Tag Archives: Autism Awareness Month

How Autism ‘Awareness’ and the School System Failed My Brother and Me

Wow THIS article by Nora Burritt contributor to The Mighty is AMAZING!

I can take no credit for the article below, although so much of what Nora had to say could be my own words. The little girl below could easily have been me -or a million other invisible Autistic women.

There is a huge problem in the way Autism is treated and how women and girls are being missed . We really are invisible and grow up wondering why we always fall short of others expectations of us.

We wonder why we are not good enough. We wonder why we are different. Eventually when the pressure gets to be too much we implode and find ourselves staring down an official Autism diagnosis – despite all the signs being visible at childhood.

Boys are diagnosed as toddlers. Women are diagnosed in their 20’s and 30’s (or older). I know a woman who was diagnosed at 68. We NEED to do better. We owe it to our sisters and daughters.

There is a photo of me at 3 years old. I am standing in a meadow on the tips of my toes, arms scrunched up like a t-rex, hands blurred from excitedly flapping.“You were so cute!” my family members coo when they pass this photo. These are the same people who look at me and say, “You can’t be autistic, you’re a girl!”

I hit developmental milestones quite differently than others. For instance, I never learned to crawl forwards, I was speaking complete sentences at a year old and reading books by 3. I wasn’t potty trained until I was almost 4 and said to my mother, “I am finished with diapers,” and that was it. I would bolt and hide in clothing racks in stores and cry when my parents made me try something new.

Sensory wise, I was notoriously known for my aversion to dirt, anything soft, loud noises, flashing lights, and many other things. I walked on my tip-toes constantly, chewed apart all of my shirts and gel toys, rocked and spun enthusiastically. I struggled with math concepts to the point where I barely skimmed by. I used to cry constantly in preschool and elementary because I couldn’t regulate my sensory system or handle my surroundings. I was often in the principal’s office because teachers misunderstood me trying to comprehend with me being insubordinate. In middle school, when a psychologist brought up Asperger’s syndrome with my mother, she laughed and called him “crazy.”

See full article here.

Huffington Post says: Autism Is Really a Super Power

I love beautiful stories, and always feel the need to share when they come across my news feed.

A parent is awakened by the wise words of an Aspie.

“Why can’t you just accept us the way we are? We are not trying to talk you into thinking like us. Or seeing the world like we do. We are not saying your way of thinking and acting is bad. We accept you. So tell me, why can’t you just accept us?”

Perhaps, it is not the “Aspies” who need the healing. Perhaps our children with the autistic label are really here to teach us to stop trying to change people and to just love them.

Read more in the full article by Jema Anderson here.

Autism is Really a Super Power originally appeared on GypsyJema.

 

The Economist – Dealing with Autism -Beautiful Mind Wasted

How not to squander the potential of autistic people. 

This article, although it reads as quite cold and is definitely not from the perspective of an Aspie,  it brings up a good point and talks about problems Autistic people face in schools and the work place.

Autism is a condition that defies simple generalisations. Except one: the potential of far too many autistic people is being squandered. Although around half of those with autism are of average intelligence or above, they do far worse than they should at school and at work. In France, almost 90% of autistic children attend primary school, but only 1% make it to high school. Figures from America, which works harder to include autistic pupils, suggest that less than half graduate from high school. In Britain, only 12% of higher-functioning autistic adults work full time. Globally, the United Nations reckons that 80% of those with autism are not in the workforce.

Original article  by on The Economist

E is for Eugenics — The Bullshit Fairy

As I scrolled through my news feed, the following post stopped me in my tracks.

E is for Eugenics [Autism Acceptance Month] Eugenics, in this context, is the deliberate research into the identification of genetic markers for autism with the goal of prevention, as it is seen by those who participate, to be a genetic defect and undesirable trait. Autism Speaks says they are “dedicated to funding global biomedical research […]

via E is for Eugenics — The Bullshit Fairy

Danya20: “Different, Not Less” — Danya Blog

I’m always on the lookout for good blogs in my news feed. Here is another one. 🙂

Dr. Temple Grandin, animal behavior expert and author of The Autistic Brain, once stated, “I am different, not less.” Danya International has believed in this sentiment from our very beginning. Many of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants that we received throughout our early years focused on how to help facilitate inclusion and communication […]

via Danya20: “Different, Not Less” — Danya Blog

Being Anonymously Autistic

Growing up undiagnosed, I’ve already been anonymous for my entire life.

