About autisticaplanet

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Welcome to a blog about an autistic adult woman in her late 30's using words and images to advocate acceptance as well as awareness of those with life-limiting sensory processing issues and resulting social and behavioral challenges. I write about inclusion ideas for those who remain in isolation due to their neuromakeup and share how my Christian faith keeps me going. Thank you for visiting.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Stereotypes and assumptions about jobs for autistic people

I had my own assumption for my first job. My mom told me I didn't have to prove anything, but she would support my effort to get a job in the summer between my junior and senior year at Office Max.
I chose Office Max, because I enjoyed organizing things. I also loved the smell of office and school products so much so as to take a stroll down the school supply asile at the supermarket or hardware store. I loved picking out my supplies from the list the school sent. I even had a play office kit my mom got me from a catalog. I assumed that there wouldn't be the hecticness of a grocery store due to the nature of the products sold. Those assumptions were proven wrong my first day.
I started in July of 1996. Back to school shopping was already beginning. Office Max has the type of ceiling that amplifies sounds, so the screaming and crying of small children sounded like it was being played through speakers. There was a file I had to open with a combination lock that stuck. It worked for the impatient woman who was training me, but I could not get it to open and that wore her patience thin. She probably hated training anyway, not necessarily me.
Performing the feat of scanning bar codes and swiping credit cards (all while not being able to process the screaming and blinding white flourescent lights) in a quick manner was not something I could pull off. I sobbed on my 10 minute break. I got a migraine. On my third day, I had a self-harming meltdown as my mom drove me to work. My mom had to call the manager and explain why I could no longer work there as I was too upset to speak. I had to go to bed for the rest of the day with a cold pack on my head.
A few years later, I attended a workshop at the department of rehab. The job suggestions the instructors gave were based on my charicteristics than my capabilities. I was creative. Hobby Lobby HAD to be the right job. When I relayed the Office Max story, I was met with a few stares and pregnant pauses.
I stopped going to the weekly workshop, becuase it was clear they didn't know how to help me. The way the program was designed helped people with intellectual impairment and mentally illness find retail jobs. That was all there was to offer other than the sheltered workshop. My sensory processing made that impossible, too.
I did a little assembly work from home for a year (2000-2001) until the at-home work dried up. My next job wasn't until 2012 when I worked as a cat sitter for the summer. Those jobs were a good fit for me. No co-workers, no sensory overload, a reasonably flexable schedule and a mom to help with driving the work back and forth between the dept. of rehab for the one job and me for the other.
Now that I am into making beaded stretch bracelets, my aunt and sister (my mom died nearly four years ago and my dad nearly 24 before that) are helping me to find venues so I can sell them. This has proven tough. One person who owns a small botique did accept my bracelets. No one else is either interested, or mass production is cheaper and therefore a bigger draw.
The well-meant but latest misconception that is offered is to create an Etsy account.
I understand where folks are coming from. I know how to use a computer. I could work from the solitude of my own home. I would have greater exposure for my product (and greater threat of being attacked).
There are other obsticles. I would not have transportation back and forth to the post office. There is no public transportation and due to sensory issues I couldn't take it if it were offered. I have no family, friend or neighbor available to drive me. Just the thought of standing in line and having to flee, possibly in the middle of doing my business due to a child having a tantrum in another building with a ceiling that amplifies sounds makes my chest constrict.
Another thing is dealing with the "end user". What my body endures from verbal assult isn't normal or healthy. I have had to move my blog and leave social media due to cyberbullying. The shaking, dizziness, panic and rage that occurrs within me isn't something I can control well enough to perservere. I have a cat in the house, and I don't want her to accidentally get harmed or scared because I threw something or screamed.
Another idea that has been tossed around is- more retail. Rent a table at a Farmer's Market on a Saturday morning and sit out hawking bracelets. My aunt and sister, frustrated by the lack of outlet for financial opportunity, decided they would do this for me next summer, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes of it. I am very fortunate that I still have family that loves me.
In the meantime, I am taking a break from all those "How to get a job with Asperger's" type of articles. They are helpful if one is going out into the work world or interviewing someone on the spectrum. Working from home, when it is mentioned at all is targeted for those who love and excell at coding and creating software. I can use a computer, but we have a love-hate relationship. I had to beg my mom NOT to buy me one for my birthday or Christmas. Finally, she did buy me one, because she knew I coudln't do much without it. She was right. It was a tough learning process I did without much help.
My advice when trying to help an autistic person find a job is to LISTEN to them. Don't stereotype or judge before the person has communicated a single paragraph. Take notes if necessary.
Know lastly that not all autistic people will be capable of working full or part time. Co-morbids like chronic migraines, mental illness, anxiety and socialization/communication barriers can be and are, for some, TOO MUCH. Also, current work environments limits potential (bright lights, phones, office politics and forced socialization (think company parties, being expected to hang out with co-workers after work).
Our culture needs to get creative with creating jobs and workspaces-both remote and in house. This also goes for educating and housing autistic individuals-AND INCLUDING THEM IN THE CONVERSATION.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Political Parody

