Torley Linden on Living With Asperger Syndrome

I’ve been meaning for a long time to do a substantive post on the amazing benefits of online social media and communities for persons on the autism spectrum. Well, it hasn’t happened. I also have wanted to blog about the potent value of the support communities in Second Life for persons with health concerns. There is some overlap between these two topics, which I’ve been tracking. Ironically, earlier today I was working on the page about the Autism section of the SLHealthy wiki.
Today, these two topics came even closer and more unavoidable as a blog entry through the events at the Autism Society of American weekend, Bounce for Autism. I spent a lot of tiem there today, and took a lot of pictures. I want to blog about that, too, but it probably won’t happen before the weekend is over, so go see it, don’t wait for me to talk about it. One of today’s presenters was Torley Linden, in the guise of his “alt” (which is actually probably his original avatar), gave a talk with slides on the topic of his life with Asperger Syndrome and how Second Life has benefitted him relative to this. It was pretty wonderful.
Because some folks were having difficulty with sound or voice, I offered to try to do a rough transcription, and later got permission from Torley to put this on my blog. I stripped out the backchat, because I did not have permission from all participants. He goes awful fast and says beautiful things (and I was having a small RL minicrisis during the transcription), so chances are very good that I missed some important things. Please note, hope springs eternal – Ravenelle captured video of the talk which will be posted in YouTube. πŸ™‚
While I did not capture or transcribe the chat after the talk, I did capture the URLs shared, and have activated them as links below. In the question and answer section, I did capture the questions, but only used initials of the avatar asking, again to protect privacy of the people there.
Oh, and please notice his watermelon eyes … More pics coming later, probably when I get to work and have a wired connection.
Torley Linden
[18:00] Crysta Laville: I ask all to please turn your mics off while Torley speaks so we dont hear you
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: yes Anaid
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: thanks Crysta πŸ™‚
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: yes that’s important
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: hehe
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: i love seeing gestures circulate…
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: it’s one of my fave things
[18:00] Torley Olmstead: oh i have TOTALLY heard that Linden Time one before, oodles
[18:03] Brett Stand shouts: If I can have your attention please!
[lots of applause]
[18:05] Torley Olmstead: yes it’s in voice
[18:06] Crysta Laville: Please everyone keep your mics off while Torley speaks
[18:06] You: Rod, would it help for someone to take notes in chat?
[18:06] You: I will do that
[18:06] You: he says embarassment is part of having Asperger
[18:07] You: pictures of him as a child
[18:07] You: stereotype of Asian kid who plays piano
[18:07] You: childhood strange behavior – not in sentences, kind of incoherent, odd behavior
[18:07] You: music helped him with phrasing and tempo
[18:08] You: need a sense of timing to tell jokes
[18:08] You: tends to race in speaking
[18:08] You: His mom read books about gifted children
[18:08] You: Went through rough times abefore 2nd life
[18:08] You: His wife reminded him to face the audience
[18:09] You: He was depressed in 2004 because his dad died and used to be a music producer?
[18:09] You: he has hyperacusis – distorted hearing
[18:09] You: this meant he lost his music career
[18:09] You: his main focal interest
[18:10] You: very depressing
[18:10] You: Read about transhumanism and cyberpunk
[18:10] You: He loves game Deus Ex
[18:10] You: He found Neil Stephensons’s Diamond Age
[18:10] You: Neuromancer
[18:10] You: felt lonely online because he wanted to share these new loves
[18:11] You: New World Notes is what gave him intro to SL
[18:11] You: slide shows his first av
[18:11] You: he chose to focus in SL on skills that are struggles in RL
[18:12] You: socialized as much as possible
[18:12] You: chatboxes, sandboxes
[18:12] Ravenelle Zugzwang: Torley crashed but will be right back
[18:13] You: no – he crashed
[18:13] You: back!
[18:13] Torley Olmstead: sorry! crashed!
[lots of welcome backs, and comments about “Lindens crash?”]
