A tribute to our employees and community.
Spring is Here
See what we have in store for you this season.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Here's what happened in 2014 and will be happening in the year to come
Celebrating Familiar Faces
ASI enters 2014 celebrating anniversaries and announcing new and exciting events
Recognizing Community Partnerships
ASI honours the many organizations in the Western New York community that have opened their doors to ASI
In this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI cuts the ribbon of a new school!
Run for Autism
In this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI announces the second annual Run the 'Burg for Autism. Don't miss it!
Making Their Mark
For this issue of IN TOUCH, ASI acknowledges over two dozen employees who have reached career milestones with the agency.
ASI Introduces the Ziggurat Model
Continuing our mission to provide services that focus on the needs of the individual, Autistic Services has recently adopted The Ziggurat Model...
2010 Year End Review
Last year we vowed to build on past successes and set our sights even higher. This year, with your help, the Arts Work Program has accomplished this goal, and more.
Bringing Autism Into the Homes
To help families face the challenge of finding the right environment for their child, Autistic Services has partnered with Coldwell Banker Chubb to assess prospective homes as being Sensory Safe for people with Autism.
The True Colors of Autism
From the beginning the autistic child sees and experiences the world in a way we do not. A fixation with sights, patterns, textures etc. lends itself to the language of the arts. Artists at ASI take up their brushes at an early age.
Walking on Sunshine
Clifford & Kathy Kepner have transformes 45 acres of land into an outdoor sensorium named "Sunshine Garden". For 3 years they have welcomed the people from ASI to drop in and commune with nature.
My Trip To See Barack Obama
Of the nearly 304 million citizens of this country, only 1.5 million of them were lucky enough to attend the inauguration. Mariam was one of those lucky people. This is her story about her trip to see Obama.
"It's All About Me."
Introducing Elizabeth Harzewski... A Poet. Writer. River Scientist. And Solver of Mysteries. There's no such thing as boring with Liz.
The Neil Sanders Show
For this issue we place the spotlight on Neil Anthony Sanders, and his new adventures in radio podcasting.
Autism Awareness Month
Tell your friends that April is booked solid. Better yet, tell them that their month is booked too. Because this issue we are going to show you why April will be A Month to Remember...
Support is the Lifeline of Service
In this Winter 2007 issue, we acknowledge the ongoing support and contributions from members of our community.
Elizabeth Harzewski is one of the more animated persons in the Autistic Services’ Community. All it took was one look at the summer edition of “InTouch”, where Neil Sanders and his radio show took center stage, and Liz promptly saw an opportunity for self-promotion. Initiative is one of Liz’s leading qualities, followed by persistence. So for this Winter Edition of “In Touch”, we shift the spotlight to Liz.
After arriving 15 minutes early for the interview, we found Liz finishing her snack in the recreation room while listening to music through her headphones. She checks her watch, and then offers a thumbs-up, indicating that she’s ready to do her interview – in 15 minutes. Liz prefers to stick to the agreed schedule, even to the very minute.
At precisely 10 am, Liz is ready. “There are a few things I like to see and do,” is her opening statement. She pauses and looks away, never making eye contact, but still being hyper-aware of my presence. After a brief silence, she completes her thoughts with her voice now heightened from excitement, “Like the time I was watching the Best of America’s Funniest Home Videos. This one cat that was on the trailer step near the door and the kitty said, ‘Hello! Let me in! I left my key on my other collar. Let me in, I gotta go to the bathroom NOW!!! What a silly black kitty!” You can almost see the exclamation points beaming from her mouth at the end of every sentence.
There are common characteristics that help us identify Autism. So you can find behavioral cues that repeat from person to person. But in no way does Autism rob the person of any singular qualities, especially not in the case of Liz. In fact, Autism has gifted her with three or four helpings of personality. There’s the Liz who adores the Three Stooges, and makes no attempts to hide her crush on Moe. There’s the Liz who missed her calling as an office administrator: she frequently hands out notes that read more like a memo. There’s the Liz who walked right out of a Bette Midler movie, always on and in full speed. Oh, and don’t forget the Liz who is a scientist. “Niagara Falls River Science is a new kind of science I made up.” Liz says confidently. “I can never tell the difference between tap water and river water. I want to know which is heavier. I tried measuring them on a scale. I tried using two jars and filled them up and then put them on a scale to see which one was heavier.” This conundrum remains unsolved, but Liz is quick to assure us that she’s still running tests. “I’m going to try it again. I’ll need two jars. Then I’ll have to tag them so I can know which jar is tap water and which one is river water.” She pauses again, looking in the opposite direction. “And then I need a scale.”
