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Verdandi
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18 Jan 2012, 2:38 am

Ganondox wrote:
I believe a lot more autistic people would be independent if a lot more autistic people HAD to be independent. I've learned a lot of stuff really quickly that for whatever reason I did not learn at that appropriate age once I was forced to actually do it.


I've been there, I've done that, and this wasn't true for me. Don't assume that particular things are true for everyone. When I was forced to actually do these things required for independence, they fell apart either because I was too disorganized to maintain them, because I didn't know how to do them in the first place and had trouble learning, or both.

Sometimes, I learned things. Sometimes I got stuck. I have over 20 years of adult life of trying and failing to live independently to look back on, and I have no hesitation in saying that you're wrong. You can call this learned helplessness or whatever if it makes you feel better, but I didn't believe I was helpless. I thought I could manage it, and tried hard enough to burn out. Speak for yourself by all means, but don't make sweeping claims about what it must be like for everyone.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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18 Jan 2012, 3:08 am

^ Agree. I also started out thinking that there are no limits except for effort and attitude, and thought that I could manage -- but I found out the hard way that I was wrong. I think it's hard to know how things work for those that haven't been out in the world, yet. And I think people talk up 'sucking it up' in order not to encourage those who give up easily to do so, but if you're the type to work yourself to into the ground it's bad advise. Problems are real sometimes (weird to have even write that out) and don't evaporate upon the person being forced into a desperate situation. I am sure there are a lot of ASD folk who are homeless because they were forced into such a situation and couldn't manage.



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18 Jan 2012, 3:30 am

Sweetleaf wrote:
lol lucky for people who have the option to 'become functional'....if my mom said either become functional or you're kicked out, well I suppose I'd be homeless.


Me too. I'm just lucky I have a mother that would never kick me out. If she did it wouldn't benefit her in any way and then she would be all alone so she would never do that. I have no idea how I'll support myself when she is gone though.

I have a cousin in another state that has something wrong with them. I'm not sure exactly what but I think they had some kind of brain damage as a young child. When their mother expressed worry about how they were going to manage when they were gone I actually had an aunt that advised her to force my cousin to do more things for herself. If she could just do these things she wouldn't be disabled and getting disability. That's like telling a person in a wheelchair to just get up and walk.

I've heard the "just do it" or "just make yourself do it" line before. It's not that easy, especially if you are afraid to do it, don't know how to do it, or are just unwilling or unable to do it. I've had people tell me to go out and get a job but if I ask them things about where to apply or how to go about doing so they have little to say.

Even when I start doing something after a while I just stop because I just don't care or can't stand doing it any more. I'm lucky if I can make myself shower, get dressed, and leave the house every day, never mind anything else.



Last edited by hanyo on 18 Jan 2012, 3:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

axiom
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18 Jan 2012, 3:38 am

Ganondox wrote:
I believe a lot more autistic people would be independent if a lot more autistic people HAD to be independent. I've learned a lot of stuff really quickly that for whatever reason I did not learn at that appropriate age once I was forced to actually do it.


The thing about this type of 'sink or swim' mentality is that there are basically two outcomes (to being truly independent): you succeed or you die.

In the long run, 'sink or swim' is probably best for society as a whole (because natural selection works), but I'm not willing to risk myself for the greater good lol.

But of course, if someone becomes convinced that they are incapable of being independent, then they are pretty much doomed to being dependent. It's difficult to strike a proper balance between the two without turning your nation into a welfare state.



hanyo
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18 Jan 2012, 3:42 am

One saying I've heard a lot is about "pushing the baby bird out of the nest" to force someone to be independent.

You know what I see a lot on the ground in the spring? Dead baby birds.



axiom
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18 Jan 2012, 3:47 am

hanyo wrote:
One saying I've heard a lot is about "pushing the baby bird out of the nest" to force someone to be independent.

You know what I see a lot on the ground in the spring? Dead baby birds.


That's true.

Nature is cruel and efficient. It's all a numbers game really. Most birds will just know how to fly in that situation.

