Tag Archives: Women with Autism

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.

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.

Ask an Autistic – What is Alexithymia? (Difficulty Expressing Your Emotions)

I was VERY excited when I logged onto YouTube today and saw that Amythest Schaber had posted a video. This video goes over something that I have always struggled with and have never been able to express.

I suffer from extreme anxiety – however I do not always know how I feel. My body is going through VERY intense symptoms physical symptoms of anxiety but mentally I tend to be unaware of the anxiety building.

I have a very hard time with cognitive empathy but when I am near someone who is feeling strong emotions I often feel their feelings inside me. I do not like to be around people when they are having strong emotions.

Sometimes someone else’s emotion may influence me without me even realizing my mood has changed. It is wild how it creeps up. Mindfulness and writing help me. I have to make an effort to pay attention to what my body is doing.

Please check out Amythest Schaber on Youtube and subscribe to her for more GREAT content. I can take NO credit for her video.

Autistic Confessions – Hiding in the Bathroom

Sometimes I hide in the bathroom when I need a break. It may be 5 to 30 minutes before I get my anxiety under control but the little breaks help a LOT. I like to read or write when hiding in the bathroom because engagement in one of my special interests helps me to relax.

I am writing this in the bathroom right now.

 

All to stay Anonymously Autistic.

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.

I Said No (To Something I’d Been Looking Forward to)

Every time I publish a blog about being tough and pushing yourself, there are always comments complaining that I am not paying enough attention to self care.

Yes it is possible to practice self care while pushing yourself. I do it every single day.

In the morning, when my sensory issues bother me the most, it is hard for me to get out of bed but I PUSH myself to do it anyway because I know the pain is only temporary. I try to brush my teeth, because doing so is good for me, but if the sensation is too much to handle on any given day I will stop.

I like to touch my limits, but I am very careful to be respectful of them. Pushing too far is not helpful to anyone.

Some things just suck too much to push through, like last night. I awoke to a spinning room and gargling stomach just after two am. Finally, after four hours of vomiting,  I am able to fall asleep.

When I wake up at eight I feel much better but my stomach is still tender and my body weak. I’d been looking forward to going out to lunch with my friend, but I  texted her to reschedule this morning. Today I need to rest and take care of myself. I also need to work (thank goodness I work from home).

Once again pushing myself while being respectful to what my limits are at this moment. I can handle working from home under a pile of blankets right now, but would not be able to handle doing anything in public.

Pushing. Pulling. Finding the right balance and never giving up.

 

 

I’m Not Built For City Life

I hate the city. I don’t like the noise, the smell, the large concentration of strangers.

I’m a numbers person. I like facts and statistics. Numbers don’t lie.

Violent crimes happen more often in a big city – rape, burglary, and random acts of violence. We don’t have those where I could from.

All that and still I find myself here sitting in the 8th floor parking garage downtown almost an hour before my shift starts. Why? Because letting myself be defeated is not an option. I can make it through a day in hell – one step at a time.

I left the house at 5:30a.m. this morning in order to make my 6:30 a.m. shift start time.

Perhaps the worst thing about the city is the traffic. A drive that should take 20 minutes can take an hour and a half depending on when you leave and the time of day.

Being late gives me anxiety so I arrive at least a half hour early to anything important. Back home I don’t have to worry about traffic, but migrating into the city for work bring unpredictable traffic patterns.

My supersonic hearing is overwhelmed while walking on the city streets. The noise of birds the perfume of flowers washed away by the sounds of car horns and smells of human waste.

Homeless people ask for money as I walk  from the parking garage to the convention center, some forcefully. I’ve heard on the news people were attacked for not giving. I don’t carry cash.

“Please don’t ask me” I say to myself. I can’t read their faces or decipher their intent. It is almost impossible for me to read strangers. Is this person dangerous? I have no idea.

As a child I had no fear of strangers. I would wander right up to them and star talking at them – monologue style. Spouting off information about my favorite hobbies.

The older I get, the more I am aware of my impairments. This has sparked a fear in me that was not there before. I’ve always been an anxious person, but when I was younger I couldn’t see danger – so I did not know it was there.

Now I know that I cannot always see or hear danger – and that in itself is terrifying.

I get lost in the little details, and being alert in the city demands that you be aware of busy surroundings. It is hard for me to not get draw into one little piece of my surroundings.

My shift goes well but my batteries are running low. Back to the parking garage I race not sure how much more of the “real world” I can handle.

Darkness is just sinking in as I get into my car. Driving during rush hour traffic is difficult. I have a hard time with depth perception / judging distance. Driving at night is terrifying because I can barely see the road.

My mother always pointed out that there was something wrong with the way I interpenetrated distance (probably because I walked into a lot of walls and doorways as a kid). It wasn’t until learning about being an Aspie that I began to understand how badly I am affected by this issue.

Unfortunately I am just not built for city life.

The invisible girls on the Autism Spectrum — Everyday Autism

Autistic women and girls are often misdiagnosed if they are noticed at all. Only a few years ago Autism was thought of as a  condition that primarily effected boys. I keep hearing more and more about all the other women who have grown up under the radar, diagnosed, and often lost in a very confusing life.

I recently helped a friend with her niece, who had just been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. My friend strongly felt that this diagnosis was wrong, and after reading more about my symptoms and experiences with ASD believed that her niece “Anne” (name changed) was actually Autistic. The symptoms were all there – social issues, […]

via The invisible girls on the Autism Spectrum — Everyday Autism

Are Girls with Autism Being Overlooked?

Are Girls with Autism Being Overlooked? – Yes I think they are.

Another article that I cannot take credit for but worth sharing.

While she was growing up, Fiona Pettit O’Leary sensed that she was not the same as her peers. She explains that living her day-to-day life was exhausting because “there was an ever-present feeling of disconnection.” Along the way, she experienced anxiety, depression, anorexia, and suicidality—making an attempt on her life at age 18. It wasn’t until she was married with kids on the spectrum, however, that she began looking into autism more. Only then did the light click on: she had Asperger’s. A formal diagnosis confirmed this.

Is autism truly as male-dominated as we’ve thought, or have girls with autism been slipping through the cracks?

Please check out full article here on TheAutismSite.com blog.