Blog posts, musings, and thoughts on life in general

So here goes, the start of a self-exploration of what autism means to me. In this first blog I'm going to talk about stimming.

The term 'stimming' refers to self-stimulating behaviours that are often used by people with autism or other developmental disorders. The most common one you're likely to think of is flapping your hands - my son does this a lot when he's excited! Some people rock, some people jiggle, hum, bang their head, make noises; there's really no end to the variety of stims possible.

I have been thinking a lot lately about identifying as autistic, and why - especially as a person who thought I knew quite a bit about autism - it took me so long to realise that I have it myself.

There are still a lot of misconceptions about what autism is and how it displays, particularly in females. When I was learning about autism in the late 90s, the lack of theory of mind was an essential part of diagnosis, and we were taught that autism is much less common in women, but much more severe. As I've been doing more recent research, I've found I don't really identify with a lot of the prominent autistic female narratives that I've found in books or blogs. For this reason I've decided to explore this in a series of short blogs as I get a chance to put my thoughts down, partly as a way of making sense of it myself, and partly for any other women who feel different but don't quite know why.

I recently conducted a small survey to find out how school teachers felt about the issues that looked after and care-experienced children experience in school. I am working on developing some resources to help schools be better equipped to deal with the issues, so first I wanted to hear what the teachers themselves had to say.

The summary of results is below:

Tickle's Monster has had a severe aversion to sleep for quite some months now.

Tickle already has melatonin to get him off to sleep (for which we are eternally grateful) but keeping him asleep is quite a different matter. For most of the summer Tickle's internal alarm was set to 4.30am, and once he was up, he was up.

Some days were better than others. Some days he would play in his room (relatively) quietly, or watch cartoons on my iPad. Other days he would stand by the side of our bed and scream. Or he'd hit us until we woke up and talked to him. Or he'd bang his head against our bedroom wall.

I had a singing lesson today - or more accurately, I had an introductory session with a voice coach. Despite singing being my main source of work, I've never actually had formal lessons, and had always promised myself that I would find a teacher, and work on improving my own practice as well as teaching others! I've been suffering with laryngitis this Autumn and am struggling to shift that last little crackle, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to get started with my self-improvement journey.

The thing I've been mulling over since I left my teacher's house is how relevant all of our background life experiences are to the specific task of opening your mouth and singing.

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© 2019 Cat McGill