Autism and eye contact

Now everyone knows that autistic people are very bad at looking people in the eyes. There always distracted by looking at other things like moving objects or a particularly vivid picture. If we’re talking me, words are what catch my attention because I believe I’m hyperlexic like most autistic people.

I came across an article written by an autistic on WordPress looking for the differences between how Autistics perceive things in relation to everyone else. They were looking for an article which told them where nts focus there gaze but google came up blank. To resolve this conundrum they came up with a couple of pictures which indicated which an autistic was likely to look in comparison to where others usually focus. It was pattern/contrast based areas that mainly drew there attention. As it was a picture you couldn’t see things in motion.

The most interesting aspect however was that Autistics look in the middle of objects/people and others look at faces. This presents a problem. If you spend your whole life being focused on the middle of a person or things that move your more likely to be perceived as being hugely inappropriate. We are not but it does explain a lot of issues we have being naive, vulnerable and lacking in culturally appropriate social skills.

We some how can zone in on someone’s mojo to quote Austin Powers and that’s where our eyes go. The fact that this is just not done unless you want to sleep with the person doesn’t occur. We think that the vital energy can almost be seen and therefore needs our attention.

It’s hugely embarrassing to find out you have been staring at a person’s life force for a couple minutes as your just spacing out. There are so many things to absorb in the world so we try our best to cut out the unnecessary bits.

We know sex sells, it’s universal and for lots of people there most important feature is the size of their attributes. So we try to give them their due but due to our hyper focused nature we get a bit stuck on taking in all the details. We also happen to have the curiosity of a child with all its awe and wonder. Brilliant in teen porn but absolutely wrong in real life.

So our underdeveloped social brains get a hammering from repeating what is lauded in one context but shunned in another. Without many experiences we can’t tell the difference just like many words are wrong in certain areas but completely right in others. Ie a tailor has to pay a lot of attention to the fit of a person’s clothes leading to the always awkward inside leg measurement or take your trousers off now please. This can be doubly difficult as a lot of clothiers are gay and there is still a stigma towards this.

So next time you come across someone who you think is eyeing you up; consider a few alternative perspectives first. They may just be intrigued by your sense of style, hair, makeup or maybe they have never seen anyone like you before. Our emotions and thoughts are usually at the surface and on display to all if we are happy but most have learnt to conceal otherwise and this is painful. Respect what holds our interest and you will find a whole new way of thinking, living and being.

Meditation revelations

Today I have been flooded by a barrage of emotions.It started last night, led to a disturbed night sleep and is still continuing. When you ask the universe for clarity at the start of the year and you start doing a meditation regime to increase the abundance in your life you better be prepared for the floodgates to open.

I watched a video on YouTube recently about dopamine addiction so I once again started to lessen my use of technology which has now lead to me losing my phone. This happens on a regular basis and as my mother frequently said during my childhood, “You would lose your head if it wasn’t on your shoulders”. The other comment of “You would be late to your own funeral” is having a rest right now as were not going anywhere but it’s still equally true due to the fact anxiety is ever present in my life from my highly sensitive nature.

It’s amazing what your parents know about your own abilities and qualities that you don’t realise yourself until many years later. I’m terrible at anything requiring balance hence skiing, using a Segway, skateboard, roller skates etc. I’m also bad at sequencing things hence cooking, chess, poker, etc. This is also why I have no ability to be a self starter, I’m bad at sales as I’m not persuasive enough just irritating and I have no marketing skills as that just social skills dressed up with lots of communication which tires me easily.

I’m good at 2 things, maths as that was an innate talent that my butterfly mind was somehow focused on with the assistance of my dad when I was 6 as before that I was bad. This is no longer the case after my accident which destroyed my natural talent but I still have that systematic mindset. It means I’m still attracted to this area but can’t actually do anything with this interest which is constantly infuriating. I’m also into words, literature and languages through the influence of both of my parents as you might know if you’ve ever come across this blog or me before. However, due to my autism I both learn ridiculous amounts and cannot communicate this to anyone as I get tired so quickly. The unclaimed emotional baggage of others is exhausting.

