Going Back

The latest blog from Ann. Makes me think…

Finally Knowing Me: An Autistic Life

I returned
To the place
Where life
Fell apart
Last year.

To the scene
Of so many
Meltdowns
And tears
And disasters.

To the memories
Of fear
And difficulty
And wondering
Why
I couldn’t
Just get on with life
Like most others
Could.

A whole day
To pack.
The journey there
Dissociated.

Focusing on
The practical.
Doing the most
Essential bits.
Taking as much
Time out
Alone
As possible.

Starting to learn
To accept
Help
Even though
It is counter
To everything
I have ever
Worked for.
Having to change
My mindset.

Struggling sometimes
Someone talking
To me
When I wasn’t able
To process speech.
Conflicting instructions.
Near meltdown
But not quite.
Speech gone
For just over
Five hours.

Consciously being
With other people
When I couldn’t speak.
Instead of texting in
“Sick”
And staying away
As I would have done
Previously.

Senses on overload
Lights too bright
Music…

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Guest Blog: The loss of our youthful dreams by Vivienne Tuffnell

This isn’t strictly an aspergers / autism post, but it brought up an interesting thought that connects with it…

If my HFA kids are anything to go by (YMMV) they love to have stability and structure on one hand and on the other, they yearn to travel and have exciting experiences as much as non autistic…
They worry about missing these things and their FOMO level is often quite high, especially if you have one who is an extrovert like PT.

The difficulty is reassuring them that they will have these experiences in the future, my kids don’t seem to be able to see past next week!

The World of The Teigr Princess

I have the absolute pleasure of introducing one of the most unique authors I know. Her books are beautifully written, multilayered stories that are entertaining to read, but also make you think about the issues contained within the pages.

Today’s post is inspired by her latest novel, “Little Gidding Girl”. I purchased a copy in my hands and will be reading and reviewing it soon… so, without further ado,  I’ll hand you over to Vivienne…

* * * * *

What did you want to be when you were a teenager? What shining golden dream did you hold towards the end of school or college?
Without doing a proper poll, I suspect that few of us achieved those dreams. At fourteen, I still dreamed of becoming an astronaut. By the following year I realised it was never likely to happen. Of all the career paths, that’s possibly one of the…

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My Personal Autism Journey

While I was putting together my Patreon Page for my Books, I included a short piece about how our family discovered that we were Autistic. I won't put it here, I've already told you about my family... but if you want to take a look at my Patreon page it's HERE. (Just click on the bold…

How not to do an autism conference

Here’s another perspective (as referenced by Ann in part 2 of her blog post series) of the NAS conference.

Maybe it’s time for us (autistics) to stand up and talk about our difficulties, emotional and social, ourselves. I know I’d be interested in attending an event like that…

Paula Sanchez


Reflections on the NAS Autism and Mental Health conference 2017

It’s now two days since I attended the National Autistic Society’s ‘Autism and Mental Health’ conference at the Hilton in Reading. The event was attended by around 400 people and starred Tony Attwood and Wenn Lawson alongside other speakers. I was really looking forward to learning more about autistic mental health, but came away disappointed on many levels. Here’s why:

The venue was easy to get to and I arrived early as the pre-conference documentation indicated that parking was limited and that the alternative was parking further away and getting a bus. I struggle to use buses, they make me very anxious and to get through the day I needed to do as much as possible to reduce the avoidable anxieties.

  • Please consider using venues with sufficient parking.

The conference was held on the ground floor of the hotel, but…

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Content Report

Part Two of this series…

Finally Knowing Me: An Autistic Life

During my conference day I attended five presentations in all, three plenaries, and two from Stream A, which I had selected as the one I’d deemed most likely to have the least “child specific” content when the initial programme was published. I was, however, pleased to see that the slides for all streams had been included in the conference pack so I’d be able to look through them later.

