Go to todaysautisticmoment.com for the transcript
Autistics and those with ADHD intersect as Neurodivergents. We have issues with executive dysfunctioning, attention to detail and social challenges. Pete Wharmby was diagnosed as Autistic at the age of 34 in 2017. At this point, he is a self-diagnosed ADHD because getting diagnoses in England is still complicated because of COVID-19. Pete has immersed himself in working to make the world a better place for the Neurodivergent community. Pete is an author, a former teacher and father. Pete joins me to talk about this intersectionality to assist us with community organization and mutual support.
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The Intersection of Autism and ADHD
October 16, 2022
Welcome everyone to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by An Autistic Adult. My name is Philip King-Lowe. I am the owner, producer, and host, and I am an Autistic Adult. Thank you so for listening.
Today’s Autistic Moment is a member of The National Podcast Association.
Today’s Autistic Moment is always a free to listen to podcast that gives Autistic Adults access to important information, helps us learn about our barriers to discover the strengths and tools we already have to use for the work of self-advocacy.
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On Wednesday, October 19th at 2:00pm Central Standard Time, I will be joined by four Autistic individuals for live virtual Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions: Busting the Myth About Empathy. Contrary to what many believe, Autistic people do experience empathy. Some Autistics experience double empathy. Others experience empathy by spending a lot of time alone, fidgeting to help process what they are feeling. Many Autistics do not express empathy physically through their body language or facial expressions, however, that does not mean they are not experiencing any empathy. The virtual event will be livestreamed on Facebook and will be recorded and made available on Today’s Autistic Moment’s YouTube Channel.
As part of my preparations for this episode, I did a survey poll on LinkedIn. My questions were, Are you Autistic and ADHD? Are you just Autistic? Are you only ADHD? Out for the 48 individuals who participated, 63% said that they are both Autistic and ADHD. 25% said that they are only Autistic. 8% said that they are only ADHD. Only 4% said that they are unsure of either. Based on the answers to the survey, I think it is fair to say that most Autistics are also ADHD.
On the last episode, Tas Kronby and I talked about Autistics with ADHD. On this installment, Pete Wharmby and I are going to talk about the Intersection of Autism and ADHD. There is a tremendous overlap with Autism and ADHD. Autistics and ADHD individuals are Neurodivergent. The word intersection is a good way to describe how Autism and ADHD meet at the same crossroads. Autism and ADHD more times than not, work with and/or against each other. As Pete and I progress through our conversation, you will hear him talk about how the two work for him. Pete will share with us how complicated Autism and ADHD affects his life, and how it makes his life a little easier at the same time.
Pete Wharmby was diagnosed as Autistic at the age of 34 in 2017. At this point, he is a self-diagnosed ADHD because getting diagnoses in England is still complicated because of COVID-19. Pete has immersed himself in working to make the world a better place for the Neurodivergent community. Pete is an author, a former teacher and father.
Please stay tuned after this first commercial break to hear my conversation with Pete Wharmy.
Commercial Break I
Welcome back. Please join me in welcoming Pete Wharmby.
Pete Warmby, I have been following you on LinkedIn for quite a long time. And I've watched your posts on both Twitter and LinkedIn. And I just want to say, welcome, I am so glad to finally have this opportunity to talk with you. So, thank you for being here today.
Yeah, no problem at all. Thank you very much for inviting me. It's a shame that I couldn't do the original date because I got the I got the COVID at long last, you know, I came down with that. But thanks for rearranging. And yeah, it's great to be here and to have a bit of a chat about well about Autism really, I suppose.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, yeah, well, okay. Yeah, well, okay. So, Today's Autistic Moment is recognizing ADHD Awareness Month. And in particular, we're talking about Autistics who live with ADHD, I just had my last show with Tas Kronby, where we talked about Autistics with ADHD. And we talked about the differences between them, we talked about the similarities between them. We talked about executive dysfunctioning, you know, things that can be some of the barriers that can happen, such as how the educational system often pre determines the fate of our careers, and that sort of thing. So, but you and I want to talk about the intersection of Autism and ADHD. And I think, Boy, that's a great topic, because of the fact that ADHD, and Autism are both part of the family of neurodiversity. So please, let's begin, what important information to Autistic Adults, and our caregivers need to know, when we speak about this intersection of Autism and ADHD precede?
Well, I think the very core of, of that intersection is a is confusion, certainly, from my point of view. Both for myself and for the people that have to, you know, deal with me, you know, speak with me or work with me or live with me, or whatever the situation might be. Because I've often found that the way that Autism and ADHD interact can be very, very lacking in consistency, and often lacking in what I suppose what you could call making sense, you know, very often I feel like, but my behavior is that these two kind of parts of my neurology clashing can be quite complicated and quite confusing for the people around me and for myself. And I think that that confusion can lead very easily, to a lack of patience, and to a lack of compassion and understanding. Because it can be so inconsistent, that I very often find myself dealing with people saying, well, you were fine with that last time. You know, you were fine with that yesterday, and now all of a sudden, it's a problem. You know, and, you know, what, what on earth you know, you're, you're just moving the goalposts, you know, your, your, your check, you're being contrary and you're being difficult, you know, and that can be very hard to deal with, I think, because, you know, I know that I'm not doing anything on purpose. I know that I'm not you know, trying to cause a person or trying to be difficult, or you know, consciously doing things you know, in a in a contrary, opposite kind of way. But when you have people criticizing you in that way, you can have a lot of self-doubt, you know, and it can really start to build a kind of sense of Oh my word you know, I am unreliable I am, I am confusing and I am difficult and it can really fuel a kind of self-care This isn't, you know, which obviously can spiral considerably. So, I think, you know, the first thing I always try to make people aware of is that where we have this intersection of these two, as you say quite similar, but also dramatically different, neurologies, you've got to expect confusion, you've got to expect inconsistency. And you've got to expect things to be possibly a little bit more complicated than you'd like them to be, I think. And if you can go into with that expectation, then, you know, things will be a little bit more straightforward and a bit easier to handle.
Yeah, well, I think I think you're spot on about a lot of that. What are some positive ways that you think that ADHD and Autism intersect?
I think, I think sometimes that there, I was trying to think of a good metaphor for this. And, and I've, I've come up short, which is unusual. I'm gonna blame it on COVID brain fog, but one thing that just strikes me is that they're a little bit like a system that occasionally syncs up and kind of complements itself. And then sometimes that synchronization is lost, and they kind of, you know, start to fall apart and things start to go wrong. And, and sometimes there's a say is, there's a positive loop. And sometimes there's a negative loop. And it just kind of depends on the situation. But some of the positive loops that I've encountered of this intersection, are to do with focus and attentiveness, which is where, obviously, you know, traditionally and stereotypically ADHD tends to lack, you know, you've got this concept that, you know, it's difficult to maintain focus on a single thing. And, you know, you tend to, you know, need many different stimuli in order to, you know, get through the day. But obviously, Autism comes with its monotropic fixation, you know, on single sources of rate of stimulus. And, and I think that sometimes they can interact in a really positive way, because the Autism, and a, I don't like, representing them as kind of individual beings, but it's often the easiest way to talk about them. It's like the Autism starts to allow the ADHD to focus on things a little bit in a bit more detail. You know, and, and the energy that the ADHD might bring, if that's how it works for, you can then feed the focus, and so on and so forth. And it can, you know, it can really spiral in a positive way, which, you know, can lead to tremendous creativity, and tremendous productivity as well. You know, I find that when I'm in that kind of cycle, I mean, to be honest, my books were written, when I was in those cycles, I'd go for periods where I wasn't able to do it at all. And then I would enter into this synchronized kind of, you know, positive feedback loop, where all the whole chapter, you know, just get it all done, you know, and, and, you know, thus the books were born. So, I find that really positive, I think that's a really kind of nice way that the to interact. It's just a shame that they can't be relied upon. To always do that, you know?
