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.


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?

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.

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.


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 ______."
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"
"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?"



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.


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.


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.



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.