Archive for the ‘aspie’ Category
I'm keeping this one separate from the coming photo-fest because I wanted to ask:
(Bear with me if this sounds like a weird question. I don't understand visuals of people. Especially humans, anyway. I'm autistic, it's a thing.)
Reason being, I'm totally feeling him as a young Suitov, but that's obviously down to my own tastes and I get confused by hair anyway, and established fact that I don't want to contradict is that Suitov's a normal, quite pretty, masculine male. Anyway, this guy in the photo looks pretty unambiguously male to me, so I want input from some neurotypical eyes.
How old does he look to you, anyway?
I've just gone through the experience of being one of two very bright adults, closely related to each other, trying to communicate a very simple concept between them – and failing.
Wow. I've seldom felt more like an alien.
I guess it didn't help to hear "of course you understand it, you're just looking for complications where none exist, stop trying to rephrase it!" when that wasn't the case. Eventually I got across the idea that no, I really truly don't understand this, and blundered around another couple of wrong interpretations until I understood what was being said.
The understood-thing was barely worth it anyhow, some simplistic spatial mechanics model that was only being used as an example anyway. So yes. I don't have a moral to this story, except possibly "if I say I don't understand something, even if it's stupidly obvious to you, please take my word for it". (Or, more belligerently, "don't you dare tell me what I do or don't understand. It's damn rude!")
PTSD, which the military characterises as a condition that develops after a life-threatening trauma, has not been researched in animals as thoroughly as in humans. But some experts say animals can experience a form of it.
When will we get over the idea that our psychology couldn't possibly be anything like that of another large social mammal? Of course a dog can develop a traumatic disorder! Know something else? They can feel grief, jealousy, loneliness, humour and joy. Of course they bloody can.
All of those have biological uses. They're not just pretty, meaningless trappings we picked up around the same time as Gug and Mog worked out how to bash two flints together. There's a word for people who think they are the special only ones in the universe who can ever truuuly feeeel things so deeeeply. Well, there are several words for it, but I was thinking of "teenager".
I tend to work from a basic assumption that anyone with a nervous system pretty similar to mine is going to have a brain pretty similar to mine. Making allowances for my weirdly overdeveloped abstract thought and language habits, beginning from the standpoint that the other person's point of view is different but possible for me to understand, at least partway, hasn't led me far wrong before.
I think this is an advantage of being one of those strange, shadowy autistic creatures with supposedly no Theory of Mind. What I actually have is a default assumption that other people don't think like me, but that they do think. In my view that's much superior to swooping around empathising at people on the basis of what I personally like and dislike, not even realising how ridiculously I'm projecting.
"Oh you poor dear, how did you get all that red lacquer on your nails? Do you feel very ridiculous? Oh don't worry, I won't think you're necessarily a shallow bitch!" ← Learning not to do this has stood me in good stead.
The Golden Rule is not gospel for aspies. It's dangerous. I treat others, always assuming I care about their happiness, as I think they would like to be treated. Because then it's about them, not about me. Another good thing about that approach? It includes the potential for iterative improvement.
Last night, after going to bed quite upset about the family cat remaining seriously ill, I dreamed about my long-since-ex-dog, Bracken.
I was in some kind of town centre pedestrian shopping street, and she needed to wee, so I found a tree for her and that was all right. (Picture the usual sort of trees that grow in a one-paving-slab-size patch of dirt in town centres, surrounded by grilles on the ground, where idiots tend to drop cigarette butts.) Right near the end of what I remember, I saw my mother also preparing to pee on a tree, which was just odd.
Piper continues alive and alert, although lethargic, complaining of a dry mouth and barely eating (clear signs of kidney trouble, which both his humans suspected before it was diagnosed). On a positive note, we haven't seen any frothy pee after he started antibiotics. He is receiving fluids subcutaneously (in case you didn't know this, cats have a LOT of space under their skin. Loose skin is good protection from other predators who might try to grab them, and helps them squeeze through tiny places. Our neighbour Princess, a huge Maine Coon cross, has been observed forcing herself through a 6cm gap). (Apparently my school teacher genes are activating as some kind of coping mechanism.)
Giving up on our spoiled cat is not an option while he remains bright-eyed and squeaky and wants to live. If there were such a thing as kidney dialysis for cats, his mother would have him on it. We're far from rich, and he's not even a dog, but this is still a family member we're talking about.
