This video is a follow up and summary of a Patron post in January.
Hello, humans on the internet!
This week I am going to do a follow up post on a written piece that I have on my Patreon Page and this is a public post that anyone can view whether you are a Patreon Subscriber or not _ will put a link to that either in the video description or below in the comments of the video – so go ahead and check that out if you want to see the full version so I am going to try and summarize in this post so I’m kind of reviewing some of my notes to make sure I don’t miss anything but I still need to move a little quickly because I feel like the full thing is too long to go over in this video – so go ahead and check it out and I’m going to go ahead an dive on in because I-I’ve got a lot to share.
So, autism is defined by social communication differences and also, medical professionals would say, “a tendency towards restricted, repetitive behaviors” or, as I would prefer to say – a strong desire for order and routine in a chaotic world.
I organize myself – my daily schedule, I have the same meals, I take the same routes when I go to work, I tend to stick with a pattern and I don’t feel that that is problematic. It helps me to make sure that I don’t overlook things, it just keeps me extra organized because I REALLY need organization in my life. It’s just something that – without it, the chaos gets to me. So I’m hyper organized.
Also, a lot of autistic people are diagnosed in childhood but however, it’s very likely that just as many autistic people are undiagnosed until adulthood, especially those autistic people who learn to mask.
The other thing that a lot of people don’t understand about autism and I wish more people understood is that it’s not something that people can grow out of and it’s not something that could or should be cured.
Another thing though is many autistic people – most autistic people have some sort of sensory issue in at least one of more of the senses. So, any of the senses may be heightened – or possibly dulled. Dulled would be the inability to sense cold, heat, or pain. Having a high pain tolerance. I have a very high pain tolerance.
Sometimes input that many people could ignore like a noise or a light could be so intense for an autistic person that it could cause stress or pain for them. OR thinking with autistic people – there are things that I might find are pleasurable sensory activities, like bright twinkling Christmas lights but that might be physically painful for another person with a sensory sensitivity.
(Clears throat) Excuse me.
The other thing is autistic people tend to have a different communication style. They have verbal and non-verbal communication differences. For example: differences in the patterns of speech. They may be less verbal or MORE verbal than their peers in early development.
And when I was saying speech patterns, you know, that could be the lack of verbal speech, or the use of echolalia and palilalia in speech, or verbal stimming. So those are just some differences. Also, differences in the tonality of the voice. I tend to sign thigns randomly. I just sing stuff and I make little movie quotes constantly.
And the other thing, for me, like ordering food or something – people are always like “speak up speak up” or sometimes people are like “Hey you need to use your indoor voice”. I feel like my voice is never like falling where it needs to be. I have to like – I feel like I’m constantly thinking very hard about – “is my voice level appropriate?” I think about that a LOT during these videos and I kind of just remembered that my voice was getting quiet and I needed to pick my voice up. It’s like I’m actively thinking – where’s my voice volume? It’s not automatic.
Um, and then I, you know, me, as an adult I’ve learned better etiquette, but it’s still if I am anxious or over excited I can unintentionally speak out of turn or just speak over people. I can get really ramble-y, and that’s just something that happens to me even now to me even as an adult. You have to think – when I was a little kid, I wouldn’t let anybody else talk. I wouldn’t let anybody else have the floor. – bla bla bla bla bla
And then, you know body language differences I mentioned – stimming. Like my hands, when I am very excited they flap with joy and when I am afraid they do different things. You know, sometimes, it’s just – I may not realize I’m even doing something. My hands are really busy.
The rocking and the motion and the toe tapping. All of that is just kind of this naturally ebb and flow of energy and many autistic people have stims and that’s the way their body responds to things in their environment. Sensory things, their emotions, other things.
So stimming is something that everyone does to some degree but the frequency to which autistic people are stimming – we stim a lot more.
The other thing is body pose. It’s hard to explain but, you know. There are just these certain postures that are familiar. One of mine, when I get really like, I do this thing, it’s like this comfty pose. You see, I’m like a little t-rex or a baby chicken with my arms in. My T-rex arms. I don’t know. I know it’s not attractive but its’ just really comforting for me to stand that way. So if I’m relaxed or if I want to feel comfortable I will stand that way even in public.
Differences in facial expression. Some people may appear that their facial expressions are not expressive enough to some people and then, you know, me – I’m told my face is ridiculously cartoony and it is just too much for some people – it’s over exaggerated and it freaks people out. That’s my face, sorry! I don’t know what to tell you about my face. But so – a difference in facial expressions.
The other one with that is differences in, or potentially a lack of eye contact. I don’t really like to give eye contact with someone unless it’s a very intimate setting because eye contact is something that is very intimate. Like I’ll stare deeply into David’s eyes all day – but I don’t want to look into anyone else’s eyes, really. Most of the time, if it’s someone else, I’m not looking at their eyes. I’m looking at some other part of their face. Maybe their eyebrows if they’re interesting. (Laughter) Or their nose or their mouth.
If it’s loud I’m probably looking at their mouth because I’m trying to like – I can’t lip read. I wish I could but – I kind of like – it’s helpful. I can kind of lip read a little bit but NOT enough to say that I can lip read. It can help me guess what someone is saying if I’m looking at their mouth.
Looking at the eyes is just really distracting and it makes it kind of hard to pay attention when I’m looking at someone’s eyes, so that’s NOT what I want to do during conversation.
The other thing is autistic people, medical doctors will say “obsessed” or they, you know – to quote Autism Speaks “narrow or extreme interests in specific topics” and people around can feel a bit ignored, you know, it’s like when I’m really focused on a problem I’m really in my own world and I understand that because everyone around me’s probably feeling a lot – a bit neglected because I can be working on something and not realize a whole day has passed because it feels like it’s only been like, a couple – an hour – a couple hours. I’m just so in the zone. When I get in the zone I am determined on fixing the problem until I fix it and I think that’s made me a really good problem solver.
So my question to that – Obsessed OR DRIVEN? Because I think that – that obsessiveness, yes there are certain circumstances where it is NOT the best, but in general for me, I feel like that’s one of my best traits.
Um, the other – and so – ah – Those are just some, you know – a few of the points I mentioned in the Patreon post. There are others but this video is already at ten minutes so I’m going to cut it and encourage you to go read it. It’s a free post open to the public. I’ll put a link in the YouTube description and I’m going to put a link on the Facebook video somewhere. . .
Thank you guys so much for watching. Be sure to subscribe, because I DO put out new videos EVERY Wednesday and I think if you are on YouTube you need to turn on the bell notification so you are notified when those new videos come out.
Thank you guys, I will talk to you later. Have a good week!
If you like what I do, and would like more, please consider subscribing on Patreon. Transcriptions above paid for by the Patreon Subscribers. I truly appreciate you!
From the Patreon Post – What is Autism
Autism is defined by social communication differences and a tendency towards, what is often referred to my medical professionals as, “restricted, repetitive behaviors” or as I prefer to say “a strong desire for order and routine in a chaotic world”. I organize myself same daily schedule, same meal menus, same routes to work or anyplace I need to go.
Many autistic people will be diagnosed in early childhood, however, it is likely that just as many autistic people may go unrecognized for many years, especially if they have a well-developed mask.
Autism is not something that people grow out of and it is not something that can be or should be cured.
Autistic Sensory Experience
Most autistic people have sensory issues in at least one or more of the senses. Any of the senses may be heightened or dulled (inability to sense cold, heat, or pain). Sometimes input that most people can ignore will be so intense as to cause pain and distress for an autistic individual.
Autistic people have verbal and non-verbal communication differences.
For example, they may have different patterns in their: Spoken language – may be less verbal or even more verbal than their peers in early development.
Differences in speech patterns may persist into adulthood and may include differences in speaking pattern, lack of or limited verbal speech, use of echolalia and palilalia, difficulty moderating the voice (indoor voice or outdoor voice) – sometimes due to auditory processing difficulties. I may unintentionally speak out of turn or ramble, especially if I am excited or overwhelmed.
Body language differences
- Stimming – my hands may flap and move with vigor when I experience a strong emotion like extreme joy or if I am suddenly startled. (flapping, spinning, pacing, rocking, bouncing, walking on toes, finger flicking). Some stims can become so small that they are almost unnoticeable but are often damaging to the autistic person (jaw clenching, chewing on the inside of the mouth, body tensing, skin picking).
- Body Pose – There are specific stances, some of them hard to describe. Like how I tend to slouch in a specific way, with my arms curled in like a T-rex or a newly hatch chick.
- Differences in facial expressions – (may appear overly or under expressive to non-autistic onlookers). May have difficulty recognizing and decoding the facial expressions of others.
- Differences in or lack of eye contact
An autism and neurodiversity blog based on personal experience. Please remember – this is only ONE autistic perspective. We are all unique.
You can find the FULL post HERE.
4 thoughts on “Video What is Autism? – from an Autistic Adult”
Interesting insights and this pretty well hits home. Odd that we are total opposites in the pain category – I’m hypersensitive to pain. I know, odd coming from someone who just got his 10th tattoo. Heat is another one, hence the short shorts (I know, so passé, sue me).
Interests? Yeah I’ve got those too as well as some echolalia and some of the random sounds. I’ve not got the guts to burst out in song randomly (due to self conscience), but another autistic friend I have does this very thing.
So yeah, hits home pretty well.
Interesting article on autism diagnosis, Christa! ❤❤
Thanks for your video, Christa. I’m a father of a son who is turning twenty-four soon. He’s been misunderstood for years, even by family. Like you, he is driven. He and I use WordPress to stay in touch and express ourselves. We don’t care if anyone likes our stuff because we challenge each other’s creativity. His latest poem, Foreign Words, is a mask of scientific references masking a basic challenge among neurodivergent people: empathy. He alludes to an encounter where one is offended, but the offender doesn’t realize the damage done until it’s too late. A timely apology given in the moment would have likely sufficed, but the empathy was just not there. The offender had to think about the clues first, draw on experiences, consider facial patterns, postural nuances, before realizing the wrong he’d done. He gave a glimpse into an encounter that a “normal” person would think trivial, but the character in the poem agonizes over it. A day in the life…. Again, thanks for opening up.
My son is 9. Recently diagnosed. Thank you for discussing how each Autistic person is different. There is no “Autistic definition” so to speak. One Sensory stimuli effects my son differently than someone else. My son is verbal (but still has a very difficult time with pragmatics/communication) and another person may not be verbal. You hit on all the things that makes my son the wonderful boy he is. He is perfect the way he is. I could go on and on about this video. It makes me cry, because if more people got it, or wanted to truly understand, our kiddos would not be suffering and getting lost in the Education System. My son will be in a better school come next year, but if anyone ever messes with me again about how my son needs to conform or is not acting like society says he should to be accepted, I will be playing them this video! There are so many people like him in our world. Thank you!