Archive for the ‘life’ Category

There has never been a time in history better than now, to have Aspergers. Not only are they able to diagnose it more frequently and therefore provide more assistance, but, equally important is the rise of the nerd culture. In the past, things like adults playing Nintendo games or reading comic books used to be frowned upon and were not something that people could talk about or engage in openly without fear of being considered dorks and nerds and without facing potential reprecussions, including but not limited to, the loss of respect. As a result, people had to pretend that they were either into sports or cars. Comic books and video games are activities that people with Aspergers have typically been drawn to. Video games provide us with an escape, and helped us feel some control, in a world that we often find too confusing and crazy. The fact that people now are more open about sharing our interests in video games, instead of restricting these activities as only appropriate for teenagers and children, means that we can have conversations and come across as less weird and more social. In addition, with the rise of the nerd culture it is no longer considered strange to be really, really into something like animated television or historical battles. I am not sure what brought about this rise in nerd culture making it into the mainstream culture as thus being more accepted, what I do know is that there has never been a better time than now to have Aspergers.

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driving

Posted: September 15, 2013 in life
Tags: , ,

I hate driving because of sensory overload. You are constantly having to check your mirrors, the street names as well as your speed. I mean if you don’t constantly check your mirrors you will get in a car accident and that nasty crunching sound of metal still makes me cringe, even though I haven’t been in any car accidents lately (Thank God! fingers crossed, hope this doesn’t jinx me). If you don’t constantly check the street names while bearing in mind the future streets coming up as well as the streets that you have already gone past and if that’s not enough you also have to keep in mind the destination. Remembering all of that is enough to give me a headache and if for a second you let off on this you’ll get completely lost. This isn’t as big of a problem for most people but as a result of my aspergers and trouble focusing on fine details I am constantly getting lost. In addition, since I have a hard time gettting organized I have the hardest time remembering what street comes next and have to consciously think about unless its an area I have already been to a million times.

Finally there is the speed. If you drive too slowly it will take forever getting anywhere and yet every single time I see a parked car at the side of the road I am instantly distracted by worrying about what speed I’m going even though I am just going the speed limit and looking into the other car to see if there is a camera which is really distracting and can make me feel like I am about to get into an accident. Therefore, I prefer to take the bus around but there are some places its -if not impossible to get to by bus- lets say very very difficult and time consuming and then there is the fear that I am going to be too late or early which is something that I have touched on in another blog about how this gives me anxiety issues.

Moving out #2

Posted: September 14, 2013 in aspergers, life
Tags: , , , ,

The worst part of moving out is not the loneliness or the fact that I will have to cook for myself, no the very worst part is that I will have to shop for the place and I detest shopping. It is the bane of my existence. I mean, I have no problem with grocery shopping but when it comes to shopping where there is choice such as clothing shopping or furniture shopping, I suddenly freeze up when faced with decisions because I think I am going to pick the wrong one. I mean they are both good choices but if I pick the one on the left maybe I should have picked the one on the right. Maybe with the one on the left life will be fine and normal with work and comedy and everything but maybe if I choose the other one I would have gone down a magical path filled with candy lollipop trees, girls who want to spend time with me and self-respect. However, if I go with door number 2 maybe all of that stuff was really behind door number one. I will never know. Therefore, I am stuck with indecision and I don’t want to keep trying out more options because that just makes it harder to pick the right one and know which path will have led down to self-enlightenment.

Now, when you are furnishing a new place you dont need to simply make one decision, now you are stuck with a million little decisions just ready to overwhelm you and eat you alive.

Once you get back to your place all you can do is question every single one of those decisions because clearly you did something wrong because there are no lollipops and no girls.

These are not in any particular order.
1. Libraries are a place of order. Unlike the rest of the world which is chaos, libraries organize information by subject, author and year. There is no reading between the lines for information like there is in the rest of life.
2. I feel like a computer expert when I am able to answer computer questions, like how do I book a computer. Where can I find a computer with microsoft word. (Although, there are some times that I can’t figure out how to fix the computer or format on microsoft word but these questions are few and far between.)
3. Libraries are quiet and never give me sensory overload which sometimes happens in unknown crowded places. Especially when I am very hungry or tired.
4. There are always people to watch who never end up letting me down with their off-the-wall antics. Therefore, it is a good place to learn about human behaviour and what to do and what not to do in social interactions.
5. It is a good place to read the newspaper and catch-up on the daily going-ons.
6. There is usually treats to eat in the staff room.
7. I get to learn about where a good place to nap is from the professionals. These people are amazing they can fall asleep anywhere anytime and they usually choose to do it at the library.
8. I learn how to deal with rude people or hecklers as I like to think of them. This is good training for when you are on stage performing comedy.
9. There is time for day dreaming or analyzing social interactions and kicking yourself for them not going well.
10. Finally but not leastly, I am able to check out books, cds and DvDs in a convenient location for free.

