Monday, June 8, 2009

Questions Are Running Through My Mind

Questions are running through my mind about what will happen after I publish my journal as blog. Do I take a vacation after? (lol)

Autism takes a lot out of you. Reason being,it takes so much effort to do anything. So many experiences for me reflect this. It overshadows the pleasure of things. Maybe that is why we pleasure so much in the simple things; little sounds that are happy emotions or sights so detailed. I experience the sounds as pleasure. The sights escape me. Each system is different that way. I see patterns not pictures. Mom is soft and round. Dad is high and narrow. Pat is narrow too, but he has a different line, thinner. Long people are thin and short ones rounder. It helps to hear their sounds. You operate by sight. I operate mainly by sound. To see takes great effort for me. I run on a modified vision most times. I can read, but it is hard and at cost of other things when I do it.

To type takes great focus shifting from eye to hand. Reaching asks "to where do I go?” Going asks “how far?”. Ending asks “what next?” I literally ask myself these questions as a way of doing it. My mind never stops planning. For you, it all just happens. How would you feel to experience doing that way?

Seeing is a skill I practice, to turn patterns into pictures. I see pictures at cost of other things. A glance is what I usually do. A quick look it is. I deal in generality; most times knowing what it is is enough. Just glancing will give you that. Details take focus. Identifying by hearing is what I do most, sound as object and distance. I hear you and don’t have to see your face to know your voice. Questions about visual detail are very hard for me unless you ask me ahead and then I look... Telling what I see is also hard because the picture sometimes changes after I look. To see as you, I don’t, but neither am I blind. You assume normal vision. Often it is your assumptions that do the most damage. They create unrealistic expectations. Things I can’t see I am assumed to know. In reading me my Biology, Mom asks “Do you want to see a picture?”. This is good. It gives me time to focus my eyes. Too often the showing is done before I even know to look. My life is full of blurs and kaleidoscopes. I kick myself a lot for not anticipating the obvious sometimes. I make adjustments all the time because of missed sight. Help comes in the form of memorizing. Remembering the location of keys on the board is just one. R is left of center two. A is middle end left. Location is a blessing when it stays the same.

Time is important too as reference. You wonder why sameness matters. For some autists it is a reference point all its own. If someone put sugar in the salt shaker you would be upset because the container is the difference you identify with. It is like that for some of us with routine. Only because you use more cues than we do you don’t see our problem.

There is also a calmness in sameness. Autists are often anxious to the extreme. Sameness is expectation realized. Expectation may or may not make sense. As a child location is what made the most sense to me. Kitchen meant eat, bed meant no more string, car meant soda. To you car means trip, but our routine was if I was good for errands I got a soda at end. So, if thirsty I would show I wanted to go outside to the car. Even now, the car plays music. If I can’t get my body to go to the radio I can go to the car. Motor freeze is sometimes a funny thing. It is a different issue than concept conditioning, but it still speaks to the value of sameness.

Doing is an autist’s undoing. Anything that makes that easier should be seen as good. It is only frustrating when you fail to understand the autist’s connections. To ride and not end up with a drink when that is the reason I asked for a ride, caused me to cry. You think you gave me what I wanted. Usually, you thought I just wanted more of a ride. Can you see the frustration on both sides? Your interpretation is what changed the experience. I realized communication is different for different people. I once thought you know what I know. It is a common misperception even among normal people. In my home my dad says lots my mom is yelling at him even when she talks in soft voice. He hears a certain tone and interprets it as displeasure. I hear the same tone and interpret it as mom is tired. It leads to lots of misunderstandings, just that tone. Now add word choice and past experience and emotion from outside experience - it is a wonder we communicate correctly at all. Liken it to two people speaking different languages. You have to use other things to figure out their meaning.

For some autists, their hearing is like my sight. What result for someone to not hear tone - is everything interpreted literally then?

To miss visual and paired hearing parts must look a little like my motor, missing pieces of actions. I can’t do lots of parts unless they are as one action for me. It is another good reason for routine. Routine is a way of taking many pieces and making them into one – one I can do. The problem comes when a piece of the routine is missing. No towel holder in the bathroom or a bar of soap not soap dispenser. A task I could do then becomes one I can’t. This is my motor issue.

Mom rarely does things the same. Dad always does. It is good practice both ways. Dad is easier, but not the real world. I can use his cues on just me things though. Mom is always changing things. She exercises me learning not to be anxious in the face of change. My learning requires both. With her I take my cue from her. With him I use the environment. Mom says I have to learn to self cue. I am trying to pair me with her now so I can use me when she is not around. I practice with changing clothes now, go find, not see then do. I say to myself, “I want a shirt”, then I go find one from the laundry basket. Mom gets upset the clothes get messed up, but I do it anyway. It is a good practice in independence. I choose my music on the radio now too. I change channels to find one I like. I could not have done that a year ago. The idea of choice would be too scary. To do or not do was all I could handle then. Now I like little choices: what to eat, or listen to, or stim with, or when to go to bed. Successful choices alleviate anxiety. I think I'll choose to go make myself a cup of tea now. If only making coffee were as easy...

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