Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Aspie On

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    It was in shops (or at least a shop) yesterday.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It was in shops (or at least a shop) yesterday.

    Thanks. Amended accordingly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've also added a note to the post about my quest for some programming tutoring for my 15 yo son Leo

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    We've just confirmed the third place on the panel: Edwin McRae, the storyliner who oversaw the entry of the Asperger's character Gabrielle on Shortland Street.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Mordaunt,

    The Asperger's construct is proposed for removal from the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in edition 5 (APA DSM V), due to be published in 2013- edition 4 of the manual is what most mental health professionals in Australasia use for diagnostic criteria.

    This group of people will in future come under the global heading of Autistic Spectrum Disorder- http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=97#.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    This group of people will in future come under the global heading of Autistic Spectrum Disorder-

    Which seems intuitive to me. Are there any other implications of this change, Dylan?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Just some observations for anyone teaching programming to young people.
    When my 11 year old daughter needed to learn a computer language for analysing images for her science fair project, I taught her Python. You can get up and running with a basic understanding of the language in a couple of hours by tackling things in the order of:
    -Data types (things you can work with): numbers, strings, files, lists
    -Variables: store the stuff on the right in a container labelled with the name on the left
    -Objects and methods: Hey_you.do_this(with_this)
    -Decision making: Ifs and For loops
    From that, and some guidance on the libraries to use, my daughter was able to write a data analysis script.
    Pygame is a reasonably well regarded python library to build games from.
    That said, regardless of language, the real issue is estimating the amount of effort required to develop something, and trying to break it into parts where some progress is being made.

    If it is an initial exposure to programming on a small scale item, I would actually suggest javascript in the web browser, because the GUI development is easy and most young people have an imbued familiarity with the way web pages work. Simple options for games are rather limited, though less so with HMTL5 to link to a rather interesting example I saw in the weekend (though doing this kind of stuff is still somewhat complicated):
    Safari,Chrome,Opera, or Firefox link

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 842 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Apropos Ruby -- Russell, have you pointed him at Try Ruby! ?

    (I also took the liberty of forwarding your request to the NZ Python User Group).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2919 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Apropos Ruby -- Russell, have you pointed him at Try Ruby! ?

    Just did! It's really nice. Leo's having a poke at it now.

    (I also took the liberty of forwarding your request to the NZ Python User Group).

    Thanks. It looks like Ben Wilson might be able to help us, but I'm quite keen to have Leo learning several days a week.

    The sad thing is, I knew pretty much what he needed 18 months ago, but the education system does not provide such things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Joan White,

    Hi Russell. Have you had a look at Scratch? It's been developed by MIT specifically for kids and is very visual and has an appealing entry-level approach.

    It's free and has a busy online community who trade bits of programming etc back and forth. My 8 year old girl has done a bit with it (used it particularly to do small animations and dramas) but DH has done some more sophisticated gaming stuff with it, although it started to bug when he got too complex with it.

    Certainly worth a look though - it may suit your son.

    http://scratch.mit.edu/

    Since Mar 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Heh, actually he may also enjoy Try Haskell. Although Haskell is not for everyone...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2919 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hi Russell. Have you had a look at Scratch? It's been developed by MIT specifically for kids and is very visual and has an appealing entry-level approach.

    By the time I was aware of it I'd decided that entry-level kids' programming environments weren't the way to go, for him at least. We tried a few things, and then realised that he was having much more fun using ActionScript and building a Flash game with Karl from CactusLab.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18521 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Just some observations for anyone teaching programming to young people.
    When my 11 year old daughter needed to learn a computer language for analysing images for her science fair project, I taught her Python.

    My brother-in-law (who is 15 and high-functioning autistic) seems to have got quite a bit out of two Python texts, one of which is written around learning to build computer games; I've used the other, which is slightly higher-level, to self-teach and it's been very good. They're both available free online - Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python and Think Python.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Scratch seems very appropriate for a younger child. But I think at 15, things aimed at little kids are demeaning and toy-like. By that age you should have the intellectual horsepower and stickability to tackle "real" programming if you want to. There's a bajillion easier or more interesting pursuits out there if not.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2919 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I wonder if the panellists are fans of the 'Big Bang Theory?

    By the way the Autism NZ conference is on 10-12 September at Te Papa. One whole stream for speakers on the spectrum.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2009 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I wonder if the panellists are fans of the 'Big Bang Theory?

    I was surprised at how highly it ranked in weekly ratings when I glanced at them in the Press the other day. It obviously has wide appeal in NZ (caveats about the Nielsen system aside.)

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • Berry Binnie,

    Howdy folks, longtime lurker!

    Russell, I'm interested to know if the Ministry (MinEdu) makes the funding that would otherwise be earmarked for Leo (were he accommodated within the system) available to Leo?

    I'm coming from the perspective of a parent who loves a little person on the spectrum (and a human rights enthusiast).

    Nelson • Since Mar 2010 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I'm coming from the perspective of a parent who loves a little person on the spectrum (and a human rights enthusiast).

    School vouchers as a human right ... don't talk to Roger Douglas.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2988 posts Report Reply

  • Berry Binnie,

    Heh, well I tried many months ago to engage said gentleman round 'Disability Issues' as Act's spokesperson on such....he's yet to get back to me.

    Nelson • Since Mar 2010 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Berry Binnie - in my family the young aspie has been catered for by very local school & health/family support - are you within ANZ?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • David Waters,

    Regarding teaching programing I recently herd an interview with the authers of a book to teach programming, the interview is at http://www.hanselminutes.com/default.aspx?showID=212
    and the book is at http://www.manning.com/sande/ it uses python as the learning lanaguage. It may be worth looking at as a starting point or a text book to work through.

    Hello World!
    Computer Programming for Kids and Other Beginners
    Warren D. Sande and Carter Sande
    ISBN: 1933988495

    The interviewer says don't be put off by the word kid in the title.

    Since Sep 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Pete Sime,

    Not really programming per se, but in terms of game development, perhaps Leo might like to try Blender (http://www.blender.org/) an open source 3D animation and game development suite.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 141 posts Report Reply

  • Berry Binnie,

    Islander-

    We pulled one out of the lucky bag; our small is currently present, participating and ORRS funded. I could write a book about how that came to pass.

    Nelson • Since Mar 2010 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Okay, I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to wrap my head around the notion that Roger Douglas is a spokesperson for disability issues.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7320 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    We pulled one out of the lucky bag; our small is currently present, participating and ORRS funded. I could write a book about how that came to pass.

    I'd read it. Nice to hear from you, btw. Another one takes the plunge!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

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