I guess on some level I've just come to accept the fact that I'm supposed to fail (and die) if I cannot adapt to the world. I don't think there is another solution. I don't want to just live with my parents my whole life.

But on the other hand, convincing somebody else that you are disabled and need help is all part of the game. Survival is survival.



camelCase
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18 Jan 2012, 4:28 am

axiom wrote:
hanyo wrote:
One saying I've heard a lot is about "pushing the baby bird out of the nest" to force someone to be independent.

You know what I see a lot on the ground in the spring? Dead baby birds.


That's true.

Nature is cruel and efficient. It's all a numbers game really. Most birds will just know how to fly in that situation.

I guess on some level I've just come to accept the fact that I'm supposed to fail (and die) if I cannot adapt to the world. I don't think there is another solution. I don't want to just live with my parents my whole life.

But on the other hand, convincing somebody else that you are disabled and need help is all part of the game. Survival is survival.


Billions of years of evolution have produced what we have today. Efficiency my ass :lol:



axiom
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18 Jan 2012, 4:38 am

camelCase wrote:
axiom wrote:
hanyo wrote:
One saying I've heard a lot is about "pushing the baby bird out of the nest" to force someone to be independent.

You know what I see a lot on the ground in the spring? Dead baby birds.


That's true.

Nature is cruel and efficient. It's all a numbers game really. Most birds will just know how to fly in that situation.

I guess on some level I've just come to accept the fact that I'm supposed to fail (and die) if I cannot adapt to the world. I don't think there is another solution. I don't want to just live with my parents my whole life.

But on the other hand, convincing somebody else that you are disabled and need help is all part of the game. Survival is survival.


Billions of years of evolution have produced what we have today. Efficiency my ass :lol:


True. Efficiency was definitely the wrong word.

But I suppose we can agree that evolution works over a sufficiently long period of time (for what it's worth lol).



OliveOilMom
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18 Jan 2012, 7:46 am

Two things helped me learn that I could actually do the same things as others do. Desire and determination.

I was horribly overprotected growing up. I was taught that I was fragile, incompetent, and couldn't do anything at all. I was expected to fulfill this role all my life. My mother benefited from it by getting sympathy from others for having such a "sickly child" and she got to feel good about her "self sacrifice" and being a martyr.

I didn't want to be this helpless sickly child anymore, so my rebellion consisted of proving her wrong. Which I did.

Now, oddly enough, for a "sickly child" who was incompetent and couldn't do anything, my mother sure gave me a hell of a lot of responsibility when I was 11 years old. My grandmother was dying of cancer, and she was home. She was on lots of heavy duty meds, and needed to be fed, bathed, put on the toilet, etc. My mother worked. That became my job. I wasn't allowed to use the stove because it was a gas stove and I might "blow us all to kingdom come" if I tried to light it, but my mother damn sure taught me how to give my grandmother her pain shots! Near the end of my grandmothers life she also left me at home alone for two months with a falling down drunk grandfather. I didn't know how to cook my own meals or wash my own clothes or even bathe myself, but I learned. I got yelled at for taking a bath. Alone. At 11 years old. Forget that!

From that point on, my life became about proving her wrong, and never being helpless again.

Someone else pointed out that they might be afraid to do things, or not want to do them, or not be willing to try them, or not enjoy doing them. Well, that's life. I was afraid of a whole lot that I've had to do. I didn't want to do them, didn't like to do them, etc. I've worked before, for years before I got pregnant with my first child. I didn't want to, I didn't enjoy it, and at times I hated it. But I had to do it if I wanted money. Just because we have AS doesn't give any of us a free pass to get out of responsibility because we don't want to do it, are afraid of it, don't like it, would rather be doing something else, etc. If we truly cannot do it, then yes, we get a pass. But not wanting to, or fear, or disliking it, are not reasons for any of us to opt out of life.


