I’m Not Capable of Being The Mother I Want to Be

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Last Pic of Chloe Before Adoption

Last Pic of Chloe Before Adoption

One thing about Asperger’s Syndrome that I would choose not to experience:

sensory overload

Why?

As I sit in a room with two children (ages 5 and 9), I’m re-shown that I can’t (easily) handle the noises and sounds that children make with their voices and toys. Especially when the noises come out of nowhere. Especially when the noises are loud.

These noises and sounds are normal for children to make.

I recently posted a picture of Chloe. The last picture that was taken of Chloe before she went to be with her adoptive parents. That picture triggered some sadness and regret. But when I felt my ears get hot and felt my body get tense with my friends’ children making average children-sounds… I remembered many reasons why I know that I’m not capable of being the mother I want to be.

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Tony Attwood Radio Interview; Notes

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Tony Attwood has been doing more research about women and girls who may have been flying under the (Asperger’s) radar.

(I really like that Tony calls people with Asperger’s “useful.”)  🙂

Tony’s own stepfather has Asperger’s. 

Some of Tony’s stepfather’s traits:
-doesn’t give compliments very often
-critical of mistakes
-detailed

Another Aspie trait:
-utterly honest

A joke, by Tony: “Women marry men for their faults; so that they [the wife] can correct them.”

Because Autism and Asperger’s have a definite genetic factor, people have actually fallen in love with Aspies – or else they would have died out, long ago.

Two types of (relationship) partners suited for Aspies: 

*- Opposite: NT, to the extreme. Usually in caring (hospitable) industry. These people see the Aspie’s heart, not their behavior. Caring instinct; maternal instinct; supportive; guide and repair what went wrong.

*- Identical. Rarely need relationship counseling. “Two twins.”

Darcy (Pride & Prejudice), who shows Aspie traits, can’t stand social chit-chat.

Faux pas: common for Aspies.

Parenting Styles of Aspies:

Parenting is not automatic and easy for them.
House is a mess; teaching children of intellectual pursuits.
Tigress with the cubs.
Does not want her children to suffer the same as she did.
Untidy home; when social services gets involved, she doesn’t know how to respond. Feels like social services sees her as an incompetent mother due to messy home and not taking care of some of the basic needs the children have. She has different priorities, such as intellectually teaching her children.
Unconventional parenting.

Aspies are surrounded by “social zealots,” while they’re intensely interested in facts and information. Aspies want to convert people, but NTs become bored.

Myths about people with Asperger’s:

– They will never amount to much. (Truth: They can be highly successful in certain areas.)
– They only go into the IT (information technology) field. (Truth: Some are artists. Some are authors. Some are musicians. Some are song writers. 
– They lack empathy. (Truth: They are some of the kindest people you’ll meet. Aspies are not good at reading social cues / signals. They need people to be more direct in asking for what they need.)

–Medication to address the effects of Asperger’s:

Aspies are natural worries; pessimistic. (Anti-anxiety)
Some ADHD medication can help.

Instead of a cure for Asperger’s, we’re looking for people to understand them and help explain social situations to them.

Other conditions that go along with Asperger’s: OCD, Anxiety, Depression, poor anger management, Arrogance/Narcissistic – “I’m superior, not different.”

We don’t give them credit for the intellectual effort that social situations require for them.

How do people with Asperger’s respond to their official diagnosis?

Enormous relief
Feeling understood and understanding self
Anger at delayed diagnosis

Ratio (boys: girls) Asperger’s:
2:1

Girls with Asperger’s know that they’re different. They go about in a compensatory / intelligent way. Camouflaging their differences. Sixth senses. Sensitive to things that other people don’t notice.
Imitation; acting. Watches for a script and a role. Chameleon.
Girls with Asperger’s are really only picked up/diagnosed in their teenage and adult years.
Extreme emotions. May be confused with Borderline Personality Disorder.

“No! You can’t have Asperger’s! You’re so social!” … but they don’t see the effort that went into that socialization.

