Congratulations to Tumblr user captain-irrayditation who is the winner of the weighted blanket giveaway. There were a ton of entries and I wish I was able to give every single person a weighted blanket. Hopefully there will be more giveaways in the not too distant future.
Looking for Input from Women Who are Late/Mis/Un-Diagnosed
I’m writing a pair of articles for the Autism Women’s Network about the high rates of late, missed and misdiagnosis in women on the spectrum. If you’ve experienced any of these and would be willing to be quoted in the article, please take a look at a short questionnaire I’ve put together to collect more information on the topic. There are five questions but feel free to answer even one if it applies to you and you’d like to participate.
In the comments on my infodumping post last week, a mom mentioned that her son’s special interest is stop signs. He’s 6 and he loves everything stop sign related. His teachers think this is a problem and try to discourage his interest. But his mom, who sounds like an awesome person, encourages him to do stop sign activities at home, both for fun and as a way to learn new things. That got me thinking that we could potentially make a little boy happy and show him that there are lots of adults who think that having a special interest isn’t weird or something to feel bad about.
So how about if we celebrate Tommy’s special interest by seeing how many photos of stop signs we can come up with for him? Since he’s already using Google to find photos online, I’d like for us to share photos that we’ve personally taken. The easiest option is to take a photo of a stop sign in your neighborhood or if you’re feeling ambitious you could find some interesting place in your area that has a stop sign. Or maybe you happen to have a vacation photo with a stop sign in it?
I know there are readers all over the world. Hopefully we can get some different designs and languages, but any stop sign you can add to the collection would be great. If you want to write a few sentences about the photo–location, pronunciation for non-English versions, a bit about you or your neighborhood, a fun fact about the location (or the sign in general if you don’t want to reveal your location)–that would be awesome. Just keep it appropriate to a 6-year-old.
You can put your photo in the comments below. You can share it on Twitter (mention me so I see it: @aspiemusings) or my Facebook wall (https://www.facebook.com/MusingsofanAspie). Or you can post it on Tumblr, Instagram or a photo sharing site and get a link to me. I’ll put together all of the photos and notes in a post for Tommy. Let’s put a deadline of the end of the month on this so we all feel motivated and such, executive function being what it is around here (especially mine!)
I’m going to start us off with this photo of a stop sign from a train platform in Korea:
Online Neurodiversity Lecture Series
In spite of its rather odd title, I’ve been enjoying the “No Mind Left Behind” lectures that @quarridors shared a link to ages ago. I’ve watched most of the first day of the scientific track, which I found more interesting than the bits of the “reality” track that I’ve seen. The scientific lectures have the benefit of being very short (no more than 20 minutes each) so the speakers are forced to get the point fast. Many of the lectures focus on autism, but ADHD, OCD, Tourette’s and other atypical neurologies are also covered. A scan of the lecture titles will help you narrow things down to your areas of interest pretty quickly.
Two lectures in particular that I enjoyed were the ESSENCE lecture on very early symptom identification and the lecture on the development of empathy. One thing that struck me in the ESSENCE lecture was the idea that very young children are often diagnosed based on the type of doctor that they see. ASD, ADHD and Tourette’s can look similar in two- and three-year-olds, so a child who gets seen by an ADHD specialist at that age is more likely to get an ADHD diagnosis while a child with similar symptoms who gets seen by an ASD specialist first is more likely to be diagnosed as autistic. The lecturer also said he believes that children younger than 3 with hyperactivity symptoms should first be evaluated for ASD before ADHD is considered.
The lecture on empathy by Chrisopher Gillberg was fascinating because he is the person who coined the term Empathy Quotient and his beliefs about empathy are so different from Simon Baron-Cohen’s (who developed the infamous EQ test). Gillberg takes a very neutral, scientific view, avoiding the sort of emotionally charged language we usually see associated with empathy and autism, which is refreshing.
This weekend I brought over a bunch of survey answers from Survey Monkey. Yes, people are still answering the adult autism surveys! There are links to all of the survey posts from the final survey if you want to check out the latest additions.
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.
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.
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.