaudible] I mean, no offensive, better to my dad and my brother. I think so. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
28:10
The man, I mean you have like figured out like some helpful mental health tools for you. So that's been, that's so important for you to have and still use even on like the tough days is your mom was like when in your biggest like caregivers, she was your main caregiver definitely. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Very involved in your main
Speaker 4:
28:32
support probably. Did you involved especially in retrospect. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
28:36
Yeah. But um, that's yeah, this, it's already been like already a tough transition between these two different areas in two different states. No less tab your mom pass away. Yeah. And the middle of a, and I think you are just like a pure example of like being resilient through this. And like continuing to find like the good and the day to day and pushing forward [inaudible]
Speaker 4:
29:05
and be able to have like a, like a Meredith and add it really helps. I think. Yeah. That was one thing like one thing as I've learned in terms like what is so narrow enough when I went am I think it's like that. And then when it comes to like life transitions like that, being able to make sure you have one. Yeah. The last you collect your thoughts, run it down. Things like that helps me. That helps with like journaling for sure. Yeah. That, that was one thing I actually read. I was reading these, these books like the how to happiness and uh, these different positive psychology books, the points of journaling there. I specifically remember it as the fact that it helps build like a positive, like a narrative from your hands in your head to actually seeking, can actually go through, um, like bad events like that and be able to see a grow stronger from it.
Speaker 3:
29:46
Yeah. So what's like your current narrative right now? Oh, I'm also thinking,
Speaker 4:
29:51
yeah. Uh, being a data scientist and the stuff I'd been doing there at least has been really empowering cause especially cause I'm able to see how um, I'm able to like absorb all this knowledge and give back and all this stuff. I've been learning about business. I have an Austin Mentor who's a fair in Icterus or neuro diverse a friend lay like her, hers onto the spectrum actually. So that stood actually we were able to connect to really well both on a professional muscle level. I thought so.
Speaker 3:
30:25
Yeah. Wow. That's amazing to, yeah, you do have like you're already making like such a great impact at work.
Speaker 4:
30:32
Yeah. I don't know. I like towards the end of that Grad school, like my social skills since I, that was when that was my special interest at the time. Then I'll take my social skills. Yeah. I don't know. I just w honestly that was probably the my prostitute, she, my prostitute but other than my phd I think was a, that stuff I remember I was able to like connect with people from many different like academic fields that it's like what cop analysis do you do as I was going to data science and whatnot. Is there like even connecting from people in English to machine learning like that. I say how cool you could do this in English. That is so cool. So my gosh, I learned a lot of networking skills. I was part of like a uh, organization and try to immunize Grad students who met people in many different fields there that actually help professionally since of the have to learn statistics often by like, Hey, uh, I know this person sociology or political science, you see these types of stats. So I would just like call, call them for or not call them, like tax to them for, ah, what's this type of thing where, how can I learn this? Why now? So I constantly learn from people about stuff and as I applied, like I did like an internship up and doing all this relate to social science stuff cause I was like predicting the soft skills from texts. And so I used all my social social science connection, like sick to get like a tips and things stuff, only stuff related to that.
Speaker 3:
31:49
She's amazing. Well connected.
Speaker 4:
31:52
Yeah. I'm certainly strong now. I am. Yeah. I don't understand how the heck I'd become to the great networker, but it's been like fantastic. Yeah. Especially in the context of IBM and being able to like connect people and gets crazy. I'm going to hug, I'm networking on the count off so I'm not going to ring faces. But if it's, maybe it's just back to my old internet days, if it's, if I'm just chatting with someone over the Internet, it's like, okay, cool. Hey, I know you're now let's talk about this. So
Speaker 3:
32:17
yeah. So have you been able to like extend that to like meeting other people in the area and living down here?
Speaker 4:
32:24
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
32:26
Because that's also a tough thing to end to make friends.
Speaker 4:
32:30
Yeah. Um, it's been like a little tougher road, but I mean I was, it was awesome having you here all at the beginning, so, uh, yeah. Yeah. You
Speaker 3:
32:38
pretty much started brand year down here. Yeah. Not Knowing really anybody else.
