The Absolute State Of Autism Activism

Its crazy to think that people can’t remember great advocates like Stephen Shore, he coined a phrase that essentially stated “if you meet one autistic person you have just met one” This is because even Autistic person is unique. Since the amalgamation of Aspergers into the Autism banner it has given (some) vocal advocates the misguided impression that they speak for folks with low functioning or high support needs Autism.

Autism advocacy over the past 12 months has slowly been hijacked by toxic advocates who promote forms of intolerance and Invalidation of others. Sometimes they direct these things at neurotypical people other times at the parents of autistic folk. To me I noticed a big squeeze of people being booted and banned from groups where the new way is practiced. When sitting back I notice the subtle gaslighting involving an so called vocal advocates and susceptible autistic people. As a result this niche has fueled the birth of phrase policing, online attacks on parents and the complete othering of asd 2 and 3 people. One shoe does not fit all but sadly a growing number of advocates believe their shoe should be used to stand on autistics unable to articulate and the parents of the most severe autistic peoplethere are. This type of thing was unheard of prior to the dsm change, it didn’t exist. I see the victimisation of neurotypical parents as harmful because it invalidates genuine experiences of genuine Autism advocates. For many autistic people their parents and carers will be their forever advocates, their voices. So please Respect this.

Parents will always be integral to any disability community. many people may never be able to live fully independent lives, two of my children fall in to this category.

For them

*I will say things like low functioning and high functioning, because othering the less able by Invalidating clearly greater difficulties of less able people is ablist.

*I will say self diagnosis is not valid firstly because I found from personal experience that it actually isn’t and secondly because it cheapens the validity of a genuine diagnosis.

*I will say autism is a disability because it is for me

As for the repackaged neurodiversity movement..who’s movement is it? They already sidelined the schizophrenics, the bi-polar folks, people with personality disorders and all manner of neuro-biological conditions.

So no thanks, I’m autistic and il advocate for all and silence nobody while I do it ❤🤞

As for the repackaged neurodiversity movement..who’s movement is it? They already sidelined the schizophrenics, the bi-polar folks, people with personality disorders and all manner of neuro-biological conditions.

I’m just an autistic person, i will advocate for myself and I will silence nobody while I do it ❤

Some thoughts on walden 2 and social media influence

Ive just finished reading Walden 2, when i finally put the book down it set me off ona rabbit hole of analysing what i know about the world and everything in it.

Walden 2 was published in 1948, wrote by a behavioural psychologist, B.F Skinner. I read the book because i found out it was considered a fairly controversial in its day, because of the way its characters consciously rejected free-will. it proposed a reality that didn’t exist at the time and suggested that all of our human behaviors can be somehow controlled by a non human entity.

Skinners later work put the used notions and theories he developed to illustrate that by tweaking tiny seemingly unconnected environmental variables there could be a possibility of creating (for a select few) something that resembles a private Utopian society. Like I say, ive just finished the book and im familiar with skinners later work and the work he inspired. I get the impression though that in some ways it was a thesis as the systems it brings to life to me at least resemble the foundations for the many institutions we now know as social media. It made me wonder whether people in general are really capable of genuinely critical thinking.

I’ve changed my worldview a couple of times, i will probably change it a few more times before i go for the long sleep. I’m am not infallible and nobody else is either. if i look for someone that presents themselves as a moral compass, I like to find out what they believe and then who told them to believe it. The real thing is that one guys hero is always just a weirdo to someone else, so if i researching an interest abstract or not i try my best to use as many sources as i can because everyone embellishes their perspectives. You really have dig deep to see past it all sometimes. Most of the time I have to do this with history especially if im looking for the living ghost of an ideology an ancient religion i have odd interests but to me i like to know why and then learn why. So, for that reason I sub to a lot of youtube channels, blogs and news sources, i will read and watch things i completely disagree with, because i want to understand why they believe it. People are strange cookies especially the ones that think they are infallible deities of their niche. People that preach creation theories, politics, conspiracy, anti conspiracy, or just life philosophy. people often search for answers, in all fairness though, none of us will ever learn more than 0.00000001% of everything there is to know in the universe, anyway this is a rabbit hole, so back to the Walden 2 connection.

