So what seems to be working well for these posts is just to see what ideas strike me, and go from there. I had planned on really getting into in depth stuff about the different forms of autism, but there’s so much out there, that it was looking next to impossible.
I got into a discussion with Katrin about sleep, and she has written about her struggles with sleep and what has worked for her. There are several things she does to help her sleep, like sticking to a strict schedule of going to bed at midnight and getting up at eight. This accomodates her schedule, but we talked about how others might modify that depending on their schedule. Another thing is that if she wakes up and doesn’t go back to sleep, she has to get up and move to a different spot until she’s sleepy again, and she turns off the computer and the tv too, to start calming her mind.
So I was curious about autism and sleep and decided to look into it. I found this article and it talks about weighted blankets, white noise, and melatonin supplements. I remembered Katrin talking about the weighted blanket. I use white noise and melatonin. It sounds to me like maybe the solutions offered for autistics are similar to ones offered to non-autistics, but that sleep disorders are very common in people with autism.
On the suggestion of white noise, the article says, “Individuals with autism typically have accompanying sensory processing disorder ; their brains do not process sensory input in an efficient manner. A white noise machine drowns out the surrounding sounds and allows the person to concentrate on one set of sounds.”
What I’m noticing about what I’ve read so far about autism, and I hope this won’t sound insensitive, is that it almost seems like the things that afflict autistics, are things that most of us experience from time to time, only multiplied, a lot. I can only speak from my own experience, like how it’s hard in family gatherings or large functions, to separate specific things, how I sometimes will start to feel overloaded and have to remove myself. Now I come to the sleep problems and find I use similar solutions. I don’t have a weighted blanket, but I use melatonin, and I put the bathroom fan on for white noise. I also have to fall sleep to the tv though, and I’m not sure if that falls under white noise. I don’t think it does, since the article said something about a continuous sound.
I’ve also read that auditory and visual cues are often sronger with autism. I don’t remember much about the visual stuff, but I know there are times when auditory sounds will drive me crazy. The tv will suddenly seem so loud I want to scream, especially on the new fancy dancy hi def channels. B had a movie on last night and the loud parts were incredibly loud whle the soft parts were incredibly soft. Sometimes this won’t bother me, but nights like last night, I felt like my skin was crawling when the volume got really loud, and it was all I could do to stay out here on my computer.
I’m not trying to say I relate to autistics, because obviously I don’t. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we might all have days where we feel overloaded, or can’t sleep, or whatever else. But it ends for us. I guess what I’m starting to see is that with Autism, it’s never ending. It’s manageable for most it seems, but I can’t imagine having that all the time.
So maybe the key to understanding autism, and accepting those who have it, either as friends, co-workers, parents or family, is to try and see what we might experience in our own lives and relate it to what an autistic faces daily. It seems like as humans, we tend to be a little selfish, and until we can relate at least a little, it’s harder to move towards understanding. And that is definitely the theme that I have found. People with Autism just want to be understood and accepted. Don’t we all deserve that?