Thursday, April 05, 2007

My Audio Recording of Born On A Blue Day

The audio edition of Born On A Blue Day, read by myself, is now available to purchase through the website.


Anonymous Yucheng said...

It was a great idea to record your own reading, Mr. Tammet. I admire your work towards helping others with autism. I am in the middle of your book right now and enjoy it very much!

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Jo Guthrie said...

I've just finished listening to Born on a Blue Day on CD. Yesterday I returned it to the library. Was that read by you?

I also purchased my own hardbound copy of the book while I was in the middle of listening to it, because I realized I would need something concrete to highlight. I'll have to wait to do that, however. I took the book in to show my autistic daughter's teacher, and now he and the speech therapist at the school are reading it.

Thank you for sharing this. I can see hope for unlocking my daughter's world. She is 16, nonverbal, and is fairly low functioning. However, about 5 years ago her teacher discovered she was reading shapes, numbers and colors. Since then we've discovered much more about words she's reading, but I was impressed at the beginning of your book where you talk about shapes, numbers and colors and their relationship to one another. She also loves calendars, makes complex patterns with blocks or Legos, and does 100 piece puzzles right side up and upside down in short amounts of time. She recently completed a 500 piece puzzle as well that took her about a week to complete.

She's fascinating and we love her dearly, but your book helps me see that there's hope for unlocking her world, helping her to communicate with us, and helping to alleviate some of her frustrations.

Thank you!

Jo G

6:39 AM  
Anonymous Xylena Rae Prater said...

Dear Daniel,

Just today I learned about your extraordinary talent, as well as your diagnosis of Asperger's and childhood epilepsy. It was by chance that I came upon a link to your segment on the television show 60 Minutes while I was checking my email. Today in Kentucky it is snowing!, my 25 year old brother who is believed to have suffered from Aspergers as a child got his driver's license just this morning (I am very proud), and tomorrow is my birthday; so I thought to myself that perhaps I should take a leap of faith and write to you.

I would like to start by saying that I don't expect you to have some magical information that will fix our lives, but I would like to share some information about our family and the peculiar situation that we are in, in hopes that you may have an opinion to share. So here goes...

My brother Travis and I are whole siblings (same mother and father) in a mixed family of a total of 9 children. So it makes for a very interesting situation in that we can sort of genetically pin-point from which family branch our health problems arise from by having many arrangements of half brothers and sisters.

Basically, I am of the belief that the Aspergers and Epilepsy, as well as genius and even clairvoyance, come from my father's family. My brother and I are the neice and nephew of Andrew Prater Jr., the inventor of the formula for natural latex; he was a genius in the area of bio-chemistry. My half-brother Ethan (we share the same father) is definitely ingenious and somewhat of a savant that reminds me quite a bit of you, because as he gets older, his ability to function socially increases. Ethan's specialty is magnetics and fiber-optics (he invented a fiber-optic system before the very first one began being produced-unfortunately the idea was patented already by the time that he began considering patents). My half-sister Janie (same father; she and Ethan are whole siblings) suffers from Epilepsy that has been life-long; she must take medication every day and has since childhood; though now, in her mid-forties, the federal government is forcing her to go off of it to see if she will have a seizure (they are trying to take away her disability benefits because she has been seizure free for the "legal limit" of years). In addition to this, absolutely everyone in my father's family has extreme generalized anxiety - that I feel is related to Aspergers and the Autistic Spectrum of disorders. (I also have a number of friends affected by Autistic Spectrum disorders, and I judge the anxiety link from their experiences as well.)

Another strange, albeit unrelated phenomenon that occurs in my father's family is clairvoyance; my father is a remarkable clairvoyant; his first vision was a dream about the bombing of Pearl Harbor as it was occuring. Since that day in his childhood, he has predicted with great accuracy many things, including every single death or accident involving members of my mother's family, which I always found amazing. (My father has always been and continues to be a great source of encouragement to me.) And to make myself sound even stranger, or crazier, I honestly believe that my brother Ethan will come up with a way to generate electricity entirely with magnets and load-stones. He has been working on the concept for years.