The past year with the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines etc, I watched as many conspiracy guys, folk that only ever screamed you cant trust the government became its biggest flag carriers. to me this was a huge 360 degree world view flip, something they dripped slowly and justified to their followers. genuine worldview change is obvious, it changes they way people interpret everything, think a fundamentalist Christian becoming an atheist or visa versa, something like abortion has different value when a person has a different way of interpreting it. usually Something big has to happen for a change in worldview but sometimes it can be an indicator that that they more than likely never believed what they preached it in the first place.

i think to be fundamental to any ideology or belief is to live and love your own cognitive dissonance, (mind blindness to an autistic). Even though there can be innumerable interpretations of who is to blame everyone thinks their opinion is correct, People will fight kill or die over for their cause (worldview). to me it is unfortunate, but also the reason i find all so interesting. Strong opinions, hive mentalities are always present, they pulse and always lead societies along their courses. ideologies often captivate people like the pied piper sucking them in mind and body, think “juice plus“, its also bullshit. We were all kids once though open minded with no stereotyped views, no racism, no sexism, no intolerance towards them that have the opposing viewpoint. i try to stay in the middle or at least above it all, this way i can remain kind.

Skinner theorized that humans in many ways are no different to Pavlov’s dogs, that we can be controlled via a positive reward system. If you arnt sure what a positive reward system take this metaphor of slot machine addiction.

People put their coins in, they pull a lever and win nothing. They do it again and win nothing, they do it again and win nothing but on that time they pop the coin in, when they win a bit of cash, they get an extra reward.

a hit of dopamine

They keep putting coins in, again and again until they get that hit that feel good reward. Many of them even know the casino has the game rigged,they will always loose more than they win but the pull has them

Dopamine addiction is so strong that even knowledge of a rigged system isn’t enough, they will buy that scratch card, smoke that cigarette, smash those beers back regardless of the cost in many cases until they loose everything.

Social media, generally works on the same principle, you make a blog post, a video it gets no views or likes, you make another and it gets views, it gets likes and you get that social validation in combination with that dopamine hit. I can see why some people get carried away with it so don’t take me wrong.

Facebook, twitter tik tok, you name it they all work on this principle, I call it the human psychology hack and its something used to get us addicted to posting and playing whatever it may be online. To me, this isnt the main issue though, addictions have always existed. The main issue i see at the moment starts when you get addicted to posting.

Moderators are there to censor behaviours that don’t conform to permitted speech. In time the user account learns the culture of the platform/group and what things they should say to get them their dopamine hit and that all craved social validation, they also learn from observing others what will get them ostracized and even shadow banned. Through use of the positive reward system, social media platforms produce good little automatons and are forming societies which just like in Walden 2, freely surrender the ability to think critically and analyze, what they see with their own eyes, in order to be accepted and validated as a member of the “in group” .

I have always been interested in social phases and the transitions in generally accepted norms. How populations are or were manipulated in the past fascinates me, so I studied the rise of the left in 20s united kingdom, the rise of the right in 30s Germany and the rise of men like pol pot and others. It is interesting how fear and blame can cause people to follow anything and anyone, even bad people think they are doing a good thing. So in the past year I have watched as genuinely nice people turned into fairly intolerant monsters, blaming minority groups, the poor and the elderly for the issues at hand.

People are so flooded with information that they cannot even agree on facts which makes me concerned all the more for the future and where the script is actually heading. I think there is something to be said in the old saying that you cant trust the government but it should also be questioned as to whether we are able to trust ourselves.

Dont eyeball me, Autism and eye contact

Eye contact is just one of the many forms of non verbal communication that people use. It is also one that I find incredibly difficult to take part in. Generally people use it to figure out if someone is trustworthy and if youve ever watched a crime documentary you will be aware that the police use the eyes to judge a person of innocence or guilt. Theres truth to the old saying that the eyes are the windows to the souls and thats because the eyes capable of reflecting someones sincerity or integrity. A persons eyes can betray their hidden malice and even mirror their inner most resentments.

I think for those reasons having at least the bare capacity to fake eye contact while chatting to others can make the difference between a unsuccessful or hopefully successful human interaction..

