Rising to meet the challenges of understanding ourselves as Autistics in a non-autistic world.

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A major challenge that is presented  to many Autists in today’s society is choosing just where it is they wish to stand within the Autism spectrum.

I can proudly claim my right to be an Aspie and not see this as a disability, or  feel the need to change at all to fit into a non-aspergic world.

I can meet with others over the Internet, find a job where I don’t have to socialize with others, and indulge my favorite obsessions without messing anyone else’s life around.

At the other extreme, I can humbly acknowledge my crushing disability, and make extreme efforts to learn compensatory strategies that will help me become as “normal” as possible to fit in with everyone else.

Neither of these extremes suit me, and I’ve taken a middle position on the spectrum, which makes sense considering that I have a spectrum disorder!

I’m not sure whether or not having  Autism is something that I should bother to analyze rationally by seeking a legally framed story of cause and effect to explain it away, or whether it’s just one of the unavoidable hammer-blows of fate?

Or even, perhaps, as some see it, a challenge from the gods, designed to shift me into a different mode of functioning?

I guess in a lot of ways, the difficulty of rising to meet the challenges of understanding ourselves, is no different for us auties and Aspies than it is for the “normal ones” .

The normals still have the luxury (or obstacle?) of being able to hold on to their comforting views of the world, of themselves, of the purpose of life: whereas we are foreigners in a strange world in which we are reminded a hundred times a day that we are visitors to this strange place.

But, could that become a strength?

We may be able to think outside the square – let’s face it, we have little choice, since the square may now be closed to us. My need for literal and straight communication meant I had to be skeptical about anything anyone said to me, go back to first principles and seek truth with logic – an unpopular quest in a social milieu where the admission ticket consists of already knowing and accepting the consensus view, however illogical or untruthful it may be.

Can we, whom the gods have chosen to bless with this challenge, make any positive sense of being on the autism spectrum, and painfully carve out a new direction? Was it a divine intervention to force us to learn a very different way of being to the way of most on this planet? Is it all karma for actions we perpetrated in a past life? Can we learn from our dire experiences some new compassion for the suffering many?


I haven’t yet completed the long process of making sense of it all, and it will probably take me some years.

But I have found that it helps to keep myself open to the possibility that I needed to learn something, probably many things, from the many unpleasant things that happened over the years – bullying, taunts at school, abusive father, social alienation, constant sacking from jobs to name a few. I hope to gain insights that will make me a better person in a spiritual sense, perhaps that the direction I had been headed in during my recent incarnations was in need of change, and that I needed to take on board some painful humility about the common suffering of humanity which will help me become a more giving, forgiving and compassionate person in the end.

“Love isn’t in your eyes baby girl, it’s in your heart”

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I see your true colors,

Even when others don’t!

Love isn’t in your eyes baby girl,

It’s in your heart.

By

Tammy Faye.

Can you tell just by looking?

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Can you tell,

Just by looking,

That this beautiful girl,

Has Asperger’s Syndrome?

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Can you tell,

Just by looking,

That sometimes,

This world,

Is just too much,

For her?

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Can you tell,

Just by looking,

That sometimes this world,

Makes her feel,

Broken?

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Can you tell,

Just by looking,

That she is,

The most precious gem,

In the world,

To me?

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Can you tell,

Just by looking,

That,

My daughter is just one,

Of  the many girls,

Now being diagnosed,

With Autism.

The Asperger’s Parenting Obstacle Course…… Why Hair Extensions Are Never A Good Idea.

How Could You Do This To Me, Mum?

 

Some days being a parent is like being expected to run 5 different obstacle courses simultaneously.

It’s always one step forward, three steps back.

 

And no matter what parenting move we might try and make in the present to please our children, it all too often ends up becoming the root cause of a wrong parenting move in the usually not too distant future.

 

A future that always appears to be, for some odd reason, so much further down the track than it really is.

 

Hidden out of sight where you  can’t see it and so have no hope what so ever of  making any  necessary corrections in the present in order to avoid making, what will eventually become, a wrong move in the future.

 

 

For instance……..

 

Hair Extensions by Bridget Christian (109)

 

After months and months of pleading, I eventually bought my daughter some inexpensive (AKA cheap) clip on hair extensions off e-bay.

 

She was delighted when they arrived in the mail and for a few short hours, well at least in her eyes; I could do no parenting wrong.

 

That was until I asked her if they came with any instructions as to how to put them in.

 

Which of course, being inexpensive, (okay, okay, cheap), they hadn’t come with any information of the ‘how to’ variety.

 

That was entirely my bad.

 

So instead of panicking, we found a “how to put in your clip on hair extensions’ demo on YouTube”.

 

We watched it together and suddenly I was back to being a wonderful parent again.

 

That was until I tried to actually clip the hair extensions into my daughter’s hair.

 

At which point she screamed loudly and them promptly expressed her opinion that I was either blind, stupid, hadn’t paid attention to the demo closely enough, or was deliberately trying to hurt her.

 

This of course placed me back in the worst, most stingiest parent in the world ever, camp.

 

Now this is the parental camp in which I usually spend weeks, months even, existing in.

If any of you have teenagers of your own I’m sure that you will be entirely familiar the place.

Apparently I only further increased my state of residence in this camp by pointing out to my daughter that if she’d tried sitting still and waiting patiently like the model in the demo had instead of wriggling about on her chair, things might now be going a bit smoother in the hair extension department than they currently were.

 

She of course, was very resistant my logical response and let me know about it in no uncertain but very colorful terms.

