The Drawing Board

Penrhys : Hope for the Future

Penrhys : Hope for the Future

Now I could sit here and talk about Penrhys’ troubled history over its 50 year lifespan, but I could also do that about any other area in the Rhondda Valleys.

Focusing on the negative points of an area is only ever gonna breed more negativity, it’s the age old story of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Its seen in schools all the time, if a child is told repeatedly they are stupid or a problem child, they begin to act in that way, because what is the point of acting differently when the system has already written them off.

This same fate has affected Penrhys for years, the area is a long way away from the “notorious” dark days of old. But you still read news articles pointing out these troubled times, you still hear the same old jokes of cars being stripped and tyres being stolen, even though we have one of the lowest crime rates in the local area.

So if we are an estate full of criminals and vagabonds how could we have the lowest crime rate?

That’s because we are not an estate full of criminals, we are an estate of hard working families, determined volunteers and a tight knit community who pulls together and works tirelessly to improve our community and the lives of everyone who lives here.

Penrhys has survived regardless of the bad press, the community marched to object when the local authorities called for the demolition of the site. We replaced government funded schemes with volunteer led activities and projects, where others may have given up in the face of adversity, Penrhys just pulled closer together and survived.

At the heart of Penrhys is Llanfair Church, a church of multiple denominations, this building is so much more than your regular church. They accept and help people from all races, nationalities, lifestyles and backgrounds. They bring visitors from over seas and they become an integral part of the community, and Penrhys becomes a second home to these multicultural, multilinguistic  workers. They offer the children and adults of the village an insightful look into the lives of people from other countries and backgrounds different from their own.

The church whilst offering religious services and a place of comfort for many in need of a cuppa and a chat. Is also open as a functioning and affordable Café most days of the week. It provides a Homework Club, which enables children from the local schools to come and get support and guidance from a group of patient, and helpful group of volunteers.

Two evenings a week, the church opens as a kind of youth club, these nights are billed as Children and Family Evenings (C.A.F.E) where the Llanfair workers are supported by parents and grandparents of the community to give the children somewhere free of charge and easily accessible to come and play games, watch movies and enjoy fresh food and other snacks. These nights are extremely popular and are attended by many children, and adults all year around, in all weathers.

The church has always worked closely with the other major players on Penrhys, but the closest relationship has always been between the church and Penrhys Partnership.

The Partnership has offered many different services over the years, it is a landlord to multiple businesses including the local shop Woody’s, which is open nearly every day of the year, no matter if it is snowing as the majority of the workers are from Penrhys itself. Woody’s offers the people of Penrhys with somewhere to get groceries, send post and also get money out of the bank. It also provides meals with an affordable delivery charge. it is a lifesaver for the older generations of Penrhys or those reliant on public transport.

The Partnership buildings are also home to tenants who live in flats above the shops, these houses are much larger than your normal flats and provide some absolutely stunning views of the valleys below. These properties and businesses help fund the Partnership, which has enabled it to sustain itself over its lifespan.

Whilst the Partnership has struggled in recent years due to communities first funding being pulled, the organisation has provided adults with multiple forms of training and work opportunities, ranging from first aid and basic food hygiene, to woodwork and community development. It also provided courses for cookery, pottery and IT. All of these services have helped the population of Penrhys to better their chances of employment, bettered their health, and improved their overall confidence.

Presently the Partnership is going through a bit of a reshuffle and the framework for the way the building and organisation is being run is being rebuilt. With volunteers coming in from Penrhys and the local surrounding area to try and bring it back to what it was in its glory days. It’s a lot of hard work, but the volunteers are no strangers to hard work as they have already been involved in multiple groups and activities within the communities immediate past.

One of the groups that had the most substantial effect on the modern Penrhys community was the outspoken community group known as Penrhys Voice. The Voice was made up of tenants, workers and homeowners on Penrhys, who dedicated themselves to challenging decisions made by Trivallis, the social landlord, and RCT council, whilst also working with them for the betterment of Penrhys as a whole.

The group tackled everything from housing issues, criminal issues, litter issues, the failed cladding project and provided fun days and table top sales for the enjoyment of the community. The group also played a major role in tackling a rat infestation last year, getting the estate up to gold standard and getting a much – needed new play area for the children.

