Echolalia is a common trait among autistics, and is simply the act of repeating words or phrases that other people have said. Very similar to this is palilalia, which is repeating your own words or phrases rather than those of others. For the purposes of this post, because echolalia and palilalia are almost exactly the same thing (both repeating words of phrases in a manner that might seem meaningless from an outside perspective) I'll refer to them both as echolalia, but of course please do be aware that the two different forms exist.

When I first discovered what echolalia is a couple of years ago it rang some major bells as it's something that I vividly remember doing as a child, and to an extent I still do it now. I remember when I was young (around primary school age although I'm not sure exactly) my mum's friend who used to cut our hair was at our house with her 2 kids, the oldest of which is the same age as me. I can't remember what I was talking to the 2 brot…

Is My Son Autistic?

My son is 3 years old, about to turn 4 after Christmas. There have been things I've noticed about him that make me wonder if he might be autistic like me. Just little things and only occasionally, but there are things there making me suspect it nonetheless. We know that autism is (or at least can be) genetic, so it would completely make sense for any child of mine to potentially be autistic too. Before we dive in, I'm not saying that any given traits listed here are necessarily autism-related, rather that I feel there are too many of them to not at least consider the possibility of autism.

The first thing I've seen in him is that he seems to like lining things up neatly. I haven't seen him lining things up too often in the traditional sense, but he definitely likes building huge towers out of Lego and other things, which is essentially just lining things up but vertically instead of horizontally. He builds towers as big as he can with Lego, with Play Doh pots, sometime…

Exciting Things Coming

Just a quick post this week as I'm having a busy day and if I'm honest I haven't been mentally in the best place recently. I wanted to pop online anyway and give you a quick update of things that are planned/happening at the moment.
The first thing I want to mention is that the National Autistic Society is asking people to sign an open letter to all of the UK party leaders ahead of next month's general election. The letter brings to attention the fact that the updates to the government's autism strategy have been delayed because of this election, and it asks that the publishing of it takes a priority as soon as the next government is established. The existing autism strategy (entitled Think Autism ad published in 2014) is in place to support autistic adults by putting a duty on the government to produce guidance for local authorities to help them support autistics in a variety of ways including giving autism training for key staff and developing a clear pathway for…

The Logic Of Death

I'm writing this the day after I had to have one of my pet rats put to sleep. Her name was Pebbles. She was old and she was the runt of her litter meaning that she was the more poorly one out of her, her sister and their mum who were all cage mates. She had a mammary tumour just next to her left fore leg and because of her age and her fragile health we decided it was best not to operate, but instead let her ride it out until her quality of life declined. That happened much sooner than I expected.

I like to think that I deal quite well with death, and I put that down to 2 things; a) The fact that I've had countless different pets over the years and a number of them were put to sleep with me being there to see it, so I've experienced it enough to learn to cope. And, b) I think autism helps me cope with it too. We autistics are often fiercely logical, so whenever I've experienced the death of a pet - or even a family member - I've always looked at the logical side of …

Sensory Differences

At its simplest, autism is a difference in brain structure. This difference in the brain can cause all sorts of differences in how the autistic person experiences and processes any and all sensory stimuli. I briefly touched on sensory processing when I wrote-up my support sessions that I had a few months ago, but I wanted to go through some of the atypical ways my senses work in more detail.

There are 5 classic senses that everyone knows about; these being vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell. During my support sessions when they asked us what we think the 6th sense is I joked about seeing dead people, but in all seriousness there are vestibular, proprioception and interoception, making 8 senses in all.
Vestibular is the sense of balance and spatial orientation, co-ordinating the two for movement.
Proprioception is the sense of positioning of the body and its parts in 3 dimensional space and involves the effort that's used in movement.
Interoception is the sense of what's g…

Victim Blaming: A Sudden Realisation

The reason I write this blog is because it's a way to use my limited time and skills the best way I can in autism advocacy. Any dealings in the world of autism will inevitably cross over into the mental health world although autism in itself isn't a mental health condition - it's just a difference in brain structure. It can also cross over into the way people treat each other and the way we raise our kids. This week's blog post isn't directly about autism other than being about the personal experience of an autistic person, but it does address my treatment at school and the issues it has caused. It's something that I suddenly realised today (although there is a delay of a few weeks between me writing this post and its scheduled publishing date) and it's something that the more I think about it the more I'm really unhappy about it. That being the heavy level of victim blaming that I was put through during my school years.

As a kid I was always bullied. B…

5 Gifts For Autistics

Christmas is only 68 sleeps away and whenever people ask me what I want for Christmas or birthdays I've never known what I wanted, but since being diagnosed autistic I've come to realise that there are quite a few different things that I could do with. This could be either because it's beneficial, or just because I like it. So here's a list of a few ideas that you could buy for the autistic in your life. Please also be aware that this post contains Amazon Associate links, which means that if you purchase the items via the links I will earn a small commission. The exception to this is the very first link, which is to Chewigem, not Amazon, so it's not part of any affiliate program.

Chew Toys
Last Christmas is where I really started to realise that I had a problem with chewing. When I say "problem" I only mean in the sense that because I'd never had a chew toy at that point I resorted to biting my fingers and left them in a pretty bad state. At the time I…