Category Archives: Monday Morning Musings

Monday Morning Musings (5-27)

DSM-5 Goes Live

The DSM-5 was released last week. It’s still impossible to find the full criteria online anywhere, but here’s a summary of the major changes, according to a short video on the APA website.

1. Merges Asperger’s syndrome, PDD-NOS, childhood disintegrative disorder and autism into a single diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

2. Diagnosis is now based on two criteria instead of three:

  • Social communication (collapsing the formerly separate social and communication domains)

  • Restricted, repetitive behaviors

An interesting shift is that while social communication impairments are seen as lifelong and pervasive, RRBs are not. An adult can now receive an ASD diagnosis based on current social communication impairments and a history of RRBs.

3. The addition of specifiers like age at onset, type of onset (skill loss or not), intellectual disability, verbal impairment, and co-morbid conditions present (i.e. ADHD, anxiety disorders, epilepsy). There will also be a 3-level severity scale assigned to each of the two diagnostic criteria.

If you’re interested in how the DSM-5 guidelines might be implemented in practice I found a set of guidelines developed for pediatricians at the University of Washington hospital. Keep in mind that those are preliminary (not necessarily reflecting the final release of DSM-5 and developed by one hospital.)

Weighted Blankets: Not Just for Kids

Last month my daughter surprised me with a weighted blanket for my birthday. Look how adorable it is:

blanket

It’s big enough to cover me from toes to mid-torso when I’m lying flat (or cover me entirely if I curl up on my side), which is plenty. I’ve been using it in the evenings while I’m watching TV, when I need a sensory break during the day or after a tiring outing.

It’s emotionally calming and it makes me feel more physically organized. An unexpected benefit is that my moods are less spiky since I’ve been using it daily.

From the “Change is Hard” File

My old apartment was on the 3rd floor and my new apartment is on the 2nd floor. The first few times I used the elevator here I automatically hit the 3 button, got out on the 3rd floor and was halfway to my apartment before I realized that the numbers were all wrong.

Now when I use the elevator (which isn’t often, because 2nd floor), I tell myself “2 not 3”. The funny thing is, apparently I’ve been saying it out loud. The things you don’t realize until another person is around to look at you funny. Oops.

Hearing Motion

In the comments on one of the surveys, Robin shared a cool video that can help you identify if you experience a certain kind of synesthesia in which visual motion generates sound. I didn’t hear anything when I watched it but some other folks did.

100,000 views!

Last week the blog topped 100,000 views and 3000 comments. Yay!

Monday Morning Musings (5-20)

This might be a new regular or occasional feature. How’s that for a commitment? There are a lot of little things that come up during the week that I’d like to share but they’re too small to make a proper post about. Instead, I’m going to roll them all up into one hot mess of a post on Mondays.

News from the Melatonin Front

I accidentally bought 3 mg melatonin tablets rather than my usual 5 mg tablets. Cue three nights of bizarre dreams before I realized my mistake (followed by a frantic midweek trip to Target). Yikes. Now I see why some people can’t take melatonin. I didn’t have nightmares but I did have some freaky dreams and woke up feeling like the night had been about a week long.

Hey Target, think you could possibly make these bottles look anymore alike?
Hey Target, think you could possibly make these bottles look any more alike?

Research on Using the Internet as a Communication Medium

Amy Woodham, a masters student in psychology in the UK is doing a study on how women with Aspergers and High Functioning (ack!) Autism use the internet for communication. It’s a short, mostly multiple choice survey that took me about 15 minutes to complete. To participate, you need to be a female over the age of 18 with an official diagnosis of AS or HFA (I know that rules a bunch of you out, sorry). If you’re interested, you can find details here.

**Updated to add that you’re welcome to participate in the study if you are self-diagnosed/suspected AS/HFA. See the comments for the source of this additional information.

A-dar is an Actual Thing

I live next to an elementary school now. It has a giant playground with a forest of colorful plastic playground equipment, as playgrounds do these days. Last Tuesday when I took the dog out for our midday constitutional, I saw just one girl on the playground. She was walking around the paved play area, making loud vocalizations while looking at the numbers and shapes painted on the ground (for playing hopscotch and such). There were four adults nearby, chatting and paying no mind to girl’s unusual behavior.

“Wow,” I thought, “best recess ever.”

As I rounded the corner of the playground and headed out into the nearby field, I noticed another girl, hunched over at the end of a slide, scraping up and sifting through the bark mulch. Then a boy, kneeling under another slide, doing something in the dirt I couldn’t make out. Oh, and a second boy, sitting in the middle of yet another slide, flapping his hands, which were hidden in his shirt sleeves.

This seriously looked like the best recess ever to me.  As I walked by the fence, feeling happy for these kids who were getting to whatever they damn well pleased on the playground, the flappy boy slid down the slide and ran over to the chain link fence to watch me. I waved. He licked the fence.

My tribe. 🙂

Cool New Comic Series on Tumblr

If you haven’t seen Par-la-fenetre’s web comics about being autistic, check them out. They make me smile and sometimes they’re like a punch in the gut. In a good way, of course. I especially like the one about breaking routines and the one that started it all.

Got Something to Share?

This would be even more fun if you all had things to share too. What’s going on with your week? Find anything new or exciting or interesting you want to tell everyone about? Could be ASD-related or not. I have no idea how this might work, except that we should do what makes us happy.