Everyone remember the bell-curve from high school and university?? Good. Just in case I have included one below.

bell_curve

Any spectrum is sort of like a bell curve where there is always someone who is better or worse than you are, however, when that spectrum is invisible there is questions of where do fit into it? I always thought I was on the higher end of the spectrum, however; the diagnosis of people being Autistic is much more frequent these days with one in 54 males having it. Therefore, many people who would have been on the border of not being autistic and would not have been considered in the past are now being diagnosed with it. Let’s not discuss whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, because, that is a different debate for a different time. What is relevant, however; is that many of these border cases will be more socially able/gifted than I am. They will have had a rich dating life and will eventually get married and no one would be able to tell the difference between their lives and anyone else’s. I have met several people with Autism but not nearly enough to back up these statistics, therefore, I don’t truly know where I stand anymore. Has the bell curve moved the other direction so that I would be on the lower end of the spectrum? The less independent end? Or has there simply been more people born on the lower end of the spectrum, therefore, my relative place would not have changed so much. I doubt if this latter is the case. I think, instead of the prevalence of most disabilities increasing the only thing that has changed is our ability to recognize and diagnose mild cases. There is also more reasons to come forward or diagnose someone as being on the spectrum since this means that they will receive more funding in the classroom and other areas of their life where they may need extra assistance. In addition, the stigma of being different or having a disability has decreased over the last 10 years than it was before. Do not get me wrong, it is not easy being different as society is not perfect. There are still many ways that life is harder for anyone who is different.

According to some sources the prevelance of Aspergers is 1 in 250 people, while others argue that it is less common and others argue that it is more common. Therefore, what I am going to discuss next may not be as relevant to every case as I am sure this does not affect everyone in the community and many have not come forward or do not even think about it. The diagnosis, however, means that it should relate to everyone, however, depending on where they fit on the spectrum.
In the previous post, I discussed who has the power in society and resolved that it was unclear and that there was actually shared power in different areas of life. The point of discussing who has it better is often to try and get at the matter of who has it easier in society. I am now going to try and look at that issue in the Asperger community.

Men with Aspergers (AS) have a much harder time in the social area not only than NT but also women with Aspergers. As a result of biology discussed above we will be less in demand than women not only among our own community but also among NTs. In addition, women tend to form stronger social skills than males as a result of how they interact at a young age choosing talking over playing sports. Therefore, they will have better and more friendships than the males. Men with AS, therefore, are more likely going to be more obvious and therefore, receive more assistance and have less stigma attached. Nevertheless, many will not have as many romantic partners and this is very stigmatising by the rest of society. They will also, probably have fewer friends as a result of the weaker social skills. This is very hard.
In comparison, some women with AS may not know until much later and may not understand what is causing problems in their lives which is extremely fustrating. In addition, not knowing why things happen in your life also leaves you more vulnerable to be a victim. They may, however, have a much more interesting romantic life and therefore, feel less sidelined.

Where does the power really lie? I mean women keep saying that men have all the power and they have good arguments on their side it is true that men earn more money for doing the exact same job than women do. There are more men in corporate positions and they tend to be the higher-ups. This could easily be argued as a structured form of power, naturally working in men’s favor.
Therefore, if the saying whoever has the gold makes the rules is true than men unfairly have the power.
It is also true that most of the victims of domestic abuse are women. The cases of domestic abuse are not even close and yet women go back to these abusive men, therefore, there is a clear case for women being the victims of society and this supports feminism. That is, however, if these women are attracted to these men simply because they hold a position of power in our society. This second point, is more questionable because some women prefer bad boys and this can get them into these positions where they are with abusive men and thus creates the domestic abuse cycle. This quality is not unique to women as men often also chase after a girl who treats them badly, even if it is not domestic abuse.
If women make the argument that men have all the power because they earn way more per hour than where does all this extra cash go. Are men going to resorts just for men which are of higher quality than the ones women can afford to go? Are men simply working less hours because they can make the same money therefore, end up with the same amount of pay in half the time? As far as I know they are both working equal hours. No, instead the extra money is partly going towards buying girls drinks at the bar. There is unequal pressure on the man to buy all the drinks. In addition, whenever men do anything often one of the first things that come into consideration is whether this will make me more or less attractive to women. Therefore, it is easy to make the argument that women have more relational power.
If society was equal would there be less nights where girls get in for free? I don’t think so.
Therefore, one could argue that men have economic power while women have more social and biological power. If society legislates all the financial power away by giving equal pay will these elements change how we view sexuality? Or will it make society severely unbalanced as women have all the power?

