Autistic Acceptance Month – Work/School

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.

Both of these have been the worst parts of my life due to a complete lack of understanding. School reinforced so many erroneous negative beliefs, and thinking back to my time in school even now some 20 years after being in school I still dislike it. I am going to talk about the one positive work experience I had in my life.

I wrote about specific experiences at Auckland Boys Grammar here. I talked about my time at Auckland University here. I talked about both work and school here. All of these experiences made me extremely depressed.

I want to write about the exception.

Runaway – The Greatest Job Ever

I don’t know how to write about this place without crying tears of joy. I loved my job there. It was a perfect fit for my interests. They also treated me with dignity, respect, compassion, understanding and actually made me feel like I belonged in the workplace for the first time ever.

The company was founded by Tim Nixon although he was away overseas and left during my first year to work at ThatGameCompany – I’d seen him talk about it during the first ever NZ Game Developers Conference about making games for good – and I’d wanted to work there ever since. He’s a great person.

Under the clear compassionate, empathetic and outstanding leadership of Managing Director Zoe – the company is one that thrives on clear communication, honesty, respect, making things enjoyable for the staff, and actually working together as a team to achieve a common goal.

Every single person who works here is an absolutely wonderful and good person. They care and respect each other deeply and only want to see each other succeed. I miss these people every day. I think about them always and just know they are going to always do great things.

My first real team

I started out there as a Virtual Reality game programmer – working on a title called Flutter VR – available on Google Daydream.

I started at the company when I was in a really rough place mentally, I had been out of work for three months. My wife and I were in massive debt due to having to support me through this time. I was anxious, sad, and just utterly exhausted – I was going through minor Autistic burnout (there are two types in my view – one is basically unmanageable).

My team leader Emma was one of the best leaders I ever had. It was her first project as a project lead, and she was incredible at it. Alongside her and working with me was my senior programmer and absolute programming genius Beric, as well as a close friend I knew from my Software Engineering degree who was a game designer Dylan (the amazing Rudeism on Twitch always doing unique and strange things to play games), multi-award winning narrative designer Lisa, and researcher and all around natural legend Jonas, as well as Tim for a while doing game design with us.

I learned more about programming effectively in a few months working with Beric having him mentor me than I had learned in the previous 5 years I had been doing it fulltime. Any time I received code reviews he would highlight specific areas that my code was inefficient or potentially broken – and he would outline the clear solution, and show me exactly why it wasn’t good to do the thing I was doing.

I don’t think I’ve ever had someone who was as effective communicator in programming ever. On the first day he told me there was no such thing as a ‘stupid’ question no matter how small, or how much I should probably know something. I’d never had this – ever – in any job. At first I was cautious because so many people assume I am stupid for needing clarification on stuff. But I got so comfortable I started being able to rapidly accelerate through tasks.

Each day we had stand ups that were meaningful – I actually got to see how I was progressing, and discussing roadblocks wasn’t a reason to be awful to me – it was to assist me however they could – I had clear instructions always on what I was supposed to be doing and when I got stuck, there was always someone to help. I got way more independent really fast once I knew what expectations were – and no one ever assumed I had no competence.

We had maybe one week of crunch due to an external deadline we had to meet, and it was just because we had NZGDC in the middle of our sprint, and then all of us seemed to get conference illness that seems to always come from these things. So we had to make up time.

I got sick due to this – I have a lot of issues doing extra time – I want to stress here it really wasn’t that much, but even a 40 hour week is taxing for me. I prefer to work in fits and bursts – that’s just my personal preference. I can do it but I find it mentally taxing to work long term like this, and will burn out.

The office was ALWAYS quiet – despite being an open plan office – there were specific times where we would all go and get coffee and have social time, but during working time people would not try to disturb others as much as possible. No one ever judged me – I don’t think I can recall many (if any) times I heard people discuss each other behind their backs in a derogatory way.

I went to work each day with a natural smile on my face. I looked forward to Mondays, and Sunday nights were no longer times of utter dread about the week ahead. I had people who genuinely cared about me, and it was the nicest environment I’ve ever worked in.

I worked on a few other projects during my time there and had other great leaders – I am not trying to exclude anyone here I just have limited spoons at the moment – I want you to know you all made my life good – so good I actually began to believe I wasn’t an awful person who everyone hated. That was a gift I don’t think I ever expected.

I want to talk forever about my time here but I have other tasks to do today. I will try and remember everyone here but I just want to say thank you to you all.

The crew

This is going to take a few edits to truly do justice so if I don’t write much yet please understand I want to but I am tired – or just talk to me – I am on Twitter, i’ll let you know how I feel about you, but it’s always pure love. I will start with just FlutterVR team and add as I have enough spoons to continue. I will always only have happy memories of the time we spent together. You are all role models of mine, and will remain in my mind the best of friends. NOTHING IS IN AN ORDER HERE YOU ARE EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT TO ME. [Honestly have the worst anxiety of making people feel excluded because you were all amazing]

Zoe – Thank you. Thank you so much for believing me. Thank you for never attributing false intentions on my part and acting with pure genuine empathy always. Thank you for being there for me as a boss in a way I always needed but never had. Thank you for always making accommodations when I got sick and trying to always just make it as easy as you could for me when I did struggle. You are an incredible person, an amazing mother, a kick ass derby player. You are not just an Industry Icon, you are the future of what work should look like – and what clear leadership should be.

Emma – Thank you. I don’t even know where to start here, you were such a natural leader – you had incredible project management skills. I’d never had a leader before that ever tried to understand me like you, you researched Crohn’s disease when I had a flare, you tried to make life better for me, and you absolutely did. I was able to gain confidence through your excellent feedback, I never felt as though criticism came from a negative place – it was always constructive. You are the most compassionate person, friend, leader, art director, communicator… You do amazing things always. I am lucky to have gotten to know you.

Beric – Thank you. I am not a terrible programmer, I truly know that, unfortunately I can’t code due to PTSD but I think I’ll get there eventually. I couldn’t believe that someone just wanted to help me like you did always. You were the best mentor anyone could ever ask to have. I actually gained some confidence in my abilities, and you were always there when I needed help. You got me through so many negative roadblocks I had built for myself based on past experiences. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever not had imposter syndrome. I felt like I belonged. You did that – I may have had the abilities but I never had the belief. I miss talking to you, and I know I need to reach out more to actually discuss programming. I hopefully will in time. Thank you for being such an excellent friend, a dedicated mentor, lead programmer, and for trusting me.

Lisa – Thank you. Kūmara is truly special. I am so glad you are working on a new game with help from the government. I can think of no one better suited to do the work you are doing. You taught me so much about leaning into my feminine side even just through passive role modelling. I felt safe discussing with you things that I often had to hide from others about myself. You are such a great writer, you care, you do amazing things. I will look forward to whatever you do as the multi-award winning person you deserve to be. Rising Star in the industry is an understatement – you are the whole galaxy. Miss you and Connor e hoa.

Dylan – Thank you friend. You were incredible to me, I enjoyed all the time we spent together both inside and outside of work. You made me feel at home in Ōtepoti finally. It was so daunting moving down here, but you helped me to fit in. You have such a creative and brilliant mind, you are a dedicated and hard worker. You do incredible things for other people all the time. Never undervalue what you do – you bring endless joy to so many people. I’ve never met a person who was just like “sure lets make a controller out of tea cups and bananas and play some games”. Nothing was too challenging for you. You are someone with great gifts. Thanks for being an excellent friend and I will catch up soon – maybe even in the next few days.

Jonas – Thank you for teaching me so much about nature, and animals. Thanks for listening to me rant about US politics despite never having been there. You have such incredible knowledge about all things nature, and you truly are a compassionate and caring person. I always enjoyed talking to you, and it was so great to come to work each day to see you just being the most happy and caring person to everyone there. You emanate good vibes always. I hope you are not still dealing with visa stuff… One day we will catch up friend!

Tim – You started a truly beautiful and wonderful company, you had values you lived by and those shone through each day I was there. You created an environment where team work and acceptance were core parts of the business. I’m sorry we didn’t get to spend more time together, but I truly am happy for you working at ThatGameCompany and pursuing your dreams. You deserve only the best. You were committed to a vision – some things people rarely ever do.

I will add more to this as I can remember. Thank you though, thank you for seeing me that there was some sunshine in the world after only living in darkness. Everyone here was such a joy to work with – and I can’t wait to see what you all do next.

I love you all – Rory.

Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:

My Experience Taking Diagnostic Tests as an Autistic Person – AQ-10

This is part of a series on how hard Autistic diagnostic tests are for me from an ethical, situational, and emotional level. Today the AQ-10 – the most widely used diagnostic test in the world for Autism. The first in the series on the RAADS-R test is here.

This test has a number of errors in it. The one linked below has a glaring error in it described here – it should be 6 or more not more than 6. It’s also unreliable according to large scale studies. Basically it’s not a good test for Autism at all – there are advanced versions of this known as the AQ-28 and the AQ-50.

Test Score

I score 5/10 on the AQ-10 – I am not Autistic. Sorry.

The Autism Quotient Test (AQ-10)

Ok there’s one scale here – there’s no option to agree or disagree so you have to make a choice. This is pretty hard – again forced into a binary when neither agree nor disagree could be an option – so I will feel anxiety every time I feel I have ‘lied’ by making a best guess. This is also made more complex by the fact I have moral scrupulosity OCD – I have to be honest.

