MONTREAL - Dear Dating Girl: I have something called Asperger Syndrome. This means I cannot pick up on things like body language or facial expressions. As a result, I can feel very lost in social situations. It also makes it very hard to meet women as I can’t pick up on signals to know whether a woman is interested or not. Any advice?
Dear Lacking: I don’t have a lot of experience with Asperger Syndrome and dating, to be honest. I do know that Asperger’s is part of the autism spectrum and, as you say, includes symptoms that can make communication difficult. I did come across www. wrongplanet.net, an online community for people (and their loved ones) with Asperger Syndrome, autism, AD-HD and other PDDs (Pervasive Development Disorders).
Relationships are a common topic in the site’s forums and there are also contributors and even webisodes of something called Autism Talk TV that regularly deal with relationship issues. I also found a link to an awardwinning feature film called If You Could Say It In Words that tells the story of a man with Asperger’s in a relationship. You can see clips of it at: www.ifyoucould-movie.com. Finally, Jessica Kingsley Publishers is an independent publishing house specializing in books on autism and Asperger Syndrome. You can browse their titles at: www. jkp.com.
Dear Dating Girl: I recently discovered that my husband had a five-month affair a couple years ago. We have not been intimate since then (now I guess I know why!) but, should we decide to resume relations, should he be tested? The Mayo Clinic website cites the American Center for Disease Control which says men only need to be screened if they exhibit symptoms. What do your experts say?
Feeling Put to the Test
Dear Feeling: No matter what my experts or the Mayo Clinics experts say, I suspect you won’t feel comfortable having sex with this man without getting tested. In fact, given the circumstances and the fact that the two of you haven’t been sexual in years, I don’t know if either of you would be comfortable having sex at all, tested or not. It sounds like you have bigger issues in your relationship. As for your specific concern about HPV, while men may be asymptomatic (some men develop genital warts but this is not always the case), HPV is a complex STI and you’d be best to talk to someone in person - like a professional at an STI clinic - to better inform yourself and receive counsel on how to best protect yourself in your situation.
For this local group of friends, social interaction is a struggle. So you might expect them to shy away from public performance — but you would be wrong.
Meet Jack Hanke, Michael Ingemi, Noah Britton and Ethan Finlan, who together form Asperger’s Are Us, a comedy troupe that has performed two shows in the Salem area.
All four members of the group have Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder characterized by difficulties with human interaction and social awareness, among other symptoms.
The boys met each other roughly six years ago while attending a local camp for children with Asperger’s, where Britton, who is the oldest, was their counselor. That’s where their friendships — and a shared love of comedy — took root.
“I was telling my dad how funny they were,” recalled Britton, 28, who lives in Salem, “and he said, `You should start a group, The Autistic Comedians.’” That was the genesis of Asperger’s Are Us, which formed as the boys grew older.
Their jokes include word play and political humor. They believe Asperger’s is a help, not a hindrance, when it comes to writing jokes.
“We feel this humor comes from that,” Britton said. “No one who doesn’t have Asperger’s would write the stuff we do.”
Ingemi, an 18-year-old senior at Beverly High who goes by the name “New Michael,” to distinguish himself from his dad, said their first public comedy show was “very well-received.”
“Not everyone would find it funny,” said Hanke, 17, “but the people who came did.”
Despite their struggle with socializing, it’s more comfortable for them to perform to a large, faceless audience.
“I find it’s easier to perform to a group instead of a one-on-one conversation,” said Hanke, who is a senior at Newburyport High School.
“Socially, it’s very challenging to concentrate on multiple things at once,” Britton said. “We have an intense focus and hypersensitivity.”
“We care about accuracy and attention to tiny details,” Ingemi added.
“People think that we’re all obsessed with video games, which we’re not,” said Finlan, 18, a senior at Rockport High School.
During a recent interview, the four friends continuously engaged in inside jokes with each other and launched into raucous laughter. When asked why they chose to name their troupe based on their disability, Ingemi explained, “It’s what we all have in common.”
The mission of Asperger’s Are Us is to “be funny,” and if it helps dispel some misconceptions while they’re at it, then that’s a plus.
“People think Aspies don’t have a sense of humor,” Britton said, “and that people with autism are less intelligent, which is totally wrong. We just don’t express it in the same way.”
