Autism Acceptance

 

 

 

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Moving forward

 

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Moving forward, why it takes me time.

When I watch a film or something happens in my life with other people. It takes me time to process this information, I often get parts of what happen or snippets of the film playing in my mind. I believe this is how autistic people (might not be everyone) process information, this takes time and some things play over and over for longer than others.

So when people say autistic people can’t move on, this is not true we do move on but in our autistic way, not in a non autistic way.

Please understand and respect the way autistic people move forward.

Autistic Expression 

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Autistic Expression

Stims-
May Autistics will stim, however I think there are 3 main reasons why most Autistics stim;

1. Self-regulation– when everything is too bright, loud and fast in an environment your body can feel uncomfortable and strange. Your mind can feel painful and everything starts to feel too much, you can’t think straight. The stims allow Autistics to block out the difficult input, and replace it with a positive stim. How these stims look will be personal to every person. Here are some examples; hand flapping, finger wiggling, rocking, groaning, vocal humming.

2. Sensory seeking- many Autistics find happiness in sensory seeking, it can also be that the person is less sensitive. seeking stims; spinning, jumping, vocal stims like shouting, singing.

3. Expressing yourself – Some Autistics use stims to show emotions, often stims can be used for happiness. However the same stim can then be used when anxious, sad, stressed, the appearance or sound of the stims will change. For instance slow rocking and the person’s head is up and they smiling, slow moment is soothing and shows the person is calm. If the person then has their head down and the rocking has become faster and groaning might of started, this is clear that the person is agitated.

Interests-
When most autistic people want to do something or I find a topic of interest, and want to build their understanding and knowledge on this. Some autistic people can be absorbed in finding out as much information as possible, through reading, internet searches, and during this time some autistic people can become hyper focused, which can mean everything else might get pushed aside. This does not mean we don’t care about other things or that we are disconnected, the truth is we tend to like doing one thing at a time and doing that one thing to the best of our ability. This can be in the form of using all of our resources and energy in that one area.

Communication-

Autistic people communicate in multiple ways, some autistic people that are verbal and use speech have times when speech is impossible. There can be many reasons such as, anxiety, new experiences and multiple reasons. Sometimes people will say ‘but you used speech before, so you can use it now’ this is simply not true and making comments and assumptions about this is not helpful its hurtful. Other autistic people might not use verbal communication at all and be non verbal, non verbal does not mean the autistic person has nothing to say! Most non verbal autistic people understand everything that is going on and they should be treated just as a verbal person would be.

Alternative mediums of communication;

The Picture Exchange Communication System(PECS)

This system allows anyone who has difficulties with communication to have the tools needed to communicate, their feelings and wants using pictures. PECS can be taught to anyone with little or no communication, but equally at times Autistics that are verbal might use the system as well. The person can approach another person and give them a picture of a desired item, in exchange for that item. This, has then given the person the opportunity to initiate communication and express their feelings. PECS can be used in the classroom and taken anywhere so it’s a portable system. My Autistic daughter is verbal but has lots of moments when being verbal is too difficult, so we use PECS. PECS is great for showing Autistics what’s going to happen now and next, it gives a clear understanding of routines. https://www.nationalautismresources.com/the-picture-exchange-communication-system-pecs/

Makaton

Makaton uses signs, symbols and speech to help anyone communicate. Signs are used, with speech, in spoken word order. The reason for this can give extra clues about what someone is trying to say. Using signs can help anyone who has no speech or anyone who is struggling to use speech or their speech is unclear. The use of symbols can help anyone who has limited speech and someone might not want to use signs. I bought a small basic book with Makaton signs in it, it was really helpful with my daughter. There are so many others to communicate and some autistic people will develop their way of communicating that works best for them.

Sensory-

Sensory differences explained

Sensory processing  & Sensory processing differences, explained simply.
I think many people find sensory processing tricky to understand, so I have written a straight forward piece about this topic.
Sensory Processing and sensory processing differences might be something you have never heard of before, or it might not be something you have not ever thought about or considered. Many autistic people will encounter some form of sensory processing differences, that said sensory processing differences are not unique to just autistic people.

What is sensory processing?
well everyone’s body receives sensory messages from all their senses, these messages then travel up to everyone’s nervous system. The nervous system receives these messages and then processes them. Everyone’s nervous system turns these messages into a motor behavior response. Motor responses form everyone’s body movements, for instance picking up and a drink and drinking it.
What are sensory processing differences?
(SPD) happens when a person’s body sends sensory messages from their senses to the person’s nervous system, just like everyone’s body does. When this is sent to the person’s nervous system, this is the point that the differences happen.

The sensory messages are either not detected, by the nervous system, or the sensory messages don’t get organised into the correct responses. The sensory messages become confused and mixed up, the sensory messages can even get, jumbled and backed or processed more slowly. (Jean Ayres PhD http://www.spdstar.org/) says it like a neurological “traffic jam” that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly.