[18:13] You: after all the socializing “crazy crazy crazy”
[18:13] You: he was using text viewer, thus crashed
[18:14] You: Met a lot of mentors
[18:14] You: corrected help guides, fixed errors
[18:14] You: by famous early leaders in SL
[18:14] You: helped with bug reports
[18:14] You: serendipitous path to becoming part of the community
[18:15] You: He thought LL folks were really cool people
[18:15] You: sent in a fan letter / resume
[18:15] You: talked about how SL had transformed his RL
[18:15] You: He did contracting for a while before becoming a fulltime employee
[18:15] You: Simple things that make a difference
[18:15] You: you feel emotions here
[18:16] You: you share things together, like gestures
[18:16] You: his gestures in RL are awkward
[18:16] You: personal space
[18:16] You: gestures help him learn
[18:16] You: there was a gesture bug that took away his gestures
[18:16] You: and he had to learn about them
[18:16] You: Being hired by LL has let him “amplify your awesome”
[18:17] You: such cool coworkers
[18:17] You: looking for and making tools to help you get things done
[18:17] You: lots of how tos
[18:17] You: Started video tutorials
[18:17] You: A great social moment
[18:17] You: a woman
[18:17] You: you see someone across the room
[18:17] You: your eyes meet
[18:17] You: Ravenelle …
[18:18] You: “Ravie, please come up on stage”
[18:18] You: SL gives us opportunities in RL
[18:18] You: expotentially increase opportunities
[18:18] You: Torley loves watermelons
[18:18] You: Here is his sweetie
[18:18] Ravenelle Zugzwang: *waves*
[18:19] You: not enough emphasis given to real love stories – great friendships
[18:19] You: great stories
[18:19] You: when something really moves you
[18:19] You: tell them right away
[18:20] You: keep the love flowing
[18:20] You: facelights
[18:20] You: kind of maligned
[18:20] You: he helped get the fashion industry hooked on them
[18:20] You: transformative effect on our culture
[18:20] You: Another picture of Toryley and Rav
[18:20] You: better skies, suns, and moons
[18:20] You: ambassador for windlight
[18:21] You: romantic – share your hearts
[18:21] You: 650,000 images tagged SL in Flickr
[18:21] You: abt 15,000 mine πŸ˜‰
[18:21] You: other creative things
[18:21] Torley Olmstead:
[18:21] You: Torley textures
[18:21] You: all free
[18:22] You: He offers them for free,
[18:22] You: use them in yr builds
[18:22] You: they are on help island
[18:22] You: Creative photography
[18:23] You: he has taste for loud colors because of how his eyes perceive
[18:23] You: he learned where his weaknesses are
[18:23] You: learned to speak confidently
[18:24] You: he loves the great avatars here
[18:24] You: very beautiful
[18:24] You: encourage you to never stop being creative, never stop living SL
[18:24] You: carry it on
[18:24] You: concerned not with buzzwords (social media) but how to really connect with people
[18:24] You: last picture, next to last
[18:25] You: Here Island
[18:25] Torley Olmstead:
[18:25] You: A joke – “You are Here”
[18:25] You: all video tutorials there
[18:25] You: how to use click actions
[18:26] You: he answers questions
[18:26] You: type them in text
[18:26] You: Please type questions in chat
[18:26] You: It is super fantastic to be here
[18:26] Crysta Laville: Thx Torley for being a speaker tonight
[18:27] You: he’d have to see what anti-scam scripts are all about
[18:27] You: be sceptical
[18:27] You: of “get rich now”
[18:27] You: don’t trust anti-lag scripts
[18:27] MC: this question came up in the other day, do you object if people use the textures in other virtual worlds?
[18:27] You: Use Torley textures ANYWHERE
[18:27] You: totally open source
[18:27] [multiple people]: As a mother of an autistic child, what advice could you give parents to support their child to succeed as well as you have
[18:28] You: advice for parents: accummulation of small victories
[18:28] You: they get discouraged, look for the small victories
[18:28] You: his mom was nurturing, dad was Donald-Trump-esque – they balanced well
[18:28] You: don’t compare too much to other people
[18:28] You: comparisons are useless
[18:29] You: unrealistic expectations
[18:29] You: such as to compare to Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods i
[18:29] You: don’t listen to bullies
[18:29] You: he’s been bullied a lot
[18:29] You: Have a happier first life and SL than not
[18:29] You: if tempted to snipe, try to be nice instead
[18:29] You: person by person – small victories
[18:29] CR: Torley: Do you think of Asperger’s as a disability, or as being ‘different’ with no significant impairments? If the former, what would you consider to be your ‘worst’ AS-related disability, and how do you deal with it?
[18:30] You: come to his office hours for technical questions
[18:30] You: disability: not being able to relate to others, using body language, but flip side – he doesn’t feel inhibited
[18:30] You: he just goes for it πŸ™‚
[18:29] RH: Torley I have a very interesting question, if you have someone who is Autistic or is with Asburgers who is harrasing residents, is it okay to file ARs against them if they are persistant? That is to say, should they be treated like everyone else even though they have disabilities?
[18:31] You: first talk to people to understand who they are
[18:30] LM: Is Asburgers an excuse for being an intolerable poop face?
[18:31] You: even people with Aspergers need to be sensitive to community standards and communicating kindly
[18:31] You: even if you don’t know how
[18:31] You: have a heart to heart to help
[18:31] You: do the humane thing
[18:32] You: there are bound to be communication barriers, we should aspire to transcend them
[18:32] You: I will reach out to you, will you reach out to me? keep trying
[18:32] RS: Q: I have been told you also suffer from a mild form of agoraphobia, is that missinformation, or if it’s true, how has SL affected you. —
[18:32] You: agoraphobia rumor is true
[18:33] You: anxiety in crowds when he was a child
[18:33] You: trying to come off as someone who wasn’t a total freak
[18:33] You: the first few times I do something, I’ll goof up, make horrible mistakes
[18:32] Milton Broome: Greetings Torley. In your opinion what is the advantage of Second Life over real life for people with Autism and Asperger’s?