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Verdandi
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18 Jan 2012, 9:09 am

OliveOilMom wrote:
Someone else pointed out that they might be afraid to do things, or not want to do them, or not be willing to try them, or not enjoy doing them. Well, that's life. I was afraid of a whole lot that I've had to do. I didn't want to do them, didn't like to do them, etc. I've worked before, for years before I got pregnant with my first child. I didn't want to, I didn't enjoy it, and at times I hated it. But I had to do it if I wanted money. Just because we have AS doesn't give any of us a free pass to get out of responsibility because we don't want to do it, are afraid of it, don't like it, would rather be doing something else, etc. If we truly cannot do it, then yes, we get a pass. But not wanting to, or fear, or disliking it, are not reasons for any of us to opt out of life.


Fear of doing things, not wanting to do them, not liking them, rather be doing something else didn't contribute to my problems. I mean, sometimes they did, but everyone has those difficulties.

I was raised with the mixed messages of "You're smart enough to do anything you want to set your mind to" and "You're stupid, lazy, and a liar and will never amount to anything." And as it turned out, the first was more nearly accurate than the second. I was able to do a lot of things I set my mind to, but a lot of things I wanted to do, I had trouble understanding properly or doing it correctly for reasons I could never explain.

I feel like I'm very smart in some ways, and completely incompetent in others. I am an excellent writer, and I can learn the basics of any musical instrument very quickly. I often come up with unorthodox solutions that no one expects. But at the same time, hand me a recipe, or a puzzle that requires thinking more than 1-2 moves ahead and I feel like my head is exploding. That ability to take a structured plan and execute it is very difficult for me to muster. I can do my own laundry, but I never ever managed to master the arcane (to me) set of rules that governs which clothing is washed on which setting and which clothes go into the drier and which clothes do not. I solve this partly by never owning white clothes. I cannot monitor my social behavior well enough to engage in a conversation and consciously know when to give the appropriate cues (let alone the appropriate cues), which makes job interviews seriously difficult.

Even before I knew I was autistic or had ADHD, I knew I had organizational problems, memory problems, and didn't get how to do certain things. This is why I've explained to people I live with that if they need me to do something they need to be explicit about it, and why I've been explicit about needing advance warning for changes in routine. Or why I only prepare meals that I can memorize, or have explicit instructions not in the form of a recipe on how to make it.

Part of anyone's responsibility is understanding their own limitations and finding ways to work with them or get help when they can't. Or simply not do them, if that's the only available option.



Antreus
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18 Jan 2012, 4:36 pm

Verdandi wrote:
Ganondox wrote:
I believe a lot more autistic people would be independent if a lot more autistic people HAD to be independent. I've learned a lot of stuff really quickly that for whatever reason I did not learn at that appropriate age once I was forced to actually do it.


I've been there, I've done that, and this wasn't true for me. Don't assume that particular things are true for everyone. When I was forced to actually do these things required for independence, they fell apart either because I was too disorganized to maintain them, because I didn't know how to do them in the first place and had trouble learning, or both.

Sometimes, I learned things. Sometimes I got stuck. I have over 20 years of adult life of trying and failing to live independently to look back on, and I have no hesitation in saying that you're wrong. You can call this learned helplessness or whatever if it makes you feel better, but I didn't believe I was helpless. I thought I could manage it, and tried hard enough to burn out. Speak for yourself by all means, but don't make sweeping claims about what it must be like for everyone.


I really sympathize with Verdandi's opines on this matter, because it's almost the story of my own life. I was diagnosed late - just a year ago - so the concept of learned helplessness doesn't apply to me I don't think. "Never give up, never surrender" "One step at a time" coupled with ambition are all motivators for doing well for myself. After a burnout I too get angry, depressed, and self-deprecating, but I find a way somehow to pick myself back up again and give it another go. When I was younger it was easier for me to pick myself up, but now as an adult when you fail it takes a bit longer to pick yourself up again financially, mentally, and so on. I think it takes a lot of courage and I applaud Verdandi. I like to use the analogy of an ant carrying a pebble, which weighs 10 to 50 times their weight. That's tenacity, ok.

