Friendship?

A friend helped me realize that if I organize my thoughts enough to write them down, it will force me to organize my thoughts.

I decided to help them in a small way that was easy for me to do. It felt selfish though, because I was supporting them so that they could continue to help me.

Then I thought that maybe that’s what a ND/HSP/ASD friendship looks like? Supporting each other in ways that are easy for us but might be hard for them. And being able to be honest and direct with each other. It sucks hearing hard things, and it hurts. And it’s so much easier knowing that the person telling you the hurtful things is doing it because they love you anyway and they are helping you become a better person. We can’t fix the problems we can’t see.

I don’t feel lonely when I’m being honest and direct with people. It feels good and is easy to be pedantic. And it’s totally boring. It’s putting up a wall instead of being vulnerable. Because being vulnerable is terrifying.

Is that because of the trauma of not feeling seen or accepted as a child?

I hate that I have to admit that my “not that bad” childhood was traumatic. I love my parents and I appreciate all they did to make sure my childhood was less traumatic than theirs. It paved the way for me to be dealing with my trauma so that I can try to repair the trauma I’ve already inflicted on my kid, even beyond what I just passed down epigenetically.

I’m a crappy parent and if I don’t keep reminding myself of that, or letting my friends remind me, I won’t get better.

If you say “You’re such a good mom!”

I feel like saying, no, but I’m trying.

I think I need to figure out a better reply. Saying no just invalidates your experience of me. What can I say to help both of us?

I’m trying to be, thank you for listening, it helps me know what to focus on.

When do they say the good mom thing and what do they mean?

Usually after they’ve shared a struggle and I’ve empathized and shared what helped me in a similar situation.

I wonder if by saying I’m a good mom, they’re avoiding saying that they feel like they are guilty of being a bad mom for not figuring it out on their own?

I think that’s how I feel when I realize what inconsiderate thing I’ve done, or what considerate thing I haven’t done.

I keep thinking of Brene Brown’s videos – we’re lonely when we aren’t brave enough to be vulnerable. I wanted to say or if we don’t have a safe space to be vulnerable – but that’s wrong. We create the safe space by being vulnerable. By admitting that we’re not perfect and that we’re going to make mistakes and that once we know better, we’ll do better.

If you are authentic and honest, either people will connect with you – or it will terrify them and in their terror they might attack you (fight), disengage (flight). You can have compassion for them, and still know that it’s their problem and you don’t have to tolerate their behavior.

She also talks about the difference between guilt and shame. We feel guilty when we know our actions were wrong. We feel ashamed when we think our selves are wrong.

Seeing other people who we can see ourselves in helps us know that we aren’t wrong.

I’m trying to slow down and be more present and intentional instead of reactive.

And now I need to listen to my body and sleep even though I want to keep writing and thinking.

ECHO, Echo, echo…..

Echolalia is functional communication. It is often an indication of gestalt thinking, if you search for hyperlexia or hypernumeracy you might find more information.

Possible functions:

  • practicing verbal skills
  • auditory stimulation (stimming – it just sounds good)
  • communicating – if we’re not understanding, we’re not listening/paying enough attention or we need training

One example is my kiddo would say the exact same line if they thought that I wasn’t listening, or wasn’t understanding, or wasn’t giving the response they wanted/were looking for.

So now I’ll say:

“I’ve heard you say that multiple times now, did you miss my acknowledgement (either verbal or visual) or are you looking for a specific response or does it just sound good?”

<reply>

“Great, thanks for letting me know!”

Autistic employee goes viral with office sign that breaks down ‘bad communicator’ stereotypes – Upworthy

I’m autistic.

I prefer direct, literal and detailed communication

If I am:

Not making eye contact

Not greeting you back

Not understanding your social cues, etc.

There is no malicious intent. It is the autism.

Thank you for understanding.

https://www.upworthy.com/autistic-employee-called-a-bad-communicator-responds-by-hanging-an-important-sign-in-the-office

“This should be the norm tbh!! very proud of you for stating your boundaries and needs clearly,” Alastar wrote. “I wish everyone had signs telling me how to communicate tbh,” Bro added.

