Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Wow, this month flew by FAST. I can't believe it's already the last day of Autism Awareness month! It's actually kind of sad....*tear* Anyway, moving on :) I feel that I've succeeded in my goal for the month: to raise awareness and teach people some things they might not have known about the spectrum! I've successfully written a blog each day.  I've had people coming to me with questions and for advice about either themselves or others in their life. I feel nothing but awesome about this. I did it! I'm so blessed and thankful for everyone that hit that like button or left a comment.  You've all shown me that this truly is my passion. I'm glad to have helped anyone I have, and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of it. I want to leave you all with this: my message box is ALWAYS open if you need ANYTHING. Feel free to stop by anytime! I'm also going to keep this blog running, so feel free to drop by if you're interested in some more anecdotes or stories about my experience :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Aspie moments

I'd like to take things on a humorous note today and talk about what I call "Aspie moments." You know, those times when my response to something is so literal it's uncanny! Here goes:

- A conversation between a girl and myself at 13:

Girl: my friend stabbed me in the back.

Me: what did she stab you with?

- My coworker describing a situation in which his daughter was misbehaving at home:

Coworker: I'm going to call my wife to see what the temperature is like in the house.

Me: *about to ask what the temperature in the house has at all to do with her behavior*.....*dawns on me that he is referring to her behavior*......oh, I see what you mean now.

- Another coworker and myself talking about a cat recuse organization:

Me: Ten Lives Club actually has cat houses for them to run free in rather than cages.

Coworker: house

Me: *crickets chirp*

Coworker: you do know what a cat house is, right?


- Me at 4 or so when my grandpa was opening his presents:

Grandpa: *sarcastically before opening present* I wonder what this is?

Me: *knowing what's inside - car wash certificates* it's a book of car washes!

Lol....there's plenty more, but I don't want this to go on for hours! I've had many a moment like these with family, friends and coworkers. My brother calls me Sheldon a lot hehe :) Hope you enjoyed, and feel free to share your own!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Self Discovery

My journey since diagnosis has been one of self discovery. I've always known who I am, however I've learned so much more about myself! Ten years ago, I had never even heard the word "Asperger's" much less knew it had anything to do with me. I knew I was a little different, didn't fit society's norms, and was perfectly ok with it.

Once I learned I was on the spectrum and later diagnosed last month, I've dedicated myself to spreading the word. I now realize that there's a reason for all of my differences. It's really pretty cool. It's like I have a different t operating system than the majority; I'm an Android in a world of iPhones :) Can you tell I'm an Android fiend?

I've learned just how wide the spectrum is, and what autism once meant to me has taken on a totally new meaning. I once had the impression that it meant someone who was in their own world, shut off from the rest. I now realize that this isn't true. I realize that it means something much different. It means talents. It sometimes means challenges, but strength to overcome them. It means me.

I hope to continue to keep learning more and more about myself, how I can work around my challenges and capitalize on my strengths. I'm becoming aware of these things and enjoy reading more about them. Through it all, the best part is when I know I've helped someone else. It feels great to know I'm making a difference!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Newly diagnosed. Who to tell?

I've been seeing this question raised in a lot of the Asperger's groups I belong to on Facebook. Who did you tell when you were first diagnosed? Have you told your supervisor? How do you feel about telling others?

To answer those questions, I didn't hesitate to tell just about everyone I know. As an advocate, I think awareness is imperative. So many of us fall under the radar, and I want people to see that we all don't fit a specific stereotype. I want to show them the many different appearances autism can have. It can be your coworker. Your friend. Your family member. It can present itself in a plethora of ways.

Just as I did with my ADHD diagnosis, I told my supervisor right away as well. I feel that it is important for them to know, especially if you're having struggles. That there is a reason for them, and that you're trying your hardest to work around them. In turn, my supervisor has been helping me to come up with methods to work around my shortcomings, and to hopefully overcome some of them. She has been a godsend!

