Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What is a meltdown?

When the long-toothed, snarly, rabid emotions find the key and set them self loose from the reinforced locked room, take over and run rampant dragging you by the ankle, in circles at 100 mph
Complete and utter lose of footing and control.

Meltdown, Comfort Me Suzanne Vega "Gypsy"

Sometimes I feel like I'm a powder keg....and someone has thrown a lit match
Meltdown

"You come from far away
With pictures in your eyes"

Unexpectedly, I was put in a situation that caused me great internal strife. Couldn't figure out what I was supposed to say, how to escape, how to stop the verbal barrage...

"Of coffee shops and morning streets
In the blue and silent sunrise"

And this...person, would not shut the fuck up.
Then she realized I was upset. Asked what was going on. Wanted to take me to another room, away from my highly distressed son, and Talk Some More.
How can I make these fucking idiots realize that there comes a point in which words become flaming weapons of hurt?
At these times, I have to, have to, for my own safety and protection, figuratively Slam the Door, shut them out, pretend they have disappeared off the face of the earth because The Words Hurt Too Much! In the interest of stopping pain, I run. I'm a runner. When stuck, stymied, on the verge of uncontrollable emotion, I drop everything and I Run.
I slammed the door.
And then she tried calling me at the house.
I cannot deal anymore. I refused to "pick up and deal" because I cannot!!

"But night is the cathedral
Where we recognize the sign
We strangers know each other now
As part of the whole design"

I feel like a bird without wings, completely useless to fly outside. Do you think, if others knew....how precarious and fragile the autistic survivor is.....that they might hold me up? Off the damp ground? And help me find my wings?
Do you think that they might look, before they throw the match?
Because once I'm lit baby, once I start to crumble and melt, it's easily hours and days before I can find my feet and open the door and step out again.
Forgive them, for they know not how easily we hurt.

"Oh, hold me like a baby
That will not fall asleep
Curl me up inside you
And let me hear you through the heat"

They don't realize the toll of this everyday existence. They are clueless to the strategies, planning, maneuvers, strife and electrified wire we must cross to make it through this minefield.
Why is solace easily found alone? And what of comfort? Can an Aspie find comfort in someone else's arms? Can a survivor? Others are so complex, manipulative and they talk too damn much.

"You are the jester
Of this courtyard
With a smile
Like a girls"

I keep thinking if I arrange the pillows and blankets just right...maybe it will feel like someone is holding me, comforting me.

"Distracted by the women
With the dimples and the curls"

And there is comfort in music. In the warm, mystical lyrics and rhythms of Suzanne Vega:)

"By the pretty and the mischievous
By the timid and the blessed
By the bowing skirts of ladies
Who promise to gather you to their breast"

I'm guessing many have favorite songs that offer some relief. That allow one to drift to soft visions and away from the pain.

"Oh, hold me like a baby
That will not fall asleep
Curl me up inside you
And let me hear you through the heat"

My faults, weaknesses are showing, like a slip showing, or toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
I hadn't cried in front of this person before. Can't fathom meeting her again face-to-face. Can't even deal with the thought of speaking to her.
Know what? I Don't Have To
Yup, I care about myself enough to avoid any further deep distress.

"You have hands of raining water
And that earring in your ear
The wisdom on your face
Denies the number of your years
With the fingers of the potter
And the laughing of the fool
The arranger of disorder
With your strange and simple rules
Yes now I've met me another spinner
Of strange and gauzy threads
With a long and slender body
And a bump upon the head"

Wow, didn't realize how exceptionally well this song fits.

"Oh, hold me like a baby
That will not fall asleep.....

Thanks Suzanne
Hi Lis
Maybe tomorrow will be even a bit better



"Grace" Shadow Box

I made this a while back. Thought it was time to share. It features a photo of my great grandma Grace:)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Matilda "Fertile Imagination"


My latest shadow box:)


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Info for those who love an autistic, spouse, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend

Found a very interesting blog, Dancing With Ludwig, written by a boyfriend who is NT and his girlfriend is Apergers. Just wanted to recommend:) it isn't often I find good material for the caring NT.

Trust and the Alien Autistic

Aspies Believe This Strongly!!!!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

People I have told, informed I have Aspergers

I've seen this question frequently on Aspie groups....who needs to know I have Aspergers?


 First off, I usually mention that I have "Aspergers which is a mild form of autism." I'm never sure who is familiar with "Aspergers", but I believe most people can understand "mild autism".
 My Partner was the first person to be informed about my Aspergers. Actually, she and I found out together so it was easy. If she hadn't known, she would have been the first person I talked about it with. She's my partner of 18 years and my best friend:)
 After my Partner, I mentioned it to my family physician. My Nurse Practitioner has a mental health background and is very Smart. She has helped me find the right medications to manage my high anxiety (a hallmark and bane of Aspies) and my chronic insomnia.
  Next, I told family members. I had a lot of explaining to do there, but I think it helped them understand why I've behaved in different, unpredictable, anti-social ways. I'm glad I could clear up their misconceptions about me. I'm not difficult, rude, inconsiderate Or self-centered...just an autistic with oversensitivities normal for my species:)
  My older son also has Aspergers, so I needn't have explained much to him. He and I share the majority of Aspie traits. My LittleGuy, who is almost ten, I waited until he was about five or so, and let him know why mommy is different and stays home a lot. As he has grown and matured, I've been able to share what makes me different and what is very challenging for me due to my Aspergers. He asks questions, now and then, and I answer truthfully and based on his comprehension.
 It seems like...some people might harbor shame or uncertainty about being autistic. It's just who we are. I feel no need to hide it. It no longer makes me feel vulnerable when I mention it to others. On the contrary, I keep finding more people that want to help and understand me.
  Back to the original question.....It's important that close friends know I'm autistic. I have very few, but I talk to them about it. My neighbors, whom I frequently run to when I'm in distress or get horribly scared and confused, are also on my "need-to-know" list. This helps out especially when I am overwhelmed in tears and distress. I don't have to work so hard to make words and force msef to talk. I have great neighbors...now that I think about it.
Another group of people I feel should know, are my LittleGuys school teachers. I deal with these people on a daily basis and I know I am different. I often need to ask questions more than once; I need help understanding forms and assignments NTs usually comprehend. I oft get emotional, (yup, I'm a bust out in tears when I get stressed person) when discussing tough issues and they tend to be pretty darn understanding and try and help me. So teachers are important to inform.