Animals are sort of a big deal for me. I'm autistic, so it's a given that I can relate to non-human animals more easily than to humans. Furthermore, and given that it's my understanding that humans are hard-wired to need tactile contact with others, I can't touch other humans without it hurting (the discomfort is psychological but altogether real). If I'm after touch stim, I need – physically need – an animal.
The family pet is the first thing I look for each morning and the first thing I go and find when I get home from work, unless he happens to want something and has consequently come to wait by the door. He's my perpetual fall-back topic of conversation. He never comforts me when I'm sad, but he amuses me whenever he's hungry.
As it happens, I'm wired to live with two dogs, so lodging with a single cat was already less than ideal, but the thought of a house empty of quadrupedal life is… not something I can contemplate with equanimity.
When Peter Pan lost his shadow, he was still recognisable, even though most of us find shadows help us to identify objects. Children with autism, however, appear to regard the dark shapes as more of a distraction.
What I like best is that the article didn't link shadows thematically to the soul and imply that we're all soulless husks.
I'm reminded that as a child I liked cartoons better than live-action programmes. I found them easier to decode visually – and what do cheap animation studios NOT draw their characters with? Shadows…
I'd be interested to know if these were drawings of objects (the NS uses the word "drawn", but I can't find anything in the study précis either way), or photographs. That makes a massive difference to how I understand things visually, and even how I look at them.
In today's "won't you walk into my parlour" news…
Cat Party to recruit mice, Nazi party to admit Jews, Roma, disabled people, and: BNP to consider non-white members.
Vatican to host Galileo exhibit. Sounds fabtastic. I'd like to see it.
Nice try, kid, but no cigar. Of course, he will have learned much from this preliminary attempt.
Israel taking a leaf out of the Bush administration's books. I'll be interested to see if Obama takes action on this kind of thing. America's about the only country to whom they're remotely likely to listen, and at least the "We Take the Book of Revelation Literally, Roll On Battle of Megiddo" loon squad are no longer in power.
This, er, wow. So what are Auschwitz's five favourite singers and which Heroes character would Auschwitz be? Now we can find out. Er.
RIVAL CHILD OVERACHIEVER! It is so
cute pathetic that at age 27 I still feel threatened by this kind of brat… oh man… issues. ;D
Finally, I have to post this for you lot for the name alone. North Korea's Hotel of DOOM.
(Not to be confused with Latveria's Doctor of Doom or Disneyland's Tower of Terror, of course.)
- #PSA: A4 paper goes in the A4 tray. The A3 tray is for A3 paper. Next week's masterclass: the difference between can & bottle recycle bins. #
- I haz a Graze box, a day late thanks to postal strike, and it looks nummy! An easy way to my heart is to bring seaweed peanuts to my desk.<3 #
- How anyone can conceive of a 'heaven' without animals is utterly beyond me. It'd be…like living without parts of your body. #howenglishami #
- RT @programmingns Absolutely Beautiful Pictures of Weimaraners – http://tinyurl.com/ybxm2a2 #weimaraners #dogs // See also: William Wegman #
- #Bugbears Software that messes with what I've placed on the clipboard. No. You don't decide that once I've pasted it, I don't need it. No. #
- Graze postal strike boxes are great because they're long-life, but it's no good – need fresh fruit. Off to get apple from vending machines. #
- The desk of @metaltax is stacked with enticingly book-shaped parcels. #
- Reread the Deadpool issue where Blind Al explains The Box and "how you build a prison". I loved where they went with Al and I miss Weasel. #
Twitterfiction, aka why do ideas always come in 3½s?
- #vss We're listening to The Buzzcocks, feet up. She pokes me. "Ever not fallen in love with someone you should have fallen in love with?" #
- #vss His heart and soul were on that departing starship. He watched the ion trail disperse and fade. Well, at least new souls came cheap. #
- #vss I spotted the three bounty hunters before I reached my front door, and calculated where the fourth must be before I opened it. #
I tweeted a documentary for fun, since all the cool kids seem to do it.
