Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Please Excuse The Delay

Hi everyone! I was hoping to have the book I'm working on ready by, um, two days ago, so it would be around in time for Christmas. Unfortunately, some complications have come up, both with the book (I like to write in different colors, but the bright pink ink I used on some of the pages does not translate to a scanned version) and in my personal life (I recently went through a traumatizing experience that, even though it only lasted about five minutes, was really upsetting to me and has been replaying in my head over and over ever since. I will write about it eventually, but because it involves my family, I just need some time to process it. A few days or weeks or something.)

So... I'm going to set a new date for the book, and maybe even add some more chapters to it! Here are the chapters I have so far: What I Wish People Knew About Autism, Aspergers In Females, My Answers To Things People Say About ADHD, Bullying, Responding to Bullying, What NOT To say To Someone With ADHD, Autism, Learning Disabilities, Mental Health Conditions, etc, Why Bother Getting DIagnosed, To Med Or Not To Med, Most Important Advice, and a quiz at the end. 

Please let me know if you have other ideas that you think belong in this book! So far it is only 70 pages (which feels a lot longer when you are writing it longhand!) so I'd like to beef it up a little as long as I'm taking some extra time with it! 

If anyone is interested in previewing what I have so far and letting me know which parts suck the most, I would be happy to send you the PDF file! 

In the mean time... I am going to take a short nap, as I am not feeling particularly well today. Goodnight!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

So, It's Official!

 Hi everyone! I haven't written in a few days. For the past two nights, I have been busy doing my autism evaluation. For those of you who didn't read about it or don't remember, a bloggy friend did something really awesome for me... she paid for me to have an evaluation with Tania Marshall, an expert in female Asperger's Syndrome. I have mentioned before that, although I was told I probably had Aspergers by a therapist, and have always identified with most of the things I read about it, I was never officially diagnosed. Because I have an imagination and some form of social skills, at the evaluation I did go in for about 10 years ago (it was at University of Illinois and was free) the psychologist didn't think I had autism, and diagnosed me with ADHD instead. Actually, Tania Marshall told me that about 80% of females with Aspergers also have ADHD, so, I guess it does fit!

So, for the evaluation, the first thing I had to do was write an "autobiography" with some of my memories from childhood. Then I had the "in person" evaluation, which was actually on Skype. She went over my autobiography with me and asked me some questions about it, asked me about the rest of my life, and about my family history and previous diagnoses and junk. 

Then, before the next day, I had to send her something creative I had done (I sent her one of the stories I wrote and showed her the books I've self-published on Amazon), take the RAAD test online and send her the results, and get someone close to me to write a paragraph-long description of my strengths and weaknesses. And finally, last night, I met with her again on Skype and talked some more about my experiences. 

Most of the things I told her, she said they were very typical of women with Aspergers, It was almost funny how everything I said (even the things I thought were unique to me, like how when I was a kid I used to sneak into the classroom bathroom to read when I was supposed to be learning math) was actually pretty common. 

Because Australia is upside-down from us, where she was it was a hot and sunny summer morning, and where I live it was a dark and chilly evening. Yesterday I had also spent the whole day at the Museum of Science and Industry with my dad, and I was really tired from walking around all day. So it was 10:30 at night by the time the session was coming to an end. Tania told me, "Congratulations! You have Aspergers!" She kept asking me if I had any questions, but unfortunately I was so sleepy at that point, I couldn't really focus my brain. I was just glad to hear that what I've always thought was true, was finally confirmed! 

One very interesting thing is, if you go to Tania Marshall's website, you can see that she has written a book about females with Aspergers, called AspienGirl. It makes reference to the "Planet Aspien." The description explains that many girls and women with Aspergers (even before knowing they have Aspergers) have spent their lives feeling like they were aliens from another planet. 

Hmm... sound familiar??? I told you I was an alien! 

The anticlimactic part was when I went downstairs and announced to my parents that I had an official diagnosis of Aspergers. They pretty much said, "Uh, yeah, so? We already knew that!" I tried to explain to them the difference between thinking and knowing. But they were too busy watching TV to listen. 

