Thursday, February 28, 2013

Non Verbal ASD

I have to apologize for not posting anything over the last week. I had great plans. I even took fun pictures to share. I haven't had a particularly rough week or anything, but I am having a struggle with my executive functioning and communication skills right now. I've been focusing entirely on keeping things normal with family, home, and kids. Everything else has kind of fallen to the wayside.

This just happens sometimes. It can be triggered by great stress, but more often than not it's my body's kind of calm that follows the storm. We had a wonderful and exciting trip and came back to a few melodramatic dramas that we were able to calm within a couple days. It took me a few days to really recover emotionally from everything. But then, I just didn't have the energy or desire to put on the NT act.

It boils down to an executive function issue. It takes an extraordinary effort to just take that first step and START something without any kind of outside stimuli. I have to have every step planned ahead of time, to begin with. Or I'll have to climb that same huge wall every time I come to a task I hadn't planned. Getting out of bed in the morning? Where am I going once I stand up? And after that? And that? Getting dressed? I have to plan out each item before I even get out of my covers. If I face a decision in the middle of the process I have to consider all the options. That means analyzing each item for it's appropriateness for the weather, for my plans that day, for it's general comfort, and for how soon I'll need to do laundry if I pick it - based on my upcoming schedule. For every single item, so I can be sure I picked the right one. Because that's what it takes to dress like an NT (maybe, if I picked right). If I just did what I wanted, and never had to worry about outside judgement? I wouldn't even bother with clothes most of the time.

This also poses a problem with communication. To start with, I don't think in words. I think in pictures. At my very worst, I sometimes have trouble translating my thoughts into words at all. They call that Non-Verbal. I woke up like that this morning. +Jason Shepherd rolled over to tell me good morning and I just smiled. I knew I was supposed to respond, but I had no idea how. He started asking me questions and I looked like a deer in the headlights. Luckily, my gears started turning. I figured out some words. The task of turning them to speech was too overwhelming, though. Using your breath, throat, and mouth to convert a thought to sound with the proper rhythm  intonation, and volume? A single word I can maybe pull off...but a whole conversation of that?

I pulled out the laptop and started typing. I can understand him just fine this morning, but he knows it takes less effort for me to comprehend text than voice. There are less variables to consider. So, he fired up his computer, too. We sat side by side in bed, typing our morning conversations and planning our day. Then, he gathered my clothes for me and put them on the bed. We both got dressed and went about our day. Jason is aware of the game plan for the day and is the one in charge today (where it would usually be me). He'll remind everyone (including me) of what we should be doing at any time, and help out where it's needed. Days like this aren't often, but they are common. You see, I'm not angry or upset or depressed. I'm actually in a VERY pleasant mood today. My mind just doesn't have the energy to constantly translate every thought and behavior into the very complicated kind of all encompassing communication that NTs consider normal. Trying to do so would lead to some kind of panic attack or classic meltdown. I've established in previous entries that I dislike those things and chose to avoid them. Luckily, the NTs in my life don't corner me into them like most people do to their ASD friends and family members. So, this will continue to be a very pleasant day.