Is Arwyn Autistic?

June 24, 2013

No one actually asked this, but I have for quite some time, now.

Hell, I even wrote about it back in 2005!   But now I have a much broader history and supply of knowledge from which to draw, apart from the sexual side.  Back in those days that was my primary focus so I missed a lot of other things.  but those who have been reading the longest might recognize those I missed before.

And some of the knowledge comes from having a child who is diagnosed and is definitely on the spectrum.  He and Arwyn demonstrate a LOt of the same characteristics that only differ in degree but not in kind.

Autism is a sort of global label that describes several things going on.  One thing does not make one autistic, but it is a constellation of different things that allow one to claim a space on the spectrum.  And even those of us who are on it do not usually occupy the same space at the same time.  I’m going to depart from some of the mundane DSM characteristics and focus more on what makes the disorder a disorder.  There are things about autism that make life hard for both the one who has it and the one who has to live with them.

Management of space: I had written repeatedly about the mess our house was frequently in at least prior to the fire.  In my mind, Aryn was being a lazy slob.  However, over time and from observing my oldest, she really can not help a lot of it.  She simply has no concept of limited space.  For instance, my oldest will always and consistently overfill a glass of water…or his bowl of cereal…or whatever container.  It results in a big mess when it spills everywhere.   We ride the boy constantly about it, and at the age of 14 he should be able to fill a glass without spilling.  But he can’t.  Ever.  Arwyn is not as messy and has learned not to overfill her containers.  She simply buys more containers to hold her excess stuff.  But soon there is clutter everywhere and I have no doubt our new and mostly empty house will eventually become a cluttered trash heap.

Management of resources.  My oldest lovest playing video games and I encourage real time strategy games that require the judicious buld up and spending of resources like Farm Frenzy.  And he consistently over spends or fails to manage the resource ( or space in the game) in order to advance.  His younger, brother, by contrast, readily figures these things out quickly and easily to advance far beyond his lder bother on such games.  Arwyn by contrast has always been challenged by managing resources.  I have had to bail her out more than once when she gets in credit card debt.  And she has no inerest in real time strategy games cause she would be bad at them.

Time management.  Similar to the baove two examples.  Always late, always just a little too slow.  time gets away when focusing on some small detail that might seem to most as irrelevant.

All of the above are kinda mathematical in nature with some implicit quantity involved.  I’m pretty lousy at math myself but have some innate ability to manage things better.

When we get into social characteristics, Arwyn and I are a lot more similar.  She is slightly more social than I am, at least in face-to-face type things.  I tend toward the social media like blogging (but not so much Facebook) but we both might be described as a bit reclusive at times.

In my article on sensory thresholds, I focused on the sexual side, but Arwyn demonstrate more global characteristics.  She likes things a certain way, and woe to anything exceeds that narrow comfort level.  A certain temperature, certain clothes and certain foods.  Small wonder that sex would be such a minefield with its sensory richness across all senses.  Bad lighting would knock her out of the mood, let alone something like a fart.

One question that WOULD likely come up is “What difference would it make if you knew Arwyn was autistic?”  It’s why I don’t shy away from claiming my own space on the spectum.  Basically it helps explain some things instead of misinterpreting motives.   Just because Arwyn can not do certain things does not mean she is stupid or lazy. It means she can not, despite her best efforts.  That’s not to say she always gives her best.  I don’t believe she does much of the time, but I at least have a frame of reference to determine of she is genuinely able and not willing or unable and unwilling.   There is a big difference as to how I deal between those two.  Her inabilities mean these things just have to be managed.  She is responsible for the things she is able to do, not for things she can’t.

Having that frame of reference makes forgiveness a lot easier, at least for me.  It’s not an excuse, it simply is what it is.  There are enough other things to be mad and bitter about without adding things neither of us have control over.  Thing is, she is in her own particular state of denial.  I have to often intervene between her and my oldest because even though she possesses many of the same kind of traits, her tolerance for them is much lower.  I am more of a mind that I relate to my boys in being more like than and I acknowledge those similarities and am able to deal a bit lighter and compassonately toward the autistic stuff versus just willful disobedience.  I can relate to them.   And by the same tokan can kind of relate to Awyn, but on a different level.  It does not always make it better but in the long run it is slightly easier.



Amiable but…

June 24, 2013

Less than fulfilling.  At least that is how this article from CNN put it.

The comments on this article are closed as apparently so many commenters reacted with hostility toward the ideas presented there.  Which isn’t TOO surprising considering the sort of feedback I’ve gotten over the years by people stumbling on to my page.  Those few souls who are regulars ( and you know who you are) already know the stuff I’ve tried over the years.  My blog has survived the test of time.  But like my marriage, it has seen its better days.

Of course *I* liked the article because it is a good and accurate description of my reality.  We’re in this trying to do right by our kids.  The research is very definitive on the fact that kids do better when living with both parents.  And mine are no exception.  They do not live in a house of exceptional violence or really even conflict.  We are basically amiable but not fulfilled.  It’s not the happiest of circumstances but it is what is and we’re trying to make the best of it.  We haven’t had a couples counseling session since the last blog update but not sure what the counselor could do for us except perhaps negotiate forward somehow.  The road ahead won’t be easy but it isn’t easy for anyone.  Suffering and hardship are just part of life and no one escapes. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not going to complain …much.

We are now in our new house.  As devastating as the fire was, it really was the only real way we were ever going to be able to do some of the things needing to get done.  There was no other way we were ever going to get a new house with new appliances.  Or a new car for Arwyn whose 16 year-old car died 2 weeks after the fire.  Through insurance, we rebuilt and provided quite a few jobs for people. We also enabled quite a few people to get rid of their own gently used stuff and feel pretty good about it.  I quit soking, moving on to vaping which is at least safer and healthier for those around me, if not myself.

Like one suggestion in that article, is my having my own room, which doubles as my office.  I do enjoy having my own space and my own bed.  I actually got a loft bed, and now my youngest wants one too.  It’s his perch of choice when he comes into my room.  There is a little concern that as I get older it might get harder and harder to climb the ladder into the thing or that I might fall down while getting out.  I just have to be careful about it and make sure I have the coordination slightly greater than a drunken college student while getting in and out. But got shelves, a little light and a small fan up there making it a nice cozy little space.  I got a bucket hung to slip in my laptop and another one at the foot to use as a sort of chamber pot so I don’t have to bother climbing down during the night.  Underneath I got closet rails to hang my clothes up.  A little pricey but well worth it, I think to create more space.

My main laptop just died so am currently looking at new ones, using my work one to write this post.  The CNN article was just too good to pass on or save as it has so much relevance to the theme of this blog.    At least this part:

If it’s possible, consider separate bedrooms. You’d be surprised how the creation of privacy and nonmarital spaces in a marriage might help. Already one in four Americans sleep in separate bedrooms or beds from their spouses. The National Association of Homebuilders predicts that by 2015, 60% of new homes will be designed with “dual master bedrooms.”

I’m not going to say Arwyn and I will never divorce, but right now this situation seems to be the most amiable one for us and our kids.