Tag Archives: asd

Tendencies, Traits, Talents: Aspergirls

26 Mar

Below is a link to an excellent list of characteristics, abilities, and talents of females with Asperger’s Syndrome.  This doesn’t, and shouldn’t, serve as diagnostic criteria or as a rigid checklist.  It is, however, a wonderful start to a female profile that may guide identification and disgnosis someday.  Some people have told me, “You can’t have Asperger’s! You are a girl!”  I’m not the only Aspie female who has heard that, or some variant of disbelief regarding this very specific label many of us have struggled whole lifetimes to locate, so we can access the tools we need, so we can be understood, so we can understand…

Well, like many myths and stereotypes, this one is unfortunately heard quite frequently by women, girls, and parents who are looking for answers so that they can find the information and tools to be the best they can be and lead fulfilling lives.  I don’t think females are less likely to have Asperger’s or be Autistic, but I do know firsthand that many of us are not identified in a timely fashion.  Of course, I also saw myth and stereotype delay my son’s diagnosis, so it’s not isolated to one gender but I do think it’s more prevalent for a few reasons (these are written with more of a focus on parents and children, but can apply to an adult as well. I did not include tailored descriptions below, for ease of reading.)

1. Perpetuation of Stereotype/Myth

2.  Inadequate updating/continuing education of professionals who provide triage to those inquiring with concerns about their child’s development.

3.  Some behavior typically described as “autistic” is more acceptable (historically) in girls than boys.  Thankfully this is changing, but the remnants of “ye olde gender stereotypes” still hang about like a thick, slippery fog.

4.  Lack of mindfulness & dismissal of parental concerns, by professionals, because of the perception that a simple, casual inquiry equates to the parent being a stifling, growth suppressing “helicopter parent”.  I’ve known a few moms who were scolded by their physicians for just asking questions about autism and their child.  It’s like the obsession with healthy parenting and healthy development and the concerns about “hovering”, perpetuated by those tireless soldiers of the mommy-wars, has become more of a concern to professionals than identifying legitimate concerns and addressing them in a mindful manner.   I worry that the obsession about “over parenting” does damage to first time parents and children.  We are all trying to figure it out.  We are all works in progress.  I think those that under parent and neglect their children are a greater worry, but it’s easier to criticize the parent that actually comes into the office with a concern than the one who doesn’t bring their child in and who doesn’t share their concerns with the physician.

It just worries me, bothers me, angers me, that one can still go to a specialist who will look at your child and say “but your kid doesn’t act like Rainman!”…  I’ve brought prints of the diagnostic criteria with us to educate where we find outdated information.  I do what I can.  I do this because I hear all too often of delayed diagnosis, missed disgnosis, and parents who won’t let the label be given because of myths, stereotypes, and misperceptions about what it means to be Autistic, in this era, in this country, and in our society.

We all need to stand up and spread the truth about autism, about autistics, about parenting autistics.  One extremely vital component of that is  the different ways certain traits manifest differently in males and females.

Click to go to Tania Ann Marshall’s fantastic “Moving Towards A Female Profile: The Unique Characteristics”, Abilities and Talents of Young Girls with Asperger Syndrome.

For a fantastic read on Aspergirls, please check out Rudy Simone’s “Aspergirls” at Amazon.com.  As an adult female Aspie, I found the book to be very helpful in understanding our inherent strengths.  It does offer suggestions for Aspergirls and their parents.  There is also a list which Tania Ann Marshall’s list reminded me of.  Rudy Simone’s list is more a chart comparing manifestations of traits in males and in females.

Surfers For Autism

4 Nov Morning

We had the best day ever on Saturday.  Seriously.  EVER.

Biggest thanks ever to Surfers for Autism, the surfers, the founders, the volunteers, Fort Myers Beach, and FMB PD & FD.

I’ll be updating this post as I sift through the 789 images I took on Saturday when we were guest of Surfers for Autism.

