The autism thread

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Discussion

TGCOTF-dewey

5,440 posts

57 months

Friday 17th March 2023
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WhereDoWeGoFromHere said:
Thanks. I know that I'm important to the company - there are clear indications of that, so I know it is in their interests that I don't decide to leave - not that working elsewhere would solve it for me anyway.

I'll give it some thought. I have no issue with HR knowing really, but I am not at all keen on my colleagues knowing. Although, I am well aware that my general behaviour and crap interaction with people marks me out as 'different', and almost certainly 'difficult' so it's not like I'm blending in!
I'd be inclined to tell folks. If nothing else, it stops people thinking you're just being rude to them.

I'm dyslexic and I tell everyone that'll listen becuase I don't want them to think that I'm a moron when my dyslexia escapes, grabs control of the keyboard, and writes undecipherable bks when I'm rushed.

Surely it's better if folks KNOW you're autistic rather than THINK you're that rude prick whetedowegofromhere?

Scabutz

7,837 posts

82 months

Friday 17th March 2023
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I had similar situation. WFH during covid really highlighted how much I was struggling with the sensory overload of the commute and office.

I considered getting an official diagnosis so I could then ask for a reasonable adjustment. Being WFH permanently. As luck would have it the company was bought out and new owners did a survey on what people wanted to do and decided to shut the office and all WFH.

I have told a couple of people that I'm waiting on a diagnosis and that may explain some of how I am. Vast majority of people are understanding and its not an issue.

WhereDoWeGoFromHere

12 posts

67 months

Friday 17th March 2023
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I suspect I may regret it - I have never wanted to make my diagnosis public - but I have mailed HR this morning. It is not necessary for me to be this stressed at work so they need to take measures.

I have no confidence in my direct boss understanding this which was one of the reasons I was reluctant. But hopefully, something can change and I can reduce the amount I have to go in.

GilletteFan

672 posts

33 months

Friday 17th March 2023
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Sporky said:
This might be cheeky or rude, but as that suggests you're very neurotypical, would it be OK to ask questions about how the world is for you?

Sounds daft, I'm sure, but there's very little I can find that explains to autistic people what it's like to be not-autistic.

I apologise if this is one of the times I'm inadvertently asking a very inappropriate question. Or maybe we need a "ask a neurotypical anything" thread.
Sure thing. Go ahead.

I'm interested in this thread because I suspect a few people that are close to me are on the spectrum. Nothing too unusual except being highly worked up, anxious and it's really hard to have a conversation with them as they don't talk about anything but themselves. Keen to learn more from people ITT, so please don't mind me in here.

Sporky

6,525 posts

66 months

Friday 17th March 2023
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Many of us aren't always great conversationalists.

As always only speaking for myself (and apologies that some of this may sound rude), but:

A) even at 48, I still sometimes forget to ask reciprocal questions. No intention to be rude, it just doesn't occur to me.

B) I find it very hard to feign interest. If what you're talking about doesn't do anything for me I pretty much can't find ways to move things along. If it does, we're golden. I have some mental cue-cards for various people at work who have interests that overlap with mine.

C) I find it hard to judge whether to ask questions, or whether doing so is interrogatory (and thus rude).

D) I have a built-in presumption that if you want to tell me something you will (though I know this isn't always the case). If I don't ask how your x went it can be that as you've not mentioned it, it went badly, and prying will upset you.

I was watching 3rd Rock From The Sun this morning, probably a very early episode, and it struck me how much felt familiar. They observe people, they work out what the rules must be, they behave (they believe) in line with those rules, and they miss the point entirely.

Harry Flashman

19,513 posts

244 months

Friday 17th March 2023
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Sporky said:
20 minutes is probably about what I can stand too, for exactly those reasons. They are an assault on the senses.
I'm not diagnosed with any neurological condition, and I feel the same. I refuse to go, unless for something specific, and a short list I can do in five minutes.



sparkyhx

4,156 posts

206 months

Saturday 18th March 2023
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cavey76 said:
One of our kids is diagnosed with autism. Its mild, manifests in food preferences and occassional inappropriate comments in company.
Please dont say 'mild' - you experience her autism as 'mild' you have no idea of the struggles she is going thru and the strategies she is using to appear 'normal'. Think of the typical swan analagy paddling like mad underneath. Women and girls are far better at masking - appearing 'normal', but to do so is a huge mental strain.