Five potential Earth-sized planets that may support liquid water — and so possibly life — have been found by NASA’s Kepler mission.
All five orbit the habitable zone — the region around a star where the temperature is just right for the existence of liquid water — of stars that are smaller and cooler than the sun, NASA announced at a news conference Wednesday. Liquid water could make it possible for life as we know it to exist on those planets.
However, follow-up observations are needed to verify that the signals observed by the Kepler space telescope are actual planets, the U.S. space agency cautioned in a news release.
NASA released new data Wednesday from the telescope on more than 1,000 possible new planets outside our solar system — more than doubling the count of what astronomers call exoplanets.
They haven’t been confirmed as planets yet, but some astronomers estimate that 90 per cent of what Kepler has found will eventually be verified.
54 planets in habitable zones
Overall, Kepler found 54 potential planets around the habitable zones of several stars, although most are at least double the size of Earth.
The telescope has been searching 156,000 stars in its field of view — about 1/400th of the sky — for signs of planets since September 2009.
“The fact that we’ve found so many planet candidates in such a tiny fraction of the sky suggests there are countless planets orbiting sun-like stars in our galaxy,” said William Borucki of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., the mission’s science principal investigator.
In a statement, Borucki noted that many could also have moons with liquid water. That even holds for planets so large that their gravity would crush life as we know it.
Another major finding announced Wednesday was six confirmed planets orbiting a sun-like star called Kepler-11 — the most planets ever found orbiting a single star outside our solar system. All are larger than Earth and the largest around about the size of Uranus and Neptune (about 20 times the mass of Earth.)
Kepler orbits the sun between Earth and Mars. It searches for planets by measuring tiny decreases in the brightness of stars caused by planets crossing in front of them.
Of the 1,235 planets discovered by Kepler to date:
* 68 are approximately Earth-sized.
* 288 are about double the size of Earth.
* 662 are Neptune-sized (20 times the mass of Earth).
* 165 are Jupiter-sized (300 times the mass of Earth).
* 19 are larger than Jupiter.
An autistic man was locked in a room at a special care home in Nova Scotia for 15 days, sometimes urinating in the corner when nobody knew he needed to go to the washroom, says his mother and staff at the facility.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” said a worker, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “He was locked in there like an animal.”
Several days after hearing about his confinement — which was broken by daily exercise and other tasks — his mother went to visit him at the Braemore Home Corp. in Sydney.
She says she demanded that a double lock be removed and that he be given access to a washroom.
Martha Gillis, director of licensing for the Department of Community Services, also said that the 20-year-old man had a light shining near his bed 24 hours a day while a video monitored him from a nursing station during the period of his confinement from Sept. 12-26.
“I was shocked. It was disbelief. This can’t be happening in this day and age,” said the mother, who asked that the family’s identity not be released, from her home in Cape Breton.
“He looked nervous.… He didn’t look very well. He was white looking. I mean, he’d been locked in a room.”
The man’s mother said her son, who moved to Braemore more than a year ago, became frustrated by his environment and started to “act out” by breaking things in his room or exhibiting aggression toward others. However, she said she didn’t know if that was the reason her son was placed in the room.
The provincial government said the man was also allowed to leave the room to do activities with case workers and to have meals, as well as bathroom breaks when workers were able to see that he needed the toilet.‘It horrifies me’: minister
Investigators with the Department of Community Services determined the case constituted abuse under the province’s Protection of Persons in Care Act. The abuse was described in the department’s report, which was provided to The Canadian Press by the government, as a “failure to provide adequate care” by the institution.
Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse and the department’s director of services for persons with disabilities confirmed that one person was locked up against his will at Braemore, a privately operated, non-profit centre, which is provincially funded and houses about 134 people.
A department spokeswoman said “the individual spent time in a locked room over a period of 15 days.”
Debra MacPherson, the chief executive of Braemore, said she can’t comment on the case, citing confidentiality of the resident. She said that in general the facility attempts to avoid abuse through education.
“We deal with it through educating staff and training. Staff have been provided education sessions to heighten awareness and understanding of awareness of the Protection of Persons in Care Act,” she said.
Pressed repeatedly for details on her knowledge of the incident, she responded: “I’m not going to discuss any specific incidents with you … if you’d like to move on from that.”