Like a lot of autism traits eye contact tents to be an individual all or nothing thing, people tend to either do no eye contact, or non stop EYE CONTACT or they can struggle so much trying to juggle sensory input that they come across to the autism illiterate as shifty shadey characters. Everyone’s different autistic or not and I respect that.

on a personal level I find maintaining GENUINE eye contact especially for prolonged periods of time immensely overwhelming.

its as though the eyes contain so much information about people, they are incredibly powerful things, so I subconsciously avoid direct staring at someones eyes. One guy I spoke to about this recently, sorry I forgot your name mate ( its something I do ) but when we spoke about it he said It's like staring into the sun and nobody does that on purpose. For that reason I often wonder if it feels like that to everyone else on the spectrum or not

I don’t think being able to maintain really eye contact is meaningless , its an incredibly powerful tool but I I fake it

When I was younger I genuinely didn’t eye contact was even a thing so Id say I lived without it and managed to get through an innumerable number of situations without even thinking about it. if I was going to try explain what eye contact was like for me id use personal experience, something that happened When I was around abouts 12 years old.

I arrived at a friends house at the arranged time like clockwork, gone to my mates room with my packed bag containing lunch and a drink. It was summer and we were supposed to be going out on biking for the day and as usual my nt Friend was no where near ready so I was sat on his bed playing on his commodore spectrum ( yes im old) ..anyway I was waiting for him to get his backside in gear and sort his lunch out.

The door to his bedroom was open and so I was looking from tv to door and calling out irritating things to get him to hurry the heck up and in midst of this glancing to and fro he called back asking me to to get his jacket it. Automatically my eyes went to his jacket and then to the door, this was when I saw for less than one second, his grandmother.

she was totally oblivious to the fact that the bedroom door was open and I was completely oblivious to the fact that she was going to leave the shower stark naked.

Now at that age, I fucking saw way more than I needed to.. There was way too much shit going on there for me to process. And so In automatic defense I looked away in as much to protect myself and also to defend her modesty

Eye contact at least figuratively feels like when looking in to a persons eyes, they totally naked and the “clothes” they wear, to act the roles they play become very transparent. This is why I find eye contact incredibly uncomfortable. Its almost as though you see right through the false play of social roles and straight into their soul. So its more preferable to play along and pretend to take people for the person they pretend to be, on deep analysis I think its a sensory overload protection, and so as much as I cant do eye contact I dont know how others can.

Faking eye contact is something ive been doing for a long time, when I do this I use fluid movements that involve gazing past the person,down at my hands/notes and then back up at the nose/between the eyes/forehead just around the person. Obviously with faking eye contact the main focus is the conversation but theres also a manual filtering out of things happening around you and an ever intrusive day dreaming to contend with.

if even faking eye contact is something you struggle with try picking a spot on the face to look at – between the eyes or the nose is good as it looks like you’re looking at the person when talking to them. You don’t have to look all the time, people that don’t have this issue tend to look around each other gazing every now and then at eyes. So if you want to feign eye contact don’t be looking in obvious away spots, like behind yourself lol, or constantly in your lap, or constantly off to the side or at the ceiling. I did this type of thing when I was younger

A lot of people that don’t really get the manual concentration that a lot of autistic people have to use when eye contact is involved. I had to deal with a lot of ostracism growing up, autism awareness was not a thing so I had to learn the hard way that sitting arms crossed can send the wrong message and make people think you are not that interested in them even if you are not just interested but are also pretty good at faking eye contact. So mixing up feigned eye contact with positinve and engaged body language like leaning forward a bit in a chair or placing the hand in an open position can help to enhance whatever level of eye contact you can manage

I know it a common thing for most people on the spectrum no matter whether they were diagnosed as kids or later in life. Some people can handle eye contact better, some people develop ways to work around it and others can actually maintain genuine eye contact. I cant do genuine eye contact for more than 10 seconds without laughing or having my head feel like its going to explode. They eyes just hold so much data information it overwhelming me, it is like staring directly into the sun .

Struggling with this type of thing doesn’t make you any less of a person yet society still judges people that seemingly avoid eye contact as shady or the sly characters, this is something I find kind of annoying. I feel for those that really struggle with it. It`d be nice to think that in the future that eye contact may become less of a barrier given the amount of time we spend communicating with smart phones, zoom chats and face time.

So until then I think autistic people that mask their ASD, with constant self monitoring while readjusting every little naturalistic behaviour will have to continue spending time in the evening analysing and obsessing over it.

Autism traits and late night processing

Being a bit of a ideological and societal history buff I thought to myself late last night that as far as human history goes for the vast majority of it, many of autisms traits could have been an advantage at least when compared to today

Take pre-history for example Being in the out-doors in a planet that only consisted of rural settings.

a person with Heightened sensitivities. Those that have the ability to hear sounds that others barley notice or smell faint things on the air. These things that offer advantages to any living creature.

