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Author: Charles Simmins

Words Will Hurt Me

[foul language warning] Get your head out of your ass! What the fuck is the matter with you? How could you say that? You should know what I mean. Can’t you keep your mouth shut? Adults on the autism spectrum have heard many hurtful words over the decades. While each of us is unique, many of us were picked last for sports because we were clumsy. Many of us never understood our peers’ social dynamics. Many of us talked when everyone else was silent, or talked louder when everyone else spoke. How many of us got an assignment from our boss at work that he or she was unable to explain? We should just know what he meant. How many of us got slapped by a girl for reading her social cues wrong? My best friend slapped me once, as I thought I was being lighthearted. We mask. We hide. We find ways to cope, while not quite fitting in. We failed to succeed at work because we couldn’t stand to deal with people. We used money, alcohol, drugs, to hide our depression and anxiety. It is long past time that families, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, support us, love us for who we are, and understand our differences and our needs.

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Autistic Police

‘The uniform and the rules attract autistic people to join the police‘ BBC April 1, 2018 Law enforcement attracts people who are on the spectrum,” he says. “They like the uniform – you get to wear the same thing every day. And you get to enforce the rules. Hopefully this is not an April Fool’s joke. A friend recently asked me if I had ever considered joining the military? This article is along the same lines. My brain does not suffer fools gladly, nor does it accept easily the performance of tasks for no reason. The regimented life of the military, and to a lesser extent, the police, may appeal to some on the autism spectrum. For me, it would be a constant fight to justify in my own mind the rules and the exceptions that both services would impose. I was an EMT for about 14 years. While it was difficult, the practice in New York State was ideal for me. The evaluation of a patient was scripted, and the treatments that I could provide were detailed. I rarely received a post-call compliment for my care, compassion, and concern but I got the job done. Now, I will say this. When given clear instruction, I am very good at following it. That is not necessarily a good thing as the defendants at Nuremberg discovered. I have always sought praise and validation from superiors. It’s part of a schema from my childhood. I follow orders if I can understand them.…

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The CDC Calculates the Prevalence of Autism

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control conduct a study every two years to establish the prevalence of autism in children. I have criticized the methodology in other venues, especially because the media leaps on the subject with vigor. Prevalence and Characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children Aged 8 Years–Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 Sites, United States, 2012 The Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network is an active surveillance system that provides estimates of the prevalence and characteristics of ASD among children aged 8 years whose parents or guardians reside in 11 ADDM Network sites in the United States (Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin). See also: ADDM Network Community Report This is the latest researched report, and is the source of the false fact that one in 68 children in America are autistic. The data was released in 2016, and dates to 2012. It cannot be termed “current data”. The number of children in the 11 states studied, age 8, was 346,978. The study suggests that 14.6 per 1,000 (one in 68) were autistic. That works out to 5,103 children on the spectrum. The CDC reports that 4,112,052 children were born in 2004, making them eight years old in 2012. The sample studied is “about” eight percent of the total number of children age 8. As reported, however, the sample has a questionable makeup. Prevalence is influenced by geography. In New Jersey, the autism…

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How I Came to Be Autistic

I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum at the age of 59. I was recovering from my first major depressive episode and my personal physician and my therapist both thought that I may be autistic, on the spectrum as what was once called Aspergers. I was sent for testing. That consisted of a number of interviews by a psychologist. My younger sister was also interviewed about my early childhood, behaviors and experiences. They would have interviewed my parents had either been alive at that point. I took a multiple choice test consisting of 350 or so questions. Some made no sense, others went to the heart of social or employment issues. In the end, the multi-page report concluded that I was on the spectrum. What did that mean for me? Since then, the last three years, I have been working to identify those behaviors that are hardwired, autistic. I have had another major depressive episode, far more severe. Most of the adaptations that I used to keep my emotions under control have vanished. I have begun stimming, and had several meltdowns. It sounds bad. It is not. It is all part of the process of learning who I am, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and how I react to the world around me. The diagnosis was like getting a new beginning, a rebirth. I’m, in essence, three years old in many ways. I am looking forward to the next twenty years. Let’s see what the new and…

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What Is Autism to Me

In the sidebar, under the I Have Questions topic is a page with some “official” definitions of autism. The problem is, to me, that defining the medical condition seems to require a permanent label for the patient. And, labels are limited as a description. There are two primary schools of thought with respect to autism. Many people see it as a disability, a disaster for the patient and their family, and requiring “curing” and determination of a cause. Many adults on the spectrum, including me, would disagree strongly. Autism is a condition based upon a different “wiring” in the human brain. Some abilities and traits are enhanced while others are altered, changed from “normal”. We’re just not typical humans. What is wrong with being atypical? Should autistics be forced into behaviors that they are not wired to perform with ease? Children on the autism spectrum, with a loving family and wise professional care, can grow up to be adults with abilities and talents, can hold jobs, and have a social life. Their life may not appear to be mainstream, or “normal”, but they are happy, productive, valuable members of a diverse society.

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Aspergers and the Swedish Suicide Study

This past week, the headlines were full of the news of a new study out of Sweden that showed that people on the autism spectrum die sooner than average. The study also found that suicide is the leading cause of death for adults on the spectrum. There are some holes in that thesis, and you ought to know a little more about Sweden and its culture, too. It’s not you, it’s them.

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Quirks, foibles and eccentricities

At the age of 60, it is difficult to look at your life and pick from it those behaviors that are due to Aspergers and those that are not. I’ve been Aspergers all my life but I was just diagnosed in Dec. 2014, so the last year has been a year of revelations Let me try to identify for you, dear reader, a few of my recognizable quirks, foibles and eccentricities.

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