Autistic people should… be courageous and follow their dreams. Yes, there will be setbacks along the way, but there is setbacks whenever you follow your dreams no matter who you are. It is a hard steep path filled with sacrifice and there is no guarantee that you will succeed, but there is no guarantee for anyone. Yes, there will be extra obstacles in the way, but there are extra obstacles in our way no matter what we do, but you know what? Everyday we overcome these obstacles because we are a tough resilient people with more inner-strength than we will ever know. Yes, we have fewer examples of people who have succeeded in many fields and may have to carve our own paths but we still do have a few shining beacons of hope like Darryl Hannah or Dan Ackroyd. Yes, I know they both start with the letter D and not all great people’s names start with the letter D, but that is fine. Don’t make a big deal about nothing!!

We may want to give up, but all people have their low-points where they consider giving up that they have to motor through. We also may feel like the world is being unfair to us because of our disability, but, then we just have to work twice as hard and be twice as nice. There will also be times we are misunderstood because we are different, we think differently and we make different word choices. Instead of thinking of your disability as a weakness think of ways that you can make it a strength.  Ways how, thinking outside the box can make you innovative and bring different contributions to the table which are equally worthwhile.

Don’t hesitate to ask your family for help. I have a great family, however, if you don’t make your own family. There is a great supportive community out there on blogs and online, people who understand what life is like on the Autistic spectrum and can relate to you and will be thrilled to support you. If you are lucky, you may even find a strong community in the real-world of people you know. There are great places like the Asperger Society of Manitoba to go and make friends and allies. Some people are even lucky enough to have good friends among both the spectrum community as well as the NT community.

Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Celebrate the small victories as well as the large. If you do all of these things I guarantee you will do great things, even if the outside world doesn’t recognize these great things for what they truly are.

People we are not doing enough to celebrate Aspergers/Autism. I don’t think we are doing enough to celebrate people with disabilities in general, but we are definitely not doing enough to celebrate Aspergers. We need to take a page out of the gay/lesbian transgendered communities playbook and embrace our differences.

First we could have Autism spectrum parades. I think our flag would be rainbowed like the gay and Lesbian community, because frankly we are a rainbow people. We think everywhere on the spectrum from the most outgoing individuals to the most withdrawn. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, it is a burden at times but it can also be a gift. An amazing gift so why don’t we openly embrace our community of wonderful individuals and have parades

There is also a Gay and Lesbian show in the Winnipeg comedy festival. There is a panel to discuss issues relating to their specific community in a much larger festival giving them a forum to discuss their challenges and their triumphs with a much wider audience. I would love to have panels consisting of people all over the spectrum including NT (Neuro-typical) individuals talking. I think this is an amazing show and  would love if such a show existed for the disabled community. This would be a dream come true if shows like that were included in the Winnipeg comedy festival. I think that the autism community is even less well understood and represented in general and think that it would be amazing if we could be more represented.

I also think that it is great that there are characters who have autistic elements to them such as Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory and think that it would be that much greater if the character they had chosen to play him was on the spectrum in real life.

The real question is how can we network with groups who are already established and emulate them.

Just like there was once shame in being a lesbian and now the identity is embraced and for the most part openly accepted in society, it is my dream that the same could be said about the Autism community.

It’s the little things that really  bother me. I know it may sound tiny but just a little while ago, I saw someone I know and said hi and they returned the greeting but when I asked them how they were they did not inquire about me or my well-being. How rude. I know this is a tiny thing but it has really frustrated me. It’s because I get upset when people don’t follow the script and I am suddenly lost. I mean does she think she is better than me? Is she just a thoughtless person?

My state of well-being from knowing what to expect has suddenly been thrown through a loop and I don’t know whether it is day or night and it gives me a feeling of unease and makes me suddenly not feel safe. Like that society has suddenly turned into an anarchy.