Traits that provide the ability to feel minute changes in the environment light or pressure, can offer some autistic person an advantage.

In less complex societies conversation tends to be less mundane focusing on a purpose led interaction.

“you seen food?, I want food” in settings like this sensory overload, meltdowns and burnouts would have been quite in rare.

Complex modern civilisations, with their established institutions and the cultural norms that they birthed have been both beneficial and destructive for the autistic and the neurotypical.

it is what it is and it’s just history. But iregardless of political or ideological beleif, this is our shared world.

I am conscious of the fact that some societal norms have never made sense to me. I genuinely don’t understand the accepted and normalised hypocrisies, the legitimised stigma of modern culture .

Il never understand why negative stereotypes are considered comedy while others can cost people jobs, relationships and depending on where they live, even their life

Regardless of neuro-type I don’t think any of us will ever know everything, heck, I don’t even think any of us will ever know excess of 0.0001% of every thing there ever has is or will be.

That’s why I genuinely get uncomfortable around people that assume they know everything about autism. I’m still learning about my autism and how it i can best overcome work around or smash through the various barriers that life in a modern and complex society creates.

I don’t blame a soul for that, it’s just life what you gonna do huh

A Good Time?

I used to try follow the herd to fit in. I bought in to what other people defined as a “good time”. I genuinely thought I needed to be high or wasted to varying degrees to acheive it. It took me a long time to realise that I was doing it wrong, I’m really glad I did too.

Sometimes a good time is when I’m alone writing, lost in a book or just glued to a computer game. A good time to me is binging on an interest in. I own whatever it is that refills my spoons. Anything that gives me positive feedback is a good time to me.

Whenever, I am are in doubt of a pursuits and goals I take a moment… to think of the many less able people I’ve met in my life, people that managed to smash their barriers and live a good life, they hugged their bad times and turned frowns into smiles doing it. I take inspiration from them.

whether I achieve anything in life or not, I know that i will have had a good time trying.

Mental health and suicidal thoughts

Up until the passing of the suicide act in 1961 suicide or the attempt of it was a criminal offence in England.

In researching the topic I found that In Sussex, the county that I live in they used to bury some suicide victims at cross roads on the outskirts of towns and villages. They would be buried in a paupers grave straight into the ground, with a stake driven through their heart

While on a little trip to a quiet place near Lewes a few months ago late that first night I sat in bed and started my little ritual.

I like to research local histories and find long forgotten events. things that if happened today would become major headlines. anyway, as usual i began by browsing the web for historical sites of interest near by. I use a combination of old mapping sites and modern ordinance maps and look for long lost details. i have an unbelievable strong interest in this type of thing.

Nan Kemps Grave

Usually I begin by researching old local pubs, the oldest of buildings in a location and easily find something fairly shocking. However on my first night in a cheap but old hotel I started by looking at old maps. My hotel was a 300 year old inn and i wanted to see what had once been nearby. So I loaded up a 200 year old map of the area and scanned over it in a 3 mile radius.

something unusual popped out at me, nan kemps grave

I thought ‘that’s an odd thing’, something I never noticed before. I wanted to know who she or he was and why the grave was marked on an old map.

modern map of the cross roads

After a few different searches I found a 19th century newspaper article that mentioned her grave as a location marker in many local fox hunt reports and it led me to search further back.

Surrey Gazette (March 8th, 1859)

I came across an article that told of her fate. It brutally detailed to a woman of the 17th centaury that had severe post partum depression. She presented all of the signs that a modern husband and community would have picked up on. Such as a severe difficulty to control and understand emotions. A complete void of hope a that there is no way out and no way back. Her condition deteriorated to the point that she either killed her child or the child died of natural causes. The result of this led her to flee and to be later found by her husband. For the months leading up to the final moments her behaviour was viewed through the lens of 18th centaury stigma, a clear cut incidence of demon possession.

The Sussex Advertiser (Nov 21st, 1848)

She became a local myth a thing that would take bad kids in the middle of the night.

Anyway, I decided to trail over a few hills with as bunch of flowers I had picked in a Forest that next morning. The intention was to lay a bunch on her her long forgotten grave and another on that of her child’s if he/she was buried in the nearby church but unfortunately part way into the two hour trek the weather took a turn meaning i only got to pop some on nan kemps resting place.

Sometimes when a person cannot see a way back, suicide seems like the only way out. People that live with mental health difficulties need understanding and support. I know from an autistic perspective and as someone that has lived through periods of depression that this stigma is very real.

