Waaaaay Too Long!

It has been along time! Lots has happened, but I will start with the first major item.

My lovely K was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome 2 years ago. Asperger’s is now included on the Autism Spectrum and is not a separate diagnosis. The following is the best explanation that I have seen. After 2 long years, she is finally considered “stable”. She still has her quirks, which I love, but the high and lows are less dramatic.

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Aspergers: The often hidden social disability

I think what neurotypical people (especially teachers and parents) need to realize is that part of the main reason why people on the spectrum have difficulty relating is the neurological differences. Our brains have strong neurological connections between the different brain centers that allow these centers to simultaneously communicate with each other. This is what allows us to process multiple information simultaneously, most of which is at a subconscious level, requiring minimal mental energy.

On the other hand, for people on the spectrum, the neurological pathways between the brain centers are not well developed, making it harder for the centers to communicate with each other. This makes it difficult to process multiple information simultaneously. Whereas we rapidly process this information, at a subconscious (intuitive) level, people on the spectrum have to process “sequentially”, a little at a time, at a conscious level. They have to think through what we do intuitively without thinking. They can eventually arrive at the same understanding, but it is going to take longer (delayed processing) and require a lot more mental energy (since they have to consciously process it).

This drastically effects interacting with others (relating). When we interact with someone we have to rapidly process multiple information simultaneously. When listening to the others we are processing the words they are saying, the context for which they are spoken, the tone and inflection in voice, facial expressions, physical gestures, and body language to understand what the person said and meant. We rapidly read all this information to understand the person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. At the same time that we are processing what the other person is saying, we are formulating how we think and feel about it, plus how we are going to respond back. At the same time we are replying back, we also are reading their nonverbal cues to see if they understand and are staying interested.

In order for us to focus on the topic of conversation, we have to process most of this “nonverbal‚ÄĚ information (facial expressions, body gestures, fluctuation in voice, etc) subconsciously, with minimal mental energy. This allows us to relate with others without much effort. However, for people on the spectrum, they have process bits of this information sequentially and at a conscious level; thinking it all through. Since they cannot process this information simultaneously the processing is delayed and often inadequate, making it difficult to read the “big picture.” To try and keep up with the conversation, they can process a small portion of this information, often missing much of the meaning. Sometimes by time the person has processed what was said and formulated a response to it, the interaction has moved on to different content. Consequently, between not getting all the information and having delayed processing, their responses are often out-of-sync with others. For the person on the spectrum, this can be very mentally and emotionally draining. This inability to rapidly process multiple information simultaneously is a major reason for many of the social struggles that people on the spectrum experience.

Although this is common for everyone on the spectrum, for children with aspergers this deficit can be difficult to read. They can be very bright but still have this processing problem. This is hard for people to understand. They assume that since the child is bright and very verbal, that they must “intentionally choose” to misinterpret instructions and act differently than others. Much of the aspergers is a hidden disability; masking their difficulties. That’s why awareness training for significant people in the child’s life can be important.

From Autism Discussion Page, Facebook

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I HATE politics!

So I know that it’s been a while, but if you have nothing good to say, it’s better to say nothing at all, right?  This entire election year is driving me nuts. I hate politics on a normal year, but this year, even more so.

I live in Washington, the state not the city (another issue all together, really DC?). We have major elections going on here besides the presidential one. We have a governor’s race, Senate, Congress, justices and Superintendent of Public Schools to vote on. I hate it all. Debates are just people arguing and calling each other names. The signs just blow around during our fall storms. Families argue and people lose friends over this crap. I hate it.

Washington state has another issue that people don’t realize. Our electoral votes do not have to follow the popular vote. We live in a state that has “faithless electors”. Basically this means that our elected officials can vote any way they like. They do not have to follow the popular vote. They are encouraged to vote the way the popular vote goes and always have, but they do not have to.  Of course, Washington is a blue state, has been since Regan.