I felt no reservations on coming forth with my diagnosis. After all, it's just one of many facets that make me who I am. Why hide or be ashamed of it? I want people to see the real me, and I want to be the most genuine person I can be.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

1 in 68, or really?

There have been countless news stories as of late, spouting off that "autism is on the rise! Studies have shown that its prevalence is now 1 in 68 children." It's almost as if it's being looked at as an epidemic, like something that needs to be "solved." Personally, I think this is bogus.

The real fact of the matter is that prevalence isn't increasing, but rather awareness. Back 30 years ago, when I was just coming into the world, autism wasn't something that was well-known as of yet, much less diagnosed. Today, there are so many effective tests and evaluations to screen for autism spectrum disorders. The scope of the diagnosis has also widended. Back in the day, autism was thought to be something that only impacted one profoundly. Today, it is known that this isn't always the case, and that the spectrum encompasses a wide range of traits. It is only natural that more kids are being diagnosed today.

What about all of the now adults who would have been diagnosed under today's standards years ago? They exist, and existed as children on the spectrum before the spectrum was really recognized. There are several people who are living undiagnosed because of this. Heck, take me, for example. I didn't even learn of Asperger's until I was 22, and wouldn't be diagnosed until almost 9 years later. It is actually estimated that the prevalence may be even higher than 1 in 68, and is difficult to pinpoint given all of these facts.

The way the media shines a light on autism isn't always the brightest, unfortunately. You take groups like Autism Speaks who treat it as a horrible tragedy to be eradicated, when in actuality, it is something that contributes to the diversity of humanity that should be accepted and embraced. Look at all of the people on the spectrum who have contributed great discoveries to the world. Einstein and Temple Grandin wouldn't be who they are if they weren't on the spectrum, so why is that something that needs to be looked at as a defect? It is not a disease, but a part of neurodiveristy.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Autism misconceptions

When you think of autism, what comes to mind? Rainman? People with savant talents? The media has an impact on how people perieve autism. Some know better and know what it truly means. Unfortunately, it seems like there are masses who only know what they've seen on TV.

Common Misconceptions

1) We are all like Rainman.
-this couldn't be further from the truth. While the character was based on a few of the stereotypical characteristics, he is just that: ONE character. Fictitious, and one person. While some of us may know baseball statistics such as he did, or prefer to watch a show religiously every day, it's not all we do, and not all of us do that. I personally couldn't care less about baseball or its statistics. Now Sonic the Hedgehog, that's a different story :)

2) People with autism are nonverbal.
-this is true in some cases, but not all! In fact, the majority of us do use spoken language. For those who do not, a lot of people assume that they are unable to communicate or are lacking in intelligence. This is totally not the case! There are writers and advocates who do not speak, however carry out powerful messages. Just Google Carly Fleischman.

3) We do not look people in the eye.
-this has to be my pet peeve. I had a psychiatrist tell me that I didn't remind her of an "Asperger patient" because I looked her in the eye. Really? Needless to say, I changed doctors. There are plenty of us who do not struggle with eye contact. Some do, some don't it varies from person to person.

4) We lack empathy.
-it has actually been said that people with autism do not lack empathy, but rather feel it intensely and have difficulty expressing it. I don't experience difficulty in this area. While I can't always see things the way others see them, and can't imagine being anyone else, I can look at things from other people's shoes and try to imagine what they're going through. That's why I'm in the Social Work Field :)

5) We're shy.
-while some people on the spectrum are more reserved, others are social butterflies! I love people! I have difficulty with more of the hidden social aspects, like not being able to read between the lines, literal thinking and not picking up on hidden motives. In my case, it has nothing to do with not wanting to socialize, but rather my genuineness as assumption that everyone else is also genuine.

There are many more misconceptions, bit I'll end it here as this is getting long. What are some you have heard?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making a difference

I just have to say I'm blown away by the number and quality of responses to my blog. I truly see that I'm making an impact! To those of you who have come to me with questions either about yourself or a family member, thank you! You have helped me to fulfill my purpose of spreading awareness and using my own experiences to make a difference in the lives of others. This is the direction I want to go in. This is a cause I feel very dedicated to. As always, shoot me a message if you have any questions or need advice :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Synesthesia...what the heck is that?

Do you associate letters with colors? Has the letter A always been yellow in your mind? Do sounds trigger a certain taste? If so, you experience a phenomenon known as synesthesia.

It's said that this occurs because of crosswiring in the brain. Different senses become connected to one another, so when one is triggered, another is simultaneously. It's really interesting!

For me, letters and numbers have always triggered a specific color in my mind. It's been that way as long as I can remember. Days of the week and months trigger a color as well. January is dark purple in my mind, for example.

This tends to be more common among us spectrumites. I've talked to others who have similar experiences. The brain sure is a fascinating thing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


We all get that song stuck on our head. You know, the one you just heard an hour ago, yet has been playing over in your mind ever since. I'm not sure if this is more common to those of us on the spectrum or not, but nevertheless it makes for an interesting topic!

See, at any given moment, I have a song playing in my head. It can be one I heard recently, or one that randomly pops into my head. For as long as I can remember, I've had this personal radio in my brain. It's as if I have background music playing to whatever is going on.

This could be because spectrumites crave sensory input, and those with ADHD do as well. I need something going on in addition to whatever I'm doing as it helps me to better focus. Techno music is soothing to me because of its repetitive, rhythmic beat. It's a natural stimulant.

So....what earworm is stuck in you head right now?

Monday, April 21, 2014


People on the spectrum want what every human desires: to be accepted and included. While we may not care what others think of us, and don't necessarily want to "fit in" by trying to be like others per se, we want them to take us just as we are and show us we're worthy of their acceptance.

People are often afraid of what's different. They see someone who isn't like them, and rather than get to know the person, they avoid or ignore them. Sometimes people are so insecure with themselves, that the only way they feel better about themselves is to make others feel like less than them. It's really unfortunate.

The next time you're in lunch at school, or on break at work and are passing by that table where the kid or coworker who is a little unique is sitting, stop and sit with them. Talk to them. What seems "weird" at first might be a different take on the world that makes more sense than the majority of minds. Open your heart and step out of your comfort zone. Just listen. Show them that you're interested in what they have to say. You might otherwise be passing up the chance to get to know an awesome person!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Some people have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder and nothing else. More commonly, there are other diagnoses that co-occur, hence the term "comorbid." Take Asperger's and add ADHD and OCD to the mix, and you've got me :P

There are a lot of overlapping traits amongst these three diagnoses, and I think that's why they commonly come in a package set. The ability to hyperfocus on things that interest us yet the difficulty focusing in things we need to be focusing on at the moment. The repetitive habits and regimented behaviors. The difficulty with executive functioning. These types of things co-ocurr often.

Right now I think my biggest bear is the ADHD characteristics. Executive functioning has never been my forte. I am easily sidetracked and have to push myself to stay on task. Adderall has been a great help, especially at work! My OCD is a lot more at bay than it was in early college. I was going through full-blown rituals at that time; not a fun experience. I'm thankful that I've gotten it more under control. I still have repetitive habits, but that's because the Aspie in me also comes into play. I like things to be a certain way. I'm fussy about textures. I tap on things or fidget as a stim, usually in certain orders.

Once again, would I change myself? Absolutely not. There are just as many gifts as struggles living with this collection of diagnoses. While anxiety runs high at times, I usually am able to get a handle on it with medications and calming myself with a good video game. On that note, Happy Easter to all! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Kind of to go with what I wrote yesterday...

I don't want to beat a dead horse...maybe I technically won't be as this is more of a continuation of yesterdays post about not "looking" autistic. This has just been on my mind for a few days and I want to stress that just because one may appear neurotypical does not necessarily mean they are, and that both their struggles and gifts are still valid.

