Author Archives: Trudy A. Goold

Let’s Talk About: #Neurodivergent ≠ Saint

Bit of a rant here, just warning you….

Disclaimer

Additional Disclaimer: I am not naming names; this may have been prompted by one incident, but I have no desire to start a flame war.

So, a friend recently sent me a link to a post by someone else that was written in response to a comment they’d left on a previous post. A calm, rational comment, that did disagree with some (though definitely not all) of the author’s viewpoint, but explained why they disagreed. The subsequent post (the one I was directed to) did a not-very-good job of “paraphrasing” certain elements of the comment (i.e. they were not direct quotes, they were the author putting their own spin on what was said), and seemed to feel that my friend was NT because they disagreed with the author.

Continue for more details and my reactions.

#SensoryIssues: #Interoception – #Toileting

Disclaimer: As far as I’m aware, I had no issues with toilet training.

So, a few weeks ago, I saw a comment somewhere (I no longer remember where, but it may have been Twitter) that essentially claimed that the only reason autistics might have trouble with toileting issues is low intelligence (note I didn’t say “IQ”). This is my response.

As we know now, most – if not all – autistics have trouble with sensory issues; sensory issues that when unaccompanied by other elements are diagnosable (in North America) as Sensory Perception Disorder, or SPD. Those difficulties can be summed up in three parts: hypersensitivity (overly sensitive to stimuli); hyposensitivity (very not sensitive to stimuli); and sensory seeking (seeking out certain sensory stimuli). Note that sometimes hyposensitivity and sensory seeking end up focused on the same form of stimulus, and one seeks out that form of sensory stimulus because one is hyposensitive to it.

As we also know, there are more senses than just the commonly known five (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell); there’s: Click to continue reading

Let’s Talk About: Alyx, The “Robotic Emotion Teacher”

So, I’ve mentioned Neurodivergent Rebel’s Twitter sessions of #AskingAutistics before, in my post about grief and coping with it. On Saturday (the 13th), she posted about an article on Quartz Media, regarding a robot that the creators say can teach adult autistics to read emotion and facial expression nuances. According to the article, researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland created Alyx. It’s generated a fair amount of irritation among autistics on Twitter, for various reasons.

I’m going to quote from the article, and then give some of my counter-points (some of which I’ve already mentioned on Twitter, but are expanded here). Because honestly, this is not going to work the way the article claims it will. Here’s why (aside from the fact that already a number of autistics are vehemently opposed to it).

Read on, my dearies, read on….

Let’s Talk About: Emotions – Feeling Left Out

It looks like I’m going to be doing a series of rambles about emotion. This one, as per the title, is about feeling left out. I was thinking about other stuff yesterday, and a few memories came up that put me in mind of this particular emotion.

It’s a difficult feeling to quantify and to express, the sense of feeling left out of something. Particularly when you already have trouble with social cues and body language, and so can’t necessarily recognize that whatever you’re feeling left out of has nothing to do with you.

It’s also a very alienating and isolating emotion. Even thinking about talking about it makes me want to cry or melt down. Not exactly a pleasant topic, I’m afraid.

But it’s an important one. Particularly when the people around you don’t mean for you to get the impression that you’re being left out of things.

Read on for my rambles and thoughts on the matter.

Let’s Talk About: Emotions – #Grief

There’s a series on Twitter about how (we) autistics feel negative emotions right now, prompted by one of Neurodivergent Rebel’s Twitter #AskingAutistics polls. (Which I highly recommend, by the way.) And since there are things going on in my life right now that make this a fairly relevant topic for me, I decided to write a post on it. Or more specifically, write a current post on grief. I’ll probably write about others later, but this is the one relevant right now.

I’ve mentioned alexithymia – the inability to recognize/categorize one’s own emotions, and sometimes to have physical reactions to emotions instead of “feeling” them – before, both when speaking of imagination, and about psychosomatic issues. And there’s also the issue that autistics tend to emote in ways that are not recognized/understood by the neurotypical audience. All of this means that quite often, the neurotypical audience has no idea what we feel, or how deeply/intensely.

One thing I do know about grief, from previous experience, is that I process it very differently from most of my family. (I’m not sure about my dad – we haven’t really discussed that.) Of course, no one processes emotions in exactly identical fashion, whether from the neurotypical or the neurodiverse population… but my way is rather different from most others that I’ve heard of.

Read on for more about my processing and the questions to talk about

Let’s Talk About: Followup #AnxietyAttacks What Helps?

On Wednesday I posted about anxiety/panic attacks, and what happened to me on Monday. As one might guess, it’s been a topic of conversation among my family since then.

