Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Modern Revolution -by R.W.G.

(first verse and chorus)

We're in the shadows
deep when you're shallow
swimming in water
right up to our heads

we'll keep above now
we want the doves now
we don't wanna fight
we simply want change ...



fallen and callin'

we'll keep on callin' out for freedom ...

Do you see us, do you hear us?
We are not living dead!
Sharing stores all between us
Finding answers unsaid
You've kept from us
Well, look at us!
We're writing out in red
It's a Modern Revolution
No gunfire, red be Written ..

-by R.W.G.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Movies! -by Neil McVilly

I watched Rosie's video on Youtube "Accomodating and managing cognitive variance" (*click on it to view*)

This got me thinking about a long-standing issue I've had, more marked in my earlier years, but I still struggle with a little bit at times.
As a child, I seemed to have a lot of trouble following and keeping up with the plot when watching certain types of movies. I don't recall any trouble with simple tv programs like cartoons, Sesame Street or Playschool or TV soaps of my era (Family Ties, Neighbours, etc)
 It was the movies with more intricate plots or a lot of fast dialogue that proved the most challenging.

It may be worth mentioning I am short-sighted and did not get glasses until early high school. Possibly this may have compounded my processing challenges even after getting glasses and learning how to put my improved eyesight to good use.

Mum was puzzled and at times driven up the wall by my incessant questions during movies. 
What's happening?  Which lady is the bad/evil lady?  Where are they going now?  Was that the same man he was talking to before or is that a new man? 

Mum could not understand whether the problem was poor attention or some other processing issue and to this day I am not sure what the cause was or why things have gotten a lot easier as an adult. 

One strategy which helped me a lot was re-watching some shows my sister taped on our video recorder.   I would usually re-watch the show on my own without distraction from others and might need to rewind parts until I picked up all the dialogue and put it into context.  It would also help me get my head around the more intricate parts of the plot, with a few twists and turns, or more complex social interactions.

As a final note, I've enjoyed revisiting some of my childhood movies many years later, not only to take a trip down memory lane, but to see how much I missed as a child!   I now have the advantage of maturity which helps to understand more complex social interactions which went totally over my head as a child. 

My computer allows me to replay videos very easily, I can "cheat" on IMDB if I need a little help following a more intricate plot, or google for a history lesson or whatnot.  If I feel inclined, I can also download English subtitles for movies which seem to help me with verbal processing when there is a lot of fast talking dialogue.   

In any case, movie watching has become a fun hobby in my leisure time :)
I'd be very interested to hear if others have experienced similar challenges.

-Neil McVilly

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Misconceptions still dominate the understanding of autism

Geneticist gives lukewarm "Autism Talk" with the usual, cookie cutter passively demeaning terms,  on Ted Talks.

I comment on the website and it seems it has been removed.... I still have it saved though....

This was a very disappointing talk... It's amazing how little it is known and how many misconceptions still dominate the understanding of autism, including 
in this TED talk... For example, the incidence is not lower in girls, the behaviors are simply different because the female brain is fairly different than the male brain. A good example: my wife. I compare my wife side by side with my son, who is moderate to severely autistic, and they have exactly the same problems and very similar behaviors. But because of our understanding of a girl's behavior relative to our understanding of boys (what we find socially "normal" for gender roles), my son was diagnosed at 3 and my wife at 25. Chung's speech is just a random compilation of widely distributed data, nothing really interesting, with no insight. Here's some insight from a "savant". "Autism" is characterized by a powerful brain that perceives a lot more than the "neurotypical" and can process information far faster... my brain can perceive a lot of interactions that most "neurotypicals" can't. While my information processing speed is several times faster than that of a "neurotypical" (I can write a whole book in my head in just a few minutes), the number of perceptions is so much higher that it still takes me longer to process all the information. That is the reason why we get overwhelmed easily, while we have sensory sensitivities, executive functioning issues, communications issues, why autism is related to ADHD and so on... You don't have to only take my word for it either... if you also fall for the fallacy of expertise, you can check out this neuroscientist (he has the magical piece of paper) who says the same thing: It would be really REALLY helpful if people would actually ASK us about our experiences with autism...