Eventually, a nervous breakdown. “I can’t keep faking it!”

Time-consuming to find a professional who really GETS/understands Asperger’s. They need to be able to see behind the “mask.”

A good way to identify people (on sight) with Asperger’s: their facial expressions. They may have the right facial expression, but it comes a tiny bit later than what is “normal.”  — The face may not reflect the inner thoughts and feelings.

(Most) Girls / Women with Asperger’s: — “Fashion? Waste of time!”, “I shall wear what’s comfortable and cheap!”
Become tomboy-ish.
Gender identity issues.
(Most) Girls with AS: “But I’ve never felt like a girl!”, “I’m not a stereotypical girl!”, “I hate fashion!”

You don’t “suffer” from Asperger’s. You suffer due to the attitude of other people. That’s where your suffering comes from. Suffering comes from the ignorance and prejudice of other people.

Traits in workplace: Strong sense of social justice and following rules. Honesty. Integrity. Whistle blowers. Blind to when rules should be ignored.

They’d be good police officers.
They’d be good spies.
They’d be good with emergency situations / careers.


Hopes:
Acceptance from peers
The right work-place
The right (relationship) partner

Trait:
Very sensitive to emotional atmosphere.

My Traits of Asperger’s

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http://www.lisagraas.com/blog/archives/6487

I’m going to use this list to show which traits I, very much, see in myself. 

Out of Section A: 

1. A deep thinker.
5. Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything continually.
6. Serious and matter-of-fact in nature.
7. Doesn’t take (some) things for granted.
8. Doesn’t simplify.
9. Everything is complex.
10. Often gets lost in own thoughts and “checks out.” (blank stare)

Out of Section B: 

2. Honest
3. Gets upset when others lie. Finds it difficult to lie.
4. Finds it difficult to understand manipulation and disloyalty (to things that deserve loyalty).
5. Finds it difficult to understand vindictive behavior and retaliation.
7. Feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed.
8. Feelings of being misplaced and/or from another planet.
9. Feelings of isolation.

Out of Section C: 

2. Escapes regularly through fixations, obsessions, and over-interest in subjects.
6. Philosophizes continually.
7. Had imaginary friends in youth. (That tree counts, right?)
9. Treated friends as “pawns” in youth, e.g., friends were “students,” “consumers,” “soldiers.”
10. Makes friends with older or younger females.
11. Imitates friends or peers in style, dress, and manner.
12. Obsessively collects and organizes objects. (Organizes, yes: especially other people’s things.)
13. Mastered imitation.
14. Escapes by playing the same music over and over. 
17. Escapes through counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging.
18. Escapes into other rooms at parties.
19. Cannot relax or rest without many thoughts.
20. Everything has a purpose.

Out of Section D:

2. Sensory Issues (sight, sound, texture, smells, taste)
3. Generalized Anxiety
5. Feelings of polar extremes (depressed/over-joyed; inconsiderate/over-sensitive)
10. Misdiagnosed or diagnosed with other mental illness and/or labeled hypochondriac.
11. Questions place in the world.
12. Often drops small objects.
13. Wonders who she is and what is expected of her.
14. Searches for right and wrong.
15. Since puberty, has had bouts of depression.
16.  Rubs hands together, tucks hands under or between legs, keeps closed fists, and/or clears throat often.

