Feb 20, 2012

Important Things That Guide My LIfe–Part 1

So, you may wonder, how do I keep from being an angry Aspie who melts down and rages at the neurotypical world.  Medication?  That has helped in the past, and helps many individuals.  Assistive devices such as a weighted blanket?  Use one at night.  Would look a little odd if I had it with me in the office.

Perhaps there is a therapist?  I always seemed better informed than they.  Do you count the many helpful individuals at church?  If so, then yes, they are helpful.

Alcohol?  Not for a very long time.  It’s a deceptive freedom that destroys my mind and offers a crutch to convince me that I am actually lame.  So are the many other options available for me to hide away in and numb my brain.

What sets me free from angry melt downs and places me on “upward” road to personal fulfillment?  My deeply held religious beliefs.

Sorry if that disappoints, but it is quite true.  Neurological and physical deficits not withstanding, there are emotional and personal difficulties that we Aspies face, because the neurotypical world seems so inexplicable.  The only way to face those difficulties is with powerful truth that reshape our perspective.  With a commitment to those truths, I am armed with a power to stand strong in my environment and not melt, not run away and hide, and not seek a mind numbing crutch after I get home.

I’ve committed myself to core affirmations, that I strive to live out at all times.  These affirmations are based in the Bible.

Here is the first:

All humans are made in the image of God. Today I will treat each person with commensurate respect and in doing so will reverence for my creator.

Genesis 1:27  “So God created man in His [own] image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Every person around me, no matter how they irritate me, is a reflection of the infinitely powerful, just, and loving God who made them.  He is the only God who exists, and deserve my respect.

Needless to say, when I respect those he has made, I disrespect the one who made them.  Also, if I am reverent toward God then I will also be reverent toward one who bears the image of that same God. 

Feb 17, 2012

Sprinkle Don’t Douse

Some one is quite warm and you mist them with a little cool water.  Very nice.  A bit refreshing.  Then you open up a fire hose on them.  Ouch.

We Aspies have a tendency to open up the verbal fire hose on folks when it comes to areas in which we have the most interest.  Perhaps we want to be exact in our description so we talk for 40 min to give what the neurotypical thought would be a five min answer or we are enjoying the feeling of disgorging our knowledge.

Regardless it just bores or irritates everyone else that has to listen.  It annoys the Neurtoypicals, because they didn’t want that much detail, and it annoys the other Aspies, because it’s not them talking.

I could recommend that you employ the 3-5 rule.  Three min. of talking alternated with at least 5 min. of listening.  Or the 3-Now Listen – Ask – Now Listen – Relate rule. 

That means

  • I speak for no more than three min
  • Listen to understand the key idea of what the other person is saying
  • Ask a question about what they are saying
  • Listen to understand again
  • Then, if I want to say something, it has to relate directly to what the other person was talking about
  • After that I can say something about another topic, but it should be something connected in some way and then I start the whole cycle over again.

This has helped me develop reciprocity in my conversations.  Conversations are successful when participants feel I value them enough to actually work to understand what they are saying.

If I just get to verbally unload everything in my brain on them, they feel like they are simply being used like a word barrel where I toss ideas. 

What is most helpful to me is when I evaluate my thinking and behavior in light of what the Bible says:

James 1:9  “…be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…”

The Greek word translated as “hear” has the sense not only of hearing, but considering and seeking to understand.  That implies that if I’m committing to be biblical in my listening to others, then when another speaks to me I ask enough questions and listen enough to come to an understanding that matches what they intended.

“slow to speak” points to a hesitancy to begin talking, but instead give a full amount of time to the other.  I should be slow to comment on what they are saying, but instead ask appropriate questions so that I have a sense of what is they are thinking.

I know, “But what about me!  I want others to hear what I have to say!”  As I listen and value other people, they will come to feel valued and want to hear what I have to say. 

Also, I have experienced that when I hold most of my comments and try to limit myself to when I have something really good to say, I still end up talking a lot, but have just excluded lots of things that bore other people.  Other times, I might purposely sit a listen a lot in a group, just to force myself to be quiet for a while.  I learn a lot, and usually end up talking anyway at some point.

Ultimately, I actually enjoy the conversation more as well.  Much better than when I do the knowledge dump truck.

It’s important for Aspies to remember that there is no tragedy if I don’t say everything I think about something.  In fact I do folks a service if I hold everything but the most important parts back.

Still, then most important thing to do, is to order my speech after concepts found in the Bible, and asses my behavior against that.  If I strive to love and value other people like God does, then I will want to know what is on their mind and what is important to them.  I will want to listen to them.

Sep 11, 2011

Eye to Eye

Often we Aspies have difficulty making eye contact, knowing when to and when not to stair.  I have developed a routine when in casual conversation, so that the other party does field uncomfortable or that I’m doing something unexpected.

The Eye Count:  While I’m talking I count: eyes, 2, 3, 4 / mouth 2, 3, 4 / elsewhere 2, 3, 4 then I start over.  I throw in a forehead every so often.  What happens is that I look the person in the eye for four seconds then I look at their mouth for four seconds, then somewhere else for four seconds then I start the cycle over.  This approximates what a typical person does without thinking.

If I five nonstop eye contact the person feels like they are being “drilled”.  It’s too intense.  I used to just watch people’s mouths the whole time so that it was easier to understand what they were saying and that made some uncomfortable.  The gaze of neurotypical folks naturally drifts around as they talk and they just don’t realize it. 

Once you get in the habit of doing the Eye Count it will become an internalized process that won’t take as much conscious thought.  Then it’s time to move on to Advanced Eye Count.  While you are counting you listen for verbal cues to change what you are doing.

“My boyfriend broke up with me” or some other sad or happy revelation means you look near some one’s eyes and do a facial expression of sympathy.  Most women will want eye contact at the points in the conversation when they reveal something of emotional importance.  Men also, but if you are having casual conversation with guys, you can get away with very little eye contact.  Just look some where, anywhere, and ask questions about football or something.  When they say, Hey guess what or I have to tell you something, then you give eye contact to initiate the next step in the conversation, but it usually doesn’t have to be long.