One characteristic that can be present is that Autistics tend to be met with a lot of crises from here, they're like, short moments that just seem to hit. And we wind up in a state of confusion. Yeah. But one of the intriguing things about ADHD, is that ADHD has, can have a strength, that it works better on adrenaline. Yes, yeah, very much. So, I know, I'm putting you on the spot here. But that's part of my job. But the point is, is that is that it's interesting that ADHD, which is about attention deficits, is something that actually kicks in. So that one can actually focus on a crisis. Yeah. Yeah. Give some thought to that if you will.
Yeah, I think it's actually a very good point. And it's something that I recognized very strongly, and it was one of the things that really highlighted to me that ADHD was on the cards, you know, I got my Autism diagnosis. You know, what, five years ago now. I'm actually yet to officially get my ADHD because in this country, things are ground to a halt. You know when it comes to you know, getting people those diagnoses, especially adults. So, I am still waiting on that. But it was one of the things that really flagged it up for me that, you know, this was a possibility that I had that ADHD was there as well, because I've always thrived under pressure, always which, you know, strictly speaking, and of course, we can't generalize too much, but strictly speaking, that doesn't tend to be an Autistic strength.
Right, right. Right. Yeah. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. Yeah.
It's often seen as, like you say, you know, crisis, you know, crisis mode. And, and you know, that you've got the, you know, concept of burnout, meltdown and shut down or being responses to, you know, that kind of stressful situation. And yet, here, I was somebody who yeah, you know, when under pressure thrives, like, nobody's, you know, like, like, No way, I love it, almost, you know. I, I, it's the only way that I can actually do anything, you know. When it comes to doing things like this, or even more. So, you know, giving a big speech, you know, giving a big talk. I purposefully don't overwhelm myself with preparation, you know, writing scripts or anything, because then I wouldn't be able to do it, I need to have that feeling of, you know, flying by the seat of my pants in order to be able to get through the situation, you know, and it's, it's, you know, the adrenaline can be quite quite heavy. But, you know, if it wasn't for that, I don't think I don't think I'd be able to do what I do. At all.
I don't think I'd have even been able to teach because it often worked just in the classroom. Because, you know, I found teaching very stressful from an Autistic perspective, you know, a kind of, I don't want to socialize, I don't want to communicate with these people, you know, these children. I don't, I don't want to deal with the sensory pummeling, you know, of all the noise and the difficulties and all this. And yet, the excitement and the stress of it kept me going in a weird kind of, yeah, feedback loop, you know, which, which, yeah, made it possible for me. So, yeah, it's something that I strongly believe is quite a study for me a very, very important intersection between the two.
Yeah, I would agree. I mean, oftentimes, when I am in a crisis situation. And I feel I feel that confused state of confusion coming in. Eventually, I will have to bring myself to a place where I have to think about my steps to how I'm going to bring a result, like what is important, what can be set aside at the moment? And what needs again, my attention right at this moment? And, you know, I think that this is an excellent example of how ADHD and Autism can be both in conflict and yet. Oddly enough, in cooperation with each other, I think it's fair to say that they often cooperate and conflict at the same time. It's one of those wonderful pieces about the neurology that goes into these things.
After this next commercial break, Pete will talk more about how the social barriers with the intersection of Autism and ADHD affect his own life, and others. Are you someone who shuts down in the middle of a conversation, and get people commenting that you are rude and disrespectful? Pete and I know exactly what you are going through. As part of our conversation about advocacy we will talk about one of the most complicated differences in that there are medications to help with concentration for ADHD, and those who think there should be medications for Autism. Please stay tuned.
Commercial Break II
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Let's switch to barriers. And I remember that, as you were talking, at the very beginning of my questions, you had mentioned quite a bit. And this is my question about what are the barriers for Autistic Adults and ADHD as, as, as they intersect? You spoke of the social impacts of it, of people not being patient or understanding or suggesting that you might be just using your neurology to be an excuse for creating havoc, and for other people, which, you know, we get that all the time, because people just don't understand how Autistics and HDA they intersect and how they work together. Let's talk a little bit more about how those social issues of impatience and even those impatience’s with ourselves, which I think is also part of the barrier to self-acceptance and also working to succeed at the things we want to or need to be able to do. Go ahead.