Peterson-Rafuse said her department ordered an investigation after receiving an anonymous complaint in October.
“It horrifies me that that incident took place,” she said.
The report from the department’s licensing branch says the video camera should be removed from rooms and measures have been taken to “ensure that the resident has the same physical environment as all other residents.”‘We can do better’
Dr. Andre Blanchet, a Massachusetts-based physician who has worked for the state to improve housing and care of the disabled, said the allegations suggest deeper problems.
“We can do better,” said the doctor, who began his career working in Canada.
“Most of these kinds of residents need one-to-one support in an environment that is healthy and respectful.… It’s hard to do that in an institution.”
Disability advocates have demanded for 10 years that the province shift to community-based facilities from larger institutions, while also improving training for those who support the most severely disabled.
MacPherson wouldn’t discuss the specifics regarding the man’s case and the actions taken in response.
However, she said that in general, staff at Braemore have training in dealing with autism and aggressive behaviour.
“Our staff are trained to work with clients that are classified for our care,” she said in an interview, adding that some staff have received specific training on treating autism.
She also said the size of the facility isn’t a factor.
“Incidents can occur in any environment where care is provided, whether a large facility, a community-based option or a health-care facility,” she said. “Incidents can occur in any setting, of any size.”Province negotiating service standards
But two staff members at Braemore said they didn’t have the training to assist a severely autistic man as he reacted to a new environment.
“If there’s no intervention, no education for the staff, you’re not going to know what to do,” said one worker. “Why would you keep bringing people in with autism and give no education to the staff?”
Peterson-Rafuse wouldn’t comment on the specifics of what is being done in response to the case. She said until recently, the province had limited say in the adult residential centres and has only recently started to attempt to negotiate agreements with required standards.
“They will know they are accountable because we actually [will] have a signed contract with them,” she said.
A spokesman for the minister said in an email that the department hasn’t finished negotiating service standards with Braemore.
Several facilities in Nova Scotia have been investigated by the province after abuse was documented over the past two years.
At Braemore, government documents obtained under freedom of information legislation show there have been four other cases of either sexual or physical abuse by one resident on another resident in the past two years.
Statistics from the Workers Compensation Board show Braemore also has one of the highest rates of violence against residential care workers in the province. The board accepted 24 claims for injuries caused by violence in 2009 and 2010 at Braemore.‘He was scared’
The autistic man’s mother said she worried about how her son would cope with Braemore from the day he moved in more than a year ago.
She said he had been shifted out of group homes after being aggressive with other residents, and he had briefly been placed with two other residents in a smaller home before he was assigned to the main building at Braemore, which also runs three community residences.
Being with dozens of people on the Braemore wards was frightening for her son, she said.
“He shows his emotion with his eyes. He was scared and was wondering why he was there.”
The man’s mother describes her son as being able to communicate basic ideas in several words and until 2009 he attended school.
Although her son had begun to act out at Braemore, she said his behaviour improves when he is given small jobs outdoors because it “helps him to burn off energy.”
She said the situation for her son has improved since he was locked in the room, including getting more access to exercise.
Ultimately, she said, the province must examine the systems in place.
“My son’s very kind. He’s very lovable.… If I went over there right now he’d give me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek,” she said.
“I do believe that things need to change.… Are things going to change? I don’t know.”
At a very early age I knew I was somehow different from the others. An unexplainable difference in behaviour, idiosyncrasies and just having bags more energy than other toddlers. Couple that with numerous trips to different psychiatrists asking why I had frequent tantrums and crying fits, and was very antisocial with other schoolkids. Something was mostly definitely wrong with me. My parents were unnerved by it. It was not so much that I had a problem with myself but, rather, a question mark tattooed on my forehead. I was lost in a limbo of myself. And so it went on for a number of years.
Then an epiphany. It was around 14 or 15 that I read about the symptoms of an autism-related condition called Asperger’s syndrome – and suddenly I understood. It affects about one in 300 people (mostly but not exclusively male) in the UK, according to the NHS. Some of the traits include difficulty in maintaining eye contact, unusual patterns of speech in conversation, an inability to interact with other people and often failing to read body language. There’s no “cure”, but training to cope with the outside world is required. Finally, I had some clarity on just why I felt as though I lived in a bubble throughout my adolescence. Now it made sense why I needed the extra learning support, being often taken out of lessons and into one-on-one tutoring.
