Be Human Together: by Jennifer McIlwee Myers

The statement below is from someone I admire and have had the privilege to meet and interview for Aspergers101. Jennifer McIlwee Myers, Aspie at Large,  is a writer and a speaker in the Autism world.  Her insight into the world of Autism not only entertains but offers enlightenment (especially for us neuro-typicals) so when she posted her thoughts in reference to the news of the recent horrific college shootings by someone diagnosed with Aspergers, we asked her permission to re-post for our readers. 

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“The only way I know to cope is to be human together.” -Jennifer McIlwee Myers

There are many discussions online about the person who shot and killed 9 people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. The one I want to address is the shooter’s Asperger’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, having Asperger’s (or autism) doesn’t protect you from mental illness, and it doesn’t make you an angel.

Aspies and auties can have the same kinds of mental problems as other folks. Frankly, I worry that people on the spectrum are less likely to get appropriate mental and medical help because any problems or “weird” behaviors we have are blamed on autism.

But don’t let anybody tell you we are in any way more dangerous than humans in general. The only people we are more likely to hurt are our own individual selves, and then only for the reasons that humans in general do. Like everyone else, those of us who experience little acceptance and lots of bullying may self harm or use alcohol and other drugs when the coping methods we have just aren’t enough. We can be troubled, because we are human.

And yes, if you have someone living in your house with recurrent severe depression, it is better not to have easily accessible, already loaded firearms around. That’s because when people who decide to commit suicide are delayed from doing so, they usually wind up staying alive.

I can understand anger. I can understand rage. I can even understand really feeling like you want to hurt someone. I don’t understand actually doing so. I don’t understand why people actually commit mass murder. I don’t understand killing sprees.

Those of us on the spectrum are just as saddened and bewildered by this as the people who aren’t. The only way I know to cope is to be human together.

-Jennifer McIlwee Myers/Aspie at Large

 

 

Neuroscience Sheds Light on Why People with Asperger’s Syndrome Might Lack Empathy

PsychCentral

Find you are always trying to ‘explain’ the behavior of your Asperger child or spouse? No matter how much we explain or teach or train the Aspie mind, certain neurological circuits don’t work as they do in the NT brain. The brain has a number of circuits that are all connected like Christmas lights. If one part doesn’t work right, then the rest of the circuits malfunction, too. GREAT article, by Dr. Kathy Marshack, shedding light on why people with Aspergers Syndrome lack empathy.

Aspergers-brain-goog

What If It Snowed In San Antonio?

Caring for the Caregiver

This is the third installment of my piece speaking about the health of a caregiver and it has been an interesting journey these past weeks. We as caregivers get in such and stay in such serious modes, that sometimes it takes something drastic to pop us out of our self imposed prisons of heaviness and sometimes fear. Last night in San Antonio and much of Texas it full on snowed, now for some of us who were raised around snow, (my parents were bi coastal people), this could have seemed mundane but it was not anything of the sort. I was so happy and joyful that it was snowing, I surprised myself and as I looked around me, everyone and I mean everyone was smiling and laughing and making snowballs and snowmen. Then it hit me, it hit me why I had to wait till this very moment to write this very thing. Life and it’s tragedies are real but in those moments of lifting and or explaining, or seeing people’s faces in reaction to perhaps a behavior your person was exhibiting, in those moments the divine breaks in. Now maybe it’s not snow in the south or something as drastic as that but I believe wholeheartedly that we are given sweet miracle moments that release us from the prison and remind us that we are free to live and enjoy and to find joy in the Big and little things in life. I can tell you, I love each and every one of you who are struggling to be, when you don’t even know if you can put one foot in front of the other. I send you thoughts and knowledge that you can find the divine and joy in your task of caregiving, you just have to seek them, to go after them because joy can seem fleeting like the melting snow but the take away is this. When we can choose to see the beauty in a smile, or in a victorious moment where we somehow connect to and with our people, then that is where we see the miracles happen of this season and all year round . We may feel exhausted and cranky sometimes as caregivers but let us remember the beauty we are giving we get back in unexpected ways. Seek those moments and I know you will not be disappointed.

Joy and Peace,

Dr. Ghia

281 772 5843

dr.ghia7@gmail.com

 

Letting Go of the Grief

Taking Care of the Care-Giver : An Aspergers101 Exclusive Series

We welcome our Aspergers101 readers to a series dedicated to you, the care-giver. Pause and re-fresh as Dr. Ghia Edwards takes us into the second of a series of four blogs aimed specifically toward you.

Caregivers, we are a special breed, we push through the pain to attend to the needs of those we care for but did you know that grief is a strong part of the lives of the caregiver. The medical definition of grief:

Grief: The normal process of reacting to a loss. The loss may be physical ( Such as death), social (Such as divorce), or occupational ( Such as a job). Emotional reactors of grief can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions of grief can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness. https://www.medicinenet.com

When we are in the caregiver role, we can lose ourselves in the role we play and in that loss comes the grief. We no longer get to necessarily go to lunch and dinners with friends like we use to, or grab a cup of coffee with a family member. We don’t get our usual alone time or get to finish that clay pot we started to create in that art class, sometimes we just are at a loss for the things we have given up, albeit willingly. 

There is such joy in caring for the people that we love but there is a tug of war that can happen and take over on the negative side, IF we are not actively pursuing our own healthy mindfulness state. Below are 10 helpful suggestions of how to heal your soul and below that, I am giving you a tool of self assessment on stress and depression of a person in our roles. After you score it please reach out and share the results with a safe person, clergy, friend, therapist. if you don’t have that person in place yet, pick up the phone and call my office, we understand and we care. There are many of us who understand the Spirit,Soul,Mind and Body process that the caregiver goes through but I say we need to bring more joy to the journey and that is only done in us realizing that we have to face what we are going through, be real with the circumstances and proactive in our own healing process.

