Springingtiger's Blog

Mature Autism – On the Frontier.

I have just spent a weekend on the Play To Win course from Frontier Trainings. Frontier Trainings courses are different from most as they rely on experiential learning through playing games. I learned a lot over the weekend,perhaps not so much about business – the apparent aim of the course – but a lot about myself.

Clinton Swaine

I have some sensory and information processing issues and this course made me confront them. The multi-sensory experiential games used by Clinton Swaine frequently use music, lighting, temperature to enhance the experience, this was extremely difficult for me. I realised that although I frequently refer to my sensory processing issues I have largely avoided confronting them and so actually taking useful action on them. The stress of sensory overload piled on top of confusion was so debilitating on the second day I became so disconnected from my body that my usual method for reconnecting – biting my hand – was ineffective and in the end only my last resort of banging my head against a tree worked, the bruise is worth it. It is impossible to explain just how terrifying it can be when I can’t get back into my body, being able to feel what some may call pain is actually a relief! I appreciate that this admission will do little to convince anyone of my sanity, but that’s just how it is.

I have finally had to accept that what I prefer to call, “information processing issues” are in reality a mild learning disability. Despite my well above average IQ, I do have problems assimilating information, sometimes it takes a long time and many repetitions to learn something, sometimes the information just escapes me. Over the course of some of the games I realised that I tend to allow my self to try and accomplish things in a state of confusion, rather than pester people with questions until I attain clarity. The combination of confusion and sensory overload not only caused me problems, but also my team. I do myself no favours by not asking as many times as I need in order not to be thought stupid, I now appreciate that it is better to appear stupid than be stupid and proceeding before assuring I know what I’m doing is truly stupid. I determined then, that regardless of how slow-witted it might make me seem, I will always ask the questions I need, as often as I need until I understand as I need. I won’t “try” but I will endeavour not to abuse perfectly nice people just because I am in overload – whoops sorry Dijaz!

Over the course of the weekend I also came to realise that self-acceptance does not need to be aggressive. After my diagnosis I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder, but my condition is nobody’s fault and no one can be blamed for not knowing something about me which I didn’t. I have got a lot right in my life, I have made some very good decisions and some very stupid ones, and the things I now know to do I could have done before, had I realised it. This world is not friendly towards people with autism, but we cannot just sit back and complain and hope someone will do things for us, we must act for ourselves. The bottom line is that only I am responsible for how I live my life, and only I can make the choices and requests that will make my life work. I discovered on the course that I may not be able to operate like a neuro-typical human, so it is up to me to work out the adaptations I need to make to have what I want.

One of the learnings I took from one game is that when I do not share I am taking from others. I frequently hold myself back because I do not know how people will react, but when I do so I am not respecting them or their right to think for themselves. Feedback I got over the weekend made me appreciate that sometimes people get things out of what I say that I don’t realise are there to be gotten, if I don’t speak I am taking from them. Of course, sometimes I say stuff that perhaps may have been better left unsaid, but speaking honestly and without malice and allowing others to react as they choose is the honourable, if not comfortable thing to do.

Clinton adopts different characters for the various games and I realised how often I have used different personalities to accomplish things. When I was a trades union official I was a member of the Communist Party, a Morning Star – still an excellent and intelligent paper – reader, and a regular on demonstrations and pickets. When a trainer I based my character on Werner Erhard as modelled by est Trainers, at the moment the character I like best, because it feels the most like who I really am, is the Springingtiger. Clinton rigorously keeps his characters separate and does not allow them to overlap, whereas I tended to hide behind my characters because I didn’t much like who I thought I was. Caroline Ainslie – one of the Crew and also the math clown Bubblz – in conversation opened my eyes to using characters rather than abusing them. I appreciated that when I use a character to avoid myself I am lying to me and to everyone else. Clinton’s and Caroline’s characters don’t get used to conceal who they are but to illustrate the structure of reality – wow, that sounds so good, I will use it again! – and the reality is that, knowing who I am I finally realise I like who I am.

It helped me greatly being there with my wife, Neelam, but having done the course I have complete confidence in the Frontier Trainings’ Crew. There was never a time in the weekend when I did not feel safe, challenged certainly, but unsafe never. Clinton and his Crew convinced me that they operate from a high standard of integrity. If I can sort out the processing challenges I shall certainly continue further with them. Good weekend? I should say so!


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[…] Mature Autism – On the Frontier. April 13, 2011, 10:34 Filed under: asperger’s syndrome, autism, disability, success | Tags: AS, asd, Asperger diagnosis, asperger’s, asperger’s syndrome, autism, Bubblz, BubblzMath, Caroline Ainsle, Clinton Swaine, disability, emotions, Frontier Trainings, information processing, Neelam Bakshi, personal development, personal growth, Play To Win, sensory processing […]

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Wow, thank you for sharing your story. I never realized self-injury was one way of reassuring yourself where you are, so to speak. You have given me new insight and I’m thankful to be able to share it with other parents.

Comment by Jenny

wow, that is nice post, thanks for the post, Please update with more new post.

Comment by river sand

Thanks for the nice post, you made some good points here, River Sand

Comment by river sand

Thank you for your kind comments to my blogs.

Comment by springingtiger

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