Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: I Am: An authentic autism family experience

15 Responses

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks for this. This documentary seems to have had a largely positive response on Facebook from people with autism and families.

    Of course the other side is is Ashley Peacock's situation - 40 and (still) locked up for much of the last 15 years, with long periods in seclusion - and with parents worn out from advocacy for him but powerless.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3142 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Drummond,

    a threshold of constant stress and anxiety. I remember that: I’d touch my son’s skin and it would be hot. Hour after hour, day after day, stimuli he couldn’t cope with had him in constant fight or flight mode. Can you imagine living that way?

    I can. That was me as a kid, and also for a really big bit of my adult life. Learned a few coping strategies since then, but I still remember the surprise I felt only a couple of years ago when a professional confirmed that it’s not normal to feel like there’s a network of permanently live wires under your skin. And it’s only now that I have longer periods of time of not feeling like that that I can appreciate how savagely taxing it is to be that anxious all the time.

    Since Nov 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joshua Drummond,

    And it’s only now that I have longer periods of time of not feeling like that that I can appreciate how savagely taxing it is to be that anxious all the time.

    I don't have your experience, but I've seen that. I think it has impacts in all kind of ways. You lay down memories differently under stress, for example.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Thanks for the heads-up will look out for this programme. The longer I stay on this planet the more interesting it gets. We are all extraordinary and being able to get more insight from a well shared view is a great thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 358 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Drummond, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I don't have ASD but I can definitely talk to the anxiety, and it can be weird all right. Really glad your boys are doing well, with jobs and such. I know people with ASD and/or severe anxiety who are doing way better than anyone ever expected, and have even outstripped their more neurotypical peers in a lot of ways. Like you say, it gets better.

    Since Nov 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    collecting and precisely painting Warhammer figurines

    That's awesome. I spent literal days at a time as a teen painting my Chaos Eldar army.

    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2727 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I’m quite glad that the world has changed for the better with respect to Autism though it still has a way to go.

    i) It does seem to be getting better for everyone as my brain ages.

    ii) Given the lack of knowledge about this when I was growing up I feel really, really fucking lucky to have achieved in the way that I have. I sure as heck didn’t do this without a lot of patience and compassion on the way.

    iii) I wish now that there was a way of communicating that I will always be different. The distinction between a developmental difference and an illness, is as you put it, profound. Being able to find solutions and ways round problems is not the same as getting better or being normal.

    iv) The last ten years has seen improvement in so many ways, but it has brought with it a profound sense of regret, I wasn’t ready for that.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    a profound sense of regret

    Same. Those I have hurt before I understood why, life opportunities missed.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19518 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Attachment Attachment Attachment

    Not bad from a few pieces of grey plastic. The “dirt” on the base is also his work. He had to design, print and then cut out a template for the shoulder armour stripes. They still came out a little imperfect, but these are tiny figures.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22537 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    ... couldn’t cope with had him in constant fight or flight mode. Can you imagine living that way?

    Yeah, it's called "do you know where your father is", a game the whole family can play.

    But on the original topic, it often feels awesome to come home and go into the shedroom/sleepout I built, close the door and just lie on my bed in the quiet and dark. That feeling makes the pain and annoyances of owning a house worthwhile. It's the first time I've ever really had a proper bedroom. One with at least insulation against both heat and sound, and where random idiots can't easily come and bother me.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Nice.

    Now introduce him to Bolt Thrower.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2727 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Read an interesting tidbit on the spectrum the other day.

    Where was that ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrification

    People with autism have more folds in the brain, here and there, which results generally in a thinner layer of neurons (as they only live at the surface of the brain, so more surface thins them out) and more connectivity between them, so more of the brain is able to work together on ... anything, at the same time.

    Not always in a good way, either. :)

    Specifically, different patterns appear in the [...]. These areas relate to working memory, emotional processing, language, and eye gaze, and their difference in location and level of gyrification when compared to a healthy human brain could explain some altered behaviors in autistic patients.

    "Healthy" indeed, Neurotypical bias if anyone wants to edit. :D

    But yeah, along with the brain being more connected, it's also a tad slow at a few things, because the different folding messes up the typical optimised connections there, and trying to involve the whole brain doesn't really help.

    So, uh, that's just, you know, people on the spectrum are not kidding. We can get really good at things we can focus on, and are really bad at a bunch of social stuff neurotypicals usually take for granted. For reals.

    Since Nov 2006 • 596 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to tussock,

    wow. So rodents have smooth brains.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19518 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich Lock,

    That's awesome. I spent literal days at a time as a teen painting my Chaos Eldar army.

    BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!

    Blood and souls for my Lord Arioch!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2896 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    An article on The Conversation today is relevant: https://theconversation.com/why-do-some-people-with-autism-have-restricted-interests-and-repetitive-movements-94401

    Their coverage is generally better than the mass media, which is what you'd expect from a pop-academic site.

    The point about focus as a way of suppressing anxiety is interesting, but for me personally that's not so much what I do. Focus is normally interest-driven, I'm unusually good at blocking out irrelevant stuff (per the panic-du-jour, "to the exclusion of other people, mealtimes, and even to the point of (nearly) wetting myself"... just not with shoot-em-up games)

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1118 posts Report Reply

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