I wrote this parody in August, 2017

Sing a song of Mike Pence
'Cause Trump is gonna cry
Four and twenty Russians
Arrested by the FBI

When the impeacement trial was over
Hillary began to tweet
"Thank you Mr. Comey!
Revenge is oh so sweet!"

This won't matter in six months...or six years, but here it is.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Contrast

I was experimenting with the Pixlr app on my tablet and settled on this reverse black and white filter. It helped me to dramatically show the contrast between the flower and the leaves.
A few weeks prior, I came upon a dead bunny (whose picture I will not post) while walking in another forest preserve.
Nature is contrasted by both the beautiful and cruel.
God created a perfect garden and two perfect people. (Genesis 3)
Free will eventually changed that, but the beauty of God's creation will never be completely obliterated.
I am reminded that life will get better than this, that there will be a new heaven and earth to come with no sin in it.
May God bless you.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Which part of me "doesn't look autistic"? Which part of me does?

I posted a side by side picture of myself on my FB page. One has me with no glasses, smiling into the camera. Another has me with glasses on and smiling, but my gaze is off.
I wanted to show through photography the rediculousness of telling someone "they don't look autistic" or that they must fit the stereotype when they aren't making eye contact, but making ever effort to be plesant. That isn't hard to do in nature.
I think the media created a stereotype at least over the past two decades that an autistic person must be white, male distant, apathetic and having a persistant, off gaze all of the time.
I do have a slightly lazy right eye. When I am stressed or very tired, the eye does move off center. That is also my migraine eye.
Sometimes, my ever buzzing mind distracts me right before a picture is taken. The smartphones can be hard to see exactly where the lens is, especially if I want a picture taken sans glasses. Sometimes, in the case of the selfie or groupie (I only do them to document where I go in any given moment of time and to showcase the effort that goes into looking presentable in public, not to post to get "likes"), it is hard for me to focus on just where the target is.
I don't make eye contact, even with people I've known my whole life. It isn't to be rude, it simply is too much information. My mind can't focus on the content of what they're saying. Looking at their feet or the top of their head is about it.
As a growing Christian, I practice ways to be empathetic. I don't lack empathy, but can miss others' cues that they need it. I listen to their words and tone of voice. What is the context of their speech? Is their tone indicating something is wrong even if they say, "I'm fine."?
I hope this gives someone reading better information about women autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that will disprove the media stereotypes. Maybe you are part of the media. This is one autism story that addresses one very misunderstood topic. Listen to ASD individuals, their families and friends. It is my hope that the stereotypes will begin to dissolve and a broader picture will form. It may take a little time, like a Polaroid picture, but I believe it can happen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The ugliest word in the English Language/Superfly

