This is probably a stupid question. But what are spoons? I've heard that term a few times now and google has not been my friend here.
I guess you could say spoons are a unit of measurement, and what they measure is the ability to cope with the shit your day throws at you. When you’re out of spoons, you’re also out of coping ability. I have no idea where the term originated, however, and never used it until I heard it from my husband (who is a lot more up on memetics than I am).
Hi, does anyone have resources that explain what autism looks like in undiagnosed adults and/or folk raised as girls? I'm currently looking into whether it's worth asking my psychiatrist about testing for autistic spectrum stuff. I had a fairly long language delay as a kid (no speech/babbling until 2.5yo), have some difficulties with language (especially questions and humour), various sensory issues, face-blindness, etc - but I think I interact with others too fluently to be on the spectrum? Idk
Here is a response to a very similar question I received around the same time.
Can you list some traits of people with Autism in their teen/adult years? All symptom lists seem to be directed at ages 1-4. Or point me to one? Thanks, lovely.
Here is a list of criteria put together by someone who is actually autistic, rather than some unfortunate “expert” with a lot of misconceptions. Just a few things I’d like to point out for you to keep in mind while reading:
1. Teenagers or adults with undiagnosed autism are the proverbial babies that are taught to swim by just pitching them into the water. Many develop a number of coping mechanisms to deal with their autism symptoms and even overcome a few altogether. That an individual may have done so does not disqualify them from being autistic.
2. Some of these things can be very hard to identify from within. It may take a lot of time and thought to see if this criteria applies to you, because it can be so difficult to notice things you yourself do. As well, some of these are things (like differences in sensory perception) that one may not have had much reason to realize is different in themselves from what it is in others. I never knew I was synesthetic until a few years ago, because I always assumed everyone else processed the world synesthetically too.
3. It’s my firm belief that the underdiagnosis of DFAB girls is due in part to socialization. Two (erroneously) common “traits” of autism are a lack of empathy/emotion and less desire to socialize. However, any child identified by others as a girl will be encouraged, from a very young age, towards pursuits and hobbies that surround empathy and socialization (where as a child identified as a boy will not be, or will be encouraged towards these things to a much lesser degree). They will be expected to be more emotional and social, as well as to be less energetic and rowdy than, DMAB boys, thanks to sexism and cissexism. So when dealing with someone who either identifies as female or especially who was identified as female from birth, keep in mind that some of these traits may have been greatly lessened or forced out by how the person in question was raised. That doesn’t mean that the individual doesn’t necessarily have them, but may have been forced to have them “under control” so they don’t show nearly as strongly as they otherwise might.
My mother commented that while I'm introverted, I'm not anti-social, and I'm certainly not autistic. We'd been wondering after a diagnosis for some time, but my mother has now decided that because I've assimilated to my environment it's okay. I can't keep eye contact, I have a melt down if my talking goes off track, and I do avoid people. She just... she makes me sad and mad. How do I go about a diagnosis without her? Do you think it's worth pursuing?
Many autistic people aren’t in the least bit antisocial. A lot of us aren’t even all that introverted, but can be driven to both introvertedness and antisocialness by the way society treats us. Being social doesn’t even begin to disqualify you from being autistic, and I’m sure I can find other autistic people right here on tumblr who’ll agree with that, if you think a wake up call might work on your mother.
Otherwise, often the best way to look into diagnosis is to get a referral from your GP or bring it up with your psychiatrist if you already have one. It can be difficult, because there are a lot of misguided notions out there like the ones your mother expressed. In the end, it’s about whether it’s worth it to you. If you feel it would make a difference for you, you should pursue it regardless of what your mother thinks. She’s not the one who struggles with eye contact or has meltdowns, after all.
[Trained by society to be terrified of being seen as rude
Too polite to slam door in Bible thumpers’ faces]
Yes, this really happened to me a few days ago. I may never open the front door again.
Our outer doorbell rang, and as usual when I’m not expecting it, I froze up. It didn’t ring a second time, and I wrote it off as mail (we are waiting on Christmas packages after all) and that there’d be a slip for it before long.
Then a few minutes later some mail did indeed come through the slot, so I went to retrieve it. As I turned to head back to my computer and work, the inner doorbell rang. Thinking it must be a package, I went to open the door without looking out first. It turned out to be a pair of Russian women on a mission (pun kinda intended). They’d mistaken my husband’s middle name, Kruchov, for Russian (it’s Polish. Ouch.) and decided to assail me with their tidings of a free Bible study club. Multilingual and everything.
I mean, as door-to-door Bible thumpers go, they were nice. When I explained I was agnostic (and subsequently explained what that even meant) they didn’t tell me I’d go to hell or anything if I didn’t change my ways. But they did ask some questions and I found myself at a loss for what to do. It’s really awkward when you have to bite your tongue on what you’d actually respond. “Do you think you don’t need God in your life?” (Um, pretty sure that if God does exists, whether or not I need Him is kinda moot.) “Haven’t you ever wondered where we go after death? The Bible tells us.” (Yeah, not an expert or anything, but far as I know, the Bible doesn’t go into specifics.)
