Category Archives: anxiety

Autism and Anxiety

So very nervous inside all the time. That’s what Temple Grandin says. That’s the way it is for the majority of autistic people. Really, I overflow hoping I can control the stress I feel. The stress is so vicious inside. Even with communication and better skills I still suffer from it.
You see it in so many autistic people. They bolt or dash out. They stim because it soothes them. I see kids who bite and hit themselves, who scream- not to get anything- but to have an outlet, who have meltdowns. These are the reasons why- severe nervousness, stress, internal overflow.
You can imagine how rough this is for people who can’t communicate their ideas and feelings. They get told, “hands down” or “no”, or people think they are not really aware of their emotions. Well, it is a bit different. It is sort of like a car rolling down a hill. It gains acceleration as it rolls. Think of that in an emotional sense.
What can you do to help? Quick removal from the stressful situation. If you need to come back, OK. The interruption is helpful in breaking the momentum. Also, it helps to get some caring. I remember seeing this happen. A non-verbal boy I know was starting to get restless and really angry in a piano lesson. His behaviorist was saying all the ABA things, “Hands quiet”, “All done”, and so on. It was getting worse. My mom was watching and she said to the boy, “I know it is so frustrating when your body doesn’t do what you want it to.”
You know what happened? He relaxed. That’s what happened. Then he leaned on my mom to communicate his gratitude because he had no other way to express himself. This was important for me. Sort of a reminder that being treated with respect and kind empathy helps reduce anxiety, even in a kid everyone labels as “low-functioning”.
That’s all for now.
See you soon.

My Poetry Recital

So let me tell you how my poetry recital went. Some of you may recall reading that I had to recite a poem out loud in my English class to be graded on flair, poise, memory, etc. It’s a joke in that I have mostly unintelligible speech. I have the flair of a tree stump. No attitude of drama. I can tell you it was silly.
My mom suggested I use my dynawrite in class to recite the poem. Then after class, one on one, I could spell it for the teacher on my letter board to show I memorized it. I thought that was a logical and fair accommodation.

My teacher said no. I needed to go in front of the class and spell the whole damn thing. So I tried. Stupid of me. I should have sat it out, to just get a “fail” for my speech impairment. I spelled several lines. I like the poem by Robert Frost. Here it is.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I got to line three and couldn’t take the stress of the class staring at me. I felt so weird, so stuck, so disrespected by this teacher. It was overflow. I did what I hate time after time in overflow, which is really rare, but it happens. I can’t control myself. I’m ashamed to say that I pulled my aide’s hair in front of the entire class of about forty or so kids.

I feel wretched and remorseful. On the other hand, if my teacher had been sensitive to my disability, none of this would have happened. I learned an important lesson to say no if I can’t do something- so maybe something happened in spite of my miserable performance that will help me in life.