You dont say how old she is, but general advice - watch out for the transition to secondary school when things often come to a head for girls. Puberty and the change from predictable social interactions of primary school to the whole different nuanced interactions of Teens. Boys can often 'check out' and become the more typical loner if they can't cope, girls will often hang in, but suffer hugely mentally.

Unfortunately, and this is a very sad statistic, is that the need and pursuit of acceptance plus the inherent social vulnerability, means that women and girls are very susceptible to being involved in abusive relationships. The stats are horrendous, 60-90% have experienced it.

Teddy Lop

8,301 posts

69 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
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Sporky said:
While I am glad I got my diagnosis, it's worth pointing out that it is very common for diagnosis to lead to things getting harder, not easier, at least short term.

I found (and I've heard similar from others) is that I became even more aware of how weird and unpleasant the world is at times. I can't deal with a full day in the office any more - the sheer noise makes me want to bite someone (metaphorically) and run away (literally). I find a lot of shops overwhelming - the brightness, the illogical layouts, the patterns made by rows and rows of similar things. And I need more time to recover from these.

The upside is a better understanding of why these things are hard, and being able to give myself permission to avoid a lot of it. My GP also let me have a repeat prescription for beta blockers; when I can't avoid one of those situations, half a beta blocker turns the world down a bit -and clamps down the rising-sense-of-panic. It's a st strategy but it makes it survivable.
I think, pre awareness of a specific condition, it's easier to smother it, and be superficially somewhat happily ignorant; diagnosis or understanding of brings things into focus where they have to be experienced. It can feel like its being exacerbated, one of mine is confusion in places such as airports with haphazard layouts and too much going on vying for attention, but it's not like these kinds of places weren't an issue before.

And as you say you can take control, just because everyone else in the room doesn't have the problem doesn't mean you have to struggle to keep up, you can change things so they're on your terms. A good example of this is it's amazing how often people will have conversations over loud distracting noise; most people "manage", but I struggle more to keep focus - so I don't even try now. I either have the noise stopped or suggest we move the conversation to where it's quieter. And it's amazing how every time people are like "oh that's better why didn't I think to do that".

sparkyhx

4,156 posts

206 months

Sunday 19th March 2023
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sparkyhx said:
Please dont say 'mild' - you experience her autism as 'mild' you have no idea of the struggles she is going thru and the strategies she is using to appear 'normal'. Think of the typical swan analagy paddling like mad underneath. Women and girls are far better at masking - appearing 'normal', but to do so is a huge mental strain.

You dont say how old she is, but general advice - watch out for the transition to secondary school when things often come to a head for girls. Puberty and the change from predictable social interactions of primary school to the whole different nuanced interactions of Teens. Boys can often 'check out' and become the more typical loner if they can't cope, girls will often hang in, but suffer hugely mentally.

Unfortunately, and this is a very sad statistic, is that the need and pursuit of acceptance plus the inherent social vulnerability, means that women and girls are very susceptible to being involved in abusive relationships. The stats are horrendous, 60-90% have experienced it.
a bit bizarre coincidence but...........................This is from the BBC Article out of the Christine McGuiness documentary link for the full article https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-64953941

Sarah Douglas is involved in our training courses Aspire Autism Consultancy https://aspireautismconsultancy.co.uk/

--------------------oooOOOooo--------------------

'This is kind of normal'
Like Christine, Sarah Douglas was diagnosed as autistic when she was an adult. And she says she was raped as a teenager.

This led to decades of panic attacks, eating disorders and even self-harm. "I was a mess, basically," she says.

"My story is not unusual, that's the really appalling thing," Sarah says
Sarah, a postgraduate student in Bristol who has co-authored a book about the experiences of autistic people, says autistic women like her often "develop people-pleasing and masking behaviours" so they're not noticed as being different.

"I was kind of primed to be passive," she says.

