Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Gone so soon?

Wow, this autism acceptance month flew by, as all months seem to. I've made it a point to post my thoughts and experiences just about every, maybe save a few. What to write about now?

I guess I can end the month with this: autism is a different experience for each individual on the spectrum. No two of us are alike, just as is the case for all humanity. Some of us might appear to be neurotypical to the outside observer, while others have more obvious traits. These are both to be embraced! It's individuality that makes us all special.

In my mind, I was created just the way God wanted me to be, and for a reason. I've discovered that my purpose is to use my own experiences to help others in similar situations as I am, whether it be autism, ADHD or mental illness. I feel a special connection to the people with whom I work, because I experience some of the things they do.

To wrap this up, I'd like everyone to take a moment and think of something they're experiencing, that they can use to help someone in their shoes. Are you working towards something? Are you dieting? Are you trying to move out on your own? Are you going through a period of recovery? Take your experience and see how you can make an impact on the life of someone else! You will find the experience very rewarding, and there will be reciprocal effects. Peace out, peeps! :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Everything happens for a reason.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm a firm believer in the thought that everything happens for a reason. This includes the fact that I did not receive any of my diagnoses until later on life.

In preschool, I was hyperactive. I was sent to a psychologist, however he dropped the ball and lost touch with my parents before any kind of assessment could be made. Fast forward about 20 years. I had spent most of my life having difficulty with executive functioning, and it finally came to a head. I was 25 and finally took it upon myself to be evaluated for ADHD, and sure enough, I was right! I was also diagnosed with OCD and anxiety at this time, after having dealt with them for a lifetime. As you probably my know, my Asperger's diagnosis didn't come until I was 31, after also taking the initiative myself to go for an assessment.

Part of me wonders what my life would have been like had I been diagnosed earlier on. Would school have been a little easier? Would I have gotten help in some areas? On the flip side, what if I would have been thrown in a class that did not allow me to capitalize on my strengths? Perhaps I would have been limited in what I could accomplish.

This is why, these kinds of questions aside, I'm confident in the notion that everything happens for a reason. While it may have made a positive difference had I been diagnosed early on, I still proved that I could do it for all the years my differences went unknown. Now, I have answers to boot and can work on myself! I feel it all happened the way it was meant to.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sensory seeking

I'm a sensory seeker. This means that I crave sensory stimulation, whether it be bright, colorful lights, squishy Koosh balls, or wonderful smells. Let me tell you about some of my favorite sensory items!

I recently got a light bulb from one of my favorite stores, Makes Sense. It rotates and casts red, blue and green lights in rotating patterns. I love laying in bed and just watching the lights dance across the ceiling. It's psychedelic! :)

My absolute favorite tactile object is the Hairy Tangle. Think of a fusion between a Tangle and a Koosh ball. I love the feel of manipulating this twisty thingamajig in my hands. It's so relaxing!

I like picking things up and smelling them, too, especially plasticy or rubbery things. I don't know why, but I've always loved the smell of these things. I also love the smell of fruity body washes from Bath & Body Works. My favorite is Coconut Lime!

Sensory tools make for a great experience. It can be calming or invigorating. What are some of your sensory faves?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Autism prevalence

There's something I'd like to address. That is the seemingly increasing "prevalence" of autism. A lot of people have been saying that it is growing, and that the rates are higher every year. Well, I get to differ.

For one thing, the reason it looks like autism rates are "growing" is simply better diagnostic tools and greater awareness. Back in the day, when rates were say, 1 in 10,000, only those on the more severe end of the spectrum were looked at as "autistic." We still had Aspies and other people on the milder end of the spectrum, however they were simply looked at as "eccentric." Today we know just how wide the spectrum is, and common sense tells us that of course it's going to look like the rates are increasing, if more people are recognized to be autistic.

Another thing is the great debate regarding vaccines and environmental toxins. Vaccines don't cause autism. Point blank. The age a child begins to display traits simply coincides with the age children are typically vaccinated. It has been scientifically proven that there is no link. As for toxins, I don't see reason to believe they are a factor in whether or not one is born autistic. Autism is genetic. It is a specific hardwiring of the brain that one is born with.

