Recent Tweet: “Individuals with ASD can Change.”

14 Sep

Apparently, that was in doubt. Just because responding to change isn’t an autie’s or aspie’s best friend doesn’t mean that affecting change personally is out of the question.

Step back for just a moment to think about the number of “changes” that a person, any person experiences from birth to death. No matter one’s functioning level, change happens.

Implicit in that tweet for me is the idea that individuals with ASD can change ….. their negative qualities. Perhaps that’s my cynical side rearing its ugly head. I’m sorry. I could list all of the ways that I have seen my clients and my friends with ASD change. I’d rather hear from you: What are the most outstanding ways change has occurred for you or for your loved one with ASD?

I can’t wait to admire this list of accomplishments.


Posted by on September 14, 2010 in ASD in the Grand Scheme


8 responses to “Recent Tweet: “Individuals with ASD can Change.”

  1. mosaicofminds

    September 14, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    In a few short years, a brilliant boy I know with AS learned the following (listed in no particular order).

    * How to cross the midline. (The “midline” is an imaginary line right down the middle of your body that most people can cross their arms or legs over in a coordinated fashion).
    * How to skip.
    * How to keep from falling out of his chair without having to pay any attention to it.
    * The meaning of most common metaphors & figurative expressions, and some uncommon ones. (He went from quoting lines from TV shows at his family hoping for an explanation of what they meant to being an excellent reader of literature).
    * To take turns in a conversation.
    * To remember to say hello and goodbye.
    * To write–whether it be a story or an essay–without frustration.
    * How to be a polite, responsible member of an online community with common interests.
    * To sometimes make insightful comments about the psychology of the other students in his class.
    * How to be genuinely charming when interviewing to get into a private school he really wanted to get into.
    * To try new foods. He went from a repertoire that you could count on one, maybe two hands to liking things like shrimp and sushi.
    * To win the respect and friendliness, if not the actual friendship, of his class.

    He has maintained the same personality, the same tendency towards obsessive interests (particularly about video games and comic books), the same honesty, and the same unwillingness to conform when other kids in his class do things he finds stupid or immoral. He’s still an aspie–he still doesn’t have a lot of friends, still walks and talks a little funny, still launches into long monologues about his interests with barely a preamble. But he’s made a heck of a lot of changes, and he’s a lot happier, too.

    Great topic, J! Cheers.

  2. jholverstott

    September 14, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    His are the best types of changes, aren’t they. Growing without losing what makes him unique, talented, and special! I look forward to hearing about his future growth. Please keep me posted.

  3. TMBMT

    September 14, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    I’m self-diagnosed with AS — the diagnosis makes *way* too much sense and explains way too much to be wrong, imo, but I hate psychology and will not go see one to get a diagnosis.

    In any case, I get hit on both sides from this one, the people who don’t think I have it using my improvements as proof that I don’t, and the people who would otherwise agree with me not wanting me to accept the ‘label’ for fear I’d decide I couldn’t continue to improve. It’s annoying.

    In any case, with the help of a spectacular friend (I can’t imagine what’s kept him around, but he’s stuck with me through some unimaginable stress lol), I have made a miriad of improvements over the past 10 years…

    * I can actually talk when I get upset now, instead of completely shutting down. And not just talk – I can actually communicate what I’m feeling most of the time. I can’t even explain how huge of a help this has been in my life.

    * I can handle most kinds of touch… as long as I know it’s coming first lol

    * I no longer *need* to go hide in a closet/corner and rock/etc when I get upset, unless I’m really stressed out — but I’ve learned to regulate my stress levels, and I’ve learned to recognize when I’m about to hit the breaking point, so that I can call a friend instead of ending up there (which only works because I learned how to talk when I was upset! lol).

    * I’ve actually learned empathy! Besides being extremely obvious day-to-day, it’s evidenced by the fact that my “emotional IQ” score has gone from horribly low to almost normal, and those Jung personality tests that used to show me as “very highly expressed” Thinking now show me on the borderline between Thinking and Feeling.

    * I learned the value of looking people in the eye. I taught myself this one in high school by forcing myself to look a counselor in the eyes during summer camp one year. It scared the crap out of me, but I made myself do it… it gets a lot easier with time, but my obvious struggles at doing it that first time really freaked out the counselor lol I should have told him first! 😛 Anyway, I don’t look people in the eye much, but there are certain situations where it’s necessary, and it’s nice to be able to do it when I need to.

    I’m sure there are other things but these are the major ones that come to mind right now. There are still a lot of things I need to work on…

    * I’d *love* to learn how to recognize people’s by their face, not sure if that one’s learnable though lol

    * I’d love to be able to handle social situations without breaking down crying afterwards.

    * I’d love to be able to regulate my voice – I’m often loud when I think I’m being quiet and quiet when I think I’m really loud – man is that annoying!

    * I can’t wait for the day when I can actually get a handle on my emotions. I didn’t feel any emotion but frustration and anger until I was 16. Then a repressed memory slammed me and emotions flooded in… I’ve been dealing with hyper-sensitive emotions ever since then… I don’t understand them. I can’t handle the intensity of them. I can’t seem to regulate them at all, and it hasn’t gotten any easier with time. Being able to talk about them has helped quite a bit with handling their effects, but I’d love to just deal with the root problem and learn how to regulate them in the first place.

    • jholverstott

      September 15, 2010 at 2:17 AM

      To quote you, “* I can actually talk when I get upset now, instead of completely shutting down. And not just talk – I can actually communicate what I’m feeling most of the time. I can’t even explain how huge of a help this has been in my life” — I’m still not very good at this! I’m so glad you share these achievements as an adult who has conquered and been conquered, who has tried and failed. All people have a list like this…I just don’t think society focuses on NTs “changing” as much, which is unfortunate, right? Still, thank you for bearing these things. It helps me more than you can imagine.

  4. TMBMT

    September 14, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Oops, I do need to give credit where it’s due. While my friend has helped me immensely, I think he only stuck with me so long because of his relationship with God, and I think prayer had a lot more to do with the progress I’ve been able to make than anything. I don’t mean to be preachy, but I would be amiss if I didn’t credit Christ here.

  5. Liz Ditz

    September 14, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Have you seen the story in today’s Atlantic about Donald T., the first child Kanner saw in his landmark study of autism? He is now 77, lives alone, and travels the world. Donald’s changes are remarkable.

    • TMBMT

      September 14, 2010 at 11:36 PM

      Great aritcle, Liz, thanks for the link.

    • jholverstott

      September 15, 2010 at 2:19 AM

      amazing article! so glad you shared this, liz.


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