Category Archives: Autism

Keeping this category here – mostly for search purposes.

ASNL Celebrates Autism Awareness Month 2013

The Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador is celebrating October as Autism Awareness Month. To do this, one of the things they’re arranging is a series of talks, incorporating subjects such as naturopathy, nutrition, etc. There’s only really one I’m interested in, however.

On Wednesday Oct. 30th, the Connections (Adult Aspies) Group is going to be having an “open house” (so to speak) panel; the topics are planned to include such things as sensory issues, anxiety, social issues, and available resources. At the moment, the plan is for 3-4 people to speak, and then have an “open floor” where questions can be asked.

The reason I’m particularly interested in this meeting is that I’m going to be one of the panelists speaking; my focus is going to be on sensory issues (with perhaps a bit of info re creativity and assuming competence thrown in). I essentially figure that if I want to be a self-advocate, I’ve got to start somewhere, and why not with something like this?

I have a basic plan of what I intend to say: intro to the fact that humans actually have seven senses, rather than just the five obvious ones; an explanation of proprioception and vestibular senses (to explain the sixth and seventh); and then an explanation of some of the issues that ASDers tend to run into when it comes to sensory issues – quick and succinct, but hopefully providing enough info that the parents (it’s likely to be parents, mostly, who attend) will understand a bit better what their children are going through. I intend to touch on hyper-sensitivity, hypo-sensitivity, the fact that one can have opposite reactions to different things in the same sense (I know someone on my blog circle, can’t remember who, loves spicy stuff but can’t tolerate the taste of mint), and hopefully mention a few potential coping strategies (including the fact that stimming is often a method of trying to cope with the overwhelming sensory influx that we live with). If there’s time (I’ll likely have maybe 15 minutes to talk), I also intend to mention the theories about how it’s possible that our impaired understanding of emotional and body language cues might actually be because of our sensory issues, rather than them being separate things that just happen to fall under the common umbrella of ASD symptoms, and also about the possibility that “emotional sense” is also a sensory input that we can end up overwhelmed by.

The thing is, I’d also like to provide some further sources for people to look into. I intend to have sheets to pass around with blog URLs, but if anyone has any blog posts specifically about sensory issues that they think might help educate people, and wouldn’t mind if I put those direct links on the sheet, could you please let me know? Also, if there’s anything that you think I should consider mentioning about sensory issues (whether I’ve listed it above or not), I would welcome your thoughts. There’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to include all of the suggestions (considering potential time constraints), but even just knowing what others think is important to mention could help.

Thanks!

😉 tagAught

Let’s Talk About: Hyper-Focus vs Lack of Focus

Okay. First of all, this was not originally the next post I was going to write. I have an unfinished post about driving as stimming (which I’ve been meaning to finish and post for about three to four months now – mea culpa), and there are some other issues that I want to explore as well. But I went out for coffee with my local friend tonight, and we got to talking about some of the things we experience. One of them was the element of focus, and it ended up being (pun not intended) the focus of our conversation. And I thought it might be interesting to open up the dialogue to others as well.

I have two different “focus” modes: What I call hyper-focus, or concentrating so hard on one thing that everything else (including calls to come and eat dinner) gets blocked out; and lack of focus, where I’m lost and can’t decide what needs doing or what has priority. And a lot of things I’ve read about other autistics say the same thing. Especially if it involves one of our special interests (definitely hyper-focus), or if it’s something we’re not at all interested in (lack of focus).

The lack of focus element definitely seems to be linked to problems with executive function, and it’s quite possible that the hyper-focus is as well.

Read on to find out what I think and how I deal!

#SensoryIssues: Interoception & Psychosomatism

Musings posted on her blog on July 3rd a post about “interoception”, which she defined as:

describes our sensitivity to sensations that originate in our bodies

Her post concentrates on the issues surrounding the muting of interoceptive signals that is quite often a “Thing” for autistics, and the problems that can result from that (such as a serious infection, in her case, which could have been caught weeks ago if she had been aware of the sensation); and on the issues of alexithymia, which often mean confusing emotional states with interoceptive information.

In my response to one of the comments on that post, I linked the concept of interoception to the concept of psychosomatic symptoms; and this post is to explore that concept further.

Continue reading

#SensoryIssues: Pain

[Note: This post and the next one (#SensoryIssues: Interoception & Psychosomatism) are linked in theme, so they will be posted closely together.  Same day, at least.]