I do wonder whether my absent mindedness, lack of balance, executive dysfunction etc were all present before my accident but due to lack of funding they were not discovered. My mum might might have been ignored as a pushy parent but she was trying as hard as she possibly could for my entire childhood and adolescence to get the help I needed and it just wasn’t there. I have suffered from a lack of purpose in my life so far as I haven’t found anything that I can do since hurdles keep presenting themselves. If you’ve ever seen me running or jumping you will know that inverted hips, knees and a metal plate in your leg lead to some funny consequences. Along with the knowledge you have no clue what your body is doing.

More Covid realizations

Until Covid I never realised how much I denied my autistic self. I didn’t realize how many ineffective coping mechanisms I had. My buying habits were obsessive as I had no therapy.

Retail therapy is a consumerist, capitalist therapy. Autistics need real connection, friends and conversations just as much as the rest of the world. However we find it much more difficult to get anything meaningful. There should be provision for adult Autistics since they are just as much in need as children are. If you are a late diagnosed autistic like I am; you never had any so there is only so much you can cope with before you break down.

I’m feeling like I did when I first experienced death and I can see what I started repressing my emotions. When that got too much I can see why I started drinking. I’m highly sensitive and aware of what’s going on as I’m very perceptive. I also know by writing this that those reading it will possibly use it to their advantage by hiding their true selves while I cannot. It’s like when you discover a tell in poker you never reveal it as then they would be aware and mask it. I’m no longer willing to do that as it’s just too taxing.

The sadness I’m feeling right now is incredibly intense as my nan has just died. I can’t go and say goodbye to her and in fact she was ill to the point that she couldn’t see or hear properly for the last 4 years of her life. Living in a home separated from your relatives is a horrible thing to do.

My nan needed help but she couldn’t get any as without a diagnosis there is nowhere to start from. I’m sure she was a lifelong autism sufferer. If you have undiagnosed autism or if you have it without any help then it is the same. You are different but you don’t get any recognition from anyone. There is no awareness or respect. A different neurology affects your entire life. Just like a dog is not only for Christmas but for life; so is autism.

Lessons from watching programs on art and it’s saleability

Art is timeless therefore somebody, somewhere at some point in time will like your work. Don’t censor yourself and make whatever is inside you. The best art just like the best stories, songs, sculptures, movies or photographs contains parts of ourselves. It allows us to look back and say “yes I was feeling that way ” or “yes I was thinking that way.” It allows us breathing space and the ability to gain catharsis in our often frequently congested brains. All art is unique in that way for we are all unique.

Art should not be made into a commodity for sale or profit. It should not be designed because a particular movement is popular or sells well. It should be made because you love to do it. It’s a way of expressing your truth. It tells the world this is who I am. It is what I think and what I feel. It makes me feel alive to be a part of the world by connecting into a greater consciousness. Creativity is the path to self actualisation and becoming the best version of who we are meant to be.

Do not create art for arts sake. Art has a higher purpose which is why you achieve a higher state of consciousness by just letting it all go. When the surroundings are blocked out and there is just you and the canvas then you can create a masterpiece. Don’t overthink it as the purpose here is to let those parts of your brain that are usually inactive to awaken. When your accessing the pieces that are usually only available in sleep then you are making something spectacular.

Art and money do not go together. Do not go into art and expect to make money. If you do then you have hit a lucky fluke by meeting the right people at the right time at the right place. It looks like this happens all the time but the percentage is really quite small. If you want to make money do something else. Only go into art if you can do nothing else. The old adage of the poor artist is true.