UNLESS, you are in a confrontation, then you give non stop unwavering eye contact.

Ultimately, you can develop a routing way of using your eyes when speaking that will be pleasing to the neurotypical and manageable for you.

When you are with your spouse or close friends then you can relax a little and not be so disciplined about you eyes.

Sep 9, 2011

There Is Hope (Remembering 9/11)

Fires burn
Countless mourn
We realize we are but dust
As walls collapse
Our strength fails and
Hope fades
What super power can bring it back?

Fear grows
Countless hide
We realize we are under attack
As soldiers move out
Our sense of safety dies
Souls ache
What weapon can defeat this terror?

No need to fear when you’re cradled in the hand
Of the one who spread the stars in space
When time and earth began
There is hope in the one who holds the keys
To life and death, heaven and hell
King of eternity

No need to fear, for weapons cannot steal
The life bestowed by Jesus blood
Eternity with Him
There is hope in the life beyond the grave
Eternal joy, forever peace
Secure in eternity

(c)2011 Adam M. Parmenter – Creative Commons  http://www.archive.org/details/ThereIsHope_624

There is Hope (Remembering 9/11)

Fires burn

Countless mourn

We realize we are but dust

As walls collapse

Our strength fails and

Hope fades

What super power can bring it back?



Fear grows

Countless hide

We realize we are under attack

As soldiers move out

Our sense of safety dies

Souls ache

What weapon can defeat this terror?



No need to fear when you’re cradled in the hand

Of the one who spread the stars in space

When time and earth began

There is hope in the one who holds the keys

To life and death, heaven and hell

King of eternity



No need to fear, for weapons cannot steal

The life bestowed by Jesus blood

Eternity with Him

There is hope in the life beyond the grave

Eternal joy, forever peace

Secure in eternity

Sep 1, 2011

Grief Expressed as Anger

In June of last year, I left my quest to be a missionary, and got a contract as a tech writer.  I was told it would be 6 to 18 months, and that they really, really wanted to hire me.  Then a little church asked me to be their pastor.  About 30 people.  They couldn’t really afford to pay me anything much, but I didn’t care.

So, I would work 40 hours and spend time outside of work prepping to lead singing and preach.  It was draining, but such a great joy to teach and care for these folks.

Then in December, with no warning, the contract ended.  I’ve been jobless for eight months.  Since June, when I started keeping track again, I’ve applied for 75 jobs.

Today, I spent some time taking care of things at church, and came home furious.  It took me hours to figure out that I was feeling grief.  Baring a miracle, I will have to leave the church when I finally find a job.  I’ve been there over a year, and have grown to care for these folks.

No tears though, just fury.  It helps if when I figure out what it is, because then I don’t feel quite so angry.  My wife is cool with it if I explain it to here.  My wife is the coolest neuro-typical I’ve ever met.

The last time I cried, other than during times of worship, was two years ago when my mother died.  Intense times of worshiping God lead me to tears when I have a sense of His mercy and holiness.  But those tears are not about grief necessarily.

Adam

Jun 8, 2011

This Weekend’s Concert Canceled

There’s a medical emergency in my wife’s extended family, so we need to leave town.

The concert has been canceled.

Adam

Jun 2, 2011

Aspie Family Performs Concert of Music

Parmenters in Concert
Saturday, June 11th @ 2pm
(Including special musical guests)

Red Brick Coffee House
105 N. Paw Paw, Lawrence, MI 49064
269-674-8080

Admission is Free
Listen to a music sample online at http://sharethecrown.com/stc.aspx

May 23, 2011

One……Thing……At…..A…..Time

I’ve been frantically looking for work as a technical writer or project manager for months.  I’ve even submitted my name to do some songwriting and recording.  Just one of those though. 

(If you’re curious what my song writing is like go here)

It makes it nearly impossible to focus on anything else.  Money and eating are something I’m very attached to.  My family and I are also attached to the little country church where I’ve been asked to be pastor. 

I know, an Asperger pastor.  It’s working really well.

It’s been an immense challenge to focus on anything else other than finding a suitable job, and not to apply for something, anything, regardless of how far away.

One way that I’m learning to deal with it is to have different places where I work on different things.  If I can separate different activities into different physical places, then it’s easier to concentrate. 

I also set a specific time limit each day on job hunting.  Actually, there are certain places I look each day.  When those are done, job hunting ceases to exist for the day.  It may take me 2 hours or 6, but when it’s done I stop.

I try not to think about the other things when I’m doing something.  You see, I also have to do some repairs on my home and work in my yard.  I just have to separate it in my mind and actively ignore what I’m not working on.

The “glue” that is holding it all together is my personal faith in Christ.  I believe that I’m supposed to be in geographical area so that I can be at this little country church and serve the people there.

That conviction has made me a bit more brazen and able to resist the urge to move to a location where jobs are more plentiful.  I’m starting to learn and understand that serving people, bringing hope and meaning to their lives is more important than material possessions.  My wife and I run the risk of running out of money.  It could get bad.

Yet, if that is the cost of doing something that has eternal value in the lives of people, it’s worth it.

Adam

May 10, 2011

I Called in Advance in it Didn't Work Out

I have to confront some one about inapropriate behavior in a professional environment (that's as specific as I can be).  I could let it go and nothing would come of it, but it's something that I really should say something about.

So, I made the phone call in my mind first to see how it would go.  This works well for event planning, logistical matters and standard operating procedures, but it never seems to work for people.  Never works for people.  So, in my mind it turned ugly.  I tride it twice and it simply ended in lots of bad fellings and a "never talk to me again moment".

It really won't go that way.  Most likely the bloke won't agree and just disregard what I have to say, and we will move on.  Nothing will be resolved, but I will have done what I consider to be my moral duty.  No, I'm not a crusader.  If I explained the details you would understand.

As hard as I've tride I can't create a predictive model for human behavior.  I can identify patterns in behavior and match them to models that describe mental/emotional state or intent.  Yet, I can't predict regular day to day behavior.