  1. I often notice small sounds when others do not – ok. What is a small sound? I grew up around my family who were most likely also Autistic, they also hear small sounds. So they are big sounds? Nearly everyone hears the stuff that I do usually they are just are not as aware of it. Are we talking the constant buzz of a refrigerator? Cause that seems like a big sound to me – but others say they can’t hear it but it’s not a small sound… I guess this is true. I will Slightly Agree. [1 point]
  2. I usually concentrate more on the whole picture, rather than the small details – What picture? I know the saying is used in a colloquial format to mean looking at the overall concept but it could also be the whole physical picture. As I said in the RAADS questionnaire this is highly variable for me – sometimes I do want small details, sometimes I do want just a broad overview, sometimes I look at the strokes in a painting, sometimes I do look at the whole painting. Usually? I now am trying to assess every time I have ever concentrated on something – and when was I concentrating and when was I just glancing? Because when I glance I am probably likely to see the whole picture, rather than small details. But sometimes I concentrate on the whole picture. Where’s the option for I don’t know to make an accurate accessment? I am not always detail oriented, and I’ve had a lot of negative reinforcement when I’ve missed details. So I have to Slightly Disagree here. [1 point]
  3. I find it easy to do more than one thing at once – Yes, this is always true. I breathe and type all the time. I do lots of things all at once. My body has a heart beat – I am constantly doing multiple things at a time. Oh multitasking? Is that what they mean? Sometimes I can multitask – depending on what the tasks are. I often listen to music and work. I often walk and talk on the phone at the same time. I fidget while listening. I do have problems when I have to change a routine to task switch but if task switching was part of the routine it’s not as difficult. I assume they want me to say no – I guess I’ll theory of mind what they thought I should answer even though I can’t do that apparently. I’ll say Slightly Disagree. [1 point]
  4. I find it easy to ‘read between the lines’ when someone is talking to me – which someone ? Cause I have a dictionary of how to interact with different people depending on the social context – my proximity to knowing them does influence how much I understand of their communication style – and given the propensity for people to constantly misunderstand either other – Neurotypical people often talk longer than they want to. I’d say that everyone is terrible at reading between the lines. So do I do this as much? Maybe – sometimes people attribute my passion as anger when I talk about systems – but that’s never the context. So they understand me less – this is known as the double empathy problem. I will infer then they mean I am ‘stupid’ can cannot understand social context – I don’t want to lie though so I will Slightly Agree. [0 points]
  5. If there is an interruption, I can switch back to what I was doing very quickly – ok I know the answer to this one easily – the first question I can answer simply – Definitely disagree. [1 point]
  6. I know how to tell if someone listening to me is getting bored – yes. I do know this – a lifetime of people being bored with me has made me hypervigilant to when they are losing interest. Unlike with other Autistic people or ADHD people who often will not be as obvious at ‘listening’ due to neurotypical people’s frequency to not be able to ever hide their emotions outwardly it’s pretty easy to tell when they are bored with me – it’s never usually subtle. I will Definitely Agree. [0 points]
  7. When I’m reading a story I find it difficult to work out the characters’ intentions – uhhh… how many books do you want me to go through? Some authors clearly mask the intentions of a character only to do a plot-twist(?) this is a really common technique in story telling meant to make the reader surprised – other times authors think they are being crafty with their subtext that screams out from the page – it really depends on the book. I have read a lot of books, and now I am trying to recall whether or not I find it difficult always, or just times where the author has deliberately not given away any motivations because they need the plot twist to catch the reader unaware. I guess I Slightly Disagree. But again – not confident here. [0 points]
  8. I like to collect information about categories of things (e.g. types of car, types of bird, types of train, types of plant etc) – umm… collect information? In a binder? On a computer? In my mind? What are we talking about here – I do like to collect information about my areas of interest. But I remember page numbers from traumatic books I have read that affected me deeply due to hyper empathy. I didn’t like collecting that information – I did it, but often it was not a conscious choice. I also collect a lot of information about categories of political figures – so dictators has a category here – I didn’t particularly like collecting this information either. I do like collecting information in my mind mainly about stuff I do like but it’s not always a conscious choice when or how I do this. It just happens. I think about my cognitive capacity for memory a lot because I don’t have much in the way of working memory and I often don’t realise when I am codifying information. My categories are also abstract in nature – I relate things to other things that are not obvious in my own categories. I guess… I do ? Maybe? Slightly Agree. [1 point]
  9. I find it easy to work out what someone is thinking or feeling just by looking at their face. Two logic conditions here this means that it will return true if either one of them is correct. I have studied body language, and facial stuff my whole life – I have a great catalogue of different emotions – I can’t always tell what people are thinking by looking at their face – because I don’t believe anyone can – I have seen so many psychics get it wrong looking at people’s faces – I don’t think anyone can reliably mind read, or there would be way less misunderstandings in the world. That condition is definitely false for me. But the feeling one is true, unless I am tired, or drained and I need my social batteries to recharge. FALSE or TRUE == TRUE I think I Definitely Agree [0 points]
  10. I find it difficult to work out people’s intentions – now or in the past. Because now I know a ton of information about how people are always lying to each other because it seems to happen all the time, and they can apparently mind read all the time, and they think of me as a liar because I fidget and have issues with eye contact – I am pretty awesome at working out people’s intentions, and am I an observer or am I someone who is involved, because my capacity to understand people from the outside is much better than when I am involved due to the constant pressure of masking and also not wanting to hurt people and controlling tone – so I need to focus resources on that. But if I am observing people this is not a deficit. I will choose Slightly Disagree. [0 points]

This test is garbage… absolute garbage. It’s based on people overestimating their abilities, and underestimating ours. It’s filled with ableism – it’s unreliable. It’s the most common screening test for Autism – and people have not been diagnosed because of it. I would not have been. I still don’t know if my answers are accurate enough because there’s a lot of undefined things in this test.

