Monthly Archives: July 2011

Thanks Cathy

My friend, Cathy, is leaving me as my aide. I have had many aides in school over the years. I am starting to accept that none stay forever, but I wish Cathy could have stayed for years. In my situation I really need an aide who is intelligent and good at communicating with me. She really assisted me in lasting all day in regular education, in communicating in class, and in doing my work in class. I got more independent as the year went on. It was like a goal I had which she helped me to achieve. Now she moves on in life and I wish her lots of luck in her goals.

Cathy, my wonderful friend, I am fortunate I had your support in school in 8th grade and at home before. Thank you for everything.

Choosing Heroism and Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a reluctant hero. He is like a really normal guy who thanks to fate is forced into a hero role. He could have refused, but he didn’t because although inside he is an ordinary guy, he is also exceptional in bravery, stubbornness, and decency. Most heroes are like this, not seeking glory or narcissistic, they do what is right and move on in life. 
I met a hero once. He was tough on the outside and war hardened in some ways, but his eyes got moist when I embraced him. He stopped being tough in that moment.
Is Harry a great person? He is a struggling person in life and internally. Not perfect. He is human. And yet, he is great in his actions. So the answer is; he is great, and a hero. Being a great person is a choice. I suppose being a good or lousy person is a choice too.
The characters that impress me most are Harry’s loyal friends, Ron and Hermione. They choose to stick with Harry though it is dangerous. To be honest, they are more heroic in a way than Harry because it is not their fate. It is their choice.
Snape is a really complex hero of sorts because he is so damaged emotionally. It’s sad to see his rage and hatred and abuse of others, though in the end his deeds save Harry. He is a negative hero because his motive is not altruistic. It is revenge.
The best hero is Dobby who chooses freedom and with it, goodness.

The Hope-Fulfiller

I am religious inside like many people with my condition. Autism creates a sort of really deep spiritual connection to God. I see it in many people I know who have autism. My knowledge of religion is intuitive in some ways. I see so many people grapple with faith but I don’t need to. I feel the presence of God and it gives me hope.
In my silent years I was dialoging internally all the time with God because he was filling my lonely days with hope. I saw early that God wasn’t a wish-fulfiller because however much I prayed inside to be cured I was never out of my Autismland. I was sad in the feeling that God didn’t care and I was feeling even abandoned. I was five or six then.
I started to be able to communicate at seven, and it is always getting better. I see I am not abandoned. Now my insights are more mature, not magical. I see God as a hope-fulfiller, not a wish-fulfiller. He fills me with hope and listens to my dreams and my prayers. I think that is for me the most important thing. I mean, if I didn’t have a place to put my hopes, I would burst. 
We in Autismland are socially isolated, and even if we have loving friends and families, it’s not the same as a typical person due to our lonely illness that makes the outside world overwhelming and isolates people from us.  Inside we are imagining our words and behavior and outside we are not able to do it the way we want. Frustrating lives. Sort of alone in company.
Alone is not always bad because I am good at thinking and philosophizing. Here I dialogue with God also, so no matter what I have a companion to sit with me. In a way autism creates a spiritual roadmap, insights, and an awareness of a holy entity that I see many typical, non-autistic people missing. The blindness of neuro-typicals is to miss the spiritual too often, and my blindness is in self control. I guess I have to be grateful for this pipeline that autism has given me to a rich relationship in faith and not just empty rote actions. The isolation is like a monk in a Trappist Monastery, silent but thinking. It’s a sort of quiet relationship to have a walk with God. But I do, and I’m grateful.

Autism, Other People, and Discipline

How do you treat people with autism? In my experience the way people act can vary widely. Some people stare or act like I’m invisible. Others try to be nice. These fall into two groups. First are the ones who act like I am not understanding  anything, who look at me like I’m a species of lower-cognition human. They try to help by talking slowly and giving me high-fives. They are well intended. I am not angry at not knowing and being kind. I do get angry if they know I understand and still act this way.
The other folks act pretty normally around me and ignore my weird stims when they come. I am so relaxed around these people. I do take advantage of the opportunities I get with people who are too understanding of me, however. If someone is not intuitive and I feel they are clueless, I can be a real pain, to put it mildly. I mean, all I need is a weak, sympathetic helper and I’m a strangely obnoxious guy. It gets awful because I don’t like being so stimmy and all, but I take advantage of the opportunity time after time. I laugh now thinking of the hapless substitute aide two years ago, who talked to me like I was retarded, watched me stim without helping me get control over myself, and told my mom I had a “good day” at school. When my aide returned the next day the assistant principal stopped her and said, “Never be absent again.” Ha ha ha. It’s funny now, if not then.
This is true in a way for all people. My history teacher was really structured. The students were sitting and working quietly. It was a really nice class. My English teacher was not good at structure or discipline. The same students were rude and disruptive. That class was more of a trial. The students were mostly the same people. My impression now is that a good leader is essential in teaching and in people who work with me. It’s a true thing even with dogs, or anything. We work on making sure our dogs are not the leaders of our home. I know people whose dogs run the entire house.
In autism, we have impulse control problems. My aide must help me control impulses, keep me focused, and help me function in society. I am improving in self control. Glad about that, but I’ll tell the truth, I’m likely to take advantage of wimpy people and I bet your autistic kid will too.
Hope this helps with the selection of an aide.

Waking a Sleeping Mind Body Connection

I work out and I feel a lot better. In truth, I feel like my body is waking from a slumber. In my doing jumping jacks or knee lifts I teach my body to respond to commands. In the strength exercises I gain muscle power. In the cardio, I get healthy. It used to be horrible. I had soft muscle tone, according to my old OT. In reality, I was out of shape. I was mostly bored in adaptive P.E. I never had exercise, just drills. I needed to teach my body to listen and I needed exercise to do it. I’m tall and big-boned. If I wouldn’t have autism I’d try out for football or rugby or something like that. Now I have to be content waking up my sleepy and long slumbering response system, and doing what my body needs to wake up even more. Staying out of shape is not for me at all.

If Dogs Could Talk

 Well, I have seen that lots of people have already watched this  film, but I liked the vocals and the dog’s urgent, pleading expression. So, in case you missed it, it’s here for a laugh. My own dogs communicate so much in their eyes. By the way, so do non-verbal people if you take the time to notice.Imagine how you would communicate in your eyes if that’s all you had. Dogs can’t talk in our way, and they have no hands, so I guess they need a lot of soul in their eyes.

Take the time to look at non-verbal communication. It’s telling you a lot, I can assure you.

Interesting New Autism Study on Autism and the Environment

 A recent study links the cause of autism to environmental factors. Now is the time to figure out the cause of autism and how to treat it. If the research helps, I would be thrilled.

More information on the autism and environment research