From my own experience, I may appear as your average human being upon first meeting me and talking to me. It's when you get to know me a little better that some of my differences start to show their face. For example, starting a job. During the beginning stages as an employee, I'm going through the learning phase and will naturally need a few pointers. It's when I've been at that job for several years and am still struggling to figure out a method that will work for me in order to keep on top of things and do my best, and still need reminders about things, that one may start to notice that something's up. Thankfully I have a lot of help in this area and have been making strides!

I think that upon first meeting me, since I'm such an open book, that perhaps I come off as a little "odd." After knowing a person longer, though, they'll know that I take things literally. That I don't read between the lines. That I don't seen to be caught up in what everyone else is doing. That's totally ok with me!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that don't base your ideas of a person on what you see after your first interaction with them. This applies to everyone, whether on the spectrum or not. Just because someone looks as if they are perfectly capable of something, don't judge them when you learn they have struggles with it. A lot of the characteristics of autism are invisible to the outside observer. Never downplay them, as well as our many gifts! I think it's because I'm on the spectrum that I embrace my individuality and have the genuineness I do, and I wouldn't trade that for anything :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

But you don't look autistic...

This is an argument people have heard time and time again. When a lot of people hear the word "autistic," the many stereotypes that have been fed to them by society come to mind. They think of Rain Main. They think we are all savants. They have an image in their mind that in many cases, couldn't be further from the truth.

The fact of the matter is, autism is a spectrum. It may manifest itself in that one may need assistance in many areas of their life. It may present itself in that one may appear typical to the outside observer. Then you have everything in between.

The think to remember is, just because someone doesn't appear to fit those skewed stereotypes doesn't necessarily mean they can't be on the spectrum. Yes, some people may be balancing on the line between on the spectrum and off, but nevertheless, they may still be living on it. Never downplay their struggles OR strengths, just because you can't see them on the outside. Oftentimes, these are things you may not have any idea about until you get to know a person!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


A lot of people on the autism spectrum may show behavior that is recognizable to others around them. Some flap. Others rub their hands together. Some squeal with delight at things that excite them. For some people, it may be more discreet, such as wiggling their legs while sitting or fiddling with their fingers. These behaviors are what as known as stimming, or seeking sensory input.

For whatever reason, those of us on the spectrum crave sensory stimulation of some kind. This seems to ease tension or release pent up energy. If we can't let the energy out, it causes frustration, which can turn into a meltdown for some.

For me, stimming probably looks like nothing more than fidgeting to the outise observer. I do the leg wiggling, and I sometimes fixate on my fingers and tap them on things. Sometimes I stretch my muscles. In my experience, it's the combination of ADHD and Asperger's that plays a part in all of this. I stim because I have pent up energy, and also because I can't sit still for very long. It helps me to concentrate.

As you see, this is one of the ways the wide autism spectrum manifests itself. The next time you see someone doing any of these things, remind yourself that they're doing so to calm themselves and that it's okay! As humans, we all have things that help us to keep our cool in any kind of situation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Executive functioning

Getting ready to leave for work. Remembering to grab everything when walking out the door. I've got my bag, my lunch, my phone...oh, wait! *runs back to grab my keys* These types of tasks are referred to as executive functions. They can be very daunting for one on the spectrum, especially when you throw ADHD into the mix!

Let's face it: in this day and age everyone and everything is moving so fast, it's hard not to miss a step. For those of us with executive functioning difficulties, however, this is ten times harder. You're trying to keep on top of things in the midst of already racing thoughts, and there are distractions all around you. Let's say you're walking into a room to grab a pen, an important paper and an envelope. You grab the pen. On your way to picking up the paper, something on TV catches your attention. As you're walking to get the envelope, what you had seen on TV reminds you of something else, which is now in the front of your mind. You might find yourself standing there, wondering what it was you were doing in the first place! This happens several times a day for someone on the spectrum.

