Autistic Quotient

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Mick F
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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Mick F » 23 Apr 2016, 7:16pm

Thank you for your post Pink One!
It's been nearly three years since Mrs Mick F did her course and pointed out to me about my autism.

I've spent all my life knowing I was different, and marrying Mrs Mick F in 1973 - I was 21, she 17 - and growing right through our adulthood together, we know each other very well indeed. She always knew I was different, and maybe that was my charm and attractiveness. :D

Get a diagnosis?
Maybe I should, but I'm sure even the best phycologist in the world couldn't assess and categorise me any better than Mrs Mick F.

I'd like a professional diagnosis. Mainly because I like facts.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Mick F
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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Mick F » 26 Apr 2016, 1:33pm

Asda in Manchester have addressed the problem that many autistic people feel about loud and busy environments. I've got more sensitive to this over recent years, and now actively avoid busy places. I've always disliked "ambient music" and these days I even severely dislike music radio and much of modern pop music. Maybe this is why we don't have a television? :lol:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-ma ... r-36129448
Well done Asda!
I would love this idea to spread nationally to all supermarkets, and for the quiet times to be extended too. I'll bet there's many folk - autistic or not - that would love a bit of quiet. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

axel_knutt
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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby axel_knutt » 26 Apr 2016, 2:41pm

ThePinkOne wrote:I went private in the end, after a lot of research to find a suitably experienced and expert clinical psychologist who did private work. I was assessed using the diagnostic tools required by the NHS and the psychologist I went to does both NHS and private work- so my diagnosis is accepted by the NHS.


Can I ask who and how much? I've found a few but they vary from the suspiciously cheap to very expensive. I had a long series of PMs with someone on another forum who ran an NHS ASD department in Scotland before she retired, but she was mainly trying to pressurise me into going via the NHS.

When you know what to look for, there is a surprising amount of autistic traits verging into autism (often not diagnosed) in certain technical fields. I think we see more of an issue now as workplaces are much more socially orientated and less tolerant of "odd/eccentric but brilliant" technical bods; particularly when such a technical bod is female. In my experience, many workplaces prefer people who are mediocre at the technical work but "fit in with the crowd" better, part of the modern society obsession with image and appearance rather than substance I guess.


That's me. There was always friction along the lines of people thinking that I wasted time mucking about because I concentrated on details they couldn't see, and me thinking others were cavalier and blundering into elephant pits for lack of foresight. I used to get snipes about being autistic.
“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Freddie » 26 Apr 2016, 10:34pm

Out of interest, how do you think a diagnosis will help. Will you tell people if diagnosed and expect them to accommodate you more so than before, is that what you hope for?

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby axel_knutt » 27 Apr 2016, 2:58pm

What I’m looking for is the sort of peace of mind I felt when I was diagnosed with AF after years of being fobbed off, patronised and called a
“steaming great hypochondriac”. Unfortunately, that peace of mind disappeared once they started lying about it, which is why I have spent
the last year pursuing a complaint, and why I have no intention of getting an Asperger’s assessment from the NHS.
“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby ThePinkOne » 30 Apr 2016, 12:27pm

Axel_knutt, I have sent you a pm.

But this is a good place to start for diagnosis info: National Autistic Society Lorna Wing centre here; http://www.autism.org.uk/services/diagnostic.aspx or read this: http://www.autism.org.uk/About/Diagnosis/Adults/process

(Has moved on a lot since I sought diagnosis, much more info available).

TPO

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby ThePinkOne » 30 Apr 2016, 12:39pm

Freddie wrote:Out of interest, how do you think a diagnosis will help. Will you tell people if diagnosed and expect them to accommodate you more so than before, is that what you hope for?


(1) Reasonable adjustments (under the Equalities Act 2010) may mean you keep your job

(2) Understanding your specific issues can help adjust lifestyle e.g. by avoiding stores with bright lights and loud music

(3) The importance of self-identity, self-acceptance and owning oneself as equally valuable may sound a bit daft, but is really important for good mental health. Years of being "other" can be damaging, whether that "other" is down to gender orientation, neurodiversity or something else.

TPO

Geoff.D
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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Geoff.D » 30 Apr 2016, 3:51pm

ThePinkOne wrote: The importance of self-identity, self-acceptance and owning oneself as equally valuable may sound a bit daft, but is really important for good mental health.
TPO


Doesn't sound daft at all. It's essential for good health, as you say.
And validating these things in others is equally important. We all need positive strokes.They cost nothing but bring immeasurable well being.

