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Christopher Wheat (he/him)

Christopher joined Momma on August 14, 2023 live on Twitch to talk about Life with Asperger's Syndrome & Advocating for Disabilities

About Chris

Growing up in the seventies and eighties, Christopher knew he was odd because the activities kids liked were not always the same as what he wanted to do. He was bullied and teased constantly and never understood why. The bullying lasted up to about his sophomore year in high school. Trying to have a girlfriend was impossible. Christopher was always a romantic, but trying to share that with the opposite gender didn't happen. His mother knew there was something different about him, but she didn't know (and neither did the doctors) what his deal was. She tried to put Christopher in smaller classes, and in high school, he attended a country school even though they lived in the city. Christopher was accepted to the California and Colorado Art Institutes because of his early work in video art from the Macintosh II computer. (Remember, we're talking 1988 at the time.) But his mom said no, so he was forced to attend a community college. Little did my mother know Christopher met a beautiful woman in the Spring of 1989. His mother was not thrilled that he met this woman; worse, Christopher proposed and married her in November that same year. They then had a daughter, a son, and a set of twin daughters. 

When their twin daughters started to grow, one daughter suddenly started to regress to the point of not communicating with her parents or her sister. The doctors said that she has low-functioning autism and that they should expect to take care of her for the rest of her life. Fortunately, Chrildrens Mercy Hospital was experimenting with an Alzheimer's medication called Nemenda. Something extraordinary happened; the medication started to work! Their daughter's brain developed from low functioning to higher-functioning autism. Not only this revelation but her twin sister was also diagnosed with high-functioning autism. (Higher than her sister.) They learned that autism is hereditary, so Christopher decided to have himself tested for autism, and guess what..... He has a disability as well. It may sound horrible, but he was so relieved that he finally found out what was "wrong" was him. Christopher was 35 when he finally found out, but not knowing for all those years was maddening. 

Weirdo 2.0 is a story Christopher wrote about the horrific experience he had the last year as a teacher in his old school district. After a meeting with the superintendent, he didn't like Christopher's answer about the state testing. So after the meeting, he met with the head of HR and told her to get rid of the 'weirdo.' From then on, many administrators, coordinators, and other officials came into Christopher's room, taking notes and trying to get him to quit. He had accommodations put into his records with HR before he started with the district. They broke every accommodation because Christopher was autistic—the book focuses on people like himself who have been bullied at work because of their disability. 

Currently, Jaimee and Christopher have been married for 33 years. Christopher teaches SPED for an urban school district, but he is looking to be an administrator soon. He is also still writing, but finding the time has been tricky. Now, Christopher and Jaimee also have two granddaughters, three dogs, and a cat!

Socials / Links for More Info

References / Things Mentioned During the Stream

Episode Summary

In this insightful episode of Even Tacos Fall Apart, MommaFoxFire engages in a captivating conversation with Christopher Wheat, focusing on the theme of "Life with Asperger's Syndrome & Advocating for Disabilities." The interview provides a deep dive into Christopher's personal experiences, shedding light on the challenges, triumphs, and advocacy efforts surrounding Asperger's Syndrome.

Christopher Wheat, the author of "Weirdo 2.0," shares his journey of living with Asperger's Syndrome, providing a nuanced perspective on the complexities of this neurodevelopmental disorder. The discussion kicks off with Christopher emphasizing the importance of self-awareness and understanding one's own neurodiversity. He encourages listeners to embrace their uniqueness and not let societal norms dictate their worth.

A significant portion of the conversation revolves around the challenges faced by individuals with Asperger's in various aspects of life, particularly in the realm of employment. Christopher candidly discusses the struggles he encountered in the workplace, highlighting the need for greater awareness and accommodation. He advocates for workplaces to foster inclusivity and provide support for neurodivergent individuals, emphasizing the value they bring to the table.

The interview takes a poignant turn as Christopher talks about his personal relationships, offering valuable insights into the intricacies of forming connections when living with Asperger's. He stresses the importance of self-care and open communication within relationships, emphasizing that understanding oneself is a crucial foundation for building healthy connections.

MommaFoxFire and Christopher explore the broader landscape of advocating for disabilities, touching upon the challenges faced by those with mental health issues. The conversation extends to the impact of stigmas surrounding mental health and the dire need for more accessible resources and support networks. Christopher passionately discusses his commitment to reducing the stigma associated with mental health through his advocacy efforts and written work.

The discussion also addresses the intersectionality of disability advocacy, acknowledging the unique challenges faced by individuals with intersecting identities. MommaFoxFire and Christopher talk about experiences as parents, raising awareness about the specific needs and triumphs of parents navigating the intersection of parenthood and neurodivergence.

As the interview unfolds, Christopher unveils his ambitious plans for organizing accessible events and seminars aimed at providing valuable information to the neurodivergent community. He expresses a desire to create affordable opportunities for individuals to connect, learn, and share their experiences, breaking down the financial barriers that often limit access to such events.

This episode of Even Tacos Fall Apart with MommaFoxFire and Christopher Wheat offers a profound exploration of life with Asperger's Syndrome and the broader landscape of disability advocacy. Listeners gain valuable insights into the challenges faced by neurodivergent individuals, the importance of self-awareness, and the pressing need for inclusive environments. Christopher's unwavering commitment to reducing stigma and creating accessible resources shines through, leaving a lasting impact on all who listen.

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out

by Shel Silverstein

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout would not take the garbage out

She'd scour the pots and scrub the pans

Candy the yams and spice the hams

And though her daddy would scream and shout

She simply would not take the garbage out

And so, it piled up to the ceilings

Coffee grounds, potato peelings

Brown bananas, rotten peas, chunks of sour cottage cheese

That filled the can and covered the floor, cracked the window and blocked the door

With bacon rinds and chicken bones, drippy ins of ice cream cones

Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel

Gluppy glumps of cold oat meal, pizza crust and withered greens

And soggy beans and tangerines and crust of black burned buttered toast

And gristly bits of beefy roast

The garbage rolled on down the hall, it raised the roof, it broke the wall

I mean, greasy napkins, cookie crumbs

Globs of gooey bubble gums, cellophane from green baloney, rubbery blubbery macaroni, peanut butter, caked and dry

Curdled milk and crusts of pie, moldy melons, dried-up mustard, eggshells mixed with lemon custard

Cold french fries and rancid meat, yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat

At last the garbage reached so high that it finally touched the sky

And all the neighbors moved away

And none of her friends would come to play

And finally, Sarah Cynthia Stout said

"OK, I'll take the garbage out!"

But then, of course, it was too late

The garbage reached across the state

From New York to the Golden Gate

And there, in the garbage she did hate

Poor Sarah met an awful fate

That I cannot, right now relate

Because the hour is much too late

But children, remember Sarah Stout

And always take the garbage out