Let’s look at the senses that everyone’s body has, this is a surprise to most people to find out everyone has eight sensory systems, yes! Eight!
Most people might be able to name a couple of the senses, and other people might know about and even understand the first five basic senses (listed 1-5 below) That’s not where it ends, as there are three more. Most people have not heard of, and likely not even considered

these extra three senses (listed below6-8) of;
1. Sight
2. Sound
3. Smell
4. Taste
5. Touch
6. Vestibular (sense of head space and movement, balance, orientation)
7. proprioceptive (sensations from muscles and joints of the body)
8. Interoception (physiological, physical conditions of the body, hunger, heart rate ect.)
If we go back and think about the sensory messages being sent by everyone’s senses, to the bodies nervous system which then turns into a motor response. The motor response is a movement, that the person wants to happen. Now consider these extra three senses, that most people take for granted and are often not even aware of. You can now see how they would relate to the motor responses, for instance interoception will tell you when you are feeling hungry.

The other sensory difference is the degree at which things are felt and experienced, when there are sensory differences present. This means some people’s nervous systems will interpret the sensory messages, as either hypersensitive which means the person with sensory differences will feel things more acutely. Than a person that doesn’t have sensory processing differences. Hyposensitive which means the person with sensory differences will feel things less, than a person that doesn’t have sensory processing differences.

All eight sensory systems can be affected from (SPD) this does not mean that one person will have all eight senses affected, although that can happen. Some people’s nervous system might only have difficulties receiving sensory messages from one or two different senses.
I hope this helps to explain why things are so difficult for autistic people in certain environments.

Echolalia-

Understanding echolalia

I want to explain a bit more about echolalia. There are 2 types of echolalia:
1. immediate echolalia, this is where the autistic person will repeat what someone just said to them, straight back to that person.
2.The second type of echolalia is delayed echolalia, it is the repetition of verbal messages that were previously heard and which are repeated after a time delay of a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years.
Some autistic people might repeat words from their favourite, films and books. The reason autistic people do this, is because the repeated word or phrase, will have the autistic person’s emotions or thoughts attached to them. So this is how some autistic people communicate and express themselves. By using these two types of echolalia.

Echolalia has meaning, everyone needs to understand that. Echolalia needs to be respected and validated, this is a form of communication.

Intelligence and sensory differences

 

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Intelligence and sensory differences

Many autistic people struggle with sensory differences, this world constantly bombards our sensory system. Autistic people’s sensory systems processes this information differently, often the messages that are sent to our nervous system can get confused and muddled. This includes our internal sensory system (Interoception) this part of the system that helps us to recognise our needs. For instance the need to use the toilet or that we are feeling hot. This can cause frustration for many autistic people as it’s totally out of their control.

Does this sensory processing difference have anything to do with intelligence? No absolutely nothing, so when people have these sensory differences often the people around them might make assumptions. For instance that because this person can’t regulate or conform to so called functioning norms, they must be intellectually different.

This assumption is so damaging, autistics ability to process the environment and manage sensory differences has no connection to our cognitive competence and abilities.

Autistics are processing the world in their way, please take the time to fully understand just how much impact sensory differences have. You need to disconnect intellect and how an autistic person body responds to this overwhelming world.

Girls Autistic Journey. 🖤

Turning so called autistic negatives into autistic positives

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Turning so called autistic negatives into autistic positives! 

Some people see so much negativity in being autistic, I have made this graphic to show it’s simply not true!

I have taken some of the stereotypical negative assumptions made about being autistic. I have then turned these so called negatives into positives!! 

Girls Autistic Journey 🖤

Turning so called autistic negatives into autistic positives

(Graphic text reads)

Framed as autistic negatives
Routines-
Autistic people are stuck in the same routines. Autistic people don’t like change and change makes things really difficult and challenging.

Reframing into positives
Reliable-
Autistic people are reliable, dependable and consistent. With a change of routine just give autistic people a bit extra time to process this change. Give as much notice as possible when the changes will happen.

Framed as autistic negatives
Social skills-
Autistic people don’t understand social situations. Sometimes they can be rude and challenging. They miss understand people and often get things wrong in social situations.

Reframing into positives
Direct social skills-
Autistic people are direct, extremely honest when in social situations. Autistic people will say exactly what they mean, Everyone else needs to be straight forward as well. Give clear instructions about what needs to happen. Then social situations are enjoyable for everyone.

Framed as autistic negatives
Learning difficulties-
Some autistic people can’t learn like most people. This causes difficult at school.

Reframing into positives
Learning differences-
Autistic people don’t learn in a standardised way. Teaching should be guided by autistic people’s strengths. Allowing them to learn Just like everyone else.

Framed as autistic negatives
Obsessions-
Autistic people are obsessed with certain topics, and won’t show any interest in other topics.

Reframing into positives
Passionate-
Autistic people are passionate and dedicated to certain topics. Autistic people do one thing at a time really well. Weaving these topics of interest into other topics, will allow autistic people to develop more areas of interest.