However, we do have a ray of hope with Covid 19 changing the world beyond recognition. It maybe kinder, more empathetic and family based with more respect for the environment and less motivated by money especially greed. Here’s hoping that when this is over we live in a much nicer world that we are all proud to belong to. Let’s also hope that we look after it much better than we have been doing recently.

Progress?

I recently read an article about an autistic woman writing about how she recognised so many of her traits upon diagnosis that had been gained from her undiagnosed mother. Usually this would trigger quite a reaction in me so I was quite relieved when I read it and I remained quite peaceful. It did make me think later that perhaps I may have some of her problems in that I can’t remember things as well as I used and therefore need photographs to remind me of events. She had a condition that means she can’t formulate things in her minds eye and I think I have this because mostly my mind is just blank nowadays.

Couple this with my short memory loss meaning I forget things very easily and you can see how this would create many issues for myself. The things may come back to me but if it’s something that requires coordination and sequencing then there isn’t much hope to be found there. It’s why my cooking doesn’t always turn out well and my projects get abandoned half finished.

I’ve been trying to do some crochet or macrame to entertain myself when my creative juices for my painting run out but I’m not getting past opening the craft box and reading the instructions. Even remembering the exhibit I went to in Los Angeles that was all about string craft or recalling that the South American’s used knots as a system of recording events isn’t helping me.

I have made friendship bracelets before, done some cross stitch, embroidery, sewing and even tried my hand at knitting but I don’t think this is for me. I have even looked into the special techniques they use on Lefkás and I’ve seen the magnificent lace they make in the Venice lagoon but none of this allows me to actually be any good at this. I think in this respect I am much more like Arya from Game of Thrones.

Self acceptance

It’s amusing to me at least that to finally get some clarity on what I wanted out of life and what I’m capable of – the world had to go into meltdown. It took this drastic set of events that we are currently living through for me to realise there is nothing wrong with me at all. The problems have all been internalised from the expectations of others and experiences I thought I needed to fit in with the world at large.

It’s also autism acceptance day today April 2nd and for the rest of the month it’s campaigning for autism to be accepted in the wider world.

I am an autistic which means that I’m logical and systematic but it also means I’m incredible childlike as I still have that child like wonder you get on Christmas Day.

This is also responsible for my sense of humour which is literal and linguistic. Additionally it’s where my love of languages comes from. My accident broke my working memory so formulating new speech patterns has so far proved impossible and I haven’t been able to correct this as yet. I know because of neuroplasticity the brain can grow and develop but thus far it hasn’t achieved this goal. I live in hope if I spend more time connecting with people and having conversations that I will learn to communicate just like I did with English but that’s still a goal unrealised. I rely on verbal stimming a lot so I can sound very articulate one moment and descend into baby talk the next making me look incredibly foolish.

It’s taken me a very long time to reconcile the fact that at some points I can be very fact driven and robotic which comes from my autism and people abruptly stop listening and lose interest; but I can also be incredibly genial. I am a loving and caring person full of all the emotions that you would expect, far too many in fact. I can be feminine and girly as well as enjoying laddish pursuits.

I can see how Drag Queens feel the need to perform as well as Freddie Mercury in Queen and Elton John in Rocketman which I watched recently. I feel like this occasionally too despite the fact I can neither sing, dance or play a musical instrument. I’m not sure I can act either. This doesn’t stop me for volunteering for karaoke or dance rituals whenever I go abroad. Just bring earplugs with you 😉

I have a mix of masculine and feminine traits so I’m not ever going to fit into the traditional roles of what it means to be a man or a woman. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable but it’s really there own insecurities that I am revealing and that causes them to become defensive. They act out of fear and survival rather than rational logic. Irrationality and hormones are driving their actions so they make no sense and confusion is the result. This is where mental scarring occurs. This is pernicious as it’s invisible. They leave no trace and only come to the fore when you are triggered. Then you are in no state to act in a sensible manner so the cycle continues. Discovery and healing is what is required so you need to reach into yourself in a quiet time like now to see what skeletons are lurking in your mental wardrobe to clear them out for good!

