Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A poem i have written called 'I Believe You'

This is a poem about how I take things literally and believe what everybody says and does is true and they don’t have a hidden agenda or are just being polite and don’t really mean it. Being on the autistic spectrum makes it very difficult to interpret when people are being honest and real and when they are not. I hope you like it.

I believe you
When I look in your face
And see the happy smile
Emanating from it
I believe you
When you tell me you’re
Happy to see me
In an excited tone
I believe you
When you hug me tightly
Around my waist
And squeeze me warmly
I believe you
I believe everything you say to me
Everything you do to me
I take literally
I believe you
Because I know no other way
And whether you truly mean it or not
I still believe you

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Communication and Asperger's

This is a short article I have written on communication and the problems that can be encountered when you have Asperger's Syndrome. I hope you like it and if you have any questions please ask.

Communicating with other persons or groups of persons is something the majority of people take for granted. Some people are unfortunately born blind and or deaf and have an obvious problem communicating with others, which quite often with help can be overcome. However the problem for the person with AS is that for the majority they can see and hear the same as other persons. A lot of them can talk as well and hold a conversation that may be classed as both intellectual and academic by many of their friends and peers.

From my own perspective this can cause many issues, some major others minor that the neurotypical (NT) person will not be aware of. This unawareness is not something the NT person is doing on purpose; rather it is in my experience a natural reaction to communicating with a person who at first glance has no obvious problems in communicating with others. For example if a NT person was to engage in a talk with a person who was blind or deaf the potential barriers to talking to them are obvious. The NT person has to make extra and necessary provisions in order to effectively talk to the person with an impairment.

But it is a very different story when it comes to communicating with a person who has AS. At first glance this person looks no different to any other NT person and although the NT person may be aware that the other person has a diagnosis of AS, this can quickly be forgotten as the two persons begin to converse because there are no obvious physical signs of any impairment that impacts on the AS person’s ability to communicate. However whilst there are no obvious and visible impairments there are many non-visible impairments that have an effect on the AS person to communicate effectively.

I shall now go through these in more detail. I will reiterate however that these are my own thoughts on how these impairments effect the ability of an AS person to communicate effectively and are drawn from my own personal experience.

The first issue to deal with is speed of cognitive processing. As a species the human race has largely evolved to be able to deal with large amounts of information, whether that is verbally or orally in this instance. Information is produced by another person, analysed, and processed and a reply formulated in a split second. However for the person with AS this is quite often not the case. Information processing can be a long and arduous process in comparison to the neurotypical person. Information is received much the same but at this stage it is just a load of separate and disparate noises that overload the mind to breaking point.

All of this information then needs to be categorised and reassembled into something not only more meaningful but also logical and structured. In effect what the AS person is doing is putting this information into filing cabinets in their mind and then linking up the filing cabinets to establish what information goes where and why.

Once this process is done an answer can be formulated from the information gathered and given back to the NT recipient. And for the person with AS this is not a quick and easy process. it can be seconds or minutes for the information to be processed and manipulated in a way that the AS person feels comfortable with and during this time the AS person is feeling under increasing stress and pressure because of the need to give a reply quickly in order to avoid the embarrassment of being perceived as thick, stupid or dumb.

All these thoughts and many more are going through the AS mind all at once and this very often results in overload and meltdown. This can also lead to inappropriate behaviour because their mind is overloaded, they cannot cope with so much information at once and they feel pressurised into coming up with an action or response in an instant. Because they cannot cope with the pressure, stress and expectation of the situation they may say or do something inappropriate because they feel they must do something to move on from the situation. This is especially true in new or unprepared for situations and environments 

Just hearing the words correctly can be a problem for a person with AS. So many words coming at that from seemingly everywhere and none of them making any sense can put the AS person under intense pressure to perform so to speak. This can very often result in the mishearing of words and sentences with the response being an unexpected or inappropriate one to the NT recipient. Sometimes this can be laughed off as a bit of a joke, but even then for the AS person it can be a deeply embarrassing situation and again result in the perception that others think them stupid, thick or dumb. In these situations the AS person may remain silent from embarrassment or join in the joke and dumb down their intellectual behaviour to avoid embarrassment.

