“Autism is an epidemic that seems to be growing grimmer with less hope of reversing its severity,” says Saperstein. “As we fight for answers, whether they may be scientific or spiritual, our collective mission should be to adapt the world to accommodate those who are affected by this enigmatic disorder.
Reverse the bullying, knee-jerk impressions, and irrational fear that have marred so many lives as we open our eyes to the gifts that have finally allowed me to succeed as an adult with autism."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDP), the new statistic is a 78% increase since the study first began in 2002. The latest figure reconfirms that autism is more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, childhood cancer, and pediatric AIDS combined. ASD is a range of complex neurodevelopmental disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication challenges, and restricted, repetitive, or stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autistic disorder is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include milder forms known as Asperger's syndrome (AS), Childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).
Saperstein, who earlier this year began an Anti-Bullying movement across the country for individuals with autism, says he will continue to spread the message and needs others to join him in the crusade. Saperstein’s video, “Free-Falling to End Bullying in 2012” (www.youtube.com/JesseSaperstein) has become a popular staple on You Tube and is being screened at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN on Thursday, April 19, 2012.
"Let this be the first generation to enjoy acceptance while having something to fight for. It cannot get better someday. It will become better TODAY," says Saperstein.
According to the Kennedy Krieger Institute, children with Asperger's may be more prone to bullying because they are often placed in mainstream schools with “typical” students. The Institute also said certain behavioral traits including clumsiness, poor hygiene, rigid rule-keeping, talking obsessively about a favorite topic, frequent meltdowns and inflexibility may make children with an autism spectrum disorder more vulnerable toward abuse.
Saperstein urges the public - children and adults - to find their own unique way to become heroic.
"It's time to advocate for those who deserve a friend. Or give somebody a voice that has been silenced by abuse and ignorance. The person you fight for today could be the life you're saving tonight."
"Jesse changed my life," says 10-year-old Todd Weaver of Hyde Park, New York. "I see my Asperger's like my super power now. Jesse really made a difference in my life, and now I want to help other kids like me in the same way."
Saperstein visits schools on a regular basis and has been successful with stomping out bullying or at least dramatically alleviating it with every presentation. He is currently working on initiatives to pioneer a middle/high school class in New York State that will be similar to health, but shall focus on educating young people about misunderstood disabilities as well as the psychological and legal consequences of bullying.
For more information about Jesse A. Saperstein visit www.jessesaperstein.com.
For speaking inquiries and press interviews, contact D. Plump Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Jesse A. Saperstein:
Jesse A. Saperstein is a best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker. He is considered one of the most respected leaders in the Anti-Bullying movement of his generation. Jesse has a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome (AS). Individuals with Asperger’s are impaired by a profound lack of social skills, common sense, and resistance to change in routine.
After graduating from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2004 with a BA degree in English, Saperstein set out to conquer the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail to benefit the Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation. He began hiking from Georgia to Maine on March 9, 2005 and successfully completed the journey on October 18, 2005, raising more than $19,000 for children to attend summer camp who had contracted HIV/AIDS through prenatal transmission. Shortly after his hike ended, Saperstein was exposed to some of the cruel realities of living as an adult on the autism spectrum and was treated as a social pariah by members of the community who did not understand. His decision to write a book was an opportunity to escape these realities and advocate for his peers who are not always granted a voice.
Saperstein’s story, “Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters,” was published by Penguin Group (USA) in April 2010 and became a popular memoir due to its practical advice and outrageous humor. He chronicles his misadventures and extremes to improve his social skills. The book quickly rose to the top of Amazon.com and placed Saperstein as a dynamic media personality, motivational speaker and most important, an advocate for people with disabilities. After receiving a grant from Anderson Center for Autism (ACA) in Staatsburg, New York, Saperstein completed his first skydiving jump in front of his community in an effort to eradicate bullying. “Free-Falling to End Bullying in 2012" is currently a popular video on YouTube (www.youtube.com/jessesaperstein). Saperstein resides in Pleasant Valley, New York.
For more information about Jesse A. Saperstein, visit www.jessesaperstein.com.