Speaker 4:
32:43
I went to a lot of bar games and uh, I also played like d and d earlier, stub Pepin trying to, yeah. So going into those events really helped in terms of the stenting, connections and terms of more interpersonal, deeper connections. That was actually something I struggled with at the beginning of Grad school cause I was going to all these stuff but like I wasn't getting like deeper connections cause I didn't like say have one on one sessions for like coffee or lunch or hang out or an apartment or things like that. Yeah. Um, I'm getting into that more now. I think so. Okay. Tell you what a postdoc who thinks his job sucks, so, okay. Yup. Obviously with the bond of her phd and things like that, I'd be able to become like a better listener and things like that too. So [inaudible]
Speaker 3:
33:28
well, so if you had to, um, give any advice to like any family members or professionals like listening to this podcast or even other autistic adults, um, kind of like things too that would help with like supporting other adults just like you
Speaker 4:
33:50
lesson. Yeah. Um, let's suppose for the carrot take a same like make sure you listen to them and what they need or because how do I say this? Um, there's a lot of stuff didn't click. Like I couldn't not deny it and express it until I had this kind of like breakthrough moment.
Speaker 5:
34:12
Okay.
Speaker 4:
34:14
And like a lot of is because that stuff wasn't communicated before, like theory of mind through cognitive empathy filling and stuff, things like that and say, I need help with this. And some, I like to just really communicate their points of view of like listening to the knots and we just make the decisions for them. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
34:33
So respecting agency and those sorts of things and autonomy.
Speaker 4:
34:38
Yeah. Yeah. Especially that really helps in terms of self-respect. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
34:42
That's huge. What about in terms of like supporting decision making and support a or like helping to create goals and things like that?
Speaker 4:
34:53
For sure. I mean, uh, longterm goals in terms of like my career I've been really good at. Yeah. I still didn't strike more than like some shorter term goals. Like, uh, I don't, I'm not the best in Herbalife organization at least at home. Work has been great because everything is so structured. Yeah. Transitioning to home has been still struggle I guess probably because I haven't like, like fully internalized like a system Korea by myself rather than like say I'm like my mom cause my mom definitely helped a lot. But like she, she, it's, it's gotta be more than simply just like here's a, let's organize, break stuff down and things like that. Cause at some point that's not going to be there anymore. So you need to be the one to actually do that. So make sure that those skills are there. [inaudible] that context. Make sure like say instead of just doing it for them to actually help them go through that. Yeah. And that as a skill, like imagine it's like something, I don't know. I just know that when I the best things I've improved as to bad like obsess over and things like that. I want to do this. Things like that. Yeah. Especially becomes empowering. Like once again like he's like a functional, Oh cool I can do this now. I didn't think especially cause like diagnosis can be like so limited sometimes like saying oh yeah you have Asperger's or autism and therefore you can't do this
Speaker 3:
36:16
right. This is your life now you can do anything for yourself anymore. That's so disempowering for sure to say the least. I love that. Yeah. We're just working on like collaborate more like a collaborative type of thing. But ultimately the decision making power is on you and with the goal of like passing that over. Yeah. Would you, so something I heard recently and it's like understanding the difference between and building upon really independence and interdependence. So like independence is like being of course doing things by yourself, but interdependence is doing that. But also knowing when to ask other people for help. Yeah. What about it? So would you think that is like an important skill to work on too? Like what are your thoughts on like focusing on interdependence too?
Speaker 4:
37:10
I certainly had to learn inter-dependence following grass goal. Like A, I thought I'd do everything by myself, my first year at Brown school so I didn't really ask for help as much and so I remember I was struggling with lots of things there. Yeah. So yeah, I had to learn how to ask for help. I'm still, I still honestly that's still an issue I have right now because um, you'd like, I'm not sure I can ask the rest of the rest of my film members for some help for some things as much as I used to. Yeah. Cause like my mom was always the one who was like that being able to help her hort even if you don't want it frankly. So you do it. Yeah, I guess it's more of a struggle, like figure like what are the boundaries and like who can I, who can I ask for help at this point? So I don't honestly, that says something I'm still trying to work through at the moment. At least in my current state.
Speaker 3:
37:59
Right. Yeah. Okay, that's good to know. Yeah, it was just curious what your thoughts on like working towards that with like between family members and professionals and as a way to like empower adults or like if that would work for you too.
Speaker 4:
38:16
I think so. If I can figure out the right support system. Yeah. But I'm not sure what's the right supports.
Speaker 3:
38:21
It's just, it's a tough thing to figure out.