Autistic Acceptance Month – Everyone should know…

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.

Today’s theme was everyone should know – and white supremacy is something all people should know about – Black people already know this because Black people deal with it everyday without choice. No matter their age – it’s never too young to talk about this to your children if you are white. The earlier the better.

There’s already an underlying whiteness problem in the fact that this topic was chosen when the theme was Everyone should know. There was no prompt on this and there should have been. Maybe political issue… but it’s not just politics. It’s everything.

Black Autistic experience is a crisis issue

@iwritecoolstuff has covered this and more on their blog – they are one of my biggest educators – you need to listen. You should follow them as the bare minimum to start – and read their blog on Blackness X Autistic.

This is a message for white people who do not fight to become Anti-Racist – you need to fight to change the system.

White people talk about race issues to try and communicate but there are far better lived experience voices you should listen to who are not white – and not just voices that make you feel comfortable. You need to engage with this everyday, because Black people have no choice.

While not the same as the US – we have the exact same problems here with our Indigenous Māori and other Pasifika people who deal with all these issues in exactly the same way, and Black people in New Zealand face these exact same issues too. White supremacy surrounds us, and none of us are immune from it.

You need to challenge your views here – you will never experience systemic racism, or racism of any form – because it’s about power differentials. It’s impossible to truly empathize with something you have no understanding of – but you can listen to Black voices and work on abolishing the structures that cause harm and uphold white supremacy everyday.

The police, prisons, mental institutions, seclusions in education systems, the justice system in all parts, and society in general – these all cause harm, and there’s more that is not comprehensively covered. These things are used as tools of social control against minority groups in society.

Psychiatry and psychology are used as tools of social control – the diagnostic criteria are weapons of white supremacy – as addressed in the blog mentioned above (have you read it yet?).

You need to give money to Black people and organizations where you can, and pass up roles for speaking where others might be more appropriate – the #mutualaid hashtag on Twitter has many opportunities to do this. You have to start making meaningful change on these issues – it won’t happen without you – you need to centre their voices.

You need to not react to being called a racist when you have been – you are tainted by white supremacy – it’s a product of your environment and you can’t just “not see race”, you must see race. You need to be accountable. You need to be accountable when you do this wrong also.

Black Autistics are being incarcerated, institutionalised, or killed by police.

That’s just touching the surface – all Autistic people must mask – but Black or minority ethnic Autistics have to deal with having to perform a white standard of what a person should be – their culture and identity is denied. The Black Autistic experience is denied and almost everything in Autistic research is still overwhelmingly white, and exclusionary by design. Even online spaces some of us enjoy are not safe, or our experiences of being Autistic universal.

If Black people slip or meltdown in public – that can be life threatening. So the pressure is so much more intense. The mask never can come off in public… not even once without severe risk. Letting it slip slightly even in school can lead to a lifetime of systemic abuse.

There are some great books you can buy to educate yourselves – buy these from Black owned bookstores as the first step – a list is here for those in the US, but find local ones where possible and give them your money – support Black businesses.

Some great books that have been suggested by @iwritecoolstuff to get some understanding of what it means to be Black and also deal with intersectional issues are:

‘The Bluest Eye’ – by Toni Morrison
‘Going To Meet the Man’ by James T. Baldwin

There are also some great books on Intersectional feminism and Anti-Racism:

‘Hood Feminism’ by Mikki Kendall
‘How to Be Anti-Racist’ by Ibram X. Kendi

There is also a suggested Anti-Racism reading list by Ibram X. Kendi with further reading here.

Please engage – centre Black voices. Listen. Fund. Abolish. Campaign. Support – don’t try and lead.

If you got to the end of this blog without reading the blog suggested. Ask yourself why that might be.

Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:

My Experience Taking Diagnostic Tests as an Autistic Person – RAADS-R First

This is going to be a series on how hard Autistic diagnostic tests are for me from an ethical, situational, and emotional level. I will start with the RAADS-R test.

I am analytical by nature. I don’t think I am over analytical, I think people who don’t consider as many options as me to be less analytical but not deficient. It’s just a difference in how I process information.

Test Score

  • I score 144 on the RAADS-R [1]

The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-Revised (RAADS-R) – First 10 questions…

Lets have a bit of a dive through about why this test sucks as for me as an Autistic person. First of all it’s got a different scale based on whether you are male or female. RIP that’s bad science so we are already off to a bad start.

Secondly the options are:

  • True now and when I was young
  • True only now
  • True only when I was younger than 16
  • Never true

We have binary possibilities straight off – but also with weird added context of before I was 16. I don’t know in my mind when I was 16, like I know I was 16 at some point but I have time agnosia (inability to measure time). This makes it hard for me to distinguish exactly when I was 16.

I want to answer as honestly as possible always, and they are making me take educated guesses.

