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This was an email to my parents, first.




I suspect the reason why Aspies and Auties get sensory overload is that in neurotypical people, the brain doesn't pay attention to most of the data, just looks for differences. But in people on the autism spectrum, our brains are hyperattuned to details. We see all the little details that NTs (neurotypical people) don't. It explains why I was always the first to notice things like leaks and other problematic things, because the slightest changes are perceptible to me. And, ironically, it also explains why sometimes I miss the completely obvious - hyper-attention to details can make you miss more obvious things.

I generally cope with sensory overload by spacing out, ignoring all but the most crucial information. But some days I get very curious about things around me, looking at everything, and I soon burn myself out.

AHA! My memory problems explained! It's the Asperger's! (See second link, third paragraph.)

RE: dyspraxia/Proprioceptive dysfunction, my comment to the author would be: speak for yourself. With the exception of a few twisted ankles caused by a combo of my shoes and crappy pavement, I am very graceful. Oh, and there are times my multiplicity gets in the way, when several of us try to move in different directions at once. But usually, I'm quite graceful.

RE: Literalism in humor. An ex of a friend of mine, who is much higher on the autism side of the spectrum from either of us, had a great joke. When my friend said, "The bus is coming," he said, "That's more about the sex life of a bus than I wanted to know."

RE: Anxiety and touching. There was a woman coworker at the casino I worked at, a very nice woman, a 40-something mother; she had this habit of touching people. It was all perfectly innocent, like shoulder taps and so on, but nearly made me jump out of my skin every time. I was soooo tempted to tell her not to do that, but never did. Just like I never told the idiot boss that her sexist assumption that because I am biologically male I should be strong pissed me off. I am not strong, I have never been. I had to literally drag those damned plastic boxes of silverware across the floor because 1. They were too heavy. 2. Even if I could pick one up, they hurt my hands. How anyone could lift those damn things, I will never know, but there were 15 year old girls who could carry them without a problem while I consistently could not. Every time that idiot boss made a comment like that, I wanted to punch her in the goddamn face. But if I had, I probably would've just ended up breaking a bone in my hand.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 4th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
Which model Terminator did you work for?

LOL! :-D

My girlfriend sometimes tells me things she's already told me, I suspect even in the exact same words. When I tell her "you've already told me about that twice" she doesn't stop, she just HAS to finish the story. I don't know if this is normal or a sign of some issue (yeah, Alzheimer's, har har), and frankly I don't care except at the times she talks about how before we first met in real life she was already sure, but she wanted to check if I don't hug in an unpleasant way... and then she shows by example what unpleasant people hug like, some kind of faint embrace combined with fast (but not hard) shoulder tapping. When I'm touched that way, that hurts, and it also pushes my "instant rage" button, so I have to quickly freeze to stop my defensive instincts.

lillakat tends to repeat the same stories over and over and over again, too.

As far as I can remember I've only been too slow to freeze once, a boy thought it would be funny to give me a tickle attack from behind while I was holding some metal objects... Fortunately I didn't hurt him, cause beating a younger kid with a piece of metal is bad news.


I am quite sensitive to touch, but unlike that of some other autistic people my mind has no difficulty distinguishing between what's still sort of sensible to consider a threat and what's harmless. (I know some have difficulty with hugs even from their partners)

My only issue is that I have to give permission. I have to be forewarned and give consent, or else it triggers me.

I guess tickling is an exception to that when I can see it coming, it doesn't make me want to beat anyone but it's definitely not nice... except when I'm in a very submissive mood, LOL.

I can't stand tickling, intentional or not. Brooke (kengr) keeps trying to get me to learn how to process certain touches as erotic instead of ticklish, but it just annoys me. No matter how many times I tell her to stop, she'll stop for a bit but keep trying again later. >:-(

Apart from "threats" I don't want to be touched by anyone who smells unpleasant to me - and I've got a very sensitive nose.

Well that counts me out, I'm afraid. Lilla says I smell odd... partly the muskier adult odor, and partly the dry, clean smell of a child, like I'm not just mentally both but physically both as well.

Current mood: in need of more people to hug

(Deleted comment)
Dec. 5th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
Dec. 4th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Oh hell.
Dec. 5th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC)
Dec. 4th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
It's very strange. When I take online screening tests, I generally score the complete opposite of aspie/autie. But my experiences are eerily like the ones described in those articles, and the things you mention.

I apparently acquired all my verbal skills at once - I knew how to read when I was two years old. And I spent as much time as possible reading!(I still do.) My awareness and senses were, and are, highly acute, but instead of trying to block things out, I consciously worked on making myself more sensitive, because I wanted to know as much as possible about what was going on around me. I was so smart, the school didn't know what to do with me; I wound up getting skipped twice, which made me two years younger than everyone else in my grade by the time I got to junior high. I was only 16 when I graduated from high school. My overwhelming interests all involved science and/or technology, not the "feminine" things that were "appropriate" for girls. (Keep in mind that this was going on in the 1950s and 1960s, when gender roles were far more rigidly defined.) On Career Day, when I expressed an interest in becoming an airline pilot, I was referred to a pshrink because I "wasn't properly adjusted to my role as a female". I was hopeless at hairdos and makeup and fashion, and I felt nothing but contempt for the shallow, bitchy girls around me. I had no idea how to flirt - not that it would have done me any good, because the boys either thought of me as "one of the guys", or I was just too weird for them, period.

Based on all of this, I should be both Asperger's and transgendered. But I'm not. And that puzzles me.

