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My mother has a degree in philosophy. My father has a degree in engineering. They have three sons, of which I am the youngest. My oldest brother is an architect, the middle son is an engineer, and I am an artist. When I can keep it together, that is.

I was born in July, 1966. My earliest memories are all sensory. The vivid colors and dusty textures of sidewalk chalk art in Trafalgar Square in London, UK. The roar of a busy city. The intricate beauty of snapdragons. The sweet fragrance of honeysuckle. The torturous scratchiness of wool clothing. That was when my father was working in London in 1969. I had a memorable social interaction that year as well. It was at my nursery school. I was off doing my own thing with building blocks when I overheard the class bully scheming with his cronies to topple a classmate doing a head stand. This was not the first time they’d done this, and always ended in tears. I decided to go warn the victim, which I did, but he seemed unconcerned. Then, I saw the gang of goons approaching. I opted for a less traumatic end to the headstand and pushed him off balance myself, just enough so he’d have to come out of it – nowhere near the ultraviolence the bully had in mind. Come out of it he did, and immediately ran to the teacher and pointed an accusatory finger at me. The teacher would hear none of my theories on cause and effect and banished me to the corner to consider my antisocial crimes. Now, 41 years later it just occurs to me that it may have been an elaborate ruse to put me in that corner. Was the headstander in on it?

Fast forward to the 3rd or 4th grade back in the U.S. I used to hand flap, but received such a tremendous amount of teasing and torment from my peers over it that I took to sitting on them, or clasping one with the other. In the 4th grade, each student was given a homework assignment over the weekend to make a drawing of an insect of their choice. I chose a bee – on poster board, large, proportionate, detailed, in color, with labeled parts and sections. I spent several hours on it. The following Monday we presented our pictures to the rest of the class. When my turn came up, the teacher called me a cheat in front of my classmates – said my father had to have done most of the work. I was adamant that he hadn’t helped me at all – that it was my work, but then not only was I a cheater, but a liar too. My parents put me into a different school.

I don’t remember much between then and 8th grade, when the social and organizational demands became much more taxing. The psychological testing began. IQ tests and inkblots. A period in the special education class (which I spent playing chess with the teacher). A nice man. Hair to his shoulders, balding, glasses, grey tweedy suit jackets. One thing my mother remembers that stood out from then was the result of one of those tests. The examiner told her I’d completed a task in a way they’d never seen before. The task was to copy a simple line picture. It was a cross shape comprised of a horizontal zig-zag with a vertical line. When I copied it, instead of using two operations (drawing the zig-zag line and the vertical line), I drew all the ‘zigs’, then all the ‘zags’, then the vertical line in two parts (top and bottom).

An autism expert might have caught it then, but there weren’t any autism experts hanging about in junior high in the 70s.

And so the long succession of psychologists and psychiatrists and diagnoses.

Confusing the issue is my diagnosis of 47XXY(male) at the age of 14. I tend to think it contributed to my autism eluding the pros for so long, as also happens with girls.

So instead of autism, it’s manic-depressive (bipolar), it’s passive-aggressive, it’s borderline personality disorder with schizoid affectations, it’s drug addiction (give me a break! Anyone who thinks a half ounce of cannabis over a year’s time is addiction needs to get out more), it’s narcissistic personality disorder. Over twenty years, a new diagnosis ever four or so. Oh! And pills! Lots of them. None of them had any good effect on me. Zoloft was the only one that was any fun, but since it made my head feel like it was boiling, and my brain perhaps stewing in it’s own juices, I had to give it up.

I was right

I did forget I had a blog. I suppose since blogging doesn’t exactly fall into the realm of my obsessions, it’s easily forgotten.

Now that I have engaged one whose blog I read occasionally and disagree with emphatically, and linked him here in a reply to his latest obsessive diatribe against ‘some’ of those on the same autistic spectrum as his son (and very likely himself as well)…I may have more to say. :D

Wherefores

This is a reply I made to someone else’s blog, which maybe you should read first, but then you could just read my comment to that blog there instead of here, and then you might comment on that blog instead of this one, because you’d already read this there, so you’d no reason to come back here. (Who am I kidding? Nobody ever comes here. It’s not like I’ve advertised at any time) Do as you wilt:  http://ballastexistenz.autistics.org/?p=611
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I found this piece through a link from a post on AFF, so it would seem we’re not all “aspie supremacists” over there.

Though I will say that I’ve encountered more than a couple there myself, in the time I have been there (something over a year). They’ve become much more vocal with the coming change to the DSM which will replace the ‘LFA, HFA, Asperger’s, PDD_NOS’ model with ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)- severely disabling, moderately disabling, mildly disabling, some autistic traits but non-disabling’ model. The supremacists are opposed to it. Their primary complaint coming down to not wanting to be associated with autists who are more severely disabled than they are.

Predictably, but also ironically since he is effectly agreeing with his sworn enemies, Harold L. Doherty is also opposed to it, going so far as to delineate between the so-called ‘high-functioning’ and people with “actual autism”.

I am annoyed by both the supremacists and Doherty and people who think like him. They all have the same idea about autism. That there are only two kinds of autists. Diaper-wearing droolers or number-crunching savants. And both sides of the neurodiversity/curebie debate are seemingly in utter and complete denial that there are also autists who are BOTH, or NEITHER.

Personally, I’d say I’m a bit of both and a bit of neither. I came to my Asperger’s diagnosis later in life, at 42. This after being diagnosed with all manner of personality disorders and having had a variety of psych medications tested on me since I was 14.

Some have said I’m a brilliant artist. I’ve certainly done a lot of art. Drawing, painting, printmaking, fractals, and now sculpture. And pots. Ceramics is my obsession these days.

But I’m not what could be called successful by any stretch of the imagination. Flunked out of university. Worked 21 jobs in 3 years. I’ve been drawing social security disability (determined to be a pre-existing condition before I turned 18) since I was 27.

Trying to explain myself to someone once, I said that I experience the world in exquisite detail. Sight, sound, smell, sensations relating to touch…which is a times a blessing, and at other times a curse.

Anyway. I appreciate this blog, ballastexistenz. I started one myself to try to provide a picture of an autist who is neither drooling nor raking in big bucks as an IT consultant. An autist who’s got good days and not so good days. I titled it ‘Autistic Terrain’, as it ties into ‘Islets of ability’. Unfortunately, I don’t remember I’ve got a blog most of the time, so there isn’t much to it. I think I’ll cheat a bit and make this reply to your blog part of my blog so I’ll have three entries. XD

Global Warming

I get so tired of all these people saying, “Hey look! It’s snowing. That means global warming is just radical left-wing propaganda.”

One or two degrees isn’t going to make much of a difference in temperate regions when the air temperature goes low enough for snow. It does make a difference where seasonal ice formation is concerned. And the polar icecaps remaining frozen.

The devil is in the details, as the saying goes, and it’s true. I suppose I should not allow the NT majority’s lack of detail perception and systemizing thought-processing to stress me out, but when these people are in charge of possible world outcomes, it does a bit.

Find your ‘SQ’

http://www.glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/SystemizingQuotient/SystemizingQuotient.aspx

Mine is 67. Woo-hoo!

To say I have sensitive skin is an understatement.  If I shave two days in a row I get razor burn.  So mostly I don’t shave.

I say “mostly” because I have periods where anything touching my flesh is maddening, and that “anything” includes facial hair.

When I was a kid, my clothes were hand-me-downs from my brothers – some of them with textures that I found very unpleasant.  Growing up not obviously Autist though, and with Asperger’s not even on the books,  nobody knew what I was going through with my sensory issues, and me – I complained a bit, but to no avail. Like most of the stuff I had/have a hard time with, back then I just assumed everyone had to deal with these things and did so – seemingly effortlessly….except me.

I don’t wear hats because I can’t stand the feel of them on my head.  I don’t wear my glasses for the same reason, but if there’s bright light I have to contend with, I’ll tolerate sunglasses as the lesser of two evils.  I don’t like people touching my head (or the rest of me for that matter) and so my visits to the barber are few and far between.  Usually when my hair starts tweaking me out.

Like my beard is.  These past few days it’s gotten progressively annoying.  So much so that I have just now finished attacking it with scissors and now I wait anxiously for my cordless trimmer to recharge so I can get rid of another layer of it prior to scraping the remainder off of my face with a razor.

If I could cut my own hair, I’d take care of that too – cut most of it off.  Tried it once.  What a disaster.  So it’s off to the barber tomorrow I suppose.  Blah.

Exit the freak…Enter the creep.  XD

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