Why ICONz Was Developed
Brain-based differences in how people with ASD perceive, understand and react to those around them, can have powerfully negative effects on getting along with others — other children, teachers, spouses, coaches, employers, co-workers, first responders, their own children/parents, etc.. These brain-based differences often lead to confusion, anger and pain. For so many of our clients and students, there is resistance in accepting that what seems logical and obvious to them is confusing and discomfiting to others. Using the ICONz, our clients and students learn how neuro-typical (i.e. non-autistic) people “think.” They are prepared to respond without distress to expectations of others and without the surprise and confusion that they have so often experienced. Things start to “make sense.” They learn that the ways in which they experience the world may be different, but the problems they experience have more to do with not understanding other people than they have to do with autism per se. At ICONz Associates, LLC we believe that autism itself is a genetic variation like blue eyes or being left handed. As is well known, a significant challenge for people with ASD is interacting with non-autistic individuals. The lack of understanding on both sides of the conversation is the true problem. Learning to use the ICONz gives individuals with ASD the tools they need to navigate the neuro-typical world in a reasonably typical way. This makes for much greater security and comfort for themselves, and interest and enjoyment in other people. We take the position that “accommodations” by neuro-typical people for the benefit of people with ASD is fair, humane, helpful, yet insufficient. We strive to help our students and clients develop the personal agency to manage daily life more successfully and more on their own terms rather than operating within the confines of “disability.”
There is often equal difficulty for individuals with ASD in accepting that their preferred quirks and interests can contribute to their overall anxiety, anger, disappointment, and problems with others. The insistence that other people are the source of their problems, or a rigid insistence on routine in minor aspects of life, often leads people with ASD to become socially isolated and rejected by neuro-typical people. While potentially tragic, it does not have to be a permanent state of affairs.
The ICONz were created to give individuals with ASD, neuro-differences and social deficits easy to understand tools to address troublesome assumptions they often have about themselves and others. When individuals adopt, practice and intentionally use the ICONz in their daily lives, they can successfully learn to comfortably modify their behavior and communicate more effectively. And when those with whom they interact (parents, siblings, teachers, therapists, peers, employers, etc.) also learn the ICONz, the results are even more profound. Those with whom we’ve worked: