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April 2 Is World Autism Awareness Day

April 1st, 2010 at 01:46 pm


That is all.

Autism - Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Me

March 29th, 2010 at 07:00 pm

I saw something like this on an autism forum for adults once. It was basically a bunch of us talking about things we wish people understood about us. Not on a deep level but just to better understand some of the behavior that might strike them as odd.

1. When you smack gum, slurp soup, or otherwise make loud noises with your mouth, it's gross, but it also is a sound that scares and upsets me and NO, I CAN NOT "just ignore it". Sometimes, it bothers me so much that I want to just smack my head against a wall or bite my arm until it stops. And then I spend 30-60 minutes being afraid you'll do it again.

2. I do not like fancy clothes, they seem pointless and illogical to me, so that is why I wear the same 5 outfits to work in rotation, usually on the same day each week. They are solid colors because that makes more sense to me.

3. Patterns make me feel comfortable. If something goes out of pattern, I might get scared and feel like crying or yelling. It's not just being stubborn or wanting things MY WAY. When something that usually is suddenly isn't (or vice versa) my whole world can get thrown out of whack for a while.

4. I do not like being near or talking to people I do not know. Over the years I have learned how to be socially normal however, there are certain times when I am so afraid of what a stranger might do (mouth noises, weird smells, spill over into my seat etc.) that I will throw a tantrum out of sheer terror. This happened in Florida when due to a check in malfunction with SouthWest, my fiance & I got put in the last group to board. I lost it. I threw a toddler like tantrum because I was afraid...nay...horrified that I might have to sit next to a fat, smelly, slurpy stranger for 4 hours while my fiance sat 8 rows away. We ended up paying extra money to get into business class so I could be amongst the first to board so it worked out in the end.

5. I am not really capable of empathy. I never have been and I never will be. This comes off as mean, heartless, b!thcy... I've heard every nasty name in the book. Sometimes I try to fake it because I know how I am supposed to react to certain things. But I can not always fake empathy. Sometimes I am able to... not because I feel but because I understand how I am supposed to react in certain situations. (ie. my friend says they feel sick, I don't care per se, but I know they are my friend and thus because I like them, I don't want them to be sick so I am sorry they are sick. However if a stranger is sick, I might not say anything at all).

6. Despite my lack of empathy, I am capable of love and I am capable of friendship. In fact, I am a very loyal lover and friend. My fiance is a wonderful man who I would do anything for and I treat him very well and he treats me very well.

7. Having no empathy, I will often be brutally honest and things like political correctness or trying to walk in someone else's shoes makes no sense to me. In fact, "trying to walk in their shoes" makes me wonder why I would wear their shoes or if their shoes would literally fit me. I wish people wouldn't use phrases like that. Sometimes, this makes me come across as very mean but I don't mean to be. I am just being honest. Some people like this about me. Friends come to me a lot for advice because they know I will be honest.

8. I have never been able to relate to people my own age. When I was in high school, I would interview the other kids as if to learn about them. And then I would go off alone and do strange things like hang out at at the party supply store and imagine themes for rooms and events. I like themes. I make up themed music lists. I have theme movie and dinner nights. Themes are patterns and patterns are safe.

9. Because I am hypersensitive to certain noises, I need to wear earplugs almost all of the time. This means you have to be careful approaching me because I can't hear you. I can only hear you if you are talking face to face within a foot or two or on the phone.

10. I hate the phone. In all the years fiance and I have been together, we only text. Text makes more sense. It is clear cut and logical. No guessing. We only call in emergencies.

11. There are certain topics that mesmerize me and if I start thinking or talking about them, I won't stop. I don't even realize it usually. I once spent 12 hours rearranging music on my itunes and to me, it felt like 10 minutes.

12. No, really, I can't just ignore it. I stress this because the noise issue has caused me so many problems in my life. I had to have my desk moved recently at work because I was seated next to a chronic throat clearer and across from a cereal cruncher and it got to the point where I was hurting myself because it would comfort me. When people would tell me to "ignore it" it would make me angry too. Don't you think I would if I could?

13. I like animals more than most people. They make more sense to me. Watching people for me is like watching an aquarium full of fish from the outside. I observe them and I understand their behavior very well. However I have no idea how to be like them. Nor do I really care to be.

14. Not all autistics are non verbal 8 year olds. I was not officially diagnosed until I was in my early 30s. But I've been this way my entire life (my mom tells me I ran 5 box fans in my bedroom to block out noise when I was 7, and that I'd bite my arm or throw things if I could hear people talking in the next room when I wanted quiet). At the time, no doctors diagnosed me because only more severe cases tended to be noticed then.

15. As an autistic that understands many things about the condition, I try to learn more about it and find ways to deal with certain aspects of it. I am capable of holding down a good job. I am capable of being in a relationship. I am very good with focusing on goals.