My Aggressiveness

So when I had posted about aggression the other day, I didn’t get much of a chance to talk about what happens for me with aggression.

As I had mentioned, and those of you that know, people on the spectrum are very prone to being more aggressive than most people. The last post gives some insight as to why. 

As far as it goes for me, I am not like most people on the spectrum. 

As a child, I didn’t, as to my knowledge, show much signs of having aggression. During my childhood, my parents had said I had more OCD and ADHD symptoms, and some parts of still seeming a little off. 

But yet, no teacher could tell something was wrong with me when my mom had brought it to their attention, that’s how well I hid my autism. 

As I got older, it started becoming more prevalent, and after 4 years of testing, at least that’s what I was told, I was diagnosed at about 12. 

It wasn’t until I hit my teen years after this diagnosis that my aggressive behavior came out. It got pretty out of control and it was mostly geared towards my mom. She was the one around a lot with my dad being at work in another city. 

I had exhibited mostly shoving and some hitting but that was the majority of it. Rarely I would kick. At one point I did, and I got my mom pretty good to the point where I knew I had to change. 

How I was able to do that, I have no idea. But the fact I was able to recognize what my issue was and find a way to control it was amazing. 

Unfortunately, I became a little verbally aggressive. Its not as out of control as the physicality, but I know it has its issues and is sadly only at work once in a while that it happens. 

I know its a bad thing and I know it needs work. But finding a way to curb that is harder than curbing physical aggression. 

How does one go about doing that? Where does one begin? Is it possible to find a way to stop or is it something that just has to be dealt with? 

These are things that may not be known for quite some time, if at all, on a verbal level. If anyone has suggestions on ways to help, please feel free to share.

Aggressiveness

Has anyone ever wondered where the aggressive behavior in autism comes from? Or why it’s more prevalent in those on the spectrum?

As those of you know who deal with a child on the spectrum, or if you deal with it yourself, worse than normal tantrums are normal, but can be debilitating for families to go out in public depending on the severity of the tantrums and the autism itself.

Until the past 5 years, aggression in autism has never been researched. Dr’s. Stephen Kanne and Micah Mazurek of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri did a study to find out how often these tantrums cause aggressive behavior and what risk factors are associated with aggressive behavior.

There were a number of families who took place in this study through Simons Simplex Collection. They took 1,380 on the spectrum between the ages of 4 and 17. They found that out of the entire group, 56% were in some way aggressive towards caregivers, while 32% were aggressive towards non caregivers. When this study had been done before, the numbers were 68% towards caregivers and 49% to non caregivers.

Although these numbers dropped, that is still a huge risk factor for families and their child.

So how does one know the risk factors involved to try and help?

These researchers eventually split the children into 2 groups, ones who were very physically aggressive and ones who rarely displayed it. Typically, when people think aggression they think men. These researchers found that isn’t the case with those on the spectrum.

They found that the only risk factor in those with autism is the younger the child, the more aggressive they tend to be.

The risk factors they found with those who are more aggressive are:

  • More repetitive behaviors, especially self-injurious or ritualistic behaviors, or extreme resistance to change
  • More severe autistic social impairment
  • A higher family income

Although they have this information, it still didn’t help them come to the conclusion of why this aggressive behavior is more existent in those on the spectrum. They did find though that adults who tried to interfere with repetitive behavior, a repetitive routine, or when they are trying to escape uncomfortable sensory input, especially in boys, became more aggressive.

The one thing that did puzzle these researchers though is that those with more financial income weren’t getting the necessary resources to help their child. They did say that further research would need to be done in order to help those learn more about it.

I especially would love to know. I am prone to aggressive behavior myself and have to try to control it in some way. Plus, I would love to learn more about why it is more prevalent to those on the spectrum and what may cause it to be that way.

Source:

Interactive Autism Network

https://iancommunity.org/cs/simons_simplex_community/aggression_and_asd

Songs on Repeat

Does anyone out there have that one song that no matter how many times they hear it they can’t get enough? Or it just happens to be a song that helps them get through things that can be part of everyday life?

There is one artist in particular that does that for me. A band by the name of Breaking Benjamin. I had found a song of theirs through Spotify because I like the hits of theirs I have heard on the radio.

This song is Breath. If you get the chance, look it up. To those who have seen me post this on Facebook, I am sorry if you are hearing it for a second time.

This song can be used for mental illness, autism, whatever it is that you are dealing with at the time. From what I have heard, correct me if I’m, the lead singer wrote it about his drug addiction, which can be considered a form of mental illness. The way its written makes it not sound like that and is amazing to hear the emotion in the song.

I am thoroughly addicted to the song. I don’t have any of their albums but I like what they do. They remind me a lot of Shinedown, as far as lyrical content and music. Check out Shinedown too. They are also an amazing band with songs that can relate to everyday life.

I’d say more about Breath, but I feel that one or two good listens to it can make a big impact on someone rather than actually talking about it all the time. Words can only mean so much to an extent.

Hopefully those that do check it out can relate to it in some way. And I hope it can help those understand it will be ok no matter what it is your going through.

Adults on the Spectrum

I have to rant about this topic. I know a lot of parents out there have a child who is on the spectrum. Yes I agree that early intervention is important.

But what about helping adults on the spectrum with adulthood?

I can barely find anything at all on helping people like me with getting some sort of assistance.

Yes I understand that helping a young child with autism is important, but what people seem to not understand is that it doesn’t go away when you turn 18. 

Things actually get harder at that age. The ones who are high-functioning that live on their own have to pay rent or mortgages. They have to upkeep a car if they are capable of driving. They have to pay utilities, phone bills, cable, and everything else that comes with being an adult. 

Those who aren’t on the spectrum have a hard time adulting as it is and most adults have families of their own to add on top of the payments. Its stressful. 

Add autism on top of that, and it gets amplified tenfold. 

So why can’t their be just as much research and focus in adults as there is in children? 

Adults on the spectrum need help too! 

To those who read this, please find a way to share this with others. I want to get the word out on more help for adults on the spectrum. 

Thank you for your time. I had to let all that out because I’m looking at more topics to talk about for later updates and being an adult with autism was one and the article was about the same size as my first post. 

It was sad to read and made me realize, adults don’t get nearly as much support. I know research on autism is an ongoing process but adults on the spectrum need care as well. Especially the high functioning ones.

A Little Late About me

So I started doing this blog and realized, after reading a couple others, that I totally have not done something that truly introduces who I am.

To those who don’t know, my name is Emily. I am going to be 27 in a couple weeks and can’t believe I’m that close to 30. I’m getting old lol. 

For those who have read my prior posts, I am a hockey fan and a diehard one at that. I started playing a couple seasons ago on a team for people specifically with developmental disabilities and is the best thing to happen to me. (Marie, if you are reading this, you are the greatest for giving me an amazing opportunity.)

I have an obsession with the paranormal and my favorite show is Ghost Adventures. Learned an interesting thing from that show about how people with autism and mental illness have more susceptible to the paranormal, and have had multiple encounters working in a retirement home. I should look into that do a post on what I find out.

My 2 favorite artists are Shinedown, who are an Alternative Rock band with a very positive message, and Bruno Mars. I have a very bad obsession with him, no lie. I have a phone case of him and a 9 or 10 by 12 framed poster (yes its framed, don’t judge). I cannot by any means go a day without hearing his music.

I’m into a lot of different styles of music and am open to ones I normally don’t listen too. I normally am either rock or Top 40. Recently I heard a song by Sam Hunt that I had heard before, and actually liked it. And country isn’t my go to either! I wouldn’t mind getting into his stuff. 

Aside from hockey, I am a sports lover. I am not huge on Nascar and can barely tolerate golf. My 2 favorite American football teams are Detriot Lions and Washington Redskins. I don’t understand soccer but always like watching it and wish I could watch it and have someone explain it too me. 

I prefer baseball in person over TV. My favorite college is Michigan State and wear their gear proudly! I prefer playing basketball over watching, unless its the NCAA tourny. 

Think I wrote enough? I think I may have haha but that is a look into who I am. There’s more to me that just that but some of it is too complicated to put in here.

Hopefully you all enjoyed the read!

Mild Autism versus Asperger’s

Surprisingly, this is something that most people new to the autism world don’t know much about. Until recently, Asperger’s was part of the autism family but not actually catagorized as mild autism. 

It was in-between PDD-NOS and mild autism. Eventually they decided to classify it in the mild autism catagory.

Dr. Temple Grandin, a very well known name to those who follow the autism community, has said, “Asperger’s and Autism are not seperate conditions. Asperger’s, aside from PDD-NOS is the mildest part of the spectrum”

She basically states that Asperger’s has very few differences from autism. Both Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism became combined because treatments work for both. 

To be classified as Aperger’s, a person must show 2 of these 4 traits:

  1. “Marked impairment” regarding nonverbal social cues (doesn’t make eye contact, doesn’t understand others body language)
  2. Failure to make friends
  3. Lack of social and emotional responses to others
  4. Inability to spontaneously share enjoyment, interests and achievements with other people

Also must show 1 of these 4 behaviors:

  1. Abnormal and intense interest in one subject
  2. Adherence to a strict set of rules, routines and rituals
  3. Repetition of certain mannerisms like hand flapping, hair twirling or even whole body movements
  4. An obsession in the parts or mechanisms of objects

For me, when I was younger, I was bad at marked impairment, which I have gotten better at and have, to this day an issue going up to people to make friends.

As for behaviors, 1 and 2 apply to me like crazy, and 3 can be hit and miss for me.