Therefore, autism have always been prevalent in the same rates it is today, whether or not it looks like it on paper. Rather than looking for causes and trying to find a cure, which is a moot point because it is nonexistent, why don't we focus on giving people with autism the best quality of life possible? Autistics have a lot to offer the world; they just need to be accepted! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Supporting my peeps!

Well, this week has been one for fundraisers! I've done some neat activities. I enjoy helping the people that are helping me as well.

To support Autism Services, the agency that runs my Asperger's group, there have been two fundraisers this week. The first was yesterday at Paula's Donuts, a very well-known place if you're s Buffalonian. I'm celebration of Paula's 60th birthday, she donated a dollar from every purchase of a dozen donuts to the organization! My grandma and I gladly picked up a dozen :) Today there was an event at the Alex and Ani store in Williamsville, NY. From all their sales, 15 percent went to Autism Services! I got a pineapple bracelet. I also saw the woman who runs both the agency and my group, and was able to ask her about the self-advocacy group. She said she will get back in touch with me about being a presenter on a panel for some of the group homes! This is an exciting endeavor :)

On Saturday will be an event for Embrace the Difference, the organization which created the necklace I got myself as an Aspieversary present. A portion of all sales as Reeds-Jenss in Amherst, NY will go to the organization. That's where I'll be that day, especially since it's my second opportunity this week to look at and purchase one of my favorite things: jewelry!

I enjoy being a part of helping these organizations. It feels great to get involved in the community and give back. I'm always up for an opportunity to help out!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Understanding Satire...or not

I've been having a lot of literal Aspie moments today, and I find it quite amusing! There are many a time when things go right over my head and I totally miss the other person's point. The thing that's tricky is how to distinguish between a joke or satire and the truth.

Take this article I just read, for example. It was about how someone is going to pierce their newborn baby's tongue, because it was a "tradition." As I read this and continued to see a lost of reasons why the mother wanted to do this, I became unnerved, and posted a comment to the person who shared the article, "this is utterly disgusting." I then saw another comment stating it was satire. It was? I had no idea!

Now onto another Facebook literal moment. Someone in one of my groups had posted a status asking what advice we would give a younger Aspie. I saw a comment that said "keep your head down, you're in for a bumpy ride." I replied "keep your head down?" confused. The person then said they were being sarcastic. Again, I couldn't tell! XD

So there's just a glimpse into life in my literal mind. I don't always take things the way they are meant to be taken, and on the flip side, others take things differently than I mean for them to come off. If you are ever joking with me and I seem confused, assure yourself it's just my Aspie mind at work! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


For those of us spectrumites and ADHDers, motivation can be a daunting phenomenon. We want to get things done, however can't always muster the oomph to do so. Why this is, I'm not quite sure.

For example, cleaning. I have to be in the mood to get it done. Once I'm in cleaning mode, I can go for a long time. It's the fact that these cleaning moods are few and far between that make it difficult to keep up with it, and I find myself waiting until it looks like a tornado hit before I feel like trying to tackle it.

Making phone calls is another thing that I struggle with. I think part of this one is due to anxiety. I know I need to make that important call, and tell myself this, however I always end up waiting until it's too late that day, and have to wait until the next day, or sometimes even week.

What helps me is to set aside a day to do these things, and then, as the Nike slogan goes, just do it! It's not always as easy as it sounds, but once I've got it in my mind that I want to do something, I harness that willpower and usually can follow through with what it is I want to accomplish. I've successfully gotten my car cleaned out and my room cleaned this weekend, simply by deciding I needed to get it out of the way. For these moments, I'm very grateful! :)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Doing well in my Aspie world :)

I must say...things have been going pretty well in this Aspie world of mine lately! I've been happy. I haven't had any major anxiety in a LONG time. I've been feelin' pretty darn good.

Work has been going well, for one. I'm loving the overnight shift. My peeps are all amazing. I sleep like a baby once I get home, and still have the evenings to do with whatever I please.

I've been having a lot of fun with family and friends. I went to Cleveland with the bro two weeks ago for a belated bday celebration. We cruised around and went to a bunch of fun places. I even got a stuffed Toothless from Build-a-Bear! :)

I feel motivated as the weather improves. It FINALLY feels like spring! I've gotten my car cleaned out and detailed. I can't wait to start reorganizing my room. It feels so good to have a plan and actually have the energy to carry it out.