When I talk to most people about this stuff, they either think that I'm a liar or that I'm crazy, but I've witnessed first hand what my half-brother and my father are capable of and I really don't feel that its terribly different from what you're capable of...I think that the the human brain can do all sorts of things that science (mainstream science at least) is just not ready to accept or believe.

But the issue that I am writing to you about is regarding my whole brother, Travis, and lies with my mother's side of the family. Her family line is from Eastern Kentucky, and that area is infamous for hereditary mental disease. Schizoid Personality Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, and even Schizophreniform Disorder run in her family. According to the DSM-V, Aspergers is frequently misdiagnosed as Schizotypal Personality Disorder which my brother has been diagnosed with. Personally, I believe he has genuine Aspergers but is also afflicted with episodes of psychosis in periods of stress and dis-integration of the personality due to severe childhood trauma (our mother is very abusive and he is hearing impaired, has been diagnosed also with ADHD, and is Albino-and until I began taking him to therapy a year ago, has had very little to no assistance in any of his disabilities). I cannot get him the assistance that he desperately needs with developing self-care routines because the therapist he is seeing (the only one he can afford as he has no health insurance) refuses to diagnose him with Aspergers even though the same therapist agreed that he probably suffered from some degree of Aspergers as a child! I am completely at a loss on how his therapist can say that he "grew out of" Aspergers...

I feel that my brother could be a capable and self-sufficient person someday if only he could get the help that he needs, and I was hoping, unrealistically perhaps, that maybe you would have some advice to give me. As you have some very unique life experience with disorders of a similar nature to those that occur in my father's family, I was hoping that perhaps you would know of people, information, or institutions that I could perhaps contact to try to find the sort of help that my brother could uniquely benefit from. My family history is quite remarkable and quite strange, (and I have health problems of my own that are equally strange, though in a different direction) and no one who we have seen is able to appreciate or even believe what I have to say. Even some of my own friends have accused me of lying about being Adrew Prater's niece until I went out of my way to prove it to them, so my guess is that the doctors think I'm nuts, and that's why they dismiss me completely.

If you think that you might know of anyone I could consult further about my brother, I would greatly appreciate the assistance.


Xylena Rae Prater

3:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sylvia from North Carolina said:
Well, it's not Sunday over here yet, but it is in your time zone, so "Happy Easter!"
I think the audio recording is a great idea! Now your book will reach an even wider audience. It must have taken a lot of hard work to prepare it. I’ve recorded essays for scholarships before. I read the same four pages about sixty times before I finally come up with something that I am satisfied with. If I had to record an entire book I would lose my mind! You should be very proud.
I was looking through previous posts and I have two that I’d like to comment on.
I loved your trivia quiz. I enjoy things that help me to think and expand my knowledge (plus it feels super when you already know one of the answers :) ). I’ve made up my own little quiz for you.
1. What is the odor that you smell when handling coins?
2. Many large black and yellow millipedes such as the Yellow-Spotted Millipede secrete what chemical to defend themselves from predators?
Hint: Many people think that the chemical smells like almonds (though I personally think it smells more similar to cherries. Some kids in my hometown call yellow and black millipedes “Cherry Bombs”).
3. On what date and where was Joan Baez born?
4. When a snowflake forms branches, how many does it usually form? If this amount deviates what prime number will the number of branches be divisible by?
5. Who was Phineas Gage?
I loved the comments that you made about differences between American English and British English. I think that I already told you that I visited England when I was younger, but I didn’t tell you that my family loved London so much that we visited there a second time a couple of years ago. We almost got trapped in London during the bombings but that’s another story, and I’m drifting away from my point. British English is very different from American English.
List of translated words :) :
1. crisps= chips
2. chips= fries
3. biscuits = cookies
4. bangers and mash = sausages and mashed potatoes
5. Blimey = wow
6. Wicked = great, cool
7. Rubbish = garbage
8. Loo = restroom
9. Buggy = stroller
10. Maths= math
I have so many vivid memories of your country. I remember that the day before the London bombings London won the opportunity to host the Olympics. I was standing near Trafalgar’s Square when some planes passed overhead emitting plumes of red smoke. I had not heard the news about the win for London yet.
“I guess London won it,” I said looking up at the planes.
A man standing nearby joked, “Well of course we won. If the French had won, those planes would all be barreling into the ground.”
I wish that you could see my hometown now. Everywhere there are blooming flowers: redbuds, hyacinth, azalea, periwinkle, pansy, dogwood, cherry trees, etc. Soon my town will be hosting the spring Dogwood Festival. Spring in North Carolina is always a scene of gaiety. There is nowhere else I would rather be from March to May.
Anyway, have a great Easter.