Part of me feels that the stigma around mental health difficulties is born from a fear that sits in the back of our minds that if we don’t look at it we can’t catch it.

thoughts on Neurotypical anti-maskers

Oakland Tribune, October 26, 1918

Therefore we really are doomed to repeat the wars, corruption and coverups. The cycle continues from generation to generation. it’s always been the same. humans as a rule don’t tend to learn from history, there really is “nothing new under the sun”

Take The Spanish flu, it  lasted for  2 years. During the initial wave many people that could wear masks refused to. When the second wave hit it had a massive impact, the weight behind each wave grew and an approximated  20 million to 50 million people during a two year period.  Around the world citizens were initially asked and eventually ordered to wear masks. Influenza had a lower death toll in cities were mask wearing was adhered as were the long term effects on local economies.

Just as we experience whole towns and nations went into lockdown, with boarded up schools, locked up theatres, and shut down business. The postal service, the main communication system for the majority was shut down and for periods even garbage collection was stopped.

Hanover Evening Sun 05 October 1918

in the end countless numbers of people had to dig the graves for their loved ones, rather than have them placed in unmarked mass graves.

Yorkshire Evening Post 07 March 1919

just as then we have large sections of society that can but won’t wear facemasks, because of mis- trust for government and many even believe the coronavirus is a big fraud. If history shows us anything it is that this could negatively impact the global community, in the worst possible way.

It goes without saying that in general people generally want to prioritize their own desires and privileges over the lives of others. You, your family, your friends. However, these are the people the virus wants to visit anyway and if the spread of covid-19 is anything to go by, it shows how connected we are as one big global community.

Oakland Tribune 28 January 1919

In 1918  people had no smart phones and there was no television. People, on average had less access to food and equality was something enjoyed between the wealthy sections of society. The average person if they could read would only read yesterdays news and if they could afford to watch a movie they did it at a  picture house. Servants were the reserve of the the wealthy, people cooked and cleaned after themselves. Folk were concise about what they wanted and frank about what they meant, this was all done in a society that didn’t care about how easily you may or may not be offended.

Today we are a generation raised on the TV and the internet. we can watch a movie in the bath, while lording it up on food cooked and delivered to our front door and Its even possible to get tomorrows headlines today and watch it unfold live.

Autism, today is a disability is that is supposedly protected and as crap as we think things are, they have never been better. unfortunately I’ve sat at my computer and watched people use and abuse exemptions like Victorian ladies would. furthermore we are given fairly miniscule responsibilities wear a mask, wash out hands keep two meters away from others, yet some people are behaving as though they are oppressed.

Doing the right thing has at times been a revolutionary act but then again i also know that there really is nothing new under the sun.

9 things that will help neurotypical to autism communication

I thought id put together some easy tips that you to improve your communication with a person with Autism.

Improved communication is key  if you want to understand another persons emotions and desires. With improved communication autistic people can be better able to know what you expect of them and leads to an improved quality of life for everyone involved.

Being misunderstood, if left unchecked long term can breed a lack of confidence and lead to negative behaviours and even depression in later life.

That said, These tips are from my perspective as a person with Autism gained from my own  life experience. Every person is different and as a parent I use individual approaches with each autistic person I meet.

So, These are 9 things I do that have helped my two previously  pre-verbal eldest boys connect and reduced communication anxieties in my youngest son.

  1. Take your time, don’t rush things. note that Autistic people  have a very different style of communicating  compared to the average neurotypical person. But I guarantee you that people on the spectrum want you to understand them as much as you want them to understand you. So be conscious that different communication styles do not mean autistic people are unintelligent.

So if you want to improve your communication techniques with autistic people you need to  become open to varied approaches. Each individual  will respond better to techniques that are appropriate to them.

The speed that an ASD person can process verbal communication varies wildly.  Processing speed is influenced by factors such as who they are talking to, the environment they are in and often just by  emotional state.

As a man on the spectrum and a dad of three autistic children I know that it can take longer for us to accurately process things like facial expressions, body language and emotions. So be wise to the fact that in general we don’t think like you but  we do communicate in a different style.

Believe me, Its worth it.

Try not to rush things. Be patient, take your time, because this will allow you to figure out how to make the best out of your techniques and develop the ones that work.