I don’t complain a lot about pain.

I’m sure some people (*cough* my family *cough*) will disagree, but… I don’t. Not when compared to what I actually feel, at least. I tend to feel a fair bit more pain than I talk about to people, partly because I don’t know how to say things, and partly because… well, see my hypochondria posts (links are below) for the details on how I feel about that.

Oh, if I have a nasty headache, or bad cramps, or I get a sensory “spike” (like when cutlery clashes together, or a child squeals in excitement, etc.)… then I complain. Or at least mention it.

Sometimes very obviously (aka covering my ears with my hands, holding my stomach), because I’m never sure how to convey the information and words don’t seem to be enough. I’m not always listened to (especially by my siblings; my parents are a lot more understanding, particularly lately, as we learn new stuff about the sensory sensitivities of autistics), so broad, sometimes exaggerated gestures have become my main effort to get across to people that I’m hurting. (Of course, this then results in people – *cough* my brother *cough* – telling me that there’s no need to do that, it’s not like it’s an issue. [Said after I covered my ears to try to deal with my niece’s excited squealing. I wasn’t trying to make her feel bad or anything; I just could not tolerate the pitch of her voice, and no one was listening to my requests to please be a bit quieter. </rant over>])

Continue on to read more re Pain Issues

#SensoryIssues: Taste vs Texture – Food Dislikes

So, I was having tomato sandwiches for lunch today (been a long time since I’ve had those, and I remembered how much I enjoy them) when it suddenly came to me that I didn’t really like tomato sandwiches on brown bread, that they tasted better with white bread. Now, this didn’t really make that much sense, because I find that I prefer the taste of brown bread to white bread; it’s more interesting.

So I was trying to puzzle this out, and after a minute or two, I realized that it wasn’t really the taste of brown bread tomato sandwiches I was objecting to; it was the texture! Revelation!

Read on for details

Autism Upsides Continues: May 2013

We’re not going to let the end of April stop us. Let’s keep on with the Autism Upsides! Here’s the Storify for May 2013, everyone; read and enjoy the positive things that are a good part of autism.

Continue on to the May 2013 Storify!

tagAught Celebrates 1000 Ausome Things #AutismPositivity2013

Today is Autism Positivity Day 2013, and the theme for this year is “1,000 Ausome Things”. We get enough of hearing about the bad things about autism; let’s hear about the good things! For my contribution, see the list below…. (Note: I’m taking a few of them from my contributions to the #AutismUpside campaign.)

Autism Positivity 2013 Flash Blog Image

Autism Positivity 2013!

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Autism Upsides Week 4: AWN’s April Campaign

And now, as we approach the end of April 2013, we’ve got Week 4 of the Autism Women’s Network April Autism Upsides campaign. And we’ve got the Autism Positivity 2013 Flash Blog coming up as well, which the contents of this campaign can help with! So, enjoy the last two days of April (May will be a new Storify) with the Autism Upsides campaign!

Continue on for the Storify (now complete)!

Autism Positivity Day 2013 Is Coming

Hey, everyone! This is just a short post to remind people that Autism Positivity Day 2013 is coming up on Tuesday (April 30)! The theme this year is “ausome” things about ASD – the flash blog is trying to come up with at least a thousand of them. As the intro post says, we all know a lot of the bad, unpleasant or difficult things that accompany autism; we live with them every day. But there are good things too! So let’s get those lists started!

And to prompt you, feel free to read the Autism Upside Storifies of the past few weeks (each word is a link to the different storify posts)! (Now including Week 4!) We’ve got you started, let’s keep up the good work!

😉 tagAught

Autism Upsides Week 3: AWN’s April Campaign

And… onto Week #3 of the #AutismUpside campaign on Twitter! We’ve got more coming in, so pop in and take a look!

On to the Storify (Now Complete)!

Services = IQ ≤ 70

*sighs*

My Mom is still working on making connections with Eastern Health, trying to get services for me so that I can live independently. I’m working (somewhat – I seriously need help with motivation, depression has me in its grasp) on getting Income Support and Employment Insurance. I’ve filled out the forms and stuff, now it’s mostly waiting.

But for Mom… she keeps running into the same old problem. “If she has an IQ of higher than 70, we can’t help her.”