Wondering why I could not seem to be like everyone else my entire life was painful, however discovering my Autism has provided me with answers and allowed me to have compassion for myself like never before.

I spent my life trying to be like “them” – normal people, only to find that most of the time I either excel beyond what “they” were capable of or fail completely, depending on my level of dedication and focus. There is no middle ground with me.

This world was not built for me. Tormented by florescent light bulbs and  humming air conditioners, meaningless social gestures, and people who can’t just say what they really mean.

Neurotypicals, the majority of the world’s population, built this world. Adapting to  “their” ways is hard but it is in my best interest.

I work to fit in. It takes up a lot of my energy. “Normal People” out number us Aspies, but we are out there hiding in the crowd.

Now that I know Autism so intimately, I can pick other Aspies out in a room.We share some silent connection. There is often a nod and a smile. I wonder if the person in front of me is aware of what I can see in them, but out of respect I say nothing.

Discovering that I was Autistic was both freeing and painful. I went through a depression followed by a  roller coaster of emotions as the shock kicked in.

Suddenly all the times when my best had not been good enough were forgivable. The poor little girl inside me was finally embraced.

My childhood had been hard. I did not deserve all of the suffering I went through, but maybe I needed to endure it. All the bullies and villains in my life have helped to make me stronger and wiser, giving me a thick skin that an easy childhood would not have grown.

Unfortunately, it seems to be extremely common for kids on the spectrum to be bullied.

With our without a diagnosis, people seam to be able to “sniff out” our Autism, although they do not know what to call it. They call us weird, awkward, or strange. We are obviously different with our eccentric ways and erratic body movements and alternate communications styles.

Autistic children learn to blend in to avoid being picked on – or at least that’s how it was for me growing up. It is almost instinctual for an Aspie to “chameleon” into society if they grow up diagnosed.

Even now, my instinct still tells me to remain Anonymously Autistic.

“Girls with Autism; flying under the radar” – a new mini guide for schools and child based services. — Barry Carpenter Education

The following was in my news feed today, and as a girl who was missed the title of the original blog post stooped me in my tracks. Please be sure to visit the original poster for more information.

 

To mark World Autism Awareness Day, nasen has launched a new mini – guide highlighting the needs of girls with , or without a diagnosis of Autism. Written by Jo Egerton and Barry Carpenter, with contributions from the Girls with ASC Working Party, the guide is a free download to schools and services. The guide […]

via “Girls with Autism; flying under the radar” – a new mini guide for schools and child based services. — Barry Carpenter Education

Autism Awareness… for Autistics

The following guest blog is original content created by:

Allison M. Kramer
Adult Autism Spectrum blogger and nature/landscape photographer
Web: www.autisticaplanet.wordpress.com

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-317787

I know that having autism leads to narrow-mindedness as well as black and white thinking (a naturally occurring part of having autism, not selective selfishness). I am reminding people with this meme that autism is a broad spectrum.

I look at my own position on the spectrum as if there were a buffet (in which I wasn’t invited to or consulted about). Whoever it was in the cosmos that attended that buffet of autism traits chose a normal I.Q., hypersensitivity to certain sounds (that are quite pervasive in American culture), migraines, gross motor skill impairment, PMDD, SAD and acute anxiety. Fortunately, for me, sleep disorder was left out of the mix along with gastrointestinal issues.

I am grateful for the things that did get left out and empathize with those who do struggle with the issues I do not. I don’t undermine or exclude. I believe that years of therapy and simply being alive have helped shape my broader, “grayer” way of thinking.

That said, it is my hope that others across the autism spectrum will try to have a broader view of their fellow spectrumites. I hope this blog post will help.

Please also know that having a single issue (auditory) with in an issue (sensory) can and does lead to a significant lack of independence and increased need for lifelong support.I am an example. I read blog posts about autistic people who have mild to moderate degrees of impairment with broader issues (communication, socialization and sensory), but do lead independent lifestyles. It is not all or nothing.