Well, yeah, I did the very act of socializing, you know. And by that I don't necessarily mean in the kind of British sense of going out for a beer, you know, with a with a mate. I Just kind of mean spending time around other people, rarely, and very often, for me that very active socializing is a result of the conflict of ADHD and Autism. Because I think, in my personal case, it's very, very true that my Autistic side, seek solitude, pretty much consistently, you know, it's, it's that I'm not one of those Autistic people who would say that they are extroverted, yet Autistic. I've got a lot of respect for those people that I believe they do exist, I think that there are plenty of Autistic people who, who do enjoy social, you know, as long as they can get a break from it, as long as they can recharge their batteries, you know, they can really enjoy it. I'm not one of those people, you know, I am very solitary, I would be very, very happy, being completely alone, apart from when the other side of me kicks in. And I want to talk, you know, and I want to chat about things, and I want to, you know, share information and gossip and all this kind of thing. And, and I believe that that is that that, again, is that intersection, you know, I've got the solitariness of Autism being met with the, with the desire for, for socializing, the ADHD seems to bring for me at least. And that can be very conflicting. And it can be very confusing, because it means that, you know, for both me and other people, because it means that no one else can ever predict how sociable I'm likely to be, you know, so, if I go and see my family, there is no telling even I don't know, whether I'm going to be in a sociable frame of mind, you know, I want to chat and talk about things, you know, the past memories, and, you know, stuff like that, or whatever, I'm just gonna want to go upstairs and hide in, you know, hide in a room and, and, you know, be alone. And that there's no consistency to it. And there's no real way to plan as to, you know, what kind of phase I'm going to be in. But the worst thing is how rapidly that can switch, and how very quickly I can go from being in the sociable mode with the ADHD kind of, you know, humming away, and, you know, quite bubbly and lively, too, all of a sudden, just shutting down, you know, just nothing, just a complete loss of all energy. And, you know, desire to be around other people. And it can be, can be mid-sentence, you know, I can feel it happen mid-sentence. And, of course, that isn't something that many people can tolerate. You know, it's not socially acceptable to say to somebody, you know, mid conversation. Oh, sorry. I'm afraid I've lost interest in you now. I need to go.
Yeah. Yeah, but you know, that whole thing about shutdown is one of those things that also is, is often labeled by the psycho psychotherapy people as being an inappropriate behavior. And I mean, I have, I have had my moments when I just shut down in the middle of our conversation, and someone will assume that I've just become extremely rude with them, and just Yes, whatever. But that shut down and I and Tas Kronby and I were just talking about sometimes, that's also your ADHD, just saying, it just can't focus anymore, it needs a rest. And so, it's going to stop and your Autism, which is looking for a retreat, from the socialization to breathe, some of us own fresh air. I mean, like I say, like I say that the criticisms I've gotten, and I suspect you have too, that when that shutdown happens, people just make the most, you know, atrocious assumptions about you. Yeah, that's shut down moment, moment, moment is, is not so much about a rudeness, as much as it is, it needs time to breathe and rest. But because of the action that happens, and often the reaction that occurs, you just can't explain that to somebody who thinks you ought to not shut down in front of me.
Yeah, I mean, you know, for me, it's no different to, you know, let's imagine that you're going for a really long run or something. I mean, I wouldn't do that. Because if I run them out, I've got no stamina for that kind of thing. But, you know, imagine went for a long run, there comes a point where you can't run anymore. And most people, you know, when met with that would say, Oh, wow, you must be exhausted. Yeah, you sit down, you sit down, that's fine. You know, you've run a long way, you know, well done. It's the social equivalent of that, you know, and yet, unlike that, which is socially completely acceptable, because people recognize and understand it. We're seen as being weird for having precisely the same response, just for a different reason, you know, and because it's not understood, and because it's not widely known or accepted, then we're seen as being socially awkward or difficult or nasty or rude or any of these number of negative adjectives that we get thrown at us every day, you know? When Yeah, or actually somebody who's tired stopping doing something is actually perfectly reasonable.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And especially in times of conflict, when that that has that can happen. It's just the brain just can't really, really engage in the discussion anymore. And that shutdown is really a point of protection of saying, you know, and another point where that that actually comes in, is when we're facing somebody who is, you know, you're trying to ask you a question, and they have to insult your intelligence to answer it. And you just shut down and you just go into that mode of, you know, you're just you're protecting yourself from this person, just totally, totally try and totally destroying you because, because, quite frankly, they can. Because they can't understand how this Autism and ADHD are intersecting. And we have experienced so much social rejections, so many, you know, moments when people assume we don't know how to do things. And so, we do that shut down, just to say we're not we're not tolerating it anymore. It's, it's actually nonverbal. I'm done.
