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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

Book Review: Recognizing Autism in Women & Girls

I've always found it strange that autism seems to be mainly a "boy thing". Statistically, autism is recognised four times as often in boys as it is in girls but I've personally gotten much better at recognising the signs and I've gotten that "autism vibe" just as often from girls as I have from boys. I've always felt that it was simply harder to diagnose.  I was very keen to review this book because it's all about improving that recognition.  The book is called Recognizing Autism in Women & Girls: When it has been Hidden Well   by Wendela Whitcomb Marsh MA, BCBA, RSD. Published by Future Horizons Inc 2022. Layout At 216 well spaced and neatly laid out pages, this book is very easy to read and after a forward by Dr Temple Grandin, its chapters move through each of the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM V) which is the currently main tool for autism diagnosis. The last few chapters

Elon Musk and Asperger's Syndrome

I've just finished reading the 2016 biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. It's a great read and I'd highly recommend it but this post is not a book review - and it's not a person review either. I'm not being judgemental.  Elon Musk has many traits which identify him as having Asperger's syndrome and I wanted to discuss how these traits help and hinder him because I see some of these traits in myself and others. Having a very visible and imperfect role model is a great thing and Asperger's and autistic kids in upcoming generations will benefit greatly from an understanding of Elon.  About the Book Since the book is the primary reason for my interest and it's such a great read, I want to start with a recommendation. I initially bought it for my dad but he convinced me to read it too. I'm a busy guy, so I got the audio book version. My kids are reading it now.  The Book is: Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

Single Parenting and Kids on the Spectrum - Part 3

Parenting kids on the spectrum comes with a unique set of challenges and being a single parent puts its own spin on this. In my previous two posts, I looked at parenting young and school-aged children. In this post, I want to look at the some of the problems that are common when single parenting young autistic adults.  As usual, a quick disclaimer that I'm not a single parent, so my knowledge of this area is not first hand. It is based upon co-parenting my own autistic children and on countless observations and discussions with parents in this situation.  Disappearing without Notice Teens and young adults generally have a lot more freedom than younger children. They have pocket money, and in some cases earnings. They can be reasonably street or bush savvy and they usually have a better understanding of public transport. Many autistic adults can drive too. All of this means that they are far more likely to disappear for hours, sometimes days, without telling anyone where they are

Single Parenting and Kids on the Spectrum - Part 2

Last week, I had some tips for  single-parenting very young autistic children . This time I want to give you some tips for single parents of school aged children. As before, I want to start off with a disclaimer that I'm not a single parent. The ideas here are some of the more popular ones from discussions with single parents over the years.  Image by sarahbernier3140 from Pixabay Address the Problems, not the Diagnosis Failure to accept the diagnosis seems to be the single biggest gripe among single parents of kids on the spectrum. It's quite common for one parent, usually the one who has the kids the least, does not accept the diagnosis. They often insist that their child is "normal" and try to blame their child's differences on the other parent.  It's a big problem and it can make it very difficult for parents to get access to appropriate funding, medication and services. This problem rears its head even in dual parent relationships and even when both pare

Single Parenting and Kids on the Spectrum - Part 1

I get a lot of correspondence from single parents with autistic children. In the vast majority of the cases, it's single mothers with boys, though sometimes it's fathers and sometimes it's girls.  I can't claim to be an authority on the subject because I am not, and have never been a single parent but I've had feedback to say that my advice has worked and I've seen some incredible single parents complete the journey and bring their kids up to be responsible and empathetic adults. In this series, I'd like to look at some of the techniques that work, starting with younger kids. I'll cover older kids later on in the series.  Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay Being Under-Resourced More often than not, single parents face resourcing issues. They are short of cash, time and space. This makes it difficult, particularly when the other parent is over-resourced. You can't compete on a low income with a parent who can afford to buy your kid anything they as

Welcome to 2022

It's 2022 and after something of a hiatus, I'm back. I figure it's time for an update on who I am and where my family is at.  I'm on the autism spectrum and am in my early 50s. I lived the first 35 years of my life with no knowledge of my place on the spectrum and little understanding of autism. My two sons, both with Asperger's syndrome are now aged 18 and 21. I'm still with my wife of 24 years and I'm still employed full time in the IT section of  the financial sector.  I've been blogging on the subject of autism and Asperger's since 2007 and prior to that I was a regular on the WrongPlanet Aspergers forum.  My Eldest When my eldest son was in school, he was fairly social but not terribly academic. We naturally expected this trend to continue after school. What seems to have happened is exactly the opposite.  Since leaving school my eldest has been employed full time and is doing his second diploma at TAFE. This is great but socially he's strug