Nelson Guedes

Friday, June 6, 2014

My thoughts on Professionals and their meddling impacts on my personal journey of growth

I decided to write about my experiences with various professionals over the years and I have seen several. I have had good experiences, bad experiences and downright traumatic experiences. I think it is important for me to write about them. I am hoping sharing my experiences will help others to be careful when it comes to choosing the right professional for themselves. Some professionals really are not necessarily helpful or supportive, which is unfortunate given their position and the fact they are meant to be helping people and working with people, not against.

I have generalised my experiences and this is not about any one professional but a summary of what I have experienced over the years of therapy that I have had. 

They have:

Invalidated my life's journey and experience

Ignored my self-knowledge and how self-aware I am (I'm not bragging or being arrogant). I really am quite self-aware and open to learning ways of improving myself but at my pace and in a way that suits me.

Told me I'm making up issues to get attention and that I don't need counselling.

Told me I can't possibly be depressed because I'm smiling, laughing and being social in the first appointment. Which I now realise is due to inappropriate effect.

Taken advantage of my naivety and vulnerability which is due to me not being able to read faces, unsaid rules and body language. I take people at face value - how they present themselves is how I think they are. So when they do the opposite of how they present themselves (their good side) to me. I'm shocked, hurt and traumatised. It is incredibly difficult for me to comprehend and understand why a person (any person, not just professionals) would do this.

Don't really listen to me.

Think they know better than I do.

Pushed me into doing things I'm not ready to do. Didn't give me time to think about it and process it.

Thankfully, not professionals all are like this. Some are really good and have helped me in my life's journey.

My ideal therapist would be someone who sees me as the professional of my own life and that their job is to guide me by asking me the right questions to expand my thinking and self-awareness.

Narrative therapy is what I believe is best for me. I intend to find a good narrative therapist when I am ready. 

My GP told me that I'm very smart, self-aware and will work things out for myself in a way that suits me. She agrees with me that I don't need to see a therapist right now. I did try to organise seeing a psychologist but I found the whole process of organizing to see one too triggering, stressful and upsetting. I've decided that I am far better off not seeing one right now. I have found that they tend to disrupt my process of healing, growing and learning.

I find I have to heal and recover from the damage some professional have caused me by how they treated me or let me down. Some of the experiences have been very painful and traumatic for me, which is very unfortunate.

I am happy with who I am, finally. My diagnosis gave me a new understanding of myself which in turn gave me permission to accept myself. Prior to that I hated myself and all the things I thought were wrong with me. I became obsessed with trying to be normal. I nearly lost who I was as a result. I do not want to ever go back to what I was like pre-understanding of who I really was. I've finally accepted myself with my imperfections. I'm happy figuring things out for myself, at my pace and in my own way. I've done this most of my life. It's how I work best.

My mum and GP support my choice to heal, grow and learn at my pace. I'm incredibly grateful for their support and understanding.

An example of me figuring something out on my own.

E.g. I recently read about Emotional freedom techniques 
I have heard of it but I didn't know much about it. I must have been ready to learn more about it as I read about it and had a light bulb moment. It seems to me to be a mix of meditation (repeating a phrase) and stimming (repetitively rubbing pressure points). Perhaps it could be considered advanced stimming. That's my opinion.

I've been trying EFT when I'm triggered by flashbacks of bad experiences, emotionally over loaded or anxious and it helps me calm down. I rub the pressure point between my thumb and index finger, focus on my breath and repeat 'All shall be well.' I was able to calm down easily and get on with my day. I'm very grateful that I read about EFT and decided to give it a try.

Ideally I would like to have a group of autistic women of various ages meet in person and online to support, guide and mentor each other without a professional present. I think that is the best way for Autistic women to learn and grow together. We understand each other and tend to have a deep empathetic respect for each other and our individual journeys. 

Note: I am not saying don't see professionals as there are definitely good ones out there. I have come to realise that this decision is best for me. It may not work for others. I encourage others to be mindful of the professionals that they do see. 
Check them out, ask them questions 
Find out if they have knowledge and understanding of Autistic adults. 
Remember you are paying the professional to support and help you. If you don't feel that they are helping you then you have a right to stop seeing them and find another professional who is more suited to what you need. You are after all paying them to do their job, if you feel that they aren't doing their job, then you have a right to walk away. It's your life, your money and your mental health that is most important. If they aren't helping you overall then find another. It's that simple.