Speaker 4:
38:25
Yeah. Especially if, I think I said like saying, oh my mom used to do this, now she's not here. Right. If I need support I have to pay money for it. It's like that's just [inaudible] not, it's not the financial thing. I'm like, I know my data scientists also, it's more like, I don't know how to describe it, just stuff. The facts because like the connection was part of the main thing I had there and there I've been just like tempering some random like professional help and me it's like yeah, it was, my mom had been really helped so that was personally not to know. They should really stressed out a lot too. Especially in retrospect I know that really paying her to see me struggle for example.
Speaker 3:
39:07
Gotcha. Yeah, it's a, yeah, it's a very complicated web of like caregivers and family members for sure. And there is an kind of like a right answer for a lot of it, but it's just kind of like a day by day figuring it out. And unfortunately like given even just like services or like there's this like a lack of community support overall. Like I feel like everyone tends to be just like so focused on their day to day. Yeah. Type of things.
Speaker 4:
39:42
I mean I know that the community is important. Yeah. But some pointed like I'm trying to find the right one. I'm part of like the unitarian universalist fellowship or whatnot. So that's please been helping. He's going to, for a guy like acuity, I can go to every Sunday with the least like-minded, at least politically or value wise anyways. Yeah. But yeah.
Speaker 3:
40:01
Yeah. Kind of like you looking for like different communities based on like your common interest. Yeah. Like, yeah. Got Enjoy like different board game groups in D and d folks.
Speaker 4:
40:12
Yeah. But I, I start, I, I did have like a good, like network towards the Undergrad school. Yeah. But like those people aren't here physically here anymore
Speaker 3:
40:23
year, but it's awesome that you, you do have them online though too.
Speaker 4:
40:27
Yeah. Yeah. Like I still taxed like my friends and my ex, so I'm a good relationship. I had, I had a girlfriend last year of Grad school and, but we still have a good, good relationship, so.
Speaker 3:
40:38
Hmm. Oh, I mean like, uh, you just have had like such a great support system in Grad School, so I hope you do find it. Adulting. Yeah. Yeah. Go for a tunnel. Yo. Get there. For sure. Yeah. So what are, um, some things you're looking forward to this year?
Speaker 4:
40:56
Um, let's see. I want to get my data science, uh, sort of vacation, I'm going for like a little, there's like this thing with your, the open group and also like internally within my company, uh, for like Kinda like a professor certification for data science and I'm almost done with it. Yeah. What's like, I like this one project I'm doing for work, uh, I'm able to write it up and uh, get that on. So I'm hoping like that cause uh, that'll really show that I'm awesome. These like that. Yeah. So that's like, probably like my specific thing. I'm looking forward to [inaudible]. I'm not sure what else specifically right now. Um, I do want to go back into like my own interpersonal hobbies, not related to work. I'm not making a press Salami, like my personal hobbies. Yeah. Like seeing if I can go, let's say go back in the Khan Lincoln or I think it's like, that's the thing as like kind of like a creative outlet.
Speaker 4:
41:44
Go back into it to like a creative outlet. Like I didn't want to do it with like with calling our comic world, ah, the liquor Oh, condo thing. Yeah. Okay. Um, yeah, sorry. I can hear that pond con building. I was like, wow, that's really cool. Um, and then one final question with something like you, uh, um, thank you. Everyone should be like focused on when it comes to like growing up and supporting other autistic individuals as they grew up. We kind of touched on some of these things, but if there was something you didn't mention but want to just, it's important relative, you're just different, not that you're, there's something wrong with you, things like that and uh, it's okay to be like that. And uh, I think that our diversity movement has been extremely helpful in terms of empowering autistic individual just to people. So I, same into this do all summer, not doing it by some sort of sights thing or one on my head. [inaudible] thank you. And do the same thing. I'm like, do I write autistic individuals or people, especially as I'm transferring. Yeah. Between blog posts or articles. Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being on them. Woo.
Speaker 2:
43:01
Hey, it's me again. Thanks so much for listening to today's episode. I've got to be things to go over as you are on your way out the door. So firstly you like this episode, please go ahead and share it with a friend or another family, you know, if you think this will be helpful for them. And then also I'd love to hear your side of the conversation for this episode. So why don't you join us in the autism grownup community and share what's going on for you, your family, and in your local community. Whatever role you serve, everyone is welcome over here. You can access to community through this link, which is community dot autism grownup.com and then lastly, if you really love this episode and the podcast in general, please go ahead and rate and review us on iTunes or whatever podcast app you are currently listening to this episode on. It just helps get the word out there when it comes to what's out there for autism and growing up. All right, we'll see you in the community and I'll catch you next time.
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