Jun 27, 2006


Note: This post is a general rambling mix of loosely related thoughts.

I read once that when an Aspie is upset he/she needs a time of quiet so that the emotions of the moment can calm down. It is a disturbing thing to feel my emotions start to wind out of control. It happens rarely. I think that my children consider me tough but fair. I’ll have to double check that.

Once my son looked at a buddy of his and said, “My dad was serious. Don’t push it.” Once I think one of my kids said, “Don’t mess with dad.” Part of that is due to my Aspie mind working not in shades of desires, preferences or wishes, but in rules and facts. Make no mistake I experience emotions, but when I give a direction to one of my children, a staff member or a student, the request or direction is accompanied (at least in my mind) by a set of parameters or standards.

For example, the staff member standard is different from the child standard. I expect a free exchange of ideas from my direct reports. I want them to disagree and even challenge my directions if they don’t believe I am operating in the best interests of the company.

However, when I give a direction to one of my children, the rules set in my head allows for:
*Clarifying question (one of two)
*Limited respectful discussion

So, in that case my reaction to my children or a staff member are based on if certain standards have or have not been met. If a staff member does not express their opinion, I will solicit it and encourage them to become individually engaged. However, I don’t tolerate the same level of engagement from my children, because of a sense of a need for respecting authority.

In some ways it works like math or a computer program.

The up side is that I tend to be a principled man. I decide and act on principals that are clear (at least to me). However that can end up leaving an impression that I’m cold.

My daughter got a sliver in her foot while walking bare foot. My response to her was, I’ve told you numerous times to wear something on your feet here. You’ll want to do so next time.

My factual statement didn’t help, and she promptly went to her mother to be comforted. Being comforted did not remove the sliver from her foot nor prevent her from future slivers. However, I came to understand a basic principal. Injured children first want comfort, then ministration to their injury, and they don’t want a lecture.

I can implement that standard and operate accordingly. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an emotional understanding of it.

Jun 22, 2006

In the Dark. Literally

Some days I get to work a little after 6am. It’s still dark and the plant where I work is silent except for the lights on the buildings and towers. Isn’t that a weird way of saying it? To me when it’s dark it’s also silent. The manufacturing plant is never silent. Large fermentation and other machinery are always running. Yet as I walked toward my office building in the half light it seemed quiet.

I wonder if that mixed way of saying things is just me, an Aspie way of speaking, or some aspect of sensory jumbling? Temple Grandon wrote an interesting paper on sensory jumbling and other sensory difficulties http://www.autism.org/temple/visual.html).

When I was a child I always enjoyed getting up very early for a vacation. Everything was veiled in dimness. Even the cabin lights in the plane were kept low. It seemed peaceful. Today, I walk into my office building, and everything is dark accept for street light illuminating the windows. I leave the lights off and enjoy the enveloping quiet. I have a small desk lamp in my cubicle for just those times.

I remember as a kid people would say, “Don’t you want the lights on?” They would be switching all of the lights on as they said this, which really means that either they want the lights on or they want me to want the lights on. I was never sure which, and they never give me a chance to say no. Sometimes I would turn them back off, but they would usually get switched on by the same person or a new person waltzing by.

This morning the quiet of the twilight peace lasted about 5 min. A coworker switched on all the lights and the brightness shouted into my mind. Not all of the peace is gone. There is a certain spiritual peace that I can reach and nurture inside my mind. That is a peace that I treasure when all the lights are shouting.

Adam Parmenter

Jun 20, 2006

Wonderfully Made - Intrinsic Value

I remember all of the years that I spent thinking that something was wrong with me. You know, broken, warped, screwed up. I'm a mess. I believed that I needed to find the right combination of things so that suddenly I would be fixed.

All of that time I knew and intellectually believed the Bible when it says, ". . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." All human life is made by God, and for that reason is of value. God's creation should always be cherished, protected, enjoyed, and valued.

I kept seeing and sensing that I was different. Not just because I was goofy and had a weird sense of humor. I felt that there were distinct, but undependable differences between me and the typical world around me.

"If I'm so different", I thought, "that must be bad. Something about me is bad."

I look back on those days and feel sad. It makes me sad that I knew and believed the Bible, but couldn't experience the joy of being God's creation or the satisfaction of having been forgiven by God and considered His child. It all hinged on knowing that there was something "wrong" and not being able to figure out what it was.