I try my hardest to come up with little shortcuts and methods to work around my difficulties. At work, I have a chart with all the names of the people on my caseload,
and columns next to them for each important task I need to complete for their chart that month. I have a plastic mailbox that hangs in my cubicle to sort my papers because otherwise, it's out of sight, out of mind. Sometimes we need these accommodations, and believe me, they help! At home, I try to keep my mail sorted, but this is still something I've yet to master. I'm taking it one step at a time!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

At work on the spectrum

Being on the spectrum poses both gifts and challenges in the workplace. For some, interpersonal skills aren't one's forte, but they may excel in independent work with computers or research. Others may be social butterflies, however struggle with the more invisible social aspects, or the executive functioning related tasks.

I fall into the latter of the two examples. I have a natural talent for establishing a rapport with others, especially in the mental health and developmental disabilities fields. I find that people in both fields are very genuine, accepting people who aren't quick to judge, and something just clicks right away in my interactions with them. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that I fit into both categories, could it? ;) I see this as a strong skill.

On the flip side, I miss things that most people notice. I need things pointed out to me that most people don't. I'm constantly developing methods to make sure I cover all ground without missing a step. I don't always pick up on the hidden social cues due to my literal thinking and not being abke to read between the lines. I find myself puzzled at times when my coworkers are joking with me, and others don't always recognize when I'm trying to make a joke. It's important to have a supervisor who is willing to help you anywhere you need it! For this, I'm very thankful.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to ALWAYS try your best, and ask for help when you need it. It never hurts. Some people need a little more than others. Put forth the effort, and you will go far!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Aspie benefits

There are many benefits to being on the spectrum. While it does pose its challenges, there are many reasons I'm glad I wasn't born any differently. I'd like to make a list:

1) to quote a great song by The Dramatics, what you see is what you get. I'm honest, loyal and tell it like it is. I keep it real!
2) I have a song playing through my head at any given moment. It's like I have my own personal radio inside my head. Music keeps me going.
3) I don't care what others think of me. I have no concept of self-consciousness, and no shame in my game.
4) I take things as they are. I don't see gray areas or read between the lines. I'm accepting of people just as they are.
5) I'm unique. I'm not afraid to be a forever child. I like wearing a lot of bright colors. I like seeing the world from a different perspective.
6) I have a childlike innocence. I see the world through rose-colored glasses. I appreciate the little things.
7) I notice details. I can point out things that others may miss. This helps me to remember the most random things!
8) I have a zest for life as I experience it. The things I love, I'm very passionate about. You'll definitely know if I'm intrigued by something.
9) I want people around me to be happy. I like to be a mediator. I try to keep the peace
10) Most of all, I just like being me. I'm happy with the person I am, and wouldn't want to be any other way.

There you have it! 10 reasons why being an Aspie rocks! :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Who cares what they think?

I've never been one to care what others think. So my clothes may not match. My hair might be a little messy. I possibly come off as "weird." So what? I've always wondered why so many people care so much about these things. They're trivial to me.

So much of the world puts countless amounts of effort into making sure they fit society's standards. Why? This makes absolutely no sense to me. What is it going to get you if your clothes matched today? Does it really make a difference? It's what you do in those clothes that counts. There are people who are dressed to impress yet their behavior reflects otherwise. On the flip side, there are people who wear clothes that look like they've seen better days, and rather than focusing on fashion, they're out there making a difference helping others. In the long run, is it going to matter ten years from now whether or not you were the best dressed at your high school reunion, or on Easter Sunday?

And this whole notion of being what society expects us to. Being insecure because one doesn't have what the Joneses have. Fearing that they may come off as eccentric, so feeling forced to mask who they really are. Who comes up with this stuff? It will forever puzzle me. Thank goodness I never seemed to get the memo on "fitting in." I consider it an Aspie blessing :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Special interests

Everyone has something that they absolutely love. That they call their "thing." On the spectrum, this is usually taken to an extreme. These are what are known as special interests.

When you like something so much that it's one of your main interests, leaving the many other possible hobbies and pastimes to the wayside, it may be considered a special interest. While most of us have things we really like, those of us on the spectrum may have an affinity for, say, computers at the exclusion of everything else. It is possible to have multiple special interests.

