I've written a fact sheet on dealing with obsessions and rituals of
children on the autistic spectrum. This has been flavoured by my own
experiences with Sam, and if anyone has the time, I'd welcome any
feedback and suggestions before I distribute it. Parents new to the
autism scene might find it useful too, although I'm sure all of us
further down the track will know all of this!
ROUTINES, RITUALS & COMPULSIONS:
practical strategies for parents
People with autism or Asperger's syndrome are often inclined to
develop intense, very narrow fields of interests. There is also a
tendency to develop repetitive behaviors and routines that can make
life very difficult for the family, and be very hard to change.
Old Working autism - Rich Shull
((((HUMOR) Barry will be "glad he asked for advise" (we can make jokes) but more importantly the answers I give are from old working autism's lost anthropology. Most of us build on the work of Temple Grandin and we have connceted MR/DD to autism as well as Real life. In a time and space before Rain Man We did autism very well on our own and followed our own path via the Autism Blueprint as described in the book Alan Tuirng The Enginma (1983 Hodges) . Now Modern Autism Experts can read the very same book and not get a thing out of it but they only think they understand autism too. At his point in history were too little too late and Autism is Billion Dollars worth of Expert and Autism is a group home designer thing and how dare we rain on Rain Man's parade. Shame on us "bad for all of mankind" as we have figured out the building blocks of the human mind.))))
If psychology or autism "experts" would be versed in our thought system they would see what we see literally the picture thoughts the brain generated images the day dream type thoughts that happen during the lack of eye contact. Those Picture thoughts IF understood are indeed very narrow and focused. Old Pre designer autism had those wonderful narrow thoughts pegged (absently) as our learning hallway and modern versions have them listed as a crime. The good news is as our Anthropology has proven time and again those interests once completely satisfied just simply bubble over into life at large and we loose our narrow interests. (eventually) At least in later life most of us can get along well and participate in conversation and not bore the other party to death or talk just about one thing only.
Note modern autism has made this aspect of autism MUCH WORSE than it was. While we used to be little professors and other odd things we were never "AUTISTIC." The missing of that label gave us much more freedom to grow and thrive and when the world was absent millions of autism "experts" no one was there to tell us we have autism thus were stupid to fart and everytime we "mess up" it is now autism and nothing else and of course autism is a horrible condition that needs cured as they see it. It doesn't need cured it simply needs understood. It is after all a thought process that has never been in a text book before.
Funny thing is we simply out grew autism so well that modern autism experts don't even know what they see when they see us and since we have discovered a never in print before thoughts process no one else in the Ph.D. Field has clue to what we do. Even worse Autism has spoken and were only allowed to be in group homes or be Autism Savants in real life as they so desperately search for a cure to autism-one they will never find.
Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the person
feels driven to perform in response to an obsession, or according to
rules that must be applied rigidly. The behaviors or mental acts are
aimed at preventing or reducing distress or preventing some dreaded
event or situation; however, these behaviors or mental acts either are
not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to
neutralize or prevent or are clearly excessive. Examples include
needing to follow an exact route to school each day, family members
needing to sit in particular chairs during meals, or only wearing blue
Old Autism Rich Shull replies
Compulsions are understandable and while we had them many of us learn that IF we got to school we could go several different routes and take many different modes of transportation and still get there. Keep in Mind our Parents got an earful of us and in my case I might have got a good talking to or even a kind slap of some sort and endured the "different route" I have seen Modern Autism Parents are told to "give in," , etc., and keep their kid quiet. Again Our Picture thoughts are very rigid at first in early life and setting in one chair is GREAT as have figured out like a blind person does how to function from that chair. We learn the noises from that chair and life is comfortable from there. AUTISM forgets and never knew we are BOTH DEAF AND BLIND as our optic vision is turned off and replaced with a daydream type of thought. Many autistic people don't even know their optic vision is OFF and replaced with a picture thought all they know is they are much more comfortable being in the same place and time as often as possible. As they inadvertently brain wash them selves and normal thoughts get absently figured out this improves. Now If autism Experts know our picture thoughts they could do what we did with obsession and make them work for us not against us.
Obsessions are recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images
that are experienced at some time during the disturbance, as intrusive
and inappropriate and that cause marked anxiety or distress. The
thoughts, impulses, or images are not simply excessive worries about
real-life problems. The person attempts to ignore or suppress such
thoughts, impulses, or images, or may try to neutralize them with some
other thought or action.