To continue on with the clothing theme while I love clothes and fashion I can’t sew or iron but I would like to design and make my own clothes. However, on Next in fashion pretty much all the designers are gay. I’m certainly not gay. My favourite designers on the show are Angelo and Charles. So a shy yet flamboyant and hugely talented gay Italian guy and his design partner who calms him down so that he is able to let the brilliance emerge from his mind onto paper and them cloth.

Watching RuPaul’s Drag Race of which a crucial part is the ability to sew/make outfits and Trixie Mattel’s Moving Parts; has shown me that it’s ok to stand out from the crowd. Your different and you always will be so stop hiding and shrinking into the background. Your doing yourself and the world no favours there. Your in fact doing the opposite by denying the world your talent.

If your an introvert privately but an extrovert socially then you are an ambivert really. A bit like Lady Gaga. I’ve always hated the public/private persona that people have had to adopt to cope with the world but now I understand the reasoning and how fragile everyone really is.

Having coped with a near fatal car accident and a force 5 hurricane this Covid 19 isolation is a doddle. It’s the only time in my life when it doesn’t matter that I can’t drive even though I would really like to. I have asked a couple times before but I’ve not been allowed for safety/finance reasons. There is the possibility I will get flashbacks since I don’t remember my accident or that I will get overwhelmed and that is why we haven’t progressed in this area.

I would also like to have a child. My mother was always very against this idea as at times I can barely look after myself. I’ve never had a job in my life and can’t support myself financially so I would be completely dependent on my husband and also his parents. Actually that’s not too far off from the situation right now. It’s also been this way since I stopped living with my parents. I can’t live on my own as my inattention would mean something could happen like today I got bright pink paint on my jumper. Luckily it’s only acrylic and I tried to wash it out almost immediately with hand soap and vanish stain remover but it’s a blue jumper with a design in the knitted fabric so it can’t be hidden if it doesn’t come out.

However my mothers trauma of being alone and penniless as she left her husband is not my pain to carry any longer. She made a mistake marrying him but she loved him so it was right for her just then. When it came to later life he wasn’t so she sacrificed her home, job, car basically her whole life to reconnect with my father who she had met earlier on in life but not thought too much of him.

I may find my calling as a mother as I enjoy teaching, writing, reading, history, film, photography, gardening, arts and crafts and cookery. Laundry is therapeutic I find as is loading/unloading the dishwasher and even hoovering gives a pleasant feeling that everything is clean and tidy once more.

Shopping was a way to get out of the house, to see people, have conversations and feel part of the world. I didn’t need anywhere near the amount of things I bought but anxiety made me stockpile. This has come in handy but nobody could have predicted this almost complete collapse of life as we know it.

Tomorrow I’m going to do laundry and change the beds, Hoover and move a bunch of gravel about as I need to exercise. If I’ve got energy left as we certainly have enough food and meals from my mother in law cooking; I will do a dumbbell workout. Perhaps even squeeze in some basketball or a walk/run. Not that running is my thing with inverted hips and knees. More of a duck waddle lol.

Today’s lesson

I have learnt today that you can block yourself from achieving what your heart desires via the psychological blockages that are present in your brain. This is responsible for over learning and trying so hard but just not getting there. You become so inventive trying to find the reasons for your failure but because you are not attacking the root cause you will never solve the problem. The fact you haven’t the faintest idea why this happens continually is why you will never find a solution no matter how creative you are. The answers you are looking for are located in your brain but all the signposts are lost. In fact there isn’t even a map so you have to stumble around blindly until you somehow come across what you are looking for. There is a quicker way to locate those lost items but it requires you look deep within yourself to discover those items.

I find zoning out watching Netflix in foreign languages or YouTube videos is very helpful to this process. Watching an in-depth program on tv also helps. Anything visual that captures my attention allows whatever is there to bubble up to the surface.

