The information technology-autism connectionAntony Thomas
Clinical Psychologist & Behaviour Analyst, NZ Ministry of Education, Special Education, Hamilton
|Tuesday 10 December 2013|
|There are two prevalent, but contradictory, stereotypes on autism; the first one is of a non-communicative person who engages in self stimulatory/weird behaviours, and the other one is of a person who exhibits many of the characteristics of a creative genius and of a brilliant person. The movie, “Rain Man” might have largely contributed to some of these stereotypes.
The landscape of autism has changed drastically in the past three decades. We now know that a person with High Functioning Autism can engage in any kind of job /profession, provided he has an interest in that activity and can lead a normal or near normal social life. Some of the famous and brilliant people who showed signs of autism include Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, George Orwell, H.G wells. Beethoven, Mozart, Hans Christian Anderson, and Thomas Jefferson.
Some people on the autism spectrum possess superior skills. The ability to focus on a given task for longer periods of time can be an advantage for certain professions. A 2012 study showed that people with autism possess greater than normal capacity for processing information. The research may help to throw light on the higher than average prevalence of people with autistic features in the IT industry. It is not a secret that some of the IT companies are showing extra preference for recruiting people on the autism spectrum for certain type of IT jobs.
It is also a common observation that children with autism are attracted to computers from a very young age. Some of them are even addicted to computers and technology. People with autism prefer to interact with computers more often than to interact with humans because computers are pretty predictable whereas human beings are usually not.
Dr. Thomas, will discuss further on the personality characteristics of autism and the unique dynamics involved in the Information technology - autism connection and attraction. Some the recent research findings on this topic will also be highlighted.
Branding, society and popular cultureDr Muratovski
AUT University, Auckland
|Thursday 24 October 2013|
|In our post-industrial society, consumer goods have transcended the realm of material things and have become a central idea of everyday living. In ever-increasing numbers, people purchase products, use services, or interact with organisations that help them to express themselves, or to feel more like who they want to be, in their own eyes and in the eyes of their peers. Products and businesses have taken abstract and conceptual forms around which a meaningful existence is formed through the use of branding. In line with these developments the focus within the field of design has been shifting from functional and technical components to narrative components. Design has led itself on a search through both design history and material culture for elements of our physical vocabulary that can be called upon anew. Branding has undergone similar processes of self-discovery. Commercial brands have become containers for stories, and correspondingly, designers, brand managers, advertisers, and ‘spin doctors' have become storytellers, and even mythmakers. This seminar will examine branding not merely as a marketing tool, but as a socio-cultural phenomenon that is central to our culture.