At this point, I’d like to add a content warning. The titles of the talks I attended were: Exploring depression, Coping strategies for anxiety, Deliberate self-harm in children and adults with autism, Autism and psychosis, and, Catastrophising – why do we do it and how can we deal with it? As you can probably guess from those titles, this wasn’t exactly light-hearted subject matter, and suicide, suicidal ideation, and self-injury were discussed on several occasions. This whole blog carries, on the…

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My Conference Day

One of the things that stops me from doing book conferences / ComiCons etc, is the sea of people it involves.

Daniel is one of those lucky people who can swap from introvert to extrovert (I call them ambiverts) and PT is an out and out extrovert – they can thrive on such experiences.

NOS and I are pure Introverts and even though I can handle a lot more noise and people than he can, we need a quiet space fairly quickly when there is a huge crowd.

And that’s not including what that many people and stimuli do to PW – toddler plus exciting crowd = chaos!

So this post really rang a bell for me.

Finally Knowing Me: An Autistic Life

As usual, my curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know, to find out more, to increase my knowledge of what was going on with autism research, and to see some of the people who had thus far been just names on book spines or people I’d encountered in internet discussions. And so, when I came across a link on facebook to a one-day conference, organized by the National Autistic Society, on Autism and Mental Health, I initially saved the link, then, in a moment of confident madness, signed up to attend.

It turned out to be a really really interesting day. For very many reasons. I learnt a lot!

I was expecting it to be supremely challenging and had already baulked slightly at the confirmation e-mail, which had stated that parking was limited and that those who couldn’t park would have to use a park and ride…

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ASD and Food

Food is a tricky subject when you're Autistic. And with the number of autistics in my family, we tend toward quite a boring diet. We have the same meals over and over again, unless I deliberately force them to try something different. Our family loves Italian food. However, TOH'll eat any kind of pasta... except…

Transporting Autism…

...also known as "How on Earth do I get the Kids to School?". Transporting my kids around can be a nightmare sometimes. They like to know exactly where they are going, who they'll be with and when they'll get there / get back. So tell them out of the blue that they're going somewhere on…

“Not for the likes of you”: How The Self-Improvement Industry is Failing People with Mental Ill Health

Being mildly autistic (and by that I mean that I am the mildest of my family who are pretty much all on the spectrum) I find that the ones I have the most problem with are the ones to do with people –

I find it incredibly hard to make friends. When I’m in a group of people, I either clam up and just listen, or I over share about anything and everything in an attempt to make myself sound interesting. So people either think I’m a sour, angry bitch (I have a very serious resting face) or they think I’m a bragging, arrogant, attention seeker.

There is no middle ground for me. I only do the latter when I feel comfortable in the group (either the people, the place or the activity), the former happens most of the time when I am in a new situation.

Texting or emailing? Not a problem? Need me to call you? Forget it – I get so anxious when the phone rings, I shake when I try to pick it up. Calling out is something I have to build myself up for.

It took me six months longer than the rest of my course to be able to teach confidently – and having lost my job (and been unable to regain it) two years after qualifying, it will take me twice as long to regain that confidence. Going through a teachers job interview is going to be hell!

All of this affects my ability to get and hold down a job. The self help books tell me to “fake it until I make it”, “Get out and meet people”, “look people in the eye” – the amount of anxiety these things cause me is enough for me to want to hide away for days…

You are probably here because, among other reasons, you are, like me, ever so slightly obsessed by self-improvement books, articles, and videos. I devour self-improvement books, and I can usually pick up something from pretty much each one I read. But I also have a big problem. And with the self-improvement, how-to-succeed, be-a-successful-entrepreneur industry as a whole. A good half of what I read makes no sense to me. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, it leaves me with a very simple message – success is not for you.

If I tell you that one in four people will share something with me this year, you will get an idea of what I mean. I have a mental health disability. Specifically, I have bipolar, though like many I have several co-morbid issues. Not all of the 1 in 4 who experience mental ill health every year…

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C’est La Vie…

I was listening to this song by Shania Twain: Ignore the weird back beat and listen to the lyrics. It's basically a song that tells you to forget about the small stuff; that it happens to everyone; that you haven't got a choice, so suck it up buttercup... This is the chorus: Don't let it…