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Archive for the ‘autism’ Category


How do I say this? Yesterday pretty much knocked the wind out of me. I can do two things with it. Either I can let all that the neuropsych guy said and let it take me down for the count or I can continue to do what Ive always done and let it empower me even more. I prefer to let it empower me. He even said “hats off to me with all I have accomplished.” I have proven even more to myself that most people would not have accomplished all I have with my brain. I just never saw that ‘not’ doing it was an option. When they told me I would not graduate high school. I just said watch me get a masters degree. When they told me I would never hit a ball. I said i will practice until I get homeruns. I could go on and on. I have always found a way to compensate. If I cannot do it this way, I will find another way. I am one determined mother ______. if I can say that. I am having a little bit of a hard time today. I never expected him to say a couple of the things he said. Trying to process.

I looked up where my IQ falls. It basically described me to a tea. I was surprised. This is what the definition of it said under the IQ I just found out I have. Above the threshold for normal independent functioning. Can perform explicit routinized hands-on tasks without supervision as long as there are no moments of choice and it is always clear what has to be done. Assembler, food service.

I know that as long as my day is without choice and everything is spelled out to me from the first moment of my day until the end, I am anxious free and fine. Give me choice and give me a day where I am just supposed to get thigns done but it is open ended…I will accomplish nothing at all. So…it is exact. That made me even sadder. I thought I had a higher IQ. But the thing is they figured in my working memory which he said never developed and my adaptability or whatever that is never developed. So with all that said…he did mention disability.

You know, I’m a tough one. I will never ever give up. When he showed it to me, I was not really processing it. I didnt even hear the number he threw out there for my IQ. My friend, who went with me, mentioned it later in the meeting and I said, “huh?” I said thats my IQ? thats really low.

I looked at his paper which showed in a nutshell that without a doubt 100% I have Autism and some of the stuff that was in there with all the cognitive stuff, etc. could have happened in utero. Hence what I thought with the FASD stuff. But he did add say that the social component does not have to always be there to the extent that I have it with ASD. That the social anxiety with my ASD is so off the charts that he actually gave me that diagnosis as well. So,…this is another day.

Just a day.

I said to him…well all I want to know is how I make this all stronger. He said give me one thing you want to work on. I said my memory. I have like a very low ability to do short term memory. After repetition I can retain things a little better. that is why it is harder for me in the reading, as well. But I have a great word knowledge…I knew that…lol…and I can write…woohoo….

But the ability for comprehension and retaining I do need to work on so he said I need to work my brain because it simply did not develop. The frontal lobe part of my brain did not develop wehre I can bring forth information, etc…

Anyway, he said go to

You bet I will.

I will do whatever I can to make my brain stronger.

This was harsh news, but news that I know will just make me stronger.

And I said to my friend, it just proves how strong I am. How I was able to accomplish these things that I never should have been able to. I just found another way.

And I’m not going to stop.

just another day.


FASD and Autism…

I was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, too. About 3 weeks ago. I have not said anything, here because I don’t know how I feel. There is one thing to think you have something, but then you are actually diagnosed with it. I went through the same thing when a doctor said I had all the characteristics of someone with FASD. I knew that you could have both. I actually wondered if I did. I have heard that people with FASD can have both. I know both can have a lot of the same traits, but I had a neurologist ask me a bunch of questions and he said not only by my answers, but in observing me, he knew I had Autism. Hmmm. Someone asked me how I felt. I didn’t even answer. I really don’t know how I feel about it. I’m not saying this is bad. I have got to know a lot of neurotypicals in my years and I can honestly say, there is not one I would want to be like…lol. So, I’m okay with being on the spectrum. When i wrote Autism Spectrum Disorder, the word that I kept staring at was Disorder. Really? This is a disorder? I want to look up what that means. Wait a second…okay a medical condition involving a disturbance to the usual functioning of the mind.

Okay. I will let that process.

Who says how we process and what we do is a distrubance. Okay. I get that things are not right. But who says that neurotypical brains are just that…typical?…

Just a question. Image


I was with a child the other day who is autistic. He was in a group of other autistic children and he asked what someone’s disability was. The answer was he is autistic.  The kid who asked lit up from ear to ear and said, “Autism is me.” I beamed with him. He was so proud! He said it all in his entire body how he felt.  He was not ashamed. He didn’t feel the need to hide. He was proud of who he was!!
I think of how many of us would say FASD is me. AND beam from ear to ear and want to shout from the rooftops who they are. Doesn’t mean that is all of who a person is, but is a part of who they are and they are proud and do not feel a stigma or ashamed.
A girl from this group was asked to fill out a questionnaire about who she is. What’s your favorite color, etc. She was asked, “what do you want people to know about you?” She answered that I have autism. Another question was, “If you grow up to be famous, what would you like to be famous for?” This child didn’t even hesitate. She wrote that she wanted to be famous for having autism. I instantly thought of Temple Grandin. She is known for having autism. Plain and simple. She is known for paving the way for so many and showing them that even though she has it, she has made a difference in the world.
How many of us with FASD want to be actually known for FASD? How many would sit in a group and point to themselves like that little boy and just say, “I am FASD.”
I want to be known for having it.
I want to pave the way and show that even though I have it, I can still make a huge contribution to society.
Even though my brain does not work like everyone else…I still might not be able to always talk like everyone else (but I find ways to talk)…I might not be able to sit by people cuz if I do, the rest of my senses go into total overload, but I sit far enough away that I can still think…( I just figure it out my way—it works)…I might have a hard time with my brain processing…but I have the ability to read emotion like no one else and connect at a deep calming level…I may look at you and not find the words with my mouth, but I find the words with my eyes and soul…
I might not be like many…but I am like some…and our some is growing and growing….unfortunately
Us some have to stand up and say, “I am FASD and look at me. I am making a difference. I am proud.”
Proud that our moms drank when she was pregnant with us? NO
Proud to be! Proud to connect and love and feel and make a difference. Proud to do in spite of all the tests that say we can’t. WE are determined and fight like no other to survive.
I AM FASD! FASD is me! Thanks to these kids for showing that it’s okay to be who we are…all of who we are…and still beam from ear to ear…and be proud!

