The path to Dr. Burns

I have stated many times that I am going to apply for my PhD. It is a tough road to navigate as a parent of a child with Asperger Syndrome. But at the same time, I know I need to do this for myself and my son. I have spent a great deal of time already researching this condition and finding solutions. I have navigated the K-12 school system. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not so successfully. I have definitely made mistakes – but I have also had a great number of successes I feel the need to share.

Recently, Marquette Magazine did an online piece on my success with social skill training using the online world of Second Life. Check out the article
This article has inspired me to continue my work in this area as well as start a Meetup group for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. The Meetup group is called SE Wisconsin Asperger Group.

You are more than welcome to join us and help make a difference.

So back to my PhD. I am planning on working on an interdisciplinary program on the use of social media and multi-member online gaming to teach social skills. I have found with my son that the opportunity to be anonymous enables him to participate in ‘normal’ teenage social activities in the area on online gaming. He knows there are rules that must be followed and that there are repercussion that will happen if they are broken (usually in the form of being ‘banned’ from the game). He uses appropriate language – most of the time – with the group he is currently interacting. This has caused me to have to sit him down and explain certain words are not to be used in public and that some words are banned altogether (many times the ‘n’ word is used in the online games he plays). It has truly been a learning experience for both of us.

I am now wondering if online environments can be used to teach job skills such as customer service, cash handling, and inventory. These will be some of my first areas of focus as my son nears graduation from high school and needs to establish some form of work experience for his future goals.

I hope you don’t mind sharing my progress, my success and failures within this blog. I think a training site should focus on training – and this blog will allow you to find out how the PhD system at Marquette University works. It will hopefully inspire you to reach for your dreams and follow your goals. This will not be an easy path – and finding time to write this as well as my studies will be a challenge. But for now, I feel it is one I am ready to face.

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