[18:33] You: Don’t. Give. Up.
[18:33] You: how we learn
[18:33] You: is to keep trying
[18:33] KM: Torley, what is the difference between Aspergers and High Functioning Autism?
[18:33] EA: is your opinion of where your weakneses are the same as what others view of what your weaknesses are????
[18:33] KK: does repitition sometimes help with understanding?
[18:34] You: what are teh benefits of SL for folks w/ Asp/Aut?
[18:34] You: you don’t get all the emotional bandwidth, but it is safer, not a fear of phsycial violence
[18:35] You: allows you to focus on your obsessions -> glad addictions
[18:35] You: opportunity to share
[18:35] You: without feeling your are being stared at
[18:34] BG: How is the way you see colors different from most people’s perception of them?
[18:36] You: Torley has keen grasp of dynamic edge with respect to colors
[18:34] CB: Is there help for people with Autisum & Asbergers in Teen SL?
[18:35] You: He would love to know more about TSL
[18:35] You: there are communities outside SL
[18:35] Torley Olmstead:
[18:35] MS: Torley, have you found, as you get more immersed in SL, that your AS has come to the fore as it would in RL? I find that as SL becomes more integrated as part of my RL, some of my issues have crossed the border as it were?
[18:36] shiney Sprocket: I’d say!
[18:36] You: there’s always been a crossover between Asperger in SL and RL
[18:36] You: Some folk are interested because they have family
[18:36] You: Torley loves to help
[18:37] LM: Is autism a reason a 16 year old would expose themselves on camera?
[18:37] You: He can’t talk about other people’s motives
[18:37] KM: Torley, What is the difference between Austism and Asberger’s?
[18:37] You: encourage people to do research and learn more
[18:37] MF: Why would you use poor pokeman as shoes?
[18:37] You: Pika-Shoe = Pikachu
[18:38] You: no actual Pokemon were harmed in the creation of these shoes πŸ˜‰
[18:37] You: come to office hours for more answer to questions
[18:38] You: email is listed in his profile
[enthusiastic applause ensues and lasts for several minutes]
[18:38] You: followup followup followup
[18:38] You: share with a friend
[18:38] You: spread the goodness
[18:39] You: there are always problems, but there are not always solutions unless you help make them
[18:41] RH: Can I have your autograph?
[18:41] Torley Olmstead: hehehe
[18:41] Torley Olmstead: thanks so much each and everyone!
[18:42] Torley Olmstead: Rei what an awesome hat
[18:42] Torley Olmstead: EYE AND TONGUE OMG
[18:42] Torley Olmstead: aww shiney
[18:43] Torley Olmstead: yup hanging out!
[18:43] Torley Olmstead: i ❀ awesome hats
[18:43] Torley Olmstead: i have this giant hat collection
[18:43] Torley Olmstead: it shall never cease
[18:43] Torley Olmstead: oh cool to know that re: textures Rei
[18:45] Torley Olmstead:
[18:51] You: Torley – would it be OK to share the portion of the chatlog that was trying to transcribe your voice talk?
[18:51] Torley Olmstead: sure Perplexity!
[18:52] Torley Olmstead: THANKS for helping
[18:52] You: Thank you very much!
[18:52] Ravenelle Zugzwang: I also took video and we hope to have that up soon
[18:52] You: Thank you, Ravenelle! I will watch for it
[18:57] Torley Olmstead: also
[18:58] Torley Olmstead: oh totally fine, Jaymes, what’s the URL?
[18:59] JK: — Here you go, Torley. πŸ™‚
[18:59] Torley Olmstead: thanx Jaymes!
[19:00] RH: Torley: this is a interesting concept someone has for new in world features
[19:00] SS: that is the site I used to stream various capture devices and webcams in SL.
[19:01] SS: Not to access it there Perplexity, to stream INTO secondlife from a camera.
[19:01] You: ah – oh, thanks!
[19:01] You: that is really useful
[19:01] You: veodia as a bridge
[19:02] Torley Olmstead: yeah have you seen the shadow-draft in Second Life πŸ™‚
[19:03] Ravenelle Zugzwang: We did a video recently..let me find a link
[19:03] Ravenelle Zugzwang:
[19:03] Torley Olmstead: KirstenLee Cinquetti
[19:03] Torley Olmstead:
[19:04] You: thank you for all the links πŸ™‚
[19:04] Ravenelle Zugzwang: it’s not ready to go live, that is why it’s considered in the experimental stage at this time
[19:08] JC:


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