As a kid I used to sense the pressure of being rushed, so i would pretend I understood a task. Other times I would pretended to listen to instructions. I wanted to be seen as an equal by peers rather than a target for abuse. Unfortunately it often meant that I had to figure out how to complete a task myself or just give up. So take your time, take steps not strides. It will be worth it.

  1. If you are taking your time but still struggling try Using direct or shorter sentences. when my twin sons were pre-verbal we started using three word sentences. I careful not to offload too much information than they can process. That rarely ends the way you would like it to.

Some people on the spectrum will nod and give a yes or no at the right time. Others will give you the impression that they are listening. But in reality they are not.

When a person on the spectrum doesn’t understand the point of a task they tend to see no logical point. Until they get it concentration isn’t automatic, it is manual.  Because of this, the instructor must try make the task the most interesting the ASD person has going on right now. The setting and environmental factors will always be competing for attention.

So, if you want to make your role is easier use straight forward language and where possible shorter sentence.

furthermore, If you think it needs it, include breaks because attention is key if you want genuine understanding.

  1. Sometimes the setting for your chat can be the barrier to effective communication. for myself, It can be difficult to hold a genuine conversation in a busy environment like a a crowed restaurant or a bar. When im with a group of friends I can sometimes find it near impossible to filter out  background noises. My go to tactic tends to be listening for the inflection at the end of a sentence and just responding with a “yes” a “no” or whatever I think might be appropriate. Sometimes people find it funny when I say yes to something I should have said no to. This is something I am always conscious of when I meet a new autistic person.

For me, all background and primary noises all enter my brain at the same volume. This means that selecting one noise as a primary focus requires a lot of manual concentration.  sometimes, I just give up and drift off into dolly daydream-land

Therefore, if the autistic person you are caring for is becoming visibly anxious, restless and if it is a hectic environment you could either RAISE YOUR VOICE A BIT this will help them. You could even ask if they would like to go somewhere quieter. They will be  grateful.

Giving people on the spectrum the space to process things in a way that they understand can help behaviours to settle and improve life experience for everyone involved in their lives. The next steps in life are always important. My youngest son is aged six, he started state school two years ago.

When it was my turn to drop him off at school I found the cacophony of chitter chatter intense, a tsunami of the sounds of parents and kids pushing passed like waves through gates and doors. it was pretty intense.

We were getting negative feedback his behavior at school. Unwanted behaviours began at the start of the day and could continue up until lunchtime. Every morning he would hit, scratch and bite kids that were just minding their own business and point blank refuse to take part in learning activities.

The school came to realize that excluding him from class activities didn’t bother him as he would sit quietly. I felt he was dealing with a perceived chaotic start to the school day.

At a meeting I suggested that his behaviors were his reaction to sensory overload, that his preference for being left alone to sit quietly was his way of healing and recovering.

I suggested we try something new out and the school agreed to trial him starting 15 minutes after the school day start. This way when he arrived, the parents had left, jackets were on hooks and the kids were sat calmly at their workstations.

The very first day with this new routine the school reported that they had a different child, willing to learn, helpful and willing to try new things, the environment was more appropriate. The setting is always important but they way a messege is put across can improve comprehension.

4. if you are struggling to get someone to understand a message try saying it in a few different ways for example

“Get me a cup”
“Can you get me a cup”
“Could you help me by passing me that cup”

Two of my children have additional learning difficulties. Its important to talk in a way that can be understood without leaving someone feeling anxious, upset or inadequate. So let them know it is a communication problem not their inability.

Any Approach that includes negative lasting affects are counter-productive in the long-term, so try different approaches until you find one that works. So be patient, rephrase and repeat.

  1. Try Using direct or shorter sentences if you are trying to help an autistic person understand your message, Bombarding someone that could has difficulties processing verbal information at the same speed you are dishing it out can cause more negative results than positives. In my own experience I used to pretend I understood or even listened to what I assumed was garbage and went on to figure out a task myself.

Some people on the spectrum will nod and give a yes or no at the right time. As far as you are concerned everything is going in, but in reality they got overwhelmed and switched off.

Causes for this can be to avoid humiliation to be accepted in a group. This issue can foster negative behaviours, where the add person will refuse group activities partially to avoid being overwhelmed and partially to avoid shame.

So break things down, if your message looks like a political manifesto do it manageable steps, use literal, straight forward and where possible shorter sentences. If its an instructional thing don’t be afraid to include breaks, as keeping attention as well as interest is key.

These are things I do with my kids, they have helped them to reduce communication anxieties and improved communication abilities. I started doing this type of thing when my eldest were five.