The ugliest word in the English language

You know the ugliest word in the English language? Some think it’s moist. It’s NOT. The ugliest word in the English language is PUCE.
Puce. Why not PUKE? Well, might not sell at Sherwin Williams.
Dictonary.com defines puce as being “ of a dark or brownish purple” in color.
Ok. I get that. I never had a Puce crayon. Brown, purple, THOSE ARE COLORS. Not PUCE.
How about using language that describes the thing you’re talking about?
You know, adjectives and nouns.
“Honey, let’s paint the baby’s room a matte puce.”
Sounds a little gross and possibly nasty, too.
“Honey, let’s paint the nursery eggplant.”
And she says, “Oh, it’s so organic! I love it!”
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Superfly

So I’m watching the news and I hear this low pitched hum. Hoping it’s not a small aircraft poised to crash land on my roof, I get up and look around.
It’s springtime in the northern hemisphere, and that means the door gets left open on occasion. Spiders crawl upstairs, get into our beds when we are sleeping and bite us while we apparently and thankfully in such a deep sleep we can’t feel it’s little feet and fangs as it leaves its mark.
Then there are the garden variety. You know, ants, centipedes, beetles, bees, millipedes, lady bugs, boxelder bugs that managed to live through the winter-
All put to a sudden relatively painless death with the smack of a fly swatter or the cat eating them.
Not so this time.
Have you seen the movie “The Fly?”
Jeff Goldblum has nothing on this creature.
I look over by the window to see the droning coming from a species definitely of the insect variety, but bigger than a small bird.  
The cat looks at it with her usual feline enthusiasm, but hesitates. Normally, the appearance of an insect is all fun and games with a side of bug guts.
Her eyes enlarge in disbelief. Then, she rolls over and goes back to the way she spends most of the day-sleeping. Preferably on the remote control or my phone.
I am so grossed out by superfly and intrigued at the same time. I vacillate between ending its life or letting it live.
On top of this, I have another bug to deal with, my stomach bug.
I’m pretty wiped out from wiping, if you follow.
I decide to stay parked in my lazy chair and watch the Orange Cheeto on CNN.
Superfly, you will live to poo on the drapes, lay eggs and die an otherwise natural death.
Thank God they aren’t puce drapes. That would be a tragedy.
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Close call

Have you ever been talking to a friend on the phone? A friend who lives in the same city as you but apparently lives in a separate sector of the jet stream. Your friend proudly announces “Hey, it’s raining!”
And you say, “No, it’s partly sunny.”
Your friend protests exclaiming “NO IT’S NOT IT’S RAINING!”
Keep in mind that you both are around six years old. The world is a much smaller place at that age.
“It’s SUNNY!”
“It’s RAINING!”
BOOM!...RUMBLE RUMBLE, PLUNK PLUNK PLUNK ...
“Never mind, it’s raining!”
Your mom says, “Get off the phone before you get killed!”
I grew up in the day of landlines and cords, folks.
Today you might get cancer but back then it was electrocution.
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Foot Farts

Here are some everyday things I find interesting. They serve a small but important purpose-usually.
So here is my list:

Twistie ties
Those little hooks on plastic hangers
Lint, particularly of the belly button variety.
Caps on the end of shoelaces
Watching the test patterns on TV

And then there is my seasonal favorite, which serves no purpose apart from creating an awkward atmosphere.
Foot farts.
You say, “What the hell are foot farts?”
I’m glad you asked. After all, Summer is right around the corner.
I don’t know about you, but I wear sandals in the summer.
I like the kind that have the sling in the back so I don’t fall down and rupture my spleen in the process. I’m clumsier than a mule with two left feet when it comes to coordination, so no high heels, either.
Sometimes, I wear Crocs as well. You know, the plastic shoes that look like swiss cheese on top.
It gets humid and my bare feet begin to put out moisture. When coming in contact with the insole This causes a sound that is quite awkward if not a little embarrassing.
I call it a foot fart.
Some people, guys usually, get pit farts.
I played volleyball with a guy who had on a daego top.
Everytime he volleyed the ball it sounded like Steve Martin in the movie “Roxanne” where he makes the tennis ball sounds.
You can imagine the strength it took me not to laugh my ass off.
Hey, at least he wasn’t wearing PUCE and there wasn’t a big, hulking greenish fly droning around.
I mourn the days of my youth.
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Composed by Allison M. Kramer on May 23, 2017

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