And what keeps coming up (understandably enough, especially considering that no one said anything or reacted to me on Monday) is the question: What can be done to help? What helps while the attack is happening, and what helps after it’s over?

Read on for details and Let’s Talk About questions

Nerves Like Exposed Live Wires

Have you ever felt like your nerves were exposed wires – live ones? Jittery, exposed to air, live wires? That might at any time make your muscles do strange things, like seize up? That feel as though there’s static electricity – or any kind of electricity, really, but static electricity gives the idea I’m going for in terms of strength – going along them?

I have. In fact, the reason this post is going up now is that’s how I’ve been feeling almost since I woke up this morning. Even after taking my Vitamin B complex (vitamin B is good for your neural network).

The first time I can remember feeling this way was in the fall/winter of 2012/3, when I was doing an internship with ILRC-NL (now Empower). One of my placements was at a hotel, and the first time I tried to work at the reception desk (as opposed to the “operator room”), there was a vacuum cleaner being used off to my left. My left upper arm immediately started feeling that way – as though the nerves were exposed to air and had electricity stronger than the normal neural communication shooting through it. Sensory Overload Warning!

It seems (for me) to happen when I’m stretched thin, or when I’m stressed and anticipating something that may not be terribly pleasant, or if there’s major unpleasant sensory input (like the vacuum cleaner mentioned above). (Today I suspect it falls under the “stretched thin” category – see my last post.) It’s usually strongest in my upper arms – and if it’s on one side only, usually that’s the left side, or the side that the sensory input that is unpleasant is situated. Both sides, or more than just my upper arm, and it’s most likely to be one of the first two situations.

So I was wondering. Does anyone else get this sensation? Is it something that happens occasionally, frequently, or all the time? Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with it other than “wait it out”? (Or “take a nap and see if that calms it down enough”?)

Would love to hear from others!

Thanks,
🙂 tagâûght

Let’s Talk About: #AnxietyAttacks

Disclaimer

So, I meant to get this up yesterday, but due to things around the topic, I spent yesterday trying to distract myself.

Anxiety (and depression) seem to go hand-in-hand with autism, and no one yet has been able to determine whether they are co-occuring conditions, or whether there’s something about the autistic brain wiring that lends itself to anxiety and depression, or perhaps they’re symptoms of trying to deal with a world not suited to us for years and years on end (which is what I suspect they are, personally, but I’m not a scientist). Could really be any one or any combo of those things.

Basic intro over with, let’s go on to what I want to talk about (and hear from others about) today: Anxiety attacks.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I tend to get anxiety attacks when medical issues are being discussed, and they present (for me) like hypoglycemic attacks: lightheadedness, cold sweats, dizziness, shakes, etc. I know one person who “whites out” when they have an anxiety/panic attack, and another who thought they were having a heart attack when they had their first (that they could remember) attack.

The reason this topic came up for me to write about was what happened to me this past Monday.

CW: Mention of dental procedures, not very detailed, but method of injecting freezing stated.

Read on for details and questions

#BoycottToSiri: Here’s Why #ActuallyAutistic Reviews

Disclaimer

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve got some links for you of excellent reviews by other autistic adults (pretty sure all of the ones I’ve got are by autistics, but there might be a couple of allistic responses in there as well) about the reasons why we need to boycott “To Siri With Love” by Judith Newman.

But first, I want to express just how disappointed I am – and why – at Ms. Newman’s recent claim that To Siri was not meant for an autistic audience. I know I mentioned this yesterday in my list of grievances about it, but I want to reiterate today as a separate thing.

Any books about autism, no matter who they are written by, have an effect on autistics – in a lot of cases, because they affect the way autistics are treated by the readers of the book and, in a number of cases, by society at large. We may not be the ones targetted as readers, but because of the effect those books have, our opinions, needs, and desires about them need to be taken into account.

No author of a book about autism – or anyone else discussing that book – has the right to say that it has nothing to do with autistics. No one. By definition, a book about autism involves us.

You want to read a book written by an allistic parent about their autistic child? May I recommend Iris Grace by Arabella Carter-Johnson? (Also see my post BBC Video Article: Cat Helps 6 Year Old Autistic.) The author doesn’t try to hide the challenges that can come from raising an autistic child, but neither does she shy away from the joys that can come from the same. And she is respectful of both her daughter and the autistic community, which is always good to see in a book about autism.

Now, on to the links. (Please note that they’re not in any particular order, save how they’re saved in my Evernote.)

To the links and my descriptions….