Click for further venting and expressions of dissatisfaction

Autism Upsides Week 2: AWN’s April Campaign

The Autism Upsides campaign on Twitter has been going wonderfully, to the extent that the storify I set up last week has become extremely long. There have been so many tweets coming in; definitely something for all of us to be proud of. In order to ensure that people who have already read most of it don’t have to go through clicking “Read More” a ridiculous number of times, I’ve decided to split the Storify of the Autism Upsides campaign up into weeks, rather than just have one for the entire month.

So, here is Week 2 (Monday April 15th to Sunday April 24th, 2013) of the Autism Women’s Network #autismupside campaign on Twitter.

Continue on to read the Storify (Now Complete)!

Meltdown of Frustration

Well, it’s happened. The meltdown (at least the first of them) that I figure I’ve been moving towards since December at the latest has finally expressed itself. And I’m pretty sure that at the moment, I am non-verbal – or maybe even soundless.

And every time I think the tears have stopped, they just start up again.

Continue to read on about my meltdown and what caused it

Partial #NonVerbal Autism: Camp NaNoWrimo April 2013 #2

Okay, didn’t expect to be doing a post on this, but it turns out that one of the main characters in my Camp NaNoWriMo novel (It Came From the Library, in case anyone forgot ;)) is autistic. In some ways, she’s a combo of one of my best friends and myself.

(In other ways not, but she’s sort of a homage to my best friend. Shh! Don’t tell her! *pauses* Whoops, she reads this. Oh well, she deserves it. She’s been my friend through thick and thin for over 10 years now, and the support she’s provided me has been truly invaluable. Even if we’ve never met in person, she deserves the appellation of “best friend”.)

The thing is, I want the character to be partially non-verbal. When she gets stressed, she can lose her words. But I don’t have this issue (not unless I’m so seriously stressed that I’m on the edge of a meltdown and about to go over, or I’m being forced to make a decision), so I don’t have as much information about it as I’d like. I have read a number of blog entries that mention it (Ballastexistenz, for one, and Unstrange Mind’s, to provide two examples of bloggers who have brought it up), but I’d like more info, if anyone’s willing to provide it. (Note: This is not a demand. I’m just hoping that some of you who have non-verbal periods would be willing to share info and thoughts with me. Questions are below, as well as details about the character.)

Continue reading

Recommendation: Wiring the Brain- The Genetics of Emergent Phenotypes

I mentioned this blog post in my post on “Autism Speaks: I Want to Say”, but I think it deserves its own post recommending it.

The Genetics of Emergent Phenotypes, on Wiring the Brain.

Continue for details, or just click the link above!

Recommendation: Musing’s Survey #1

Okay, Musing of an Aspie‘s “Take a Test Tuesday” has now changed over to “Take a Survey Tuesday”, at least for a month. I highly recommend them; the questions are asked by ASDers for other ASDers. The first one, now up, is about relationships – friendships, family, romantic.

So, what are you doing still over here? Pop over to her post and either fill out the survey on Survey Monkey, or answer in the comments!

😉 tagAught

“Autistic People Are”…

Today is the flash blog day for Autistic People Are, a follow-up to last week’s Autistic People Should flash blog. I’m not going to write a terribly long post today, because what I have to say is fairly short.

Autistic people are fellow human beings.

Yes, “fellow human beings” is emphasized. Because that’s how we should be treated.

Please, think about that before you start trolling or hating.

[Edit: Mar. 03/13] Check out Unstrange Mind’s post about Autistic People Are; it gives details about what these two flash blogs are all about, and what’s been done so far. [/End Edit]

Thank you.

😐 tagAught

Asperger’s Diagnosis, Official and Non-

So, here it is, the post where I talk about how I felt concerning my Aspie diagnosis.

Official diagnosis? Relief.

Now, at least some of this was because, well, I’d actually sought that diagnosis. I’d made a point of going to the people who helped a friend of mine get his diagnosis, looking for one. It gave me the ability to access information and resources (including the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan: Gov’t of Canada initiatives to help Canadians with disabilities that result in “severe and prolonged impairment of physical or mental functions” – which, quite frankly, ASD does).

Unfortunately, I’m still looking for some of those necessary supports…. Read further on my chatty opinions and thoughts….

ASD Behaviours and Traits

Warning: Very long post!

