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Masking is an essential skill that you should aim to use less often.

Masking in terms of autism and Asperger's syndrome is a way of hiding your true self from others as a means of fitting in and avoiding harm. It can best be summed up as "pretending to be normal". In this post, I want to talk about some of the ways that we mask, why it is necessary sometimes and why ultimately you need to minimize masking in your life. How do we mask? It's often said that people with Asperger's syndrome are great actors because they spend so much of their lives pretending to be someone that they are not.  Masking is a very normal activity and everyone masks in some form or other. The teen who loves classical music but listens to rock in front of their school friends is masking their musical taste. The guy who eats all his vegetables at his girlfriends place but never at home is masking for her parents, so that they will like him more. We mask whenever we put on clothing that is not us, wear makeup that we don't like or put effort into making ou
Recent posts

Why Pushing your Autistic Kids out of Home may be Good for them

Catchy title aside, I'm not about to suggest that you need to kick all your autistic kids out of home. I want to cover one specific recent instance for us and I want to look at the reasons why we believed that it would work while others thought it might fail. Why we did it anyway and why we feel it is succeeding. Image by Jose Antonio Alba from Pixabay Kids who Stall We have a lot of friends and relatives who have kids on and off the spectrum who have "stalled". By stalling, I mean that they've become; Permanently at home Often Unemployed Caught in unproductive routines (TV, Gaming, Extra Sleeping, Overuse of Routine) Often stalling is linked to other obsessions, such as computer gaming but it also appears in non-gamers and active kids. People can get into a stall pattern simply by filling their entire lives up with chores and leaving no room for themselves to forge ahead.  There are a lot of reasons why stalling has become common in the last couple of generations in

Autistic Burnout and Fatigue - Part 2 of 2

 Last time I talked about some of the reasons that autistic burnout occurs . I covered five of the more common ones.  In this post, I want to look at how you can identify the signs of stress and anxiety which lead to burnout and how can you stop the burnout before it happens. Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay Throughout this post, I'm going to use the word "stress" but stress and anxiety are almost interchangeable terms. The key difference between them is that stress usually has an external trigger while anxiety tends to be purely internal.  Recognizing Stress and Anxiety in Ourselves Stressed Body Flags Your body knows when it is under too much stress and will usually try to let you know. Sometimes stress appears as itching or as a rash. Sometimes it will appear as various other aches and pains including chest pains and headaches.  You should always get these pains looked into but sometimes if there's no other obvious cause, it can be down to stress.  Things to lo

Autistic Burnout and Fatigue - Part 1 of 2

Chronic Mental fatigue is a very serious condition that is quite common in individuals with autism. It's so common that it has its own name in autism circles: "autistic burnout". In part one of this two part series, I want to look at some of the reasons why autistic burnout occurs and then in the next part I want to look at some of the things that you can do to identify, prevent and perhaps even reverse the effects of burnout . Image by Olga_Mur from Pixabay Why is Burnout so common with Autism? The key factors leading to burnout are anxiety and stress. Other factors, like depression and being overburdened can also play into it. There are good reasons why autistic people are sometimes more likely to suffer from anxiety and stress than others in the same situation.  This comes down to several autistic traits including issues dealing with other people, issues with change and issues of their own making such as perfectionism or internalizing bad experiences.  Dealing with Pe

Spoon Theory and how it Relates to Autism

I was part-way through writing my next blog post and I thought, I need to link this to "Spoon Theory".  I was pretty sure that I'd covered it here before, so I went searching. Turns out I haven't covered it at all, so here it is... spoon theory" Spoon theory is a critical part of any discussion on autistic burnout but the term was originally coined by Christine Miserandino in 2003 as part of a discussion on lupus in her essay "The Spoon Theory."  It was used to explain how different people use different amounts of energy to do the same tasks. The idea of calling it spoon theory came about simply because the explanation was taking place in a diner and spoons were the easiest thing to get hold of at the time.  How Spoon Theory Works Suppose that everyone is given a set number of spoons and that these represent stamina/effort. As you complete tasks through your day, you will expend "spoons" until you run out. At which point, you have no choice bu

Eight Qualities of Great Mothers of Autistic kids

Mother's day has just passed and I was thinking about how great my own mother is and about how many amazing mothers, particularly of kids on the spectrum, that I've known over the years including my cousin, several friends. and the many mothers on forums and on Life-with-Aspergers  with whom I've interacted over the years.  To celebrate the day, I wanted to write a post about the qualities of those amazing mothers. I'm sure that many of you will recognise yourselves in this post.  Image by edsavi30 from Pixabay Loving The greatest mothers are loving, caring and kind. They are always ready to provide comfort and hugs when their children need it. They know that most kids on the spectrum love tight hugs and they're always ready to oblige. Their love is also a shield for the times when the mother/child relationship is tested and harsh words are exchanged. It protects them anything their kids say in anger and it ensures that their response always comes from a place of l

Autism and Computer Addiction

Computer addiction is not an exclusively Asperger's or Autism condition. Not all autistics develop it and not all people with computer addiction issues have autism. One of the key issues is that when autistic people have a special interest in any subject, they tend to give that subject their entire focus. In cases where those subjects are computer-based, this can lead to addiction. Image by Alexandr Podvalny from Pixabay What is Computer Addiction? Internet or computer addiction is a very real problem. It especially affects young people, particularly children and there are studies suggesting that it is widespread enough to affect one in four children.  Computer addiction is so widely recognised that it has been included in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V).  The most common ways that computer addiction affects individuals are: Information Overload:  Where people become involved in internet research that it impacts their relation