“How is it that we prefer direct, literal, and detailed communication, but somehow WE’RE the ones with a communication issue???” Reading cosmere! wrote.

https://www.upworthy.com/autistic-employee-called-a-bad-communicator-responds-by-hanging-an-important-sign-in-the-office

“The funniest thing about the comment section of my autism sign video is the people who are asking me, ‘Are you self-diagnosed? Are you formally diagnosed?’” he said in the video. “Do you think neurotypical people would make a sign like that? Do you think that would happen? Do you think a neurotypical person would do that?”

https://www.upworthy.com/autistic-employee-called-a-bad-communicator-responds-by-hanging-an-important-sign-in-the-office

Metaphors, Idioms & Abbreviations

For when meaning goes MIA.

tbh – to be honest – used to express a person’s own personal opinion, instead of the perceived generally acceptable opinion

In a minute – used to ask for a tiny (minute: my-newt) amount of time, not a measured minute

It’s helpful if instead you can say:
In a moment
Give me a few minutes please
I need a few more minutes
I’ll be done soon
Please wait for a little bit

Is she fine, or is she masking?

I keep meeting folks who have one kid diagnosed but other kids that aren’t. There is relatively strong evidence that it’s genetic/hereditary (Genetics of Autism Spectrum Disorders – PMC (nih.gov)) – enough that I’m not sure why folks aren’t told to automatically have all siblings evaluated.

I’m 42 and just now starting to figure out who I am and who I want to be, I spent so long masking so deeply that it’s taken over two and a half years to start to realize that I don’t need to do things I “should” to be “normal” or “fit in” – a recent example was telling my best friend that I don’t like eating at restaurants, most of them are sensory nightmares and that I would stay home and happily wait while the others went out. It’s so nice to be able to say no to things without feeling guilty or like I need to explain or give reasons.

Is Narcolepsy Just…

ADHD? Which I think is just being Highly Sensitive and having impaired sleep?

I didn’t know that sub-optimal levels of arousal could make you tired/sleepy/ or even fall asleep.

I used to hate driving because I’d have to pull over, get out and do jumping jacks to stay alert sometimes. Then I came across something (to link if I find it again) that suggested it might be ADHD. I got diagnosed and now it’s the number one reason I take amphetamine medication – no more getting tired while driving! Caffeine never worked for me as far as alertness.

Turns out driving was SUPER BORING for me. The only thing as bad or worse was trying to read Huckleberry Finn – I kept passing out every time I tried in high school.

If I engaged my brain with interesting stuff, then I wasn’t paying enough attention to driving and could only go somewhere I could get to on autopilot. Short drives were ok, but longer ones not so much.

Neurodiversity Advocacy

Here are some great advocates with amazing communities – though some of them may not recognize that being an advocate for Neurodiversity is what they are doing. Just by being their authentic selves, being neurodivergent (again even if not recognized), and welcoming others to share their diversity of experiences, they are showing that diversity is not only ok, it is beautiful, incredible and resilient.

Diagnosing Females

I just heard about Kadiant today because they did an online assessment that did not accurately diagnose someone’s daughter.

Unfortunately, it is absolutely harder to get girls diagnosed because they present differently and they mask habitually. I was diagnosed officially at 42 after self-diagnosing at 39.

One of the first special interests of many autistic girls is social rules – so they learn to mask very early and very well. Then they get seen as “just” shy and anxious. I can’t find the meme about boys vs girls at the moment.

If the person diagnosing doesn’t know how to check for the existence of a mask, they certainly aren’t going to be able to see around/behind it. And most autistic females don’t even know they are masking, so they can’t “just” drop it for the assessment.

If this happens to you, ask which diagnostics were used. Ask them to try another one or for a second opinion.