I don’t think I could have looked more uncomfortable if I tried. And since I was trying to be polite and make eye contact, but was wildly uncomfortable at the same time, I’m pretty sure I looked like one of those cat wall clocks with the eyes that tick back and forth. Yet despite the fact that they were imposing on me, I couldn’t even get myself to say “I’m sorry, but I really need to get back to work.”
Over-politeness training is a problem in certain areas of our culture, and autistics seems to get it worse than almost anyone else. Most people would at least be able to excuse themselves. Goodness knows my husband, who’s an atheist, would have merrily shut the door in their faces. But even afterwards, I kept making excuses for them, despite the fact that they came unprovoked to my door simply because they saw what looked like a Russian name in the middle of a very clearly not Russian name.
This fear of being seen as rude that gets trained into us really blows. We have just as much right to stand up for ourselves as anyone else. But despite the fact that I’m turning 28 in January, I’m still unable to bring myself to utter a politely worded request to go away out of sheer terror. How is that fair?
My dad has given me several articles on Autism, and I'm beginning to think he thinks I'm on the spectrum. I've long suspected thus. My mother, on the other hand, is pro-autism speaks/finding a cure because her friend's son has asperger's, she thinks knows exactly what it looks like. She's resistant to me seeking a diagnosis on this. How do I go about it without making her mad?
Honestly? This is about you, not her. Unless her anger is very uncomfortable or dangerous to you, worry more about your feelings, rather than hers. If you have to, ask for your dad’s help, since it sounds like he might understand. Your mother may not even need to know about it.
If it is important that you talk to her about it, then there’s something to keep in mind: Modern rhetoric is on autism is still very parent-blaming. The days of the “refrigerator mother” might be largely over, but all these things science keeps thinking might be “causing” autism feels like blaming, too. Too old, too young, where you live, what you eat, how much money you have…these are all correlations, but they’re often put out there by journalists as causations, and that’s wrong.
Unfortunately, it also gives the impression that in some way, if a parent had just done something differently, their kid wouldn’t have autism. In truth, these things are likely just coincidences, but no one tells parents that. So many parents, consciously or subconsciously, end up with the feeling that if their child is autistic, it would be their own fault. Organizations like Autism Speaks don’t help them get through that feeling.
That is most likely what you’re up against, or at least part of it. It’s terribly unfortunate, and terribly common, for resistance to diagnoses of neurodivergence to come from this feeling, for parents. And your mother needs to understand that this is in no way about her. It’s about you. It’s about how you feel and what’s right for you. Do you feel like there’s something “wrong” with you, or do you simply see that you have differences, and want a name for that?
Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. What this means to you. As I’ve advised before, write it down if you need to. If that doesn’t work, you may have to be more underhanded about it, but again, ultimately, this is about you, not her.
Have you ever read The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome by Tony Attwood? If so, what did you think of it?
No, I haven’t. I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction about autism. I got a fair bit thrown at me when I was younger, and I’ve been diagnosed since I was 9 so like…sometimes I feel like a walking Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, if that makes sense.
I do think I’ve seen some complaints about Attwood in the autism community here. Or maybe I’m thinking of someone else. Hedgies?
Is it possible to get less autistic over time? I used to have meltdowns (or shutdowns more frequently), but I've noticed in the past year or so sensory input is bothering me a lot less and I've gotten much better at social stuff. And on the one hand it's great, but I'm also panicking a little that I can't call myself autistic anymore.
Autism fluctuates, I’ve noticed. Some things get better, some get worse; none of them necessarily stay that way.
I’ve gotten much, much more twitchy and upset in crowds over the years. On the other hand, you know that thing where a change in our routine—even a small one—can completely ruin our day? Happens to me almost never anymore. Used to be if my breakfast went wrong, I couldn’t go to school that day. Now when something changes, I can almost always handle it.
So don’t worry about being “less” autistic, because autism simply doesn’t work that way. All that’s happened is you’ve gained more spoons to cope with those things, and that’s good.
Good luck with Thor's brother, but be careful. He has a habit with making people kill their own siblings.
Hey, these spikes aren’t for show, you know. He’s not going to find it that easy to poke me with that staff of his.
i would like to say that it is not just adults who 'pass wel enough' who slipped through the cracks. i was diagnosed at 20 and my diagnoser said it was so obvious i have autism (by the icd10 critera) that he has no idea why i wasnt diagnosed in early childhood. there are plenty of people who dont and cant passat all who werent diagnosed bc classism sexism abusive childhood settings and parents who refused help for their childs etc etc etc
I know that. My point was simply that we know the different ways autism can look in adults, that it can even look so little like autism on first glance that it slips past, and we have actually known this for a very long time, so there really is no good reason to not have more experts on autism in adults.
I was actually thinking back to an article I read something like ten years ago (when you’re young, and you’re autistic, and people know you’re autistic, they will inevitably inundate you with articles). It was about adults exactly like that, people in their 30s, 40s, even their 50s, who got by for a long time without an autism diagnosis simply because they could pass enough. And about how experts were starting to recognize the signs of that. And yet somehow, adult autism experts are rarer than hens teeth.
That there are other problems with obtaining autism diagnoses is a given, but that the “You can speak/hold a job/show emotions/etc. so you can’t have autism” ignorance is still so prevalent, when we’ve known for more than a decade that autistic people can do those things, boggles my mind.