Why am I posting this?  Well, as they say, missery loves company. 

Adam

Mar 29, 2011

Art by an Aspie for sale - Darkness Hides from the Sun

Darkness Hides from the Sun
Darkeness Hides from the Sun.  Original Oil on canvas by Adam Parmenter.
$50 plus $25 for shipping.

Purchases via PayPal or money order.  For more information send me an e-mail or phone. 

All shipping is via UPS or FedEx.
Adam

Mar 23, 2011

I’m Back!!!

(@Aspie @Aspies)

Well, I think I’ve been away for about a month.  I just reached the overload limit in life and started switching to survival mode.  Job hunting and pastoring at a church at the same time got to be a bit much.

One reason is that I never do anything part way.  I want to do the best with what I have.  That takes a great deal of energy and creativity.  Well, as you can imagine, a church, being a group of people, is an ever changing, cascade of personal textures.  Planning becomes an exercise in understanding what volunteers are capable of and how far I think that I can help them grow.

The first mistake (one of numerous I’m sure) was to take the stated intentions of a new person at face value.  I should have considered age, background, maturity, stability.  So, I invested far more in this volunteer than I should have.  Now this person has pulled back, and I’m having to rethink a number of things. 

I think we Aspies can train ourselves to look inside of people and discern more about them than we do naturally.  I also think that sticking to some guidelines will guard against future error.

Not every Aspie reading this has a group of volunteers whose development and growth he/she is responsible for.  However, you  might be a parent, teacher, manager, friend, etc.  All of us have expectations of what the people around us will be, do and become.

For Aspies, especially, those expectations can be based on an idealized view of the world.  Because of the sensory integration deficit in most Aspies, the world around us is a mass of incoming chaos.  We manage the chaos through rigidly defining the world around us.  Thus it becomes manageable.  When we look at expectations for people we tend to set our expectations in the best terms possible for our own benefit.

The world doesn’t simply revolve around my wants and needs.  No one can see inside my head and read my list of expectations.  If they could they would probably laugh out loud.  So what do I do?

First, I slow down.  Before throwing some one into a role they may or may not be suited for, take the time to get to know that person.

Second, set clear requirements for the role.  Be specific on the few important things you expect.  If your list of expectations is over five items, you can count on the person failing.

Third, decide in advance your tolerance for variation or at least decide to expect nothing to be just the way you like it.

Fourth, ask for status updates.  How are you doing?  Where can you improve?  Here is what I expect of you.

Fifth, be an encourager.  Highlight what the person is doing well and what you like about it.  Don’t discuss failures, but instead discuss growth opportunities.

I’ll try to remember to let you know how this works out in my case.  It’s difficult to talk things through in a positive way.  I would much rather people just be able to do the stuff I ask them to.  In my case, though, I’m a shepherd; a pastor.  My job is to gently lead.  I think that form of leadership will be successful for everyone.

Adam

Mar 12, 2011

Aspie Artwork

Here are some paintings that I've done in the past.  Right now, oil painting is a great stress reliever.

Hit the link below.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=8289&l=c5e466a5d5&id=1314469237


Adam

Feb 9, 2011

Fibromyalgia

Back in May of 2007 I published a short post proposing a link between sensory defensiveness and Fibromyalgia.  Over the years of this blog, that one is the most read and most commented.

Several days ago, I received a comment on that 2007 post that put a different spin on things:

Hi 
I have FM and have been diagnosed for the last 8 years...I have a 5 year old daughter with Autism ..The stress that I have had to deal with helping her to be verbal and get a proper education has made me have more flare ups and now find sometimes loosing my balance and falling and getting injured.
I just wonder if anyone else out there relates.
Thank you

As a Fibromyalgia sufferer whose symptoms are primarily in remission, tension causes a flair up.  The tension of dealing with a child in the Autism Spectrum can be exhausting and can create tension.  I am an Aspie and both my children are Aspies.  In my opinion it's easier for me to help my Aspie children then it would if they had a more extreme case of Autism.  The tension of that could easily cause a flare up in Fibromyalgia as could any prolonged period of tension.

What we should consider, however, is that it's not the challenges of raising a special needs child that triggers the flair up in Fibro, it's our response to the challenges.  I first had symptoms of Fibro when I got my first corporate job as a tech writer at a major pharmaceutical manufacturer.  I had absolutely no background in science, tech writing, or manufacturing.  I'm good at guessing, so they hired me and I moved into big projects quickly.  Problem was I didn't know what I was doing.  The prolonged tension of that started manifesting itself in health issues.  I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  It wasn't until several years later that I received the Asperger diagnosis.

Today, I have been out of work for three months.  In addition, I pastor a small church that can't afford to pay me.  If I were to leave the area for work, it could be the end of them.  Frankly, the last four years have been intensely challenging and now I'm facing the possibility of financial disaster.  My symptoms have returned in a small way.  I have some pain and soreness, but not severe like before.

What has changed?  The tension hasn't changed.  The challenges I face are much greater now than ever before.  How I react to them has changed.

I've matured spiritually.  I work to view my life in the perspective of my eternal life with Christ.  I am also struggling to have greater trust in God.  I'm pretty honest with my prayers.  I doubt it's anything that God hasn't heard before.  As a result of prayer and intently studying the Bible, I have become more calm, loving, gentle, and frankly a stronger person.  I'm more sure of myself when I am more confident of who Christ is.

I have also changed my diet, try to get regular exercise, and try to figure out ways to take refreshment breaks.

I work on meditating on Bible verses.  Here is one that I've enjoyed lately:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

Clearly, medication and daily stretching, aerobics and even resistance training should be included.  But, for me, the most critical aspect of managing challenges of chronic pain, Asperger, and everything else have been focusing on the Bible and prayer.

Feb 1, 2011

Best and Worst Jobs for Aspies

(#Aspie #Aspies #Aspergers)  Just read an interesting post by Darian Peters called, Best and Worst Jobs for people with Aspergers.  Some interesting thoughts, but don't know if I agree with all his conclusions.  What have been your best and worst jobs?  What about about them did you or didn't you like?

Jan 26, 2011

Best of Aspie’s, Inc.–Watch My Mouth

(Originally posted August 30, 2006)

I sat through a two day training on Microsoft Access at New Horizons Computer Training Center. It was actually quite useful really. That said, I realized that could understand what the teacher was saying when I watched his mouth.


At times I would work on other things, wright down notes and ideas, or edit a working data base that I need at my job. However, I found that if I really wanted to catch and understand each word (and what they meant together) it was best to watch his mouth.


That brings me back to the phenomenon of sensory scrambling.
I'm guessing that the visual reinforcement of the mouth movements reinforces the auditory input, especially sense some of the auditory and visual stimulus is being mixed up. By locking them together (watching a persons mouth), it essentially defeats the effects of scrambling. 

Over the years, I've made an effort not to watch peoples mouths while they talk, because neurotypicals don't expect that kind of behavior. I have a routine that I follow of eye contact for a few second, look at mouth, look back at eyes, look away, look down, repeat. People then feel like they are having a normal conversation instead of being "drilled" with my eyes in one spot.


That said, in a class situation, I'm just going to get the most out of it that I can and watch the teachers mouth.


Adam

Jan 21, 2011

What do you really believe?

What is the meaning of life?  What is my purpose in life?  We ask that question, often not in those words, but we ask it.  We usually don't think about it too hard and just try to stay busy or spend more time online hoping the answer will show up in our e-mail box.  But, meaning doesn't come out of activity.  It comes from closely held beliefs that I have about life and God.

My faith is the foundation of who I am.  My beliefs shape my identity.  My beliefs and identify will give me a sense of my purpose in life.  If I choose my actions to fulfill my purpose then I will pursue that purpose with passion, creativity and tenacity.

Often, I ignore beliefs, identity and purpose and try to look for things to fix me.  Especially as Aspies we are often on a constant hunt for the latest “intervention” that will help us… you name it.

Some of us want to feel or at least seem more normal.  Others of us just want to know the key to better relationships or getting the best jobs or dealing with sensory overload.  Those are all good things to work on, but we spend so much time dealing with the symptoms of our lives that we don’t ever deal with the causes of many symptoms.

If we ignore what it is that shapes us, then it will continue to shape us, regardless of how many treatments or interventions we choose.

If I believe that the only worth while people are normal people, and that Aspies are defective, then I will identify myself as an individual that is fundamentally flawed.  It’s very likely that my purpose will include fixing myself so that I can be or at least feel normal.  I will relentlessly pursue normality, which doesn’t exists, and never attain it.

If I believe that everyone is uniquely created by God and as such reflect something of their creator.  I will identify myself as special, because my creator God is very special.  Being different will not bear the mark of error, but the mark of uniqueness.  I’ll also see the skills I have as gifts and my potential as being open to development.  How my purpose develops will also be far more open as I will tend to see myself as having potential.

So, what are the fundamental beliefs that are at the core of who you are, and how are they being lived out in your life?

Adam
4Square Desk Top

Jan 20, 2011

The Silent Core

This is a poem I wrote a few years back.  It was inspired by my daughter when she was in elementary school. So much of what my daughter experienced, then and now, happened inside her richly populated mind.  The world inside never quite matches the one outside and it can be struggle to communicate between them.

SILENT CORE
By Adam Parmenter

Locked inside the silent core
Little escapes
The relentless embrace of
The inner mind

So alive.
On the inside.
Worlds, unseen, bloom and wane
Beyond the reach of
Hands and smiles
If they only knew
The miles and miles
I’ve journeyed alone
Songs unknown
Stories untold
Yearning to break free
To be known and seen

From the silent core.

©Adam M. Parmenter 2010

Jan 18, 2011

Surviving High School Tip 2

Develop a very serious hobby.

Aspies that don’t fit in anywhere except with other Aspies are just seen as weird.  An Aspie with a skill that neurotypicals recognize and value will be seen as Eccentric.

Everybody loves an eccentric.  Bill Gates & Steven Jobs are eccentric.  Does you school age Aspie have any interest in music.  Band is a great way to bridge the social barrier between neurotypicals and Aspie.

When my son was in public school, he was respected because he was a great trumpet player.  The kids over looked his ticks and social fumbles.

If your school age Aspie likes to run, train for track and field.  Jocks will accept an odd person when they respect him as an athlete.

So, this summer if your school age Aspie is worried about next year, talk through a hobby that can become an extra curricular activity and train seriously at it over the summer.

Adam

Jan 12, 2011

Surviving High School Tip 1

(Tags #Aspie #Aspies)

The topic came up on Facebook about having problems in high school.  I had plenty in junior high.  For high school, my parents moved me to a small Christian high school and it was great.

Now, I’m 46 years old, and have two Aspie children.  They were in a small public school until junior high and high school and then we started home schooling.  The public schools in our area are large and there’s lots of aggression.

We might be moving to a smaller town that has a better school.  If that happens, then my daughter might go there.

One way of surviving high school is to change to a learning environment that fits you (or your child if you are the parent).  The same is true of adult learners.  Does online work best for you?  Then take as many courses as you can online.

People want will tell you that your children need socialization or they won’t turn out right.  I figure my children won’t ever benefit from bullying, teasing or being assaulted.  They do benefit from church and all the other activities we do with them.
 
When they get into the adult world, if they are talented and work hard, then socialization is not as important at work and being quirky is a little more acceptable if you are good at your job.

Is the environment doing damage?  Change to a different environment.

Jan 10, 2011

Any Aspies in the Kalamazoo, Michigan Area?

(Twitter tags:  #Aspie #Aspies #Kalamazoo)

It occurred to me that there might be other Aspies in the Kalamazoo area that would like to get together for coffee.  I’m curious what the other adult Aspies are doing, what they struggle with, areas where they’ve done well, etc.

It wouldn’t be a weekly meeting.  Maybe quarterly at first.  I just don’t know where you all are?
Post a comment or call the Aspies, Inc. phone line (269) 849-9068 and leave a message.

Adam Parmenter
Just your average working class Aspie.

Best of Aspies, Inc: Small Talk

(Originally posted April 23, 2006)


It happens to me all of the time:

At church: "Everybody stand up and greet one another. Please pay special attention to someone new."

"Hi, I'm Adam."
"Hello, I'm ______."
Pause
Frozen smiles.
This other person wanders off.

Ugh. I'm supposed to say something there, but what!

I'm supposed to fill that pause with words that make that person feel welcomed and significant. It would save time just to say that, but in the neurotypical world, you aren't allowed to use accurate speach.

Maybe I should learn from the other neurotypical brains around me about how they make small talk. Here are some of the nutty things they say:

"So, how are you doing?"
I used to answer that question in sufficient detail so as to provide an accurate assessment of my condition. Since they didn't make a specific request (e.g. Hi, how is your financial condition, how is your health, etc), my answer might need to be quite long. I finally learned that I'm supposed to say, "Fine and you?" Then the other person says, "Fine, thanks" or "Fine" or on occassion people will respond with "Fine and you?", but don't wait for me to answer a second time.

Does that make any sense to you? It would make just as much sense for people to great each other this way:
"Blah"
"Blah, blah"
"Blah, blah, blah"
or
"I acknowledge your presence. It is pleasant."
"I also acknowledge yours. It is also pleasant."
"Confirmed. Greeting complete. Do you wish further conversation? Please choose a topic."

Wouldn't that be cool! No one would have to guess what they are supposed to say, and you might get to learn about some really interesting things instead of:

"Hey were yah from!"
"So, what do you think of this weather!"
"Warm enough for yah?"

If I'm outside, does it really matter if it is warm enough for me? And what will the speaker do if I say no? Does the average man or woman on the street have any ability to raise or lower the outside air temperature?

"NO! It's not warm enough for me, and I'm sure angry about it! This your fault?"

How about this one: "So, what do you do?"

I notice that a lot of these banal questions start out with with word "so". That's a neurotypical way of saying, "I am beginning to speak to you." If I walked up to you and said, "Now commencing chit chat." You would wonder what nut house I escaped from, but you sure wouldn't be confused about my intentions!

"So, what do you do?"

Well, periodically throughout the day, I eat meals, make numerous trips to the men's room, I change my clothes, pray, read the Bible, think mean thoughts about people who ask . . . stop me when I get to what you were looking for."

I better stop ranting, I'm starting to get out of control.

One other thing, it's hard for me to be in group social situations when many of the people in the room are quiet types. We all sit and it is quiet. (now picture rain man rocking back and forth and speaking). It's a social situation, you are definitely, definitely supposed to be talking to each other.

They sit. Quiet. Fear strikes, I may have to start the conversation. What should I do!

I know what to do, "So, how about that weather! Warm enough for yah?"

Later,

Adam

Jan 7, 2011

A Ship Without a Rudder? (#Aspies #Aspie #Change)

Everyone believes and their beliefs give their life "direction".  In other words, my closely held beliefs and values influence what I do and how I respond.  While you might be a "non-religious" person, you still have a set of values by which you measure and direct your conduct and which influence your perspective.  This is true even if you never think about your beliefs and values.

As Aspies we often chase after every new technique and treatment or our parents do.  As adult Aspies we work to understand ourselves (hopefully) and live productive lives.  These things are all good, but a ship without a rudder may only reach a destination by chance wind current.  When I live my life without understanding my own beliefs and values then I'm like a ship without a rudder.  That ship must go in whatever direction the wind and sea currents drive it.  You may get closer to your destination only to get blown back the opposite way.

If I lack a moral "rudder" in my life then I may face difficulty gaining the life I wish.  Most of my circumstances are beyond my control, and they will change often without prior notice.  As such without a moral rudder then my circumstances can result in a feeling of powerlessness and lack of direction.  In another sense, if I'm not aware of my closest held beliefs and values, then I may not only lack a rudder, I might even lack a destination. 

How many of us Aspies look at ourselves and judge our worth or our level of success based on the neurotypical culture around us.  A culture, by the way, which is constantly changing and differs depending on the group in which you are.  The expectations of the neurotypical world system can vary even from person to person. I can never judge myself based on the chaotic expectations of others. 

I do judge myself though.  Everyone does.  After an event, or at the end of the day or even after a conversation.  I think we Aspies do this more than most, because we analyze back through the day and try to decide if we understood and followed all the social rules. 

What if you had a separate set of rules.  Unchanging rules that guided you through any circumstance at any time.  When you judged yourself, what if you judged yourself against principals that had universal merit.  Then you value and worth wouldn't change and your sense of success or failure will not change based on the shifting culture around you.  Your destination would be to most closely live out your beliefs and values.

That is what is getting me through all the many difficult changes I'm facing these days.  Getting laid off of jobs twice, changing careers.... all this change at once is tough enough.  As an Aspie it is really difficult.  Even as my circumstances constantly changes, my beliefs and values are like a strong rudder that gives me a direction, helps me make choices, and helps me asses my behavior.

What guides you in your life?

Jan 6, 2011

My "other side"

(#Aspie)  I'm not sure if there are many Aspie pastors, but the work at Lawrence
Bible Baptist is going well.  You can follow us at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lawrence-Bible-Baptist-Church/157961100910809.

Adam

Jan 4, 2011

Available for Speaking Engagements

Give me a call to schedule a date for me to speak at your event.  Call 269-849-9068.

I speak on Asperger, managing change, and Bible topics.

An Invisible God?

For some Aspies an apparently intangible God is difficult to comprehend.  I can’t see God with my eyes, and very few individuals have ever heard Him speak directly.  Some people have experienced miracles, but many faithful believers, even Bible scholars, never experience any miracle beyond that of being forgiven of sin.

So, is God hiding from us?  How can He be real if I can’t see Him?

Rationally, we can’t question God’s existence simply because we can’t see or touch Him.  We believe in the existence of many influential historical person that we have never seen.  No one questions the existence of Plato or Aristotle whose philosophies have done much to shape the societies of the Western world.  The only evidence that these two men existed are from manuscript copies of their writings.  Scholars judge their manuscripts as authentic.  The more manuscripts and the closer to their time the author lived the better.

Plato?  The closest manuscripts is within a 1200 years of his life.  There are seven of them left.

Aristotle?  1400 years.  There are 49 manuscripts left.

How about the New Testament part of the Christian Bible?  There are copies New Testament books that date within 100 years of the time of Christ.  There are fragmentary portions that go back even farther.  There are 5,600 New Testament manuscripts available.

That is just part a sliver of the evidence that indicates that the Bible is an accurately preserved historical document.  There is much more than I can go into here.  Suffice it to say, there is strong evidence pointing to the existence of the invisible God of the Bible.

(For more on this documentary evidence click this link)

It may seem impossible, but is the problem in the existence of god or in my perspective?

More soon.

Adam

Jan 2, 2011

Anyboday want to hire a talented Aspe? (#Aspie #Aspies)

Still hunting for work.  My profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/adamparm

I'll even telecommute.

The contractor I worked for as a tech writer / trainer ended my contract, but didn't see fit to tell me in advance.

Nice.

Adam

Best of Aspies Inc: Dance or Stand?

(Originally posted March 6, 2006)


I never did understand that people go to dances in order to stand around or they go to a “dance” club to sit and drink. I wanted to dance. I was told that my dancing was odd. Funky was the word used once. You can imagine as an Aspie I get into the rocking and bobbing.

I remember avoiding the junior high dances. Junior high was when nothing made sense, and everyone seemed to make fun of me. Like I really wanted to go to a dance. I did see dances portrayed in movies and on T.V. though. Most of the people stand around not knowing what to do. Why would I make a special trip to do that, when I’m doing that most of the time?

As a 19 year old, I visited Hawaii with my father. Dad was a pilot for United Airlines and the employee discount my dad received made travel to Hawaii quite affordable. When I turned 19 I was finally old enough to go to a dance club (in Hawaii at least). My cousin and his buddy were staying with us, and I told them to come along. It ended up I went alone. Didn’t know going to a dance club alone was socially unacceptable. Didn’t even realize that going to a dance club might be considered by some to be morally questionable.

I walked in the door and headed toward the dance floor. The music was infectious. I was just digging the groove, but I could tell that I was supposed to have a dance partner. Dancing with a pretty girl sounded like fun. So, I asked one. I think it took three tries, and a girl said yes. I noticed that she looked every where but at me, and did not engage me personally. Later when I was 21, Greg, a buddy of mine from Michigan, took me to a dance club. We just bopped around on the dance floor, and didn’t even try to get girls to dance with us. Some girls approached us (there’s an ego boost). The slow dance came up and I got my first clue that dance clubs were meant for more than just dancing. I probably new before then, but it just wasn’t my thing. I was there to dance. It is called a DANCE club after all, not an arousal club.

So, the girls that came up to dance with us didn’t even say much, but just sort of slid in and started dancing. As I said, the slow dance came up, and I that girl had plastered herself against me. At that point I understood how the utensil drawer feels when contact paper is stuck to it. Slow dancing was nice if not just a bit to squeezy. I really did want romance and the love of a woman in my life. I even had raging hormones, but this was not the ideal of romance that I had imagined. Then the girl I was dancing with said, “I hope my husband doesn’t find out.” I said, “Why would that matter, all we’re doing is dancing.” That brought things to a screeching halt, and the girls were gone as quickly as they had come. 


Was it something I said?

The social strictures that surround the task of locating a willing dance partner make no sense to me. That’s one of the joys of marriage. My wife is my partner in dance and everything else.

Adam Parmenter

Jan 1, 2011

Today is the perfect date for a perseverating Aspie. 1/1/11

1/1/11/111/1111/11111/111111.  Sorry.

1

Adam

Dec 30, 2010

Can't Take Faith at Face Value

Received feed back my Six Givens post.  They are probing questions that deserve a thoughtful response.  So, I decided to respond to some of them here in a new posting.  
To pursue a more extended discussion on the veracity of the Bible or the existence of God, please visit Share The Crown.  I would love to get feedback there and engage a vigorous and thoughtful discussion.


Here my responses to some of the questions about my six givens.


My statement:  There is a literal God who has a personality and created all that exists.
The question:  god has personality: is this consistent with being all-knowing and perfectly just?
My Answer:  I see no inconsistency there.  I state that God has a personality to differentiate myself from those faith systems that view god as an impersonal force. To say God has a personality does not imply that He is a human.  It would be inconsistent if he didn't have a personality.  The Bible states that God created humans in His image, and as such we are the only animals on this planet that posses person hood or self awareness.  God has a will, desires, emotions, values, loves, hates, etc.  Being created in His image we have the same.  


My statement:  The Christian Bible is a message from this unique literal God, and the only source of information about Him.
The Question:  why does god undergo a complete personality change between the old and new testament?
My Answer: He doesn't.  A careful examination of the Old Testament reveals that it clearly points to Christ as the solution to the problem of sin.  Christ is clearly symbolized in the sacrificial system and foretold by prophets.  The apparent change is God in His patiences extending a time of grace.  Why don't find this confusing in people, why do we demand that God be some sort of robot exhibiting only certain qualities and never the fullness we see in humans?


Think of the most admirable person you know.  Imagine that this person is grievously wronged by you.  He has every right to reject you as a friend, but instead he gives you a second chance.  What happens if you continue to commit wrongs against this person?  He will eventually reject you as a friend.  You will loose you opportunity for reconciliation.  Because of Christ, we have an opportunity to be reconciled to God.    


My statementGod created everything that exists
The Question:  Who created god?
My Answer:  Insisting that God must have a creator is no more rational than declaring He does not.  Granted, everything that we can observe has a cause.  Some argue, so God must have a cause.  The flaw in the argument is that to demand that God have a creator would mean He is not God.  I'm going back to the supposition that the Bible is the only source for knowing who God is.  In the Bible God He has always existed.  There is no hint in any way that God was a creator.  


