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Behaviours

Behaviours

So much can be learned from autism. Our behaviours show people a new way of being. We are not ordinary. We are unique creative intelligent diverse range of people.We are not afraid of forging into the unknown with our ideas and visions.

If you are newly diagnosed or want to learn more about autism from an autistic then I have a lot I can share with you. One of the well known behaviours that affect autistics is sensory processing disorder and also auditory processing disorder

Both of these can affect the daily interactions that an autistic has, myself included. Noises seem louder, touch feels aggressive/uncomfortable and smells and tastes can be overwhelming.Not to mention bright lights or bright sunshine. Try putting yourself in the shoes of an autistic who is constantly being bombarded through incorrect processing of the senses. It is not a brief episode but an 24 hours a day seven days a week kind of thing. We are never free of feeling overwhelmed.And by feeling overwhelmed, it can affect our interactions with people. Because we are overwhelmed to begin with, miscommunications can happen or tempers flare or anxiety persists. It may often make the person interacting with an autistic feel like it’s their fault or that person is having a bad day ect. But the experiences of an autistic are very real and cannot be eliminated. They are always present with us no matter how we may try to shut them out. On the upside of our distress from our sensory issues, we have a lot we can offer. We are intelligent, creative, inventive. We look for new ways of doing things. We are unstoppable. We get immersed in our interests and these interests can lead to creative outlets for us.Or a way to get our minds off of how overwhelmed we feel by our sensations.

There is also the issue of masking which most autistics learn as a coping strategy. There are articles throughout my blog which explains why I mask and how it helps. Sometimes I use masking to cope with that robotic type of feeling that I have as an autistic where it becomes hard for me to respond naturally to others social interactions with me. It is much harder for me to process these kinds of situations and I sometimes feel like a robot where I just have to manually make myself fit in even though I might not be aware of what is taking place socially. This is where masking comes it. It makes these kinds of situations more bearable and more natural. Masking is something I do when I may not understand everything that is going on around me with others so I try and act natural. It is like “go with the flow ” type of behaviour that is more learned instead of just acting natural the way most neurotypicals do.

There are so many behaviours that an autistic may have that may appear weird or strange but for us it’s totally natural. These behaviors are our way of being and this is who we are. You cannot take the behaviour away from an autistic.

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About Me

I created this blog to express my unique autism perceptions.I share my insights and resources here as a person with lived experience. Autism is very unique and complex. Each person experiences autism differently. My opinions and information are expressions about myself and my experiences.

Perception means the ability to see things. It is the ability to become aware of something through the senses. Autism has given me a unique reality and open mind. I believe it is important for others to have their own unique perceptions as individuals on the autism spectrum.

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My Perspectives

The way I see it

What do you think about when you hear the word autism?You might think  of the movie rainman or think of someone you know who has it. Autism is a spectrum disorder meaning there are varying degrees of challenges that a person may identify with. On the upside there are many well known people  who have made great strides in success . I think that their success came from their autism. Temple Grandin, and Albert Einstein are a couple of great minds who have had much success.

Temple Grandin is an American professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and a consultant to the livestock industry on the humane treatment of animals. She also invented the “Hug Box” device to calm those on the autism spectrum. And also is an autism spokeswoman and author.

Albert Einstein was a  theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921 for his work on the photoelectric effect.

Both are autistic.

Although not every person who is on the spectrum rises to great fame or success, it necessary to see these great achievements, and to think differently of what is possible instead of what is not.

A well know quote is “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.-Stephen Shore

This means that there is such a range of differences and challenges between each person with this condition that no two are exactly alike. One person can be very high functioning yet another can be non verbal . There are complete opposite ends of this spectrum the same as another other type of spectrum. In spite of these opposites, each person is extremely unique or gifted.

For me, autism feels like I am exposed to a radio and the noise level is  always turned up several notches above a tolerable level. This comparison is exactly the same for anything I smell, taste, or touch. I constantly live in an increased state of awareness and sensitivity. Mostly to do with my surroundings and particularly with noises. Living in an increased state like this puts my nervous system into high alert. People often tell me I look scared when really I am not. I am just in a state of being highly alert to my  environment. Sudden loud noises are very irritating . A loud ambulance or airplane whirling past are a shock to me. When this happens, my nervous system and already alert brain are working overtime absorbing the shock and trying to bring my whole system back into a state of calm.

Autism for me feels like like a vortex. Once you’re in, you’re in for good. It is like going into another reality but when you are still present with everyone else. It is  going into an inner world. I think that because so many of us on the spectrum have adapted to our inner worlds so well, is the reason we are such good inventors, creators and so intelligent. I have never liked large crowds or a lot of noise. My nervous system cannot adapt well to these kinds of environments. And to make matters worse, I cannot hear if someone is speaking to me when I am in  these kinds of situations. Just the other day a lady made a comment to me and I could not understand what she said. Instead of asking her to repeat herself yet again ( I had already asked her once and my brain still could not decipher it) I just smiled and nodded in agreement. Even though I had no idea what she said.

These types of experiences for someone who is autistic are very confusing at the time they happen. It can feel as If I am partly deaf. Even though my hearing is completely normal when tested. My mind is so overwhelmed that I cannot  decipher or understand it. My brain is too busy trying to keep up with what is happening around me and regulate my over sensitivities of  the  noisy crowded location and then throw in someone who wants to have a conversation. That seems to be the very last straw. Sometimes in these situations I wear masks. For me wearing a mask helps me cope in a situation where I feel very overwhelmed, confused and cannot concentrate. I pretend like I am fine because I want to fit in. It is how I cope and normalize with what is happening outside of myself.

These are the kinds of experiences I face everyday.

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Masking

Wearing Masks

I wear masks. What does it mean wearing a mask? Simply put wearing a mask is a term used when someone with autism, ‘camouflages’ their social communication difficulties. It is also called camouflaging or dissimulating.

For me, wearing a mask is not so much about trying to hide my autism. It has more to do with handling the interactions I face with other people in my life. Sometimes, if someone makes a comment or an opinion to me that I find offensive or hurtful, I feel that I need to wear a mask to try and blend in more and not be so obvious with my emotions. Sometimes I think that by displaying my emotions openly, such as appearing very angry and upset to the other person will cause conflict.

Being very non confrontational, I do not like arguments or conflict with people. Call it what you may but I am more of a peacekeeper than anything else.

So, for me, it is less about hiding and more about control. It just makes it very hard to be my authentic self when I am feeling emotionally threatened by another person.

For some people who are camouflaging or dissimulating, it allows them to get through social interactions without there being a spotlight on their behaviour or a giant letter “A” on their chest.