3:30 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Daniel; I loved your book, and I'm recommending it to everyone I know, because I really like the insight that it provides into the human condition.

I went and looked up some videos of you that are on the internet, and I think you ought to have more confidence in your social skills than you project in the book--there was absolutely nothing amiss that I could see in your interactions with people. You have better contact than I do and I'm not even autistic!

Best wishes,

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sylvia from North Carolina said:
This is a message for Jamie (see a few posts up). I think that we interpretted Daniel's book very differently. I do agree that the confidence that Daniel expressed towards his childhood social skills was low, but the rest of the book celebrated the social and mental growth that Daniel had experienced throughout his life. You said that you thought that Daniel interracted even better than you did even though he was autistic. I've got to say that when I watched the clips I thought the exact same thing!
To Daniel:
Daniel, I realy mean that.
Speaking of which, something really embarassing happened to me at the Easter family gathering. I have this stuttering problem, and I was unlucky anough to be going through a bad spell around dinner time. My relatives asked me what college I was planning on going to. I wanted to say, "I am planning on going to UNC Chapelhill, but if I can get a scholarship I might go to Davidson." What came out was, "Ch...Ch...Chapelhill...but...mmmmaybe... ...need." I was so humiliated. My relatives were polite and didn't act as though anything was wrong, but then my little eight-year-old cousin who didn't know any better said, "You sound funny." He imitated me. He didn't mean to hurt my feelings though. I could tell because his smile disapeared, and he looked very upset when I fell silent and looked at the floor. It all made for a very akward visit. Tell me if my next sentences sound weird. When I was young stuttering was simply an annoyance because it kept me from saying what I wanted to say. I never would have felt bad about it if it weren't for the negetive reactions of others towards it. In respect to the problems that you had a child did you feel the same way?

3:14 PM  
Anonymous jack said...

This is really cool. I'll have to go grab a copy of this. One of the problems I have is that I have an incredibly short attention span (about 20 minutes) but spoken word is something I have almost infinite attention for.

I guess it's the price we pay for all the other incredible gifts we get as Autistics.

6:26 PM  
Blogger greenjello74 said...

I just finished your book. You are an amazing person. I'm so glad that you are able to share your gifts with the world and are allowing sceince to know how your brain works. I'm sure it will help lots of people with Autism. Thanks again.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Lydia said...

Dear Daniel,

I first heard about you from 60 Minutes being broadcasted here in Hong Kong. I am in the middle of your wonderful book and could not put it down.

My nephew is 7 with autism and is high functioning. Reading your book is openning my eyes to his world. Thank you.

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Michelle Lopez said...

Dear Daniel,

I listened to your book and I was so moved by your generousity in sharing your story. Wow! I was so inspired. I have very important people in my life, who I adore who struggle with their own autism. I am so insired by your story- in ways I could never fully explain. It helped me get a glimps of what might be happening in their world.

I hope you will continue to write about your experiences, I look forward to your next book. I have shared your audio book with 5 other friends who loved it as well!

-Michelle Lopez

2:24 AM  

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