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The Autistic Mermaid

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April 2016

What I’ve Learnt

It was only in January 2016 that it was first suggested by a medical professional that I could be on the Autism Spectrum. I owe my psychiatrist so much for planting that seed in my head and kicking off what has been, to date, one of the most enlightening periods of my life. That seed is now thriving and blossoming and I would like to share what I have learnt in short time as part of the Autistic community.  Continue reading “What I’ve Learnt”

Emotional/Sensory Toolkit

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I’ve always considered myself to be relatively self-aware. Until I discovered I am Autistic. Now I am not only finding reasons and explanations for my behaviour and experiences in the last 28 years, I am discovering new things about myself. This has come about via several different methods, the #ActuallyAutistic community on Twitter, independent internet research, YouTube videos and books on the subject of autism and Asperger’s.  Continue reading “Emotional/Sensory Toolkit”

Challenges of being a parent with Aspergers

Introvert/Extrovert

I am a fully fledged introvert. With all the classic symptoms. I get my energy from quiet alone time. I crave quiet alone time. I somehow managed to give birth to the complete opposite of me. My daughter is an extrovert. She gets her energy from being around people. She is a drama queen. She sings when she’s happy or content. Loudly. She makes a lot of noise and is always up in my grill. I can only cope with this for so long before I need to retreat.

Battery recharging

After a long busy day, I need time to myself. I need to switch off and unwind. Everything I do and every social interaction I have drains my battery. My daughter however, is the proverbial Duracell Bunny. She never runs out of energy. Many an evening I have spent willing her to go to sleep so that I can get the quiet time I need. She is usually still bouncing off the walls at 10pm despite having done things that would have wiped me out hours before her.

Pretend play

Now she’s older (9) this one isn’t really an issue but it definitely was when she was younger. A typical autistic trait is the inability to engage in pretend/fantasy play. I definitely got given that trait. I find it nonsense. It literally makes no sense to me why you would want to pretend that your teddies are having a tea party. And making them “drink tea” and make all the noises just baffles me and makes me feel stupid.

Having a neurotypical child, she wanted to do this sort of thing. I avoided it as much as possible. I can never be the parent who will fling a blanket over our heads and pretend we’re camping in the desert, creating an elaborate story that goes along with it. I just can’t.

Quiet time/Noise

As previously mentioned, my daughter makes a lot of noise. In general, her volume controls seem to be constantly set to ‘high’, even in regular speech. She makes high pitched noises which really grate on me and I am constantly asking her to be quiet. not to shut up, just to lower the volume a bit. She also has the TV on too loud for my liking. And I suspect as a teenager, it will be the latest version of One Direction blaring out of her bedroom. And I will be the cliche parent shouting “turn that racket down!”. Only it’ll be because of my sensory issues. I will encourage the use of wireless headphones.

Sensory issues

Among other sensory issues that we clash on is lights. You can tell when my daughter is home because all the main lights are switched on. Even when she has left the room. I hate the main lights being on and have gotten around this by having fairy lights and softer lamps around the house. But no, I get attacked my the main lights when she’s around.

Food is also a biggie. I have a very limited diet due to sensory issues. Mostly to do with the actual eating of food and different textures, but also the sight and smell of somethings can set of a mini meltdown. When I became a parent, I didn’t know that I had aspergers so just went along with the idea that I was just a ‘fussy eater’. I didn’t want my daughter to be like me so had to brave some pretty traumatic experiences involving my least liked foods in order to feed her a varied and balanced diet. I had to train myself to be able to touch cooked pasta. Yes, you read that right. I still freak out about baked bean juice though.

Social

Unfortunately, and this is probably the thing that gets me down the most about parenting with Apserger’s, my difficulties with social situations have had a negative impact on my daughter. I hate the school playground. All the mums in their cliques and I’ve never been able to fit in. I don’t do small talk. And I find it difficult to make friends. This means that I don’t have any ‘mum friends’. My daughter doesn’t get invited to kids houses to play or go round for tea. And I don’t know anyone well enough to invite their child round to our house either. Not that that would be very appealing. One loud child in the house is bad enough, 2 or more would trigger a major meltdown.

Executive function

Kids at school have a lot of shit going on. I find it difficult to keep up with it all. I shouldn’t, because all the information is given to me. It just disappears from my mind. Or I think, I’ll sort that nearer the time. And then it is ‘the time’ which leads to panic and stress and last minute faffing. I do like to be organised. But the little things that matter often escape me. Like a permission slip that needs signing and sending back to school. Or washing her PE kit ready for when she needs it. I have tried to put multiple systems in place to overcome this but all have so far failed.

Lack of understanding

On my part that is. I often forget that other people don’t think the exact same way that I do. So I often get surprised and confused about her reaction to something, or the way she feels about something because I don’t feel the same way or can’t put myself in her shoes and I struggle to understand her point of view and her feelings. This can lead to arguments and I think sometimes makes her feel like I don’t care about her. Because I can also come across as quite cold.

Social anxiety

This prevents me from doing activities with my daughter. If I’m feeling particularly anxious, I don’t want to leave the house. Often things that you have to do to keep the kids entertained involves going to busy places. Local attractions, or even just a shopping centre. Not only do I experience social anxiety, about being around people and having to talk to people and make unexpected conversation and small talk, these places provide massive sensory overload and be completely overwhelming. I can cope with this for a short amount of time but soon find myself saying “ok, we’re going home now”, when she feels like we’ve only just got there.

The Aspie Mermaid x

Online Dating Profiles

Something of a departure from my usual posts but something that takes up a lot of my time – the world of online dating. The topic of this post focuses mainly on profiles and online communication I have more thoughts on actual dates that will come later no doubt!  Continue reading “Online Dating Profiles”

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