We often make the mistake of conforming our understanding of God to our human limitations.  I asert that God created everything including time.  Such being the case, God would exist outside of and prior to what He created.  He would have no beginning.  No creator.  Anything created has a beginning.  God does not.    


My Statement:  The first created humans (Adam & Eve) disobeyed God’s moral law and in doing so became enemies of God.The Question:  god created adam and eve: does this mean you are a creationist? has god deliberately deceived us by planting [masses of] false evidence against creationism?
My Answer:  I disagree that there are masses of evidence against creationism.  It is really a question of presupposition.  If you determined that they can't possibly be a God, then when faced with the Cambrian Explosion, then you must develop a hypothesis of Punctuated Equilibrium instead of question the veracity of Darwin's theory.  Frankly the existence of DNA and evidence that mutation is always subtractive makes macro evolution untenable at best.    

These are just a few of the questions posed to me, and I'm sure that they will stir up further questions and comments.  Join me over at Share The Crown
if you would like to post comments or further questions.


Adam

Dec 28, 2010

#Managing Change - Take A Step Back

(Twitter Tags #Aspeis #Aspie)  As Aspies we can live productive lives even in the midst of chaos.  My ability to manage change has been put to the test over the last three years.  Laid off from a job because the company was down sizing.  Found another job that I liked, but had to quit it, because it didn't pay enough to pay our bills. 

Recently had two jobs then.  A tech writer job that was I liked some.  It paid most all of our expenses.  The second job is as pastor of a church.  That's going very well, but pays just a small amount.  So just before Christmas, my tech writing contract ran out without notice.  These are just a few of the changes and unmet expectations that have been hitting us over the last three years.  Most of it packed into the last year.

So, how am I doing?  This is really tough.  I'm smart and capable, so the tech writing job ending isn't logical.  I was angry some,  depressed, some times felt immobilized, but it didn't stop me.  It hasn't crushed me in the way I expected it too.

Just prior to getting laid off from Pfizer at the end of 2008, my wife and I got involved in a missionary organization.  That gave me a purpose greater than myself.  When I got laid off, I started working with the mission organization full time.  We traveled nearly every weekend to speak and sing at churches around the Midwest.  All the constant change involved was part of something important.  I took a step back.

If something upsetting is farther away and contained, it can't hurt me or frighten me as much.  Like a giant black bear in a cage at the zoo.  There is usually a cage and mote and fence to keep enough distance.  I can look at the bear and hopefully have a healthy respect for its power.  It might even make me nervous, but it won't stop me from visiting the zoo.

Us Aspies don't like change.  It disturbs us and makes us angry.  Why is that?  I think it is because, we reflect it so closely on our expectations and need for our worlds to have order and predictability.  Sad to say, this world will never be that way.

If there is something in my life that is orderly and sure, then I can take a step back from the changes.  I have something that never changes.  A direction in life that is consistent regardless of my circumstances.  

We spend so much time trying to fix our circumstances.  I think I've discovered how to make myself more resilient.  I've been able to take a step back and not react as strongly to change, because of faith.  Because I believe that God is always at work in my life for the good (even when I face difficulty or loss) then I have a constant, unchanging platform on which to bass my life. 

As I work to reflect on and live out the ways of Jesus Christ, I develop a more intimate connection with Him. My trust level in Him increases, and Christ becomes increasingly important to me.  In His essential character and His care for me, Christ doesn't shift or change.  My relationship with god is like standing on a solid rock in the middle of a storm.  The storm may trouble me, but I won't be washed away.

This helps me step back and consider changes from a "distance" as it were.   

Dec 22, 2010

#Managing Change - Why so tough?

(#Aspie #Aspies)


This year has been a year of constant change.

Change can be difficult for everyone.  For an Aspie our world already seems very chaotic. 

The brain receives thousands of bits of input each second.  All the senses are sending countless sensory data to the brain.  I takes that data, tosses out most of it as irrelevant, and then coalesces the remaining data into a single integrated image of me.  That integrative function reassures me that I'm anchored to the ground by gravity and helps me not bump into things. 

The integrative function of the brain helps me make sense out of people around me.  If it doesn't work right I see a collection of attributes and not people.  That's one reason why Aspies tend to remember parts and pieces as much as the whole.  The integrative function of our brain isn't fully developed.

As a result the world around us can seem like a mad rush of stuff coming at us all at once.  We often crave orderliness to give our world some sense of calm.  That's why change is so difficult.  Instead of some subconscious part of our mind dealing with change, we often have to cognitively think through change in order to reset ourselves and be ready for it.

It takes a great deal of energy to constantly be consciously processing through changes without any pre-built structure to help.  That's why Aspie kids and adults will have "melt downs" because they've reached their limit of tolerance.  You might have an Aspie manager who looses his temper when things change. You might be the Aspie manager.

There are ways to create a structure in your mind to help you name the changes.  Label them and then manage them.  Then you have the control.  

More later.

Adam


What Figures of Speech Confuse or Amuse You?

"Let me float an idea past you"
I'm picturing ideas floating past me in some sort of conceptual river.

"It was so cold I froze my but off."
O.K. now that is truly disturbing.  Fortunately if it freezes off there wouldn't be nearly as much blood shed as when it get laughed off.

"A heart warming story for the whole family."
I picture my wife, children, and me screaming in terror as our hearts begin to heat up past 98.6.  "What's happening?" we cry in confused terror as we clutch our chests and fall to the grown, searing hot pain gripping us.

So, what figures of speech confuse, disturb or  amuse you and what pictures does it put in your head?

Please, leave a comment on this blog or post to twitter at @aspiesinc

Adam

Dec 20, 2010

Clothes Make The Man

(originally posted Feb 7, 2007)

I tend to wear the same kinds of clothes most of the time. To me all clothing is a uniform. A uniform has functional use and signifies ones function or role. So, for me to change my clothes, I have to be willing to change into another part of me.


