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Jed R Gardner Chairman

 

 

I was born the youngest of 4 children.  Despite being the youngest, I was quite independent.  I didn’t feel the need to talk until I was 3 ½ years old.   If I needed something I got it myself even if that meant pushing a chair, climbing on the counter, then getting the cookies in the upper cupboard without help. 

My siblings, especially my brother, were embarrassed to be around me.  I wasn’t like them. I was always humming or singing.  I buttoned up my shirt all the way-- not leaving the top buttons undone.  To make matters worse, I used “too big of words” once I started talking.  In first grade I was known as the “Little professor.”

I could do math very well.  It was very easy.  It made sense.  It never changed…unlike people.  My father was helping my 15 year-old sister who was struggling with her math.  No matter how hard she tried, she could not get the right answer to a rather difficult equation.  After listening to the tutoring for what seemed like forever, I couldn’t take it any longer so I blurted out the answer. …..To the surprise of my father and disgust of my sister, the answer was right.

My brother would continually remind me that I was different, weird, and geeky. I overheard him ask a friend, “Why is Jed so weird?  Why can’t he be normal?”  The first time he hit me I was 3-4 years old.  The last time is when he graduated from high school and got a job out of state. 

I have had two best friends in my life.  One was in 5th to 6th grade while the other I met my senior year of college and married her less than a year later.  Although I enjoyed parties, I felt they were too much of a bother.  My wife, Annette, once commented that when she couldn’t find me at the church party, all she had to do was go outside and there I would be.

I graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Microbiology and a minor in Chemistry.  I attended Texas A&M University College of Medicine where I earned an M.D.  After 1 year of research at the University of Michigan, I moved to Pueblo, Colorado, where I successfully completed a Family Medicine residency program. I have been Board certified in Family Medicine since that time.  I currently work as an Urgent care doctor at The Intermountain Healthcare Sunset InstaCare in St George, Utah.

My attention was drawn to Autism when 3 of my grandchildren were diagnosed as having ASD or autism spectrum disorder.   As I read up on Autism in an attempt to understand my grandchildren, I began to understand more about myself. I noticed my grandchildren and I shared similar trait.  And then it hit me.  I’m different because too am on the autism spectrum.  My grandchildren helped me answer the question had once asked.  I’m different because I’m not neurotypical. I have ASD.

I pondered the question of what to do with this new revelation.  I decided to help not only my grandchildren, but anyone who has been affected by autism and its associated spectrum.  But the next question was, “How?”   As I thought I realized I have a unique  set of abilities and prospectives given to me by being on the spectrum. I wanted to contribute something important and in the process help others on the autism spectrum to not feel so different, weird, or awkward. 

So on July 06, 2017   I started an experiential adventure camp for anyone affected by autism and its associated spectrum……

Aspie’s Retreat was born.