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gamerdad
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09 Oct 2014, 1:05 pm

It's somewhat weird for me reading other people's accounts of how they experience autism sometimes. Everyone seems so self aware and conscious of how it effects them. I feel like I'm just the opposite. Half the time I have no idea, in the moment, what I'm doing, or why I'm doing it. For example, when I first took some of my early self evaluations, I would check no on a lot of the questions about stimming. Later I showed the results to my wife and she was like, "what do you mean 'no', you do that all the time." Once she said it, it was completely obvious, but I was never consciously aware that I was doing it at the time.

I've been having similar experiences a lot lately with echolalia. When I see people describe echolalia, it always sounds like their just completely overwhelmed by the conversation and they're struggling to find something, anything to say. It seems to conscious and intentional. But for me, I'm usually not consciously aware that I'm just repeating phrases that I've heard elsewhere, and I'm not consciously aware that I couldn't find other words if I tried (though both seem clear in hindsight). I'm more just... drifting through the conversation.

Once I pick up on the behavior, I seem to notice it more in the moment. So maybe it's just that I'm still new to this. I don't know.

Does anyone else have this experience?



BirdInFlight
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09 Oct 2014, 1:13 pm

The key thing is in your final sentence: "Once I pick up on the behavior, I seem to notice it more in the moment." This has been true for me; I didn't become so very aware of my stims or that they even were stims until I read about spectrum issues and read people talking about doing the same things I'd been doing my whole life. It was part of my "aha" process where the penny dropped that I might be on the autism spectrum myself.

Although, speaking of self awareness in general, I think I always had a bit more than I would have because when I was very young one of my special interests actually was psychology and how the mind works in general, as I was already aware that I seemed "broken" in my opinion, and I wanted to understand myself and fix myself.


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Last edited by BirdInFlight on 09 Oct 2014, 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

btbnnyr
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09 Oct 2014, 1:15 pm

I relate to your general description of stimming and echolalia in that they are unconscious things for me, I dont' know that I am stimming when I am stimming, and I only realize that I repeated the same words a bunch of times after I have already done it for awhile. However, I never have echolalia as an attempt to communicate during conversations, I only say some words that I hear on TV or were in my mind randomly, often while walking around in public, and never while talking to someone else. So I don't relate to any descriptions of echolalia involving finding something to say and doing it intentionally. Also not to descriptions of stimming when someone says that they were overwhelemed and went to their room and stimmed for several hours, presumably to relieve some stress. But I just stim most of the time in the unconscious background, so that is quite alien to me.


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09 Oct 2014, 2:30 pm

Self awareness/perception is an unusual one for me, I always believed that I was self aware, constantly monitoring and checking myself socially, reflecting and learning as much as I could to be a success. I have masked so much that to me masking was self awareness. I am noticing things too, and the depth of my self awareness is growing.
When I first read the Attwood book it confused me, because it was aimed at children and so many topics seemed quite normal to me. The description of the little boy at the birthday party was difficult to relate to, because as a kid I was never invited to another child?s birthday party, so I initially flicked past it making no connection. Other things like sensory issues and stimming were confusing too, because they too seemed regular.
As I read the book, I had many uncomfortable memories, mostly of social blunders, and a map of previously unrelated incidents began to form in my mind, a lot of things started to make sense.
Right now Im letting this suspicion of ASD sit with me for a while, because there is dissonance in my thoughts between what I consider regular for me and what I read about ASD.



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09 Oct 2014, 2:39 pm

The more I learn, the more "aha" moments come, but now they come at less speed than when I was first looking into AS to see if I was on the spectrum.

I can understand why some things, like stimming, might not be noticed by our own selves, especially if they are not stereotypical or obvious stims. A trusted person would need to tell us what we do.

Just in the last two weeks, my husband has pointed out to me that if I am talking to someone at the table, I usually have a cup in my hand and repeatedly tap it on the table. I had no idea. Now that I know this, I do see (somewhat) when I am doing it, but he has had to ask me a few times to stop because I still don't realize what I am doing all the time.

I remember stimming when I was a kid - I bounced my knee all the time. No one was ever really bothered by it, except for one time I did it while waiting on stage for my turn during a performance. Everyone just felt bad for the extremely nervous little girl. I wasn't ever asked to stop. I eventually outgrew it in college. I also sucked my thumb as a kid, but it was necessary for me to stop at age 6. Now, apparently, I click pens and tap cups. I also tear up little pieces of paper and twist them or wad them into tiny balls.



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09 Oct 2014, 2:48 pm

I've become more aware of some of the things I do or experience since I've been coming to this forum and reading what other people talk about. Before that I didn't really understand or notice some of those things because I just took them for granted as normal.

I have moments now where I suddenly "catch" myself doing something like stimming and realize that I've been doing it for awhile without knowing it. My stims are mostly subtle and quiet so they are not things that other people would usually point out to me or comment on.



gamerdad
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09 Oct 2014, 3:12 pm

Amity wrote:
As I read the book, I had many uncomfortable memories, mostly of social blunders, and a map of previously unrelated incidents began to form in my mind, a lot of things started to make sense.

That was almost exactly my experience reading that book as well. Lots of old memories coming to the surface. Lots of little pieces sliding into place. Lots of new perspectives on significant events in my past that make a whole lot more sense, and that show that common thread between many of them.



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09 Oct 2014, 3:50 pm

I'm not always aware of when I'm stimming. Until one of my stims was pointed out to me for the first time ever in my late teens, I wasn't aware of it at all. I notice it sometimes, now, but it's something I've learned to notice after having people point it out to me.

In terms of delayed echolalia, until I was in my early 20's, I didn't know it was anything other than ordinary speech .... it was just normal to me. It was just me using words. I didn't realize that the ways I used words and thought about words weren't all universal or that there was anything odd about them. I saw no difference between borrowed (echolalic) words and not-borrowed words. I didn't wonder about how other people experienced language and conversation -- I didn't think about it at all. Gaining the awareness of my echolalic speech that I have today was a very long and difficult process. Today, my awareness is still mostly in retrospect, rather than at the moment I'm speaking or before speaking.

With immediate echolalia, I was made aware of it early (at least at school) because other kids made fun of me for it, said things about me "copying" them and occasionally wanted me to stop (which I didn't understand because I didn't do it on purpose and didn't see how it was a bad thing), and called me "copycat". I don't remember ever thinking about whether or not other kids did the same thing, nor wondering what it was I was doing.


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