But I was also at a crossroads. Should I accept my condition, though relatively untreatable and incurable? Or should I spend the rest of my teens and most of my adult life locked away in isolation listening ad nauseam to The Smiths’ Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now? Well, I did a little of both … OK, maybe most of the latter.
Then there’s the small matter of rules of engagement with the opposite sex. Confidence is a stumbling block that for many, including myself, is an obstacle that is often too difficult to jump over. Of course, most teenagers go through a stage like that, but for me it was abnormally intense. I recall an incident as a 17-year-old at a bus stop with a friend, being checked out by a couple of girls, to which they turned a corner and said audibly “I don’t like his face”. Most people would get over that pretty quickly, but I don’t think I left my room for four days straight, save for showers. My confidence had been shot.
This isn’t to say that we’re completely incapable of being intimately involved or being in relationships. Though admittedly, it’s more difficult for us than most. Our social interaction skills aren’t perhaps as strong as anyone else’s, though that’s not to say that we’re cripplingly uncaring, po-faced or even indifferent, but to put it simply, it’s the thought of intimacy and sharing that intimidates. In contrast, as far as love goes, many of those diagnosed can go on to have happy and sustainable relationships.
There has been talk among researchers that Asperger’s syndrome, in terms medical approaches, can perhaps be seen as a different cognitive style rather than as a disability – much in the same way that homosexuality was once regarded as an illness but then demedicalised. Personally I’m a little dubious. Homosexuality is widely accepted tacitly and people are much more accepting of it than Asperger’s, because they have so little experience or knowledge of the latter.
Employers could also go a long way in acknowledging Asperger’s. Many temp jobs that I’ve had in the recent past have been terminated in a short space of time owing to my looking as though I’d rather be elsewhere than at my desk. On the flipside, we are perhaps not as able as others at reading body language or certain facial expressions.
But this isn’t to say we should be spoken to in a condescending or pitying manner. Maybe we ought to develop a thicker skin if we are to swim gracefully in the workplace rather than sink without the support we need. That’s easier said than done for us, though: criticism, however constructive, is often taken to heart. Much more awareness is needed by everyone. We’re not asking for pity, just understanding and acknowledgment.
For all the talk of Asperger’s being an albatross hanging around our necks, it’s not all bad. Why do I say that? Because of our tendency to care passionately, even obsessively, about the things we love dearly. Not wanting to be bound by the rules of society, we may be seen as unique and original.
We can use our talents in an environment where we often achieve, if not excel, in certain fields. Music is my passion/obsession/vice. I find solace in the words of Morrissey and Jeff Buckley and, if anything, it confirms that people with Asperger’s can prosper. And then some.
i have a suspicion i have asperger's syndrome, but i have several other mental disorders, all professionally diagnosed, but my parents are nearly desensitized to the reality that things are wrong with me, they'd like to believe that i'm the perfect first daughter. i've always been strange, and people don't tend to want to stay friends with me for long at all, few seem to connect to me on an emotional level, and everyone is intimidated by my intellect and interests. i've been diagnosed with OCD and manic-depression. i don't know how to handle this or what to do.
If your parents think you’re the “perfect first daughter” they have to stop being being in denial and acknowledge that you really have these disorders you’ve been diagnosed with.
I’m sure you’d be able to connect with people, but you’ll have to meet the right people.
I’m not sure what else to say at the moment, but I hope for the best. :)
I just read your blog about parents who baby their kids with ASD. My son is 6 1/2 and last week he was formally diagnosed with Aspergers. This is something that I had known in my heart for a long time, but to get a formal diagnosis was both relieving and yet heart-breaking.
That being said, even though I have known for a while, my son has always been brought up to be independent of me. He gets himself ready for school with minimal help. He gets his own breakfast ready, because he enjoys that independence!
He recently requested a Mac computer (he is totally obsessed with anything 'IT', and loves Mac) So we found one really cheap (an old eMac) and we upgraded it for him so he has everything he needs.
He is (somewhat monitored via a parent guard) independent on the internet, sometimes knowing more about something than my elder son. Far from babying him, I encourage his love of independence and hope that it will continue to flourish.
Having worked with young adults with Autism when I was younger, I know only too well how this behaviour of babying can be detrimental to a child whose very need is to stick to certain regimes and routines. Constant telling off for wanting to do something, by babying can indeed cause the child, and then of course, the young adult to become somewhat withdrawn.
I love my son, I think of him as being a bright diamond of intelligence and that is something I would never want to crush!
Here's to independence, and letting people (regardless of condition) be themselves and grow up every bit as unique as they were born!
(*off soap box now! Just wanted to say I agree!! :D....)
Thanks for your comment. I highly appreciate it and am glad that you don’t baby your son like so many mothers (and fathers) who’ve children on the spectrum do.
Sounds like you’re a good mother. :)
You think it would be really fun to have sex with me. Because, I think you can tell from my posts, I’ll do anything. But maybe you can also tell from my posts that it’s a little bit weird. Because you know that I’ll say anything, too, but sometimes, I make you cringe.
I think I’m that way in bed, too.
This post is about work. And sex, which are two of the essential areas of life one needs to be able to function in before you can feel like a normal adult. And both sex and work are governed by a set of rules that many people are able to learn just by being in the world.
Asperger Syndrome compromises one’s ability to read nonverbal social cues. A simple example of this deficit is answering the question, “How are you?” It is loaded with so many nonverbal issues that I simply freeze. Even if you tell me, “Just say fine,” sometimes the situation looks special to me, and I can’t figure out why it’s special, so I can’t talk.
So I’ve spent my life teaching myself the rules for what to do in each social situation. I study people, make notes for myself, and then test the notes to see what other situations my notes apply to. To get a sense of how awkward this looks, here’s a video that is supposed to be a parody of people with Asperger’s interacting with each other. But my family has such a high proportion of people with Asperger’s that this video, honestly, is not far from what our life is like.
In my experience, the places with the most rules are work and sex. So, you can teach yourself the process of becoming better at work by applying the process of learning the rules about dating and sex. And vice versa. I, for example, am great at work rules and terrible at sex rules. So I teach myself using the reverse mechanism.
1. You can tell you need help if you are not having fun.
When I think about my sexual history, I think it is me basically not understanding that there are rules.
In college, where most people are experimenting with the rules of sex, I was missing them. Maybe because I was raised by my grandma, I honestly believed that if you had sex, it meant you were getting married. So I lost my virginity to a guy who said he’d marry me.
And on that day, I had no idea how sex worked. I don’t know why I had not bothered to find out.
He was propped up on his arms when he couldn’t find my vagina with his penis, so he said, “Put me inside.”
I said, “What?”
“Inside you. Use your hand.”
“I don’t know where the hole is.”
“What? Are you kidding me?”
“There are a lot of holes down there. I don’t know which one is for sex.”
“You are so stupid.”
He eventually put his penis in. He said, “Am I in?”
I said, “I don’t know.”
Then he came. And I returned to doing homework.
2. If you can start by pretending it feels right, eventually it will feel right.
After college I posed nude to make money. A guy who paid a lot of money for a shoot looked at me for one second and said that I’m too uptight to be good. Another guy did soft-focus for Penthouse. I signed a release. He told me to undress, showed me a dressing room, and gave me a robe. I said, “I don’t need this,” and I undressed right in front of him.
“What should I do?”
“Lay down, and enjoy yourself.”
“Enjoy myself? Do you have a book I could read?”
“No, I’m going to take pictures now. I mean you should masturbate.”
I didn’t know what to do. I only need one finger to move one inch back and forth to masturbate. He wouldn’t see it. I told him I thought all the other women were faking it for him because masturbation is not visual.
“Okay. Can you fake it for me?” he said.
I tried, and then we both agreed that I couldn’t. So I left.
3. Surround yourself with people who can effectively guide you through rules.
I tried having lesbian sex. I answered an ad. Picture her: The professional ballet dancer who had just quit, and to celebrate, she got breast implants. And me, the aspiring professional beach volleyball player.
She spent the whole evening talking about how smart I am and how many books I’ve read and how strong I am.
I spent the whole evening talking about how hot she is.
I did not realize that this exchange meant that I had to be the aggressor in bed.
I said, “Are we going to kiss now? We can’t do this whole date and not kiss.”