I strongly think that acknowledgement and acceptance (which most autistic people I have read about want) of autistics by autistics counteracts the loneliness and isolation that are pervasive themes of autism and I think the general population of humankind.

Autisticaplanet – Sensory Processing Disorder…Think of it this way…

If I seem distracted…if my attention suddenly wanders…

If I blurt out a word, phrase or sound when nothing apparent to you is taking place…

If I should burst into song…

If I figit, shake or shiver…

If focusing is especially difficult for me…

If I overreact (especially to a loud, sudden sound)..

If I cry when I should be laughing (or vise-versa)…

When I stim (flap my hands, rock, flail my fingers…)

When I wish to be alone…

THINK OF IT THIS WAY~

THERE ARE BILLIONS OF HUGE PIPELINES FILLED WITH INFORMATION TRYING TO CRAM THROUGH THE NARROWPORTAL WITH NO FILTER THAT IS MY BRAIN.

I have Sensory Processing Disorder, a part of my being on the autistic spectrum.

As much as I will be detoured, I will find my way.

Autism is livable…for you and for me.

~autisticaplanet

Guest blog by Autisticaplanet – original content can be found here.

 

I Had a Meltdown the Other Day

I had a meltdown the other day. Quite some time had passed between meltdowns, looking back it is impossible to remember when my last meltdown even was. Long ago, months, years maybe?

When I was younger my meltdowns were more explosive – fits of rage, yelling, screaming, breaking things. As an adult my meltdowns are far less frequent and have become more of an implosion, folding into myself, alone in my own hell.

My body aches and my stomach twists in knots. There is no air, it becomes hard to breathe. I cry and hyper ventilate.All I want to do is hide in my dark room under a pile of blankets. Lights hurt my eyes, every sound makes me jump, anything touching me becomes painful, even being around people hurts, especially if they ask me to communicate with them.

Over the years I’ve gotten better at predicting and preventing them. I try to avoid encountering too many triggers in one day.

When I’m tired or feeling as if my energy levels are off, I always take some time to relax alone. If I pay careful attention to my mind and body, there are certain hints that my mental energy bank is getting low.

Certain activities take up more mental energy than others. It’ like I’m a video game character with a life bar. Every thing I encounter drains a little of my life away – florescent lights, trying to pay attention to multiple conversations in a crowded room, meetings & phone calls with people at the office.

Some items tick away slowly at my life bar, while others take away chunks at a time. When I run out of energy a meltdown is eminent. Nothing is going to stop it when it gets to this point.

There is one thing that makes life extremely difficult. In general I am a pretty nervous person. Although I’ve learned to push myself through my anxiety, doing so takes up a lot of my energy. Unfortunately I have only so much to give in one day.

Finally, as I get older, I am learning to say no to people when I am not up to going out. The people in my life are of my own choosing. I spend time with my family at least once or twice a month and I can count my true friends on one hand.

My friends seem to understand that I don’t have a lot of social time to give. They don’t know I’m on the spectrum. Most people would have no idea. When I am out in the world, I give 100 percent. Being “socially acceptable”  is work, and I can’t do it when I have limited energy available to me.

Fortunately, there are a few ways that I can regenerate some of my precious (& limited) life-force. Naps are wonderful, soaking in long hot baths, taking my dog for a walk in the woods, reading a book, and writing are all things that help me purge excessive anxiety.

I have to be kind to myself. Learning to listen to my body, though yoga, was one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself. Many Aspies can feel disconnected from our bodies, but when we reconnect something amazing happens. My body tingles and my brain becomes sharp – cutting like a laser.

My gifts outweigh my curses, when allowed to live my own way. Don’t expect me to conform to all of society’s norms. Autism Awareness is being aware that people have autism. I am asking for Autism Acceptance. Please give us the freedom to be ourselves.

So much of my suffering comes from the negative stigma associate with being Autistic, and the amount of energy spent trying to look “Neurotypical” every day is massive. Until we have more compassion and understanding, I am always – Anonymously Autistic.