So, on Sundays if I'm digging the church ministry vibe (how's that for slang) I stay in the outfit that I wore to church. Especially if it feels like Sunday. By the same token, I don't want to wear my jeans out to landscape or do lawn work. I put on my "grubbies". Those are my clothing set aside for painting or for lawn work.


I wonder if that's why some of us Aspies will tend to just go to bed in our clothes. It's the transition. There have been times that I've gone to bed in my clothes and gone right to sleep. Then later, when I wake up at about 3 am (which I do about every night), I change into sleepwear. On those occasions if I would have changed into sleep wear right then, the transition from one me to the Time To Sleep me would have stirred me up a little. I wouldn't be as sleepy then. I don't do that every night.


We are very careful not to let our children sleep in their day clothes, because you can imagine that it could easily become a habit. If I wake up in the morning in my day clothes, I feel very strange. It's as if my sleeping didn't quite count because I never put on sleeping clothes.


Sounds weird huh? It's that whole Aspie thing in which internal things need to be externalized in order to be managed. I'm still coming to understand it.


Please post comments or questions if you would like. I'm curious if any others have had these experiences.

Adam

JUST NOD YOUR HEAD AND SMILE

I often fake comprehension.

I figured out a long time ago, that if someone says something I don’t understand, nodding my head and saying yes, is the best way to keep things moving along. Honestly, in a noisy, distracting or crowded room, I don’t catch half of what people say anyway. Much of what people say is repetition or unimportant to survival.

In meetings at work, I would drift off, blog or just do something that was interesting. Every-so-often, drifting back to see if anything of importance had been said or decided upon. If some one said, “Adam, what do you think?” I would quickly review what little had really been discussed over the last hour and make a comment. The group would be happy and leave me alone.

That’s one reason I order the same thing at McDonalds every time I’m there. O.K., Most of what is at McDonalds I’m not supposed to eat (Wheat / dairy intolerant), and don’t particularly like. But, when you are in the drive through it seems like either there are too many other competing sounds, the speaker is fuzzy, or the person talking is unintelligible. So, I order the same thing every time knowing that even if I can’t understand the order taker, I’ll get what I want.

That makes sub sandwich places a real gamble. Quiznos wants to move fast, have lots of choices, and don’t always speak clearly. So, I just say yes a lot, hoping that what comes out the other end is something I’ll like. Once, I tride to order all at once. I thought it through ahead of time: my perfect Quiznos sandwhich. When I went up to the counter, I told them everything at once, but it was like being caught in the gears of a giant machine. They just ground forward asking the same questions they always do. I wanted to scream.

As an Aspie, if I decide to do the wheat and dairy and get a sandwich at Quicznos, I want a check list that I can sit and think over quietly. Then I want to be able to complete it on my own and hand it in like a completed math assignment. After that I sit and wait at my table reading a book, and they call me up when it is done. No more screaming, rapid fire questions, with my meal racing down the Quiznos shoot of chance.

Once when my son and I were traveling we stopped for a quick dinner to take with us on the road. It was a truck stop that had everything, including a chicken place and a taco place at one counter. Both places had value meals designated by numbers on separate menus, but the order was taken by the same person. The place was filled with truckers loudly talking, playing video games, etc. I tried to order two meals,

Me: “The number five chicken meal and the grand taco.”
Order Taker: “That’s two number fives and a grand taco?”

As usual I just said yes. This time I ended up with three meals. One was a this massive plate of nachos that had meat, and beans, and a putty like substance that is traditionally considered cheese sauce. Ugh, the place was still just as noisy, and I didn’t have the heart to try and give back the order or get money back, so Michael and I made a valiant effort to eat all three meals.

The whole nachos thing is tough to eat while you drive, and when they get cold, the chips get soggy and the other stuff gets stiff. That’s really backwards of what it is supposed to be.

Sometimes just nodding my head gets me in trouble.

Adam

I could have died laughing

I was in a discussion on http://www.facebook.com/aspergersawarenesspage about figures of speach.


Several that one writer didn't like were "I could have died laughing" or "I'm as serious as a heart attack".


Before you "die laughing", you'll probably "bust a gut laughing" and then "laugh your head off".


Very violent sayings.


Adam

Dec 17, 2010

O.K. Now What?

Well.  There I was happily working away, albeit a little bored, and then next day severed.  I have been a contract technical writer at Stryker for the last six months.  No notice.  No hint that my contract would not be renewed.  Even given new work on Thursday.  Friday evening, after I had gotten home, I received a call from the contracting agency that Stryker had decided not to renew my contract.  Effective immediately, I was not allowed back in the building.

The contract agency was kind enough to retrieve my belongings.  I received confused e-mails from coworkers, but not a word from management.  That was cold, and very confusing for an Aspie.  I was in a tail spin for a couple of days. I'm thankful for relationships and tools in my life that kept me afloat.  My relationship with Christ gave me the firm understanding that nothing happens by mistake (Romans 8:28).  God is not taken by surprise.  Because, I'm a Christian, there is nothing in my life that can shipwreck my ultimate destiny with Christ in eternity.

That faith didn't take a way the confusion, self recrimination or anger, but it was an anchor that held me fast in the storm.  I still had to self talk through the blizzard of possibilities that immobilized me for several days.  Prayer was critical.  I spoke very frankly to God about how I was reacting and feeling.  Privately with God, i worked through the logic and fears.  Also, I talked through with God what the Bible says about my circumstances and needs.

It's been a week now.  My wife and children have been a comfort.  I pastor a church now, part time, and that is a joy.  I use an excellent task management structure, so today I'm going through everything, documenting, categorizing, and prioritizing.  Plan your work and work your plan.

There never was a day that I didn't get out of bed, but I've spent extra time sleeping.

A week later and I'm getting my direction back, purpose and work ethic back.  Thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ is like a rock that shelters me during times of confusing and disturbing change.  Like a solid rock, He does shift or change as so much else does.  How can any Aspie live without Christ?

I don't know.