 

The group is open to anyone to join as a member, with the management committee made up of an annually rotating selection of community members.

Whilst Penrhys Voice was successful in what it did, it did find it difficult to procure funding for activities and projects, as Penrhys community cannot fund itself entirely of the population as a lot of the families on the estate are from low income backgrounds.

This is where the new group making waves on Penrhys and the surrounding areas comes in, Red Project-tion. This group of un-paid workers is putting on multiple events and projects open to anyone, focusing not only on children but adults too. In the short time since the group’s conception Penrhys is being brought back slowly to what it once was. Red Project-tion is supported by and supports all groups who are working towards a better Penrhys.

The group have held bingo nights, discos, quiz nights, arts and crafts, play scheme and music sessions. Most things are free of charge or with a small entry fee just to cover running costs. They even held an amazing firework display on bonfire night which was wildly successful and open to anyone from anywhere, all profits have gone back into ensuring the group can continue to grow and provide fun affordable experiences for everyone to enjoy.

Penrhys has also been said to have one of the greatest community spirits there is, and this was never more apparent than when a young boy passed away from terminal cancer last year. The community pulled together in support of the family, donating what money, help and other resources they could to help the family in what ever ways they could. Some members even transformed a local fly-tipping ground into a beautiful nature reserve overlooking the valleys on the side of the mountain. The young lad loved animals and nature and was overjoyed to see the place before he passed.

So yeah, after reading all of this and all the great stuff happening in a community that was written off so long ago, I hope you at least stop and think before you make stupid comments or believe what news articles say about this mountain top village. We know we’ve got a storied past, but we have put a lot of effort into building a strong community and will continue to do so. If you could support us or help in anyway that would be great, but even if you don’t we have still got hope for our future.

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Eight Minutes of Fame

Everybody wants to be remembered for something, everybody wants a legacy, to be someone in the history books is no easy task. Although, I managed it without making any real effort in life.

Since the beginning of civilisation people have scaled peaks, found strange new lands and created new inventions, I did none of these things. I did not travel to a distant planet, I did not marry royalty, and I certainly did not fight in any noble battle.

I was not the first man to be born in 1860, nor was I the last man to die in 1890. In thirty years of life I did things that in death I am not proud of. But I was a different man then, uneducated, unstable and unknown.

I watch people now, doing dangerous stunts and going on talent shows to get a whiff of fame. In my time it was more difficult to find fame, although, I did once try to jump an eight foot fence on my hard earned horse and cart. Instead I gained infamy and mockery when I was left in a broken mess amongst the remains of the cart from which I made my living.

I was a peddler, and I should have been happy at that, it was an alright fate for a second generation immigrant, especially one with two dead parents and a hereditary alcohol abuse issue. You’d think after watching both my parents die from drink related issues, drinking wouldn’t appeal to me, but if there’s one thing the devil’s water is good for, it is helping someone forget.

I don’t need to forget anymore, I know and see everything. Before I died I stated that I believed I was going to a better place, turns out the better place was the same place that I already was. What changed was me, from the moment I died, I was still a part of the world, but I wasn’t physically a part of the world. I’ve spent over a hundred years coming to terms with what I did in life and what happened to me in the end. I’ve watched people discuss me in lectures and even write about me in books. I’m famous and I became something, but for all the wrong reasons.

My road to fame began on March 29th 1888, I’d been on a drinking binge for a few days prior. Armed with an hatchet from my barn, I struck down repeated blows on my wife, the blood got everywhere, but at the time I didn’t care, the noise she made didn’t help with the banging headache I was nursing, Eventually she was silent, she had left her mortal vessel. It was not planned, I thought she had stolen from me, I also thought she was going to run off with one of my friends. I’ve seen her since, in our world, but although they say time heals everything, that is not a wound that is going heal. She was innocent.

The murder of my wife, whilst brutal, is not what put me in the educational law books. By the time I’d killed her, there was already a name for the crime of killing one’s spouse or lover, Uxoricide. I was not the first man to commit Uxoricide, ancient emperors had been doing it for centuries, and a certain English king had multiple wives executed. My way was also not the most imaginative, there’s been far more spectacular killings throughout history and throughout literature and television, from Shakespeare to Soap Operas.