- Listening to http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 – Adults with Autism. Very good on sensory differences. #autism #aspie #sensoryfail #
- "Autistic traits may run through the population"? Um no, autistic traits are totally inhuman and come from space DUH. http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 #
- "Autism may be partly a manifestation of an extremely male brain" (re: hormones in utero) http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 Oh stop flattering me. #
- "Autism is very highly heritable" http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 Ah, so you've met my dad. #
- [after adult diagnosis] "I have to look back at everything… Like I might have been colourblind and not known it." http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 #
- Now covering sexuality. Gross. (OK, I'm a textbook aspie.) "I couldn't handle the enormity of intimacy & closeness." http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 #
- "Lot of people with Asperger syndrome try so hard to be part of the human race… often seen as not human, no souls, no feelings." As me. ;) #
- The moral of the story seems to be that we have "potential" that employers ought to "harness". http://bit.ly/b00mwms8 #
- Getting a job – a quiet, sedentary office one – has been very good for me psychologically. I've learned so much about looking human. #autism #
As I've posted elsewhere:
People often seem to think I'm horribly nervous, either because of some postulated eccentricity in my expression and mien or because I have a tremor in my hands. I'm sure I could exploit this more, but it generally just annoys me when people mistake "deep in eager thought" for "depressed"/"dear frightened lambikin"/[whatever it is real people think], bug out and put on kid gloves.
Personally, I think it's an encoding issue.
I feel a little sorry for real people, faced with someone who claims one thing but seems to be feeling the opposite. Hollywood and soaps teach us that when this happens, it's what the individual says that's incorrect. In other words, the individual is lying, putting on a brave front (this is lying for positive reasons and seen as misguided instead of bad) or in denial. The crucial point, always taken for granted, is that the others have interpreted the individual's body language and expression correctly in order to make their diagnosis. When that's not true – when they can no longer rely on their instincts – then the problem starts.
When'll they introduce 8-bit Unencoded Translation of Feelings for wetware? </geek joke>
Because, well, yes, I think it's an encoding issue – a matter of broadcasting mixed or incorrect signals. However, thinking more, I think a common cause of anxiety among real people may also be to do with withdrawal: not withdrawal symptoms, but the act of withdrawing (either physically or 'mentally', so to speak – retreating into one's own head).
In humans and other familiar social animals, moving away from others or losing interest in their surroundings is a bad sign; an indication that something's wrong. (All right, then, a 'symptom'. Ha.)
If you're wondering, I have concluded the previous from the following observations: these are signs that humans report in their pets that mean the pet is probably ill or in pain, and they are also signs that seem to upset humans when seen in another person – for example, me. I think I've also seen other animals (again, other social animals) respond to similar signs in a similar way, either getting upset (hisses or shifting feet) or trying to investigate or comfort (wag wag, plonk chin on lap).
But, that's in real people. For the autistic and aspie contingent, withdrawal is not necessarily a sign of stress. It's a natural state. I live in my head most of the time. It isn't that I retreat here; I come outside to talk to real people, and then I come back inside to rest. It may be because I'm stressed, or it may be because I want a breather. (I've learned to self-regulate to avoid getting badly stressed.)
Similarly, my natural state with regard to proximity to humans is a comfortable distance away. A comfortable distance is three or so body lengths, so I come outside my comfort zone to hang around nearish to you. Be happy! I choose to do it. I could always be housebound instead, or wear a hard-shell EVA suit. Imagine sitting behind me in the cinema THEN.
If you're wondering, my referral to people not far along the autistic spectrum (so-called 'neurotypical' folks) as "real people" is done in the spirit of dark, unsettling humour. My use of the word "human" is merely literal; human, as opposed to another animal.
As for withdrawing emotionally, perhaps that depends on the individual. I give a lot of my surface feelings away, the vast majority of it liable to misinterpretation because of the corrupted signals I broadcast. I don't think anyone can fathom my thought processes, but that's not a big problem, because that's one of the things I like to talk about and compare with real people. When there's no time for mutually assured comprehension, though, or bad communication gets in the way of important work on a deadline, then it can become a problem.
In which case, the only advice I can give you is: believe what I say, not what I emote. Because, unlike most real people who claim they always speak their minds, I do speak my mind. Oh boy, do I.
(At any rate, I believe people should be allowed to experience the consequences of their choices wherever practical. Whether you refuse morphine or another piece of carrot cake, I'll take you at your word.)