OLd Autism Rich Shull
Once Again Autism has MISSED the whole point to Obsessions they are simply the building blocks of autism and if they knew why we had to do them and why they simply fit the autism mindset the "Experts" are clueless about Obsession would finally be seen as something no more important than reading Harry Potter all the time. Again Old Autism that modern designer autism will not own up to has taken our Obsession all the way to the bank and at the least used them as spring board to understand normal life or in the case of career become an expert in our own right. If autism knew what it was trying to do It would NEVER try to neutralize our Obsession they would rather embrace them and let us learn from them the way we are programmed. For better or Worse this Obsession thing was the very thing Dr Rimland and Company axed after Rain Man Autism Era Policy was invented. Older Autism Experts that KNEW or had a better clue to our gift were told to get the new program or quit.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders tend to appreciate order,
routines and repetition far more than neurotypical children. Any
disruption to this routine can lead to high levels of anxiety and
emotional outbursts. While many routines may be helpful, others can be
Very disruptive. They may be very time-consuming and can increase in
complexity over time.
Old Autism Rich Shull
Routines are very good for us especially as we learn life in our own way a way never in a text book before and a way that has been seriously diluted in modern Autism Practice. As a blind person Likes a routine for example while walking someplace that is simply life is figured out and it can be more a simple walk for them. The same holds true for Autism. Our Invisible to you thought patterns are kind to us when they are not challenged too much. Modern Kids have got their way too often and thus they have never learned the lesion you can actually BREAK a routine and still do something. If Our autism Gatekeepers could see what our thoughts system consists of they would see how we break from them and GASP they could truly helps us do it, not just hide it as they do now.
Does the issue require attention?
Decide if the routine, compulsion or obsessive thoughts need
attention, or can be tolerated. Usually change is only needed if it
could affect the child's development negatively, leads to socially
unacceptable behavior, or it is causing the family too much stress.
Old Autism Rich Shull
YES it Requires Attention but sadly it is something not even fathomable in modern designer autism circles. If Our Old working group could be admitted to the simple knowledge that modern Experts have never known will just shine like a beacon of hope. I 'm serious if were ever admitted to besides all of modern Autism being proven useless it will also expose the building blocks of man's mind and this knowledge alone will give mankind much more hope than ever before.
Modern Autism has really become too stressful on new families as the plethora of experts all chime in doing their part to make Autism a disgusting horrible problem leaving us zombies in a group home. If Modern Autism Parents ever get to read the stories of our odd lives and our parents and they see how being absent of autism Diagnosis and "knowledge" was the very best thing that ever happened to us the modern Autism Parents will feel so badly cheated. (and they are) Autism Never had to be become a Designer Epidemic and one thing is for sure we will never be admitted now. Curse You Rain Man.
look for the underlying issues
It helps to understand the underlying reasons before attempting to
change any behavior. There may be a sensory issue involved, whether it
is the sight, sound, smell or feel of an object or activity. Where the
preoccupation is potentially dangerous or inappropriate, understanding
the sensory issue may make it easier to substitute a better activity
or object in place.
Old Autism Rich Shull
Oh Good Grief mate we are Deaf and Blind (during the lack of eye contact) and when we do hear our hearing is decibels higher than you ever dreamed. Like a blind person sensory issues are heightened ours are too. While most of us in this successful group learned to cope with these as we figured out more and more Picture thoughts the modern Autism spectrum person is for sure lost. Those of us in the real world LEARNED how to think normally as you do and autistically as were programmed again If our autism gatekeeper experts had a clue.
Mind-blindness is the inability to know how other people think
differently. A child may simply not realize that other people don't
share the same thoughts, routines or obsessions, or how disruptive
these can be to other family members.
Old Autism Rich Shull
One of the very first rules many autistic people NEVER learn Is our thoughts are WAY too complicated and they need watered down to simple baby thoughts so normal people can understand them. If autism were ever taught in a proper course we would have to spend a year of our education learning to water down our thoughts. Of Course we present as total idiots so there is no real chance the autism experts will ever dream were working DOWN to your thoughts and not up to them. Again If Autism Knew of our Thought process they would see the reason to this but I rather doubt they are looking for fear they might rediscover what they forgot.
Children on the autism spectrum often experience a lot of anxiety;
routines and compulsions can be very calming due to their familiarity.
This is why routines and repetitive behaviors can be extremely intense
when the child is anxious. Instead of tackling these behaviors head
on, parents may find it much more useful to deal with the cause of the
anxiety in each case.
Old Autism Rich Shull
Oh Get a life designer Autism, We had absently figured this stuff out years ago and the answer is not glamorous or pretty or suitable for television so the autism Media Machine is not even interested in listening for a start. But by some miracle if it ever did suddenly they would see the same way out of autism's grasp we followed on our own. While we were trail blazing a path from Autism's MR/DD Side to Einstein the world was getting autismed to death by all the experts of autism that only know the obvious defects as they see things. We know the joy of autism and would like to share it with you if you would humble your selves.
Set rules and use contracts
Set plenty of rules, children on the autism spectrum tend to love
clear logical rules. These rules can set time limits for routines, and
the contexts they are allowed to happen. It can help to even write
these down in a contract.
Old autism Rich Shull
Unknowingly that is a very good idea and it plays very well for us in our picture thought but that was simply an accident of autism ideals. If Autism knew the real thoughts behind them and us ,they could set much more logical goals when it comes to strategies.
