July 8, 2015
Originally posted on goddess0510:
“We all have problems.The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown
Sometimes I find myself looking at friends and family with wonder because I find most of the time people tend to make themselves really unhappy by focusing on the negatives that they have in their lives. I also find myself unconsciously pointing out all the positives they have in their lives and people look at me horrified like I’m cold. I’m not cold but maybe I could be accused of being too blunt sometimes but never cold or uncaring.
If people were willing enough to admit it, they would say honestly that their lives are not in constant turmoil. There is no way bad things are always happening to people. I find that it tends to be a specific period of time where everything is negative. In this I will try to list what I…
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I Googled the keywords “surviving the 4th of July autism” and got links to articles regarding how to help kids with autism manage the municipal shows; the ones that are advertised ahead of time that people can prepare for. Not surprisingly, I found nothing on how individuals with ASD can manage the unexpected M80s the neighbors set off any time day or night. Since I appear once again to be a pioneer in the field of adult autism and managing sensory issues, I will share my experience with handling the unexpected fireworks.
The startle (moro) reflex is more intense in autistic individuals. This has manifested itself with me in the area of intense, violent meltdowns that have lead many times to police and hospital intervention. As a newer orphan on the spectrum, I find myself having to be more self reliant if I am going to survive autism at all.
I understand that some with ASD view their condition as a blessing or a mixed blessing. The latter would be true of how I self-identify, though not evenly.
First of all, I recommend getting earplugs and/or headphones AHEAD OF TIME. I use either one or a combination of both depending on the amount and intensity of the ambient noise. I use silicon earplugs and comfortable, on ear passive (not noise cancelling) earmuffs. For more on ear protection resources, including babies and children, click here: http://www.earplugstore.com
These are the earmuffs I use: http://www.earplugstore.com/pro-ears-ultra-pro.html
They are comfortable on the ear and head for about 30 minutes. I use Mack’s silicon earplugs as I think they block out sound better than foam. If you are stuck in this area of earplug comfort, they have a trial packet http://www.earplugstore.com/no-roll-foam-trial-pack.html which I highly recommend.
Before using the sound gear, prepare. For example, I know that weekends in the last part of June contain fireworks use both by private citizens and our municipality. The municipal show is advertised well ahead of time, so on the last Saturday of June, I know to have music playing and all 4 sound machines in my home turned up to a very high volume. I then put on my “ear gear” according to the intensity of protection I need.
I know from the time they end up until the first few weekends in July that there will be a lot of concussive booms going on. Using the sound protection helps me stay in control vs. trying to control others or have them control me.
The next thing I do to prepare is to take extra anti-anxiety medication around 8pm (close to sunset).
I also unashamedly stim during this time if I am not engaged in a chore (vacuuming is very helpful as I am constantly moving). Rocking helps me cope.
How you use this information should be adaptive. What works for me may work in whole or in part or it might not work for you at all. Don’t be discouraged. We are all different, even those of us on the autism spectrum. Remember consult a doctor before taking any medication or changing the dose.
My Christian faith also plays a role. Praying and meditaing on Scripture ex: “To everything there is a season” Ecclestiastes 3:1 is a sobering reminder that any tough time doesn’t last forever.
Patriotism aside, I don’t enjoy this time of year. I won’t deny it. I am grateful to God, however, that I can make the time more bearable and know cool fall nights will be here before I know it.
May God bless you on your autism journey!
June 10, 2015
Originally posted on Unstrange Mind:
This is an entry for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The entire month of April (except for Sundays) I will be blogging through the alphabet on autism-related topics to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month.
O is for Overloaded, Overstimulated, and Overwhelmed
I couldn’t write this essay until now because, for the last several days, I have been too much of these three things to be able to write about them.
There are several types of experiences that tend to make Autistic folks overloaded, overstimulated, or overwhelmed. As with most things, it’s different from person to person. Some people might respond to one of these triggers; others respond to all of them. Some might seem pretty solid most of the time, others might be always living so close to the anxious edge that it does not take very much at all to push them over. Many of us are both…
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April 28, 2015
I used to cry on long car trips as an infant up until age 5. It wasn’t due to boredom. It was due to sensory processing disorder than accompanied my (undiagnosed back in the 1980’s) autism spectrum disorder.
Though I outgrew this, I do remember telling my mother later that it was due to the sound of the tires against the road that set me off.
While I am blessed to have outgrown some intolerable sounds, others intensified as my brain continued to develop.
Some experts have theorized that it was solely due to my dad’s sudden death in my teens, but if that were the case, how would one explain the extreme auditory sensitivity before he died? How would that theory stand up in the wake of the progress I have made in the 21 years since his death?
I should explain that I have long adjusted to my dad’s passing and the pain is no longer acute. I am now processing my mother’s death, which occurred 13 months ago. My brain has been finished growing for 13 years (I am 35). No new sound issues or intensification with problem sounds since. I think this disproves the psychological theory.
However, as a person on the autism spectrum, processing death has been much more difficult and in different ways since losing both parents. For example, the feeling of increased vulnerability, being alone for longer periods of time
There is a difference in how I have dealt with each passing. I am older and have had beneficial therapy that has helped me to cope better as an autistic person.
That said, I think the psychological and emotional only theory can be further disproved. Clearly, they factor in any person’s loss of a close person, but in the case of an autistic person, it isn’t the defining argument for or against brain development.
My autistic symptoms were evident when I was still a 6-month fetus. I didn’t experience any real trauma in my life until I was 11 and entered middle school. Even then, aside from acute anxiety, my symptoms didn’t change until about age 16, two years after my dad died.
P.S. I came long ago to enjoy long car trips. I look out the window rather than plugging in to some electronic device. I love the moving feeling and never have experienced carsickness.
Autism awareness may be commemorated in April, but it is a 12 month-long campaign. Please advocate if you can. Blog and/or use social media. You can find me on Google Plus (autisticaplanet).
Please consider donating money to UNICEF or Samaritan’s Purse (or another charity you trust) to help earthquake survivors in Nepal.
God bless you.