Once again, I seem to be writing something other than I meant to because of a response I started writing to one of The Third Glance‘s posts. This one is on my own ASD behaviours as a child and teen – what I know of them, at least. I have vague memories of my childhood, somewhat better ones of my adolescence, but most of what I remember is generic things that repeated, and specific events that stood out in my memory for some reason or another (some good, some bad). I may easily miss some – I’m still learning what is “normal” for ASD and what might have been something else, but these are the ones that my mother and I remember (or I experienced). Not in any particular order, except that of how they occurred to me while writing. Read on for the details

Making Decisions and Prioritization

(Before I get into the details of the post, if you haven’t read it already – or if you read it before Jan. 09/13 – I would greatly appreciate you reading all the way through my First Post. Then feel free to come back. Thank you.)

Originally, this post was going to be about my diagnosis, and how it felt to finally have that official medical validation that said, “Yes, I have Asperger’s. Yes, I am on the autistic spectrum.”

But then I read The Third Glance’s article about how she survived jury duty, and in my response, I found myself explaining about why I wouldn’t make a good candidate for jury duty. I don’t have as much trouble processing audial/verbal input as she does, though I know I’d end up exhausted at the end of each day. No, my reason was both much more and much less complex, in some ways.

I can’t make decisions. Continue on to find out what I mean…

Civility / Politeness in the ASD Community

Pretty big post for my second one, but some of the other posts I’ve been reading have prompted me to put this on my own blog. Most of this post is actually written in response to two other posts, in Flappiness’s blog: Silencing Ourselves: A Plea for Civility in the ASD Community; and Civility is Simple, not Simplistic: A Response. Check them out; they have some really good points.

So, without further ado:

Just because people disagree with what you think is no reason to throw civility out the door. And yes, when you’re civil, it’s a lot more likely that people will listen to you, and at least consider your point. If you call people names, etc., they’ll feel hurt, and they’ll ignore you and whatever you’re trying to say. Which can be quite damaging when you’ve got a good and / or important point to make.

But there’s another element to that in the ASD community. Read on to understand

First Post

Okay, this is my first post on this blog, although I’ve been using LiveJournal for a while now. But rather than the general stuff and fiction of my LJ blog (now at tag’s Haven), this is going to concentrate on my life; the difficulties and achievements I have in this life.

I was inspired by two blogs on WordPress to get this done, and a third confirmed that I was doing the right thing. Flappiness and The Third Glance were the ones that inspired me, and Aspects of Aspergers essentially told me I was doing the right thing, just by reading through their blogs.

So, a bit about me.

Currently I work as an intern with the Independent Living Resource Centre, which is a cross-disability organization that aims to help people with disabilities live fulfilling, independent lives.

Independent Living is as follows:

Independent Living is about having choices, making decisions, taking risks, and taking responsibility. Independent Living is about having control over one’s own life.

“Independent Living is not measured by the quality of tasks we can perform without support, but by the quality of life we can have with support.”

–from the ILRC Website

The other things you need to know about me is that I write SF and Fantasy, both fanfiction and original, and I hope to get published sometime within the next ten years at most; and that I love cats, especially the one who happens to be my avatar, Imber.

[edit Jan. 08/13]

Before you finish reading this post, I’d like to make a note about my life, and I want everyone who reads this blog to take it seriously, please. My parents made some mistakes with me as I was growing up. But every parent does that. And mine didn’t have the advantage that many parents have today of knowing that I was autistic (let’s not get into issues of denial and problems accessing services, okay?). I had an advanced vocabulary from the time I could talk, which was at an about average time, and never showed any indications of problems before I entered kindergarten. Back then, that was too late to be considered an ASD. They didn’t even find and acknowledge Hans Asperger’s papers on AS until three years before I graduated high school, and it wasn’t an official diagnosis until the year I graduated. So my parents did the best they could with what info they had. And they went to bat for me with school officials, which wasn’t easy. And now I’m living with them, while we’re all trying to deal with the fact that I have definite, measurable issues with independent living, as proved by the 9 years I spent on my own, and I haven’t been able to get an OT – see my next post, coming soon – and the local Autism Society is being no help at all.

So. My parents are in a very frustrating situation, and are still doing the very best they can to help me. If I make any comments about things that they’ve done, or not done, throughout my life… it is not their fault. They didn’t have the resources we have today, nor did they have the resources we are developing here and now, on my blog and others, with adult autistics being able to tell people what it was like for them growing up. Please take that into consideration before you make any comments on my parents’ behaviour that might be mentioned in here.

[end edit]

Thanks for reading. See you all later!

😉 tagAught