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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Working With Horses.....Aspergers

Twas three months ago or so that I first had the opportunity to ride a horse. Actually, I had opportunities to ride in the two months prior, but I was simply way too scared. Finally, I decided to give it a go. I was pretty darn terrified, no doubt, and wasn't at all sure that I would do it again.
I did ride again and wasn't so anxious. By the third or fourth time the excitement overrode the fear enough to become the predominate emotion.
I love riding horses and currently am able to ride at full trot around the arena. Trotting is exhilarating! I clearly remember the first time I trotted for a dozen steps....I laughed. It was so exciting, thrilling and it felt....well, a roller coaster ride with perks. To hear and feel the thundering hoofs making contact with the ground, the jostling and bouncing.....the wind whistling by my ears, swishing the horses mane...all extremely exciting.
Not only do I enjoy riding but I am very enthralled by the whole grooming process. For starters, working with horses is a highly tactile experience and the sensations are quite pleasant. The horses coat is soft and inviting, the feel of the nose, long wiry hairs on the mane, even more rigid and unusual on the tail....ears feel like flexible cardboard covered in velvet. Each coat has a completely different feel to it....a tactile smorgasbord, if you will.
And then there are the hooves which I am also quite fascinated with. Although it is probably the time where I need to be the most cautious, I enjoy cleaning hooves. Another one of those...don't ask me why because I haven't got a clue things. I even bought a book just on hoof care because I wanted to learn more.
I very much love grooming almost as much as riding...sometimes more.

It would be safe to say that I am obsessed with horses, and the three ponies and mule at the farm. I probably think about them, read the books I bought or the ones from the library, look at my horse magazines or scour the Internet for tips and videos about 50% of my waking hours. And I think the heavy obsession part, the passion, started after I trotted that first time, although heavy interest was already there.
It does seem to be one of healthier fascinations for a number of reasons....the focus is outward on other living things than myself, I have to leave the house to fulfill it, the animals reap great benefit, and the people who come out to the farm see the benefit as well. So it isn't a typical self-absorbed obsession.

Safety is paramount. Working with horses is very grounding in that I have to be completely present when around them. I guess I used to be quite fearful all the time, now I like to think of it more as being acutely aware of my surroundings and the animals around me. I have a healthy respect for these very large critters, especially after accidentally getting my foot partially stepped on because I wasn't paying full attention.
Likewise, I can't sit and worry or stress about things going on in my life. All my attention is on the animals.....what mood they are in, how is their behavior today, do they like it when I groom this way or that, are there any physical changes from the last time I worked with them, what are their ears doing?, what are their eyes saying?
Each animal has a very distinct personality and set of likes, dislikes, moods and way of showing emotion. Three of the horses are...easy, calm, mostly predictable. One is...well..she is emotional, affectionate but quite moody. Another has issues of some sort and I simply cant figure out yet. The last one is still pretty new to me so I have to see what she is all about.
The ponies and mule. I love those little children. I swear they act like four year olds in their curiosity, attention seeking behaviors and mannerisms. everyone wants attention and wants it first. I have a bit of work to do with them in that they tend to nip and be too inquisitive and nip clothing, hands and a good thing they are adorable.I do enjoy working with them and being around them.

Sometimes I feel that I am living a dream that I never allowed myself to have.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Little Things Sometimes Freak Me Out

I can be surprised at some of the relatively innocuous, small, odd things that freak e out due to my autism.
This week, our lawn service came over and did something that I had never seen or ever experienced before. They "aerated" (sp?) my lawn by driving a hand pushed machine over every inch of my lawn. They basically Punched small 2-3 inch holes all over and the "plugs" of dirt they displaced are now laying everywhere.
This is highly upsetting to me and if I were even a hair more autistic, I wouldn't set foot on the lawn until the plugs dissolved and the holes healed.
As it is, I have to look when I walk on it because the feel under foot is unsettling, uneven and unusual. I stretch the feeling just a wee bit...feel like I am now walking on a net as opposed to turf. And the sight of all these plugs...we'll, they do look like some form of odd excrement.
It bothers me greatly. I think my lawn feels and looks wounded and my previously stable footing is now most gone. Heavily bothered and distressed would describe it. I do not like this at all. It messes with my Aspie brain something fierce:(

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I've noticed

I've noticed, lately, that I can tell how I'm feeling by the way I carry myself. The inclination, the angle of my eyes from the ground tells me a lot. The way my head moves also. I know...I'm a bit challenged these days.
I was rather spoiled being away for a few days and living my life just for me. Now I hustle, bustle, scurry to do all the things expected of me...all those things I'd never be forced to do..if I was on my own. The sheer amount of this adjustment...eye opening and overwhelming. There is no time for me...sigh...just the way it is

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hmm, Updates

Well, I've been off Facebook about a week now. Really just didn't make sense. Some things are like that...I abruptly stop doing one thing or another and sometimes I know the reason, other times naught. I am soo not into explaining myself these days anyway. Sharing is not on the menu. I can hear doors slamming shut.
I've had a most unique opportunity to get away from home and family and house/farm sit for a friend of mine.
I have discovered over the years that regarding brand new experiences...that I am completely clueless as to anticipating how I will feel and how it will go. Case in point, coming out to the farm I thought I would go here and there visiting nearby friends...but...I experienced the exact opposite. The first couple of days, I cared for and interacted with the horses and animals but I wanted absolutely nothing to do with anyone.
This is really my very first time off on my own for a few days...I harkened back to my bachlorette days of single hood and I deeply enjoyed my solitude. The absence of worrying and caring for family...the stress of home daily maintenance....all gone. I ate what I wanted, when wanted, slept, napped whenever I felt like it...pursued my research and horse play whenever it suited me. My daily chores here are extremely simple and highly, highly enjoyable. I wander out to the barn or the pasture at least a few times a day just to interact with the horses. I learned to be careful doing these new things as horses are very large, strong animals. In the pasture I am most careful with one filly as she is young and exuberant and runs to greet me. Then she follows me around like a puppy which is very, very cool.
I've learned basic barn/ animal maintenance, the care and feeding stuff without any problem. I don't mind feeding or cleaning stalls and I love grooming. Every horse and pony has been groomed at least once.
A couple interesting things I learned...the horses love having their hooves cleaned and usually give a heavy sigh when I am doing that. I am still skittish and sometimes forego the rear hooves depending on the horse/pony and my comfort level.
The other area that surprised me...the hoofed ones usually love their manes and especially their forelocks, the hair between their ears, when brushed/combed the horse calms right down and seems to love it.
Okay, so I had quite a thrill when the ponies breached the fences and escaped. I was reclining on the couch when I kept hearing a horse heavily, loudly call. Okay, the first call I thought..well, some horse greeting thingy. The second time I sat up and decided that f I heard it again it would warrant an investigation.
Sure enough..on time three I got up, looked out the window to see one pony racing in circles in his pen, frantic and another one was in an area way off limits. I ran out to find all four nearby....but, I could not figure out what to do next as I knew not where the fence was breached and who to gather first and where to pit them. So I used the phone a friend and got a fellow horsemen to come over in about thirty minutes. In the meantime I had roped one pony and brought him in. After help arrived, everyone was in the barn albeit in odd places. Not only were the ponies upset but the three horses nearby were distressed as the ponies were now in their stalls.