Sarah also says she received no sex education when she was growing up - and she says her background didn't prepare her to notice "red flags" in potential abusers.

"My story is not unusual, that's the really appalling thing," she says. "For a lot of autistic people, this is kind of normal."

Sarah clarifies that it's not a person's autism that causes them to be assaulted or raped.

"It's always the choice of the perpetrator," she says. "It's not the autistic person's fault."

Christine adds that although the discussion about sexual assault among autistic women and girls is "frightening," it's a "very important one".

"For parents and carers to be more aware is a positive thing. I don't want it to scare or upset anybody, I just want people to be more aware that this is quite common, unfortunately."

Dr James Cusack, CEO of autism research and campaigning charity Autistica, agrees that awareness of this issue can lead to autistic women and girls, "feeling more empowered to have the confidence to advocate for themselves".




Edited by sparkyhx on Monday 20th March 09:29

Jonmx

2,567 posts

215 months

Tuesday 28th March 2023
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Thanks for the suggestions and advice folks. We're going to try and get through the next term with family providing wrap around care and then explore options such as opare etc in the new academic year.
Some real battles ahead methinks. My son will only go in two particular cars, his mum's and my mother's, and the LA are expecting him to take a 25 mile each way taxi journey to and from the new school.......

Chromegrill

1,092 posts

88 months

Wednesday 29th March 2023
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That's tough, you can do so much around familiarising with the journey, routine, having an audio book to listen to on the ride etc. I suppose if the taxi is the same make and colour as your car it might help....

SturdyHSV

10,130 posts

169 months

Friday 14th April 2023
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Sporky said:
I was watching 3rd Rock From The Sun this morning, probably a very early episode, and it struck me how much felt familiar. They observe people, they work out what the rules must be, they behave (they believe) in line with those rules, and they miss the point entirely.
I may watch this with the other half as I imagine she'd probably quite enjoy that too.

Have you seen Atypical on Netflix? We've enjoyed about 3 seasons so far.

Did you have any more questions by the way regards neurotypical perspectives on things? smile

Sporky

6,525 posts

66 months

Friday 14th April 2023
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Oh, lots, it's remembering to ask.

There is one that occurs. Mostly when someone says "how are you", it is, I know, a pleasantry, not an earnest enquiry. But sometimes the person is making a more genuine and interested enquiry, and would actually like some detail, not a default "all fine" or "mustn't grumble" or similar. How the dickens do you tell?

TGCOTF-dewey

5,440 posts

57 months

Friday 14th April 2023
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Sporky said:
Oh, lots, it's remembering to ask.

There is one that occurs. Mostly when someone says "how are you", it is, I know, a pleasantry, not an earnest enquiry. But sometimes the person is making a more genuine and interested enquiry, and would actually like some detail, not a default "all fine" or "mustn't grumble" or similar. How the dickens do you tell?
I don't think that is easy for anyone in reality.

I would go with the following rules.

Context where a long answer is required.

Friends that you haven't seen in ages.

Friends or colleagues that know you have been unwell.

Any other times would be a mustn't grumble answer.


SturdyHSV

10,130 posts

169 months

Friday 14th April 2023
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Sporky said:
Oh, lots, it's remembering to ask.

There is one that occurs. Mostly when someone says "how are you", it is, I know, a pleasantry, not an earnest enquiry. But sometimes the person is making a more genuine and interested enquiry, and would actually like some detail, not a default "all fine" or "mustn't grumble" or similar. How the dickens do you tell?
That's a great question, and unsurprisingly, not an easy one to answer. TGCOTF's contexts make sense, and would probably largely cover it.

There's likely some nuance / subtlety to the person's delivery and body language that are hard to articulate, but some things that spring to mind that might give a clue to a more sincere enquiry...