All my siblings are independent, functioning individuals, even my youngest sibling (I have 4). I have currently experienced TWO burnouts over the course of 7 years and I am still trying to finish my college education, while my 7 year junior sibling is almost done his associates. I have put myself out there and while it is good to find your limitations by burning out initially, doing the same thing over and over again the same way, expecting different results is nothing short of insanity - that's what convinced me to seek evaluation. I wasn't performing on par with my peer group, based on societal expectations for independent individuals. I don't have a self-concept of myself as lazy, adled, or incapable of bettering myself - there's just a serious shortage of services and assistance for adults on the spectrum on a structural level, which dwarfs my ability to make meaningful, short-term goals that can help me long-term, based upon societies expectations of me as a person, because of my diminished capacity to carrying out tasks in day-to-day living, and to manage both work and school simultaneously given my AS.

Working a typical college student job in the service sector is one of the most challenging things. I was able to pull it off long enough to get my Associates, because I worked with people who I knew, but when I transferred to a University - that's when I hit the wall that requires a ' round peg in a round hole' .

Another downside of having AS is the whole college education system right down to repaying student loans starts from the premise that you are an average functioning individual, able to do part-time work (30hrs) and part-time class schedule at the very least in order to postpone paying back your expensive, UNSUBSIDIZED student loans. I am in default or having to forgoe payment until a later date constantly because I don't fit into their disability profile. Without my gracious, patient, and understanding parents with or without diagnosis I would not be where I am right now and possibly be in a gutter and my intellect wasted.

I am trying to get back into school after failing at my University due to burnout and stress with undiagnosed AS. I took on too much because I felt guilt for not keeping pace with my peers. I have to find a way to pay back my loans right now, so there's red tape on everything. Ever so slowly I have to rip it all off so I can go on with my education in a field that I can actually excel in. I know relative to an NT of my intellectual abilities I would be further along the road than I am right now if not for my AS.



Last edited by Antreus on 18 Jan 2012, 4:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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18 Jan 2012, 4:49 pm

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Dunnyveg, I see your point. I've said in the past that, while I don't recommend abuse for anyone, it sure can force you to look outside yourself and make an effort to adapt. So, if you're undiagnosed and misunderstood, I guess bad circumstances can push you either way. I think I got some positive result because of the weird contradiction of there also being so much genuine love, understanding of other sorts, and freedom of creativity in my family at the same time as the ugly, nasty stuff. Our family is a really mixed bag. Still, I could only get so far, and it couldn't change my wiring. Also, co-morbid conditions are a factor, and I have fibromyalgia, which I was diagnosed with at age 19. In addition, there's a difference between being able to keep getting jobs, even if you don't have them for long, and being able to keep a job long enough or have short enough gaps between employment to be able to support yourself. So, you're right about that, too. Not all would be able.

With my father's violence, there was the minimizing and justification after the fact. The surrounding lies. This is also highly damaging.

For example, when I was 17 (back in 1980) my father came at me with a sturdy side piece to the bed held as a spear and his face snarled and contorted in rage. Yes indeed, it was very serious.

I ran through the house, got to the side door, got the lock undone---and that was the key part---and then ran across the backyard to the fence. I was then safe. I could be over the fence much quicker than my dad could get to me.

My dad stood at the back door and said in a questioning voice, "Don't take the car." He repeated it, "Don't take the car." He was pretending like it was just a normal, run-of-the-mill argument and rather asking me to go along with this.


===============================


My mother was unhappy with her relationship with my dad. She rather treated me as a surrogate boyfriend. That was also very unhealthy.

She was against me being upset because she thought I should be a gandhi type saint figure, and also because if I was upset, I would then be unavailable for her.

She would literally say anything with the goal of me not being upset.

About this she said, "Dad was mean to you." I don't know if she really didn't see, or if she was trying to spin-doctor the situation.