 

English: cup of coffee

 

At this point I figured ‘what the hey’, seeing I was already in the bad parenting camp, I may as well make myself a cup of coffee, settle in and stay a while longer.

 

So I picked up all of the hair extensions that I’d so carefully laid out on the table in order of their size and appropriate application position and walked away.

 

Dodging her resentful gaze as I went.

 

Right about that time she finally realized that if she wanted her new shiny and supposedly life altering hair extensions in, that she’d have to start playing nice.

 

And right on cue, from out of her mouth a whole string of apologies and flattery flew toward me:

 

“Please mum, I didn’t mean it mum,”

 

“I’ll sit still this time mum,”

 

“I’m sorry I promise mum,”

 

“You’re the best mum in the world for trying.”

 

Yes a child’s flattery will get a mother (almost) every single time. So, after letting her know that unless she held true to her word about sitting still the whole deal would be off, I slowly laid the extensions back out on the table and we began again.

 

And wouldn’t you know it? This time it worked.

 

Her hair looked amazing and she loved it.

 

Instant hugs.

Status as best ever Mum in the world had been briefly regained and peace in our house had been fully restored while she spent hours (and I do mean hours) admiring herself in the mirror and sending photos of her “new amazing hair” to all of her friends.

 

But, and you know that there’s always going to be a but coming somewhere.

 

But…..

 

Then it came time to take the hair extensions out.

 

This news apparently came as a rude shock to her.

 

She didn’t want to take them out.

 

She loved them.

 

She wanted to wear them to school the next day so that all of her friends could see them “for real”.

 

I didn’t care.

Those bad boys were coming out.

Whether she liked it or not.

 

Once again out came the charges of “bad parenting” as her outrage at being “made to do something she didn’t want to do” bubbled and brewed while she sat unwilling on our kitchen chair as I gently and methodically unclipped her extensions one by one and laid them neatly back on the table.

 

After I’d finished she glared up at me and said “fine, but I’ll be waking you up at 5 in the morning to put them all back in again.”

 

To which I emphatically replied, “No you will not. You are not wearing those to school. They are for special occasions. Not for school.”

 

“But mum, you don’t understand. You’re ruining my life! I promised everyone that I would wear them to school to show them. Now everyone’s going to think I’m a liar and they are going to hate me if I don’t wear them.”

 

Silence on my part.

 

“I hate you.

You’re a bad parent.

You don’t care about me.

All you care about is yourself”.

 

More silence on my part.

 

“Okay then, I’ll wake you up at 5-30 instead”.

 

At this point I reminded myself to breathe.

 

“All right, all right, 6 AM then but that’s my final offer” she shouts as she storms out of the kitchen and stomps up the stairs to her bedroom.

 

Following her statement up with the obligatory teenage door slam which works as an exclamation mark for any and all parental arguments.

 

Ah….. Conversation over. At last.  I’m going to bed. Good night.

 

At 6am the next morning she walks into my room with a cup of coffee ready to hand over to me.

 

Me, all bleary eyed  and slightly confused as to why she’s up without my having to drag her out of bed, but admittedly very impressed with the whole coffee angle that she’s got going on, till I suddenly remember,

‘Oh no, those bloody hair extensions again’.

 

So there she is hovering menacingly over my bed, with her hands on hips when the sounds of my son beginning to stir down stairs land in my ears.

And I understand right then and there that I’m just simply not up for the same level of fight that she is.

 

I also know that if I’m to have any hope at all of avoiding said immanent fight, I need to get going on her hair extensions immediately so that I can  have them all in place before my son (who needs help showering) requires my assistance.

 

More infuriatingly, she knows it too because any change in my sons routine can create untold degrees of catastrophe that have a strong tendency to rumble on throughout the entirety of his day.

 

So call me crazy, call me weak, call me on the fact that I’m setting a bad example for parents all over the world, but right then and there I didn’t care whether I was making the right parenting move or the wrong one, whether I was stepping forwards or stumbling back on myself.

 

I just wanted to get the whole hair extension nightmare that I’d unwittingly created for myself over and done with.

 

And amazingly the hair extensions went in quickly, with no problems at all and once again they looked fantastic and best of all I still hadn’t managed to throw my son’s daily routine out of whack.

 

Yay me.

 

Not!

 

Apparently, within the space of my daughters school day, a day which I might add I had nothing what so ever to do with, her friends had gone from telling her she looked gorgeous, to being chronically jealous.

 

Her glory day had turned into a stormy day and yes you guessed it, it was all my fault!

 

Once again I had “ruined my daughter’s life”.

 

Like I said, some days, parenting is like being expected to run 5 different obstacle courses all at the same time.

 

One step forward, three steps back.

 

And no matter what parenting move we might make to try and please our children in the present, it all too often ends up becoming the root cause of a wrong parenting move in the future.

 

Which is why I now say that the future should come complete with rear view mirrors at all times.

 

Instead of developing thicker skin……..

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Instead of developing  thicker skin,

I wish the world,

Would instead,

Decide to become,

 A  little kinder.

Kinder to everyone,

Whether there be differences,

Or similarities,

Kinder to everyone,

Regardless of gender,

Kinder to everyone,

No matter their skin color,

Kinder to everyone,

Whether two or eighty,

Kinder to everyone,

No matter their IQ,

Just think of the world,

You could be living in,

If one day we decided,

To all be a little,

Kinder to everyone,

Kinder to you.

Always Unique… Totally Intelligent… Sometimes Mysterious… Autism…. Asperger’s… Keep Calm

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Here’s a gentle reminder to look at the reality of any given situation rather than falling into the hype created by misunderstandings and sensationalism…..