Demographic Trends / Autism Communication Breakthrough

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Date Host George Noory
Guests Kenneth Gronbach, J.B. Handley

Generational marketing expert Ken Gronbach looks into future trends using the tool of demographics. In the first half, he discussed such things as the post-COVID population, Baby Boomer retirement, and housing shortages for Millennials. The Millennial population in America (also known as Generation Y, ages 17-36) is massive, some 88 million strong. They're at the age when they're starting to have kids of their own, and looking for homes, particularly in southern states like Texas, he reported. After the pandemic wanes, Boomers will be moving in droves to Florida, he continued, and with their influx of money, opportunities will arise for everyone else. He shared three tips if you want to sell to Boomers: "Save me some time; make my life easy; don't rip me off." 

For US businesses, he cited the importance of anticipating the market. For instance, with the aging Boomers, the need for health care is going to double. Crime in the US is headed downward, he stated, because the younger generation (Generation Z) is smaller, and the quality of police officers is going up with a larger pool of Millennials to hire from. China, he noted, will have a huge labor shortage because of their one-child policy. Their country is overrun with the elderly, who have no social security-like safety net, and there are not enough workers to care for them, he added. Canada doesn't have a large enough indigenous labor force to meet their needs, Gronbach pointed out, but they are successfully bringing immigrant workers in from around the world. 

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Author J.B. Handley is the co-founder and chairman of Generation Rescue. In the latter half, he detailed the journey of his non-verbal autistic son Jamison (Jamie) and how they discovered that rather than having diminished mental capacity, he was actually fully conscious and highly intelligent all along. Handley suggested that Jamie's limited ability to speak was due to a malfunction in his brain's motor function rather than some type of cognitive impairment. Just 15 months ago, Handley brought his son to the Growing Kids Therapy Center in Virginia, where he was taught a spelling-to-communicate (S2C) method using a letterboard.

The S2C method quickly revealed Jamie's high intelligence and articulateness when he was allowed to spell in order to communicate. The Center estimates that around 40-50% of autistic kids who present as non-verbal are actually brilliant like Jamie, and just trapped inside their bodies. Handley expressed frustration that speech-language pathologists and their governing body, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, have not yet accepted S2C as a legitimate tool for such cases. After learning this new method, Jamie was able to co-write with his father, their new book, Underestimated: An Autism Miracle, and plans to go to college. Further, when typing on an iPad keyboard, Jamie's voice is heard aloud, using the Proloquo4Text app (George conducted a short on-air interview with Jamie using this method).

News segment guests: John M. Curtis, Chuck Coppes

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