  1. I am a sympathetic person. Ok yes easy: True now and when I was young
  2. I often use words and phrases from movies and television in conversations. Ok second question and I already can’t answer this easily – everyone does this – I don’t know a single person who doesn’t do this in my life. But how often is often – what is the frequency here, I know I did it more as a child than I did as an adult. These days I might also use a lot of phrases from movie and TV without knowing. Also I haven’t seen every movie or TV show, so it’s entirely likely that some of my sentences or phrases are from movies I haven’t seen. I will take a guess here and say: True now and when I was young – but I don’t feel good about it or know if it’s accurate.
  3. I am often surprised when others tell me I have been rude. Wait people don’t get surprised when they have been accused of rudeness? I would have thought that shock to a negative statement would be the default reaction. Oh wait you mean people are intentionally rude? That seems pretty hostile. I am always surprised when people think I have been rude – because I never mean to be – so I guess this is True now and when I was young.
  4. Sometimes I talk too loudly or too softly and I am not aware of it. Again… I am usually aware of it. Other people just seem to have a problem with it or attribute it to having to have a consistent tone – I am usually modulating my voice based on the amount of environmental noise around me, the social context of talking, and how flat I am currently feeling – I am usually always aware of it. Oh… sometimes? How often is sometimes again? Like does that mean some of the time or sometimes? Like specific situations? I guess sometimes but not some of the time it is true, and I’ve definitely not been aware of it as a kid but I am aware of it now. Other people are not aware why I do it but I guess that’s my fault. So I will choose True now and when I was young.
  5. I often don’t know how to react in social situations. Uhh… maybe? Often again… OFTEN? WHAT FREQUENCY IS OFTEN? My anxiety is getting bad cause they keep talking like this is an obvious concept – but frequency of occurrence is always relative. I didn’t when I was a child, but I still have some situations where I get this wrong because people have decided not to be explicit about how I talk. So now I get this right more frequently than I get it wrong… but I still might be often – I don’t know how often that is… I feel like the answer is True only when I was younger than 16 (with this context).
  6.  I can “put myself in other people’s shoes”. I mean I don’t like borrowing shoes. I know what this phrase means but this is a needlessly ambiguous question that relies on understanding of a specific thing. What they really are asking here is “are you empathetic?” but they have cloaked it in a weird context specific and language specific understanding to mask it’s true intent. Just ask what you mean. “You are being too literal”. Literally fuck off. (I mean that figuratively of course). So… what? When did I learn to do this? I think about the age of 8 I have a memory of teasing a girl and she made me realise that I needed to think about circumstances outside my own. So It was True only when I was younger than 16 – but according to any moral development stuff I have seen – this is applicable to all people – no one is born with the capacity for empathy – the neuroplasticity of the brain in younger childhood allows this capacity and for some it doesn’t develop until far later in life than others..
  7.  I have a hard time figuring out what some phrases mean, like “You are the apple of my eye”. No I really don’t, and everyone wouldn’t understand what this means without an explanation – if I saw it in a book with specific context when two characters were talking to each other about affection for one another – it would be obvious. I use metaphor to translate. If someone just busted this out without context when I first learned it and I was taught not to ask questions young so I’d probably be confused about it. But that was through active discouragement of inquisition about things in the world. People got sick of me asking why. So I stopped doing it. Also some phrases ? What do they mean here by some? Does everyone else always know the specific context of a phrase in a non-contextual situation? Am I just more honest about not knowing stuff… It reminds me of Ron Burgandy using the phrase “When in Rome” wrong because he interpreted the context wrong. So… how do I answer? I have to assume they want me to be “stupid” here because that’s the context. But I think for me it is Never true.
  8. I only like to talk to people who share my special interests. Ok this is a loaded as hell statement. Sometimes I don’t know what my special interests are, it assumes that I must have fixed specific interests. I often didn’t know I was interested in a lot of subjects until I heard of them for the first time. So how can I know? I do like talking about my special interests…. I don’t like small talk but I like other people who are passionate about special interests talking about theirs… and again – was this true only now if they want me to answer yes – I can’t actually remember a huge amount of details about my conversations from when I was a child. So… another wild guess based on massively incomplete data and bad assumptions about me as a person. I am going to say True only when I was younger than 16 but I have massive anxiety over this response.
  9. I focus on details rather than the overall idea. Again… what idea? And what specificity are we wanting? They always assume that everything is one or the other. But often it’s very context specific depending on what sort of information people want. You can look at my answers here and infer that I over complicate stuff and focus on details, but that’s because they are trying to make me make a self-assessment and I want to be as accurate as possible. I guess this is always true, but I often miss a lot of details, and sometimes I only want a broad understanding of a topic… so it’s neither true nor false. So what do I choose? True now and when I was young.
  10. I always notice how food feels in my mouth. This is more important than how it tastes. Two logic conditions that are not always true here – I do always notice how food feels in my mouth, but it’s not always more important than it tastes – I eat some things that the texture isn’t that great but taste good. So the logic processing for this statement is TRUE & FALSE == FALSE. Never true.

Can you see the issue here? This is so frustrating for me personally as an Autistic person. I am not sure if other people relate but we desperately need some tests designed with specificity taken into consideration. Because they rely on a whole subset of data that is ambiguous to anyone with my logic processing, and my situational understanding. That’s 10 questions and I am mentally fatigued from trying to work out what they want to actually ask. There’s 80 questions in this test. 😫😢

Autistic Acceptance Month – Routine

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.

Autistic categorization and paradox criteria from having ADHD triggered.