Out of Section E:

1. Friends have ended friendships suddenly and without person understanding why.
2. Tendency to over-share.
3. Spills intimate details to strangers.
5. Little impulse control with speaking when younger.
6. Monopolizes conversation at times.
7. Bring subject back to self.
8. Comes across at times as narcissistic and controlling. (Is not narcissistic.)
9. Shares in order to reach out.
10. Sounds eager and over-zealous at times.
11. Holds a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside.
12. Feels as if she is attempting to communicate “correctly.”
13. Obsesses about the potentiality of a relationship with someone, particularly a love interest.
14. Confused by the rules of accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance and posture in conversation.
15. Conversation can be exhausting.
16. Questions the actions and behaviors of self and others, continually.
17. Feels as if missing a conversation “gene” or thought-”filter.”
18. Trained self in social interactions through readings and studying of other people.
19. Visualizes and practices how she will act around others.
20. Practices in mind what she will say to another before entering the room.
21. Difficulty filtering out background noise when talking to others.
22. Has a continuous dialogue in mind that tells her what to say and how to act in social situations.
23. Sense of humor sometimes seems quirky, odd, or different from others.
24. As a child, it was hard to know what it was her turn to talk.
25. She finds norms of conversation confusing.


Out of Section F:

1. Feels extreme relief when she doesn’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house.
2. One visitor at the home may be perceived as a threat.
3. Knowing logically a house visitor is not a threat, doesn’t relieve the anxiety.
4. Feelings of dread about upcoming events and appointments on the calendar.
5. Knowing she has to leave the house causes anxiety from the moment she wakes up.
6. All the steps involved in leaving the house are overwhelming and exhausting to think about.
7. She prepares herself mentally for outings, excursions, meetings and appointments.
9. Telling self the “right” words and/or positive self-talk doesn’t alleviate the anxiety. 
10. Knowing she is staying home all day brings great peace of mind.
11. Requires a large amount of down time or alone time.
12. Feels guilty after spending a lot of time on a special interest.
14. Dislikes being in a crowded mall, crowded gym, or crowded theater.


Out of Section G:

1. Sensitive to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells when trying to sleep.
2. Adjusts bedclothes, bedding, and/or environment in an attempt to find comfort.

3. Dreams are anxiety-ridden, vivid, complex.
5. Takes criticism to heart.
6. Longs to be seen, heard, and understood.
7. Questions if she is a “normal” person. 
10. Recognizes own limitations in many areas daily.
11. Becomes hurt when others question or doubt her work.
12. Views many things as an extension of self. (Chloe and my interests.)
13. Fears others opinions, criticism, and judgment.
17. Sensitive to substances (environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, etc.)
18. Tries to help, offers unsolicited advice, or formalizes plans of action.
19. Questions life purpose and how to be a “better” person.
20. Seeks to understand abilities, skills, and/or gifts.

Out of Section H:

1. Feels trapped between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in.
4. Exhibits codependent behaviors.
5. Adapts self in order to avoid ridicule.
6. Rejects social norms and/or questions social norms.
7. Feelings of extreme isolation.
8. Feeling good about self takes a lot of effort and work. 

9. Switches preferences based on environment and other people.
10. Switches behavior based on environment and other people.
11. Didn’t care about her hygiene, clothes, and appearance before teenage years, and/or before someone else pointed these out to her.
12. “Freaks out” but doesn’t know why until later.
13. Young sounding voice.

Out of Section I:

1. Had a hard time learning others are not always honest.
2. Feelings seem confusing, illogical, and unpredictable in self and others.
4. Expects that by acting a certain way certain results can be achieved, but realizes in dealing with emotions, those results don’t always manifest.
5. Spoke frankly and literally in youth.
6. Jokes go over the head.
7. Confused when others otracize, shun, belittle, trick and betray.
8. Trouble identifying feelings unless they are extreme.
9. Trouble with emotions of hate and dislike.
11. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness and serenity.
12. Situations and conversations sometimes perceived as black or white.
13. The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. (All or nothing mentality.)
14. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship or collapse of world.
15. A small compliment might boost her state of bliss. 

Out of Section J:

1. Likes to know word origins.
2. Confused when there is more than one meaning to a word.
3. High interest in songs and song lyrics.
6. Remembers exact details about someone’s life.
7. Has a remarkable memory for certain details.
8. Writes or creates to relieve anxiety.
9. Has certain “feelings” or emotions towards words.
10. Words bring a sense of comfort and peace, akin to a friendship.