The third and sometimes the most damaging problem with issues of communication are assuming the level of natural ability an AS person has and that they can adopt this behaviour for different situations. When it is assumed that because a person appears to be NT and can function just like everybody else does, this leads to the assumption that they are like everybody else and can communicate much the same as a NT person. Whilst there are many instances when this does occur, this is because in the main the AS person has either prepared for this situation well in advance or has been through this situation many times before and has a prepared knowledge and expectation of what will happen. It is when this changes unexpectedly and the changes are not noted in advance to the AS person or if the situation is new in content and environment, that this can cause problems for them as detailed above about new or unprepared for situations.

What is most important here is to remember that the AS person has hidden disabilities and just because they are hidden does not make them any less debilitating to that person than someone with a seen disability. Remember that this person is trying their hardest to do their best in order to fit in to society and all the expectations that, that brings with it. In doing this they are attempting to analyse and process information in a way that overloads their brains very quickly and results in them feeling embarrassed and stupid. It is vital that the AS person is given the necessary time to analyse and process the information and that they are reassured that this extra time will not impact negatively on the outcome of the encounter.

Quite often this can result in instructions being repeated more times to an AS person than would be to a NT person, but this can also have the benefit of a deeper understanding of the instructions and far better work resulting from it. The opposite side of this is that the NT person may interpret this as a sign of not understanding when it is far from the case. It is in fact a case of ensuring instructions are understood beyond any doubt so that the AS person can then perform them to the utmost of their abilities time and time again without further need for instruction or supervision.

So please remember all the AS person wants is more time to process and analyse information and support and reassurance that this extra time will not impact on any outcomes from the encounter.

Monday, 14 July 2014


She dreams of physiognomist, phrenologist and Lavater

Filled within the Dome of the Pantheon

How she dwells in the devil in the detail

Interrupted only by Spurzheim

In the never ending quest for universal knowledge

Only the ill qualified speak

The intelligencer thinking abstract thoughts

Directed at an anomalous creature

That sits on the hill like a fool

Dash the nose of the man who doubts me!

The egotistical sky appeals to me

Where nothing different is exalted to Jove’s high seat

Because she Willemeana Roberta Gertrude Alice Jones

Is here forever trapped and consequently trapped forever

In this never ending labyrinth of neural neurons mile after mile after mile

Within the head of the leviathan

As it flies through the universe

Going from galaxy to galaxy

Eating knowledge

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Pen of Emily Bronte

Here I lay, waiting in darkness

In eagerness and anticipation

Of my mistress taking me in her delicate fingers again

To move me from my place of rest

And open the lid on my wooden bedroom

Picking me up as gently as a new born baby

Moving me towards the light of the sun

My tip shining brightly, glistening in the morning rays

All of me quivering in expectation

Of being dipped, deep into the well

Of dark, oozing, indelible liquid

And all of a sudden I am in my finest black dress

Ready to do my mistresses bidding

Ready to be the one thing in the world

That transforms the thoughts in her head

That allows them to cascade and flow

From deep inside a universe of letters

To an outside world anticipating every word

As they soak up the imagination of my mistress

And words become images in their minds eye

Of a harsh, bleak moorland

Of a brutal, uncaring people

Of a passion intensely sexual, mixed with violence

And of a love never fulfilled in life

But maybe so in the afterlife on the wild moors

And in the imagination of the reader

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

With the news yesterday of the power of closure of hospitals being given to one person in this case the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt I wonder if this is a bright new future or the beginning of the end of the health system as we love and know it.,

Many if not all of us have grown up with the NHS and have used its services either as a first port of call for anything medical or in the unfortunate need of an emergency. I myself have used it many times and if it wasn't for the NHS there is no doubt that I would not be alive today. For me and most of the population the NHS is an example of what makes this country great and it instils a sense of national pride in our psyche when we hear or read those three letters. We have so much to be grateful for to the services it provides and the staff that run the hospitals and other functions within the NHS.