Last dinner we were having dinner and we just start talking in Greek. My husband, myself and my father in law discuss the prawns were eating, how many potatoes we want, etc. While my father in law talks in sentences about how tasty these prawns are even though they are whole (there not deveined I believe is the technical term), my mother in law doesn’t say a word and barely answers how many prawns, asparagus, potatoes she wants. We don’t even talk about the wine which is unusual for us as it’s usually quite a big deal. I liked the fact that because the context was immediate I didn’t really need to translate because it was obvious what was being said. Practice really does make perfect even with impromptu jokes about a common occurrence (the taste of shell on prawns compared to shelled ones).

Best wishes

Angela

Cleaning

I thought since this is another basic area that we all need to learn I would draw attention to a book I read about this on Blinkist. Mrs Hinch’s Hinch yourself happy. This is an advertising campaign that started appearing all of a sudden when I went shopping for cleaning materials. There was never any explanation that I saw in the form of adverts for who this Mrs Hinch was or why she was so good at cleaning. She certainly wasn’t a celebrity like Kim and Aggie Woodburn became with her own reality tv show. So the conclusion I came to was she was a housewife who had just gone viral through the use of social media. This is what the book, which I came across later, more or less says. Authenticity is the key here I believe. She believed in herself and became a star.

Part of My basics for living well as an adult with autism series

  • Best wishes
  • Angela
  • Perception

    I’m beginning to think that a lot of the problems that autistics face are based on the perception that others have of us.

    Sometimes we are thought of having no drive or ambition when in fact we are perfectly happy with our lives because we have all that we want and value. We are content with a lot less than the average person. We tend not to be materialistic or interested in money. We are almost hippyish or Buddhist in our unattachment to the majority of what the rest of the society thinks we all need to survive. This presents a challenge for relatives of mine every birthday and Christmas. It’s been this way since I was a child and I don’t see it changing. I think it’s a good antidote to today’s capitalist society. It’s also probably why I’m happier in Greece but I’m working on bringing the focus back to the uk even if I don’t have the weather!

    Another factor is our honesty. Yes it’s uncomfortable to be the recipient of one of our remarks but comedians ‘roast’ celebrities on a regular basis and it’s prime time television. We also remark on our children saying things with such fierce truthfulness that we lost long ago. Children are not trying to please anyone or curry favour with their speeches. They just say it as they see it and it’s our reaction this this raw authenticity that catches us off guard as we have become so used to the sugar coating and lies of the adult world.

    Authority is another area we struggle with. We are capable of obeying orders just like everyone else but often we don’t see why we should. Just being told to do something often makes us defiant. We need to be told the reasoning for the request for us to understand its importance. We don’t tend to blindly follow orders especially if they seem illogical to us. We are not sheep as we think for ourselves. An explanation is usually enough for us to comply with a task.

    So drive and ambition, honesty, authority and the The secrets of Small talk for autistics are all factors that make us different but with a few adjustments mean we can fit into society just like everyone else.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    The secrets of Small talk for autistics

    Autistics hate small talk because it’s boring, repetitive and generally full of lies which they will get in trouble for repeating later on . They will be completely unaware of any falsehoods that have been uttered since they themselves are completely honest.

    Small talk however does fufill a purpose. It fills in those gaps when you meet new people and it allows you to collect data on people’s lives. It shows you what is important in their lives. It is also a good ice breaker to see whether they are compatible as a potential friend.

    Since I tend to find this tiresome I try to avoid it wherever possible. I am however missing a trick as I am stopping pretty much all people from connecting with me. The protocol exists for a reason and since I don’t follow through, I don’t get the result of friendship. This means I isolate myself which isn’t good for my mental health.