Executive Functioning:

1. Simple tasks can cause extreme hardship.
3. New places offer their own set of challenges.
4. Anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse a sense of panic.
5. The thought of repairing, fixing or locating something can cause anxiety.
6. Mundane tasks are avoided.
7. Cleaning may seem insurmountable at times.
10. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming.
12. Has a hard time finding certain objects in the house, but remembers with exact clarity where other objects are.

I Think Chloe Would Be Happy

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I really don’t have much to say, but I’m going to let myself ramble and see what happens.

Ever since finding out that it’s very-highly likely that I have Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), learning about it and learning about myself has become my “special interest.” 

After Chloe was adopted, Chloe was my special interest for a long, long time. I obsessed over the past and mourned “losing” my daughter. I never thought about much, except for Chloe. All the time… which honestly, was really destroying me.

Beginning July 16, 2013, my special interest is in Asperger’s syndrome and trying to figure out how to improve myself – by learning WHY I do (or don’t do) things and HOW I can slowly change those habits, in order to become more high-functioning than I am. 

I see occasional pictures of Chloe, but MOST OF THE TIME the pictures I already have of her get me by, emotionally. She’s the same beautiful kid. I enjoy seeing new pictures of her and sometimes I ask for new pictures, but it’s not something I crave as often. Chloe is no longer my addiction, my special interest, my obsession. 

Chloe IS the only person that I can honestly say that I love, though. She’s everything to me, in that sense. She’s a beautiful, sweet, smart kid and I very much love her. She has her new family and I’m so happy that she’s happy. I can’t wait to meet her someday, but I think she would be happy that I’m no longer drowning in my emotions of missing her so desperately. 

I love you, Chloe!

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Disclosure to Employer – Dos & Don’ts

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Notes (inside quotation marks) taken from The Complete Guide To Getting A Job For People With Asperger’s Syndrome –

“Developing a repertoire of explanatory statements may be enough to ‘neutralize’ unexpected behaviors and smooth over misunderstandings.”

Possibly explain to your boss:
“‘I need to write the steps down in order to remember them.'”
“‘I tend to be literal; let me know if I am missing the point.'”
(et cetera)

“Be certain that what you need is an accommodation, and not a different type of job.”
“A disability is not an excuse for disruptive behavior.”

There are a number of strengths associated with Asperger’s Syndrome that are benefits in the right job. They include:

  • Attention to detail and sustained concentration

Benefits: ability to spot errors; accuracy; not distracted from the task at hand

  • Excellent long term memory

Benefits: recall facts and details others have forgotten

  • Tolerance of repetition and routine

Benefits: perform the same tasks without getting bored or burned out

  • Strong logic and analytic skills

Benefits: ability to see patterns/draw connections in data; objective view of facts

  • Vast knowledge of specialized fields

Benefits: develop in-depth knowledge and expertise

  • Creative thinking

Benefits: different way of processing information can lead to novel solutions

  • Perseverance

Benefits: stick with a job until it is done

  • Honesty and Loyalty

Benefits: not afraid to tell the truth; stay with an employer long term”

The Adult Asperger Assessment –

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The Adult Asperger Assessment –

  • Difficulties in understanding social situations and other people’s thoughts and feelings.
  • Tendency to think of issues as being black and white, rather than considering multiple perspectives in a flexible way.
  • Tendency to turn any conversation back to self or own topic of interest.
  • Marked impairment in the ability to initiate and sustain a conversation with others. Cannot see the point of superficial social contact, niceties, or passing time with others, unless there is a clear discussion point/ debate or activity.
  • Pedantic style of speaking, or inclusion of too much detail.
  • Inability to recognize when the listener is interested or bored. Even if the person has been told not to talk about their particular obsession topic for too long, this difficulty may be evident if other topics arise.
  • Frequent tendency to say things without considering the emotional impact on the listener (faux pas).

taken from Tony Attwood’s “The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome”