General Interest is a new website dedicated to promoting tolerance, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism through the inspiration of Literature, The Arts, Music and Media. CBTV supports The Art Of Inclusion, a novel project challenging the public to contemplate autism by completing an unfinished work of art appropriately entitled BareFace. Over the past four years more than 100 celebrities and public figures have met the challenge  adding their own creativity to produce co-artist work that has drawn crowds to dozens of museum and galleries in Germany and Australia.  Recently BareFace was used by The Madison House Foundation – an influential organization providing support for young autistic adults – to promote a fundraising event and a month-long exhibition of 200 works by 40 spectrum artists. For information about how this project can help attract attention to your organization’s outreach events by contacting Michael Leventhal at or use the form below

Fox New coverage of the Madison House exhibit
Madison House
Artist Gee Vero

contemplating autism

contemplating autism


The March edition of HUMAN SPECTRUM MAGAZINE is now online.

Please join our mailing list to be notified when the April edition is made available and to access all the other activities the Autism Brainstorm community site offers

Go here if you wish to join us right now<a

Visit our Facebook page to meet some of our amazing friends

(please “Like” our FB page)

Autism is an interactive online community celebrating the abilities of everyone on and around the autism spectrum. It is an inclusive environment for persons on the autism spectrum, their family and caregivers disseminating information,  fostering social interaction and philanthropic opportunity.

Autism Brainstorm intends to provide opportunity for healing, enlightening and entertaining social interaction within a virtual environment. From the comfort of one’s own home, individuals will be able to reach across the state, the country and the world….to positively impact the lives of others.

Autism is more than a cruel disappointment for men. It is a deep pain that can lead to isolation, self-hate and even cruelty to those closest to us.

Cinematographer Charles “CJ” Jones has walked the walk and now he’s talking the talk. His film Autistic Like Me; A Father’s Perspective tackles men’s issues head-on in a cinéma-vérité style that is poignant, powerful and punchy.

I met “CJ” when he appeared, camera in hand, in response to my request of WNYC Media  for a good videographer to document Dr. Stephen Shore’s presentation at a Mt. Sinai Medical Center autism conference in April. We discussed his vision for the film and the need for an associated community outreach program capable of helping men cope with their unique concerns and fears. Since then, “CJ” has teamed up with Robert Naseef and crack film production pros.  I am pleased that the project has progressed so rapidly.

Superficial men’s issues appear unique while, in fact, they are inexhorably tied to the larger public discussion of family issues. I will be calling upon “CJ” for his assistance with the public outreach services I am planning for use in Saudi Arabia and Southeast Asia.

For now, I’ll let the film speak for itself.

CJ & Malik

Autistic Like Me: A Father's Perspective

Media video:  Combining autism therapy and technology – – Iowa |.

Only a few weeks ago, it was “business as usual” in the world of international business, politics, mass media, philanthropy, communications, IT…..   what’s Apple up to?  What’s Jobs’ next surprise?  When will the new iPhone be released? Did you see the iPhone feed from the latest demonstrations?

Now, we are engaged in an international eulogy…  20/20 hindsight enabling us to reflect on the man and the true measure of his impact on the world.  This is as it should be for it is only by understanding our past can we hope to fashion our future…  a future greatly influenced by Steve’s accomplishments and the personal example he set for the rest of us follow.  

This fleeting moment of reflection … at the cusp before Steve transitions from a omnipresent, fact-of-life dynamo into another revered icon in the Pantheon of our group consciousness, is the greatest testament to his contributions and all that made him unique.  Ultimate however, we will remember him more for the course he charted to future events.  The ultimate showman, his passing serves to bring public attention his most recent innovations, the “i-Products” that are the most significant contributions yet made to helping our Special Needs children, siblings, coworkers and friends.   

Thanks for what you have done.  Thanks for what will be done by others.  The Past AND the Future.   The true measure of this man.  Steve Job’s legacy.

I came across Byron Preiss in an old newspaper article.   He wanted to use comic books to teach kids how to read.  I wanted to learn more about him. so I started an Internet search for a man who built a publishing empire from a comic book and a dream 

“In 1971, while Preiss was teaching at a Philadelphia elementary school, he conceived and with Jim Steranko produced an anti-drug comic book, The Block, designed for low-level reading skills. Published by Steranko’s company, Supergraphics, it was distributed to schools nationwide.”

Jim Steranko, Preiss’ life-long friend and collaborator said:

 “For more than three decades, he (Byron) spearheaded a multiplicity of mediaforms, from comics and ebooks to electronic games and CD-ROMs, that fused words and images like few other individuals would achieve in the entertainment arts. As an author, he generated dozens of books, from hard science and history volumes to profusely illustrated children’s literature. As a packager, he produced a stream of quality fiction and nonfiction titles for almost every primary publishing house… Preiss was a subtle, yet seminal force in contemporary popular culture and specifically in the evolution of narrative illustration”  


Byron Preiss

How To Save The World

Reprinted  from  The Omni Intelligencer

  Recently, I tweeted about an eSchool News article  explaining how technology is redefining disability.  The title of my post,  “Same-abled” is not a term we use often; Get used to it! “ didn’t sit quite right with one reader. . . .

  • On 11/17/10  P.R. wrote:
    Michael, “The article is interesting, and I like the concept but I’m not crazy about the term “Same-abled”, it seems redundant (?).  If we are all equally able, then aren’t we all just “able”? I do feel that “dis”abled is too harsh and condemning, but differently-abled, or any of those other terms seems to fit the bill. Obviously, my comment is of no great importance, I just wondered what the thought is behind same-abled, maybe I’m missing something…. “

My reply:
Not sure if I heard the term from someone else, but “same-abled” popped into mind as I reflected on the article. I regard ability as a spectrum of human potential, possessing with both breadth and depth. Many are defined contextually. For example, being paraplegic might not a disadvantage for someone with a desk job whereas being an air breather, stuck in a sinking automobile, certainly would.

Terms like blind, deaf, paraplegic, autistic are not as useful as they once were in simpler times. Historically, these terms were both a diagnosis and a conclusion (“Oh, he can’t read; he’s blind”). Today, many handicaps no longer prevent people from participating in mainstream life (talking books for the blind, wheelchairs that climb stairs, et. al.).  Technology enables ordinary folks to carry out the miraculous (“If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings”).  But, it also serves to solve a variety of contextual problems for those of us who are not ordinary in all ways.

I hate the term “autistics”.   I call my students Spectrum Kids.  I rarely say “autism spectrum”; instead, I say communication spectrum.  Naming disabilities is convenient for conversation.  But describing what a person needs to carry out a specific task  is infinitely more productive and encourages egalitarian thinking.  Changing the language forces me to refocus on context.  It also succeeded in getting you to think about it too.

“Same-abled” implies a more level playing field.  Not that we all bring equal talent to the game.  Some players may out-run or our-score, but nobody wins without teamwork.   Given time, technology enables  participation.

In my upcoming Internet series, “The Wonderful World Of Pinky And The Professor” I explore how specific technology is helping to “enable” autistics… I mean au-tutes… ur, Spectrum-ites…. childhood schizophrenic … disordersed… pervasive developmental disordered… you know… those other kids.

11/18/11 P.R. replied

Thanks for the explanation. I like it!
So, you are not necessarily saying that we are all inherently “same-abled”, but more that “with proper accommodations, we can all be same-abled”. Obviously some are gifted with very few struggles, but thanks to technology it is possible for each of us to have success, and each of us are an integral part of our team.

Thank you again for the response. You are correct; the story did make me stop and think!

(Deleted paragraph describing what a great teacher she thought I was. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, thank you, Yul Brenner!)

Public attitudes about Special Needs mature as technology helps to “re-humanize” those with special needs. Societal attitudes lag behind new trends.  Thaks to P.R. for giving me a public opportunity to weigh-in on the topic.  Hopefully discussions like this will help accelerate our climb to enlightenment.

By michael leventhal

Football may not be your game. But if you could have your “druthers”, whom would you choose to coach a dream team for Spectrum kids?  I asked around. 

As an Early Intervention provider, Joel Levine practiced a “family model” approach to improving physical and behavioral skills by enlisting the participation of siblings and other family members. Now, as Clinical Supervisor with the NYC Department of Education, Joel leads 250 Occupational Therapists in a program focused on collaborative instruction with teacher/paraprofessional teams to teach a wide variety of skills within the natural environments of school and community.

Joel’s top pick for coaches is OT with emphasis on Sensory Integration. Why? Because football is a frantic game held in a large and noisy stadium. You can’t play without the ability to focus on the game.  Joel believes that sensory considerations should be of paramount concern when developing an educational plan. Sensory integration should be an integral to the curriculum, not merely an adjunct. It is both more productive (and more efficient) to provide OT services in the course of regular instruction. Joel envisions a process of formal intake, goal development and assessment to make sure no player is excluded from the huddle

I’ll be reporting more results.    In the meantime, who do you pick for the dream team?