21. Rethinking Unemployment and Sex Education

Discover what’s possible when education is informed by science. 

Michael John Carley is an autism self-advocate, author, and consultant. This pioneer in the world of autism advocacy was one of two people on the spectrum to address the US Congress in their first-ever hearings on autism. The truth is I could spend the rest of this episode listing Michael’s accolades, but I really want you to listen to our conversation, so here’s my best effort to sum up his career highlights. 

Michael was the Founder of GRASP — the largest organization in the world comprised of adults on the autism spectrum — and the Founding Executive Director of ASTEP, now called Integrate, whose mission is to help organizations identify, recruit, and retain professionals on the autism spectrum. He has presented at almost 150 conferences, hospitals, universities, health care organizations, school districts, and Fortune 1000 companies. 

Michael has appeared in a wide variety of media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC News, and NPR, to name a few. He has participated in a TED Talk and was featured in the documentaries On the Spectrum and Off the Rails. His articles and columns have been published in magazines such as Autism Spectrum News, the Huffington Post, and Sinkhole. He has also published two books and is currently waiting to publish a third. His first book is titled Asperger’s from the Inside Out, and the second, Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum: How to Cope Productively with the Effects of Unemployment and Jobhunt with Confidence

Before his career in autism advocacy, Michael was a playwright in New York, as well as the United Nations Representative of Veterans for Peace, having spent time in Cuba, Bosnia, and Iraq. 

In this conversation, Michael recounts his journey of discovering his diagnosis, which came shortly after his son’s. He explains how autism impacts his daily life and what he thinks is the only detriment for people on the spectrum. 

We talk about the importance of support groups being led by autistic people, how to process unemployment in a healthy way, and the need for a comprehensive sexual education curriculum for young people with autism. 

For more information about Michael John Carley and his work, please visit michaeljohncarley.com

Resources: 

Autism Without Fear: Schools Need to Bring Back Skilled Trades—A Conversation with Temple Grandin, Ph.D. 

The Ethical Slut 

Savage Lovecast 

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