With much encouragement from folks on Facebook, I have decided to do a series of posts discussing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). A lot of my content will be mostly about Asperger’s Syndrome and Higher Functioning Autism, but I will also include some posts of the more severe end of the Autism Spectrum. I do believe that with the right kind of education, assistance, understanding, patience, etc., that any Autistic child or person can become a well functioning person.
A big component of this “Project” will be a list of suggested reading for people who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. This may include parents, teachers, and/or children, teens, adults with ASDs. It’s going to take some time, and is a huge commitment, but I feel it is so important. There is so much that is misunderstood when it comes to the world of Autism that I feel it is necessary to speak up and talk about it, whether it be my own experiences, books about Autism and associated disorders, fiction with autism/autistic characters (accurate depictions only), or links to posts from others on the Autistic Spectrum.
I am welcoming any and all suggestions for this Project. What do you want to know? Is there a book you recommend? – I will most definitely look into it and post a review! Leave me a comment and let me know. Or if you’d rather email me feel free to do that: klacerte (at) gmail (dot) com.
This video is amazing and worth EVERY second spent viewing!
There is so much debate and controversy about Autism Speaks and what they stand for. Personally, I do NOT believe that Autism is a disease that needs to be cured. I believe each autistic person has something to offer to society. Granted, it’s not without its hardships. I’ve worked with Autistics, I know many, I am on the spectrum myself. I know what I am talking about. To say the Autism is a disease, is something that needs a “cure,” is saying as if an Autistic, or me for that matter, is diseased, needs to be cured. Autism is neuro-diversity, a different way of perceiving, of thinking, of seeing the world. Some things don’t come to us easily, but that does not make us any less in value.
OK, first… The frustrating stuff…
As I mentioned in my last post, I have injured my neck. Well, it isn’t getting any better. In fact, it’s worse. I am seeing my dr in the morning to see if there’s anything seriously wrong. Hopefully there isn’t. The only semi-comfortable position is lying flat on my back in bed. Not a great way to spend the day. It’s depressing, lonely, frustrating and aggrivating. I’ve been wanting to start and finish projects like finishing the knitted long fingerless gloves I’ve been working on, starting a new drawing, making some new bracelets to name a few. However, I can’t sit up long enough to be able to do these things.
Tonight I caved and took 2 percocets because the pain was so bad. Now I am dealing with the fun side effects of insomnia and tingly face…. awesome. Luckily, I take trazadone so that I can sleep. Frequent dislocations and subluxations doesn’t allow nice, uninterrupted, deep sleepy wonderfullness. No, everytime something slips, shifts, pulls, tugs, spasms, and oh so many wonderful thing accompanying EDS I am woken up yelping, gasping, crying… well, you get the picture. So my good friend trazadone allows me the deep sleep that my poor body desperately needs. Now I’m just waiting for it to kick in!
I’ll post an update about the dr visit.
Now onto the good news. My therapist confirmed the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome! You know, I thought that having an official diagnosis didn’t really matter to me. I know I have Asperger’s but having it actually confirmed by a trained professional gives me a definitive answer. Something to explain all my odd quirks, obsessions, etc. I’m not crazy! It is a very validating and liberating feeling. She has been helping me with ways to communicate to people that Shadow (my service dog) should not be distracted and that they aren’t allowed to pet them. It’s a real dilemna for me, I don’t want to be rude and say “Don’t pet him,” but I also need to say it and am afraid to and don’t know how to. She also has a Service Dog and gave me some great websites where I can order “do not disturb” and “do not pet” patches as well as cards that explain for me the purpose of a Service Dog and explaining that he is a working dog and should not be distracted or pet. She’s helping me find solutions, which has been really helpful. However, sadly, she has been reassigned to a local inpatient program and won’t be seeing individual clients anymore. The good news is that being a person with disabilities herself, she is starting a support group for younger people (teens- to about 50) with chronic illnesses and disabilities which I will be attending.
I have been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. Which basically means that my brain has a hard time filtering out stimuli and those stimuli can cause a pain reaction. My nervous system gets overloaded by certain sights (bright lights, flashing lights, shiny things, etc), sounds (loud, more than one at the same time, abrasive, etc.), movements, touch & textures, a bunch of different stuff. It’s a trial and error process to find what works for me and what doesn’t in order to cope with this. I also notice more and more things that I do, to compensate for the overload as well. Right now I wear a hat most of the time, I have multiple tinted prescription glasses, earplugs, weighted blankets, and my good friend Mr. Valium.
Some dr’s believe that SPD is on the Autism Spectrum. It is likely I have Aspergers and only talked to my psychologist about it. She said it is definitely possible but would be hard to diagnose because I also have PTSD, depression and severe general and social anxiety. On the other hand, Aspergers can make a person more susceptible to PTSD if they have experienced a trauma, and are more prone to depression and social/general anxiety issues, and SPD is HIGHLY common in people with Aspergers/Autistic Spectrum Disorder. So, it’s like the “which came first? The chicken or the egg?” question.
For me, I relate to Aspergers. I’ve taken the Autism Quotient (I know it’s not diagnostic, but pretty damn accurate) and scored a 44/50 (the higher the more likely), and on the notorious “Aspie-Quiz” I scored a 163/200 which is the same as the AQ in scoring. From people I have talked to with Aspergers I’ve scored higher than they did. So that says something. My psych isn’t ruling it out, and we talked about whether it would be worth it to pursue a diagnosis and came to the conclusion that if I did get diagnosed I would most likely be sent to a social skills class (I spent 2 weeks in a day program working on social skills) and I already have more than enough reason for SSDI benefits with my physical illnesses so I don’t need an official diagnosis for that. I work on issues in therapy and find ways of coping with social issues and sensory issues.
There’s a lot of debate about whether or not Aspergers is a Disability. I believe it can be, I also believe that people with it may not see it as a disability. For me social situations can be disabling–with all the conversations going on, it’s hard to keep track of everything, should I join in or should I not? Most of the time I just sit back and watch people. With multiple conversations going, the drunks at the bar, and other people in the place, the noise becomes unbearable and my head feels like its going to explode. Other than that and a few other things, I look at it in some ways that my brain works differently. I view things differently than the general public. My interests make me happy. I’ve made it work for 26.5 years, I have friends who find my “quirks” endearing and know how to deal with it. I don’t always understand what they mean, and I am almost ALWAYS last to get a joke, but they are good friends that love me!