So has anyone else had any fun plans or new things going on in their lives? I'd love to hear some of your stories! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cleaning on the spectrum

For the longest time, cleaning and maintaining a clean space hasn't been the easiest thing for me to do. I can clean, and when I clean I do it well, however it's motivation and energy that are components that aren't always there.

The main thing is, I have to be in the MOOD to clean. The trouble is, these moments spring up few and far between. Once in in "cleaning mode," I'm ready to go like the Energizer bunny for a few hours straight! This hasn't been as easy, though, since I've gained a lot of weight, which is also a barrier. Between sleeping during the day as I work the night shift, and getting everything else I need to do accomplished, I often find I have little time or energy left.

Executive functioning deficits also play a role. Sometimes I can only get so far before I get sidetracked, or then there's the famous "I don't even know where to start!" phenomenon. I know that in the end, my mind will feel organized along with a clean room, but sometimes, it's hard to get the ball rolling.

This is where I've come to realize, I must come up with a plan! I've decided that I'm going to rearrange my room in such a way that will maximize the surface area of the walls so that I'll have more room for my furniture. Just opening up more space can make all the difference! I'm going to start with moving my bed so that the headboard is right under my window, allowing the rest of the walls to be free, and work from there. I'll even post before and after pics! This will be a weekends project so that I can allow for the time and every I'll need to expend; the proverbial "spoons." I can't wait to get started! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Understanding Asperger's

What does Asperger's mean? It means I have a different operating system. I see the world through a different lens. I interpret the world in a unique way.

My mind works a little differently than most people's. I don't always "get" what people are trying to say, as my mind picks up on the literal meaning of things first and foremost. I don't pick up on some of the social nuances or hidden messaged. Double meanings are tricky for me to process.

I notice things many others do not. I sometimes spot a small detail, while missing the big picture. I may not see how something affects things as a whole, before I see how a part of it is affected.

I feel things more strongly than the majority. I have aversions to bitter tastes. My clothes have to feel "just right," or else I'll reach for another outfit. Certain smells bother me, and even make me start to cough. I'm hypersensitive to heat and hyposensitive to cold. I'll go without a jacket in 20 degree weather.

Being an Aspie is an experience that one cannot fully understand unless they live it. While there are many of us out there, our experiences are all unique to each of us, hence the term "spectrum." My operating system is one I can call my own :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

What I would like others to know about autistics

If I could tell others what I would like them to know about autistics, I could come up with so many things. Autism is a wide spectrum, and along it, people have many gifts. There are a lot of "ingredients" that make up an autistic. I'll talk about a few of them here!

First of all, we have a lot to offer. Where do you think we'd be if it weren't for some of the ideas and inventions of our predecessors? There are a lot of gifted autistic minds in the world.  We also have a passion for what interests us, and can harness this in the work field. We can be an asset to our employer.

Autistics can be great friends, as we are typically honest and loyal people. Once you befriend us, be prepared to have a lifelong pal. It takes a lot to discourage us, and we want to be there through thick and thin. I try my best to do just that for my friends.

We can be compassionate people, especially towards others like us. A lot of autistics are proud advocates who want to make the world a more welcoming and better place for our fellow spectrumites. I personally love working in the mental health and developmental disabilities fields, because I know I'm helping people. I've also gotten to know a lot of awesome people in the process :)

We are sensitive. We want so badly to be there for others, that we are often taken advantage of. Please recognize that just because we are genuine, does not mean we should be manipulated. We also take things to heart. I, for one, am easily upset when my feelings have been hurt. It can lead to a meltdown. Once I'm reassured, I bounce back to my cheerful self!

We need support and understanding. Please listen to us. If you want to know more about autism, who else to go to besides an autistic? We are often experts in our own field. Let us tell you what we need, and at the same time, presume competence. Some of us may need more support than others, of different kinds of support, and that's ok! If there's anything else you'd like to know, just ask :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015


I may have written a blog about this before, but the topic came up and I even had a dream about it.  Do you associate colors with letters and numbers? You may have synesthesia, and AWESOME phenomenon in which two senses are linked.