Shaping the existing behavior
Look for ways to 'shape' the preoccupation into something constructive
i.e. a fascination with butterflies can lead to discussions about
biology and other insects. Children with autism often don't see the
'big picture', so it always helps to try to broaden the narrow
interest into a wider one!
Old Autism Rich Responds
Well, Autism Experts again Fail themselves as if they listed to us they would get a feel for how we did this very concept on our own and obviously did it better than you expected. Once we learn the narrow stuff the wider view comes naturally BUT we need To learn the narrow stuff completely before we have any real hope of transferring that knowledge to normal life. Autism has a thought process called picture in picture thoughts a few above Temple Grandins Still and Motion Picture Thoughts and these are the Universal autism thoughts that allow us to connect to normal thoughts like you use.Until autism gate keeps even know about them they will never know how we need complete a few of them via our Obsessions to become real good at life. Modern autism Assumes We DON"T want to communicate be want to do that more than anything in the world and the trouble is the autism experts don't have a clue to our different kind of human thought process as your thoughts are probably very fast paced streamlined versions of ours. Again If Autism Would care to listen for a chance Autism is really speaking.
Where sensory problems are involved, desensitization is a behavioral
technique that can be useful when a child experiences anxiety or fear
over a certain obsession or failing to do a set routine. The child is
gradually exposed to the object or event that creates fear, but with
plenty of positive reinforcement. Examples of this include free time,
verbal praise or special food treats.
Old Autism Rich Shull Responds
That used to be a very natural thing for us and as we absently learned Autism ideals and put together our odd strange thoughts and learned to water down the ones we spoke. We also learned to tame our wild thoughts and new learned our senses were over active.
Odds are were too busy thinking several steps behind you for Positive reinforcement to have the effect your thinking it does and GOD A HIGH PITCHED YOU DID GOOD is pure hell not pure gold as you intend. Did someone forget about our SUPER SENSES like Hearing that is decibels higher than yours -- then Why Scream at us-your doing the same thing. I use my Hearing gift to trouble shoot cars I hear stuff other mechanics never do and it opens up a whole new world! Autism needs to learn this as well and could start with putting decibel meters in homes and schools. Just watch that meter peg with a good for you speech.
Reinforce desired behaviors
Reinforcement provides a response to a child's behavior that will most
likely increase that behavior. It is "differential" because the level
of reinforcement varies depending on the child's response. Difficult
tasks may be reinforced heavily whereas easy tasks may be reinforced
less heavily. We must systematically change our reinforcement so that
the child eventually will respond appropriately under natural
schedules of reinforcement (occasional) with natural types of
Old Autism Rich responds
Obviously Modern Autism is Lost in the modern autism ignorance that might very well explain the current autism epidemic. If It knew what it is we do to think and could teach us how to the Autism ABCs and123 just like it can normal kids this Reinforce statement would not be necessary as they would know the root cause of our behavior for a change and not a moment too soon
Reinforcement can be positive (verbal praise or a favorite activity)
or negative (an emphatic 'no'). Positive reinforcement is an incentive
given to a child who complies with some request for behavior change.
The aim is to increase the chances the child will respond with the
changed behavior. Positive reinforcement is given immediately after
the desired behavior has occurred so that it will shape the child's
Old Autism Rich responds
Oh Really, we are operating in a time warp in so many ways the positive reinforcement is not timed as you think it is and despite our super good hearing we might not hear you if were picture thinking. We might not most likely hear the volume of your comment but rather the nasty tone of the NO our the insincere quiver in your voice even though you said the right words and didn't mean them.
As hard as ALL of these comments are to believe they all are well researched and defined and there is REAL hope for autism and mankind if only our autism gatekeepers would swallow hard and admit to us. Suddenly Autism will realize like we do the good and bad news of autism is EVERY WORD we say and the Bad news of autism is every word we say. PLEASE help us help you by urging the Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks to listen up for a change?
Barry K. Morris
Rich Shull's Comments on the Blog Autism Pre Rain Man Autism and the Yahoo Group Called Autism Enigmas
Rich Shull inventor of the Turing Motor a 70% Efficient Green Autistically designed Car motor, Host of the blog Pre Rain Man Autism on line at http://prerainmanautism.blogspot.com
"The world is divided in to three classes of people: a very small group that
makes things happen, a somewhat larger group that watches things happen, and
the great multitude which never knows what happened."
Nicholas Murray Butler
Former President of Columbia University
1931 Nobel Peace Prize winner
"Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and
risked all, that the sheltered and protected can never
John Stuat Mill-Philosopher-1806-1873
The "best autism book ever"
ALAN TURING: The Enigma By Andrew Hodges
Simon and Schuster New York. Copyright 1983
Related Item PBS-BBC show entitled Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitmore, based on The Enigma.
"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. "
Labels: picture thoughts, politics and reality, Rimland, Turing Motor, Verbal Talking Autism