Some people balk at the idea of getting a diagnosis. I know of parents, in particular, who become very sad when they find out their young child has autism. I think in many cases people see a diagnosis as confirming that something is wrong with the person (or themselves) and that they will never live an ordinary life. For me, though, that is a moot point! I already knew something was strange about me, and I have already not lived an ordinary life. But ordinary has never been a goal of mine, anyways. I'd prefer extraordinary! And maybe, now that I have an official diagnosis, it can help me learn more and do more to move ahead with my life and be independent!

At any rate, I am officially an Aspie... an AspienGirl.  Maybe I've finally found my home planet!

I already said it and I'll say it again, a million thanks to my friend (I don't know if she wants to be identified so I won't blurt out her name) for making this possible for me! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Cover

I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday that I am working on a book that is sort of based on this blog, that people could share with their non-blogreading friends and family members. I am hoping to finish it by December 15, which is in 8 days. (I'm a fast writer... plus a lot of the work is already done for me, since I am expanding on some of my blog posts!) 

The book is kind of different from usual books, because I am writing it in longhand, with different colors of ink, and illustrating it with my own little sketches. I want it to be like a letter I am writing to the world. 

I have already made the cover, and I thought I would give you a sneak preview! 

What do you think?

If you want to help me out, please tell me if there are any particular blog posts, or any other topics, that you would like to see in the book!

In other news, the first part of my evaluation for Aspergers is tomorrow, late at night. I will let you know on Tuesday how it goes!

I think I am going to cut this short because I have a wicked stomachache from drinking too much lemonade and eating too much flan! (A weird combination, to be sure!) 

Friday, December 5, 2014

No Particular Topic

This is a wayward post with no specific topic. I just wanted to give an update on a few things, so all of my thousands of twelve fans don't think I abandoned my blog! 

Okay. Last time I wrote, I told you about my idea for a learning center type place for neurologically diverse kids. I got lots of feedback from people who thought it was a great idea! I do seriously want to do it someday... maybe someday soon. This is the kind of thing that I wish I could just get up tomorrow morning and start doing. But there is a lot more involved. I don't even know all the things that would be involved! I'd at least have to get a building, get some sort of business license, do a bunch of advertising, and hire some people. I don't think the $209 I have in the bank right now would cover all of this! 

However, rest assured that it is definitely a long term plan. I've been thinking about it every day. In fact, if anyone has any advice on how to start a business, I'd love to hear it! I think I may still attempt to get a regular teaching job for this fall, hoping to work for a year or two to build up funds and credentials. But, who knows... if a job doesn't materialize, I might just put my plan into action earlier! 

Also, a few people have suggested that I should write a book. I am always working on my memoir, off and on. But I also got it into my head to write a book that is sort of based on this blog, that people could share with their non-blogreading friends and family members. So I am in the process of creating such a book. I say "creating" because it is more like an art project. I am writing it out in long-hand, with scratched out mistakes and everything, in different colored ink, with my own little illustrations. I want it to be really me, unedited, as if I am in the same room talking to the person. I am basically expanding on some of my blog entries about autism, ADHD, etc. 

My question to you is, what would you like to see included in this book? Do you have favorite blog entries you think should belong, or specific topics you think others would like to hear about? Let me know!

I hope to have the book finished by December 15. When you self-publish, you can really expedite the publishing process that way! So, it will be ready in time for Christmas, if anyone wants to give it as a gift! 

Meanwhile, I am nervous right now because tomorrow I have to take my grandpa shopping. I am not nervous about that part... he is fun to hang out with... but I am nervous about driving him. The whole reason he asked me to is because my grandmother has vertigo and cannot drive, and my grandpa is more or less blind. But I hate driving other people. I am very self-conscious about driving with other adults in my car. People can be very critical of others' driving skills. I am a safe driver, but I have poor depth perception and a terrible sense of direction. Plus I never know if others think I am going too fast or too slow, breaking too jerkily, etc. 

Only a handful of people have had the exciting privilege of riding as a passenger with me. One of them was my Auntie Em. Unfortunately, when I tried to back out of her garage the first time, I knocked the side mirror against the garage doorway. I told you I have bad depth perception. Other than that, it went pretty well though! The other people have been my parents for very short distances, and little kids who are too young to be backseat drivers. 

Also I have heard from my Aunt Bea, who gives them rides a lot of the time, and she says my grandpa yells at her a lot about her driving. 

So, yeah, something to be anxious about! 

So, I'm going to go scruffle up some dinner now, and I will let you know how it all goes! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sometimes I Dream Big

Well I guess I failed at NaBloPoMo, but oh well... I did pretty good! I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving! 

I've been waiting all day to write about this dream I had last night. I dreamed that I started this learning center type place for neurologically diverse kids and their families. There was a preschool program, a tutoring program for older kids, afterschool clubs, respite care, and other cool stuff. 

It could be just a dream. But several years ago (which was actually just last summer, I just realized, but time is weird in my brain) my sister-in-law Sunny had a dream that she opened a resale store in her town and became very successful at it. She kept thinking about it, and she talked about it to some people, and within less than a year, her resale store became a reality! Some people expected the store to fail, but it has been open for 5 months and is thriving. 

So maybe my dream could thrive too! I know I actually thought of something like this before and even blogged about it maybe, but this new version seems a little more reasonable and possible. It seems really cool to me because I'd be doing what I love... teaching, and helping kids enjoy learning... without having to follow a lot of the strict rules that come with teaching in actual schools. It would be more about helping kids explore and discover and grow, and less about test scores and standards and curriculum. 

I've always heard that it is a good idea to visualize something you want, and even think of it as if it is already a reality. So I actually made a website for it, as if it was an existing organization (but without an address, phone number and other stuff... I don't want people to actually start signing up for it or something, until it actually exists!) The last page on the site is a poll you can take. If you want to visit my site and read all about my dream as if it were reality, check out Over The Rainbow

Okay, that is all I have for now. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Look At This

I don't have much time to blog today because I am in the midst of a project I am trying to get ready in time for Thanksgiving... but in the spirit of NaBloPoMo, here is a video of Lily playing with her tennis ball in the snow! It was a whole new experience for her... she was running around and kicking it and shaking it! At one point (not in the video) the snow on the ball made it stick like Velcro to her paw (her fur tends to collect snowballs) and she was shaking her arm until the ball flew off... and then she chased it happily! She also discovered that if she buried the ball, she could not smell it in the snow, which meant she had the added challenge of trying to find it! At least someone enjoys winter!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Somebody Get Me This For Christmas!

For some reason, one of the all-time most popular posts on this blog is this one, on which I posted about some of the items I remember having in childhood. One of the things I talked about was my Colecovision, the pre-Nintendo game console that my brother and I used to play video games on.

So, I was shopping with my mom yesterday, and look what I saw in the store! (And by the way, this is not a sponsored post. I wish it was, so they would send me one of these!)
They are apparently selling all sorts of consoles that we children of the 80's remember fondly. They have Sega (actually that came along a little later than the others), Intellivision, and Atari.

My aunt and uncle are 8 and 6 years older than me, and they are the ones that taught my brother and I to play video games. I can't remember what they had at their house... my mom says it was Atari, but I seem to think it was Intellivision. Anyways I have really great memories of the four of us sitting on the floor in the family room at my grandparents' house taking turns with the controller With both Coleco and the other console, a lot of the games came with a little card that you slid into the controller, so you could see which buttons to push... for instance a baseball game would have buttons for different kinds of swings and throws. I loved the feeling of pushing the buttons. For some reason it was really stimmy to me.

And at my grandparents' house my favorite game was this racehorse game, because all of the horses were a different color and the buttons on the controller card were different colors. I'm not sure I even understood how to play the game, but I just loved watching those colored horses! This is what it looked like. Awesome graphics, right?

We also used to play Pepper II (it was like Pacman), Smurfs, Centipede, Carnival, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, and I seem to remember some sort of educational alphabet game of some sort.

I am so getting one of these, somehow or another! Somebody notify Santa Claus!

Well, I am not great at ending posts, so... I will just back away slowly.