Yes. Yeah, it is. Yeah, very much. So, it's a noble retreat, you know, that everyone's allowed to do, you know, and yet we tried to do it. And, and yeah, I guess it gets frowned upon for some reason.
Yeah. Well, I can assure you it happens as much in the U.S. as it does in Britain. Anyway, um, yeah. So, I know exactly what
I think we're possibly a little lucky here. I mean, I'm verging on national stereotypes here. But at least in Britain, we've got that kind of general kind of negativity towards social interaction anyway, you know, you know, that we can hide behind a little bit of, I've often wondered whether it's easier to be an Autistic British person than it is to be an Autistic American. But, as I say, it veers alarmingly towards stereotype. I've got to be careful. But it's an interesting question.
Yeah, it is. And, you know, there are certain cultural things. For example, I know that. I know that in Britain, there are certain words that have very different meanings than here. For example, and I once had somebody explaine this to me, someone who grew up in Liverpool, actually, that that, you know, the English do not use the word friend as loosely as we do in the United States.
Indeed, yes, it's got quite a heavy weighting here. You know, it really is very, it's, it's not quite as close as you know, I love you, but it's not far off.
No, but, you know, yeah. kind of incorporate that, sort of into my own life to help me distinguish some boundaries, actually. But, you know, for those who may be listening to this conversation and thinking, what do we mean? What we mean is, is that, as far as England is concerned, you know, is that someone you might go out and have a cup of coffee with or someone you might have a lunch with, or have a have a conversation, even similar to what Pete and I are having. This is an acquaintance, this is, this is something that it just happens to be, hey, it's kind of nice, you know, just to have this conversation. But when they say, over there, that someone is a friend, that has quite the implication that is very different for us here in the U.S. In the U.S. here, we tend to meet people and immediately we call them friends in the U.S. that just, I'm sorry, in in Great Britain, and all that that just does not occur. And because it's understood that a friend is somebody who will do who will do what they can for you. And if they say no, basically, they're going to understand that. Here in the U.S., we don’t, we automatically jump to that person is a friend of mine. And so, you know, and just to, again, to say, sometimes I have used that kind of thing, because I will sometimes have somebody who is giving me a really, really difficult time trying to give me information that they think I have no idea what they're saying. And they will try to say to me, I'm giving you this information as a friend and I'll look at them and say, I don't think so. And so and so I will think I will think that through. But again, just to explain to my audience, this is why we're saying what we're saying. And it is one of those interesting things about languages and cultures that I just want to explain to my audience, for those who have no idea what I'm talking about what we're talking about. Yeah. Um, so let's turn our attention to what I consider one of my greatest parts of Today's Autistic Moment. What are the steps that Autistic Adults and our supporters, those who are ADHD to how do we advocate for what our needs are? When we speak of this intersection between these two, neurological social differences? Go ahead.