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Freddie » 30 Apr 2016, 4:15pm

ThePinkOne wrote:
Freddie wrote:Out of interest, how do you think a diagnosis will help. Will you tell people if diagnosed and expect them to accommodate you more so than before, is that what you hope for?


(1) Reasonable adjustments (under the Equalities Act 2010) may mean you keep your job

(2) Understanding your specific issues can help adjust lifestyle e.g. by avoiding stores with bright lights and loud music

(3) The importance of self-identity, self-acceptance and owning oneself as equally valuable may sound a bit daft, but is really important for good mental health. Years of being "other" can be damaging, whether that "other" is down to gender orientation, neurodiversity or something else.

TPO

Well, with respect:

1) If you are in a job you have been in for some time already and are functioning well, then you are unlikely to lose it, through delaying a diagnosis.

2) You could understand these things without a specific diagnosis. I agree that others are more willing to adapt themselves to you, if you have a condition that can be given a specific name.

3) Someone with autism will always be the "other" to most people; they can no more understand autism than gender dysphoria. This doesn't mean that they can't empathise and perhaps adapt somewhat.

My concern is that the person with the difficulty, whether it be autism or anything else, is currently expected to not face their fears in an attempt to, if not master them, have some form of coping mechanism when things become testing.

Given that most people who are autistic have been living with it without a diagnosis for most of their lives, then they have obviously adopted some coping strategies, therefore to ask people to change their disposition around them once they are diagnosed, seems to potentially be a step back.

I think if people suddenly start accommodating you in a way they never did before, that can be a little patronising, even when it is done with the best of intentions. This may make you feel more of an outcast, not less (even if your environment becomes more comfortable). I don't think I'd like it if, all of a sudden, people were behaving differently towards me for one reason or the next, unless it was absolutely necessary. There are those with profound problems that have to be adapted to, by themselves and everyone else, but those with less extreme conditions should perhaps be encouraged not to rely on their condition as a get out clause, with respect to environments or situations they find disquieting.

Self reliance, wherever possible, seems to be a foreign concept in today's world and I don't think it is doing us any favours societally.

I am not suggesting you or anyone else could go without these adaptations to your workplace or in people's behaviour towards you. I just think too often it is the first thing suggested, when it shouldn't necessarily be.

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby ThePinkOne » 1 May 2016, 11:45am

Freddie wrote:
ThePinkOne wrote:
Freddie wrote:Out of interest, how do you think a diagnosis will help. Will you tell people if diagnosed and expect them to accommodate you more so than before, is that what you hope for?


(1) Reasonable adjustments (under the Equalities Act 2010) may mean you keep your job

(2) Understanding your specific issues can help adjust lifestyle e.g. by avoiding stores with bright lights and loud music

(3) The importance of self-identity, self-acceptance and owning oneself as equally valuable may sound a bit daft, but is really important for good mental health. Years of being "other" can be damaging, whether that "other" is down to gender orientation, neurodiversity or something else.

TPO

Well, with respect:

1) If you are in a job you have been in for some time already and are functioning well, then you are unlikely to lose it, through delaying a diagnosis.

2) You could understand these things without a specific diagnosis. I agree that others are more willing to adapt themselves to you, if you have a condition that can be given a specific name.

3) Someone with autism will always be the "other" to most people; they can no more understand autism than gender dysphoria. This doesn't mean that they can't empathise and perhaps adapt somewhat.

My concern is that the person with the difficulty, whether it be autism or anything else, is currently expected to not face their fears in an attempt to, if not master them, have some form of coping mechanism when things become testing.

Given that most people who are autistic have been living with it without a diagnosis for most of their lives, then they have obviously adopted some coping strategies, therefore to ask people to change their disposition around them once they are diagnosed, seems to potentially be a step back.

I think if people suddenly start accommodating you in a way they never did before, that can be a little patronising, even when it is done with the best of intentions. This may make you feel more of an outcast, not less (even if your environment becomes more comfortable). I don't think I'd like it if, all of a sudden, people were behaving differently towards me for one reason or the next, unless it was absolutely necessary. There are those with profound problems that have to be adapted to, by themselves and everyone else, but those with less extreme conditions should perhaps be encouraged not to rely on their condition as a get out clause, with respect to environments or situations they find disquieting.

Self reliance, wherever possible, seems to be a foreign concept in today's world and I don't think it is doing us any favours societally.