It’s hard not to be somewhat envious of someone who finds it so easy to entertain themselves. You begin to wonder if Liz’s ever excitable nature is because it’s simply impossible for her to be bored. In a nanosecond, she puts aside Niagara River Science and changes the subject by saying: “I’m trying to solve a mystery.”
Sounds like the first words to a dime gumshoe novel.
“I’m trying to solve the mystery of this power station, The Schoellkopf.” She interrupts herself to offer the correct spelling. S-C-H-O-E-L-L-K-O-P-F. Got it? Good. She continues, “It’s a power station that collapsed. I need to figure out if my hypothesis is correct. I collected some evidence from my computer, some video and some pictures. My hypothesis is that the shafts or pin sticks may have cracked and then allowed the water to seep into the power station. I’ll find the cause someday.”
After a half hour of anecdotes on science and mysteries, Liz settles into a topic that we all can relate to: Food. Diagnosing water and solving mysteries is a sure way to build up an appetite. So where is Liz looking to go for a quick bite? Erie, Pennsylvania. Specifically, she wants to visit Eat’N Park. She interrupts herself again to clarify the spelling: “There’s an apostrophe and an ‘N’ in it.” She says. This is not to be confused with Toronto’s Eaton Center, another place she mentions in the same sentence. Only in Toronto can she hope to eat Poutine. She stops herself – again – and provides the correct spelling: P-O-U-T-I-N-E. “Poutine is French fries covered with gravy and gooey mozzarella cheese – a real Canadian treat.” She says.
Finally, her last stop and last guilty pleasure will take her to Jamestown. But this stop isn’t for food. She comes here for a smell. It sounds poetic, until you hear the word:
“I go to Jamestown to smell my grandmother’s Yule Apples. Do you know how to spell that one? Y-U-L-E. It’s a plastic apple with the sweet smell of YULE.”
Yule-scented-plastic-apples seem to be a great way to end the interview. When asked what title she would give this article if it was up to her (and it is up to her), and Liz doesn’t miss a beat:
“It’s all About Me.”
Interview by Ahmad Jordan
The best ideas always sneak up on you. If it wasn’t for Elizabeth Harzewski, a writer, poet and Three Stooges enthusiast, who knows how long it would have taken to figure out that we could and should do exclusive spotlights on our folks at ASI. We did it already, albeit unwittingly, in the last issue for Neil and his show. But thanks to Liz, it’s officially our plan to dedicate future issues on select members of our community. So how did Liz give us the idea? Well, after she saw Neil’s face in the last issue of In Touch, she simply declared herself to be our next featured artist. And it became so. That’s how it works with Liz. She had no idea of the favor she was doing for us. After all, our mission is to lessen the gap between their world and ours. Not so much for their benefit, but for our own. Autism is off-beat, up-beat, colorful, sometimes colorless and always wonderfully idiosyncratic. Most of us are constantly searching for a different perspective on life. Well, here it is.
There’s entering the world of Autism and then there’s entering the world of the person with Autism. Two different things, since the latter is much more experiential and personal. Neil Sanders is a good example. People who have been introduced to his radio show are genuinely entertained. People who have been introduced to him are amazed. You truly have to know Neil and be exposed to his way of thinking to fully appreciate what’s really going on with his weekly podcasts.
And now we introduce to you, Elizabeth Harzewski. If you find her to be colorful and candid in this interview, then wait until you meet her. A true PR woman if we’ve ever met one, Liz not only provided the interview – she provided the images she wanted us to use, along with a note promising to provide more whenever she could get around to it. Every image was blurry. Liz didn’t care. For her own reasons, these images were perfect enough to be published. What is she seeing that we’re not? Or what are we seeing that she’s not? That’s the mystery of Autism. And while we try to understand that mystery, Liz has already advised us that she’ll be busy trying to crack her own mystery. You’ll have to read her interview to find out what that is.