Yet yesterdays news is as we know todays fish and chip paper and the story has overnight dropped rapidly down the newsworthy list. But this does not mean it will go away. For the time being it is buried beneath other stories but it will return to the top once Hunt decides to save some cash and close a hospital.

But what would closing hospitals and saving money really mean for the people who matter most, that is the general public who use them and for whom the NHS is the only means of access to a health service, people who cannot afford to go private? In my own area Calderdale NHS is considering closing the accident and emergency at Calderdale Royal Hospital,, and transferring the service to Huddersfield. This could potentially mean journeys with an extra 30 minutes of time added on. Calderdale is a large area and some of the outlying areas are quite remote. For people in these areas an extra 30 minutes could mean life or death. And it is the same for people living in Halifax the main town in Calderdale and the surrounding areas. The main artery to Huddersfield can become very jammed at times of rush hour traffic, again increasing journey times to Huddersfield and again putting lives at risk. My point here is that if this was to be repeated around the country and hospitals were either shut down or services transferred to another hospital, what may look like a minimal journey on a map may in fact be quite lengthy in reality. By giving so much power to one person are we in-fact putting life or death decisions in their hands. Decisions that may be made on a cost basis without any consideration for lives? Is it morally and ethically correct to give one person so much responsibility? Can we trust them to make the right decisions and choices for people based on the matter of life or death, or will they merely make it on a cost basis without any regard for the human factor? For me this is a decision we should all be very worried about and care about as well. The MP's who voted through this legislation yesterday will not be affected by it I strongly suspect. They will have private medical insurance and access to the best medical facilities near them. If a hospital closes I doubt it will affect their health choices or chances. But for millions of others it will.

It also asks the question if this is the end of the NHS as we know it? Will we now see more and more services contracted out to private suppliers who are only interested in putting profit before care? will we see G4S, Serco and Capita beginning to slowly take over our hospitals with the ensuing cuts in staffing and services that will inevitably follow? If this does happen I am sure all the insurance companies will jump in with the necessary insurance needs? But can you truly cater for the multitude of physical and mental health conditions that permeate society today? Of course this does happen in other countries such as America and Australia where you need medical insurance to access services or face a huge bill. But would this work here and would our taxes drop because we all pay for the NHS through our taxes.

Of course the alternative scenario is that nothing at all will happen and the impact on the NHS will be minimal. All the rhetoric we are hearing is merely political scare mongering bearing in mind 2015 is an election year. No hospitals will close, disruption to services will be minimal and we will have a choice. High quality care provided quickly through private health providers or waiting and waiting to see someone on the NHS. Which is pretty much the scenario we have today!

I do apologise for rambling on but my main points are, have we put too much power in one persons hands and what of the future of the NHS? Only time will tell but it is a subject we should all be taking an interest in if we care about humanity in any way.



Monday, 10 March 2014

As I get older and hopefully wiser I begin to see life and people in a very different light. Sometimes it reminds me of Goffman and his theories on agency. I wonder if some of the people around me merely want me in their lives so that they feel better about theirs. Do they really listen to what they say and does how they come across with the performances they put on actually say more about them than they actually reveal? Are they putting a performance on for my benefit or their own? What insecurities and personal demons lie beneath their performances? I think it's time I started listening to some of the new people in my life and take less notice of those that have been there a long time but have hidden agendas I suspect.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

When does reality end and fantasy begin or is it one and the same?

The problem with modern life is no-one has time to catch up with it...........Andrew Smith 08/03/2014

Sunday, 2 March 2014

As a person with a hidden disability I often wonder if it is myself who defines my disability or is it society who defines it for me?