About autisticaplanet

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Welcome to a blog written by 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 disorder and resulting social and behavioral challenges.Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Autism awareness and acceptance Part 1

Autism awareness fact #1: Some people on the autism spectrum are sensory sensitive , sensory seeking or a combo of both. I am hyper sensitive in the area of auditory processing. Fireworks, dogs barking and fans humming may be excruciating to the autistic individual, prompting compensating devices such as earplugs or white noise. Scratchy tags or wool in clothing may prompt a rash to develop on their skin. 
Autism acceptance idea #1: Recognize that we are not being "difficult". We are not trying purposely to inconvenience you when we scream at a loud noise or tear off the sweater you just bought us. Autism is a NEUROLOGICAL disorder involving, in part, the frontal & temporal lobes. These are areas responsible for impulse control and sensory input. We make accommodations EVERY DAY to function in a world that thrives on noise and distractions bombarding us on multiple fronts. It is not asking too much when we ask you to turn the music down, close the car window or to buy only cotton clothing.

Autism awareness fact #2: No two people with autism are alike. That is why autism is defined as being on a spectrum or continuum. Some, like me, have sensory problems they compensate DEARLY for on an ongoing basis. Others may not be as affected by their sensory problems. Still others are affected by only 1 or 2 of the 5 senses, to varying degrees. Some are even sensory seekers. 
Autism acceptance idea #2: Remember that autism is pervasive; it affects the entire brain, including but not limited to the frontal and temporal lobes. Medical procedures such as PET scans and Complex EEG show that our brains are always "on". We rarely get a rest from our over-processing brains and as a result may even suffer sleep disorder. Give us extra time in responding to a command or question. You may even have to repeat yourself. This may be irritating to you, and we assure you that the ongoing struggle to avoid sensory overload and respond inappropriately is surely irritating to us. Work on things such as kindness and patience. Treat us as you wish you could be treated. Forgive. A lot. These last 2 statements are ones we ALL can practice!

Autism awareness fact #3: We are a constant work in progress, as you are. From day 1 we are being re-oriented by family, peers & specialists to live in ways foreign to us. From having to show affection in ways uncomfortable to us such as hugging to dressing ourselves in a prescribed way like wearing shirts right-side out and tying our shoes (what's wrong with Crocs?). Using a fork & knife when hands do fine by us is another obstacle that may take us years beyond what "NT" kids do with ease.  You name it, we have to work 2X as hard as you non-spectrum people do.
Autism acceptance idea #3: Be patient! Be kind! Don't expect us to always accomplish tasks based on your time table. Don't call us degrading names such as "spaz" or the "R" word to justify your impatience. In a society dominated and dictated by instant gratification dispensed at lighting speed, remember that you too are often burning out trying to please someone else. Sometimes personal experience is the only teacher. Humility is a beautiful virtue, and it is not a respecter of persons.