Mine are video games, the Android operating system, collecting charms and new songs sampling older ones. I've been drawn to video games for as long as I can remember. I'm a die-hard Sonic fan, to the point that was my nickname for several years, I have Sonic collectibles littering my room, and you can find me playing it several times a week. I'm always flashing my phone and testing the latest ROM, and people often look puzzled when I explain the different versions of Android based on the names of sweets. I'll hear a new song and can almost always come up with at least one older song I recognize in the background. I love the way charms sparkle and am especially attracted to those with moving parts.

The main thing is, when we on the spectrum like something, we really like it! We're very passionate about our interests and take them and run with them. I know that everyone will know I love Sonic just by talking to me for years to come :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Can you imagine?

It's often said that people on the spectrum have limited imaginations. While this is not always the case for everyone, I'm living proof of it. For as long as I can remember, since I was little, I've never had much of an imagination.

I was often bored when I was little, seeking out my parents for entertainment. I TRIED to play pretend. I TRIED playing with toys. It just seemed that I could never come up with anything interesting enough to keep myself occupied. What's the point of pretending an inanimate object is something else if it's not the real thing?

The thing is, I always have loved and always will love toys. What draws me to them isn't the actual playing with them, but rather the neat features some of them have, as well as collecting them. Popples always fascinated me because of their ability to roll into a ball. It's the technical things that captivate me.

Then there's video games. Finally, something that seemed to open a whole world, always engaging, and something I loved! To this day, video games have always been a therapeutic release for me. They're calming. You don't need to have an imagination while playing them as there is a whole universe created just for you to explore. This is my alternative to pretending. Thank goodness for video games :)

Has anyone else had a similar experience growing up?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ricotta cheese feels like fuzz in my mouth!

I know I discussed sensory sensitivities recently, but I feel food deserves its own post. Think of that food you can't stand. What is it about it? The actual taste? The feeling in your mouth? The smell? With heightened sensitivities, food can be an amazing thing, or an absolutely stomach-turning experience for someone on the spectrum.

The foods high on my fave list are pizza, chicken fingers, fries, and pizza logs. They're usually all I'll order when I go out to eat. The taste, texture, smell...EVERYTHING is just perfect. On nom nom! :)

Now on to the foods I think are absolutely nauseating. Ricotta chesse feels like fuzz in my mouth, and reminds me of baby spit-up, which is sickening. Roast beef tastes like soggy washcloths...the texture is just yuck! Sauerkraut tastes like sweaty socks, and smells rancid, probably because of the vinegar. Mayonnaise is something I won't go near with a 20-foot pole. It looks nasty, smells absolutely disgusting, and tastes terrible. You can see how vividly my senses perceive them!

So the next time you're out to eat with a friend, or want your kid to eat something and they're making a face at it, remember that they might be more sensitive to tastes, smells and textures than yourself. Or, if you notice yourself feeling this way about a certain food, let it be known that eating it would be an absolutely awful experience!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Disability or difference

Do any of you, on or off the spectrum, view autism as a disability or a difference? I personally see it as just coming with a different operating system than most.

Some people arugue that it's a tragedy. I disagree. Everyone on the spectrum is born with different talents. Just because one may not have the words to say what's on their mind, doesn't mean that they have nothing to say! The person sitting in the cubicle over there who is very shy and awkward? Maybe they are coming up with an innovate new computer program.

Granted, not everyone will grow up to be Einstein; I don't think too many of us will. That doesn't mean one won't grow up to accomplish great things, no matter what they are! Life as one person knows it is life as THEY know it, is of much value and is just as important as the next.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

But that shirt itches!

You're picking out an outfit for the day. You reach for a shirt. No, that one's too scratchy. On to the next. No, this one's a little too thick. Finally, you grab one that feels "just right." Soft enough, lightweight enough; COMFORTABLE. This is how us on the spectrum perceive things with our senses.