    Thinking that if I don’t feel a connection with a person immediately then there not interesting is counterproductive. This leads to trouble as if your responding to hormones that’s just drama waiting to happen. You need to respond to traits, behaviour, background, activities, hobbies and intellect. The things which only seem to be available in a captive audience. Finding a place for people with like minds is crucial to ease your battle. It’s difficult enough for autistics as anxiety, panic, depression, low self esteem and many other co morbidities exist. Is it any wonder we resemble hermit crabs?

    Thriving Autistic Adult Series

    Best wishes

    Angela

    The ability to talk

    I believe that every autistic can talk. If they can’t currently talk it’s because there environment is too emotionally stimulating. A child needs time to process their feelings and to learn about themselves. They also need to learn about people in their environment. If there environment contains negative energy then they will start to react every time they go there.

    I have started to do this every time I go to the ivf clinic even though no drugs are involved yet and 90% of the appts so far are just conversations. This is not a good omen but my mother has forbidden me from doing it as it is her belief that I will not be able to cope. She knows how emotional I get. When I’m emotional I can’t think rationally. If I’m like that I may not be able to properly look after a child. I would hate to harm a child through my own in attention. I do need to focus on myself at certain times and I think it is because of this that she is saying it is a bad idea to continue with this plan.

    While I respect her prior knowledge, no parent is ever going to be truly prepared for their first child. You can’t be because that’s just not possible. You can teach your children all that you know about the world but you have to let them go so that they can truly become who they are meant to be. Treating them like children when they are fully grown adults disables them leading to regression. You want your child to be self sufficient but you want them to still be your child and that is not how the world works. You have to move on with your life as time stands still for no one.

    As a result of my current thought processes I have decided to create a series of posts to help autistic adults thrive. Stay tuned for more.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    How to Streamline your life

    I like to collect things I always have. This is an autistic thing for reasons yet unknown but I think its more to do with the introverted mindset. We are happier indoors, away from others and left to our own things. Our thoughts are strong to the point of being overwhelming. They control us so having familiar items around us calms us. However these same objects reinforce a negative mindset inside of us and in order to be truly free we need to be rid of reminders of past episodes in our life.

    Like everyone else I have heard of Marie Kondo. I have even written a little bit about my opinion on her and her methods. Streamlining your home is a good idea at any time but it seems to take on new significance in the new year. Most people are open to the perspective of change at this time of year where as at other moments it takes something drastic like a relationship, environment or health change to inspire you to take a long hard look at yourself.

    I was looking at the back history of my posts recently and this always serves to remind me just have far I have come from those early days when I mainly just posted other peoples posts that interested me. I forget how I used to be and need reminding that change is continual. When I hit some negative points like I did yesterday its comforting to know that I have been there before and I have gotten out of it. Each time I learn something new.

    Expectations whether generated by society, your upbringing or yourself can be devastating to your self esteem and your morale. Know yourself as written on the temple at Delphi it one of the most crucial things to remember. You have to remember your core values as demonstrated in Inside Out for they are what motivate you. Sometimes they are warped out of all comprehension, sometimes you forget what they are but they are always inside of you.

    Getting back to your basics is one of the important things that can be done easiest after Christmas because there is a natural lull in nature. Its a time for taking stock, reflecting, seeing what worked, what needs to still be worked on and possible strategies for the year. Planning is an activity that has to be completed otherwise you don’t have anything to work from. When things get hectic later on, if you can refer to your schedule then its easier to progress. Trying to make a schedule when you are burdened with too many responsibilities means that its going to be a poorly thought out plan.

    All plans need wiggle room though as the unexpected does happen. I see in lots of couples that are successful the things that changes their lives the most is when they get pregnant. They can’t function like they used to. Children remind us that we are human and not the machines we have come to think of ourselves as. Take the time out to enjoy them as you don’t get that time again.

    On the other side of the coin is when you have planned your life around having a child and your continually disappointed when that doesn’t happen. There is no end to the thoughts that circulate in your head. As the years go by and you attend more weddings and hear about the subsequent pregnancies and birth you wonder what is wrong with me? Why isn’t it happening for me? Maybe I not meant to have a child?

