Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: Access Consciousness, Access Consciousness Bars, AS, asd, Asperger diagnosis, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, depression, disability, EFT, emotions, Matrix Re-imprinting, nlp, personal development, personal growth, Reiki, self empowerment, Time Line Therapy
There is a power in being able to define ourselves, as ethnic minority activists know hence the term “self defined as black”, however we do not get to choose most of the labels we bear. Sometimes our labels define us as I said in my blog post, Do We Allow Autism to Define Us?. We have two sorts of problematical labels, those of which we are aware and those of which we are not. If we look at the labels of which we are aware, the labels we use of ourselves, and apply them to rigorous analysis we will find that we did not originate most of them, but that they were given to us by others. This applies not only to the negative labels like, stupid, retard, weird, nerd, geek etc., but also to the positive labels, witty, clever, attractive. Unfortunately most of us seem to be more ready to accept of ourselves, the negative labels. These labels are not inherent to us but merely the opinions of others, often not even the opinions of others, but a word used under particular circumstances at a particular time, however the emotion and the context may have given the thought excessive charge.
Perhaps even more deadly are the labels of which we are not aware. These are the thoughts about ourselves that have been installed in our unconscious of which our conscious has no knowledge, some of these will even date back before we had the capacity to even articulate them ourselves. Because we have no awareness of these labels, we cannot identify them in order to remove them. Sometimes some will present to conscious, but many will remain quietly in our unconscious shaping our opinions, beliefs and self image. Much of who we think we are is not based on knowledge, but on installed beliefs, most of which are not even ours.
We are trapped within an image created by beliefs, but we do not have to remain there, there are ways of handling the beliefs with which we have been programmed. Where the beliefs can be identified we may use a number of NLP belief change techniques, but the unconscious beliefs can also be challenged at levels of various depth. Time Line Therapy (TM) can be used to identify and discharge past traumas and the beliefs and limiting decisions they have given us. Emotional Freedom Technique and Matrix Re-imprinting which was developed from it are also powerful ways of accessing installed beliefs while bypassing the conscious mind. I am not sure how the Access Consciousness Bars work, however my experience of them is that they seem to short circuit the internal wiring of the mind, they also seem to be related to meridien work. What I do know is that when my bars are being run I relax so deeply I fall asleep, but Reiki does that too. I suspect that their effectiveness will not be empirically proven for some time, I do hope an experiment is designed that can properly evaluate them, but for now, I suspect, our knowledge is too limited. I also find that the Access Consciousness Clearing Statement is a very powerful tool for shifting beliefs, even when I am not fully aware of what they are or from where they came. Of course, the classic way of accessing the unconscious is through hypnosis, which can also be used for reprogramming beliefs.
Language is key to our programming, the world exists as we describe it. Language is also the primary medium of change in most of the technologies to which I have referred. I think it was Wayne Dyer who said that the two most pernicious statements in our language are, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not well”. The first operates on a level of Belief the other on the even deeper level of Identity so today I am not even saying, “I have flu”, but rather, I have symptoms which some may consider symptomatic of influenza” thus putting everything on the level of action and the easiest place to make changes is in our actions, it also puts distance between me and the sensations removing any emotional charge that might impede my freedom to act.
I have already talked about how my first foray into Stand Up Comedy has transformed my life and it is a change operating on the identity level. What I did by standing on stage and making people laugh was to change who I had been being. I also negated the stereotypes and labels which had been applied to me by myself and others. I effectively rebooted my entire belief system and allowed myself to be who I say I am, and I can be whoever I choose, this could be interesting.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism | Tags: asd, Asperger Syndrome, asperger's, autism, beliefs, neurotypical, nlp, normalcy, normality, personal development, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, Tina Jones, values Liz Ditz
I saw the picture and read the comments and could not help feeling I might be missing something. In the end I had to ask whether it was a joke. It turns out that Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has been poking fun at certain Autism Awareness campaigns on her Disability and Representation Page. http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/ Unfortunately being one of those who tends to take things literally I missed that it was a joke, I suppose had I been normal I would immediately have spotted that it was satire, and now that I know it is obviously satire.
We don’t relate to the world the way normal people do and, to be honest, if left alone it wouldn’t worry us that much. Some time ago a friend’s daughter got on the bus on which I was travelling and sat next to me for the whole journey. When I told her mother she asked whether her daughter had spoken to me; I replied, “No, but I didn’t speak to her either”. This had obviously remained with my friend because she remarked upon it yesterday. She said she would have had to say something, but she accepted, unlike many normal people, that it did not bother us, she even appreciates that her daughter may be happy as she is even though she cannot understand how she could be.