I think a good Holistic Grail for a high-functioning aspie would be to be seen as "that socially awkward, technically proficient one who is uncomfortably honest", and not 'disabled'.
I have been jumped upon by a Staffie on the tram. The Staffie should not, strictly speaking, have been on the tram in the first place, but I wasn't complaining. Any contact with dogs fairly sets me up for the day. I miss them a lot. Besides, he is a friendly Staffie and my trousers are now patched with dog slime. Good Dog. Annoying owners, though.
I think I eye people's dogs in a way that confuses the owners. They jerk the dog away or step off the pavement as if thinking I'm afraid of it, when in fact I'm conducting a leisurely exchange of looks with the dog oblivious to its walking assistant. Guess I should smile too, or say something to the owner. I'm not all that good at smiling to order, though; people occasionally seem to interpret them as angry grimaces or nervousness. And I'm worried people might
realisesomehow think I want to kidnap their dog. Honestly, relax, we don't have room at home!
Walking among real people reminds me of being a GCSE French student in France, where attempts to speak the language can be met a little rudely and you occasionally get the feeling they'd rather you didn't bother trying. Yaknow, at least in Germany I was generally spoken to politely and slowly, as if they were pleased I'd made the effort.
Therefore, I present to you Hellmutt's Eurospecies Law:
Humans are from France; dogs are from Germany.
Bill Bailey last night was awesome. Highly recommended. I particularly like his musical skits.
We ate at the Eighth Day before the show. I've been in there several times to buy stuff, but never gone to their restaurant. It's a simple and cheerful canteen-style affair, and they get mega points from me for… their toilets! It's something as simple as putting "Unisex" instead of "Disabled" on the third door, but it made me feel so welcome.
Possibly playing Arkham Horror round at someone's house tonight if we can work out how to get there. Hastur la vista, baby!
I don't see how a study on just 41 people could possibly be valuable.
Go ahead, speculate that autistics' brains are underdeveloped, that's fiiiiiiiine. Just don't impugn our taste for chocolate, please.
edit: Good dog.
I spent a short while at the Backstage/Manchester FSF Ubuntu launch party, although I wasn't feeling very Jaunty and had to leave because of all the humans. Anyhow, I did manage to chat to a couple of people, including one metalhead (I spotted a rolled-up Sonata Arctica shirt he had tied around his waist – saaad!) who said he's played Bloodstock.
I'm pretty sure his band is these guys; I'm bad with band names, but remembered it was '04 he said he'd played so was able to look it up. (I'm bad with names too, but I think from the band photos it was Rick I met… yup, Twitter confirms it. I love the internet.)
So, anyway, fun as it was enthusing about Ayreon and Jørn Lande's voice (bastard, I'm still so jealous), somethng even better happened after the party, and it involved two drunken blondes.
Not like that.
I was meandering homewards as I do, alternately mulling over the Rick Cook I'd been reading on the tram and toying with my own magic system, when I saw two young ladies ahead, on the pavement, coming towards me. The pavements are narrow around my village; I checked behind me for cars and then shifted onto the road to let the girls pass, as I do.
As we passed, one, who had been squinting at me (as far as I noticed, given my habit of only ever looking at people peripherally), nudged the other and bellowed to her "Is that a man or a woman? Hey, is that a man or a woman?"
It's all right, I thought to myself, good job I've already passed them, she won't see the stupid grin on my face.
Behind me I heard the blonde turn back and once more shout "Is it a man or a woman?", aimed at me this time. I don't tend to talk to people who shout at me in the street, so I kept walking and grinning.
See, I can occasionally pass for my real gender.
I rather enjoyed that encounter, interactive as it wasn't, and it's quite set my mood up for the evening. It's a bit hard to explain this psychological boost to people who don't have to engage in subterfuge in order to be mistaken for what they really are, but trust me, it felt nice.
Oh, and I'm still going to install Linux Mint Real Soon Now. Help if I had a system that was not in bits enough to run it.
I met a workmate today whom I've only ever emailed and phoned, based as he is in London. He randomly brought me a box of Celebrations. Therefore I randomly spread this around, with the result that I, my colleagues and very probably my brothers thank him most kindly.
