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Autism

I have, for a long time, considered myself to be "on the spectrum" (cerulean!), but have not bothered to look for any sort of diagnosis as, well, having a medical professional say "yup" will change nothing. I'll still be me and everybody else will still think I'm weird.
Worse, some well-meaning twat might feel that it's something that can be made better with medication.

Wanna know what I think of medication? There are boxes on the shelf beside me, prescribed when I had my food poisoning (so not exactly critical). Spasfon, which lessens intestinal cramping, and something called Racecadotril that I should take in case of continued diarrhoea. Both boxes have the seals intact.
Pretty much the only thing I willingly take is amoxyciline if the dentist thinks I need it, and the odd paracetamol if my head hurts.

Anyway, while sitting outside enjoying the nice weather as my clothes were on the line drying, and Anna was tormenting the wildlife, I took a few online autism tests. While the results cannot be considered conclusive (there are online tests to discover if you're an extraterrestrial, ffs!), they all had one thing in common, and that these were tests I could definitely get a good grade in. Unlike, say, maths.

Autism test - 26 out of 30
26 out of 30 is a good score...

The above result was from https://www.clinical-partners.co.uk/for-adults/autism-and-aspergers/adult-autism-test

However there is a value in finding out more about autism, because it helps to explain some of my own behaviours. For example, I go shopping wearing sunglasses (indoors), and with headphones on, usually listening to some music that I enjoy or, if not, one of the streaming radio stations that I listen to.
Now, with a better understanding of what's going on, I can understand that even though sunglasses make it harder to see things indoors, wearing them can be used in order to block out unwanted stimulus. If I'm walking up and down the aisles, using my mental map of where everything is, then I want to be concentrating on only two things. What I'm looking for, and other people (so I can avoid them - not in a rude way, just bumping into people is impolite). The headphones also replace the hectic external stimulus with something familiar. So asides from a necessary awareness of the presence of other biological lifeforms, I can pretty much blank out everything else from the world.

It also explains why the overly long work to modernise the Leclerc in Châteaubriant nearly broke me. It was as if every time I went, things were in a different place. I drastically cut back on how often I went because of this, which coupled with Covid lockdowns meaning I actually couldn't if I wanted... you'll notice I don't go to Big Town much any more. Just once in a while. I am likely to go at the start and end of my holiday, just for a change from the local store's sameness, and... that'll be about it for a while, I would imagine.
They're not messing with the layout any more, the work has been done, but both of the reasons given pretty much ended my desire to "do the weekly visit to Big Town" as mom and I did... pretty much every Saturday where we didn't go to Clisson instead.

Now, I'm not very autistic. I understand sarcasm (I'm British, I didn't have a choice) and can even navigate revolving doors. I also don't have meltdowns. Maybe when I was younger, but as an adult I simply remove myself from a situation that I don't like.
How much?
Well, the work summer fete was yesterday. Myself and the two plonge girls were working until 1pm. Everybody else, and I mean everybody, buggered off just before half twelve. We were, well, left or forgotten, or something. It's not a problem, it's better that way. I couldn't finish up (neither could they) as a load of stuff arrived all at the same time as production ended (as is usual). So I left all of that and set about cleaning down the dishwasher, the floor, the drains... Then I emptied the wheelie bin. Twice. And some other bits and bobs. Until it was 1.04pm when I clocked out, having started at 8am and skipped having a break because it was only going to be 4½-5 hours of work.
I absolutely did not want to leave by going through the normal staff entry as that would take me right into the midst of things and people were bound to say stuff like "hang around!".
So I went up into the gallery. This is a raised corridor used by visitors so they can see things without being present in the factory (contamination risk), and also used to join the incoming and outgoing sides of stock. The two girls came with me as they didn't fancy going through the fete either. Down from the gallery by the front of the building, through into the admin section, and then out the door used by the management. My little RFID gizmo cannot open this door, but from the inside it's just a push button.
I had thought to park right beside the entry barrier. So I pressed the button to open the barrier, got into my car, started, and left.
Well, we were pretty much ignored in plonge (nobody offered to help or anything) so I can reciprocate. ☺
No, I'm not bitter or anything. Don't think that. Some people enjoy socialising, and I feel bad for them that it was the only rainy day in weeks.
Other people prefer a book and a cup of tea. Which is exactly what I did after going shopping.

One test I did find interesting was the RAADS-R test which aims to identify adults who escaped diagnosis as a child due to having a presentation level that was not strong enough to be "yeah, it's autism". Plus, as I mentioned earlier, back when I was young (late '70s and early '80s) a lot of people "understood" autism to be another word for retarded. So I was assigned four little labels: Attention deficit disorder (called ADHD these days), hyperactive (now understood to be part of ADHD), dyspraxia (don't ask me to play baseball), and discalculia (probably why I suck at maths). Interestingly I am not even remotely dyslexic. Rather the opposite, I was reading adult level books in junior school. The class would be reading these dumb books with big words in friendly Ladybird type, with a colour picture on every other page... and at breaktime I'd rummage around in my bag and pull out a John Wyndham book. I think I was probably reading either Chocky or The Chrysalids by then.

I went on a cruise on the S.S. Canberra. I don't remember my exact age, so I let's say 9 or 10. I wasn't interested in taking part in the teen activities, so mom made an arrangement with somebody on board that I would go to the playroom in the morning, with the younger children, and in the afternoon sit somewhere quiet on the aft deck.
But... what will he do? They asked. It was pretty unimaginable to have a child just quietly sitting anywhere for a length of time.
Until they met me.
The person who passed the afternoons reading his way through a large chunk of the ship's library. Well, the bits that didn't suck. Not at all impressed with the books that have the rose emblem on the spine. Too formulaic.
Since mom knew a crew member, this also opened up the crew library which was some material not present in the regular library... let's just say that the Chiliho (children's host) was shocked to silence to find a young child not only reading Cujo but able to answer numerous questions regarding the plot and characters (so, yes, I was actually reading it). Stephen King is... incapable of telling a story without several hundred pages. Took me two or three days to get through one of those. The average book I could do in a long afternoon (roughly from noon into the evening). And, yes, I'd get in trouble for missing meals and such because, hey, I'm really into this book. Look, this sweet telekinetic girl is slaughtering everybody that mocked her. Go girl!

I read more slowly these days, for economic reasons. It's not great to drop eight euros on a book to whizz through it. Hell, that's a month's worth of Netflix.

Anyway, the RAADS-R test interested me. Rather than being a test with options like "Definitely agree / Slightly agree / Slightly disagree / Definitely disagree" it instead asked for one of these responses:

  • Always forever (near and far, closer together... ahem...)
  • Like this as an adult
  • Like this as a child
  • Never like this

It was interesting to notice that some of my behaviour has changed. This isn't because my level of autism is changing, it's because my level of concern changed. You see, through a childhood of being called weird, I had to adopt various behavioural patterns to seem less weird. Like, if you were watching closely (nobody ever does) you might notice that I laugh at something just a little moment after everybody else. This doesn't mean my brain took time to process the funny part, it means that I pretty much didn't get the joke but since everybody else is laughing, I probably ought to as well.

That's not to say that I don't have a sense of humour. You'll have noticed from this pathetic effort at writing that, in common with a lot of British people, self-deprecating sarcasm is in abundance. I'd even do satire, but the current state of the world is so far beyond satire that any history books written about the early twenty first century would be filed in the fiction section of the library.
If you want to see me lose it, bring a Daria DVD. I completely understand Daria. She's like the sarcastic loner freak goddess.
Want to see me sit in bored silence? Bring a Jimmy Carr DVD. No, it's not that he's politically incorrect and offensive - I grew up in the eighties for god's sake. It's that he's just not funny, and his laugh sounds like a dying llama. It's like nails on a chalkboard.

Anyway, as a child I carried the "weird" label as a burden. As an adult, to put it exceedingly simply, I do not give a fuck. You think I'm weird? Fine, go talk to somebody else. Don't like how I dress? Or that rat's nest that passes for hair? Or... actually, just go talk to somebody else and leave me alone. Thank you.

That's why my assessment has changed. That's why I'm possibly more autistic as an adult. I've just stopped trying to be what I'm not. And that is "normal", for whatever definition of normal anybody wants to go by. I don't care any more. I'm me and I'm perfectly okay with that.

You'll find some maybe fun self-tests at https://embrace-autism.com/

The RAADS-R test says you're probably not autistic if you score under 65. There is an oddity with the scoring chart due to people incorrectly saying they were not autistic when they were, but pretty much I think it's safe to say if you're a two digit figure then you're a normie. No tested known neurotypical scored above 64; with the mean of autism spectrum being 133.

Despite some rather inappropriate and possibly dated questions, I scored 154.

 

PS: Please kindly stop referring to it as "Autism Spectrum Disorder". It may be a disorder from your viewpoint.
From my viewpoint, doing things to appease a mystical mythological sky fairy is a disorder.
If you want to fit the acronym, call it "Autism Spectrum Difference". We are different and perceive the world in a different way. And that's a bad thing why? Because some have trouble functioning in the world? Some cannot comprehend it? Have you been watching the news lately? The person that wants to put their hands over their ears and scream....is probably the sane one. All the rest of you, the normies, like lemmings and the proverbial cliff.

 

 

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J.G.Harston, 24th July 2022, 10:37
Hmmm. The sunglasses thing sounds useful. I've noticed in the last few months when driving I let myself get distracted by non-road things a lot more than I ever used to. (Post-vaccine effects? Getting old? Exceptional weather?) Using my usual method of actually noticing what I'm doing and taking counter-measures, I just concentrate more when driving, but I wonder if wearing sunglasses might remove enough distractions to let me drop back into automatic.

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Last read at 08:52 on 2022/08/18.

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