    All I can say in response to this is that the most painful feeling is to not have a child when you want one but even that is topped by having a child with the wrong person as i have seen in some of my friends. They may have been the right person then but it just goes to show that nature isn’t fair, its brutal.

    Personality Dominance

    It’s very interesting to see how I interact with people once the initial awkwardness has passed by.

    At first I was half asleep since I don’t function well socially in the morning. As they all knew each other as well I didn’t know how to enter the conversation either. When I meet people I’m too busy reading their vibes and absorbing who they are to be able to talk to anyone, about anything, in the first 10-15 minutes. This doesn’t tend to bode well. I think the fact I learn about people through my senses rather than spoken words makes it more authentic for me. However it frightens others as I’m seeing them for who they really are rather than who they are trying to make themselves out to be.

    I go through this linguistic awkwardness every Sunday evening in Greece even though I’ve been doing that for years. It hasn’t so far got any better but I need more practice with the conversational aspects of the language and better emotional and impulse control. This may allow me to progress.

    Yesterday it worked out well that we all then went to see a movie. Afterwards there was then something to talk about. Icebreakers are what I struggle with. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable in my own skin to get along with others. It’s nice though when I don’t sense any animosity from others. Most people have too much energy swirling around them so it can be quite exhausting for me.

    I found this afternoon that since we were in a restaurant and action needed to be taken about what we were having that I tried to take charge like my parents would for me. I can be quite decisive since I’m generally quite opinionated but I don’t want to come across as rude, arrogant and selfish. I also don’t wish to offend others by overtaking things and not letting them have a say in matters like my parents would dictate to me. In the past I couldn’t make a decision quick enough as there was too much to think about as I didn’t get enough practice. This comes out when I’m asked a question and my default answer before I’ve even thought about it is “I don’t know”. It’s at this point that people lose interest in me and I’ve lost my chance to contribute to the conversation on that topic.

    Again it’s interesting that I can command others attention when I’m speaking as I’m not used to that. Although it may be that they are straining to hear me since I’m so quiet usually, or that they are struggling to understand my accent and are too polite to mention this. It’s difficult to know with people you have just met.

    I’m also glad to have learnt about myself while traveling the world since I now have plenty to talk about but I find that there is truly no place like home as Dorothy says.

    Best wishes

    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

    The to be read pile

    This is a common phenomenon that we all face if we like to read. We also like to collect books as there is nothing quite like settling down to read our latest find. However life frequently gets in the way of this so we forget where we are. This may cause us to neglect the half finished book in favour of something shorter or easier to read. This does not help when we are forever acquiring more books as they all seem so interesting!

    I am a terrible hoarder when it comes to books as I just have so many. They cover a variety of subjects as you never know what mood your going to be in when the reading bug strikes. This is why challenges like the GoodReads reading challenge is useful. You can decide how many you are going to read in the year and then next year your goal is to beat it. It’s gamification to try to incite you to read more and to do it quicker as it’s now a competition. Although this is one you will never win since there is an infinite amount of books out there and your time is rather more finite.

    In order to make this more achievable I suggest you utilise the Ultra Learning technique as proposed by Scott H Young. This was today’s free book on a Blinkist but I have been a fan of his for many years. This lists the steps that you need to follow in order to be able to do all that you want to in a day. If you are follower like myself on his email list; you will get access to the first chapter for free. There are other benefits like early access to courses too.

    Are there any common problems that you have faced and found a solution to?

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Vulnerability

    This word is gaining in popularity at the moment as an antidote to the perfection that is put forward by over manipulated images. Instagram is responsible for a certain manufactured look that teens feel they need to conform too. Authenticity is lacking in our media at the moment. Social media is dictating too much of our lives so we need to step back and look at what is really important to us. Self awareness and meditation are other buzz words of the moment. They tie in with the previous craze for Pilates and more recently yoga. Wellness retreats are another idea that has sprung up to take advantage of our interest in self care.

