AuTalkz: Wandering

Wandering is perhaps the least understood behavior of autism, and the most dangerous to the person with autism. Before I worked on this issue, I thought back to any instance where I wandered off, and what caused me to do so.

013_Wandering

I came up with the three listed in the second panel:  Boredom (or lack of stimulation), Interests, and (over) Stimulation.

Boredom: When I get bored, my mind wanders and I start to daydream a lot. This can cause me to miss what’s going on around me, and if I’m walking through a store when it happens (I recall a couple incidents when I was a child and my parents took me shopping with them), I might stop walking or go in the wrong direction.

Interests: If I see something which I find interesting, I might stop to observe or look at it. For instance, when I go hiking, I might stop to look at a cool spider or insect, or try to climb over a tree which has fallen over a stream. In a mall, I might stop and look through the windows of a game shop or sports store. If my parents didn’t keep a close eye on me, I might have wandered into the store. I actually did one time with a bookstore.

Stimulation: If I’m overstimulated in a classroom setting, that’s a recipe for a meltdown (a panic attack is the form my meltdowns often take). In that case, I want to get as far away from whatever is causing the stress and anxiety as fast as possible. Having rules drilled into me since I was introduced to a classroom setting in kindergarten helped to make sure that I didn’t just get up and walk out of the room, but I would often leave a room, and if denied, would come up with as many excuses as it took to get out of the classroom (the one I used the most was asking to go to the nurse, because that usually worked to get me out of the classroom and the stressful situation 99% of the time).

By Nikki J.

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Nikki is the creator of the webcomic “AuTalkz”. She has Asperger’s Syndrome and found relief from panic attacks by doodling. Nikki wanted to make a comic which went back to the “bare basics” of past comics: ones l like Calvin & Hobbes which could teach lessons and procure laughter without the use of bad language and-or graphic violence….she called this comic strip “AuTalkz“. “The idea was for the opinions and comedy to come from the viewpoint of someone with ASD. I decided to branch out and do something I’ve always wanted to do: Help people understand autism. My hope is that my comic can help promote understanding, particularly teachers who have students on the spectrum, parents who have children on the spectrum, and even kids and workers who have classmates and co-workers on the spectrum”. We would agree and are proud to feature Nikki and her fabulous work, AuTalkz, on aspergers101.com

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