They say that we (people with autism) are “Rock Stars”  so if we are, then I’d have to say that knowing them and being there with them on a gorgeous Saturday on Florida’s SW Gulf Coast was like the worlds most epic fantasy jam session ever, because we think they are worthy of the title as well.  Seriously.  If you had three wishes and could wish for anyone to play together, for you… That’s the fantastic and awesome I am trying to express here.

Where to begin…

We rarely go to the beach as days off and not-too-sick days rarely line up.  Also, the beach is sensory overload wearing a disguise that suggests that she (the beach) is a serene environment, but for us it can be overload starting at the application of sunscreen and escalating from there.

We did it though.  We went on Saturday.  I have proof!

Before the first run of the day:

Fort Myers Beach FD brought over a truck and handed out paint! Everyone painted and tagged! It was great fun and quite a masterpiece!

Alex painted these words on the wheel well trim: fire, 911, emergency, truck… I found a blank spot and painted his name, some hearts, and an orange penguin.

Alex didn’t know where to start so I told him, “just find a space that doesn’t have any paint and start painting!” So he painted words (you can see 911 in this image) and then he proceeded to paint all of those little rubber feely-bobber hairs on the tire orange. Nobody else had thought of that! (by the way, those feely bobber hair things are left over from the injection molding/tire making process. The NASCAR peeps have to cut them off their tires! Ahhh Viva La Google!)

Alex’s first surfers/guides/volunteers. The dads on the short kept commenting, “Oh that kid has it rough! Three total babes in bikinis!” It was pretty funny. They weren’t just gorgeous, they were incredibly patient and kind and warm and really made Alex feel so secure in that new and alien environment. I’m very thankful (for his surf goddesses! :-) When he came back to shore he had two more with him! One of the dads said to me, “That kids got talent!”.

For his 2nd run, he had another two fantastic guides. Corey and Marlene Lilly. Corey looks uncannily like Russell Brand and I was surprised when he spoke and his accent wasn’t British. He’s a really kind and mellow guy. He finds and picks up sand dollars with his feet. He brought one over to show us. I’ve never seen a live one… Corey also stopped by Alex’s sand digging extravaganza and talked to him and his dad.  And remembered his name.  These surfers, these volunteers, are brilliant at making each person feel wonderful about the experience.  Alex had a good second outing with Corey and Marlene and he was definitely more relaxed and chomping at the bit to get back in the water! After this we had lunch. Alex’s Oma (my mom) showed up just before he went for his 2nd paddle. We were so excited that she came by to see him surf!

That is my kid STANDING UP and SURFING and nobody is holding onto him! He stood up from his paddling/kneeling position, unaided, with the board gliding toward shore! I know! I was doing fine most of the day but that was it. I let my camera drop around my neck, started flapping my hands and started to cry some very happy tears and cheering loudly. His guides from the 3rd outing are not seen here but they were two guys named Jeff and Jim (or Bill. Spoken language keeps getting more challenging for me over time. It sucks, but it’s also a positive because it makes me more sensitive and aware when delivering any information to Alex who has a similar challenge).

I made this for him today:

Yeah.  I’m still getting goosebumps when I think about him surfing into the shore, with his hands out.  He amazed me.  He amazes me each and every day and has since he was born.  It’s not that I think he can’t do something, because he can do nearly anything he puts his mind to.  That being said, he can’t be neurotypical and neither can I.  We can put on an act that works in some situations, but that’s not us.  Surfers For Autism  has an incredible calm to it, that I rarely feel when with anyone other than my kid or by myself.   The reason for the calm, in a very large group of autistic people and their families, is that everyone there can just be themselves.  We pulled up to the lot next to Crescent Beach Park and I saw 5 kids in maybe 15 feet of sidewalk flapping and walking tiptoed.  I said, “It’s going to be a good day”.

