Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Edward Abbey

20 June 2014

I've not blogged for ages. Once you start writing formally, then keeping one's blog fresh becomes an absolute luxury.

I was inspired to write a post today, because someone commented on one of my old posts and said they enjoyed my writing.

So I'm feeling all inspired again.

Here's what's on my mind.

The imminent joyous celebration of the June Solstice which takes place tomorrow - around 1pm in my time zone. And on a Saturday too. What more could I ask for? A weekend Solstice. A time to honour the Earth, to reconnect and heal. I will also gather some herbs. Despite being mid-winter this is a fantastic time to harvest herbs in SA.

Will see what I can co-create tomorrow.

27 January 2014

The source of my "otherness" took even me by surprise

I have always felt different. As a child I thought I was different because I was shy, or because I wore boy's clothes, or because I was not interested in girly things. In high school I thought I was different because I came from the wrong side of town, or because I had crushes on the other girls and not on boys like my friends.

In my twenties I thought I was different because I was gay. Then I made friends with other gay people and I realised that I was different to them too. I enjoyed being around other gay people, but there was still a niggling sense that I was different to them too.

So, in my thirties I decided I must be different because of my politics. I was different because I was an anarchist and I saw the world through a different political and social lens. I thought this might be it, but I still didn't really, really know why I felt so very different to others.

In my forties I have finally realised that I am different because I have Asperger's syndrom. What a journey! What a relief!

Most people start understanding themselves earlier on in life. For me it's been a longer, slower journey. I spent a lot of time in relationships where I just became a chameleon. I became whoever my partner was. Time and again. (This characteristic is typical of many Aspergirls ie women with Aspergers or high functioning autism. (Ref: Rudi Simone, Aspergirls, book.)

25 January 2014

To Ease Transition, Adults With Autism Look To Dogs

While dogs have long assisted people with a range of physical and mental disabilities, their use for those with autism is a relatively new phenomenon.

Four-legged lifelines.


A trip to a shopping centre or an afternoon socialising is inevitably followed by a period of shutdown and then a cuddle with the dogs to take the edge off the overload. This is the quickest and most pleasant way to recover.

Here's the article that confirms my version of stimming.

Autism Service dogs are trained to help individuals on the autism spectrum. Autism service dogs are best described as a cross between seeing eye and hearing dogs as their tasks are similar. They are often trained to guide their handler through crowds , around hazards and to an exit, bathroom, car or home. They are also trained to find their handler or lead their handler to a person they were with when separated in a crowd or lead them to a quiet place. 

They are also trained intelligent disobedience where they will block the individual from walking into the street then refuse to more after given a cross command if a car is coming.these are some examples of seeing eye type tasks. these are important during sensory overload or just for navigating the environment safely.

Hearing tasks include alerting to name being called, phone ringing fire alarm going off or a knock on the door. these both help with sensory overload but also when the handler is tuning out sensory input.

When it comes to sensory over load the dogs are trained to apply deep pressure to help bring the handler out as well to help calm a meltdown.

Peyton Goddard, low functioning autistic, author, hero

At age 22 Peyton typed her first words, "I am intelligent".

Just because we don't express ourselves well verbally, does not mean we are not intelligent.


09 January 2014

Nwedzi with her other Mommy




video

Welcome to the world Nwedzi

One day old chick with his/her attentive Mom. S/he doesn't need to eat yet, she's just practicing to see how the world works. Newborn baby chicks can go for three days without food or water.


video

22 December 2013

I find myself continually irritated by and uneasy about this casual erasure of who I am

Once diagnosed with Asperger's, trying to come out to others becomes a constant battle against being misunderstood. More so with close friends and family.

They say, "Oh I also hate going shopping, I must have Asperger's too."

or 

"She must have Asperger's too, she has HUGE control issues."

Trying to explain how for us it is different, to an neurotypical, becomes difficult. The best way to describe it is to compare the experience to when you were a small child.

"Small children, whether autistic or not, feel misunderstood and this is very upsetting to them. While non-autistic kids grow out of it, because we (autistic people) don't emotionally mature, we don't" - Aspergirls, Rudy Simone

Sigh.

The Aspergian need for control is a whole different ball game. "Control is her way of bringing safety and sensory comfort to an unpredictable, unsafe, uncomfortable world. She is also very particular about what stimuli gets into her brain. Perhaps you have fights about the temperature in the car that have nearly come to blows, or have duelled over what program to watch on the television. Maybe she will literally scream at times if she doesn't get her way. Spoiled brat? Probably not, she probably just came that way, straight out of the box, no assembly required." - Simone

Always
Unique
Totally
Intelligent
Sometimes
Mysterious

I have been reading extensively since self-diagnosing. Although I have suspected for about five years or more that I have Asperger's, I only recently realised that it is an absolute fact. The more I read about it, the more I realise there is no doubt about it. I always thought I was supposed to have some savant ability in order to "qualify". Well ,turns out that's not entirely true and also that one's special interests don't have to be some complex scientific endeavour, but can in fact be any number of rather dull subjects too. (Like the gestation periods of African mammals of the savanna. This was one of my special interests when I was about 6 or 7 years old.)

I've also learned that autism presents very differently in girls/women than what it does among boys/men. Our special abilities may lie in words and writing, as opposed to numbers and science. So there!

So it is with HUGE relief that I am finally, in my mid-40s able to start unravelling who I am.

Without this (self)-diagnosis, I would never have been able to fathom myself.

And by the way, trying to get a formal adult autism diagnosis in South Africa is nigh impossible. I've contacted the autism organisations, phoned psychiatrists specialising in the field etc. They all say they only work with children. It's like you just have to deal with it. You got this far in life, so you must be fine. So I've given up and reconciled myself to the fact that I am, what I am and I won't be able to get a professional to validate it. I just need to accept it.

My scores on the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised indicate that I am quite well on the spectrum.


So yay for me.

The RAADS was designed to address a major gap in screening services for adults with autism spectrum disorders. With the increased prevalence of the condition and the fact that adults are being referred or self-referred for services or diagnosis with increasing frequency, this instrument is a useful clinical tool to assist clinicians with the diagnosis of this growing population of higher functioning individuals in adulthood.