Discovering Asperger syndrome was truly liberating for me. It lent logic and reason to who I was and gave me the missing piece to a life long puzzle. Nothing broken. Nothing wrong. I am who I was made to be, and that's o.k.

Discovering Asperger syndrome and growing to accept myself doesn't make the truth about God any more or less true. It was always true that God loves me, and that God made me for a reason and with a purpose in life. I just was not willing to accept it without more evidence or understanding.

These days I'm trying to learn from that experience. First, I want to learn somehow to accept what I believe to be truth from Bible at face value. It's hard when my personal circumstances don't back up what I believe. Every time in my life, God's Word (the Bible) has turned out to be true.

I also want to learn to see and understand the value in every person. Every person has been made by God. There is something of value in everyone.

Adam Parmenter

Jun 5, 2006

What If They Are All Dead?

I remember when I was young, between the ages of 5 and 10 years old, my dad was taking me and an older brother in the pickup truck to go visit a farm. I don’t remember why we were going there or even if it was just one of several stops. We pulled into the drive way. Straight ahead was a traditional style barn and to our right was a house. I remember the day was overcast, and the wind was teasing the trees in ebbs and flows. It triggered scenarios from scary movies and so out of my mouth came the words, “What if they are all dead.”

My brother looked at me and said, “You’re sure morbid.”

That is the end of my memory. I may have asked my brother what morbid meant, but I probably already knew.

I had no wish for those individuals deaths. That would be wrong. I had no intended action in mind. It was relational thinking.

Relational thinking: It feels like an autonomic function. Like breathing.

I was introduced to some one whose last name was Nagel, my mind popped up the word Bagel, then Nosh (because the bakery chain called Bagel Nosh), then the picture of a Hassidic Jew who was Noshing on a bagel. . .

There is no intent or rationale behind this line of thinking. I think Temple Grandon said something like, it is not rational it is relational. Words or concepts with related sounds, images, or associated ideas naturally link together in a stream of consciousness experience in our minds.

The overcast sky and character of the wind as we pulled up triggered associations with television shows and movies. I can see it in my mind, an investigator pulls up to the home of an important witness. It’s TV so the weather is going to foreshadow the bad news that is about to come. The witness is dead. So are the guards. They’re all dead. Whoever did this was a professional. Etc. etc.

So what’ s the point? Relational thinking can create sort of an ADD environment if allowed to run out of control. If you’ve read Temple Grandon’s book Thinking In Pictures, you’ll remember she mentioned that if she didn’t try to control her thinking, her mind would just sort of wander off into a relational thinking world for hours. Hard to be productive in that case.

However, if you are investigating a crime, researching or searching for a solution, relational thinking can cause helpful ideas or even complete solutions to pop into your mind as if by inspiration. The Aspie brain has stored all sorts of details about all sorts of stuff, and hooked this data together by how they relate to each other. When an idea or question is introduced into the mind it triggers other data based on those relational hooks. An Aspie may or may not be aware that this is happening.

I bet Tony Atwood would really know, but my personal guess is that these relational hooks are created as the “normal” function of all brains. Aspies just have a greater access to it. It is part of the Aspie brain’s normal function to be much more aware of there thoughts.

Jun 4, 2006

I'm so sick of being an Aspie

Beginning of Rant

It's Sunday night and I'm going through Sunday sphincter. The transition from being a church worker and family guy, back into a pharmaceutical professional. I'm really sick of transition being a tough thing.

I'm tired of working to figure out social situations that seem to make sense to everyone else OR when something is completely logical to me, and everyone looks like I'm crazy.

Tired of wondering what the Neurotypicals get to feel inside their brains that I may never get to know. Sick of certain sensations being so overwhelming: smells, sounds, textures assaulting my senses and making me change the way I live.

Then I see a guy who has no legs below the knee or the family whose kid died at the age of 8. The husband whose wife died less than 24 hours after she gave birth to a baby.

I guess I should quit being such a big baby.

I don't think there is much of a cure. Diet has helped, and deep pressure should be good. There are no cures. Aspie is who I am, and I gave my neurotypical wife two Aspie children. They are great kids and I have a healthy marriage, but it's Sunday night, and I'm wishing I could just be like everyone else.

End of Rant.