Ignorance is bliss

The phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ is very pertinent to me. I have noticed that I very much try to 1) live in the moment and 2) focus only on one thing at a time. These two tactics enable me to feel control in the world as it makes me feel grounded and causes me not to overthink anything.

I think there are at least three common reactions when a human being is faced with a task. They are:

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Interoception (brain to body signals)

I’ve been learning about interoception recently. Interoception is the signalling and perception of our own internal bodily sensations. I think of it very simply as the brain to body connection. Some examples might be recognising when you are hungry, when you need to go to the toilet, or when you are in pain.

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ASD adjustments to the interview process

The National Autistic Society suggests that more than 1 in 100 people are affected by an ASD. They also suggest that as many as 80% of people with an ASD are not working, yet are willing and able to. If you are an employer it is likely that you will come across a person with an ASD at some point. However, it is down to the individual whether or not they disclose their condition on their application form. Some are afraid to do so in case of discrimination by the employer. (My advice to people with an ASD would be to generally always disclose (if not at interview, disclose when you start the job.)

If a person has disclosed to you that they have an ASD when they apply, there are some reasonable adjustments you can make to make things better (more productive and sincere) for both of you. In this blog article, I will briefly give some suggestions on the sorts of things you could do to help a potential candidate with an ASD when you see them for interview.

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How to reduce the number of transitions you do

For many people on the autistic spectrum, transitions are difficult. A ‘transition’ is basically any sort of change in circumstance, surroundings or activity. Transitions are most likely difficult for people with ASD because different activities require different thought processes, skills and general mental resources and the ability to undergo transition quickly is often very hard. Indeed, one of the impairments of autism is the ability to be mentally flexible.

Many people also have sensory processing difficulties and transitions often cause disturbances of our senses, which can be very uncomfortable or even painful.

I also find transitions hard because I get very focused on whatever it is I am doing and to have to suddenly stop that focus and shift it to something else, is hard. I also find transitions in the way I am feeling difficult and if I am doing one activity or doing the same thing, my mood tends to be constant and stable. Doing something different causes changes in feelings and a chance in mood and I find that hard as well.

There are an infinite number of transitions that we all do every day, but here are a few examples based on some that affect me:

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Person with ASD and exercise – things to consider

Exercise, for me, has been the number one treatment for managing my depression. I have found a sport that I truly enjoy and am very good at. I believe that one of the easiest most natural ways you can help yourself or your loved one to improve their mental (and physical) well being, is to move more. It doesn’t have to be a sport, or even a particular exercise – indeed, you don’t even have to think of whatever it is as ‘exercise’ – but rather just increasing the amount of physical activity you do. Here are my thoughts on the things to consider about ASD and exercise:

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CHP on BBC Radio 4

Today, 3/10/17, Alis and Helen from the CHP, were featured on BBC Radio 4 ‘Word of Mouth’ for a 30 minute programme about ‘Autism and Communication.’

“Thoroughly enjoyed listening to Alis and Helen having a very lively chat with Michael Rosen.”

“One of the most charming, gentle and insightful programmes. What a reminder to listen and empathize. Much needed.”

“This was great, from beginning to end. You explained so clearly what can seem a very complex subject. There was a lovely warmth about it too. Probably the best programme about autism I’ve ever heard. Thank you.”

“This was a fantastic programme. Thank you Alis. You really helped me understand autism better.”

“What an excellent programme. As a neurotypical person I learned so much – thanks.”

“Half an hour that everyone should listen to.”

“Helping me be a better communicator with my son. Things I never thought of.”

“Today’s Word of Mouth was one of the best.”

Listen on iPlayer

People with ASD and project management

I’ve been thinking about project management. I think of projects in three stages:

  1. Planning
  2. Doing
  3. End result

A part of being self-employed and running a business is that I have to manage a lot of projects (from start to completion) and I have to think of the work in terms of the bigger picture. So I work on all three stages all the time. This is opposed to someone who is employed and perhaps is more used to working mainly on the ‘doing’ aspect of the project and might not have to think much about the bigger picture.

Lately I’ve had to do quite a few things that I really did not like doing, however I’ve been very happy with the final outcome. Possibly one of the differences between me and some of my friends and colleagues is that they very much like ‘doing’ whereas I very much like ‘thinking.’ Maybe this is another aspect of introversion (me) vs extroversion (them). Here are some thoughts on the subject of project management and how it may influence people on the autistic spectrum.

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Does ASD get worse or better as you get older?

Let’s look at some of the things that may affect whether ‘a person’s ASD gets worse or better in adulthood.’

When we talk about ‘a person’s ASD’ we can think about:

  • negative consequences of ASD – depression, anxiety, etc.
  • actual signs and symptoms / autistic traits
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Is apathy a symptom of an ASD?

This is an interesting topic of discussion! There’s some thinking that people on the autistic spectrum lack emotions. I can say that for me this is true a lot of the time in terms of apathy.

Apathy: lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern

Apathy may be a symptom of an Autism Spectrum Disorder. If somebody has a different world view and experience to the majority of people (neurotypical people) around them, it means they are unlikely to share the same values and desires and have the same motivations. It does not mean that a person is necessarily lacking emotions, but rather that they may feel differently about things and may feel apathetic about the things that stir emotion in most other people.

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