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Some people who have autism and Asperger's think in pictures. Kinda like Google Images.

People with autism and Asperger's see the world in very different ways from the rest of us. Here's a peek into that world from someone who has lived it.

Some people who have autism and Asperger's think in pictures. Kinda like Google Images.

Temple Grandin spent her early life, as she says, "goofing off" until a science teacher made her brain light up.

She was born with autism during the 1940s, when people didn't understand it well.

But Grandin has done a lot since those days of goofing off.

She became a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, a consultant to the livestock industry, and a popular public speaker.


HBO made an award-winning movie about her life, which millions of people saw. (When she talks about "the movie" in the TED Talk below, that's what she's referring to.)

You can watch "Temple Grandin" on HBO or Amazon.

Her main work now is to educate people on how she, like many people with autism and Asperger's, sees things in pictures.

She even suggests that some people in places like Silicon Valley may be on the autism spectrum or they wouldn't have been able to do what they've done.

Image via TED.

Grandin really does think almost completely in images.

As she describes it, when you say "steeple," her mind goes to the first image she knows is a steeple from her childhood church. Then, to the next one.

Kinda like Google Images does, right?

Image via TED.

Autism is still not very well understood, although research — as well as the number of people diagnosed on the autism spectrum — has been increasing.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the prevalence of autism spectrum diagnoses has drastically increased since 1970. And Temple was born 28 years before this graph's earliest date.

Image via The Fullerton Informer. And no, vaccinations do not cause autism. Science has proven otherwise, so please do not take away from this anything that's purely fiction.

But there are some things we do know.

Some of them are included in Grandin's TED Talk.

She has some great suggestions for ways to help those on the autism spectrum, too, like these:

  • Educators and parents need to find ways to get people on the spectrum to be engaged and thrilled to be using their unique brains the way they need to in order to make a difference in the world.
  • Understand their reality. She was a "different" kid and adult. She made it work because she found her place and made other humans understand that she didn't function the way that they do. What if we approached other humans on a regular basis with this understanding and empathy? What a wonderful world it would be, indeed.
  • Get to know a family with kids who are differently abled than the rest of us. See what their world is like, and maybe make them feel loved — or at least understood a little better.
  • Spread the word — when you see her movie or TED Talk, pass it around. It's a great place to start a conversation.
Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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