It's, it is a difficult one, because very often, I think it's probably fair to say, although, again, might be a little generalized, that, that it's people who are people who are both, you know, ADHD, and Autistic, I think it can be very difficult to explain exactly how that intersection works, you know, because as I've, as I've made clear, you know, throughout the whole thing, it can be very confusing and conflicted, and, you know, inconsistent and just a bit all over the place. So, it can be very difficult, I think, for individuals to, to communicate their particular intersection, especially because we, you know, affects us all very different, you know, some people, you know, the interactions will vary from person to person. So, I think the best chance we've got, and the biggest strength that we have, it is in community, and is in kind of numbers, and it's and kind of almost building a kind of de facto database of all of the ways that Autism and ADHD interact. And that would be like, you know, efficiently with some central person, you know, logging everything very carefully in onto the system, but just a body of literature that exists, whether it's on social media, or whether it's in articles, books, whatever it might be, where we have communicated our truth about our this intersection, so that other people can dip into it, and so that we can direct them to these things, you know, say, oh, you know, have a look at this and look at this. Because I think otherwise, the onus is on us all on as individuals to explain our own personal situation, whenever we have to. And that's impossible, you know, because we're, in the moment, I haven't got a clue. You know, I couldn't tell you, you know, what, what's going on there between my ADHD and Autism. You know, what I would rather be able to do is say, Well, you know, right now, I can't explain it. But here are some of the things that, you know, have been written or even that I have written in the past that might, you know, shed some light on that. And I think, I think, you know, making it a collective endeavor, you know, advocacy as a collective, rather than individuals is probably one way to go. Because otherwise, it's just too difficult. You know, it's just too tricky. Yeah. Explain? Because it is very nuanced. It is very, very dated. Yeah.
Yeah. Boy, that's a that's a mouthful. But that's good. No, I agree with you. You know, you know, we know that just being Autistic, how difficult it is, to advocate for things that people already have their preconceived notions of, or think they do. And ADHD is another one of those. There's one matter that that I think that is both a barrier, but it's also one of those things that needs its advocacy. I've been thinking a little bit about this as we've been talking. One difference that Autism has from ADHD, is that ADHD is often a matter of the brain being stimulated to focus. And there have been prescription medications that have been developed to help stimulate the brain. Whereas Autism, there isn't, even though you know, there are groups out there trying to push meds to treat Autism, which we do not advocate for here. We just don't. So, one of those challenging parts about advocating is, is we say that there are prescription medications that can help with stimulation for ADHD. That and I know those medicines don't work for everybody. But there's, but there isn't for Autism. So, advocating for those two is really going to be one of our challenges with that in mind. Feel free to comment on that.
No, I think that's very true, you know that there's this enormous imbalance between the two, for that very reason. Because all someone needs to say is, well, you know, do you take anything? Do you? Do you take anything for your ADHD? And with the assumption being that that side of things can somehow be wiped out? Yeah, removed? Yep. Yep. You know, leave them you leaving you alone with your Autism? You know? Yeah. And I think that, though, you know, I wouldn't want to speak for anyone else, you know, there are gonna be people out there who, you know, who want that medication, if needed, for whatever reason, but, but, you know, as somebody who's very strongly in the camp of, you know, these are identities, you know, these are a large part of what makes me, and, as I've probably already explained, you know, ADHD has actually helped me an awful lot in my life, you know, it's a huge part, and enabled me to do what I do. So, um, so yeah, trying to advocate for ADHD and Autism against a world which can just say to you, well just get really ADHD, you know, just wipe that out, just take meds is difficult. Because, you know, you want to say, Well, no, I don't want to, I don't want to do that, you know, if I do that, then I changed fundamentally, as a person and I won't be able to, you know, function in the normal way that I do. I mean, it may be better, I don't know, but there's a good chance that maybe an awful lot worse than that can make the advocacy tremendously difficult, because you're already met with hostility, you know, that, that that sense of, Well, why aren't you taking the easiest route out of this? You know, why aren't you taking the medical medicine? Why aren't you doing that? You know because that would help, you know, that would help you. And it would help me as the person who's having to work with you, because I don't want to have to amend my behavior, you know, I want you to do that, you know, I want you to remove it so that I don't have to worry, you know, which, which I think is often the subliminal, well, it's pretty obvious. And that's what they want, you know, the hassle of having to, you know, make adjustments or deal with it, or whatever it might be
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I interacted with someone a couple years back, who, you know, he has ADHD, and he's got somebody he's worked with who's convinced him that he's just gotten a lot better from that sort of thing. And let's, let's put some of the blame where it belongs, some of this belongs to the medical folks, because many of them have, I mean, here in the United States, for example, it wasn't until 2013, that the American Psychiatric Association made the move from moving ADHD from a mental disorder to a neurological developmental disorder. Nine years, nine years ago, exactly. So, we've just started to recognize that ADHD is also part of the family of neurodivergence. That responsibility, I think, goes to the medical community that has wanted to just place us on the medical model and say, it's just a problem. We just need to, quote, fix it, like autism person, we just need to fix it. And I think one of the things we need to we need to add, you know, advocate for here is that no, there is no fix for Autism or ADHD. I like to say, and this is me, playing on words a little bit, that the issues is not fixing. It's learning how to manage your day. Yes. And that's the medication is not to fix or correct. It is for the benefit of helping us to manage our life. Yeah, with these two, so let's let you know, feel free to add to that, if you wish.