My dentist is another person that comes to mind. Although I have the greatest, most compassionate dentist and techs, I'd like to think they treat me just a little more gently than most. Hmmm, if that is one word of the wise, that I could share with everyone..."Treat the Aspie more gently".
One topic I keep reading, is probably the toughest to decide upon.....do I tell my employer? This one is so individual as each employee and employer are different in understanding. I really don't know. I haven't been employed or employable for years. I could probably only get a job if my employer knew about my autism and was a disability-friendly workplace. I wish I could be of more help on this issue.
I just wanted to share my knowledge on this subject. I hope it helps:)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Grand Rapids Press...Aspergers Group

A

Tom Rademacher: Haven for young people with Asperger's reminds us quirks are good

Tom Rademacher | The Grand Rapids PressBy Tom Rademacher | The Grand Rapids Press 
on August 30, 2013 at 12:59 PM, updated August 30, 2013 at 3:30 PM


We all need a haven.

Some of us seek it in books. Others try exercise, bird-watching, Sudoku, ceramics.

And then there’s “Puzzle Partners.”

I’m not referring to jigsaws, but rather a program where teens and young adults with mild social impairments can gather and not be judged too keenly for the simple fact they have Asperger’s Syndrome or high-functioning autism.

Part of me deplores the fact they need a special place to meet at all.

But then I remind myself that while we may all be equal in God’s eyes, we humans have a long way to go before we embrace people who have special needs with the same sort of hugs we give to those who are ostensibly normal.

Says Puzzle Partners member Mike Allen, a graduate of Kenowa Hills High School who enjoys computers, electricity and YouTube: “This is pretty cool. To be with people who have some quirks like I do.”

Mike is one of more than a dozen young adults from Kent and surrounding counties who show up regularly at “The Vault,” a youth center where the group convenes that’s owned by LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, and located on Sheldon Blvd. SE.

Puzzle Partners is a service of Hope Network that exists to provide opportunities for social growth and expression to those in need.

“I’m one of those people who likes making friends,” says Doug Halbeison, 25, who enjoys theater, works two jobs and is making his way through college.

Hannah Jo VanKoevering, 22, expresses it this way: “Friendship and acceptance … and the ability to let loose.”

And that they do, through animated conversation, and by taking part in everything The Vault has to offer – a kitchen, sitting areas, and entertainment that includes television, billiards, Foosball, air hockey and more.

Something amazing occurs when you step into the room and spend time with members of Puzzle Partners. You quickly begin to notice not what makes them different, but beautifully human.

Hannah has her own line of jewelry, entitled “Hannahtudes.” Tyler Riley works in retail, loves concerts, tattoos and piercings.

Ethan Robert Patterson volunteers at Guiding Light Mission, Habitat for Humanity and Noorthoek Academy, a school within Grand Rapids Community College designed for students with special needs.

Rebecca Flanagan, 21, is working on her GED, loves animals (especially horses), and calls herself “an aspiring writer.”

Sarah Frisch, 24, is a graduate of Calvin College, and not at all embarrassed to share that “The first time I knew I was different was during preschool, because all the other girls were playing with dolls, and I liked driving cars through pudding.”

If you see a little bit of yourself – or of others you know – in the above, then good. Your hug factor is growing.

“Puzzle Partners allows kids to take skills and go from being by themselves to being with others, and encouraging others,” says Mohan Krishnan, M.D., director of children’s services for Hope Network.

“Then, hopefully, that transfers to making friends and partnerships outside of Puzzle Partners, and that can lead to jobs, relationships, more opportunities.”

One of the biggest hurdles for those with Asperger’s is landing meaningful work. The problem often lies in a young adult’s inability to score well during job interviews. They may have the cognitive and physical abilities to perform, but fall short in social expression.

Puzzle Partners is designed to overcome that hurdle, one evening at a time, and usually under the watchful eye and generous heart of group facilitator Ann Mary Dykstra, a teacher “for a bajillion years” who “always had a heart for the kids who didn’t fit in well.”

Dykstra encourages each kid to use their voice, express their desires, showcase their gifts.

“People hear the word ‘autism’ and just assume certain behaviors,” she says.

“I was asked once, ‘Could you tell me what a teenage girl with autism is like?’”

Dykstra laughs. “Could you tell me what any teenage girl is like?”

For Dykstra, “I just enjoy each of these young adults personally, and when I’m with them, what I feel is that we don’t need to have them change to conform to society. I wish society could understand their gifts and challenges.

“Our goal is to help each person realize they’re so special beyond autism or Asperger’s.”

Dykstra’s dream is for Puzzle Partners to one day have a place of its own, so they’re not limited to two Thursday evenings a month. But that would take resources for which she and others are still searching.

In the meantime, they meet and celebrate their exquisite who-ness.

“We’re not lesser,” says Hannah Jo, “just different.

“You know. Like bird-watchers.”

Editor’s Note: For more information about Puzzle Partners, visitpuzzlepartners@hopenetwork.org

E-mail Tom Rademacher at: rademachertom@gmail.com