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

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autism and Gender, Tomboys and Engineers

I read this fascinating article by Simon Baron-Cohen and I want to share paraphrased excerpts that amuse and enlighten me.
The genetic component...children and grandchildren of engineers are more likely to be autistic.
My grandfather And my great-grandfather were both engineers.
Systemizing-the passion to analyze and construct systems, whether mechanical (automobiles, computers, rocket or weapon technology), natural (health, running, weight training, dietary), political or social (utopian societies, communal communities, public welfare systems)
All systems follow rules. When you can systemize, you identify the rules that govern the system so you can predict how that system works. The fundamental drive to systemize may explain why autistics love repetition, patterns, predictability and resist unexpected changes.
I remember in sixth grade designing a utopian world where everyone was equal, wore the same clothes, all jobs paid the same, all homes identical, etc. I designed kennels whereby all puppies were equally fed and attended to. My Aspie son works on a more global scale designing fleets, systems of new, improved technological armies and navies, green technologies, improved political systems, among other things.

A study was conducted in which children with Aspergers outperformed older Neuro-typical kids on a test info understanding mechanics. Aspies also scored high in attention to detail. Attention to detail is necessary for systemizing. When trying to understand a system, it is essential to be able to spot the small details or if you mistake one tiny variable (imagine building a bridge with one miscalculation near the base). Both parents also tested higher for attention to detail.
Not only engineers, but other technological people's may harbor the autism gene. In one study, math students were nine times more likely than humanities students to be autistic.

If genes for technological aptitude are linked to autism, then autism should be higher in technological communities, like Silicon Valley, which some claim has autism rates 10 times higher than the general population.
On a slightly different note, autism is more common in boys. Classic autism 4 boys to every girl. Aspergers 9 boys to every girl. Strong systemizing is much more common in men. Likewise, in childhood, boys have a stronger interest in mechanical systems (toy cars) and construction systems (Legos). As adults, en are over represented in science, technology, engineering and math). Maybe high levels of testosterone in the fetus contribute to strong systemizing.
A study of over 200 amniocentesis, found that the more testosterone surrounding a fetus, the stronger the child's later interests in systems, better interest in details and higher autism traits.
If true, women with autism should be especially masculinized in certain ways. Girls with autism show tomboyism in toy choice preferences. I, myself, have always had a plethora of masculine traits and consider myself androgynous.
"People with autism, whose minds differ from what we consider typical, frequently display both disability and exceptional aptitude. Genes that contribute to autism may overlap with genes for the uniquely human ability to understand how the world works in extraordinary detail-see beauty in patterns inherent in nature, technology, music and math." Thanks Simon:)

Anchors and Aspergers

An Aspie Anchor: someOne or someThing that can be trusted, helpful, grounding and provide a source of stability, comfort and reason, whether in person, memory or fantasy

I've had this theory that every Aspie needs at least one outside person who is an anchor.
Throughout my life, it's been a mixed bag. Sometimes I had an anchor, many times not. An anchor is probably the greatest...resource and assistance for an autistic to navigate the challenges of everyday life and functionality.
Autistics without any anchor...well, it makes me very know, seeing them flounder in the raging waters, hiding in closets, self-abusing, you get the picture. I call anchorless autistics "Orphan Aspies". It's oft a confusing, needy, unsure way to live.
I know, my words contine to befuddle me and come out kinda tilted.
An Orphan Aspie is sometimes...directionless, chasing red herrings and unable to focus. Like that damn inner compass that NTs are gifted with is completely missing. It's hard to figure out the big things from the little things.
I consider myself...somewhat adrift, these days. I think I have a partial rudder and the steering works on some days.
I used to have.....a few reliable anchors. Lately, in this storm of chaos, I barely have one, maybe.

I've been turning more from the people anchors to item anchors, as they seem more hardy and trustworthy. Things never let you down, don't talk back and can't ignore you. Yeah, they hurt less right now.
My bio family has fallen away, again. And I can't fathom ever seeing or being near any of them again. Friends have retreated into autumn and warm fires at the hearth. Those who I used to...count on...fell down, got busy, turned away. So be it. I ant sit and whine. Everyone has to live their own life.
I do consider myself to be in a...better place whilst half-anchored. I don't think this rope will break as I'm tossed to and for. Complaining, whining, really doesn't get one anywhere and serves little purpose.
It's just the way it is. I'm fine.

On Being a Loner

I'm not sure if being a loner is a choice or a necessity. Interacting with people just hurts too much. Betrayal is you thought that pit bull was chained up but now suddenly it's running loose.
Trust is breaking and shards of glass rain all about...I hate that sound.
At least when Im alone, someone listens to me.
By myself, my dreams and fantasies are richer and more entertaining than any real life drama or play.
I'm no longer invisible to myself. I see and value who I am.
My words continue to stumble and fall, like an errant toddler chasing the bouncy ball.
When I'm alone, I don't have to pretend to pay attention or work to maintain eye contact, try and analyze expressions or search for the meaning of what someone is really trying to say.

I don't have to put up with pretenders and empty words either.
When I'm alone, the world slowly revolves around me and I am at the center of my universe.
By myself, what I've always been and probably what I always will be.
No one can hurt me if I keep them all away. Guess I'm still feeling pretty wounded.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Polite isn't always right

Sometimes my autism and delay in verbal processing makes me feel stupid and defenseless. I had a meeting at Younglinks school and the notice said four other school personnel would be attending. I looked over the paper, noting which parties I was familiar with and the one wild card, and mentally prepared my self.

When I showed up for the meeting, I was quickly introduced to Stranger #1 and asked, no, told that she would be attending.
Then as the other attendees arrived, someone invited Known Uninvitee #2. Now I was screwed.
In the first place, had I not been so darn polite, I would have quickly asked Stranger #1 to please leave. But, since the thought of humiliating someone so, goes against everything I believe in, I let it ride. I could have easily requested that Known Invitee leave as well. But no.

My only response to these unknown variables was typical....I shut down. I only spoke when necessary and spent most of my time staring out the window, wishing I had some control over this unforeseen mess and desperately wishing I could be somewhere else.
It wasn't until late that evening that all the delayed emotions surfaced. I was pissed at the meeting chairperson, who Knows I am autistic and does not adjust well to sudden, unpredictable changes and complete strangers. I felt she betrayed me and was disrespectful in her oversight. Yes, I'm still miffed about that one.
Secondly, I was mad at myself. Damned upset at the helpless feeling of being in an uncontrollable situation which I could not change. I felt Ambushed and bushwhacked. Had I not been polite, not autistic, and with a hint of self esteem, I would have requested a recess and a re "grouping".
The following morning, today, I contacted the meeting chairperson for a private meeting where I vented and stated my feelings. I so insulted. I know the world is by its very nature unpredictable, but I expect respect, especially...if Only from those people that are Aware of what makes me uncomfortable And distressed!
Yeah, I'm still pissed.
Meeting chair took full responsibility for the "oversight" and apologized. She quickly understood her err.
At first, I thought I was making a big thing from a little thing, but no.....this is how I feel and it is justified.
Just another thing, another situation to be mentally prepared for when the next meeting comes due. Dammit