She said, “I need you to seduce me.”
I said, “What? Are you kidding? Just take your clothes off. How are we going to have sex if we keep putting it off?”
She said, “It’s not like that. There has to be a game or something.”
I said, “Okay. You do the game. What should we do?”
She pouted. I did not realize it was part of the game.
I told her that we were really ineffective together and I thought we needed some guy there with us to run the show. We never did that. We never did anything.
4. If you don’t learn the rules for navigating, life gets boring and repetitive.
I am fast-forwarding through things that are largely repetitive of the above situations. For example, there was the guy who asked me out while I was an arbitrage clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He was on the phones, picking up orders, and I’d stand in the British Pound pit, flashing hand signals to him to tell him what was bid and offer. He’d flash back a hand signal like, buy ten at twenty. Then he started using other sorts of hand signals (open-outcry hand-signals are way more than just market indicators, believe me.) He flashed the sign for do you want to have lunch (spooning food into mouth for “eat” coupled with pretending to break something between your hands, for “break”). I went.
We dated. To get rid of him, I told him I was a lesbian and I only wanted to date him if there could be another woman there, too. That didn’t just make him pursue me with more fervor. It made the whole trading floor pursue me. And I had no idea why.
Notice how there’s one theme here: I have no idea how other people think about sex.
5. Do not get obsessively sidetracked by things that do not require social interaction.
So then I get married. The first time. We both have Asperger’s. We both like reading about sex, but having it is more traumatic. He would not go down on me, so I started writing obsessively about his not going down on me. Like the time he told me he couldn’t do it because he had a toothache.
We had sex, but he didn’t like that it was messy, and I liked writing about it better than doing it.
We had sex two times in six years after we had a kid. And I got pregnant both times because I have studied my ovulation since I was 24, and I’m an ace at sticking my finger up my vagina and 1) gauging how open my cervix is and 2) pulling out some mucus on my finger and checking to see how elastic it is.
Even now I can’t help getting excited about ovulation. Go to the bathroom right now and check your cervical mucus. It’s fascinating. If it’s elastic you are ovulating. I can peg my ovulation to the hour if I check every half-hour, which I can do because I can stick my hand in my vagina anywhere—even in a job interview, if the person leaves the room to get some water. So that’s why I was able to have a kid (and a miscarriage) only having sex two times.
6. Rules never stop coming at you, they just get infinitely more nuanced.
And now, here I am with the farmer.
At this point, sex should be low pressure for me. I am one of the one percent of women who can have an orgasm just by thinking about having an orgasm. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe because my mom taught me to do Kegel exercises before I even got my first period. I can orgasm ten times before the guy has one.
But the nonverbal cues you do to get to the sex really stress me out. It seems like a dance. When you date, there’s the official dance date you do, which I can handle. I’ve been dating enough to know you do dinner, talk, go to someone’s house, move close, kiss, lay down, get close to sex, go to bed. That’s the dance. I know where we are and what’s coming next.
But if you’re married, there’s no dance. You are just there, in bed. So the dance becomes a micro dance. There are little cues you give the other person, a careful touch in a spot you don’t usually touch, a kiss that is a kiss that means this-is-not-a-goodnight-kiss, a pointed question like, did the kids fall asleep? These are tiny cues that have to come with other, tiny cues.
I tell the farmer, “I can’t take it. The subtle stuff. It’s too much. Just tell me you want to have sex.”
So a day went by, and he did that. He said, “I want to have sex.”
I said, “Okay.”
Then I said, “Hold it. This isn’t fun. There needs to be something else.”
So we went back to the dance. And I tried to pay close attention to nonverbal cues and then respond with the appropriate nonverbal cue.
Sometimes I can do that. Like if I take a Xanax. But a lot of times, he gives one nonverbal cue, like breathing warm and wet next to my ear. And I curl up in a ball.
I curl up in a ball and tell him I’m too anxious to have sex. Even after we have had sex hundreds of times. I still do it. At first he couldn’t believe it. But then he saw that I don’t know left and right, really, and my math skills end, largely, at third grade, and I am an idiot savant when it comes to memorizing statistics about Gen Y tendencies at work. So now he’s learned to believe anything. And he has learned that the only way to get me uncurled is to talk to me.