For parents, after receiving the initial shock of the diagnosis, experts say getting pro-active and accepting your child are key. 

This 3 step strategy was created by behavioral specialist, Billy Edwards, on how to get pro-active:

  1. Give yourself permissions to grieve because its ok
  2. Second step, begin to find resources, the first being parent support groups
  3. Part 2 of Step 2, look for professionals to surrounf yourself with to help guide you
  4. Explain the diagnosis to your child helps make it easier for you and them to accept. Use positive approach and list positive traits and a plan of action for the challenging ones

The biggest concern for those with Asperger’s are the psychological challenges. Anxiety, depression, ADHD and OCD, among others, can be a challenge but these 4 being the biggest, most well known problems among Asperger’s. In most cases of Asperger’s, they have 2 or 3 of these and more than not, these can be more debilitating than the disability itself.

For me, I have all 4 of the main challenges, anxiety and depression, mostly anxiety, being the worst of it. OCD for me depends on the situation. At home, I am clutter organized, mostly in my room. It drives my mom nuts. At work, I get more detial organized, and am very picky about the way my floors look when I mop. Like, I hate when people walk all over them and make footprints and drag carts all over them.

Dr. Chris Plache stated that treating Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism comes in many forms, the most notes and successful are:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sensory Integration Therapy
  • Medication
  • Language Communication Therapy
  • Social Skills Groups

As far as sensory issues goes, which I will eventually touch more on, 80% of people with Asperger’s have extreme sensitivities to sights, sounds, smells and touch.

Sensitivies include:

  • Hearing most common noises most people filter out can distract them, like a fluorescent light bulb buzzing. To these people, sound sensitivity can be painful
  • Taste and Smell in some are heightened to the point of nausea

Luckily for me, I’m not one that suffers from sensitivity issues and am very fortunate in that sense. But like I said, I will talk about this later on.

I hope this was a good read for you all and you understand what mild autism/asperger’s is.

Source:

High-Functioning Autism vs Asperger’s Syndrome

https://aspergers101.com/high-functioning-autism-vs-apsergers-syndrome/

Laidback Monday

Today was probably one of the best workdays I have had in a very long time. Very unusual for my job and being a Monday.

The only slightly out of the norm thing I had to do was dish up food in what we call out Health and Rehab Center. Being in a retirement home, this place is basically advanced home care for the residents. Its has similarities to places like hospice or in home nurses. 

The slight difference is we have people who come in from hospitals who need some sort of rehab. We’ve had people who were in car accidents come in, people who have had amputations and even some of the residents who have had some falls in their apartment or have had health issuses come in to get treated. 

The only downfall with today was not only the hot weather, 92 degrees, in farenhiet for those who use the metric system that read this, which makes being in the kitchen and anywhere in the retirement home unbearably hot.

Plus, being in the kitchen, we don’t have the ability to wear clothing that can help restrict the amount of sweat we have. But other than those two things it was a very good day. I hope it stays that way the rest of the week. 

With the way this place is, I highly doubt it but one can hope for the best!

Add-on to Anxiety Overload

There was one part of my story yesterday I forgot to add in. 

While we were leaving the water park yesterday, my little teamate decided to give me a hug out of nowhere. About a minute later, me and one of my friends were struggling to keep up because he wanted to talk to everyone he came across.

My friend had told him to take his hand so we could keep up with his parents and brother. Instead of grabbing my friend’s hand he went for mine instead. 

This kid has an amazing attachment to me and makes me smile no matter what has been happening throughout the day.

Later on in the day, him, his brother, his dad and my friend went on a roller coaster. I had to go to the bathroom before they came off and as soon as he saw me come out he shouted my name and came to give me a hug. 

This kid is something else and am very glad I get to have him on my life. He is a very special boy and I hope he knows that! I wouldn’t trade knowing him for anything in the world and love his larger than life personality. 

Anxiety overload

Today, I decided to try something new and go to a theme park about an hour from my house. Once again, I went with some people from my hockey team. 

Well I was doing relatively ok until I got on a slightly smallish roller coaster compared to what they have. I get bad anxiety on them because I have a fear of heights. I can tolerate them but only to an extent. 

So after we had gotten off the ride, my anxiety got me overwhelmed after the ride that I had a breakdown. I felt bad for doing it but luckily the group I was with understood. 

To those who don’t fully understand, those who are on the spectrum are very prone to anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and breakdowns. The breakdowns are something that happens when feelings of anxiety or overstipulation from a variety of different things. These breakdowns can happen at the drop of a hator build up overtime. Not exactly fun but its what happens.

The rest of the day I took it easy and only pushed myself if I felt necessary. It worked well for all parties involved and nothing interfered with anything.

Thank you to the group I was a part of for being so great with me. I know from the outside looking in it can sometimes leave you feeling helpless but you all handled it great. I couldn’t have asked for it to be any better.