I rejoice when I find normal people willing to accept our difference. Unfortunately most people judge our lives from their point of view and they can’t accept that what is normal for them is neither normal nor desirable for us. I sometimes attend various personal development courses and get a lout from them. However I also suffer considerable discomfort because the normal (?) people who run them expect participants to confirm to their normalcy whereas what is true for then is not true for us. I actually find it offensive that they refuse to accept that we don’t share their beliefs and values, that we feel and respond differently, not better nor worse just different. A great deal of our unhappiness would cease to exist if normal people stopped trying to impose their values on us. Why should we have to confirm to your normality? Why can’t we walk our own paths, supporting each other, assisting each other, in friendship and mutual respect but accepting our right to be ourselves; we are not you, please don’t break us just to force us into your mould.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, autism, emotions, information processing, Neelam Bakshi, sensory processing
Today I am having a stupid day, but it probably started yesterday when I put the bins out a day early. It was a great day Neelam and I went out to celebrate her birthday, first to the cinema to see Les Miserables and then to Dino’s for a very enjoyable risotto. A great day, but one into which the confusion ultimately set. I went to bed thinking it was Wednesday and all today I have been slipping between Wednesday and Thursday, sometimes via Tuesday – does Doctor Who have days like this?
I was supposed to be starting work at 19.00 today but somewhere along the line I had swapped my shift. Unfortunately beyond noting the change in my diary it made little impact on my consciousness, it made so little impact I didn’t even double check my diary because I knew I started at 19.00, admittedly I knew wrong, but no one can accuse me of lacking certainty.
I arrived at work to discover someone was sitting in my chair and the positions I habitually occupy were already taken, not a good start. Rather than sit between two people I went to another row which necessitated some heavy duty cleaning before I was comfortable enough to use the position. At last I was ready to start, but then I was unable to log on. Panic set in – actually that’s not strictly true, but for some people it might have – eventually at 19.10 I managed to log in only to discover I was ninety minutes early. Sadly by the time I noticed, I had logged an exception explaining my lateness, I may not hear the end of this very soon.
No, this is definitely one of those days when your reality and mine are slightly out of sync and the harder I try to lock into your world, the less certain I am of when I am, or is that where? This is very much a Strawberry Fields Day, “Nothing is real” it’s all very strange.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, english, english language, information processing, language, sensory processing
I answered a call in the early hours of the morning from someone looking for a number. At first I thought they wanted a taxi, but when I asked them to repeat their request I heard “Dial a Curry, in Edinburgh”. Unfortunately I could not find a number for Dial a Curry and with regret I told them so, to which they responded, “Not Dial a Curry, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh!” (a number I could find)
This story illustrates how I tend to process spoken language. What I obviously pick up is the shape of the words, which I then interpret logically according to context. In this case it was late at night when people tend often to be looking for taxis or fast food. Logically Dial a curry was a very good interpretation, apart from being totally wrong, of course. I am not sure how many words in a sentence I actually hear and how many I interpret from the context, I suspect much depends on circumstance.
I am largely incapable of separating auditory inputs so when there is more than person talking their speech comes in as one input. Add to the speech any background noise, particularly music or television and confusion is inevitable. I am currently attending a series of seminars where much of the input is over videoconferencing, I am getting very little out of it because I cannot make out what is being said, but the assignments are useful. However the assignments are given to us in a printed form, much easier to understand. Although it must be admitted that the tendency of numbers and letters to move around can be infuriating it doesn’t interfere usually with the overall sense and can always be reread for clarification.
The reason I prefer cinema to television is the absence of conflicting inputs it is as if lowering the lights moves people to silence, whereas in a well lit sitting room they will happily chat with no consideration for anyone trying to watch television. There is much to be said for headphones, and while they may prevent the chatty people from listening to the television program one is watching, I personally am inclined to the opinion that one should make a choice, either chat or watch, no one can do justice to both.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, Christianity, Eckhardt Tolle, emotions, information processing, Jean Pierre Caussade, neurolinguistic programming, nlp, personal development, personal growth, self empowerment, spiritual development, spirituality, Werner Erhard
“The mind is a complete multi-sensory record of successive moments of ‘Now’” (Werner Erhard).
This quote has remained with me for nearly thirty years, the idea of complete multi sensory records speaks to me although my memories are far from successive. My wife says I have the biggest “Now” of anyone she knows, I also have very little awareness of past and future. Some people wonder what the future holds for them, I wonder what’s for dinner. Dinner time is about as far ahead as my conscious mind routinely looks our cares to look. Most people arrange their memories on a line from past to future, my memories are stored spatially around me and not in a line, sometimes I can be seen literally grasping for memories with my hands. For the point of exercises I can make a timeline, but its positioning is arbitrary – I once put it from left to right in front of me, and accomplished as much in an hour as I would normally in a day, but that’s another story – and I change it as I choose. The work of NLP in looking at how we store our memories and how we can use that to enable someone to heal a traumatic personal history is an amazing gift. Steve Andreas & Connirae Andreas applied Richard Bandler’s insights on submodalities to how we relate to time, and in turn Wyatt Woodsmall introduced it to Tad James and together they developed Timeline Therapy ®. I learned Timeline Therapy ® on my NLP Practitioner course and was amazed at the speed with which we were removing the emotional charge from people’s traumatic memories because the name Timeline Therapy is so closely guarded others who work therapeutically with timelines, many of whom have progressed beyond TLT, tend to use tother terms like, for example, “Time-Based Techniques” for what they do. A popular use of the timeline is to empower the goal setting process. This is done by putting the completed goal onto someone’s timeline as a complete multi-sensory representation of their accomplishment of the goal, with all the attached positive emotions to make it compelling.