One time later on, she said, "Kerry gets hit all the time," referring to a toddler next day. Wow. Hardly know what to say. Obviously, the parents of this toddler using physical discipline, which may or may not be a good idea, is very different than the life-threatening violence of my Dad. Again, she would literally say anything with the goal of me not being upset.



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18 Jan 2012, 7:31 pm

I never had the chance to learn to be helpless about anything. I was expected to just be capable of anything, and if I wasn't, I was told I was "lazy" or "stubborn" etc. I was gifted so if I ever asked my teachers for help they just laughed at me and told me I didn't need any help. They told me I could do "anything" in life meaning they thought I could get into pretty much any college I wanted and do any type of work I wanted. The only thing anyone ever discouraged me from, was the one thing I actually wanted to do in life (music) and other than that they acted like there were no limits. Like just being "smart" would take a person anywhere in life they want to go. I couldn't handle college and dropped out. Have never really known what to do with myself. I have quit job after job after job. I have plodded along thinking one day I'd fall into something, maybe things would get easier. But it's hard enough just keeping up with the basic every day tasks of life. I feel like I am lacking some essential thing that other people have that makes them able to do those things. I know I am intelligent and in a perfect world there are lots and lots of things I could do, it is not like I would have to just be a drain on society, but I see no opportunity to do anything except plod away every day at some job I hate. There are no jobs for people like me, so I have to twist and contort my brain and my personality into something other than what I am and try to make myself fit what other people want and it is killing me. So yes I can hold down a job and be somewhat "self-sufficient" but it isn't really good for me. Pretty much all my concentration and energy goes into holding down a job and I have NOTHING left over for anything else in life. I am really just sliding by. All my life people have had much higher expectations of me than I can ever possibly meet. No one understands what it takes out of me just to do the little things they take for granted.

It's not such a bad thing to be helpless, if you really need help and you can actually GET that help. I can not get any help. I am f****d.



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18 Jan 2012, 7:40 pm

OliveOilMom wrote:
Two things helped me learn that I could actually do the same things as others do. Desire and determination.

I was horribly overprotected growing up....


Desire and determination gets me to do new things too.


I think I was also overprotected as a child (but I wasn't sickly), although I don't have other parents to compare mine to, and I'm not very astute in recognizing the behavior of other parents.


I'm sure my mom never meant to make me feel inadequate or incapable, but that was the unintentional effect of some of what she did....by not letting me do certain things myself, or re-doing things I had done.


It's really quite silly in my case. For example, when I would make my bed (straighten the sheets and fix the bedspread over the bed), she would undo it and re-make it (and I think I did a good, neat enough job with it).


I wasn't allowed to do my own laundry. I hardly ever cooked (because she would always cook). I didn't clean the house because I couldn't clean as perfectly as my mom.


So, even though these little things seem somewhat harmless (and I'm sure many children would love if their mom would take such good care of them and do everything), I grew up without have a good "feel" for housework, cooking and cleaning. I was somewhat ill prepared for that type of everyday life stuff.



I can't complain too much. I'm the oldest of my siblings. Oddly though, my parents treat me like their youngest child.
They have good hearts and always mean well. (I can be understanding when I really analyze things over time).


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18 Jan 2012, 10:59 pm

My mother raised me with a constant reminder; 'What? Are your legs broken? Get up and do it." I was raised to be respectful and helpful and curious. I wanted to help others, I wanted to learn to do all sorts of things (not alot of preteen girls ask their their dads to teach them to use power tools) and I wanted to be respectful to my parents. My mother taught by example and I try to do the same. The only requirement she had - you had to try your best.

I was told I was going to college so I got good grades and went to college. It was expected and I hated to fail at anything.

The first official generation of Aspies seem to have gotten the short end of the stick. they were raised to believe they were disabled - unable to do these things. You raise a child with that expectation you will have an adult that will always believe it. That doesn't mean ignore a kids challenges - it means work hard to work with their challenges and mentor them to the best use of their strengths rather than coddling their difficulties and making those all that they are.