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Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

This is your brain when its been exposed to alcohol in utero

I wanted to help at my friend’s fundraising event yesterday. I’m never put with the money or any chaotic area when I help. My brain simply does not process fast enough. I feel like more of a hindrance. Yesterday, ended up different than the norm, when I volunteer. My external brain, who by the way makes sure I am always okay in all situations, had to go around and sell 50/50 tickets. After several attempts of her explaining to me the amounts per ticket, I still was panicked. I watched and watched her and my daughter sell tickets. The more they sold, the more I watched, the more confused I got, the more i felt like crying on the inside.
It’s times like those that I really realize how messed up my brain is. i wanted to help in the worst way. I normally set up or tear down tables, etc. I take pictures of the event because it is the best way for someone like me to be involved but still not have to engage fully in any one area. I love to help, but in ways that I’m still working alone, in the crowd. 
One dollar for one ticket. I got that. But six for five or five for six and what if someone gives me a 20 and they only want 5 tickets or 10…I had no idea what to do. I tried and tried to figure it out and the tears were welling up in my eyes because I really realized, I want to help so bad…but…I just can’t.
Kerri, my EB, said to me she was going to go around and sell tickets. She wrote it down what I was supposed to do. She made sure I was okay. I wanted to do this. I wanted to prove I could do this to her and to me. and to my 16-year-old daughter that was selling tickets without even thinking. 
A person came up to the table. Okay, I can do this. She hands me a 20 and wanted 2 sets of tickets. I told her to just take the ones she wanted cuz I couldnt remember how many that was. She looked at me and I said,” do you know how much money I give you back?” So, I gave her the money only for her to come back and say, I need one more dollar.
People came up and asked me about the pricing. I read it right off the paper Kerri gave me. 
I felt an inch big.
If I looked like I had a brain that didnt process like others, than they might not expect me to be like them. But, I look like I should have a brain that works so…
PLUS, I want to help! I want to be able to sit down and take money and give change and be able to interact without my processing going so haywire that I cant think at all. It just shuts down completely.
Kerri wasn’t going to go sell tickets. I told her I dont want to be the reason you cant sell tickets. I wanted her to make the most money she could. So, I sold a few on my own and I started to be okay. I had to be okay with reading from the paper and getting help from those I was selling to. The point is, I did it.
I was proud of myself. I didnt run out and say I can’t. I did everything I could to contribute, even though I knew my brain doesnt function in that area. I love to give back. She said that is why she hesitates to ask me sometimes to help.
Don’t do that please.
Always ask!
We always want to help. We want to feel included and needed. I’m not normally with the money and people. So, I’m fine.  I find my area that I can help and feel comfortable.
I’m a great runner at events. I’m the gopher. I’m the one that will do runs to outside locations to bring stuff in, set up tables. Anything where I can keep moving and not stop to talk to people…lol. It’s true. 
I’m laughing because the day before, on Saturday, I was thrown into another situation where I was out of my comfort zone!! Way out!! Went to Columbus to accept my writing awards. 
They met for lunch. I did not. I don’t do informal meet and greets with people I do not know. Sitting across from people in a dining experience is not pleasant for me, especially when I am meeting them for the first time.
So, I did what I needed. I went to the meeting room when everyone was at lunch. I got the chair closest to the door, before anyone else got there. I got comfortable with my environment.
They instantly put us in a circle…lol. They wanted it to be informal and personal. We were writers. We needed to get to know each other…lol. 
My EB instantly put her hand on the back of my chair and said stay where you are and they made the circle go around me. So, I didnt have to move. Why is it that the teacher (speaker) always seeks out the person who does not want to talk and they keep calling on them?…lol. I dont know if it was written on my face or what, but she kept asking me questions. At one point she said Ann, what is the premise of the book that you just wrote. I just went ummm…well I really don’t talk very well. She said, “I know.” 
Really? You know…lol…then why are you asking me to?…lol. Well, anyway, I said my friend here can answer for me. And she did. My brain instantly went dead as soon as i was asked to speak. It was not a rebellion at all. It went to 0. 
She asked me several other questions along the way and I was able to answer at times, in short sentences. Short, very, to the point, sentences work for me.
Just because I am a journalist, does not mean I am a talker. Yes, I can interview people all day. It is a passion of mine to get to know people. I love to know their hearts and I want to tell their story. The second someone asks me a question…BLANK. I will deflect, I will change the subject, I will find a way to leave a room, I will change it back to them in seconds…
I had asked, very clearly, not to speak during the awards. I was told to speak on the article that won and I asked if I could please not have to do that. I made it very clear, as a matter of fact…lol. First thing I was asked when I went up to accept the award…Can you tell everyone about the article…
We really do know our limitations. 
We really do know our abilities.
We do not say we cant just so we can get out of something.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone with FASD.
I know there is rebellion, but so much of it stems from the fact that we really do get angry that WE HAVE TO ASK FOR HELP. I get scared. Confused. I know I’m going to screw up. I need a guide and sometimes…that pisses me off! (Sorry for the language…but it does.)
AND… the older we get…the angrier we can get about that. 
Needy? Really? as someone called me.
People who are needy want people to do things for them. They dont want to try. they dont want to work like crazy to be independent. They dont struggle and struggle day after day to get through the day and prove that they can.
I spend more time and effort on getting through my day and I can honestly say, even though I need guides,…I am not NEEDY! We simply need help.
Teens and young adults especially can get angry about this. They want to be like their peers. Who doesnt want to be equal with others their age?
The more I realize I can’t…the more determined I get. The more I want to NOT ask for help. I CAN DO IT. 
I got angry yesterday when I saw how much my brain would not work, even tho I wanted so much to help.
My EB does it in ways where I dont even know she is helping. She comes along side and just does with…she normally gives me things that I can just do…She normally notices when Im struggling and she just enters in and I dont even realize she is helping me accomplish what I need to do.
The last thing we need is for people to force us to be in situations where we are destined to fail. No way to succeed because our brains DO NOT work that way.
And I’m not talking about yesterday…cuz she didnt force that. I did. I wanted to help in an area where my brain was not able. Sometimes, we just have to surrender to some facts that are not pleasant.
Sometimes…we just have to realize…this is our brain…
An alcohol affected brain…


I’ve always been quiet. My brain is not! If I could say what I think, I would never shut up…lol. I find myself in situations where everyone is talking and I seriously cannot connect my brain with my mouth so I appear quiet or shy and that is really not the case. Well, I might have a little bit of those, but really I’m like that because I know that my brain is not cooperating. It can be embarrassing to have a room full of people waiting for me to put my sentence together. For some reason, putting my hand on my head helps. I really have no idea why. Have always been that way. If I put my hand on my head and breathe in deep, I can gather myself together enough to form sentences.

Putting my hand on my head calms me. My insides are anxious and just that feeling of a hand on the head is an instant calm, even if it is my own.

I think one of my biggest frustrations is communication. I could walk around with a pencil and paper and communicate all day, but that is not how the world does it. We are expected to do what the rest of the world does. What if we all walked around with different forms of communication. Not just speech. A lot of my frustrations are simply because I am not able to communicate what I want or need to.

The people who I like to be around are those who help me to communicate. They are patient. They don’t force me to tell them what I need to in their allotted time. They don’t let me feel small because I am having a rough time getting the words out.

Finding ways for someone with FASD to communicate can really alleviate a lot of frustration. I know I can act out, get agitated, get angry just because things build up and I am not able to communicate the way others do. We really are forced to be in a world where walking around with a pencil and a paper to communicate would just be looked at as weird.

I wish society was more accepting of disabilities. The numbers are growing that having a disability is almost the norm. There are so many people with autism and FASD that you would think that there would be different options of communication that are acceptable by now…lol. I know thats a stretch, but let an FASDer dream. I would love to just whip out my pad and pencil while in a mall talking with friends and just write so I can say exactly what I mean instead of sit there for a minute trying to get my brain to connect with my mouth to get the words out. and even still, not even say exactly what I mean, but bits and pieces of what I wanted to say. It’s okay. But it really can make a day in the life of someone with FASD, very hard.

It is crucial that the FASDer have people in their immediate circle who can help them to communicate. Let them find their way to communication. Help bridge that gap.

Encourage drawing, singing, writing song lyrics, photography, and writing. Let them build with legos or find other creative ways to express who they are and how they see the world.

I know for a fact that our silence brings about a deeper thinker. We are very deep thinkers and we connect with life in a way that others do not. That adds to the frustration, I think. I see so much. I see pain deeper. I see heartache in a way that I feel it. I want to convey people’s pain and the way I see things so I start shooting my camera or writing because I feel this stuff and I can’t find another way to get it out, but to do it creatively. It really helps eliminate some frustration.

We get stuck. We don’t want to be stuck in our frustration where it gets to the point that we act out regretting later what we did. My thing is punching walls or myself.

I hate with all of me to be stuck. I want to always be moving forward and I am constantly trying to find a way to do that. How can I learn. How can I move forward. This didnt work. This didnt. work. I will work until I find a way to make it work. How can I do it?

How can I communicate? Help us find ways to do this. Sit down next to us. Quietly. Meet us where we are. Let us calm and find a way to tell you what we are feeling. Let us tell you how we see the world. Hand us a pencil and say write it down and tell me. Draw it. Write me a song or a poem that conveys what you want to say. Is there a character on tv that you can relate with that you can share to tell me how you feel? There has to be a way and that way has to be okay for everybody in the room.

Sometimes it is nice when people (society) comes to the world of those who have disabilities and they are forced to communicate the way we understand instead of us having to always work outside of our brain abilities just so its socially acceptable.

Helping us find ways to communicate equals a calmer house. Equals a calmer FASDer or someone with autism. It means frustration will melt before a meltdown or a blowup. When you see a meltdown coming or a blowup, hand them a pencil and paper and ask them to tell you exactly what they are feeling. Write. Do whatever you need to tell me how you feel. Do it please because I really want to know.