Diana's Nuggets of Wisdom
Here is a response I gave to a parent who asked if I had any bathing & eating rituals, if I had sensory issues with materials, and why I replay music over and over:
Some clothing and foods really irritate me. For example, okra. I can't stand the slimy taste of it. Usually when I eat, I eat all of one thing on my plate, then move to the next. It's sort of rare when I can eat everything at the same time. Plus, I eat with my left hand, and I'm not even left handed. It gives me a sort of pleasure that allows to feel like I can do more than what I am restrained to do, if that makes sense.
Sleeping. Takes forever unless I've got my iPod or a movie playing. I prefer the iPod though when trying to fall asleep because it blocks out the other noises better-the headphones. I prefer showers over baths because I feel like I'm restrained in a bath, like I don't have enough room to move around freely. I know that when I was younger, I preferred baths because they gave me more of a sense of security.
Replaying of songs and sentences by the way, don't worry too much about that. It's very normal for people like us. When we replay songs, it helps to relax, or at least it does that to me. If I hear a song, like it, and replay, it is securing. It's a noise that I know, and I can remember. If you don't want your daughter to replay songs quiet as much, I'd recommend making a compromise. Try to do other things with her that might get her mind off of the song. I hope this helps somewhat. If you need me to elaborate a little more on some stuff, let me know, and I'll be glad to.
I am very straightforward. If I don’t like your shirt, I will go ahead and tell you that. Since I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings I tell them, “Please tell me if I ever say something to you that doesn’t sound very nice because I don’t mean to hurt your feelings.”
Also, since I don’t know if something I say might be rude or not, then if I have something I want to say, I will start by first saying: “I don’t mean to be rude but . . .”
Sometimes some people also find my voice and facial expressions to be rude. I tell them that I don’t know when I’m doing that and they can help me by just saying “Diana, that was rude.”
Just so everybody knows when to look at these blogs, I've decided I'll be posting one every Sunday, so that they would be constant and everyone would know when to look at them. Also, something that would make these blogs a bit more useful for others is if people could ask questions they'd like to be answered/described (you can comment underneath this post or send an email or whatever works for you).
Just because people with autism have trouble with some things, doesn't necessarily mean that we're stupid. We can be very smart. Sometimes, things just take longer to click. For instance, when I was going to Montessori, I wasn't the greatest at math, let alone any of my subjects. Always got C's and D's.
My dad was a bit worried when I went off to high school that I wouldn't do so well if I was placed in the normal Algebra I or Physical Science (Chemistry and Physics), so he placed me in the essentials of Algebra I and Physical Science, followed by the first half of Algebra I and an extra semester of Physical Science. In Algebra I, I ended up getting a 99 and a 90 in Physical Science.
At the beginning of my Sophomore year, I was allowed to take a test to see whether or not I could get out of that second half of Algebra I. Ended up getting an 85 on that test that they gave me, meaning I got to go straight to Algebra 2. My transcript said that I was allowed to be in honors biology, and I actually got an 84(B). Last quarter, I got a 96 in math, and I'm fairly proud of it. It's just a matter of confidence and time. We can do just about anything, but the people around us, have to understand that we have it a lot harder, but we aren't completely helpless.
When I was younger, I couldn't take a hug. But now it's so much easier. I used to punch holes in walls, plus, I'd go to my room and shut myself in. Now that I'm older, I've gotten over some of these problems, by giving people hugs, even when I didn't want to (and I kind of enjoy them, depending on who it is), I've learned to not take my anger out on the wall. I began to think to myself, what did the wall ever do to me. Then I'd think, almost broke my finger...
After I began shutting myself in my room, I started to gain wait, and I didn't want to continue gaining, so I started up kick-boxing with my dad so I wouldn't stay in my room. I'd go three times a week, and went for three or so years. I wasn't a very big party goer either. Of course, I told myself that I needed to get a life, and that would mean going to parties, hanging out with friends and NOT staying in my room all day. The only reason why I never wanted to go to parties was because I didn't want to leave my room. I suppose that's all.
I want to talk about some things that help me when I feel anxious-
Reading and listening to music. I have read the first three books of the Harry Potter series at least 30 times and the first five Series of Unfortunate Events books about 15 times. I also have about five or six or seven songs that I listen to when I'm anxious. I have listened to each of these between 400 and 2000 times each.
I have some favorite quotes that I like to say over and over again because I think they are funny but also because this helps me calm down too.
Reading and listening to music help to calm me down. I read and listen to my songs as soon as I get home from school to help me take a break and wind down because I have tried hard all day to hold it together and not be crabby.
I have trouble processing what people tell me. I have a tendency to ask questions over and over again when I don't understand something and I get stuck thinking about it.
I ask the person to say it a different way and sometimes that helps me to understand.
If I get really confused then I will take a break and I will write whatever comes to mind just for fun- like I might work on one of my short stories. That stops me from being stuck thinking about it too much. Then I can go back to it later and try and understand with a fresh brain.
Sometimes my step-dad drives me to the bus stop in the morning and we just barely make it there on time. I used to get really upset about things like that but now I figure, I've done my job- I get up on time and remind him that it's time to go, So if we miss the bus I know it's not my fault if he has to drive me to school. That way I don't have to worry and feel anxious about it because I've done everything I could.
I've learned that if I tell people that I have PDD-NOS, they don't know what that is. And if I explain it's a mild form of autism, then they don't believe me.
So now I just say that "sometimes I have trouble with socializing, processing what people tell me and OCD tendencies, they say "Yeah, I've noticed that about you!"