How to Help HEAL YOUR  SOUL When You are Grieving:

Beware of the Martyr Complex

Taking Care of the Care-Giver : An Aspergers101 Exclusive Series

Taking care of yourself is a must when you are a care-giver or more specifically a guardian of a child with special needs. 

Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D.

“We have to give out of the overflow versus an empty tank. When we give out of our overflow, we are built up enough to give healthy help and joy. When we let our tank go down, it is like a car that begins to knock because the sediment on the bottom of the tank, is ruining the smooth running of the car. In these situations the car doesn’t run well, much like us when we do not have positive healthy, nourishing self care. We can only give out that which we have, we must center on the Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body”. – Dr. Ghia Edwards, Psy.D. 

We welcome our Aspergers101 readers to a series dedicated to you, the care-giver. Pause and re-fresh as Dr. Ghia Edwards takes us into the first of a series of four blogs aimed specifically to you. Note: You might especially enjoy the added audio portion inserted into the text below!

“We cannot help anyone if we are not helping ourselves first”, we have all heard this before but what does this actually mean and how do we put it into practice. The Inner Workings of a Healthy Helper. Spirit, Soul, Mind and Body health keep the caregiver from running into the weeds. It’s like they say when you are flying, “In the event of an emergency apply your own mask first, then help others around you”. It’s quite a simple practice, so WHY oh why do we not implement it in our lives, we’ll I have theory.
When we are caregiving we are getting a payoff of some sort. If it’s just knowing that we are doing the correct thing for those we are caring for but with that comes being needed. Being needed is seductive, it is alluring, it feels great to know you are valuable but it can be just a step away from being a martyr. Beware of the martyr complex!  It’s subtle but in my line of work I have seen this over and over again and perhaps even participated in the behavior myself. Yes I am a recovering over doer aka martyr.
Here are some solutions to help us NOT become a martyr.

Dr. Temple Grandin: Discipline is Key

Dr. Temple Grandin on DISCIPLINE

“I cannot emphasize the importB9315403164Z.1_20141208230949_000_GLQ9BRDPJ.1-0ance of consistency.  When I was in elementary school, the penalty for having a tantrum was to have no TV for one night.  That was the rule and it was always enforced.  It is essential for the rules to be consistent at BOTH home and school. Parents and teachers must work together otherwise the child may manipulate the parent against the teacher and vice versa.  Kids need to learn that “No” means No and be rewarded when they do things right.  You also need to determine if a behavior problem is caused by pain or sensory over sensitivity.  Hidden painful medical problems must be ruled out.  Some common ones are – acid reflex (heartburn), constipation, yeast infections, toothaches, and earaches.  A child may fear going into a room where a smoke alarm had previously gone off, because it hurt his/hear ears.  After these biological causes of behavior problems are ruled out, then the behavioral motivation can be figured out.

The three main behavioral causes of tantrums and other problems behaviors are:

  • Get attention
  • Frustration because communication is difficult
  • Escape from a task

Each one of these motivators needs to be handled in a different way.  Often the best way to handle behaviors motivated for attention getting is to ignore it.  If a non-verbal child is frustrated because he/she cannot communicate, he/she should be given a means to communicate, such as a picture board or picture exchange.  There are many new apps available for I Pads and other tablets for communication.  If the child is trying to escape from a task, you need to make sure the task is not stupid.  An example of a stupid task would be making a brilliant 8-year-old do baby math drills.  He/she should be given the more advanced math book.

All children in the autism spectrum should be expected to do daily living tasks that they are capable of doing.  Some examples are making their bed, being on time for the school bus or helping with household chores.  When I was a child, I was expected to have good table manners and to say “please” and “thank you.”  When I made a mistake with table manners, mother did not say No. She told me the correct behavior.  For example if I ate mashed potatoes with my fingers, she said, “No, use your fork.”  She gave me the instruction, instead of just saying NO.”

-Dr. Temple Grandin

The above and other Q & A from Dr. Temple Grandin was provided by is posted at:  http://www.templegrandin.com/faq.html 

Today is the Day: Skate for Autism/Asperger Awareness!

Rollercade Fundraising Event

Today is the day! Join Aspergers101 as we skate for Autism/Asperger Awareness!

Aspergers101 is having a fundraiser at the Rollercade today, this Thursday, August 17th, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm! Come join us for a fun (sensory friendly for our SPD friends) night to celebrate the last days of summer before school is back in session! We are raising awareness for Autism/Aspergers and creating a space for ASD youth and family to come together and enjoy themselves. 100% of the entrance fee for the Rollercade is going to Aspergers101 so that we can continue servicing the ASD community with free online resources and local community events. Please share and come with your family/friends!

Date: August 17, 2017
Event: Skate for Autism/Asperger Awareness!
Venue: The Rollercade
(210) 826-6361
Location: 223 Recoleta Rd, San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, Texas 78216
United States
Cost:  $10 includes two hour skate and roller skate rental

 

Join Aspergers101 as we skate for Autism/Asperger Awareness! Let’s all go to a true San Antonio’s landmark…The Rollercade for one more roll around the rink before school sets in. The nostalgic wooden rink will take you back to a day long gone and owner and USA Sports Roller Hall of Famer, Verna Quaranto will keep it a sensory-friendly skate for our 2-hour designated celebration! 100% of entry fee(s) will be donated to the outreach programs offered through Aspergers101…come see us!

 

Date: August 17, 2017
Event: Skate for Autism/Asperger Awareness!
Venue: The Rollercade
(210) 826-6361
Location: 223 Recoleta Rd, San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, Texas 78216
United States
Public: Public