New routines

I have been hearing a lot about FASD kids going back to school and adjusting. I just read a post on an FASD teen going off to school and the major adjustments she is having to make cuz of all the change. She wrote,…

I know for me, whenever I experience an extreme change; I get uneasy and it will take me a couple weeks to adjust to a new routine. In overload mode, I crash and hard. Its the overload of new people, new expectations etc.

I just started a new job. As an adult with FASD, I can say the feelings of overload are just as much there now as they were as a kid. I don’t think the feelings and overload are any different. The only difference is how I deal with it differently. this week was one of my hardest weeks in a very long time. My routine was different. Everyone around me during the day was new. People I dont know at all and I don’t trust. Even if they told me they are really amazing people and I should trust them, it will take some time. Being FASD, you need people around you who you can look to as external brains. I constantly rely on others around me. I look to them to tell me what I need to do. I judge their actions and facial expressions to let me know if something is unsafe or ok. I have the inability to judge understand a lot around me. It is crucial that I trust the people in the room who are guiding me for that moment.

Change is a scary thing. Change alone can make stress go up so much for us that we can fight overload immediately. I spent the week in a new job and then spent the weekend totally consumed in busy. My skin has been hurting so much the last day, I could cry. I start work again tomorrow and it will be completely busy all week again. I know that my down time needs to be absolutely priority for this next week or I will hit a wall.
Today I was out and I was talking with someone and I did just that. My entire body had like this what I call short circuit in the brain. It is literally from too much overload on my body. My mouth just stopped and my entire being just stopped for a few moments. it was so hard for me to come out of it. Normally, I would just go off and recover from that, but I couldnt. I took about 20 minutes before I said anything to the people I was with and then I gradually came out of it. When that happens, I know that I have pushed it beyond my limit.
Staying quiet and being completely focused on what I need to do to not take overload into a meltdown is crucial for the next week. Fortunately, I love the new job. I am currently organizing the office and for me, organizing is a calm.
New environments. New people. New assignments. Trying to understand the new around us. Trying to figure out what we are supposed to do next or even first. Trying to figure out how to execute in a new place outside of our routine…All very very tough. 
For those caregivers, I feel for you. Patience is the best gift you could give all of us. Let your FASD person do what they need to in order to calm. Anything repetition that works for them would be good. Someone told me today that a person they new who had autism just would comb and comb her hair and it was calming for them. I know for me sometimes it is writing or a bath. Also, leave more room for error. Frustration is already up and when that happens, there is more chance for misunderstanding cues and knowing what to do. As we settle and new routines become just a normal routine…we will be good…But it takes time.


I resemble this remark!

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!! This is perfect!! I cannot tell you how this fits us FASD folks! I could work all day and not be bothered by the talks and gossips of others. I just want to stay focused and do my work. People gossip, which I have never been one to be bothered with gossip. Nor do I think its right. There is so much more positive things to do in the world than talk negatively about others and spread rumors. I know socializing is important…but, I would rather do the work assigned than socialize. I love being productive! In fact, when I’m not, I feel lost, I feel sad, I feel stuck! Just give me something to do and I’ll do it till its done! Temple Grandin is such a great representative of those with neuro disabilities! She has accomplished and overcome so much in her lifetime! I had to post this quote because I sooooo relate to it. I was the photographer for a kid’s cancer camp in July. I worked the entire week and just stay focused. I had objectives. To take pictures and to put them together for the camp and a slideshow for the parents at the end of camp. I probably worked 12 hour days easily for 6 days straight. it was hard for me to take a break. I just wanted to do the task and not be bothered…lol. I’m that way with every job I have. I would just rather work than talk…lol…
FASD individuals can be very productive individuals. The one thing that makes me so upset is the constant negative that is out there! There is soooo much good about us and you would find if we are kept productive, there is less chance of problems. I know for me, I want what everyone else wants. Love, acceptance, and to be a productive, positive citizen. I love helping others. I love connection. Yes I do! I love doing! Not doing is idle time… Just like my blog the other day, having structure with lots to do makes for a healthy, happy Ann.


Left eye Right eye

When I was five years old, the neurologist said I had no depth perception and my eyes do not converge. In other words, my left eye and right eye, do not work together. I have learned that my left brain and right brain do not work very well together either.

I was told that I would never be able to hit a ball. I hit home runs. 
I was told I would never be able to cut on the line. it took a lot of work, but I have no problem at all with that anymore.
True I still reach for the refrigerator and miss the handle…every time…lol.
BUT, for the most part, my brain has adapted. 
My left eye and right eye have never been able to work together, but my brain has compensated in a way that I don’t think anyone figured in. My left eye basically stopped working. I can see out of it, but my brain has shut my left eye off enough for me to see one of everything. This has allowed me to do things I never could have done. 
I was not able to read until like second grade. The words were all jumbled together. All I saw was lines of letters with no breaks between words. There was no making sense of it to me. Now, I read fine. I still have problems with comprehension, but I learned young how make up for this. I read into a tape recorder and listened to it until I understood.
Yes, we have disabilities…but yes there are ways to make up for them. 
We just find different ways to do the same thing others can do.
God gave us creativity!
God gave us determination!
We figure out ways to learn, retain, and comprehend…to the best that we can!
That’s awesome!