I am not suggesting you or anyone else could go without these adaptations to your workplace or in people's behaviour towards you. I just think too often it is the first thing suggested, when it shouldn't necessarily be.


As regards losing a job. Depends on the sort of place you work. Even then, a change of CEO and a new line manager can make a massive difference. Anyone who thinks that all organizations in the private sector hire and fire on the basis to do a job well is in cloud-cuckoo land and is extremely naive about the realities of workplace office politics. The social "fit" plus cheapness of employment is often the main thing, even for highly-skilled technical roles of a type where it ought to be very secondary. So being "different" makes you very vulnerable to removal (and no, not all employers comply with the legal ways of doing things).

In my case, my new manager was very clear: when I tried to explain that I thought my "differences" (usually termed as "non-ideal behaviours" these days) were due to autism/aspergers, it was made very plain to me that without a diagnosis, that was all very interesting- but was only my opinion. Whereas if I had a diagnosis the Equalities Act would oblige them to view it differently; and in the situation I was in, time was not on my side. That I had not had a day off sick in 10 years, and was known for delivering very good work plus had a good track record with more "empathetic" managers wasn't going to be taken into account.

OK, so in an ideal world there would be no diagnosis required because people who had different needs would all be accommodated through "empathy." However the real world is far from ideal, most managers are far from empathetic and many just want an easy life; hence the need for the DDA then the Equalities Act. Indeed, from my experience of the workplace over the last 20 years, I am of the view that the corporate world is getting steadily less tolerant of "different;" in times gone by the "eccentric but brilliant" was recognised as valuable so tolerated (i.e. accommodated) whereas these days with a focus on "behaviours" (i.e. "how like us are you?"), image and spin, that tolerance is slipping away- along with some really valuable technical/engineering skills and knowledge in many cases. However it still happens- then the "loss of talent" is bemoaned and companies wring their hands about how hard it is to recruit/retain talent whilst all the while having recruitment/retention criteria that filter out those with the skills they say they require- usually they end up buying the same people in as "consultants" at a higher price.

It is unhelpful to imply that someone should be self-reliant rather than have reasonable adjustments; bottom line, I have achieved a high-level technical position and have a good professional reputation in my field because I have an exceptionally high level of self-reliance and ability; I am super-good at what I do. However, being good at your work is not always enough if (for example) environmental conditions are unbearable. Constantly "coping" with sensory and cognitive overload is exhausting and causes health problems- and as exhaustion is cumulative, it gets harder as you get older. I have many "coping strategies." What I object to is being forced to "cope" in a manner that makes me hugely exhausted and ill because a neurotypical person is too lazy in their behaviour or thinking to make a small adaptation.

Regarding "less extreme" conditions: tell me, how do you judge "less extreme?" Quite a lot of people who need wheelchairs can actually walk a few steps. Should we also say they are "less extreme" and not give them the support they require such as unstepped access and car-parking nearby?

As for the idea that I may use my "less extreme" condition as a get-out clause: that is rather insulting. It implies that I am expected to tough it out if the "conditions" are hurting me. So, do you expect me to suffer pain because I am not "extreme" enough to meet your criteria for help? Why is that OK? I am UNABLE to switch off my sensory sensitivities (I wish) and my brain wiring determines my social-cognitive processing ability/limit; "coping" is just "bearing" the pain caused by constant overload. So, can I take it that you have never, ever used any form of pain relief, as you think these things should be "coped" with? Would you not seek to avoid things that cause pain?

To stay with that analogy, once I understand there is a means of pain relief (by avoiding or relieving it), am I expected to not be allowed to use it because I am not "extreme" enough? Should we deny pain relief to people who are not injured "extremely" enough so as to increase their self-reliance and make them "face their fears"? In your world, does a broken ankle qualify for pain relief? Are we to stop giving people supportive ankle boots for work where doing so may prevent an ankle injury? Where is it "extreme" enough? OR- should we not use the variety of pain avoidance/relief available so people don't need to be in pain? Because that is a direct parallel.

When pain is all you know, you live with it because there is no option. When you suddenly realise it doesn't have to be like that, when you experience the relief from pain, when the pain avoidance/relief is cheap and simple- should you be expected to not be allowed it because you have previously "coped" without it? When I have the reasonable adjustments in place, the pain goes away and I have a quality of life on a par with that of others. THAT is one of the benefits of diagnosis- relief for the pain.