Also, a key thing that many questionnaires don’t tell parents that when a question asks what their child can do, they don’t mean what CAN they do – with support/under the right conditions/sometimes, the question is actually asking what they can do completely independently and without supports (like visual schedules, etc.) at least 80% of the time.

The other thing to do is look at the CDC milestone lists and see which things are/were missing/delayed.

I made this health history form to help me figure out some of those things by looking at journal entries, texts, emails, photos, etc. to find the kind of information often asked for.

ADHD, anxiety and hyperlexia are all common signs of autism in females. Collecting and socially acceptable special interests also can be indicators. An obsession with horses and/or ponies that lasts longer or goes deeper than their peers. As kids it can be collecting dolls or certain toys, especially if they arrange or organize them instead of doing pretend play. As adults, shoe/purse/jewelry/makeup collections are common.

Your daughter probably isn’t “just being dramatic” – she’s anxious and doing whatever is needed to get your attention, or she’s overwhelmed by emotions she doesn’t know how to handle.

Anyone and everyone can slip into fight or flight mode – and the prefrontal cortex doesn’t mature until 20-25 and for neurodivergent individuals it’s often even later.

Hyperlexia

This is another stub to update.

I heard a very interesting thing this last week from Penelope Trunk, this is a paraphrase: females on the spectrum focus on words and language because it is comforting and makes sense. So we’ll read just about anything and we’ll re-read books (which almost no one does apparently?). That was definitely true for me. I only found out about hyperlexia from And Next Comes L – Hyperlexia Resources sometime between 2020 & 2022. And then I found out that I taught myself to read when I was 3. I have quite a few stories about my reading, but definitely I met VERY few books that I couldn’t read even if they were kinda meh.

I have always known I’m a visual thinker – I need to see an image or words to attach to a memory. Which is especially funny since I even more recently found out I have complete aphantasia.

I recently realized I was hoarding books in part due to poverty mindset paired with anxiety, but also because they were my friends during my childhood. And even if they made me mad or cry, they still were kinder to me than my peers.

I’ve also noticed that since starting anxiety meds I’m doing drastically less “pleasure” reading and being much more selective, so the idea that words/books/reading can be used as a coping tool seems very reasonable to me.

You’re not Autistic. Or HSP. Or anything except Human.

You’re a human with the environmentally sensitive neurotype & likely genotype.

If you have Autism – then you also are probably suffering from some number of these issuses:

  • epigenetic changes caused by illness, trauma, stress or inherited
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • attachment disfunction or trauma
  • sleep deprivation (tongue tie, nursing, chewing – effect of jaw development on airway)
  • impaired microbiome
  • poor interoception
  • poor proprioception
  • emotional neglect
  • convergence insufficiency
  • insufficient exercise
  • insufficient time in nature
  • Ehlers-Danlos
  • MTHFR mutations (add info on diet changes, when everyone ate liver, it didn’t matter)
  • probably other stuff I’ll add as I find

Your intellect, creativity, independence, etc. are all part of your neurotype, but if you can’t connect or communicate with others, that’s something you can work on and improve – and most likely therapy isn’t the way to start – figuring out your particular health problems and addressing those is. Starting with sleep.

With the rise of chemical farming, both chemical exposures and also lack of nutrients, Autism has increased. With the introduction of sugar and processed foods, Autism has risen.

There have always been Neurodivergent folks, they are the ones driving the advancement of society. And without Neurotypical folks, society would collapse. We’re in the process of fixing things by way of breaking them first to figure out how they work.

Before humans did things that worked, that were discovered by trial and error experimentation, but didn’t know why it worked. Examples being much of indigenous knowledge, and eastern knowledge.

The main example I know of is acupuncture & qi. Western medicine only recently realized that the fascia maps to the energy flow of qi. And sensory signals are energy flows/transfers.

Permaculture with its restorative agriculture that can restore the soil-food web and our health is also the solution for climate change. Human culture and the human race are evolving into a global community, and right now we’re suffering the growing pains. If we can learn to truly care for ourselves, then we’ll learn that to do so, we must care for others and our planet.