I gave blood this evening. They looked askance at me afterwards because I'm so tired-looking and kept me for a while for observation. When I didn't keel over (although one other patient looked alarmed and said I was going pale!1) they let me meander on home, which is only a short walk in any case.
(I felt like saying "You shoulda seen me this morning. And all day at work. And all week, in fact." I've been looking pretty dazed for a long time, however much sleep I get, and we're talking up to 9hrs a night which is more than enough for anyone healthy.)
I have a Penguin biscuit. Seeing as I p-p-p-paid in blood for it, I am going to keep and consume it. If I can stabilise my weight, anyway; alarmingly, last weekend I gained like a kilo and a half for NO GORRAM REASON, SRSLY, I'd REMEMBER if I'd eaten anything fun, JEEZ could we randomly LOSE weight instead ya think?!
So, tomorrow is a bank holiday, then it's the weekend and then I have a week booked off work. Which is good. I owe some things, including an art exchange picture and replies to some emails, and want to finish off that little Suitov-Mistake story shortly. Also, need a haircut. When it gets to this length it curls up cutely at the ends, which, while obviously extremely manly, is not quite the effect I desire.
1 I responded with an interested "Really?", checked my pulse (well, tried to find one and couldn't, which is usual) and then pinched my fingertips to check their flush reaction and temperature. "Hmm, they are somewhat cold." This coming from someone who had previously been slouching with a head cupped in one hand, elbow resting on the table, drooping eyelids and generally appearing semi-conscious, may have been a socially inappropriate response. It's possible I was supposed to have been alarmed instead or go and lie down or ask someone to loosen my stays or something. Probably just as well I didn't whip out a Von Luschan chart and ask him to quantify "pale". Oh well, they're shot of me for another four months.
An autistic lad is rescued by Spider-Man.
And now more idiots trying to make the world fit into their little boxes, to the detriment of all…
Despite the stupid stories you may have heard about windmills slicing birds up, the RSPB is in no doubt: we need more wind farms, and we need them soon.
Actually we need them twenty years ago, but hi, media outlets, welcome to the 08 Is Too Late bandwagon anyway.
Now that was miserable. So here's some happy power metal: Iron Fire – Bridges Will Burn
Bolt was good. It is about a puppy! In fact, it's, which is pretty much a winner.
I was a bit uneasy about how the animals emoted, though. They didn't use their ears at all; it was rather confusing. For example, when the cat had her back to the dog, telling him to get lost, her ears should have been tightly back and her tail doing some conflicted lashing, and his ears at least somewhat flattened and tail down. No doubt it was the same all the way through the film, but that was the scene that actually broke the WSD for me. Kind of disturbing, like someone smiling and grinning while telling you they're horribly depressed, you know? I need cartoon expressions to be right, because they're a stepping stone to real ones.
I'll not get onto the lazy bit of characterisation that always makes cat = female and dog = male. ;) We dogs may be simpler and dumber, but girls have the right to be simple and dumb too, if they want.
They've added an 'oscillate' (fade up and down rhythmically, basically) option at SimplyNoise.com since I visited last. Very cool!
I like the pink noise setting on oscillate mode, and the brown even more. The pink is halfway between radio hiss and ocean, whereas the brown is mostly rainstorm, and a lot 'softer' on my ears than white noise. Unsurprising. I have a tendency to hate treble and cleave unto bass as one from a womb with a cardiac abutment untimely ripp'd. Bass nice.
The difference between brown and white noise, from what I gather from Wikipedia, is that with brown noise there is progressively less volume (amplitude) towards the higher end of the frequency range, whereas white noise has constant volume across all frequencies. Pink is halfway between them, its name explainable by the fact that brown noise is also called red noise. (Or Brownian noise, after the guy who discovered Brownian motion.)
That suggests you can't really have 'true' white noise, because it'd have to have the same power at ALL frequencies, which'd take an infinite amount of energy (except for absolute silence, I suppose?). The same goes for pink noise, because the power keeps decreasing but never quite reaches zero however high you go in frequency. However, it is possible to make pink or white noise across a limited range of frequencies, which, I presume, is what I'm listening to. My ears only have a limited range of frequencies*, so that's fine.
*20Hz–20kHz is the typical range of human hearing (optimal/for youngsters).
Am I — blast it all, I'm trying to educate again. TELL ME WHEN I START DOING THAT.