Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Autism & Attitude

"I like the way I think." ~Dr. Temple Grandin

There are times, after I read the latest autism research, I'm left feeling completely overwhelmed by other people's opinions of what they think is what is wrong with me. If I focus on these things too long, my ability to see myself as God sees me is almost completely lost. As a result, my attitude about everything goes completely down the tubes. The only way to recover is to renew my mind and to focus on all that is true, noble, and lovely.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." ~Romans 12:2

The following is a video of a talk given by Temple Grandin. Listen to her speak about the world's need for all kinds of minds. She is a positive voice in a tornado of negativity. Thank you.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Autism & Cognitive Flexibility

If there are any hallmarks of autism, I'd say rigid thinking is definitely one of them. For most of my life, following every last rule down to the letter was an absolute must. And thinking outside of the box? Not a chance.

Just last year, however, it occurred to me that my inability to roll with the punches left me feeling anxious just about all the time. I then realized unforeseen circumstances are just as routine and predictable as rules and if I didn't learn to expect the unexpected, I saw I'd have issues with anxiety for the rest of my life.

God knows what we need in our lives before we do, but He loves to hear us pray. And He loves to rescue us when we ask for His help. I didn't have the power to change the way I thought about things or to expand my vision to come up with a number of ways to solve just one problem. So knowing I couldn't help myself, I asked God to do the work in me.

I mostly prayed that He would give me a teachable spirit along with the teachers to help me learn. I prayed He would help me be to open to their suggestions. I also asked to recognize the authority of my teachers in order to submit myself to them with some semblance of humility. Inflexibility can be easily interpreted as pride.

I still need a little more time than others to switch my gears and focus if things don't work out as planned. Even so, the point is I'm willing to rethink things and often an unplanned outcome is more pleasant than my best laid plans. Another prayer answered.

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."   ~Isaiah 30:20-21

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Autism & Impulse Control

With autism, no victory is too small--ever.

Impulse control has been a problem for me for as long as I can remember. My frontal lobe just never wants to seem to cooperate with the rest of me despite the fact that I know how important it is to be patient. It's like it screams, "Forget about now. I want this done yesterday!" Remember snail mail? In my childhood, when I sent out a letter, I always checked the mailbox for a reply the same day. Talk about impatient.

Since I've not noticed much change in this area over the years, I recently decided to target this problem with prayer. And today there was a change during my lunchtime.

Normally when I heat up food in the microwave, I tear off the wrapper and dig right in. Nevermind that I always burn my entire mouth in the process. But today I got out a plate, put my food on it, set the table, sat down and actually waited for my meal to cool off before taking that first bite.

I also put ice cream out to let it soften while I ate, and in doing so, I didn't bend a spoon trying to dig it out of the carton! And wonder of wonders, I didn't eat the ice cream directly out of the carton. I put it in a bowl and thus practiced portion control today, too. That's also a rarity, I'll tell you.

To me, it's the smaller things in life that give me the most pleasure. Enjoying a meal is a rich experience in my opinion. Today I was able to do that for the first time in a long time.
Do you have a victory over autism you would like to share?

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. ~Psalm 27:13