Lately I’ve been asked some questions so I thought I would Share them on here so that everyone can see the answers.
If you have any questions that are not covered here feel free to e-mail them to me.
So here goes…..
Q) At what age did you realise you were different?
A) As a boy in the 70’s, yeah that long ago, the main things I played with was cars, I also had a fort which had been built by my grandad. I never used the soldiers on the fort I used my cars on it, I would line them up either on it or in front of it.
While all the other boys would drive their cars and make engine noises, I would line mine up, that was when I knew I played differently to other kids.
Q) As a child did you find it hard to make friends, or were you not bothered?
A) As a child in infants, I used to go to school, do what we were told to do, and go home. It was when I went up to juniors that I first of all would go round someone’s house to play. It never seemed to go well as they wanted me to play like them and I wanted to play my way. I never went round anybody’s house more than once, after a few times I got the hint and stopped going to people’s houses.
I was happy to do my own thing play in my own way and it never bothered me. I didn’t feel a great need to connect with people I saw kids at school played at school usually alone and went home I was getting enough interaction with other people, to not worry about needing more.
Q) How did it affect relationships with your family?
A) For a long time it didn’t. I don’t know if any of them thought I was odd. My family isn’t that large, I had parents and one set of grandparents and a sister, but then in adulthood the family grew when we had children of our own.
My grandfather died when I was 10 and this would be my first real indication how different I was. As we knew he was dying, he had been given a few months to live and told to take him home and make him comfortable, so I knew it was coming. But when he actually died, everyone was upset and crying and I didn’t know why. I was just interested to see someone who had passed. I’ve been told that is a bit cold, but I had never seen anyone dead before and wanted to know what he looked like compared to how he did normally.
I never got upset or cried as we knew it was coming. To me it was like someone saying” I’ll be there at 10″ when they turn up at 10 you’re not surprised as you knew they were coming.
As an adult with kids of my own the first strike would be my father who was no longer married to my mother, and he soon became estranged. After that my kids were next as they grew up and started making decisions for themselves, of the three children I’d had, two have dropped all contact. Then would be my mother, who became ill and needed looking after in a home, then my grandmother would die, so one by one my family was getting smaller.
I still am in contact with my sister who I see from time to time, nothing regular. Other than my wife, there is my daughter and grandson and I’m very happy with the size of my family. Having too many people to stay in touch with, was hard work for me and I like it much better the way it is. I see other people and get time alone to recharge before needing to see them again.
Q) Did your parents realise you were different from other children?
A) The short answer is no. As far as I know they never knew, or at lest never told me, even as a grown up. They never showed any sign of doing things differently or treating me differently or did anything to improve things for me.
Q) Can you remember at what age did your daily rituals, obsessions start?
A) The first time I can remember having regular routines, things I would do every day was when I was in secondary school. My routines started at, and after school, having routines for what I would do at break times and when I got in from school, so between the ages of 11-16yrs I may have had some earlier, but this is the first time I can remember doing things in a certain way every day.
Q) Did you have any issues with school?
A) Not at infants or juniors other than spending time alone and not making many friends, the first real problems came in secondary school.
I was always good at, and enjoyed maths and physics, but other than that everything at school was written. So even in a class that I enjoyed like physics, I enjoyed the lesson but when it came to home work, I could never write very well so it would come across that I didn’t understand or wasn’t listening in the lesson.
They couldn’t be more wrong, my worst lesson was of course because of this, English, but with a lot of my lessons I wasn’t being taught in a way I could take in properly. I much prefer visual learning, I don’t learn by being told, but by being shown or better still being allowed to do myself, but this isn’t how they teach you.
Inevitably I got lost at lessons and started missing lessons or getting in trouble for not paying attention, because the way they was teaching didn’t suit me. The only lessons that did actually go well for me were maths and technical/engineering drawing, both of which I was good at and enjoyed.
Even now writing this blog I get help. I write it, but I don’t use much punctuation so I have someone go through and add some in, so apologies if you have noticed this and its made it hard to read.
Q) Do you have empathy with others, and understand their emotions?
A) No! is the short answer. I don’t seem to feel many feelings at all, or if I do I certainly haven’t realised. I have never understood empathy I just don’t feel it which can come across as insensitive or just plain rude.
I don’t understand when people are upset, bored, angry, joking or being sarcastic, it’s all very difficult but I have come to see this as a strength. I’ve seen many people get upset over the slightest things, and big things like someone dying seems to be particularly bad, and it seems at these times that I’m in the better position.
I don’t have to deal with all those feelings which look like it’s very hard work and not very nice for the people getting upset, and it can impact their lives if the feelings last.
I see everything as black and white with no emotion, it is or it isn’t, no grey areas, if someone says something will happen and it does, it’s because it was meant to, that’s what they said would happen, you knew about it so why would it upset you?.
Some people understand I’m this way because of my Asperger’s so they’re fine with it, while others think its weird and they are the ones that will distance themselves.
Personally I like the way I am! I’ve always been this way and don’t know any other way to be.
Q) Do you have any sensitivities to light, sound, touch etc.?
A) Yes to all of the above SOUND, I don’t like a lot of sounds if a pitch is too high or low. Babies crying, kids screaming, people arguing, the drone of people chattering. I can’t concentrate on a conversation if more than one person is talking at a time or there is background noise.
The list of sounds that I’m sensitive to is quite long, but for the most part I fix a lot of it with headphones. I never leave home without some and I have plenty in ear, over ear, corded and cordless. I make sure I’m well covered and always have some to hand.
LIGHT, light is not too bad, I just don’t like really bright light even sunlight, but I have dark sunglasses and my normal glasses that I wear all the time go darker in bright light, so again it’s not too bad.
TOUCH, I do have sensitivities to touch, I don’t like to be touched at all but have learnt that there are occasions I need to be, by my wife, daughter and grandson. I’m fine with that, by doctors and nurses, this is OK too and to shake someone’s hand but that is it, and I hate to be hugged by anyone other than the family named above.
I also have a lot of sensitivities to FOOD, I don’t like different foods to be touching on my plate. I don’t like any thing on my plate I don’t want there like salad, sauces, dressings etc. I have got used to ordering in restaurants, it is hard work sometimes and on occasion we do have to send food back a few times, but its worth it when they do get it right.
Q) What situations do find the hardest to deal with?
A) For me this would be social, I can cope to a degree with being out for coffee or a meal as we try to find quieter places to go to make it easier, but it’s not always possible, but if it gets too much I can always leave.
The absolute worst situation for me are family get together’s. There are always people who forget you have autism or don’t understand it, then there’s the people who don’t know you have it, they haven’t been briefed about the do’s and dont’s. It’s got to be the one situation I like to avoid at all costs.