An exploration of the UK unpaid carer's world

Introduction to autism                                                         The author's stories Home page here  

1.  Preamble
  1. This page  includes background info.

  2. On 20 Dec 2016, the website author was diagnosed with autism.  Due to difficulties since 1977, this was a welcome relief.  

  3. The first text comes from Autistica.  Text irrelevant to the situation is in small text.

  4. Autistica is a charity which both funds and  campaigns for medical research to understand the causes of autism, improve diagnosis, and develop new treatments and interventions.   

2   Autistica

  1. Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

  2. Autism includes a spectrum of conditions, which means that while all people share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

  3. Asperger syndrome is part of the autism spectrum. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech, but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language. They may also have difficulties understanding some of the rules governing social interaction.

  4. Autism is often defined by its difficulties, but many report it can also bring benefits. The cognitive strengths of some individuals may mean that they can focus on tasks without breaks in concentration, and individuals on the autism spectrum report the enjoyment they get from their unique way of thinking and perspective of the world.     source                                         
2.2   Notes
  1. How I make sense of the world differs from many people  - 2.1.1

  2. 1 am able to live a relatively independent life compared with people with extreme autism  My autism means experiencing over-sensitivity to unjustified sound such as in supermarkets.  Combined with carer stress, I generally want to wreck the musak. 

  3. Giving lectures, running meetings and stating my case were never a problem.  Since retiring in 2000 to look after my wife, speaking at small meetings sometimes brings on tongue-tie.   2.1.5

  4. If one sentence sums up the overall situation - I have difficulties understanding some of the rules governing social interaction.

  5. Reporting that autism can also bring benefits is a challenge.  I can focus on tasks without breaks in concentration after my wife has gone to bed.  2.1.7  Any enjoyment I get from a unique way of thinking and perspective of the world is hard to define.   That unique way of thinking and perspective needs clarifying before we go much further.

2     A unique way of thinking and perspective of the world 

2.1 Variations of autism?
  1. Have you seen anything about oughtism?  No and it's not surprising.  I see now that telling people what they ought to do has been my letdown.
  2. Foughtism - life is one long battle - more later

3       Social skills

Here is an arbitrary list.

A - agree

DNA - do not agree

MBT - may be true

Seems irrelevant - SI

  1. Very little or no eye contact.
  2. MBT

  3. Resistance to being held or touched.
  4. DNA

  5. Tends to get too close when speaking to someone (lack of personal space).
  6. DNA

  7. Responds to social interactions, but does not initiate them.
  8. DNA

  9. Does not generally share observations or experiences with others.
  10. DNA

  11. Difficulty understanding jokes, figures of speech or sarcasm.
  12. DNA

  13. Difficulty reading facial expressions and body language.
  14. DNA

  15. Difficulty understanding the rules of skill deficits
  16. ACI

  17. Difficulty understanding group interactions.
  18. DNA but ACI

  19. Aversion to answering questions about themselves.
  20. DNA

  21. Gives spontaneous comments which seem to have no connection to the current conversation.
  22. DNA

  23. Makes honest, but inappropriate observations.
  24. DNA but perhaps ACI

  25. Seems unable to understand another’s feelings.
  26. ACI

  27. Prefers to be 
  28.                          alone, 
  29.                                         DNA - I need people - they don't need me

  30.                          aloof -    DNA but ACI

  31.                          or overly-friendly.
  32.                                         A

  33. Difficulty maintaining friendships.
  34. ACI

  35. Finds it easier to socialize with people that are older or younger, rather than peers of their own age.
  36. SI

  37. Unaware of/disinterested in what is going on around them.
  38. DNA

  39. Talks excessively about one or two topics (dinosaurs, movies, etc.).
  40. DNA

  41. Overly trusting or unable to read the motives behinds peoples’ actions.
  42. DNA - often delve into motives behinds peoples’ actions.

  43. Minimal acknowledgement of others.
  44. DNA

4        Some aspects of my career

4.1     Before academe
  1.  Abnormal childhood centred on multiple changes of residence.

  2. Four-year FE course combining tourism and business studies - BS

  3. Taught BS in a sec-mod

  4. Taught tourism and BS in FE

  5. One-year FT Technical Teacher - Cert ED course

  6. More 7

  1. British Executive Service Overseas (BESO) - I was a Voluntary Adviser in Viet Nam, St Petersburg, The Crimea, and Nepal.  Two-week projects except the last - two months.

  2. BESO worked in about 100 countries worldwide and had about 3000 highly qualified and experienced professional volunteers registered. Assignments lasted from 2 weeks to 6 months. The host country asked for assistance, if deemed appropriate, BESO set up and funded travel and the host country provided in-country accommodation and subsistence.  Volunteers ran the operation from the London headquarters. The Commercial Arm of the British Embassys (along with in-Country BESO representatives) provided additional support to volunteers whilst on their assignments.   source
pagetop       AFH &  Introduction to autism here

                      In the hope of Asperger's  support - 28 Jan 2017  here 

                      Header graphic - Mental Health in Autism here