Feb 26, 2009

Now I Really Believe in Weighted Blankets

When I was planning my trip out here to Oklahoma City, I decided carry on my baggage, so that I wouldn't have to go through the baggage check and pay the extra fees that Northwestern Airlines charges. That also meant that anything I carried on would go through the stringent security check.

So, I left my leg weights behind, as they could look quite suspicious to a secruity person (especially in the post shoe bomber world). I also didn't think that I could fit my clothing AND a twenty pound weighted blanket in my carry on bag.

Consequently, I have spent the week without any sensory integration types of weights. Over the course of this week, I have found that symptoms of chronic pain (tingling in the limbs for one), have begun to return, and I'm less rested. I also feel a sense of controlable agitation that I haven't felt for some time.

I'm looking forword to getting home and getting under my weighted blanket. It really does solve a world of problems. I also have the pet theory that, while at one time I was diagnosed with Fibromialgia, I question if I ever did have it. I think that the Asperger/Autism need for sensory integration along with an intollerance to wheat and dairy contributed to a group of symptoms that seems like firbro.

I still have hip pain, but it's quite managable although fairly constant. The hip pain responds well to physical therapy. Controlling my deitary intake of Glutten and Casein (dairy) protein, and attending to my sensory integration deficit by using a wheighted blanket has revolutionized my health.

If I go back about 10 years, I was a mess. I think it was 10 years. I don't know if it is typical for all Aspies, but my sense of time is not linear. Anyway, the first major change I made was in more intently pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ. That was the first big change that made all the others possible, and meaningful.

So, I've enjoyed the classes I took here in OKC. I learned about running sound systems. I'm also so looking forward to returning to my family and my weighted blanket.


Feb 25, 2009

Aspies Inc Coffee meeting

Aspies, Inc. Coffee Meeting Thursday 26-Feb-09 at 7pm - Panera Bread 7199 SE 29th St # 113, Oklahoma City - (405) 869-0550

Meet for discussion, support, questions. No admission, just by something to eat or drink from Panera. That way they won't be angry that we are sitting there.

I know, Glutten problems. I won't be buying any bread eiter. Bring a neurotypical so that they can get all exited about Panera bread.

Filter It Out

I'm at this sound system training. As the trainer is talking I'm thinking of all these things I want to say, and I am purposely toss out almost all of it. It's part of the Asperger to have this urge to disgorge every bit of information in your brain about a certain topic.

I'm not sure why that is, but it just is. Problem with that is that it starts to upset other people, who have come to hear what the teacher has to say. So I do two things before I ask a question or make a comment:
  1. I ask myself, what is the big idea or the main point that he is moving toward in his teaching. Will my comment add or distract from his main point. If it won't add something, then I really shouldn't say what comes to my mind. It's unfair to be a distraction. Besides, I'm not their to chat, I'm there to learn what is in the teacher's brain. Better to letter the teacher talk and guide the direction of the class. Example: The teacher is describing in general terms how to set a compressor limiter. I want to ask, "Do you like the Behringer compressor? I had one and it only cost $120. That is a distraction from the whole point of the discussion, and the other students don't care what I own. They will just think I'm bragging and trying to look cool. Although, Behringer isn't cool, it's affordable.
  2. Is it possible that what I have to ask about is outside the boundaries of this class or will be covered in later material. An overview course, such as "Core Principals of Audio" does not go into detail in any one area. It is a two day introductory course. To ask questions that require great detail in any one area is unfair to other students. Also, if I manage to get the teacher to go into too great a detail, some material will have to be skipped later, because the class has a limited amount of time. If I think the material might be covered later, then I should not ask my question. I might be answered later without me interupting the teacher. If, when the class is over, I have a question that wasn't answered, I can ask the teacher individually.

Another big urge is to tell the teacher things about myself so that I can talk to him. That's unexpected in the neurotypical world. People that talk alot about themselves are viewed as braggers or if they just keep talking and talking then you start seeming creepy.

Just because you feel the urge to talk doesn't mean that you have something meaningful to say. Observer silence as much as possible. Then also watch how cheap other people seem when they try and "talk up" their skills or stuff they own. It's not cool. It just makes you seem childish or like an amature. The real professionals and cool people don't talk as much about themselves, because they don't feel the need to prove that they are valuable people. Assume that you have value and worth, and don't attempt to prove it to anyone by talking. It never works.


Feb 23, 2009

New Place - Can't Hear You

I'm in Oklahoma for audio system training. I'm by myself, staying with a relative of a brother's wife, I've never been in Oklahoma, and I'm doing something not related to missions or tech writing.

Consequently, my mind is racing searching for a rule set to govern my behavior. How should i stand, act, greet, small talk . . . who am I in this place? I have no rule set for this location. Am I supposed to be here?

I stopped for breakfast this morning. My waitress was talking to me, but i just sort of hear this muffled sound. It hurt to talk to her and look at her. Right now, I'm sitting, just to myself, not talking to anyone. I've had a fair amount of coffee, and I feel like hiding in a dark quiet place.

So, when people talk to me I can hear the words, but much of the meaning gets lost as the words wander through my grid searching for a culture in which to place them. This is when I just have to live with getting only part of what I hear, and being happy with ending up, some how, in the right place. By tomorow, I will have better integrated my environment, and won't feel so out of sync.

Aspie Traveler - Am I Actually Doing This?

Today I made it through flight delays and airports, cramped in little airplanes in order to go to sound system training in Oklahoma City. This seams absolutely crazy. It’s an Aspies nightmare. I’ve never been to this city, I’m staying with relatives of my sister-in-law that I haven’t seen in 20 plus years, and it’s all a bunch of unknowns.

I have my sensory defense items:
*Ear plugs to limit the overwhelming sound of plain engines
*Sunglasses for when things are visually overwhelming. It’s not just for when things are too bright either. If I’m in a room full of people and I don’t feel comfortable with what I should do with my eyes, then I put those on and my eyes aren’t a concern any more. Also, when I’m on a plain, the sun glasses make it easier to deal with the way plains can sway and move sometimes.
*Vicks Vapor Rub in the half ounce tin. It easily fits in my pocket. I put it in clear plastic bag with other toiletries for the security check and then put it in a pocket for the flight. My second flight, I was sitting waiting for the plain to take off, when I smelled . . . well it was either body odor or some kind of jet exhaust, but it some body odorish to me. So, I put Vicks in my nose and it masked the smell. The first time you use it, just use a little. It it’s not enough you can always add more.

I didn’t bring my leg weights as they might get taken away during the security check. That’s also why I would never try to carry on a weighted vest. To help calm myself, I have red and deaply pondered the Bible, read a book I enjoy, and now I am writing this text which I will later copy into my blog. These things give me my “constant”. Something is familiar and unchanging in which I can find comfort.

You see, I am bound and determined not to let Asperger shape the course of my life any more than it already does. I will ease it if possible, work around it if necessary, and when useful utilize the gifts that it offers.

So, why Oklahoma City? Well, I have always had an interest in music. I was in the band Sojourn for 15 years, and while in it learned how to run live sound. I’ve had opportunity to instruct church people how to do a good job running sound for worship services, but I’m completely self taught.

I have an opportunity to attend a four day class that covers the basics as well as technical aspects. I want to know this stuff. Through some unexpected funds the opportunity has arisen. It seems crazy to me, and it really has me nervous, but I can’t let that hold me back.
My core belief is that God is the creator of all people, fashioning each one. My Asperger, while not ideal from my viewpoint, is not a mistake from God’s viewpoint. That means that I have a responsibility to use the life God has given me and always work to make the most of it. It’s such a priceless gift, and God is such a kind giver, how can I let my Asperger hold me back?


Feb 16, 2009

Accomidations at Work?

A reader recently asked me about asking for accomidations at work:

As an adult Aspie who worked for a major pharmaceutical corporation, I never initially asked for acomidations. That said, I had an excellent reputation and once I was diagnosed my employer made some accomidations informally.

1. Some one with whom to check my perceptions. I was able to go to my boss and a coworker and ask questions about social rules or what certain e-mails meant. Such as the e-mail from the CEO asking everyone to help the new VP of sales feel welcome. I took it to my boss and asked if the CEO really expected us to do anything or if the CEO was making "happy noise". I would also swing by my coworkers cubicle to check how I should respond to certain things (i.e. e-mail, phone call, ignore the comment).

2. Headphones. If you have a desk job in an office environment get headphones so that when you are trying to concentrate you can have something that masks out other sound.

3. My coworkers new that I brought a book or something to fiddle with to every meeting. If meetings were to slow or boring I would get agitated. Thank God for laptops and wireless internet. If a meeting leader would challenge me, my coworkers would step in. I really was in an ideal situation. People were curious about my condition, supportive (Pfizer is big on inclusion), and I was doing good work accept for the occasional Aspie goof. If you have one of those smart phones that allow you to access facebook or to blog or something, you couls set it on your lap so others couldn't quite see it, and then you could fiddle with that.

4. I live by sunglasses. They really help cut glair if you have the right kind. They can also help the discomfort of making eye contact. They need to be light enough so that people can see your eyes. Yes, I used to where them inside if I felt I needed to. Not alot though. Interestingly, most people would assume they were transition lesnses that weren't clearing up for some reason.

5. I also had coworkers that would proof my documents for spelling and gramar.The thing is this, If you are good at what you do and people value your work, they will put up with all sorts of things. They will consider you skilled, but eccentric. Especially if you are an easy person with whom to work. That said, I built the reputation first over several years. What does the Aspie need that would keep him/her from successfully completing the work? That is a better question. The other question is, what is the marketable talent this Aspie has? If an employer wants what you have, they will make accomodations so that can have it.