For me, Friday is orange. It always has been. Just as the letter A is yellow and number 3 is light blue. What happens is that when you are born, the brain has connections that are typically "disconnected" by the time one is a little older. In people with synesthesia, some of those connections remain. This is what makes it possible to taste words, see music, or feel tastes. It's really neat!

Sometimes this can make things easier, other times it can be a bit of a challenge. Take being in school for example, and taking tests. There have been countless times where I can remember that an answer was a red word, but I just couldn't remember WHICH red word it was lol! XD This can be helpful when I'm trying to find a street, as street names have colors, too.

Do any of you experience this? What senses are connected for you?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Autism and facial expressions

A lot of people both on and off the spectrum agree that an autistic's facial expression doesn't always match their emotion. Sometimes people will think someone looks mad when they simply have a straight face. I find this interesting, and recently had such an experience.

I was talking to someone who wanted to share something that was on their mind. As they talked, I listened. I got stuck at one point as I did not have much knowledge or any experience with what they were talking about, and didn't know what else to say. They told me I looked "concerned." As far as I know, I was keeping a straight face. I wanted to seem approachable and didn't want the person to feel put off when I got stuck, so I kept the same expression and just listened as I tried to best to give my input. How I looked concerned, I don't know!

I also get people asking me "what's that look for?" My mom asks me this frequently :P I guess I must have a certain expression when I'm deep in thought or trying to concentrate in something and don't realize it. I'm someone who can only focus on one thing at a time, so when I'm focused on something I'm doing, I must not be able to focus on what face I'm making! XD

Has anyone else had any experience with this? I'd like to hear your stories :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Freedom from societal pressure

If there's one good thing about being on the spectrum, it's the freedom to be unique. Everyone has their own ideas of what they want out of life, and that's kewl. With autism, not all, but many people don't feel the need to conform to what their peers are doing.

I've never acted like my peers. I've always followed the beat of a different drummer. I take things as I see them, at face value. I'm direct and literal.

In school, I never saw the point of acting "just like everybody else." Everyone is different, and what's good for one person may not be for the second. While most girls were preoccupied with their appearance and boys, I didn't give those things a second thought. I didn't feel compelled to follow the trends. Instead, I happily played my video games.

The older I get, the wider I see the "age gap" between my peers and me grow, and that's ok. I feel younger, so I'm naturally going to act it. While many of my peers are starting families, I can't fathom that lifestyle for myself. Once again, that may be a great thing for some, and I see some of my peers making excellent parents. For me, personally, however, I don't feel anywhere near that level of responsibility. I'm still learning how the heck to take care of myself! XD Nevertheless, I'm happy,nas I'm doing what's right for ME.

So what is it exactly I'm getting at? I guess my point is that we're all different, and living on the spectrum makes things even more different for me. The thing is, I can respect others who have different ideas. While I don't live up to societal mores, per se, if others are in different situations and they know it's right for them, then they are where they should be. I like being unique me, and I wouldn't want it any other way :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! For this post, I'd like to count my blessings. Life has been pretty good to me, and I'd like to reflect and thank God for all He has given me!

First of all, a loving family. My family has always been there for me. They help me in times of need. We spend a lot of time together and have many good memories. I'm thankful to still be living at home with them.

I'm grateful to have two jobs that I love. Helping others is my passion, and I get to do just that. I work with a lot of amazing people. I've also been granted good health. I don't have to worry about much in this area.

Finally, I'm thankful to have gotten answers and gained insight into myself. I know what makes me who I am, and I have the freedom to be me! I like being different and hope to make the world a better place for others like me :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy Autism Acceptance Day!

Well, it's Autism Acceptance Day! Time to celebrate that "ausome" autistic in your life, whether that be a friend, family member, or even you! What will I be doing, you ask?

Well, first of all, my friend and I will be going to that amazing store I've mentioned, Makes Sense. Then we'll be heading to Aspie group. I'll be wearing my shirt that says "Autism: it's not a processing error. It's a different operating system."

I'll also continue to be posting positive information and stories about autism on Facebook. That way, I'll be showing others just how kewl we autistics are. There's so much negativity surrounding the topic, and I want to break that wall down!

What will you be doing today to honor the ausome autistics in your life?