Edited at 2010-12-04 08:37 pm (UTC)
Dec. 4th, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
Keep in mind that transgendered can involve just wanting to "live like" a member of the other gender without needing changes to their body. Female bodied folks can get away with that far more easily than male bodied can.

Dec. 5th, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
I never wanted to be a boy, or even live like one - I just wanted to do the cool things with science and machinery that boys got to do. Gender just always seemed to me to be irrelevant to intellectual activities. I do, however, seem to be mostly inclined towards heterosexuality.

Dec. 5th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
sex, gender and sexuality are independent variables. There *tend* to be correlations, but they aren't required to be aligned neatly.
Dec. 7th, 2010 02:18 pm (UTC)
People who know me (and, oddly enough, this seems to be especially true of my lesbian and transgendered friends) tell me they consider me almost completely androgynous. The first time anyone told me this, I was quite flattered ;-D

Dec. 5th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
On Career Day, when I expressed an interest in becoming an airline pilot, I was referred to a pshrink because I "wasn't properly adjusted to my role as a female"

Grrrr... stupid gender roles.

I was hopeless at hairdos and makeup and fashion, and I felt nothing but contempt for the shallow, bitchy girls around me. I had no idea how to flirt

I'm MTF trans and I have no idea how to do that stuff either. I don't need it. I can braid my hair, and that's good enough for me. I don't even need makeup, I'm androgynous enough.
Dec. 5th, 2010 11:13 am (UTC)
Grrrr... stupid gender roles.

Oh, that wasn't nearly the worst. In junior high, girls took half a year of home ec and half a year of study hall, and boys took half a year of shop and half a year of study hall. I asked my guidance counselor why everybody didn't take half a year of home ec and half a year of shop, because study hall is a complete waste of time, and girls could stand to know how to hammer a nail or change a tire, and boys might need to know how to sew on a button or fry an egg if there weren't any women available to do it for them. I was told that it was against insurance regulations for girls to even set foot in the shop area. And then I was sent to the school pshrink, because I was "obviously delusional" for even suggesting such a notion. (By the time my son got to junior high, it was standard policy for everyone to take both, and nobody thought anything about it. It went from unimaginable to unremarkable in thirty years.)

Dec. 5th, 2010 06:43 pm (UTC)
That's weird even without the boy/girl divide.

When I was in Junior High (67-69) the seventh grade boys took one semester of drafting and one semester of "electronics". The 8th graders took one semester of wood shop and one of metal shop. 9th graders got to take whichever they wanted.

Girls were in home ec. I seem to recall hearing something about a guy in home ec, but I'm not certain.

In my senior year, at a *tiny* high school in farm country there was at least one guy taking home ec, and as I recall other than a few jokes, it was pretty much "whatever".
Dec. 7th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
I graduated from high school in 1964, so I would have been in junior high in 1958 and 1959 - ten years before you, and that was a watershed ten years in society. If I remember correctly, 7th grade boys got one semester of wood shop, and 8th grade boys got one semester of auto shop. 7th grade girls got cooking, 8th grade girls got sewing. (9th grade was the freshman year of high school.) This was the standard New York State curriculum. (Looking back, it might have been the case that they had too many students and not enough equipment to be able to give everybody a full year of shop or home ec. at each level, so they had to split it into two groups.) But even the students realized that "study hall" was a complete waste of time.

Even at the tender age of ten (when I was skipped into seventh grade), I believed that the more skills a person could acquire, the better equipped they'd be for whatever life could throw at them. Yes, my primary reason for suggesting that everybody should take both shop and home ec. was because I wanted to take shop - but, as I said, it seemed to me that a boy might need to sew a button on his clothes or scramble an egg when there were no women around, and a girl might need to nail something together or change a flat tire when there were no men around. But, no, this idea was far too radical for 1958 - girls must never set foot in the shop (because they were so inherently incompetent that they'd only injure themselves), and boys must never set foot in the kitchen or sewing room (because to do so would irrevocably emasculate them).

Yeah, fifty years later, I'm still bitter about it...

Dec. 8th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
I loved study halls. They gave me time to read. Study in a study hall! Ha! I did just enough schoolwork to keep from completely failing. I was one of those kids who was too smart for the system, and didn't like schoolwork. But I almost always aced tests. (I say almost always because math was one thing I never was any good at. I still need a calculator or several minutes to add/subtract really simple, non-round numbers, and forget about doing multiplication or division without a calculator!)
Dec. 8th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
Way back in second grade, I figured out the trick of hiding a book I wanted to read inside a textbook that I was supposed to be reading in class. I also read while I walked back and forth to school - how I managed not to walk out into traffic, or trip going over a curb, I don't know!

I also suck at math. I can barely remember my phone number, and when I need to do arithmetic, I usually count on my fingers. (Portable calculators hadn't been invented yet.)

Dec. 8th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Phhh. That's nothing. I brazenly read what I wanted to in class without hiding it inside a text book. Literally not a single fuck was given by me.

I also read while I walked back and forth to school - how I managed not to walk out into traffic, or trip going over a curb, I don't know!

I did that too!

Ah yes, I count on my fingers at times. And it took a long time to remember my new phone number! It just would not stay in my head. Until I stumbled on an interesting little life hack: http://fayanora.livejournal.com/784445.html
Dec. 9th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Alas, the baby-talk numbers don't work any better for me than regular ones :-(

(And now I've got an earworm of the WW II novelty song... Down in da medda in a itty-bitty poo, Fwam fwee widdew fishies an' a mama fishie too; "Fwim!" said da mamma fishie, "Fwim if oo tan!", An' dey fwam an' dey fwam wight ova da dam...)

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


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