Interestingly enough, that is when the Seattle area started to grow. Before 1984 the state of Washington did not have many urban areas. The area I lived in, 30 minutes outside of the city, was considered the boonies. We had farms and our town did not even have a stop light. In the past 30 years the area has grown and continues to grow. Microsoft, Nintendo, Boeing, and many more large companies have developed very quickly bringing in more people to the area. Thus the political body has shifted from rural areas, historically conservative, to urban, historically liberal.

I don’t care which side you are on. I really just wish we could all do the right thing and agree to disagree respectfully. Our current politicians mud slinging is shameful. I do not believe that our Founding Father’s would be proud of the current state of politics. When people talk politics, they are either extremely passionate, which is great; or they are completely disgusted, not so great.

My sister said it best, “I want to vote FOR someone, not just against someone else. I may not agree with everything that they stand for, but I need to find just one thing that I do agree on to vote FOR someone.” I agree. We need to vote FOR someone because we believe in their ability to lead or just that ONE issue, not just because it is against the other person. If you do not want to vote FOR someone, then don’t vote at all. Voting is a right that I believe every person should use, however, you need to believe in and be educated in what you are voting for even if it just that one issue.

Okay, rant over, on with your daily lives!

Saint Patrick’s Day

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! ¬†Most people think of Saint Patrick’s Day as a drinking holiday. ¬†Whenever I think of Saint Patrick’s Day, I think of my family. ¬†We are actually Irish!

When I was little, my mom used to make green food for dinner.  Green mashed potatoes, green milk, green cookies, everything.  She would put green food coloring in the toilet bowls to make us think that a leprechaun had come to visit our house.  It was all in good fun.

When I was in 7th grade we were given a culminating project. ¬†I chose to do my family tree. ¬†I was especially curious about my paternal grandfather’s line. ¬†I grew up with the knowledge that we were Irish to the bone. ¬†My entire paternal line was Irish. ¬†It was after I graduated high school that I found the truth. ¬†Yes, my grandfather is Irish. ¬†However, we can’t prove his lineage at this point. ¬†We are stuck at a dead end.

However, like many genealogists, I found that the belief’s that you grow up with are just as important as the truth. ¬†Just because I can’t prove that we are Irish just yet, does not mean that we can’t love the Irish and learn about the Irish and their struggles. ¬†I also discovered that my paternal grandmother was not Irish at all! ¬†She was German, VERY German! ¬†However, when she married my grandfather, she took his name heart and soul and became just as Irish. ¬†I’m still searching, as all genealogists do. ¬†The searching will never end.

So on this Saint Patrick’s Day, I fondly remember my roots and hope that you do too!

 

Hi there

So, I’m sitting at the orthodontist office waiting for my daughter to get her braces on. She is 13, therefore, completely over dramatic about the entire process. Thinking about what I should write for my first blog post. I suppose I should say a little about myself…so here goes.

I am born and raised Seattle. Parents divorced when I was 6 and don’t have any relationship with my father. Married at age 21. Two kids later, divorced at age 33. I am a survivor of DV and am a stronger person for it.

Before the divorce I was a stay at home mom. Forced to go back to work, I became a school bus driver because it gave me the flexibility to still be around for my young kids without a whole lot of day care time. I met my current husband here.

I got remarried 3 years ago and this relationship is better than any that I have had with any man in my life. Let’s just say that he spoils me rotten. He cooks, he cleans, he grocery shops…like I said, he spoils me. He provides for my kids when I cannot and their sperm donor won’t.

My husband came with 3 girls of his own and 1 granddaughter. Since we got married, our family has grown by another granddaughter and one grandson. Someone at work has nicknamed us the Brady’s, and I can’t really disagree!

I love my Seahawks. Don’t even get me started on the Forty-whiners! I have been working on my family tree for about 30 years (off and on). I go through spurts. I also make rag rugs, can fruit stuff, cross stitch and photography. These are some of the things I will talk about, I suppose, as well as just every day life. Don’t know if anyone will care, we shall see!