No, my claim to fame came two years after the events of my wife’s demise. I’d admitted to killing her almost immediately, I was convicted of the murder on the 10th May 1888, and sentenced to death three days later. This was all quite standard procedure for the time. I wasn’t some special kind of murderer, and if I’d been hung by the neck as was common practice, I’d have hung there with a broken neck for 30 minutes before eventually dying of asphyxiation. I would not have even amounted to a footnote in history if this had been my punishment.

But times were changing in New York, hanging had been considered a barbaric and unnecessary painful way to dispose of the murderous population of prisons, and people began to have other ideas. This other idea had been considered for years after a dentist had seen a drunkard ‘painlessly’ killed after touching an electric generator in Buffalo. After what I went through I seriously doubt that it was a painless death.

On August 6 1890, I William Kemmler was strapped into a chair, my lawyers had argued against it, but as I went to my fate I thought that I am going to be the first person executed by “controlled” currents of electricity, if it went wrong I may even have been the last person to be executed in this manner. No one had sat in this chair before, this was my chair, my punishment, my end.

My last words before my bow out of this mortal coil were “I want only to say that a great deal has been said about me that is untrue. I am bad enough. It is cruel to make me out worse”. No the cruelty lies in the way I was killed.

The first current sent my body into convulsions, I was still in my body, but I was also outside of my body, I watched as my body shook and went rigid. Then the current died and I was still alive, barely, so they shocked me again, people vomited and tried to exit the room as my body singed and burned, these people still avoid me in our world, eventually I left my body completely. Looked down at what was left of the man known as William Kemmler.

Eight minutes I had suffered. Eight minutes of electrical execution.

 

Or as I know them now, my eight minutes of fame.

30DaysOfAutismAcceptence – Day 29 (Part 1)

Day 29.  Talk about executive functioning.  Do you experience executive dysfunction?  How do you deal with it?

This is one of the first questions I did not understand, as I did not know what executive functioning was … So I had to go away and read up on it quickly … and JESUS GOD DAMN CHRIST … I have just learnt so much more about myself as an autistic person and this may actually help me to make my life and my family’s life better.

So executive functioning is the broad term referring to the cognitive processes that help us regulate, control and manage our thoughts and actions.

It includes:

  • planning
  • working memory
  • attention
  • problem solving
  • verbal reasoning
  • inhibition
  • cognitive flexibility
  • initiation of actions
  • monitoring of actions

I suffer from dysfunction in all of these areas, now I’ll talk a little about how I suffer dysfunction in these areas.

Planning

To anyone on the outside, I may look like someone who just shys away from housework out of laziness. Now I’m not saying sometimes I don’t, but most the time it is due to an issue I have with planning.

When I look at an unclean house, I want to clean it, the main problem I have is I don’t know where to start. Eventually I make a start (about an hour or two has passed), I’ve done the dishes, it has taken a while but I have done it. Now where do I go? I try to assess what would would be my next starting point, I get overwhelmed my head hurts. Now its dinner time and the kids need food, I’m hungry too. How can I do two different meals simultaneously? Not effectively apparently, before I know it everything is burnt, I’ve dirtied loads of dishes, but I’ve just done the dishes, what to do with these new dishes? Shit I spilled something, better use a tea towel, all the tea towels are dirty. Why are they all dirty? Because I was meant to do the washing, probably should have done that first.

Problem Solving

Can I effectively problem solve? Usually when its someone else’s problems, the answer is yes. When its my own problems … Not so much!

Firstly, I find it difficult to identify when there is a problem to begin with. This only makes the problem that I am not aware of, a bigger problem. I’m okay with problems, as long as it doesn’t become problematic to my life, routine or plans. Problem with problems is, they usually do become problematic. If a problem does disrupt my life, routine or plans, I act like its the biggest deal in the world. To be fair, to me it usually is the biggest deal in the world, because until the problem that I can’t solve is solved, it stops my world. I get stuck on the problem that I can’t solve, and no matter how many times I’ve been stuck with a problem, I find it very hard to accept help to fix said problem. I’ll try the old tired problem solving techniques, i.e the ones that don’t work. If someone offers an alternative technique, I shoot it down, scared that the one thing that may actually solve my problem, will end up causing me more problems.

Verbal Reasoning

Verbal reasoning is the ability to understand, analyse and think critically about concepts presented in words. As an English student, this can be quite difficult as Essay questions are always written in an obtuse and awkward manner. I never understood why they can’t be written in the same way people talk, the hardest part of an essay for me is understanding what the actual question wants me to do, I am someone who needs clear and precise instructions. This bleeds through into my personal and professional life as well. If my partner asks me to laundry, the clothes will be washed but not necessarily dried and put away as she wanted me to. We have found a way around this as she writes clear instructions onto a white board in our kitchen, that way I can follow them, and tick them off as I go along. In work the same applies, you want me to do something, you make it clear, or you’ll find me doing something you don’t want me to do. Another problem in my education stems from my inability to take lecture notes, whilst also paying attention to a lecturer. My notes are usually insanely complex and difficult to understand after I leave the classroom setting. Texts and written speech can also be difficult to understand, I have difficulty reading the meanings in written language. This can lead to me feeling like someone is annoyed with me when they are not, or not realising that I have upset anyone until I see them face to face. I also have difficulty paraphrasing or retelling my stories as they can be long-winded and full of unnecessary details.

Attention

My attention span is short, but not always, if it is something I enjoy, it can get my undivided attention to the point of pure obsession.

Sometimes even the things that I do enjoy can lose my attention and when that happens I struggle to set my attention back on these things, and complete what I started. For example these blog posts about Autism, I started them months ago and they were meant to be created in that month. Yeah that didn’t happen.

This is due to my inability to concentrate on one thing at once. One minute I’m a student, then I’m an artist, then I’m running a community group, then I’m a fitness freak, now I’m a wrestler. To be fair wrestling has held my attention for a long time now. So I must be getting better at this stuff.

Another annoying thing about my autism is that it makes me want to strictly follow a rigid routine and schedule, which dictates that I must do things at a certain time and place. But it also makes me unable to do these things at a certain time and place.

I can also get easily … dis … tract … OOOOO pussy cat.

This one has ended up being quite a long one so I am gonna split it into two parts … Hope you enjoyed reading this … Part 2 will be done … soonish

 

 

30DaysOfAutismAcceptence – Day 27

Day 27.  Talk about eye-contact.  Do you make eye-contact?  Why or why not?  Does it make you uncomfortable?

In most situations, I ‘make’ eye contact… ish.

What I have learnt from being an autistic, is that most people that are off the spectrum don’t really make eye contact either. If they did make eye contact they would realise that my ‘making eye contact’ does not involve any actual eye gazing.

My version of eye contact involves finding a point directly behind the person I am conversing with’s ear, then I unfocus my eyes, so that the person face is blurry and I focus on whatever it is that I found to look at. Common ones include: pictures, TV, a stain on the wall.

Most the time this works, and I hardly ever get caught out doing it. If I do, I can just say I’m very interested in whatever happened to be my point of visual fixation. If I’ve used a stain on the wall, it can be quite awkward to explain away.

Why do I not make eye contact? I don’t make eye contact because it takes a lot of mental effort for me to make eye contact, so if I do make eye contact, I can’t do much else, and it can be quite intense to have someone stare at you deep in the eyes, whilst he forgets to breathe, blink and talk back.

I find people think I’m weirder for staring at them like a serial killer, rather than looking slightly off to their ear.

Does it make me uncomfortable? Yes but so does nearly everything else in life, the difference is, eye contact is one of the things I can get around quite easily. I will look people in the eyes if I really need to, but if I can pretend to look people in the eyes and make everyday a little bit more comfortable for me, why should I?

Also why is it normal to stare at someones eyeballs with your own eyeballs, who made that a rule of normality?

Well now my secret is out there, I wonder how many people will now be looking to catch me out for not looking them in the eyes? Time to up my pretend game.

 

 

30DaysOfAutismAcceptence – Day 26

Day 26.  Talk about echolalia and scripting.  Do you use echolalia?  What about scripting?

Before I begin talking about echolalia and scripting, I will give a brief explanation of what each one is…

Echolalia is the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or the sounds of speech of others. Immediate echolalia is the exact repetition of speech, either immediately or soon after the autistic has heard it. Delayed echolalia is the repetition of speech, hours, days, weeks, months or even years, after the original speech was heard. The speech could be taken from movies, video games or maybe even books.

Scripting is then using these words, phrases, sounds and intonation in reaction to questions and situations in life.

I’m sure you are now reading this thinking, well isn’t that what everyone does, once they have learnt to speak? That’s how you learn to talk.

For autistics like me, it is not that simple.

Yes, many children use echolalia to learn to speak. Teachers and parents encourage it… “Repeat after me class, ‘The cat sat on the mat'”. But whereas neurotypical children will repeat the words, many autistic children will repeat the words, tone, pronunciation and accent. If the teacher happens to the sniff half way through the statement, the autistic child will probably repeat that too. Or at least that’s what I did as a child.

Growing up I was mocked a lot for my ‘weird’ accent and way of saying certain words. I used to get so annoyed, how can I help it, nearly everyone speaks in different ways and if I’m learning through the use of mimicry how am I meant to help how other people’s words sound coming out of my mouth.

I’d pick up everything from other people, so my own accent never formed, I didn’t even know if I had my own accent, or way of talking. Another problem was that if I learnt a  few words from someone with a speech impediment, guess what Steve you just got yourself a speech impediment. Or if I learnt a word from someone who pronounced the word incorrectly, I would then pronounce the word incorrectly myself. I then get told off for pronouncing it wrong, not my fault, people didn’t tend to believe that.

Another problem with repeating what people say exactly, if I did it to the wrong person, I’d get a slap. Because they thought I was taking the piss out of them.

Eventually I stopped repeating people and would just do it from films, tv shows etc. Again the issue with this is, watch an american show, suddenly I sounded american. Or if I learnt a word or phrase that is uttered in a dramatic fashion, I then sounded over dramatic when I said it.

Since being an adult, I don’t tend to have to repeat people anymore as I don’t really have many more words or phrases to learn. When I do learn new words, I can still sound odd, it just happens less often now.

My echolalia can also be a form of stimming, this is when I don’t repeat people for the sake of learning new words, phrases etc. This is when I repeat mindlessly, without even meaning to. I do it a lot to my wife, she just laughs it off. Whereas other people give me a strange look for repeating them.

Sometimes its not only people I repeat either, I have found myself repeating animals, cars, machines. These are when I definitely get the strangest looks.

Scripting is something I have always lent on, my social skills seem better as an adult but that is only because I have a vast range of scripts to pull on now.

When younger I did tend to get the scripts wrong quite a lot, insulting people, confusing people and generally being misunderstood. This can still happen when stressed or dealing with new people. But as a whole I can communicate verbally quite effectively, if I want to.

 

 

 

#30DaysOfAutismAcceptance – Day 25

Day 25.  Talk about meltdowns/shutdowns.  Do you have them?  How often?  What are your triggers?

MELTDOWNS and SHUTDOWNS! The bane of any autistic person’s existence. Some of us will only suffer the one, some of us suffer both.

I do suffer both, but meltdowns are more common. Shutdowns are rare and only happen at very stressful points in my life.

My meltdowns can range from a tantrum on par with a toddler, to full near mental collapses. I don’t have them as often as I used to, but they do still happen, and when they do its not a pretty sight to behold.

My meltdowns tend to happen at home mostly, but they have been known to happen in public if I’m with people I trust. If I’m out alone or with people I don’t trust I tend to bottle it up until I am in a safe place. This will usually result in a bigger meltdown eventually though.

My meltdowns before I grew up were more violent, whereas my ones now are more verbally angry.

As a child/teen I would attack people, smash property, hurt myself, scream horrible things, they could last for a few minutes or maybe hours. But then the moment I’d calm down, I’d be right back to my usual mostly pleasant self. With a vague idea of what I’d done and a shit ton of guilt slamming down on my back too. After those meltdowns I would need to rest, as all my energy would have been wiped out. Back then I didn’t understand what was happening to me, and most the time other people thought that I was going crazy. Christ, I thought I was going crazy.

My adult meltdowns are more restrained, but can still be scary and intimidating to anyone seeing one for the first time. These days I’m likely to be found screaming at the top of my lungs, repeating words and phrases, pulling at my own hair, stimming uncontrollably, slamming doors and stomping around from room to room. The problem is I can never realise I’m having a meltdown until its too late. By this point I’ve usually scared or pissed off everyone around me. I’m more of a danger to myself these days than anyone else, but I can still be pretty hurtful with the things I say. My adult meltdowns are shorter than my adolescent ones, but the time to recharge afterwards is still as long. If I don’t take or get time to recharge afterwards, I can end up having multiple meltdowns, which is not a fun way to spend your day.

My triggers for meltdowns are varied but here are a few…

  • Sensory Overload
  • Memory Lapses
  • Changes to Routine or the Day’s Plan
  • Hungry
  • Tired
  • Stress
  • Bad News
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of Alone Time

Knowing my triggers now enables me to try and avoid these things with the help of my family. But even with knowing my triggers, a meltdown can happen at anytime if I am experiencing any of these in my day.

Now, shutdowns are completely different, meltdowns are an eruption of emotion, whereas shutdowns are almost a complete lack of emotions, or at least that is what it would seem like to anyone, who didn’t know what was happening to me.

My shutdowns can last for a long time, this is when I just go on autopilot. Usually because I have had to deal with something so stressful or tragic that I cannot safely release it as a meltdown. Shutdowns are usually reserved for deaths or when someone gets taken ill.

During a shut down, it is hard to get through to me, I will carry on doing what I need to do, and that is it. I will not find any enjoyment in the things I do, I will just do them cause they need doing. People tend to worry about me when I’m like this, but it is better than the nuclear power-plant level meltdown that would happen if I didn’t go into shutdown.

Now and then during a shut down I will fall into mini-meltdowns, but they will be short, quick, and then its back to being like a high functioning zombie. Eventually I will recover from a shut down, but as I said earlier it can take a while.

This was a difficult one to talk about as a lot of my family and friends don’t even know I experience these, so thank you anyone who takes the time to read it.

 

 

#30DaysOfAutismAcceptance – Day 24

Day 24.  Talk about the stereotypes and misconceptions that neurotypicals and allistics have. What stereotypes have you heard about autism?  How do you respond to people who have incorrect stereotypes about autism? What kind of things should people not say to autistic people?  What’s something you wish NTs/allistics knew about autism?

Autistic Stereotypes and Misconceptions… There are too many to list in full.

Some of the most common ones I have heard include:

You must be a mathematical genius…

Did you know vaccines caused you to have that…

Firstly, I am not a mathematical genius… I’m not even close. My math skills are laughable, I struggle with even the most basic of sums. Throw multiplication and division into the mix and I fall to pieces. The only thing that autism has given me in regards to maths is a very strange way of working out sums, the usual techniques don’t work for me, but my techniques are a lot more complex and take a hell of a long time. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but I usually come out with the wrong answers anyway, as by the time I get to the end of the sum, I’ve forgotten what I was originally doing.

Secondly, vaccines caused me to have autism… People have done copious amounts of research on this argument, I’ll admit I am not one of those people. But even if vaccines are the cause of autism, I’d still take the vaccine over the plethora of nasty lethal diseases that they protect me from. Autistic is definitely a step above dead.

As for people who have incorrect stereotypes about people with autism. The only way to get rid of these stereotypes is to meet actual autistic people. But of course we are all different, so if you know one autistic person, you know one of us.

What kind of things should you not say to autistics? Lets list a few…

“You don’t look autistic” – For some reason people think this is something that we autistics will feel good about. All I ever think is what do autistics look like? I don’t know what people are expecting me to look like. Sorry I don’t have any distinguishing features that make me appear visually autistic.

“I think we are all on the spectrum in one way or another” – No, just no, don’t say this, ever! If you are autistic, you are on the autistic spectrum, if you are not autistic, you are not on the autistic spectrum. Its not complex, its quite simple. By saying this you are stating that the daily struggles of anyone on the autistic spectrum are no big deal, because everyone is on the spectrum, so therefore everyone has these struggles. If this was true, autistics would not find it so hard to be understood, as people would understand their struggles because they face them too.

Moral of the story, don’t stereotype people, or have prior misconceptions about them, as there is a very a strong chance you are wrong.

 

 

#30DaysofAutismAcceptance – Day 23

Day 23.  Talk about your living situation.  Where do you live?  Do you live alone or with other people?  Are you happy with your current living arrangements?

Well I’m living, so that’s always a plus to begin with 😉

I live on Penrhys Estate, a mountain top village overlooking the Rhondda Valleys in South Wales.

I’ve lived here for most of my life. That is always easier for someone who doesn’t like change.

It’s not too loud up here, there are no big crowds, traffic is sparse and if you want to hide away for a week or two its easily done.

I live in a three bedder house with my partner, our son, her daughter and our two cats. My daughter also comes to stay 3 weekends a month.

Sometimes sharing a house for me can be difficult as it easy to become overwhelmed, and overstimulated, and it is not easy to get alone time. Especially in the six weeks holidays.

So sometimes I do find myself thinking “would I be happier living in a house on my own”, and I’m sure my family knows I think this occasionally too.

But I’ve lived alone before, I once had a one bedroom flat and when it wasn’t being used as a dosshouse or a drinking ground, I found myself alone in a very small space. This gave me way too much time to think etc.

I’ve also experienced having no fixed abode and the insanity of floating around from place to place with all my belongings inside my pockets. Sure staying at your mates for a few days is fun, but when you there for weeks on end, then it puts a strain on the friendship, and you soon find yourself not feeling so welcome anymore.

So yeah living with others can be difficult. But when its your partner and kids, you never feel alone… Even when you want to be lol. You always feel welcome, and a house suddenly feels like a home 🙂

 

#30DaysofAutismAcceptance – Day 22

Day 22.  Talk about autism parents.  How do you feel about this section of the community?  Do you feel as if they speak over you?  Do you find the term ‘autism parent’ rude or offensive?

I believe that autism parents have one of the hardest jobs in the world, parenting is difficult when your child conforms to all the stereotypical children that you find in parenting books. But when your child is autistic, neurotypical parenting books are not that helpful.

Neurotypical children have tantrums, but autistic children can have meltdowns over the littlest things. If autism parents can adapt and learn to help their children through these meltdowns then my “imaginary” hat goes off to them.

I don’t feel as if autism parents speak over me. Although his could be due to me not really having much communication with them.

I don’t find the term “autism parents” rude or offensive. Its a label that enables a group of people to come together, share stories, and learn to grow as parents and do their best to raise their autistic children in the best way possible.

 

#30DaysofAutismAcceptance – Day 21

I apologise that there has been such a huge gap in between Day 20 and Day 21. But my life has been a little mental since the last time I’ve posted on here. I know that it was only meant to be a thing done in April, but seeing as I started, I should probably finish the series.

Day 21.  Talk about co-morbid conditions.  Do you have any other disorders commonly related to autism?  Were you misdiagnosed as something else first?

Co-morbid? That’s not an attractive word. I think I was one of the lucky ones who wasn’t misdiagnosed as a child. Or I don’t believe I have any of the conditions that are commonly referred to as co-morbid conditions of autism/aspergers.

What I do have is some conditions that are made worse for me because of my autism.

I have hayfever, which is pretty much being allergic to the outdoors. This makes my natural anxiety of being outdoors even worse in the summer. I find it very hard to fit in and act in a neurotypically acceptable fashion when my entire face itches. When the pollen count is high, my public face goes right out the window. It literally leaks outta me. I stim more when the pollen is high, and just touching my skin can send me into a meltdown.

I also suffer from Insomnia. This makes it very difficult for me to sleep. Sometimes I’ll go whole days with only a few hours kip in my system. This is where my grip on reality can start getting shaken, I just walk around in a daze not really awake or not really asleep. I hear things that haven’t been said, I see things that aren’t really there, and the ringing in my ears becomes a constant loud hum. The louder the ringing becomes the harder it becomes for me to sleep, and it becomes a vicious circle.