Yeah, I think that's a good way of looking at it. I mean, I'm in an interesting situation, because obviously, I haven't got my diagnosis yet. So therefore, I don't have access to any of these drugs, you know, there's no way I can't afford to go private. So, I’m just gonna have to wait and sit it out. And a friend of mine at a fairly new friend of mine, who, again, is over and over that Atlantic from me, is a strong believer in not going down the medication route for ADHD, which has been an interesting topic of conversation, I must admit, you know, I've been I've been quite intrigued by that. Because I have to say that, you know, one of one of the reasons I want the diagnosis was because I wanted to, I wanted to try to see, you know, if there was some way that it could help with this, we haven't really touched on the negative aspects of ADHD so much in this session, but you know, I do struggle to focus and I do struggle to get things done because of executive dysfunction. You know, I can be very, very, I can really find it very difficult to you know, get up and go and to plan my time and to make the most of what I've gotten, you know, so on and so forth. So, there is part to me that, you know, he's very intrigued by what it would be like if I didn't have to deal with that, you know, if I if I could suddenly somehow tap into some amazing way to just, you know, oh, I want to I want to do the laundry. Oh, I'm doing, you know, right. Yeah, think about it for half a day, you know, before I can finally get up and do a thing. But I'm increasingly interested by this idea that the, you know, medication might not be the route to take, and maybe there are other ways to manage it. And, but it's something that's in its infancy for me, so I can't really comment on it much more than that, other than I've had my eyes open to it as a possibility. So yeah, it is interesting, but I like the idea of medication if you were to take it as not being affixed, but as just being a means to an end, you know a tool, to enable you to, you know, I suppose to thrive, you know, to be your best self. So, yeah, it's an interesting one, it's a bit in flux for me at the moment made even worse by the fact that I'm not even able to get hold of this medication anyway, you know, because it's gay kept by the, by the diagnosis.
Yeah. And I will just share that I have been on the, we call it Methylphenidate, which is the generic for Concerta, that is a time release medication that actually has Ritalin in it. And I am on a version of that. And that has made a big difference in my life. Which, what the interesting part of that is that they started putting me on that sort of thing. And the next time I saw my own psychiatrist, he said, Well, how's your, how's your attention been getting been getting better? Or has it been improving? And I had to stop and think for a moment now that I think about it. Yeah, I said, I have to say, when it started, I just didn't even notice I just went on and did more things. And I didn't even think well, gee, maybe that's because, you know, that sort of thing. And I say well, okay, there's the Autism again, you know, that sort of thing? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think it's important to say that, you know, the medication matter may not be may not work for others. And, you know, the thing is, is that, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's very much like Autism, in the sense that there will be things that will work, and there will be things that do not work. And, you know, you know, like, like, a lot of us neuro divergence, we're all unique, all different, and what works for what works for one will not work for another.
After this final commercial break, Pete will tell us about his books, followed by Today’s Autistic Community Bulletin Board, please stay tuned.
Commercial Break III
Are you Autistic and the owner and/or host for a podcast that is by and for Autistics? If so, I have a very exciting networking opportunity for you. I am cordially inviting you to attend a live virtual initial meeting to talk about the creation of the International Autistic Podcasters Association on Thursday, March 16th, 2023, at 11:00am-12:30pm Central Standard Time. During this meeting we can talk about what we might like an International Autistic Podcasters Association to look like and what we could do. The association members can share with each other what our podcasts are about, what is working well, what might need improvements and promote ourselves and each other to attract more listeners. The meeting will be recorded with a transcript and made available on Today’s Autistic Moment’s YouTube channel. To read more about the meeting go to todaysautisticmoment.com/apa/. Please share the news and link with any Autistic person you know who owns and/or hosts a podcast for other Autistic people. If you have any questions or concerns, send an email to email@example.com .