One of the reasons that traumatic memories continue to plague us for years is that memories are complete multi sensory records, any sensory stimulus that was present when the first traumatic incident occurred when repeated will bring back the memory, that’s how anchoring works. NLP has techniques for discharging unwanted anchors, but also for installing useful anchors, for example, to put one in a resourceful when facing a challenging task like public speaking.
I remember during the est training, one of many light bulb moments occurred when we got to realise that we only experience in the present, because by the time we start to think about an occurrence it is already in the past. “You aren’t even remembering what happened, you’re remembering a concept of what happened!” This is, of course, the truth that underlies the spiritual injunction to surrender to the present moment found in Eckhardt Tolle and Jean Pierre Caussade amongst others. The essence of spiritual practice is to be aware in the present. Most of our problems exist in our interpretions of past events or in our anticipation of things to come; and it’s all made up! I am fortunate in my now disconnected from past and future. So many people live lives of discontent because their thoughts are elsewhere, they wish they had different jobs, different partners or they were somewhere else, and so they can never fully experience nor enjoy the present. I rarely suffer from anticipation of the future because like many Aspies I tend not to connect actions to consequences. I can logically plot a course of action, but I don’t have emotionally charged dreams and hopes. The only place we can live is here, the only time is now. I cannot imagine a better time or place to be than now.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability, Parenting, Politics, success | Tags: Albert Einstein, Alexander Fleming, AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, Benjamin Franklin, blogging, blogs, disability, information processing, language, Nicolai Tesla, sensory processing, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer
As you will know I have committed to posting to my blog every day, today I am up against it, circumstances have left me short of time. I could dash something out , but I feel that would defeat my purpose. I owe it to those who read my blog to make it worth their while, sometimes it will be better than others, but my commitment is not only to blog every day, but also to give something of value, or I may as well not post at all.
Those few who have been reading me for a few years will be aware of the pride I have in my ambidexterity. In 2010 that pride took a knock for a while when I discovered that in some cases, using both hands interchangeably indicates psychological and processing difficulties. Some people have an inability inability to cross the mid-line of the body, so they will, for example, reach for a pen with one hand and pass it to the other to do the writing. For a while I was concerned that my ambidexterity was something else.
I took a careful look at my ambidexterity. As an autistic person I do have information and sensory processing difficulties, but on reflection I realised my mid-line was crossable, I have used Brain Gym for several years. My lack of focus when not sufficiently engaged has always been obvious, and I do have difficulties processing language, but only in the presence of other conflicting inputs, and I can be clumsy with some deficiencies in spacial awareness. So although I share some characteristics with people for whom using both hands my ambidexterity is different. I have a high level of control and can use my hands interchangeably, actively selecting which to to use. Like ambidexterity left-handedness has also been seen as both blessing and curse – quite literally in the cases of left handed children forced to write with their right, because the left was associated with the devil – and has been the preserve of many creative people including five of the last seven Presidents of the United States.
It is highly probable that my ambidexterity and autism are related, but it is clear that my use of both hands is not a disability, but, given the control I have over it, an advantage. I like to think that in one way or another it puts me in the company of Franklin, Tesla, Fleming and Einstein. Add to these the catalogue of outstanding left-handers and I am in very good company!
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, Film Reviews, Uncategorized | Tags: Addams Family, Angelica Huston, AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, Carolyn Jones, Charles Addams, Morticia, Raoul Julia
I have bought the boxed set of the Addams Family, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I must have been about twelve or thirteen when the shows were first shown on British TV and I loved them, I still love them. Back then the concept of sex appeal had not yet registered for me, but I knew I liked Morticia, played by Carolyn Jones; I look at her today with a very different appreciation.
I was totally absorbed by the Addams at the time. I knew someone with several Charles Addams books and I bought a few myself – I started with The Penguin Charles Addams – I even had the Aurora model of the Addams Family house complete with ghosts.
I was also an avid reader of the magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland and was extremely envious of the things available to buy in America for lovers of macabre entertainment. I very much enjoyed the Addams Family films with Raoul Julia as Gomez and Angelica Huston as Mortician, but my first love remains the television series.
I think it was the sense of being like normal humans but not quite that drew me to the Addams. They were a bit off, like myself and like me had no ability to understand how normal people thought and felt. I felt they were my kind of people, weird. I expect that had The Addams Family and I both been born twenty years later than we were I might have been of the Goth persuasion, fortunately I escaped that, however I still dress mostly in black. I think I wanted to grow up to be Morticia Addams, unfortunately I grew into a hirsute version of Uncle Fester instead, thus are our youthful dreams dashed. Still now I am reminded of those happy days, I think I may start buying the books again.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: anger, AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, disability, emotions, information processing, meltdowns, sensory processing
I do not know what it is to be an autism parent in the face of their child’s uncontrollable anger. I don’t know what advice to give to parents faced with such anger. However as someone with Asperger’s, I do know what it is like to be in the grip of that anger. Perhaps my experience may be of some help.
When the anger hits it is too late to control it, it takes over my whole body, but trapped inside my body I am screaming, only the words I want to say can’t reach my mouth. To a great extent it is because I have lost my speech that I hit out. I hit out because otherwise I would explode, I hit out in the frustration of not being able to express what I feel. I hit out because I can’t make sense of what I feel, the pain of hitting a solid object helps, sometimes, to pull me back into my body. I say, “back into my body” because to a great extent I feel like a spectator to the anger, as if the monster is someone else who has stolen my body. The best I can hope for is that the rage will exhaust itself, exhaust is the right word, because afterwards I will sleep.
There is no one thing that brings about an explosion, it is a combination of several. Tiredness or feeling unwell is often my starting point because I am more sensitive to environmental stimuli, while, at the same time, less able to process my feelings. Often an accumulation of sensory inputs is a major factor, too many sources of simulation coupled with too intense sensations, can bring me to a place where all my nerves are screeching. My eyes burn, every inch of me experiences sensations so intense you would probably describe them as pain. My skin crawls and every place where my clothes touch, itches. My ears ring.
Because of the intensity of physical sensations, making sense of what is happening becomes impossible as I lose the ability to separate one input from another. As confusion sets in, it becomes impossible for me to translate my apprehensions into coherent thoughts, there is an awareness that I know what is happening, but I cannot get that awareness to take a shape that I can recognise. I think this is the final point of possible intervention, where the removal of all stimuli may allow a gradual return to calmness. You may wonder, quite reasonably, why I don’t take action myself before I explode. I do, and my outbursts are far fewer than in my youth. However I do not always realise how close I am to boiling point. Sometimes I may press on in the belief that I can complete what I am doing before I reach the point of no return.
So after all this, do I have any advice for the parents of autistic children? I think, yes. Learn to recognise the steps in the build up of your child’s anger. Whatever he is doing, remove unnecessary stimuli, but be aware sometimes what you feel is unnecessary background noise, for example, may be being used for a reason, just as I use music or a fan to block other noises. I suggest that if possible discuss what has happened and explain your concerns. What he doesn’t need is to be punished, he probably feels bad enough and your upset will only make his next outburst more upsetting and stressful for him. Try to find positive solutions to which he can agree. My wife has become quite adept at removing me from situations that are upsetting me, often before I have processed and become aware of the upset I’m feeling. Awareness is the key.
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, disability | Tags: AS, asd, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, disability, emotions, headache, information processing, migraine, optical migraine, sensory processing, stress
Actually today I realise, my head does not hurt which is nice, as in the last couple of months I’ve had more headaches than in several years previously. I think the reason my head doesn’t hurt today is that today I am free of stress because I’m not faced with having to handle emergency calls.
I had wondered whether my headaches were being caused by using a headset with only one ear piece. I am reasonably sure that the struggle to hear callers over the competing cacophony of the switchroom is a contributory factor. However given that today I have no headache despite this appalling headset indicates that it is not the main cause.
Several years ago I was diagnosed as having optical migraines. It was high summer and no one thought to warn me that I would be given drops to dilate my pupils; after I walked out of the hospital into the sunshine I had to feel my way to the bus stop as I could not see. The optical migraines are not sore in themselves, but they do cause a part of my vision to become obscured. The optical migraines tend be a precursor to a tension headache to follow, at least when faced with the possibility of having to deal with emergency calls.
I’m not sure why I should be adversely affected by one sort of call, perhaps it is an indication of how seriously I take the responsibility, perhaps it is the effect of an additional stressor. I find that I do not respond well to other people’s emotion and their shouting closes down my thought processes, loud alarms do the same. I assume some sort of automatic pilot cuts in as I seem to be managing ok, albeit with big gaps in my awareness of what I have been doing, I am unable to recall any of the emergency calls I have answered, but I know I took them. At the end of the day (idiomatically and, I suppose, literally being a night worker) there’s a job to do so I just have to get on with it. Some days my head hurts!