  1. pictures and imfographs can really make communication easier. This is because many of us on the spectrum think in pictures, because of this, pictures, schedules and or diagrams can be extremely effective. In my home this is something we do a lot of especially when Planning activities. letting each kid know what chores they have or what we are having for supper can relieve a lot of anxiety, not just in the kids but with me too. Anything that reduces constant repetitive questions is good.

This offers them a sense of autonomy and has helped to improve their self confidence.

  1. Using pauses in conversations this can allow someone masking the time to process what you are saying. Pauses give time to process and  respond in an appropriate manner. sometimes if an autistic person is not able to fully grasp a conversation this can lead them to loose total interest and end in neither of you gaining anything positive from the interaction. So try asking them to repeat key parts of your chat back to you, this way you will have at least a partial confirmation that something has gone in.

8.) There are occasions when people on the spectrum will react to incidents in a way that is interpreted as “socially inappropriate”. It’s worth noting that for many autistic people it can take a long time  to understand the minute and complex rules of social interaction. Until an ASD individual learns why a behavior is wrong they won’t be able to understand how it negatively affected the people involved involved.

As a dad, I know how hard it is to not become frustrated with this type of thing but as a husband of a neurotypical wife I’m aware drive her bonkers.

Usually I am completely oblivious after commuting a social faux pas. So from the autistic persons perspective, if they do something wrong unawares, avoid getting angry with them.

Screaming and shouting wont have the intended affect because if they don’t know what the problem is, your screaming or shouting will become the problem.

It must be noted that an Autistic persons negative behaviour should not be excused simply because they are on the spectrum, mitigating circumstances and triggering events should always be weighed up

  1. some autistic people have a real issue with personal space or physical contact. This could be things like a dislike of shaking hands and obsession with hugging strangers or a hatred of being patted on the shoulder. it might be a good idea to just ask them or their main care giver how they like to be greeted and treated. Grinding on an autistic persons personal ‘social niceties’ can bring communication to a halt. So Don’t take offense if you get “no handshake” or “high fives are pointless” as a reply, its just not part of their autistic culture. It doesn’t mean it wont ever be, it could also mean, that just right then and there… they don’t don’t want to shake a hand.

Every autistic person is someone with unlimited potential. Very often barriers to progression are focused around communication difficulties.

Therefore by improving communication methods you can improve potential outcomes and the life experience of everyone involved.

Depression in Autism

Autism and depression

Autism and depression

The statistics state that 5 in 10 of people on the spectrum experience depression at some point in their lives, Studies that involved adults on the spectrum have shown that 79% of us experience mental health difficulties. I don’t know whether it is down to the autistic condition austerity or a combination of them both but a sizable proportion of people on the spectrum don’t get the help they need, I know I’m lucky, I have a pretty stable support network and Friends and family around me but there are a lot of people on the spectrum suffering that have nobody and just don’t know how to start the process of getting help.

As a condition depression affects autistic people in many different ways, with symptoms that include:

A feeling of generalised hopelessness
A constant feeling of tiredness
Not getting pleasure from your special interests

It can also lead to an increase in other things depending on your autism such as:

An increase in repetitive or obsessive behaviours
Increase in stimming in a situation that you generally generally wouldn’t find yourself doing
Social withdrawal
Being more disagreeable or oppositional stance towards people
Shortened fuse or temper
Self harm, banging head hurting yourself
sleeping difficulties

For the non autistic people Depression can become a dangerous and debilitating condition but if you are on the autistic spectrum the dangers are fairly amplified because as a group of people autistics are nine times more likely to consider suicide.

You can never know The darkest of places that the mind can take you in until you have experienced the depths of depression. Depression can warp a persons interpretation of reality, most of the time this ends in a negative conclusion always warped.

Depression is essentially a void of hope an experience by which each thought can lead you further and further from recovery.

There are a lot of people on the spectrum that fail to get through a depression period only to sink into that abyss of eternal night.

failing to get the same usual feel good thing out of my interests was tough. When I look back on that period in my life I realize that I alone made that pit and I alone kept truly kept myself there, that said I wouldn’t have got out of that hole without help.

Depression has been my longest running companion in my life, While we may not see each other that often when something difficult props up my old buddy is there and me and that old bugger greet as though we had never been apart.

Depression inspired me to start this blog, in the hope that It will help me to understand myself better and maybe inspire others to find a way out of a dark place.