He does facts. He says what he’s doing with his hands, what he is feeling, what we will do, what I have done, he tries to stick to facts. And he narrates his movements as he goes. And he does not expect me to move or speak, until I’ve heard enough verbal cues to get back in the game.
Sometimes, when the farmer was dumping me, and people were saying, how can you stick with him? I would say, “He’s so good in bed.” And now you know what I mean.
Something that strongly bothers me is how many parents of people on the spectrum (high and low end) baby their children to the point where their kids don’t feel confident doing anything themselves. As a result, their children have much difficulty embedding themselves into society and are too inexperienced to do much of anything else for themselves. Then when they reach adulthood their parents wonder why they have so much trouble coping with life.
Isn’t it obvious why?
I believe that while ASDs can’t be cured, the social deficits that comes with them can be lessened to a degree.
Sadly, parents babying their children is a very common theme in the ASD community. Many people who I’ve spoken to have had, and still have their parents baby them; some are well into adulthood. This is a huge blow to their self-esteem and causes irreparable damage. The lack of confidence they feel is, in part, a result of being told not to do this and that and being yelled at when trying to do anything themselves. As a result, they’re scared to do anything and the feelings persist throughout life. It’s hard to gain confidence as an adult when you’ve always lacked it.
As much as I hate to admit it, lots of people with ASDs never make it in life (never gain full-time employment, never date, never marry, never acquire friends, are under-employed, etc.) and I believe that this is often a result of babying. There obviously are lots of ASD success stories, but hey - focusing on the negative can be beneficial. Acknowledging the negative can help us fix problems. If parents of people on the spectrum would learn that babying their children like this is wrong and would stop doing it, their kids would have a much higher probability of making it further in life; this I guarantee.
Whenever I see parents of children on the spectrum on autism forums, blogs and elsewhere speak about their kids I can often tell by the way they talk about their children that they do everything for them and don’t let them do anything themselves. It’s obvious that many parents assume their kids who’re on the spectrum are incapable. When I think of the irreparable damage they’re causing I cringe and feel a deep sense of despair.
ASDs don’t make people incapable of doing anything for themselves. When will more parents of people on the spectrum realize this? It’s almost like they don’t realize that people with ASDs are sentient beings …
Anyway: How do you feel about this? Does it bother you how parents often treat their ASD kids like this?
Do you have first-hand experience with your parent(s) babying you? If so, do you think it’s caused you harm?
Happy New Year to all you aspies out there.
It’s been awesome getting to know the people over at Spectrumville. I’ve met lots of great, non-judgmental people on the forum. I honestly can’t speak my mind in many other parts of the net (or in real life, for that matter) without being scolded; there I can. I’ve met some people on the boards who I’ve become almost beyond close with — people who I’d consider as being genuine friends who I’d do anything for and expect them to do the same for me.
I’d like to thank the Spectrumville staff for allowing me to make them staff (and for being awesome) and the users as well (also for being awesome).
I hope everyone, including people reading this blog post, on the spectrum or not, have a good and safe (if you’re to drink, be sure to take it easy on the alcohol and not drive) New Year.
I just want to let you folks know that I added Facebook “Like” and Twitter “Tweet” buttons added to footer of Spectrumville forum.
If you’d be kind enough to click on either (or both) of them, it would be highly appreciated as it could help Spectrumville receive more traffic.
“Cursed Waters” is a film written, directed and produced by a Chicago-area teen with Asperger’s Syndrome.
It took three years to put together, but at 18 years old, Alyssa Huber has accomplished more than the average teenager despite her disability.
“Cursed Waters” is a lighted-hearted comedy about a boy who lost his job and joins a pirate crew.
Huber got her movie idea watching the special features of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” DVD.
Huber also created the set.
“My dad helped with most of the sets, but I was the one who came up with the main idea of what they should look like,” she said.
Alyssa was diagnosed in 2004 with Asperger’s Syndrome, mom Linda said.
“She was about 12. I home schooled her for six years and put her in public school in seventh grade, and the school looked at me like, ‘What is up with her?’ And I just said, ‘Well, she’s eccentric, she’s different, you know, we just kind of accepted her the way that she was,” said Linda.
It was natural for the family to be upset with Alyssa’s diagnoses.