Any sense can be hyper- or hypo- sensitive. Take temperature, for example. You'll see me walking around in the middle of winter with no jacket. Why? It's because I seem to be hyposensetive to cold temperatures. I think nothing of walking around in 20 degree weather without a jecket so long as it's not for an extended period of time. On the flip-side, I can't hold a cup of hot cocoa for more than a minute until my hand feels like it's burning!

Some spectrumites are extra sensitive to lights and sounds as well. Me, not so much. This is a perfect example of how one person on the spectrum is vastly different from the next. This is just one area where my senses aren't tweaked in one direction or another. Some people can't be around bright lights or loud sounds without having a meltdown.

So, take a moment to think about this the next time you reach for a clothing item or hear a motorcycle cruising by. What you feel, see, smell, taste or hear is a totally different experience from someone else's, especially someone on the spectrum. It also means we are especially fond of some sensory things as well, such as that soft, fuzzy blanket or shiny necklace! :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

To educate, advocate, and spread acceptance

A lot of you have seen the seemingly endless autism posts of mine on Facebook. I know it may seem like I'm going overboard. The truth is that since it's Autism Awareness month, I'm trying my best to show everyone the awesomeness of us spectrumites. Being recently diagnosed, it's also something that's especially meaningful to me! I hope everyone's been enjoying what I have to share, and be prepared for many more throughout the month ;)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How was I supposed to know?

Sometimes people expect me to be psychic. "Why didn't you put that towel away?" I don't know...maybe because nobody asked me to and I didn't even realize anyone wanted me to! This can get aggravating at times.

Those of us on the spectrum need things spelled out to us explicitly. We don't always pick up on what seems to be the obvious for others. If you want me to do something, I ask that you simply ask me! I don't leave my dinner dish on the able or forget to push in my chair just to annoy you; it's just that sometimes I don't think of these things unless I'm told.

My advice to anyone who lives with someone on the spectrum is to let them know what it is expected of them. No one knows what someone else wants them to do unless they make it known to them. I try my hardest to live up to what is asked of me, but little reminders and direct instructions better allow me to do so :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Why would I want to do that?

I've never been swayed by others' opinions of me, nor by what they were doing. I remember first learning of the concept of peer pressure in this class in 6th grade, and thinking "why would I do these things (drink, smoke, do drugs, etc.) just because other kids are?" It didn't make an ounce of sense to me. I've always been me, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

I consider this to be one of my Aspie blessings. I've observed so many others getting hung up about fitting in and being cool. Having the latest clothes. Impressing their peers. Doing what the "cool" kids were doing. Then there was the fear that they didn't live up to their peers' standards, or the letdown when they weren't accepted.

I remember being on the outside looking in and and wondering why other kids were so preoccupied with these things if all they brought was misery. I guess it's a part of what those years are like for the typical adolescent, but having never experienced it, I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. All I saw was my friends, who once were interested in the things I was still interested in, becoming consumed by this mass "epidemic" and I felt kind of left in the dust. Did they no longer have any interest in our friendship? Why were they suddenly changing? Are they still going to want to be by my side?

These thoughts fueled my OCD, leading me to constantly ask for their reassurance. I think this partly drove them to be annoyed. I didn't realize that at the time. I only saw everything changing around me, wishing that things could be the same. I didn't have any interest in my clothes other than that they were comfortable and not too girly. I could have cared less what boys thought of me. I wasn't interested. Why do other girls care if they look "fat?" Looks are superficial.

To this day, I'll never understand this whole ordeal. Having never gone through it myself, it makes no sense to me. All I know is that I've always been very happy staying true to myself, whether the others appreciated it or not. I was much happier playing video games and doing my thing than doing whatever it was everyone else was doing.  I wouldn't change for anyone :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

They would never...