What is a routine?

Ok so I live in routines – everything is a routine. EVERY SINGLE THING. When I learned programming I was like oh cool now I understand how to define the things I do – functions.

But I also have chaos brain from ADHD just hanging out going “lets buy a camel” every now and then. Chaos brain keeps throwing tiny pieces of metal into the cogs.

What do you mean everything is a routine?

I need a drink… I run the routine…

if(GoGetADrink())
	cool
else
	randomlyResumeTask
		

bool GoGetADrink
{
	ForgottenTask = StartCoroutine(GetForgettingStatus) => 
	{
		wait 100ms;
		return GetRandomNumber(100) == 42
	}	
	while((hasDrink || ForgottenTask) == false)
	{
		if(CheckPantsForNeededRandomItems() == true)
		{
			switch(CheckLocation())
				case upStairs:
					GoDownstairs()
					if(ForgottenTask)
						break
				case downStairs:
					GoToKitchen()
					if(ForgottenTask)
						break
				case kitchen:
					if(ForgottenTask)
						break
					OpenFridge()
					if(ForgottenTask)
						break
					GetDrink()
					if(ForgottenTask)
						break
					return true

		}
		else
                {
	            return false
                }
	}
        return false
}	

I need constant structure – every thing is based on programming – programming makes sense to me because I see things in order. I have a constant random function running in my head that is just chaos brain who wants me to look at potato salad recipes for 40 minutes without potatoes or something… just some completely useless but amazing thing to know.

I have more routine than this – and breaking a routine often causes a system fault which can shut down my system. I hope this analogy works for some people. If you can’t read my psuedocode – I don’t know how to translate atm. I am not in a good writing routine currently. I have another blog on my mind lol.

Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:

Autistic Acceptance Month – Family

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos.

I wish I could say I had a good childhood, or life, or that family was there for me always but they weren’t. Wishing won’t achieve anything. The cycle of lack of understanding in my family of their own neurodivergence prevented me from understanding mine. I get to make peace with one of my parents, but my Dad died before I could tell him what I know now. 37 years into my life.

I want to write a letter to him – this is the only closure I get.

Dear Dad,

I love you.

I miss you.

I’m proud of you too like you always were of me.

You knew I needed someone in my corner, even though you moved away. You never wanted to do that either, but life made fools of us all. It took from us of the happiness we deserved. The understanding I have now is that I am the first to know who I am in the modern era, for I’m sure we’d have been fine before. When we had a village to raise us.

You loved me when I was failing at school, you loved me when I got caught inhaling solvents by Mum, you only cared about me. You had an understanding of what my life was like, because it was your life too. You stilled your rage toward me, you’d apologise whenever you hurt me. You knew I had feelings too.

The decades may have changed, the people around us might have started to look different to us, but you weren’t a bad person. You did things you weren’t proud of and because of that I was not proud of you too. You stopped surrounding yourself with better people, and you became a far worse man.

I can’t change what happened toward the end but I’ll remember you for who you were before the world crushed your spirit, before you did the things you did to escape. You taught me a lot of good things that have served me well.

You campaigned for gay rights because you had a gay friend – you knew this was the right thing to do. You protested the Springbok tour because you knew apartheid was wrong. You taught me to care for those who have been shut out. You taught me not to trust authority, because obedience without questioning is the wrong way to live. You are with me every time I protest.

You taught me to love poetry because you loved it too. You are with me whenever I read it, whenever I write it.

You taught me to see music in a way I will always remember. I grew up as a kid raised on Queen, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin. You gave me the gift of music, you made realise the beauty of the words not just the melodies. You are with me every time I discover an artist who was trying to tell us something we needed to hear.

You taught me to befriend animals, your gift is my gift too. I can see them in the way you could. I could feel their feelings like you could too. You knew all your animals loved you unconditionally because you did too. I am a whisperer also, I love you for this.

You were an actor when young too, you encouraged that in me. The real world made me doubt my choices, but the theatre gave me skills I needed to survive. The love of prose and metaphor and storytelling weaves its way through my world too. I think of you now as I perform to go outside.

There’s some things I never told you that I need you to know.

I’m bisexual, I don’t just love women and men, I love anyone who loves me too. I’m not actually a man, it’s not something I can ever be. I’m non-binary. I know you’d have accepted me now. I don’t know why I took so long or was so scared to tell you. You never would have abandoned me by choice.

I have a wife who you didn’t really get to know, but the brief time you did you could see she was right for me, and she is, you knew this too.

I spent so long mad at you for your flaws, that I couldn’t see your strengths. I did the thing the world did to me to you. I hated you for shining a mirror on myself. But I needed to see this to truly understand myself. It just came before I could tell you.

You kept me alive as a child, and a teen. It was only as an adult that I was taught to focus on your flaws, and the lack of understanding between us, stole from us of so many things.

I’m neurodivergent Dad, and I think you were too. I’m an Autistic and ADHD person, and you were too. You were the cautionary tale of what I could be if I had not known this. My life has sucked, but I see the beauty now Dad. I don’t want to die anymore, and you allowed me to live.

I Wish You Were Here.

Your child,

Rory.

Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:

Autistic Acceptance Month – ‘Favorite’ Autism-Charity

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos!

These are the important ones I can think of to support as a priority.

‘Favorite’ Autism Charities

The Autistic People of Color Fund – Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment

Logo is teal with white text that says "Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color's Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment." Background shows five fists thrust in the air in resistance and solidarity.

Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) – The mission of Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) is to provide community, support, and resources for Autistic women, girls, transfeminine and transmasculine nonbinary people, trans people of all genders, Two Spirit people, and all others of marginalized genders.


NeuroClastic – Our primary purpose is to document the autistic experience through the lens and work of autistic individuals. 



Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) – The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities.


Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on being Autistic for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autistic Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:

I am ‘unreasonable’

TW / CW // MENTAL ‘UNSTABLE’ POSTING // SWEARING // SUICIDAL IDEATION

I cant help it.

I don’t want to be like this.

I really don’t want to be like this.

I woke up in a bad mood this morning, my sleep was terrible.

I was asked to go help my wife with the rubbish – that’s fine I hadn’t planned it – FORK used.

On the way to the tip – my wife notices it’s Sunday and the market in our town is on. I know she needs to look at plants and stuff for her business – I agree it’s fine – FORK used

I get home from the market and I am trying to do a Tweet on my phone but I have to close the gate to our property – that’s fine I had lost track of time – FORK used.

My Mum’s car is parked outside our place – it’s messy from moving the lounge around – my wife says she’s probably here to pick up a table – that’s fine – FORK used

After finishing the food we had got at the market my wife starts trying to move the table by herself – it scrapes along the floor in a tone range I hate – I have to control my rage – I get shitty and and help her with it – I end up carrying a massive table by myself – I think this is how I deal with rage – I hurt myself – FORK used

My Mum starts going on about how it has new scratches even though it’s been dragged on a thick cloth – she says it’s a new table – I disagree – I get told off for banging it as we try to get it – FORK used.

I can sense the anger and disappointment in my family – not at me just with everything and I have to take it on due to hyper empathy I don’t get a choice, I am good at controlling it but I haven’t had much sleep so I just have to bear it and cannot block it out – FORKS used

The table we moved has a lot of dust under it – I notice this instantly – I know I’m going to be judged for it because I am always judged for it – I start to vacuum – I don’t have headphones on because I am irrationally angry at this point – I think I am a psychopath again. – FORK used

I realise all the dust on stuff around the skirting boards, I notice everything is dirty – I start cleaning and dusting everything angrily – I have cleaning agent on my hands burning my skin – I am scrubbing everything – I want to hurt myself and I want everything to be spotless – I want not to be judged for this. A chair is scraped across the floor – FORK used. I put my headphones on.

I check twitter quickly to see someone has made a comment about no two Autistic People or ADHD people being the same in a quote tweet of mine about some trauma (they were relating). I know this – they didn’t mean to trigger this but people always assume I am generalising when I am not – that’s fine – FORK used.

I go back to cleaning like a maniac I know I am melting down at this point but there’s nothing I can do my family tries to talk to me – I tell them to leave me alone and just to let me do this – they seem worried – I take on their worry – I keep cleaning – I can’t stop seeing how I am going to fail the cloth I am using to dust keeps leaving small specs on everything I dust – they are magnified to me – EVERY JOB is a MICROFAILURE – You will never be good my mind tells me – nothing will ever be good enough.

I want to scream – I keep cleaning – I am destructing but at least if I can channel my uncontrollable emotion into cleaning I won’t hurt anyone. I go to clean behind a door and my Mum has jammed two stoppers where I cannot see them – because I don’t know they are there I can’t figure out why the door won’t close – I start getting mad and wanting to smash things when I see the stoppers – I understand but I am still angry – FORK used.

I have been vacuuming really intensely – wiping skirting boards – dusting everything I can see that is dirty – it’s chaotic it seems unordered to anyone – but the urgency with which I have to clean the items I see is a deprioritised queue – I have to do whatever my brain hates the most at this moment – I get halfway up the stairs and my vacuum cleaner which is portable has the battery die. – FORK used.

I knew the only way I can calm down from this is to write it all out – so I have now – I am rage, I am sadness and hatred of myself – I don’t want to be like this I want to break down and cry but my family will be concerned so I have to hold this in otherwise their concern is internalised due to hyper empathy.

I AM SHAKING I WANT TO DIE AND I KNOW I DESERVE TO LIVE. I KNOW I CAN HELP BUT I KNOW I AM CAPABLE OF HURTING PEOPLE WHEN I DONT WANT TO. EVERYDAY I HAVE TO BALANCE THIS – ALWAYS – A CONSTANT FUCKING NIGHTMARE OF TREADING A LINE BETWEEN RAGE, SADNESS, SUICIDE AND LOVE, COMPASSION, AND FRIENDSHIP.

DON’T EVER MAKE ME OUT LIKE I AM HIGH FUNCTIONING. I HAVE LEARNED TO MASTER THE RAGE I FEEL ALL THE TIME. ALL THE MEMORIES I HAVE OF EVERYONE IN MY LIFE LETTING ME DOWN. EVERYONE BLAMING ME FOR THINGS OR THINKING I HAD ULTERIOR MOTIVES DUE TO YOUR LACK OF THEORY OF MIND. YOUR ATTRIBUTION BIAS. I FORGAVE WHY THE FUCK WASNT I ALLOWED THAT TOO.

