Tag Archives: high functioning

Recommended Reading

All of the following titles can be found either on Kindle or Audible – Yes I have read or listened to every one of the following books personally.

Finding Out About My Autism as an Adult

When you find out you are Autistic as an adult your world is suddenly completely different but still exactly the same.

My entire life I’ve felt out of step with the world. I am awkward, clumsy, often confused, but at the same time I can be shockingly clever – probably why my Aspie nature went undetected for so long.

Once you learn and begin to see yourself and the world from the enlightened perspective of Autism you can no longer return to pretending you might be “just like everybody else.” It is a shocking and undeniable truth that strikes you in the face like a cold hard fist.

Finding out you are Autistic as an adult feels so final. Before there was more hope that I may someday outgrow some of my more eccentric traits. Now I am more aware of my unique (or not so unique) habits and needs than ever. They are inescapable.

People who knew me before discovering my Autism still see me as the same person that I’ve always been. Most of them can’t believe I’m an Aspie and are questioning and skeptical – which literally leaves me speechless and unable to explain myself.

The people who know me the best hear me out and many actually seem to find the answers to their own unanswered questions in my explanations.

I literally cannot handle confrontations with anyone. They leave me speechless. If I do not get away panic sets in, I become unable to think and may lash out verbally or cry. It is childish and shameful so I run. These are the nightmares that I may never outgrow.

Autism is so – final. When you search for Autism resources online almost every result is focused on children, but Autism is a lifelong “condition”. Autistic children grow up to become Autistic adults – so here I am finding out about my Autism as an Adult.

 

 

What Does Autism Feel Like?

I was having a deep conversation (via Google Hangouts instant messenger) with a close friend about my Autism. He made a comment that he did not see Autism as a disability, but more as an alternate way of thinking that is not serviced very wall by the modern education system. I agree – partially. . .

Quickly I realized that no matter how hard I tried, there was no way I could accurately explain or convey the parts of my Autism that truly “disable” me. Searching the internet, I quickly found a few articles with other Aspie who had attempted to explain what I currently could not – the negative things that NT’s have a hard time comprehending.

“What does Autism feel like?” In that moment I was completely unable to explain.

The most disabling part of Autism (for me) may be its invisibility and my status as “high functioning”. Everyone expects me to do ok. I am smart, and use my ability to pick up on patterns to get ahead in the world. I am one of those “gifted” Aspies so my Autism must be a gift right?

My good days are amazing but on my worst days my sensory overload wont let me out of bed. Currently I am averaging about three really bad days a month. They hit at random stop my world in its tracks.

People can’t tell when I am having sensory problems. Some days are worse than others and most days I am in at least mild pain at all times. The lights hurt my eyes and head, smells make me gag, small sounds nag at me constantly, I walk into walls, trip over things, and sometimes miss my mouth when I eat.

I miss many things in most conversations. I am awkward, weird, and my intentions are often misunderstood. If someone is not smiling or looking pissed off I can’t read them – unless I know them very well. Normally I have NO clue when I’ve offended someone.

Autism feels like I am out of sync with the world and its people. I am alone in a lot of ways, that may sound sad but honestly I am happiest when I am alone with my own thoughts.

Below are some of the items I found while researching how to better explain Sensory Overload.

 I can take NO credit for anything below.

My visual experience is also rather radical. Bright light can be painful — honestly, any light can be painful and I often compensate with sunglasses. I can also get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of imagery that my mind is attempting to process at one time. I take in everything in a panoramic sense — and that sometimes makes it hard for me to focus on the central thing I’m supposed to see. I’ve found that wearing a ball cap helps me filter, by force, that which is crashing in by flood — it works in the same sense that “horse blinders” do at the race track.

Lori Sealy of The Mighty shares – My Answer to the Question ‘What Does Autism Feel Like?’ talking about her sensory processing difficulties.

One Guy’s Opinion: What it feels like to have autism as an adult by by

In general…

  • Before you know you have it, you simply assume that you have an odd personality.
  • After you find out that other people are in the same situation as you, you realize that you are in fact quite a normal autistic, and that many of your quirks are symptoms.

Social experience…

  • You have some trouble taking hints, but only figure this out very late, or when other people tell you. It takes you very long to learn how to pick up in hints, and you never learn pick up on all of them.
  • You sense that other people place more importance on how they are feeling. It affects their judgement, and things that are not based on logic and facts may come off as unreasonable or immature to you.
  • You notice that people spend more time on small talk and polite phrases than you, but you don’t like it, as it don’t really convey useful information. You may have trouble initiating conversations with strangers because you lack skills in this area.. .

Check out full article here.

Video Simulations to Help You Experience Sensory Overload

 

Carly’s Café – Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes

Carly Fleischmann is a nonverbal Autism advocate and YouTube talk show host. She is AMAZING. I strongly recommend you check her out.

Video HERE.

What it’s like to walk down a street when you have autism or an ASD

More great videos on Craig Thomson‘s YouTube channel.

Video HERE.

Autism: Sensory Overload Simulation

Check out the streamofawareness YouTube channel for more.

Video HERE.

Sensory Overload Simulation

More from WeirdGirlCyndi on YouTube.

Video HERE.

Autism Awareness – Autism Stories

For Autism Awareness Month, I will be sharing some of the Autism stories that I found inspiring.

Let’s spread awareness of REAL Autistic people. We don’t need a cure, we are not diseased, we need understanding.

Autism Awareness Month – Understanding Autism

I can not take credit for this video, Understanding Autism – A short documentary, but I really enjoyed it’s message. It is hard for NT personalty types to understand the way people on the spectrum experience the world, partly because it is often difficult for us to express our experiences in ways others can understand.

The video below is by Teebah Foundation. Please share for Autism Awareness month. Lets not only make people aware of Autism but aware of REAL Autistic people. We are brilliant, we are funny, loving, and genuine.

Show the rest of the world our strengths and who we really are. We are not mentally ill or less valued. We are different and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

Ask an Autistic – Why Acceptance? Autism Acceptance Month

Autism awareness month. Everything will be blue and supporters of “defeating” / finding a cure for Autism will undoubtedly be everywhere. I know that many of the parents and families of Autistic children are coming from a good place, but most of us do not want to be cured. I know I don’t.

There is nothing wrong with me, the only wrong is that I am expected to act “socially acceptable” in order to make close minded / uneducated NT’s feel comfortable.

I can NOT take credit for this video, however I really enjoyed it. Amythest Schaber is well spoken young woman on the spectrum. She is out there advocating for all of us, and for that we should all be grateful.

“What is Autism Acceptance Month? Why is acceptance important? Should I support Autism Speaks and “light it up blue”? What is the difference between awareness and acceptance? What can I do to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month? Answers to all of these questions (and a surprise visit from Jiji’s tail) in this special episode of Ask an Autistic!”

Bright Not Broken – Gifted Kids ADHD & Autism

I read a lot. I also listen to a lot of audio books if I am cleaning or in the car. True to the Aspie nature, I am happiest when I am learning about my field of interest. Since learning that I am on the Autism Spectrum, ASD and mental health have been in the forefront of my mind.

Most of what I read has been about Autism in women and adults, because I feel as if this is a field that was neglected for many years. When my most recent Audible credit arrived I was drawn to a book that has a focus on bright and brilliant ASD & ADHD children.

Bright Not Broken: Gifted Kids, ADHD, and Autism written by: Diane M. Kennedy, Rebecca S. Banks,Temple Grandin, focuses on a group of children known as twice exceptional, or “2e”. Twice exceptional kids are both gifted and diagnosed with a disability – often ADHD or an Autism Spectrum Disorder. These children have the potential to be our next Mozart, Isaac Newton, or Albert Einstein if we give them the right tools in life. 

Unfortunately the gifts and talents of some of our most brilliant kids may never be recognized if we overlook these kids’s talents and focus solely on their weaknesses. It is easy for these children get lost in an endless cycle, piling on harmful diagnostic labels.

Bright Not Broken sheds new light on this vibrant population by identifying who twice exceptional children are and taking an unflinching look at why they’re stuck. The first work to boldly examine the widespread misdiagnosis and controversies that arise from our current diagnostic system, it serves as a wake-up call for parents and professionals to question why our mental health and education systems are failing our brightest children.

Most importantly, the authors show what we can do to help 2e children, providing a whole child model for parents and educators to strengthen and develop a child’s innate gifts while also intervening to support the deficits. Drawing on painstaking research and personal experience, Bright Not Broken offers groundbreaking insight and practical strategies to those seeking to help 2e kids achieve their full potential.

The book is very scientific and has more of a textbook feel, so if you like warm and fuzzy or have a hard time reading non-fiction this title might not be for you. Listening to it on Audible while you are driving or cleaning house might make it easier to digest if you have a hard time sitting still through something so information focused.

However, I really do feel as if this title looks at Autism and ADHD in a unique way, and can help shed light on why our brightest and most brilliant minds are often left behind in society.

If you prefer to read on Kindle or want a physical copy – you can purchase the book here.

I am Not a Person With Autism – I am Autistic

I realize the term “person with Autism” is supposed to be a respectful way to describe people like me, but the truth is that phrase implies that Autism is something bad.

There is nothing wrong with me. You may find me socially unacceptable from time to time or notice that my way of thinking is different from your own.

Different does not equal broken. In fact, I wouldn’t ever choose to stop being an Aspie, even if I could.

Despite what psychologists and medical professionals say about Autism, many Aspergians do not feel as if our unique way of thinking should be classified as a disorder.

Parents with newly diagnosed or severely Autistic children often wonder if their child’s “condition” is due to something they did wrong. Many people, myself included, believe that Autism is genetic. Looking around at my family only strengthens my belief that AS runs in families of exceptionally bright people.

In fact it has been said that “a touchof Autism is necessary in order to succeed in fields such as computer science and engineering”. A popular article, Autism The Geek Syndrome, suggested that most of the brilliant minds in Silicon Valley could be on the spectrum.

I truly believe that Neurodiversity is a necessary part of human evolution and Aspies habe been around throughout our existence. Great minds, such as Einstein, Mozart, and Tesla are now though to have been on the spectrum.

Autism seems to be tied to giftedness. Many of the greatest thinkers and world changers likely land somewhere on the spectrum. Wiping out Autism could very well be the end of progressive society as we know it.

Society has a bad habit of only wanting to focus on the negatives. Can you remember the last time you saw a happy story on the news? How often do your favorite shows get interrupted in order to bring you information about something positive?

Google-ing Autism brings up pages and pages of results. It takes considerable work to find information about the best parts of Autism. Our gifts are hidden online and in the media, buried beneath all the problems and drama.

You easily find stories about the severely affected child, and the nonverbal adults desperately in need of lifelong care. The parents of these children are crying for help and their stories fill the headlines, but these extreme cases are in the minority.

Nobody wants to hear about the “high functioning” adults who can pass (with exhausting effort) in society. Parents dealing with the hardships associated with having a child who has been labeled “low functioning” something feel as if Aspies like me are somehow hurting their case by saying that Autism is not something that needs to be cured.

Every time I stumble across articles talking about finding a cure for Autism or isolating the “Autism gene” my frustration and worry rises. Don’t these people realize they are talkinggenocide and Eugenics.

Aspies are just like any other minority. People would be outraged if these same articles replaced the world “Autism” with “Hispanic” or “Anglo”. I am reminded of concentration camp stories of Nazzi Germany and the quest to create the perfect race.

Stop trying to cure me. Stop trying to prevent others like me from being born. There is nothing wrong with me or my genes. Just support me, and help us succeed in this world. We deserve to live just as much as everyone else.

This is why I am NOT a person with Autism. I am Autistic and proud of it, even if you can’t understand that.

Please be respectful, and understand if I am irritated when non-Aspies try to govern what is best for us. Many of us are perfectly capital of advocating for ourselves.

We do not need or want a cure.

 

 

 

 

 

10 Aspergers Symptoms by The Aspie World

by The Aspie World

Everyone is different. Some of these symptoms I share, and there are a few that I used to but no longer have.

Here is my feedback on these things.

  1. My nervous stimms are biting the inside of my mouth, clenching my jaw and tongue.
  2. Changing my routine last minute really stresses me out IF I do not have a backup plan.
  3. Food has to have a LOT of flavor and needs to be the correct texture and temperature. Bland food makes me gag.
  4. Smells that do not smell like food make me nauseated or give me a headache. Especially cleaning supplies.
  5. Sounds – I hate florescent lights and loud car revs or sudden loud noises really grab me and send me into a panic.
  6. I am OBSESSED with my hobbies. Right now it is this website.
  7. I definitely like to wear the same type of thing all the time. I buy like 5 of the same shirt or pants in different colors if I find one I like.
  8. I never realized this was a problem until recently but I definitely cant read this on people I don’t know well.
  9. The grocery store is the worst, and I avoid crowded events. Cant do it.
  10. I can talk really fast but have learned to slow down, however I do have problems repeating the same thing over and over again when I talk to people. It is embarrassing because I don’t even realize when I am doing it.

Was Elsa from Frozen Autistic?

I didn’t want to watch Disney’s Frozen when it came out. It was too popular and everyone loved it. Maybe I still have have a bit of a rebellious streak in me.

Eventually my grandmother asked me if I would watch the movie with her and my cousin. My grandmother means the world to me, so if she wants me to come over and watch a movie, I will without argument.

Mentally prepared to watch a lame movie, I was presently surprised. The movie was pretty good and something unexpected happened.

When I first saw the movie Frozen, I knew almost nothing about Autism. I almost instantly felt a strong connection to Elsa’s character and her “conceal, don’t feel” mantra.

I’ve always felt as if I were hiding something, but before I learned about AS what I was hiding was hard for me to name.

Hans Christian Anderson is thought to have been somewhere on the spectrum. This cannot be proven, but if it were true many of his stories could easily parallel many autistic scenarios.

The Disney song Let it go stirred up strong feelings within me. How could a cartoon tell my story so accurately? Was Elsa from Frozen Autistic?

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know