And it was a good day.  It was the best day we’ve had in a very long time.  We deserved that and I will treasure that feeling probably forever, though we will have days to match once the 2013 Surfers For Autism season kicks off.

xo

B

40 Open Education Resources You Should Know About | Edudemic

11 Jul

A fantastic list of resources for adults and kids.  Documentaries, programming, information.  Oh my!  Check it out…

40 Open Education Resources You Should Know About | Edudemic.

I plan on looking at each resources and sending my kid links to “assignments” (watch, read, do, etc…) and cc’ing his dad on them so that maybe we can get out of the SSDD of summer break.   Not that my kid is just sitting in front of the TV, but he has been more self-propelled this year than ever before.  He has been teaching himself how to use Raspberry Pi, Linux, Python, Scratch, and more things that made me finally understand how overwhelmed and somewhat alienated and antiquated my parents felt when I became more tech savvy in the late 80’s/early 90’s.   I couldn’t remember a keyboard shortcut the other day, and I pride myself on my resourcefulness (read: I don’t ask for help unless it’s a last resort.  The results of this creed have found me in numerous situations learning experiences that would have escaped my eager grasp, had I not been endowed with such tenacity) but I went to holler an inquiry to Alex instead of seeking the answer the “me way”.

It’s surprising, to me, how technology has grown since I left the traditional workforce over nine years ago, due to illness.      It’s mind blowing, to me, that Alex’s education is largely technology based, but more organically than I would have imagined a few years ago.  Technology is there as a medium and I can’t imagine it having more impact than in a classroom for children with communication disorders, as the technology offers the versatility, when combined with traditional analog methods, to meet the needs of the kids concurrently.   Kind of neat.

So Alex has been playing with technology, this summer and  I have been flexing my problem solving skills. I’m trying to explore how we can integrate technology into our world, here at home, without investing in some of the ready to go tech that is so out of reach for us, financially, and in a pseudo-organic way so that it is less of a distraction, more of a functional tool, and less of a superpower with the ability to create human islands in a little condo in SW Florida.

Anyway, check out the link and the resources on that list.  There were some that I was familiar with and others that made me giddy with anticipation.

Did they miss any?  Please share, in the comments, if there are any you would add and I will do the same.

Hope your summer is going well!

B

 

Asperger High

20 Jan

Love this.  Special thanks to AANE.org for posting it on their blog way back when so I could discover it today.

I really needed a good laugh today.  Between this and 20 minutes of America’s Funniest Videos and a montage of kids and potty shenanigans (it  would seem that many little guys see the toilet as a mini-hot tub of sorts) I laughed until I sobbed and then that took awhile to dam.   Oh well.   I’d rather have laughter so strong it shifts to another emotion than be a superficial asshat.  And laughing that hard and then crying feels like a huge release on a day when I’m a boneless mass trying not to deflate myself on my bed of nails (mat with spikes for pain relief… I’ll blog on that later)… It’s like a sexless orgasm of the brain.

A totally primal mindgasm.

And now I could use a nap.

G’night, my friends.  Goodnight.

B
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Love is blind – Marriage is the eye-opener

13 Dec

Look Me In The Eye: Love is blind – Marriage is the eye-opener.

Is it ever!  Phew. I’ve been running this marathon for 11 years (with 4 years spent prepping for that marathon.  Needless to say, prepping for a marathon with running on a treadmill is a completely different sport than running an actual marathon.  And yes, I feel that “Heartbreak Hill” applies to this metaphorical marathon as well.  And no, I don’t actually run on anything except for my sentences.  Bah-dum-dum-tsch.)

Click the link above for a fantastic piece by David Finch, who guest-blogged this post on John Elder Robison’s blog.  Fantastic writing and I found myself nodding my head so much that I feel like I’m still nodding my head, minutes after I stopped reading and nodding.  Capisce?  Good.

Enjoy.

xo

Bek

p.s. David Finch’s book “Journal of Best Practices” is coming out on January 3, 2012.  You can preorder it here:  Amazon.com

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