I DIDNT GET TO SEE PROPERLY FOR A FUCKING LONG TIME POSSIBLY FOURTEEN YEARS AND I CANT BE ANGRY ABOUT IT BECAUSE THERES NOTHING THAT WILL CHANGE THAT FUCKING FACT. AND I STILL AM ANGRY BUT I DONT WANT TO HURT ANYONE BECAUSE THAT WILL MAKE ME FEEL WORSE. I HAVE TO FORGIVE. ALWAYS.

YOU FUCKING MADE ME LIKE THIS.

I CANT EVEN EXPRESS MYSELF WITHOUT TEXT BECAUSE IT SCARES PEOPLE.

EVERY DAY I GET THE POSSIBILITY OF LIVING BACK IN HELL THAT IS BURNOUT.

Autistic Acceptance Month – Stims

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos!

Stims

I don’t have many tangible stims, or stim ‘toys’ (I prefer accessibility aids). I do a lot of stimming but I don’t have anything at the moment.

  • I tap each of my fingers to my thumb
  • I bite my nails
  • I play with my beard
  • I play with ribbon pieces randomly
  • I rotate my wedding ring
  • I suck the insides of my cheeks
  • I chew on the edges of mon tongue
  • I put pressure from my tongue on the top of my mouth
  • I grind my teeth
  • I type a lot – I think this is stimming for me
  • I pet my cats
  • To be honest most of the time I just shake subtlety by bouncing my knee.

I need to get something at some point – I need something to chew, but I just can’t afford anything right now. So I will keep using the ones that give me ulcers and aren’t actually that bad.

I never really stim in public. People look at me strangely – I don’t like feeling like an alien if I can avoid it so I just bottle up the stress – there’s always the ability to meltdown at home. Just have to keep it in, with a smile.

Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on Autism for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autism Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation:

Autism Acceptance Month – Sensory Life

The artist for the above image is @Kayas_Kosmos!

I am actually pretty exhausted. The worst sensory issue I have is that my skin tingles a lot. I can feel my teeth at all times since burnout… but I wanted to talk about hyperacusis – my sensitivity to sound. This is a Twitter thread that I have unrolled as a bit of a hacky way to talk about sensory life – I actually nearly forgot I needed to do this today – guess I used a knife or two yesterday instead of spoons when I wrote two blog posts.

Hyperacusis

My musing about the sense of hearing. I have hyperacusis (high sensitivity to sound). It’s adaptive. Very highly adaptive. After constant interoception about this over a number of days/weeks and retrieving a lot of memories I have a few things I think are true.

  1. If there’s no noise – my mind will generate noise in high pitched frequencies (tinnitus) – this is always actually here though even at other times, I am just distracted from it.
  2. High frequencies are the biggest issue for me – anything in the upper end of treble range can interrupt thought. I think the closer it is to the tinnitus range that I always hear the more distracting it is, and the worse the interruption.
  3. Environmental noise is the biggest moderator of the level of my hyperacusis – I can use a massive combination of white noise effects to drown out any distraction from noise – but I have to filter the treble range out. I do this with MyNoise.
  4. My hyperacusis is worse at night than during the day – this could be easily explained by the relative level of noise where I live – insects are far less frequently around me at night – there is little environmental noise as it’s night.
  5. I can’t hear the TV unless at extreme volumes with environmental noise that might not seem that distracting to other people, but the relative distance to the noise doesn’t seem to be an issue – it’s like attenuation of sound doesn’t occur almost.
  6. The volume at which other people listen to things is often unbearable to me – I don’t understand people who put their music over like 1/4 volume. I used to go clubbing and spend most of the time outside… because it was “too much”… I know why now.
  7. This makes social situations incredibly hard for me because of the lack of attenuation compared to other people – it means that audio data is as loud to me from tables away as it is for people close to me. I can filter this effect but not well.
  8. Alcohol somehow dampens this effect, or at least gives me the perception that this effect is not occurring, but instead I am tunnel visioned into whatever I am trying to listen to – I think cannabis might do this too.
  9. On top of this it causes me stress – every sound is a potential stressor, if anything is in a range or loudness that I can’t stand it causes misophonia (a form of synaesthesia tied to irrational emotion). I think this is one of my main reasons for being drained always.
  10. Noise cancelling headphones are an accessibility aid just to deal with the world for me… I still have to deal with bright light as a I have glasses and cannot afford to dampen light as it’s too expensive. So I have constant stress just existing… Good times.
  11. Which leads me to this question… Is hyperacusis just hypervigilance permanently to sound? Is this an adaptation to something? Was this a needed skill? Combined with ADHD I can go without sleep, and I can scan and identify really fast… I would have been a good ‘guard’.

Daily blog challenge

I will be writing every day on Autism for April using this list of prompts:

Alt-Text Format with links to other blogs – Autism Acceptance Month – 30 Days of Acceptance and appreciation: