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2008 April » 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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28 Apr 08 Absolutely ridiculous

Further to my predictions about meeting my friend to help her revise, I was still completely stunned at the response the service provider had for me. Like I said, I wasn’t going to tell them before I met her, because they would say no. I am, however, an honest person, and therefore I decided to tell my manager what I’d done. He was disappointed that I hadn’t told him what I was doing beforehand. Furthermore, this was to be the subject of an MDT meeting, and he felt unable to advocate for me.

Being a fair and reasonable bloke, he ensured that I would be given the opportunity to attend this meeting and voice my own opinions and arguments. Naturally, when senior staff get together, my opinion is considered irrelevant, although it is normally listened to. This time, I was called into the meeting to be told that they had made some decisions. Before I’d even sat down, I was already extremely angry with my manager, the deputy principal, the college manager and the psychologist.

They told me that they could not support me meeting my friend in town because she was only 15. I interrupted, saying that I’d known her for 3 years, we get on well, she is comfortable with everything, and that I am aware of what I’m doing. I tried asking if she could come to the hall of residence, and I could see her in a communal area with staff present. Or not, as the management pointed out the obvious child protection implications of having a 15 year old female unknown to the service in the presence of a male support worker in their building.

So, to deter me from meeting her in town, they then went on to point out the legal implications. What if she accused me of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or even rape? Because, as they pointed out, raping a 15 year old would make me a paedophile. That, and being on the sex offenders register would mean I couldn’t follow my career ambition of being a doctor (doesn’t this sound so familiar?). Then they went on to ask if her mother knew she had met me, and how old I was.

I was infuriated, because I do not wish to have sexual relations with my friend. I want to help her through her exams, and spend time with her. As far as I am concerned, I’m doing what most teenage friends are doing right now – helping each other revise for upcoming exams and spending time with each other.

Basically, the only reason they have as to why I can’t be allowed to meet her is that she is a 15 year old female. That, to me, is not a reason in itself.
And do you think it will stop me – no!

18 Apr 08 Revising

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, I was starting a 5 day break to visit my Gran in Southampton. In addition to that, I chose to meet up with a mate of mine to help her with some revision. We chose to meet in the library, a quiet place, ideally suited to what we intended to do.

She was struggling with chemistry, and I’m fairly good at the subject. It was good fortune that I done my GCSE with the same exam board she is under. However, I discovered I spent a lot of the time trying to read up on what I was supposed to be helping her with, because it’s been 2 years since I touched GCSE chemisty. A good tip to those helping others to revise is to go and download the specification and have a good thorough read, it really is a damn useful thing to be doing!

Now then, so far, can anybody see a problem with what I have done? Personally, I can’t. I went to help a friend, as a sort of revision tutor (albeit without any teaching or training qualifications), and therefore I acted professionally all the time I was tutoring her. Now, I’m an 18 year old young man. My friend happens to be in Year 11 at the local catholic girls school, and is currently 15. Before you all gasp, stop, and think, what actually is wrong with a 15 year old and an 18 year old being friends?

This brings me onto the lovely complicated issues that the service provider where I live has decided to throw in. Shock, horror, gasp, panic – she’s 15! Big wow, I’ve known her since she was 12, I was 15. What’s more is that I’ve known her as a friend, a colleague, and as a young person when I was a kind of senior cadet. And in all that time, I’ve never kissed her, or done anything like that. I might well fancy her, but that’s it. But, I know full well what management would say: NO. Therefore, I have no choice but to meet her without telling the service provider that I am. Because I like her as a friend, and want to help her. What’s the use in having a scientific brain if I ain’t gonna use it to help people?

I’ve already met her twice without telling them, and I plan to meet her at least twice more in the next two weeks. And frankly, I cannot see a single problem!

Now, socially, I will admit to becoming a little inappropriate after we left the library and waited for my train, she was scared I would kiss her. I can understand that, but I reassured her I wouldn’t even try, and she trusted me on that. I also took it a bit too far with hugging her, and flirting. Since then, I’ve apologised to her, and I’ve promised I won’t flirt, or try anything, or kiss her, etc. She is happy with that. What’s the betting the service provider isn’t…

10 Apr 08 Equal Opportunities

I used to wonder quite often why I always appeared to be short of money. At present, my bank balance is higher in negative figures than it has been in positive for quite some time. And I’ll admit, some of this is due to my £40.00 per lesson driving habit!

The rest of my lack of fortune is due to one thing and one thing alone: being in the pre-application period for universities. That means I’m a year 12 equivalent student, aiming to enter university for higher education in 2009. You may wonder how that can cost money, its not like I have to buy any books or course materials, or even travel to an interview.

It’s really easy to see mounting costs – Open Days for me are in June/July 2008, and that means I need to travel to them (via train; £200.00 approx) and stay overnight (hotels; £300.00 approx.) because they are far away from where I live. I know I’m making it easier for myself by basing myself at my Gran’s house, which is closer to the 7 universities that I’m considering; I don’t wish to imagine the extra cost if I were based in Sunderland instead! Of course, I have yet to add on the costs of food (breakfast, lunch, evening meal, snacks – for 7 days away from either Halls or my Gran’s; £150.00 approx.), and transport around the university campus & local city (bus or taxi; £50.00 approx.). Then add another £50.00 emergency fund in case anything goes wrong, or I’ve under-budgeted. Total cost to visit 7 universities, spending 7 days / 6 nights away = £750.00, not bad.

Let us not forget test fees. Test fees specific to applying to study medicine at university; specifically the UKCAT at £60.00 and the BMAT at £31.00, charming. I’m sure I remember seeing a lot about how not being well off financially should not be a barrier to studying medicine, or indeed any degree, but my impression is that needing £91.00 just to do the exams needed to apply is that you need to have some finances built up.

I don’t look forward to my application year, having to go to interviews, buy a good quality suit, and attend visit days, and so on.

07 Apr 08 Spicing it up

I always watch BBC One’s Holby City on a Tuesday evening, and last week was no exception to that. What struck me was Joe Byrne (who shows a lot of Aspie traits) asking his manager (and fatherly figure) Elliot Hope for some advice; he implied to him that he was having trouble in the bedroom, and not being able to make, you know, it last. Even better was Elliot’s metaphorical analogy of it being like cooking. I could see where he was coming from, but couldn’t really relate to it; for me, the kitchen door has yet to open!

Elliot was talking about how you need to achieve certain things, for example following the recipe, having the oven at the correct temperature, and cooking for the correct amount of time. He went on to say that, with more confidence and experience, you go on to adapt the recipe, perhaps by adding some extra spice, or a little bit longer cooking.

Being a typical Aspie, I like to examine every little detail, and take things to the nth degree. So, my analysis of the metaphorical cooking:

Firstly, you have to gather all the correct ingredients. Just as you can’t make a sandwich without bread, you shouldn’t attempt sex without protection (be it in the form of a condom, femidom, pill, IUD, implant, etc). Not only are physical ingredients, but the emotional ones are much more valued: love, trust, passion, and most importantly – mutual consent.

Secondly, you should follow the recipe, particularly if you’ve made the meal before. Just as you don’t add the margarine to the flour in a cake, you don’t start with consent and try and add the trust to it. You need to start with your firm base of love, and then gently work up the trust on top of it. Once you have that, you can start adding some passion to the mix, and top it with consent. Of course, every recipe tells you the temperature of the oven, and this is no exception; sex simply does not cook on a cold heat, you really need a hot oven to get things going.

Thirdly, you need to cook the mixture for the right amount of time. Too little time and you’ll have a floppy pudding, too much and you’ll burn yourself out. Get it just right, and you’ll have created a sensual delight hard to beat.

Finally, it’s no good spending all that time in the kitchen to serve something that looks awful. A good chef always puts as much effort into the presentation as to the cooking. You’ve got to present your meal in the right way, with lots of thought going into the setting, the atmosphere, and the build up. Nobody likes to go straight to dessert, so you should have a good, simple starter planned, followed by an enjoyable main course. Only then can you go on to show your tempting masterpiece.

If you’ve done well with all your cooking, you should be able to finish off with some squirty cream!

The above post is written very tongue-in-cheek, and should not be taken literally!