Autism Acceptance

ebook and books IIApril brings along a time which many autistics find incredibly uncomfortable due to Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign.  While I am a very firm supporter of Autism acceptance, I am NOT a supporter of Autism speaks.  There’s a brilliant article here that explains far better than I could ever do:

From Neurotribes.

So…how can you show your acceptance of the autistics in your life without support an organization that has never shown acceptance?  Here’s a few tips:

– keep your voice low.

– include us in your invitations to parties & social gatherings, but don’t pressure us.  Take no at face value.

– ask before hugging.

– don’t wear strong perfume or cologne.

– understand we don’t stim to embarrass you, we stim because it is necessary.

– we’re not always aware of what conversations are socially acceptable, and we often forget how a conversation is supposed to flow.  We aren’t being self-absorbed or disrespectful, our brains jsut don’t trigger on the social cues which others do.

A Life Long Speech

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Imagine every time you stepped outside or into any sort of social event, it was like giving a presentation in front of hundreds of people with no rehearsal time. Not only giving a presentation, but a Q&A session without having any idea what the questions or answers will be.  And no matter how much you attempt to prepare, the information refuses to stay in your brain.

That’s what it’s like in my head most days when I go through the ‘normal’ motions of simple social interactions and small talk.

I tend to socially script a lot, most aspies/autistics do.

There’s a great video that explains better than I ever could:

I do both kinds of scripting that she talks about.  I also tend to rehearse conversations in my head, things I think people will ask me and how I can respond.  It helps me feel less stressful about it.

When is a joke a joke?

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Aspies tend to take things literally.  We tend to have trouble determine if someone is being facetious or not.  Satire is another thing that occasionally goes over my head, probably why I don’t care for sites like the Onion.

We also, unfortunately, get taken advantage of quote often.  We have a tendency towards naivety.  It’s compounded by the fact that without a diagnosis, it’s hard to understand that there’s something different about how our minds work.

Even those without nefarious (such a great word) intentions can accidentally confuse someone who is autistic.

Things I have learned to do to help myself:

– if a news article or report is forwarded to me, I do my own research before ‘believing’ it.

– I ask questions if I’m not sure if someone is teasing me or not.

– I also politely ask my friends not to tease me about certain types of things which confuse me.

– I wait to laugh at a joke until other people are laughing.  Nothing worse than laughing inappropriately.

– I unfollow(online) or step back from (in the real world) people who refuse to respect the boundaries that I need in my life.

Silence

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I love silence.

When things are silent, there are no quiet sounds driving me to the edge of sensory overload.  No little noises that it feels like I’m the only one who hears them, which makes me feel like I’m a little insane.  I spend long minutes hunting around for the source of the sound just to prove to myself that it’s really there.

There’s not enough silence in the world for me at times.

Sensory overload is exhausting.

It’s like the quiet sounds no one else hears are so loud it’s a physical assault on my sense.

Can you imagine what loud sounds are like?

It’s like someone standing beside you screaming in your ear while at the same time hitting you in the side of the head.

There’s not enough silence in the world.

Obsessions.

Aspies tend to have special interests.  I dislike that particular phrasing immensely, so I call them obsessions.  Some Aspies have lifelong interests, others hop from one to the other.

They are our way of dealing with the overwhelming stress that comes with being neuroAtypical in a neurotypical world and can range from actual hobbies to TV shows to movies to books–anything and everything really.

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I have regular hobbies which aren’t the same sort of thing.  I make chain maille for example, but not for the same reasons.

Almost all of my actual obsessions are mostly TV shows, As Time Goes By & The Tudors are my main ones.  I watch all nine seasons of As Time Goes By at least once a month.  I watch episodes of it every weekend.  We go out the most on Saturdays & Sundays, and if I don’t hide away afterward to recharge my social batteries, I get blinding migraines.

I have favourite episodes I skip to at times.  Something about the rhythm of the episode and knowing exactly what’s going to happen, it lulls the stress from my mind.  I love my obsessions.  I’ve even spent a lot of time hunting for coffee mugs similar to the ones they use on ATGB.  I now own three of them and usually use them for tea when I’m watching.   My hubby is remarkably patient with this and usually just heads downstairs to our second TV to play Xbox.

Do you have any hobbies that help you relax?

Cracked, but not broken.

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Different should not equal defective or wrong.

Neurotypical shouldn’t equal perfection.

Nothing and no one is perfect in this world.

I feel like Aspies(and neuroatypical’s in general) are like Kintsugi.  It’s the Japanese art form where they take broken pottery and instead of tossing it, fix it with gold, silver or platinum lacquer, turning it into something which is even more beautiful than the original.

That’s an Aspie.

We’re a little cracked, but our uniqueness is the gold lacquer which puts us back together into something special.

I like that.

I like the imagery.

The Art of Compromise

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The hard part about being married to a neurotypical is sometimes my husband forgets that ‘simple’ things are incredibly stressful for me at times.   And then he forgets that at times, I need to indulge in my hobbies/obsessions to rediscover my calm and let go of stress.

Relationships in general are about compromise I suppose, but even more so when you have someone on the autism spectrum and an NT involved.

Going out at night is a huge stress trigger for me, but my hubby really wanted to go out last night.  I made the compromise of going out, knowing that today I’d like have what I like to call ‘Aspie headaches.’

Aspie headaches are what happen when I’ve experienced sensory overload of some sort or another, or gone out an been ‘social.’  I usually need a day to recover.  I find watching a favourite TV show (The Tudors or As Time Goes By) helps with the process.

It’s simply one of those things I have to do to be in a relationship.  I can’t always say ‘no, I don’t want to go out,’ because that isn’t fair to my husband.  So, like most Aspies in the NT world, I work at finding ways to cope.