Rain, rain and “Living with my ASD” by @ClassicTrekker #ThisIsAutism

By | April 25, 2014

I don’t know where to start about today, other than the fact it hasn’t been a good one.

The weather (grrr!) has had itsimpact, with both T and D enduring “wet break time” and basically being in their classrooms all day. This has had a knock-on effect after school and this evening.

T, in particular, has been ill-tempered and shouty, so shouty that I had to set some boundaries and (now, I feel guilty because, quite honestly, I made things worse) I took away access to the PS3 and his FIFA game for today. This is one of his calming mechanisms; ear phones on, bouncing away, putting together his fictional games. I made things worse but he is certainly old enough and intelligent enough to know right and wrong behaviour.

So, it’s hasn’t been a harmonious house at all.

At times it feels like I’m a referee albeit one who’s refereeing two very different “teams”, such are the vast intellectual and emotional variances between T and D. She has softer boundaries than T (if that makes sense) because the impact of imposing harder ones extend to such a degree that the initial “wrong” becomes long forgotten whilst we deal with the subsequent meltdown and fall out. Now that makes her sound spoilt, she isn’t.

Today’s incidents with T have been burbling under all week, to be honest. He’s been agitated about school, about the time prior to doing the SATs, about secondary school and about football but there have to be boundaries. Have to be. He’ll be spending the next six years or so in a mainstream secondary school after all.

Slightly guilty autismmumma signing out.

This Is Autism

Tonight’s guest post comes from Robert W. Nielsen, who’s on twitter @ClassicTrekker and is always a very generous #ff giver. His post has made for interesting reading and I’m grateful he’s written it.

Living with My ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder)

“I’ve been living with my Autistic Spectrum Disorder for all of my 43 years, but never knew I had a disorder on the autistic spectrum until I was evaluated a couple of years ago, at the request of an employment counseling service.

I mean, I always knew I was different. Where most guys were into cars, rock music, sports, and hanging out in groups, I was more into reading, research about military aircraft and weapons, and being alone. What I didn’t understand was why I was the way I was.

Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, autistic spectrum disorders weren’t really heavily researched or diagnosed. The first time I ever heard of someone on the autistic spectrum was when I saw the movie Rain Man, and observed Dustin Hoffman’s Raymond character. I have to admit, I cried at the end of that movie, because I saw a lot of him in me, even though I still didn’t understand what the heck I was dealing with.

But when the employment counselor asked if I’d ever been tested for autism, my first thought was of the Raymond character, and I thought, no way. That’s not me. I mean, yes, I can recite movie dialogs from memory, the same way Raymond could, but I don’t have his uncanny mathematical abilities. But when I started researching autistic spectrum disorders, especially Asperger’s Syndrome, I became convinced that Asperger’s was what I had. I have to admit, I was disappointed when the psychologist told me that I didn’t “fit the profile” of someone with Asperger’s. But, isn’t profiling wrong?

Finally, a second diagnosis pinpointed my disorder as PDD-NOS, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Suddenly, everything I’d gone through growing up—the fits of anger when I was interrupted doing something I was interested in, or even when I was ‘overstimulated,’ as I called the teasing I’d received for being ‘different,’ made sense.

I remember after being in trouble at a job where I was interrupted while stocking shelves, I snapped at a customer. The manager asked me what happened, of course, and I told him about my autistic spectrum disorder. His question surprised me– “Were you hydrocephalic as a baby?” I remember thinking, Okay, that was a pitch outta left field I wasn’t expecting, but I told him that yes, I was. He proceeded to tell me about his son, who was hydrocephalic, and also on the autistic spectrum, and how my incident was very similar to behaviors his son had displayed.

I also corresponded with a young woman I had gone through high school with, whose son has recently been given the same diagnosis that I have, and she told me that when she got her son’s diagnosis, she thought of me. When I asked why, she told me that when she heard her son’s diagnosis, everything that I had gone through in high school and junior high suddenly made sense, as her son had similar issues. That darned near made me cry.

Some say that people on the autistic spectrum will never fall in love or get married. Well, I’ve been married for nineteen years to a wonderful lady who accepts all my quirks and oddities. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones, I don’t know.

The recent release of the DSM-V diagnostic manual has eliminated all the separate designations for disorders on the autistic spectrum such as ‘Asperger’s Syndrome,’ classifying everything under the generic, one-size-fits-all ‘autistic spectrum disorder’ designation. To be honest, I’m not sure whether I agree with that or not, but it was a decision made by someone evidently a lot smarter than I am.

I’m currently shopping a manuscript I’ve written to agents and publishers, and hoping to have it published sometime this year. I think being a writer is a good idea for those of us on the autistic spectrum, because we don’t have to deal with people on a daily basis. It’s just us, alone with our thoughts, our research, and our computers, tablets, or whatever electronic device we store our writing on.

So, that’s a little about how I deal with this disorder. It’s been frustrating for a lot of years, not understanding why my brain worked so differently than other people I knew. But now that I finally have that clear understanding, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m finally feeling comfortable knowing who I am, what I am, and how I came to be this way.

Robert W. Nielsen”

Facebook Comments

1 Comment

Leave Your Comment

Your email will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge