For the love of mathematics

My first love in life was maths. I was astonishly good at it. I had the kind of brain that just knew the answer to problems without even realising it. I was very much like Daniel Tamnet. He struggled enormously with his talent and the fact he wasn’t like anyone else. He also couldn’t connect with others. It was only later in life that he learnt that he was capable of more than just maths. He also is a celebrated linguist and has a phenomenal ability to explain how he does this seemingly unearthly talents.

While I no longer have such mathematical talents I am still very much interested in maths and physics problems. I’m just reduced to reading about others accomplishments as you will learn in the book, maths is a young persons game and by the time you reach your thirties your pretty much over the hill just like in sports. They have even proven that you are much more likely to win the noble prize when you are much younger due to the sheer output that is possible in your youth.

I don’t want to sound morbid because I still have many decades left in me I hope but I know that life can be cut short quite quickly as mine almost was 17 years ago. It’s almost like an anniversary. I don’t celebrate it but maybe I should. It reminds me that I was one way for so long and then in the blink of an eye I wasn’t. As an autistic that throws you the most extreme curve ball you can ever deal with. When you have reassess your whole life’s plan, reanalyse what you are now capable of but most crucially relearn basic human behaviour like walking, bowel control and sleeping through the night, is it any wonder that I have been lost for so long trying to rediscover myself?

I had barely found myself at 17 having led a very isolated and protected life. My mother worried excessively about my vulnerability to the point of making her obsessive about protecting me. This doesn’t help when your recovering from a near fatal car accident and she has to raise you all over again from not knowing what 2+2 is to the realisation that the reason you have sent your daughter to many hospital appointments is vindicated because she is autistic. Her differences with viewing the world finally make sense but now you have a new challenge as you don’t know the affects the car accident is going to have on her. Are you going to allow her the freedom to grow or are you going to increase your efforts to cocoon her from the harshness and realities of the world?

I spent the next year off school recovering and adjusting to my new way of being. I had done the SAT test immediately before my accident so that was a marker of my intelligence then but what was I now?

I never took the test again as far as I recall so we will never know but suffice to say I completed high school, did an Access course, a CISCO course in my spare time and got to university.

This is where the trouble begins because as well as losing my mathematical ability it seems I have also my ability to program. This is a big problem for a person who wants to be a computer scientist. Cue me exploring many other areas of interest while learning how to socialise, be a human and basically epically failing at my degree without me even realising. I passed in case your wondering.

For an autistic no longer having a sense of purpose is devastating. I had fulfilled all of the things (read my mother) had wanted for me. I had beat a accident that could have killed me, I had got a degree, I even had a partner with a house and his own business. What on earth was I going to do since I was clearly incapable of getting a job?

I’m still in the quandary of what do I do with my life and what am I capable of but I keep exploring new options. Life has never been simple or easy for me but hopefully I figure it out before it ends whenever that is.

Best wishes

Angela

Autism as a superpower

Greta Thunberg is fond of saying that her autism is her superpower and in a way that is true. It allows her to have the single mindedness that is needed to get the government to pay attention to climate change. It also allows her to continue on with her task regardless of the obstacles that are present or that are put into her path deliberately.

However this also blinds her to the fact that she was rather cruel to her mother making her stop singing opera because flights are bad for the planet. She is a bit like those hard core vegans that say cows are releasing methane into the atmosphere therefore we are no longer allowed to eat them since it’s too dangerous. South Park had an episode on this recently and I was stunned to find watching UFC that the impossible burger actually exists. I thought they made it up as a joke.

Autism can be regarded as your superpower but it’s extraordinarily fickle in its operation. You have to learn how to control it much like all the characters in Heroes or any other super hero oriented show has to. Before this is done it has more downsides than upsides. This is our eternal struggle. Autism is a gift but more often it’s treated as if you have an infectious disease that makes you incapable of anything.

We need not only autism awareness but autism acceptance. We didn’t make ourselves this way and we didn’t ask to be this way so we should not be penalised for something that we were born with. As Lady Gaga says “I was born this way!

Best wishes

Angela

The difference between an early and late diagnosed autistic

I’m going to start by saying this is just my personal opinion based on what I have observed so far. I am a late diagnosed person on account of the fact that myself and my personality were quite developed by the time I got my diagnosis at 17. An early diagnosis I classify as you got it very early on in your life so you’ve always been autistic. There was never a time that you can remember being an undiagnosed autistic.

The reason I decided to make this distinction is that it shapes your personality. There is the debate about whether you are an autistic person or a person with autism. This is more than the simple language debate it would seem. I know a lot of people would think what is the difference but it’s there. It depends how much you think autism is a part of you and your life. Does your autism define you in the way that a footballer is sometimes only thought of a footballer and when they stop playing they have lost their identity? For me my autism is a big part of me as it’s always been present whether recognised or not but it’s not all that I am. I am interested in a great many things in this world. Yes I can be obsessive, literal and single minded but I can also be social, warm and affectionate.

I think my late diagnosis helped me as I learnt the habits that I need to survive. I don’t have the strange eating habits of only eating chicken and chips or other similarly limited diets. I may say inappropriate things occasionally but I’m generally polite. I’m a fairly well rounded person who luckily escaped something much more debilitating like Down’s syndrome or Tourette’s but even here people are making strides towards acceptance. They are being welcomed into the community.

I think an early diagnosis is akin to helping a butterfly out of its chrysalis. You damage it in ways it can’t know until later on. I was hurt by others and by not knowing myself but now I think I’m being reborn like the butterfly and I’m flying free due to having gained the strength from my earlier struggles. One of the things my mother always said to me was “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I’m not quite sure whether she was joking, being sarcastic or truly meant it as it differed when she said it but it’s true. Also “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Or “Cry and you cry alone, laugh and the whole world laughs with you.” These were epithets delivered on how to make friends and the mood you should be in to attract other people.

People are what make life more interesting but you have to be in the right place to be able to accept them into your life. If you have more drama and issues stored inside of you than the average soap opera; your not going to be in a fit state to be anybody’s friend. It is up to you to make the most of your life as you only get one. Your not a cat I’m afraid.

Best wishes

Angela

How to evolve work to benefit autistics

I read Digital Darwinism this morning on Blinkist and it spoke about changing businesses to account for the internet in the way we did for first electricity and then secondly computers. These have become integral parts of our lives but it took some time to accept them in roles that were more than just bolt-on additions. We need to do this with our workforce’s. We need to utilise location independence and free ourselves from the restricting 9-5 m-f culture. This is another barrier that can be removed with some innovative thinking. It mentions the perils that come from not adapting but also the successes that can come from revolutionising employment. For more information about different work practices read or listen to on Audible Cal Newport’s various books or Scott H Young for inspiration.

We need to evolve work so that it benefits autistic people.

  • Autistic people are kind, caring, idealistic and often put the needs of others before themselves.
  • This means that they will help others often to the detriment of themselves in the workplace.
  • They will also not promote themselves so they won’t get the due rewards that comes from their achievements.
  • They are also extremely empathetic to the point that your unresolved issues will cause them emotional distress.
  • This means that we don’t fare well in the closeted atmosphere of the typical office. We are not to be found gossiping around the water cooler and certainly not about what happened last night on Love Island etc.

It is shocking that only 1 in 6 autistics are in work. Not having work is a major contributor to depression. This is highly prevalent in the autism community. Anxiety is another factor that ranks highly and is caused by uncertainty. Not knowing what your going to do in your life or how your going to survive from one day to the next makes you ill. A lot of autistics feel suicidal as it affects them that much.Monique Botha

We have difficulty blocking out the trauma of the world yet to the average person everyday life isn’t traumatic. We can’t desensitise like you do. We are present in life much more than you. We are worrying about the bigger issues of the world like Greta Thunberg for instance. We are not often motivated by money or material possessions. We are striving for self actualisation.

There are reasons we like gardening (Alan Gardner), animals (Temple Grandin) or computer science (majority of Silicon Valley). These are all unemotional things in terms of human emotions. This is what disables us so we are unable to communicate. We are have a lot to offer we just have to be given an environment in which to do so.

My personal experience

I tried to become a part of the workforce but I’m too stubborn and resistant to allow myself to enter something so completely alien to me. When I went for interviews I never sold myself as I didn’t really want the jobs. I just felt I had to go through the motions and somehow I would earn a living. It always felt completely inauthentic. Even the clothing was distasteful to me!

I would like to work but I’ve never found anywhere that was comfortable for me because the energy present was toxic. I am a person that will walk into somewhere and if it’s too noisy I will walk straight back out again. I have done on several occasions. The people I have been with are sometimes ok with this and sometimes not. I have never found social environments inviting because of this unsettling behaviour. Since all workplaces have people they can be classed like that.

I have also never understood the way the average person keeps going into work even though they hate it. It completely drains them so they live for the holidays or the weekend. They numb themselves with alcohol and moan to their colleagues yet do nothing to improve their situation. When such things are classed as normality is it any wonder I have stayed far away from that.

Best wishes

Angela

An alternative perspective on autism

This article is about an amazing book I have read about autism and this is one of the best descriptions I have come across. It’s certainly the best from someone who isn’t personally on the autism spectrum themselves.

transformingautism.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/eBook-TAP-May-2017.pdf

Sociolinguistics or the use of context appropriate language

This is a field within the study of language that concentrates on how language use differs between social classes. This is very important for social development as how you communicate with your peers often vastly differs from how you would say the same phrases to an authority figure (police etc).

There is a method of communication called the restricted code that is used by children as it’s extra verbal. By this I mean that it is focused on things other than speaking. Touch and facial expression are the main means of expressing what you want to say. This also means there is little room for individual expression. This can be very problematic for the autistic child as they don’t like to be touched and have trouble understanding facial expressions. They also like to express there individuality. So immediately the neuro diverse child is at odds with the neuro typical child. The neuro diverse child understands their way of thinking. However the neuro typical way which is dominant and therefore more prevalent; makes no sense to them. Since the majority of people are neuro typical; in order for the neuro diverse child to get along they have to understand a way of thinking that is completely alien to themselves . The neuro typical child never needs to make any effort to try to understand the neuro diverse child though because there in a minority here.

So a neuro diverse child is disadvantaged and when they get older things get more difficult because the communication rules change again. We start to use the elaborated code with the increasing amount of time that we spend outside of the family and talking to adults. We still don’t understand our peers. The elaborated code has a focus on verbal language which can explain an autistics odd language. There language skills have been honed in isolation and they respect the formality of their native language. They are often to be found talking in a standard dialect. Their peers on the other hand talk in a non standard dialect. This is even more obvious if you come from a lower class background or move to one later on as there is much more deviation present.

It is only much later when the neuro diverse person has grown up that they can replicate neuro typical behaviour like it’s there own. This is very time and energy consuming for the neuro diverse individual. It is also known as masking when an autistic pretends to others that they are something they are not.

We never make neurotypicals act in a neuro diverse way so why do the neuro diverse have to act in a neuro typical way always?

Angela

How to adjust your language learning strategy to make sure your always learning

www.youtube.com/watch

This is a very informative video that I came across on YouTube about how to progress through the different learning levels. Turn the subtitles on because he is Russian but he speaks using the words that are closest to English. He makes more sense than most Russians but that might also be because he is talking about something I’m very interested in.

Best wishes

Angela

How to learn like a child as an adult

The best way to learn a language in my opinion is with the ease of a child. By that I mean don’t approach it head on. Don’t get bogged down with grammar, declension tables or memorising lists of vocabulary.

To effectively learn a language you need to engage your unconscious and sub conscious minds. This is where our creative powers reside and the majority of our brain power.

Communication is mostly done unconsciously. This is where body language comes in and Freudian slips of the tongue. This is challenging behaviour for a child to control but relatively simple for us unless we are under duress, in a new scenario.

A child will interact with his environment absorbing everything and gradually processing it into a shape that takes the form of words. However, before this children will express themselves in art. Even Picasso knew that the still resides an artist within every adult yet it has been obscured by becoming an adult.

Children have no innate sense of fear so this allows them to explore and practice language without worrying about the implications of what they are saying. This is how we get such phrases as “out of the moths of babes”. The honesty of children gets lost as we learn to say white lies, to sugar coat our words or simply to say the opposite of what we mean entirely out of politeness. This all builds up to prevent us from being able to communicate in a foreign language.

We are often reduced to the linguistic level of a child when it comes to second language acquisition and this frightens us. We are scared of the unpeeling of ourselves and the vulnerability that we now exhibit since we are no longer able to mask our true feelings.

In order to master our linguistic abilities we need to learn to appreciate ourselves for who we were, who we are now but also who we wish to become in the future. We can’t change if we don’t know that we need to in the first place.

Have you had to do any “unprogramming” of yourself to learn how to live a better, more authentic life for yourself?

Best wishes

Angela

How to Create an Abundance Mindset (Lose Your Scarcity Mindset)

Lose your scarcity mindset and adopt and abundance mentality in your language learning. You’ll learn more, and you’ll stay motivated.
— Read on www.fluentin3months.com/abundance-mindset/

This article details the attitude that is best in order for you to make the most progress in the quickest way which is what we all want – efficiency.

The Stoic way to deal with the problem of Indifference in Relationships

The Problem of Indifference in Relationships

The Problem of Indifference in Relationships
— Read on beyondboundslb.co/2019/05/26/the-problem-of-indifference-in-relationships/

Stoicism is an Ancient Greek ideal that is gaining popularity at the moment. Here is a good explanation of how it relates to modern life.

Best wishes

Angela