There’s a blog I love called, Musings of an Aspie written by Cynthia Kim. Cynthia Kim also has a book, I Think I Might Be Autistic , which is now available as an e-book and in paperback. She writes about her decision to pursue a diagnosis, with lots of tips for those who might be thinking of doing the same. “I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults” begins from that “aha!’ moment, addressing the many questions that follow. What do the symptoms of ASD look like in adults? Is getting a diagnosis worth it? What does an assessment consist of and how can you prepare for it?” But the book is much more than just advice about whether to get a formal diagnosis or not. It’s about identity, who we are, what that means and why we care.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes and posts from her blog:
When it came to puberty, my parents did what many parents in the seventies did: they gave me a book about puberty written especially for girls. It was a slim cranberry hardback with an ambiguous title like “Everything is Changing.”
I was a voracious reader, so I would curl up in my beanbag and scour the pages for clues to the mysterious changes that were on the horizon. I think I had many of the same fears, anxieties and curiosities about puberty as my friends had. Certainly my body went through the same changes that other girls experienced. However, I think there are some areas where girls on the spectrum would benefit from additional information or guidance. That’s what I’m going to focus on in this post.
Cynthia wrote a kind of parody about “NT’s” in the same writing style so commonly used when non autistic people write about Autistics. It is perhaps, one of my favorite posts, although it’s hard to say as there are a number vying for that position. The quote below is from her post, What is Neurotypical?
“Perhaps the most obvious giveaway is an NT’s tendency to make “small talk” or to want to “chat” with you. While small talk appears to be nonfunctional, for NTs it serves a very specific purpose. It’s a good idea to humor them and participate to whatever degree you can tolerate. If you’re patient with them, many NTs will soon feel comfortable enough to move from small talk to more interesting, in-depth conversations.
Another common sign that someone is an NT? Touching. NTs enjoy all sorts of physical contact and often use touch to greet friends, family and even casual acquaintances. While it’s hard to fathom why your real estate agent or hairdresser feels the need to send you off with a hug, try not to be judgmental while fending them off. NTs are simply wired differently.”
From Cynthia’s Aspergers and Marriage Series, Lessons From an Aspergers – NT Marriage :
The Scientist: “You don’t have to make my lunch every morning. I can pick something up in the cafeteria.”
Me: “I don’t mind. It only takes a few minutes and I know you’d rather have something healthy to eat. This way you don’t have to waste time waiting in line.”
The Scientist: “So you mean you make my lunch because you care about me, right?”
I will end with a quote from her post, A Cognitive Defense of Stimming (or Why “Quiet Hands” Makes Math Harder):
The obvious reason for objecting to “quiet hands”-type instruction is that it shames the child for moving in a way that is natural and comforting for them. Others have written eloquently and in great depth about this subject; I’ve linked to some key pieces below rather than repeating what has already been said.
The case I want to make against “quiet hands” is that in addition to being emotionally damaging, it’s cognitively counterproductive. Think back to the experiment where the people who were told to resist eating chocolate gave up more easily on solving puzzles. Substitute stimming for chocolate and learning long division for solving puzzles. Add in the fact that autistic people have impaired executive function to begin with, making inhibition of actions more challenging, and you can see why asking a child to resist stimming is counterproductive if you’d also like them to learn a new skill.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cynthia’s work, I urge you to go now and enjoy, and for those who already know about her writing, how did my medley of some of my favorite posts from her blog measure up against yours?