“But I got all past that when Alyssa said something to me one time. She said, ‘Mom, if you had a choice if I had this or not had this, what would you choose? Would you choose me to have this?’ And I said, ‘Alyssa, I love the way God created you, and I can’t imagine you any other way,’” said Linda.
Alyssa’s gift for making films could be a result of her disability.
“I think that for her, it’s her way of expressing the things that maybe she can’t always in everyday life when you go back and forth. If you’re unable to always understand what someone is telling you and you can’t always process that in your brain,” said Linda.
For Alyssa, the film is just a beginning.
“I’m probably actually done with making movies, but I am gonna make, like, short films, mostly comedies,” she said.
Alyssa worked to earn money to pay for all the props and costumes.
In case you people don’t know, a common problem you find on ASD forums is the bashing of other forums and their staff/users. This hasn’t been much of a problem here yet, but as a way of preventing it from happening or getting out of hand I’m going to censor the names of various forums that are prime candidates for the bashing. Another reason to implement this is because, frankly, I don’t approve of most ASD boards. In addition to preventing the bashing from occurring, I simply want to prevent users from drama-intense boards from finding us in Google and joining up. I don’t want people to perceive Spectrumville as being an “anything goes” board. Lastly, I should mention that I’m not on great terms with people of certain boards where I was taunted and provoked; my vindictive nature got me into trouble a couple times.
The only exceptions at this point in time are four smaller boards which include: Aspies Central, Aspergic, The PsychForums Asperger’s Syndrome Forum and Gestalt - that’s it. You may freely mention those boards, but do not, I repeat do not mention any other ASD board unless you first ask for my permission in a PM so that I can check out the board for myself. Please don’t even put stars or random characters in the names of other Asperger’s boards. If you’re to mention another Asperger’s forum, simply say “another forum” or the like. Also don’t use the abbreviated forms of forum names.
If staff is to find anyone mentioning another Asperger’s forum that we don’t approve of, we’ll change the forum name to “another asperger’s forum”. If you incessantly mention the names of Asperger’s forums, you’ll get a warning.
This is for the best, and, for the record, most of the aforementioned forums have similar policies regarding the mentioning of other boards. The user-base of Spectrumville is mostly very intelligent and rational, so I doubt this would have become a huge problem here, but you never know. Still, there are boards out there that I certainly don’t approve of and would rather not be mentioned.
Does anyone else cringe upon seeing people in the ASD community bashing NTs, claiming them to be “evil” and the like? It annoys me and always has. Lots of people on the spectrum who’ve been “targeted” by NTs seem to think that all NTs must be evil due to a few (or many) bad encounters with “normal” (i.e. - NT) people. The reality though is that the reason why lots of people on the spectrum feel targeted by NTs is because of this: NTs are the overwhelming majority of the population. On a per capita basis, I’d say that NTs and people on the spectrum are both just as liable as each other to mistreat people. I find it hypocrital for people on the spectrum to bash NTs as a whole for being “different” when that’s exactly the reason why NTs tend to bash people with ASDs.Everyone who frequents ASD boards very well knows that there’s a lot of NT bashing in the ASD community. Will it ever stop?
Do any of you not stim at all?I’ve had some ASD “sufferers” claim that they don’t stim. This seems strange to me seeing that I’ve stimmed a lot everyday from the earliest time I can remember. If I didn’t stim I’m not sure if I’d have assumed myself to be on the spectrum. However, I’m an extremely obsessive person and suffer anxiety which is of an abnormally high degree, so if I didn’t stim, I’d maybe still have figured myself to be on the autism spectrum; it’s impossible to say. But one thing that lead to researching ASDs was me trying to discover why the hell I’d been doing these “stereotypical movements” i.e. - stimming (which I never used to be able to pin a name to) to calm me down. It just didn’t make sense to me and made me feel abnormal. I felt guilty and strange about my stims, and sometimes hoped that I’d “grow out” of them.For a little while, I was debating whether my stims were due to Tourette’s (which, incidentally, happens to be a common co-morbid condition diagnosed alongside ASDs) or an ASD. I eventually ruled out Tourette’s and knew that I was somewhere on the high end of the autism spectrum. I could actually have a minor case of Tourette’s with my ASD, but it’s hard to say. Some of my stims are very Tourette’s-like, especially the vocal stims I had at a young age.