Tag Archives: ADHD

Asperger’s/Autism Diagnosis: How Does It Feel?

 My daughter phoned.  Her oldest son had been diagnosed ADD, ADHD, had been on Ritalin, and barely eight years old, had been the subject of repeated bullying and school yard ostracism.  “It’s Asperger’s Syndrome, Mom, and you and I have all the symptoms!”

That was seventeen years ago, but I vividly recall the conversation.

As we discussed the list of traits of people with Asperger’s, relief flooded through me.  At last I knew what it was that was “wrong” with me!

Anger came later, as I processed the information and with it, an understanding of my nature and how the very people who were close to me had taken advantage over the years.

And then grief.  Oh yes, I grieved the loss of the possibility of ever being ‘normal’.  I grieved for the child I had been, for the loneliness and isolation of all those years of trying to join our societal mainstream and just not getting it.

And I felt rage, too.  A deep anger at being shoved aside, at being made an onlooker, a non-participant, when I so poignantly wanted to belong.

And pride.  Pride in my ability to accept, even as a teenager, that the best I could be was ME, with all my faults and failings, my oddities, my strengths and weaknesses.  Yes, Asperger’s made me an easier target for my abuser, but the different way of thinking helped me to end that abuse as well.

And so I felt joy.  The joy and satisfaction of finally belonging somewhere.  Of finally finding that there were others, many others, like me.  Of understanding the close bond between my daughter and I.  Of finally feeling that I was, in my own newly recognized niche, a part of a larger entity.  I was not alone in my weirdness. in my unusual way of perceiving situations, patterns and people.

As an Aspie, I was fine, just as I was.

I still struggle some days.  As one of my friends says, “Margaret will always default to the Aspie truth.”  It’s his way of recognizing our straight forward approach to life.

He also says, “I know your intentions are always good.  That’s a no-brainer.”  So no matter how wrong something turns out, he understands that it was not my intention to create havoc.  This is the most reassuring response to my Asperger’s that I have ever had, and I bask in the glow of it.

Acceptance.  That’s what we all need.  To not only be accepted, but to be celebrated for who we are.

As I note in my book,  Unforgiving, Memoir of an Asperger Teen,  it is easy to forget the most important thing:  You are perfect, just as you are.

The celebration starts in you.

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Ten Benefits of Volunteer Service From An Aspie’s Point of View.

Volunteer Services are a great way to prepare for work in the real world.  Volunteering can be a sort of head start program for Aspies.  Here’s why:

1. It gets you out of the house and interacting with people in a positive way that benefits you and your community.

2. It’s a non-threatening way of finding out what kind of work you like, what kind of hours you can handle, and how long you can stand to be part of a work place interaction.

3. If you don’t like it, you can quit.  You will still give notice so that someone can cover your shifts, but if you find the co-workers snarky, or the clientele is too much for you to handle, well, no harm done.

4. You will learn to schedule your responsibilities.  You have to make a commitment.  You have to show up when you say you will.  You have to be good at what you say you are good at.  You have to know that you can get there  (public transit, walking or bicycling) on your own.

5. You will learn to be reliable and punctual.  You will get good references if you do,.

6. You will learn to work with other people of varying ages, professions and education levels.  You will become part of a team.  You will learn how to interact with them in a non-abrasive way.

7. You will learn to understand heirarchy–how people rank in an organization, and how they fit together.

8. You will learn to follow orders–to listen carefully, to ask questions if you don’t understand or are not sure of what is being asked of you, and to find out what special tools or equipment is to be used in the carrying out of these orders.

9.  You will develop different skills, to varying degrees of competence.  These skills do count on a resume.

10.  You will experience limited rejection–most organizations are more than happy to greet new volunteers.

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ADHD–Think You Have It? What Do You Need To Know?

ADHD–we’ve all heard about it.  Parents, school teachers and special ed assistants talk about it all the time.  But if you’re an adult and think you might have ADHD, you might also be wondering  Do I really have to do something about it?  Isn’t it enough to just be aware that I need to focus more?

Fortunately, Drs. Craig Surman, M.D. and Tim Bilkey,M.D have worked with Karen Weintraub to write a really great guide for adults with ADHD.

FAST MINDS How to Thrive if You Have ADHD (Or Think You Might)  is a book built around an acronym that the doctors use to describe symptoms of ADHD.

F is forgetful.  A is Achieving below potential.  S is Stuck.  T is Time challenged.  M is motivational issues.  I is impulsive.  N is for novelty seeker.  D is for distractable and S is for scattered.

If any or all of those scenarios seem to apply to you, this book is very helpful.  And judging by the video that introduces this blog, FAST MINDS could be an essential read for adults with ADHD.

Another great video featuring Dr. Bilkey can be viewed at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlvM25b1n8g.

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Possible Autism Spectrum Behaviours? You Can Find Answers Here…

Have you noticed some issues that consistently challenge your child’s social and/or developmental progress?  Do you think it might be ADHD or maybe even symptoms of Asperger’s or autism (which you’ve heard about, but could not define)?  Where do you go for some basic knowledge to help you sort things out?

Understanding Autism for Dummies is immensely helpful.  Author Stephen M. Shore, MA lectures and consults from within the spectrum.

With the help of co-author, journalist Linda G. Rastelli, Shore  covers everything.  From how to identify signs and symptoms for early intervention to how to get the right diagnosis and develop a specialized treatment plan,  Shore takes you through to finding the right doctor, and manoeuvring your child’s way through the educational system with the best possible outcome.

Shore looks at every aspect of Autism from causes and diagnosis, to biological issues, and learning and social challenges.   In addition he has an entire section devoted to adults with autism, and adds an appendix of helpful resources.  I got it from the library.  You can buy it at your local bookstore or through Amazon and other online booksellers.

Shore’s book is also available through http://www.autismasperger.net/

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