  • Accenting / elongating the 'are' in "how are you?"
  • Putting an additional term of endearment on the end, so "how are you old friend?" or "how are you mate / dear?" maybe, although some people obviously always say 'mate' etc. so perhaps not a good indicator
  • If it was asked with a tilted head. Apparently head tilt (tilted sideways, towards the shoulder) is a very friendly gesture (it exposes the neck of course), and would indicate a level of care / concern
  • Physical contact during the question, perhaps a slight touch on the forearm, shoulder etc.
  • Prolonged / deliberate eye contact during the phrase, possibly held whilst waiting for an answer
  • The 'eyebrows of empathy' hehe if it's a genuine enquiry they may raise the eyebrows up in the middle of the face, hard to describe in words, but if you imagine a surprised face the eyebrows go up and out, with concern they often go up but inwards, or go up more in the middle and less on the outside.
  • Additional detail, especially if they've remembered something you've previously told them "how are you doing since xxx", would again perhaps indicate an amount of genuine interest
  • Turning their head face on, basically if they're changing their position to give you their full attention for the answer again it would indicate a genuine interest
Are people consciously aware of these things? Typically I don't think so, no, it's the sort of thing that's largely handled subconsciously in neurotypicals as I understand it, but it's stuff I find quite interesting hence the knowledge of it.

Edited by SturdyHSV on Friday 14th April 17:20

Sporky

6,525 posts

66 months

Friday 14th April 2023
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Thanks both. Once I stop trying to wiggle my eyebrows in various ways I'll have a proper read back through to see if I can spot any of that without staring at people like a confused pervert. smile

Arnold Cunningham

3,790 posts

255 months

Saturday 15th April 2023
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Yes, but. One of the things I find is to not overburden yourself with "rule complexity".

So I propose a simpler rule:
1. If they have gone out of their way to ask how you are, they're really asking
2. If they ask within the first 30s of a conversation, they're not really asking.

That's what I do. Not right all the time, but it's good enoughsmile

Sporky

6,525 posts

66 months

Saturday 15th April 2023
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Rule 2 is particularly cunning - it seems quite obvious written down, but hadn't occurred to me.

We do have a dog-walking couple-acquaintance who always ask like they're really asking. They stare at you when you say "All fine ta", like they don't believe you, and think you're going to blink three times to tell them you need to be rescued.

I might be reading too much into those interactions.

okgo

38,548 posts

200 months

Saturday 15th April 2023
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Has anyone got any things that might alert to this in a 2-3 year old?

My son also had a difficult entry to the world with the cord double dropped round his neck. So similar to the chap on page one with heart rate dropping etc.

Anyway, he’s always been what I would say is ‘challenging’ - initially terrible to take anywhere and a very short fuse and is sensitive to tone, hated any form of car journey or train (we are only going on the plan for the first time just before his 3rd birthday). As time has gone on we do wonder as he has quite a temper, hits us and scratches us if he is annoyed. If something has ‘wronged’ him then someone or thing must be punished, and this is still here today. He doesn’t have a very long attention span as such spending a morning or afternoon at home playing with toys etc is almost impossible; always have to be out and constantly doing something, he struggles to contain his emotions and his moods are all over the place.

He could just be a tricky little boy of course but over the years I have thought it all seems much more ‘hard work’ here than what others with similar aged kids have.

Though his speaking is not bad at all, he is confident and engages with strangers (hugged a waiter the other day he’d never met, a big bloke too), and seems to be progressing but I’ve always wondered. My wife was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, I’ve not had any diagnosis of anything but jury is out on whether in normal wink

I guess anything to look out for that anyone had seen as commonalities would be helpful.

timeism0ney

103 posts

95 months

Saturday 15th April 2023
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What kind of experience do you have as a parent? Is this your only child? Because if it is then your observations might be just a shock to your previously child-free life smile

ADHD is hard to diagnose at such an early age, I'm not even sure there are medical criteria for under 3's because a lot of the criteria for ADHD diagnosis is so much like what toddlers do normally/naturally all the time. For example, "difficulty sitting and playing quietly", "fidgeting", "not listening when spoken to directly" etc - how can you tell that it's not just normal toddler's behaviour? Also, toddlers develop differently (some start talking earlier, some start walking earlier etc but none of it matters until they're a bit older and they catch up on everything by primary school time).

So, all that said, if you suspect something is up, it probably is. It's just you probably can't get ADHD diagnosis so early. It's different with autism but what you're describing doesn't strike me as autism. I'd say monitor, read up on it, and start enquiring more with doctors and teachers when the child is in school.