You know how when you get to know someone, you become familiar with their personality traits and what to expect? You can say that this person always does this, or would never do that, and be confident in that you are right? Well, for those of us on the spectrum, this becomes a tricky area at times. We are usually honest and direct people who assume that the rest of the world is that way. We often fail to see outside ourselves and forget that others aren't always this way.

Because of this, people on the spectrum are easily taken advantage of. I was in a situation where I was friends with a girl who seemed like a really nice person when I met her in college, and years after. It wasn't until I knew her a little longer that the friendship slowly became anything but that. She began to con me into helping her with things, to the point I was eventually backed into a corner and it was either bite my tongue and help her, or tell her I couldn't and get cussed out. It was a catch-22. I was naive enough to give her a second chance after we had a falling out, and the same thing happened all over again. I learned a valuable lesson about not letting myself get taken advantage of in the future. It's helped me to keep my guard up, but I still have trouble recognizing when people aren't being truthful. It's part of the whole literal thinking and failure to read between the lines scheme of things.

I'm learning how to become stronger day by day, but I recognize that this is an area that needs work. I think a lot of spectrumites are in the same boat. Has anyone else been in a similar situation?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

But you look like a teenager!

Yes, I do. I've always looked young for my age. And acted young for my age. Part of it is my neverending enjoyment of being a kid. Part of it is because I'm on the spectrum.

Spectrumites tend to look and act younger than they are. Of course, this doesn't always hold true, as one person is vastly different from the next. It seems to be a more common theme on the spectrum, though. Why this is, a lot of people are unsure. Is is the genetic components of autism? Are there other traits tied to it that cause a more youthful appearance? No one really knows at this point in science. As for the being mentally and emotionally younger part goes, that could be a multitude of things. Autism impacts one's development in many ways. It may manifest itself in that one may be more naïve due to interpreting others differently. A lot of times, one is not in sync with what their peers are into, and they may not have a desire to be on board with them. While other girls were talking makeup and boys, I was content playing video games and collecting toys. This has not changed, and I'm 31! :) There are many possibilities out there for why one may come across as if they've found the fountain of youth!

Personally, I'm thankful for this. Do I like being youthful because of autism, or do I like being youthful because I'll always be a big kid? I'd have to say it's probably a little of both. Whatever the case, I'll embrace it full-force and you can find me at Toys-R-Us! :D

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reading between the lines

This has to be one of the most difficult things for me to grasp as an Aspie. So many people have alterior motives and hidden messages, and if you interpret what is said word for word, you'll completely miss them. I take what I'm told at face value. I can't always recognize when someone is trying to pull one over on me. I've had "friendships" in which I've become a doormat because of my inability to recognize that there was more to the story than what I could see.

The important thing to remember when talking to someone on the spectrum is to be CONCRETE and DIRECT. Say what you mean. Don't use figures of speech they may not grasp and don't assume that they'll understand when you use a phrase with a double meaning. If the sky is blue, it's blue and nothing more. Don't try to tell them otherwise. Has anyone been in these types of situations?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Literal thinking

For those of us on the spectrum, what others say can be taken very, well...literally. Some of the idioms and figures of speech that most people say to others are said inferring that the other person knows it means something totally different. With Asperger's, that's often far from the truth. See, figures of speech I've heard before make sense because I've either figured out or have had explained to me (usually the latter of the two) what they mean. I still find myself stumbling across new sayings and wondering what on earth the person is talking about.

A couple weeks ago, a coworker was talking about how his daughter had been misbehaving, and was checking in with her mother to find out how she was acting that evening. He said that he was going to call her to find out what the temperature was like in the house. I started to ask "what does the temperature in the house have to do with anything..." and then after a moment, a light bulb went off. "Oh, you mean you want to know how her behavior is today, right?" I said. Duh. Well, not do duh when you take what others say word for word. This can make communication difficult at times, and sure makes for funny stories! The same coworker had used the phrase that someone was "a tempest in a teapot" about 5 years ago and I remember just standing there trying to decipher it as I had never heard it before XD

Does anyone else have any similar stories? I'd love to hear them!