    Vulnerability is about openness and showing the world who we really are when we are not in the limelight. So many of us “put on a face” to show the world akin to a women’s makeup routine. This takes effort to do and shouldn’t be an absolute certainty before we can show ourselves in public. The neuro diversity movement that is currently gaining strength is all about being who you really are on the inside. Not hiding your genuine self because you have been taught that this side to yourself is unacceptable to society at large. This also encompasses the trans gender movement as well as gay rights. A person should be free to dress how they like, love who they want to, have a relationship with them and also to have a family. At the end of the day this is what everyone wants and they are all entitled to it as we are all human.

    Best wishes

    Angela

    Using technology to up your language game

    It’s always a good idea to work smarter not harder as then you are rewarded for your efforts without you having to struggle so much. Therefore using the resources that are available and around you means maximum effect from minimum work. To this end I have started using Blinkist and Audible in addition to Amazon to be able to create an immersive environment to further my language learning.

    As I’m introverted and autistic I’m not too fond of talking to people. This becomes apparent quite quickly if you have previously come across any of my work. As you may expect this presents certain problems. With the fact that I don’t like to mingle with others; my communication skill development has to take a different path. As I’m good at mimicking I can learn pronunciation from repeating the correct sounds made by others. As an integrative approach is best here, I need to look at a diverse range of options to get a broad spectrum. As accents vary from country, region, age, male/female etc I need to incorporate as much material as possible.

    I have previously been using YouTube for music and educational purposes (Tedx) but the gap between the 2 is too vast. A lack of “Comprehensible Material” meaning it’s not currently the right level for me. When watching YouTube videos there is frequently no subtitles to assist me so this cuts down there usefulness. I have tried Sky Arts but there is not enough foreign language material. I have also looked into foreign films (World cinema) but again there is a lack of material or maybe access to the material as I’ve never found any. Netflix also seems to come up short when looking for Greek material.

    My new idea is based on the fact that was used by a famous polyglot from the past to progress his linguistic merits. That is, read the same book in many languages since then you can learn grammar, syntax and semantics while enjoying a story that you already know well. This is a style favoured by Hungarian polyglot Kato Lomb and is also mentioned by other noted polyglots such as Canadian Steve Kaufmann and Italian Luca Lampariello.

    Since the best way to learn a second language is to repeat the way you learnt your first language that is what I’m attempting to do here. It’s a lot easier for children to gain language skills than it is for adults as we try to intellectualise it too much. Basically we think too much about the underpinnings of a language looking to gain an understanding of the structure before attempting to ‘build a house’. Children just go forth and practice.

    However the problem comes when the way I learnt is through my mother reading to me constantly. This meant that I could read by 18 months but was unable to talk for a further 4 months. My mum doesn’t know any foreign languages and is dyslexic just like my husband so that counts that option out. This means I have no practice partner. I have tried recording my voice and uploading to YouTube but I haven’t had any luck with that because I can be quite quiet and indistinct.

    My solution to this problem is to get Blinkist and Audible to read to me but Greek books are few and far between. Getting a physical book to look at is very difficult online. As your brain reacts differently to an ebook than to a physical book this means that the real copy is much better for this purpose. An ebook could have a narrative attached to it to make it better as a real book wouldn’t have this capability. Getting a physical, audio and ebook of the same title in Greek is next to impossible. Dual language books are equally as difficult to find.

    This 3 tier attack is easier in Italian, Spanish and even Russian but in Greek they just don’t seem to exist. I have done extensive research and monitored this over many years. While the situation has improved slightly, I don’t hold out much hope for a sudden burgeoning in the market.

    Below is a link to my published work and to my previous blog posts where I have talked about many of the issues I have mentioned above.

    My published books

    Series links

    Best wishes

    Angela