The cartoon that MickF referenced earlier is very good: if you are autistic then you either must be "less extreme" enough to tough it out, or you must be so incapable you cannot be allowed to do anything!

Finally, why should reasonable adjustments NOT be the first thing to be considered?

TPO

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Mick F » 1 May 2016, 1:39pm

ThePinkOne wrote:Finally, why should reasonable adjustments NOT be the first thing to be considered?
TPO
Thank you TPO. :lol:

What I need to do, is to cope.
Now I know what I know, coping is going to be less difficult because I can retreat as and when I can and be able to predict it and take evasive action. Before, I just used to get stressed and fraught, and not know why. I spent all my life getting stressed and fraught.

The problem I have at the moment, is if I didn't know about what I know now, I'd be stressed and upset and not know why.
Now I know why, I can plan my days to be happy.
It doesn't make other people happy, but I'm happy.

It's the WHY that has made all the difference in the world and I can be more relaxed because I know WHY.

Getting a diagnosis is a good idea. The spectrum is a sphere and not a straight line - I don't believe it's as simple as a circle - so there are all sorts of nuances and attributes/disabilities associated within the sphere. I'd like a professional opinion in which part of this sphere I am in .............. coz I'm not sure at all! :D
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby deliquium » 1 May 2016, 2:14pm

Interesting reading this thread - lot's of 'things' I recognise. Not surprising then that my AQ score was 43 and the MCR score was 8.

Obviously not diagnoses but it goes some way to (possibly?) suggesting certain personal 'stuff'?

Appreciate everyone's airings :D
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"you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who nearly are half people and half bicycles"

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby ThePinkOne » 1 May 2016, 2:24pm

Spot on MickF.

I like your image of the spectrum as a sphere- very much so.

Another thing that can help is autism-specific CBT. Diagnosis is one thing, but the coming-to-terms afterwards is another. Although it was a year after diagnosis, the sessions I had with such a counsellor (funded by my employer) have been hugely valuable in helping me (and my employer) work out exactly where those nuances are; which informs the reasonable adjustments. It also helps my (new) line manager, who is utterly brilliant, values what I do and wants to help me be at my best. We have both learned a lot, and of course that not only means I work even better, but also means that there is useful understanding for other people in the organisation with obviously autistic traits. We all benefit from the shared learning about each other and the tolerance that comes from it.

Little things can make a massive difference, so long as they are the right little things- for example, there is a meeting room where I can be all day if the lights are turned off, but as soon as they are on, the flicker and hum makes me feel really ill within a hour. So, I either avoid the room (book a different one) or ask to keep the lights off, as there is so much daylight it is not a problem to do so, and hey it even saves a bit of electricity too!

I now know (why) to avoid certain supermarkets, and to take my noise-cancelling headphones on the train. Of course, I plan all my journeys (and contingencies) to the nth degree..... :lol:

TPO

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby Mick F » 1 May 2016, 2:51pm

ThePinkOne wrote: ............ noise-cancelling headphones ............
I'd be wearing them all the time!
Also, I'd like "noise-cancelling" glasses too. :D

Bright lights, loud music .......... even moderately quiet music ......... annoys and irritates me greatly.
Silence, dim lights, crackling of the logs on the fire, glugging of a bottle of beer into a glass ............ all is fine by me. :D
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Autistic Quotient

Postby ThePinkOne » 1 May 2016, 3:11pm

Mick F wrote:
ThePinkOne wrote: ............ noise-cancelling headphones ............
I'd be wearing them all the time!
Also, I'd like "noise-cancelling" glasses too. :D

Bright lights, loud music .......... even moderately quiet music ......... annoys and irritates me greatly.
Silence, dim lights, crackling of the logs on the fire, glugging of a bottle of beer into a glass ............ all is fine by me. :D


Aaaagh, yes. Bright lights, noise- painful.

I would probably be replacing the beer with a nice traditional cider, but other than that your idea is a good one! :D

I read a lot of reviews before getting my headphones, they are brilliant on busy trains- with some nice soothing classical music, or some R4 podcasts. "In our times" being my current favourite listen, several years' worth can be downloaded from the BBC website.

The office I have in work, it is on a mezzanine away from the main building so low people-noise, I don't use the overhead lights (they flicker), I have a couple of LED desk lamps, my desk is one I saved from the skip when we had a refurb recently- it is a nice dark wood (not modern bright white plastic) so no glare. Makes a BIG difference; I can get on with doing my work- and do lots of it.

TPO