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2008 March » Blogging AS an Aspie
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Matt has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is writing this blog so that people can gain more of an insight into how people with the condition process thoughts, feel emotions, react to situations and generally handle life.
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30 Mar 08 Upgrade

Hi readers,

Just to inform you that the blog was down for 10 minutes earlier this afternoon due to WordPress informing me that I needed to upgrade the system. Apologies to those who got white-screens-of-death with meaningless error messages, as you may have guessed, the first upgrade went wrong, so I had to revert back to 2.3, and then use the 1&1 Internet management interface to upload a zip file, unzip it directly on the server and then upgrade from there. Needless to say it worked, and here you are looking at version 2.5!

So, my apologies for any inconvienience caused, and happy reading!

26 Mar 08 They just know

I’ve been following a fellow blogger with a mental health condition, and how he copes with his life. It’s interesting, because despite having wildly different unrelated conditions, we both seem to have the same type of friendship with someone. He is really close to Ana, and she helps him out with keeping his moods under control, and general stuff like that.

As I read one of his recent posts, and how he missed Ana, yet at the same time wanted her to be happy any enjoying what she was doing, it stuck a chord with me. It’s exactly how I feel about somebody, particularly during college holidays. You see, this person just has some kind of natural instinct for what I’m going to be like. It’s scary; this is something that even my Mum has to think about, my support workers think about. But she just seems to know, yet all that does in confuse me more about where I stand with her. Once you add in a dimension about somebody trying to emotionally protect another because of their disability, it really complicates things. To be frank, I felt less confused about where I stood with her when she told me the words I didn’t want to hear yet made me feel happy about it all!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s really sweet that there are people out there like that. And it’s really kind of her to be so patient and understanding. But I can’t help but feel she’s making allowances for me because of my Asperger’s; and I simply don’t want her to do that because it’s not fair on her. Both Nick and I have found somebody who could well become a life-long friend, and that is something that both of us must treasure and respect. I suppose I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t have our own conditions, would we still have found them, and would they still be so nice.

I should just try and not pay any attention to all of the complications, I think. But I can’t do that, because I like to analyse things, it keeps me occupied. The thing that I can’t figure out is why people do this. I don’t suspect anybody’s friends have any kind of ulterior motive, far from it. But I’d like to know why they protect us, look out for us, care about us, and ultimately support us through some of the most difficult times of our lives. The hardest thing is to know somebody cares about you, but because they want to protect you, you realise you’ll never get close. If it was a staff member, I could easily deal with that, it’s called professionalism; when it’s a friend, somebody who I really care about, it’s different, because it’s, just, I can’t even begin to get the words I would need to describe it…

25 Mar 08 Parents’ Evening

I’m really proud of what I was told tonight by my two college tutors, both academically and socially. Most of all, they backed up what I’d been trying to tell the service provider for many months now.

Firstly, my Physics lecture expressed her disappointment at my latest exam result – a ‘b’. I was only 1 mark off an ‘a’, but 1 mark is too much to miss by! However, she is very happy with my work rate, informing my Mum that I am regularly provided with extra work which I always finish to a very high standard. My punctuality and attendance are excellent, both being 100%. Then my Mum asked about my social interaction, after explaining about my Asperger’s and how it affects me. And the lecturer was very positive, explaining I get on well with everybody, and help people when they ask me for it. I asked the direct question “Do you think that I need support in the class?” I was answered with a “No.” My Mum mentioned to us that she would bring up these comments at my forthcoming review in May.

Next, we went to Chemistry. Again, I was told by my very enthusiastic chemistry lecturer (he’s brilliant, bless him) that I perform to a very high standard in class and should not have any problems in achieving an ‘A’ for AS Chemistry. I was reminded of the deadline for the planning exercise, and advised to submit a draft of it soon, which of course I will. My lecturer then re-advertised his study clinics, which I admit to not having yet attended. The problem is that they fall when I’m usually with the specialist college in Sunderland. However, I did explain that I will be able to come in for the Tuesday session from the start of May, because it falls at good times for trains and I can miss about an hour of Duke of Edinburgh to revise a past module. I might attend the general study clinic over a Wednesday lunch leading into the exams, just to make sure I can do it all! Then, rather shockingly, he asked me about the trip to Nottingham; I was puzzled by this, because I’d explained to him that due to a lack of support I’d be unable to go. But, then, suddenly, an idea lit up!

I looked at my Mum, hinting at her to rapidly move the conversation onto my social skills in class, and support staff. “Matt makes fantastic contributions” he told her. He didn’t think I needed any support, even when I asked him to think carefully about my interactions with my two close mates. He did ask me about last Thursday’s support worker, because she appeared to be making a lot of notes. I explained in brief terms why, and then followed up with a question about if my behaviour or interaction with the person concerned was any different to how he normally sees me; historically, I can’t cope with what had happened. We agreed that I didn’t need any support; more to the point I was told I should be supporting the support worker!

As we left, and enjoyed some really nice food from the bake sale for Operation Wallacea (yeah, research, not a holiday, of course), my Mum told me that she wasn’t going to wait for my review and was instead going to send an email to the managers at the service provider, explaining her point of view based on the first-hand information she now has. I tried explaining my arguments for being allowed to go to Nottingham, but it was futile, she told me that there was no way even if she wanted to, because it leaves early on Monday morning, and I’m not back with the service provider until Sunday evening. I tried explaining about the lecturers saying I didn’t need support, and how I coped with everything over the weekend (I briefly appraised my Mum without going into any detail). But she wanted to take it small steps at a time; I countered that I’ve been saying I haven’t needed support for 5 months. But then she used the killer, the one truth that ties it all together, she knew there was somebody going that I fancy. I didn’t argue, except for to say I respect this person so much I can’t bring myself to even think of trying anything on! It was worth a shot, and I did have ulterior motives; a chance to talk with somebody for a short while away from college and any form of distraction would be brilliant, and I think very beneficial.

Anyway, I was really happy with the way things went; I only wish that I could have had one of my managers from the service provider there with my Mum! I’m really proud of what I have achieved at college this year, both academically and socially!

25 Mar 08 Blog changes

As some of my readers are Aspies, I try and give you as much notice as possible of any changes I’m making to this blog.

Firstly, and most useful to you, I’m removing the comments restriction. Previously, you had to be registered and logged in to comment on the blog. Now, I only require a name and valid email address. You’ll also need to have two of your comments approved by an author before they will become immediately visible; so don’t worry if you don’t see them straight away, it just means I need to check it over!

Secondly, I’ve just been approved by the Google AdSense programme, which means I have permission to place their advertising boxes on this blog. You may already know that these are text-based unobtrusive content-based sponsored links. I intend to place a small box in the sidebar, and at the bottom of some key pages of the site. You are under no obligation whatsoever to even look at these if you do not wish to.

Finally, if any of these changes affects your ability to enjoy using the blog, please comment this post and I’ll try and assist you where possible.

24 Mar 08 Weird conversations

Sometimes, I really do get drawn in to such random and weird conversations with people. They can go from being a plain boring conversation one minute, to being really quite dirty or personal the next. Conversations on MSN or Skype are generally much worse, simply because you can’t see the responses all the time!

So, as it was, I endured three hours of such a conversation over Easter weekend. Except that this time, it was with two people I was close to, and one person I probably shouldn’t have been speaking to for my own protection. I didn’t think of that at the time, I had been drawn into it. And, I felt as if I had something to prove to myself. I wanted to prove that I could cope in an emotionally demanding (for me) conversation, and that I could appear normal.

During the chat, I felt an idiot the entire time; I thought I was coming across as somebody who didn’t know what they were doing. I was wrong, despite being on an emotional rollercoaster internally, the two people I was close to both told me I coped really well. One of them realised what I was going through, and had a side-chat with me, allowing me to express myself more freely, as long as I didn’t “cross the line” about things. He kept telling me I was doing fine, and gave me prompts when I appeared to be struggling. He really is a fantastic mate.

Having done all that, everything else seems easy now. Too easy, in fact. I’ve changed from the unpredictable unable-to-cope person that I once was; now, I’m somebody who can cope well, and accept the help of my friends.