On November 6th Nicky Collins will join me to talk about a topic that is long overdue. Autistic Parents Raising Autistic Children. There are many who believe that Autistic Parents do not exist because of the false notion that there are no Autistic Adults. Many of the wonderful aspects about being Autistic can be helpful to Autistic Parents, but they can also add to their challenges. Most educational systems and community assistant opportunities are not prepared to help Autistic Parents get the supports they need. Nicky Collins and her wife are the parents of an Autistic Child. Don’t miss this important episode.
On November 21st, Robert Allan Claus III will be my guest for Autistic Adults Are Not Children. Autistic Adults are often stereotyped as children that never matured properly. Autistic Adults are infantilized by neurotypicals who feel that they know better as to who we should be and how we should behave and therefore should teach us to be more like neurotypicals. Robert Allan Claus III is an Autistic Adult who is going to talk about how being infantilized has affected him, and why he feels it is important that Autistic Adults be respected as Adults.
On December 5th, Becca Lory Hector returns to Today’s Autistic Moment to talk about Managing Holiday Stress. For many Autistic Adults the holidays is a time of sensory distress, seasonal depression, with social demands and all the music and holiday advertising that can stress us out. Becca Lory Hector was my guest for the Summer of Self-Care Series will give us some of her ideas about managing holiday stress to help us all enjoy them as much as we can.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment.
So, Pete, as we prepare to close this, tell us about your two books and the book that you've just released. And then tell us about the new one that you're preparing for March. So, because I told my audience about that. So, let's talk about that, as we close.
Okay. Yeah. So, the, the first book that they were both written, you know, one after the other, it was a very rapid process of that of getting them both in getting both produced. Yeah, the first book just come out, it came out in the 21st of September, and it's called, What I Want to Talk About. And it is an account of my life to date, with a particular focus on the special interests of the hyper fixations that I've had throughout my life. So, each chapter outlines a different special interest. So, for example, chapter one is all about LEGO. Chapter Three is about video games, you know, kind of 1990s video, you know, the classic Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, you know, those kinds of games on Megadrive? Well, I suppose you would call it the Genesis, of course, but we call it the
I'm from the 80s, where we called it the Colecovision.
Yeah, my memories of those very early consoles were a bit hazy, unfortunately. But I remember the Commodore and the Atari, quite, quite well. A Commodore 64 I have one of those when I was very young. Anyway, anyway, so I focused on these things. And I use them as a way to talk about various aspects of Autism. So, with the Lego chapter, for example, I talk a lot about identity and masking, you know, with this kind of running metaphor of building you know, building a mask, you know, creating masks you can get older, which I'm quite proud of. It's quite nice idea, I think. So yeah, that's, that's, that's out now. And that's it, but that that is actually available everywhere. You know, you can get that in America and get that in Canada, that is global. So yeah, if you want to grab a copy, then please do you know by all means. The second book is coming out at the very end of March next year. And that's with a slightly bigger publisher. So, it's probably going to be a bit more of a push with that in a bit more marketing and things like that will be involved, which I'm interested to how that will go. And that's called Untypical. And that is a more kind of general resource about what I've learned personally about Autism since my diagnosis, trying to put it into an easily digestible form. So that non-autistic people, neurotypical people can pick it up and can hopefully, learn a little bit, you know, inform fairly informally, you know, it's not one of these books that's going to be filled with references and, and, you know, links to research papers, it's very much a, you know, here's what I understand about Autism, you know, hopefully, it will help you kind of book, you know, in with anecdotes and excerpts from other people's experience and just trying to get it all in one place. So that maybe, you know, we can, we can hope that some non-autistic people will pick it up, and will read it and will understand a little more about what it is like to be Autistic in this very hostile world that we live. Yeah, I'm hoping that that might, I mean, I can't expect it to change the world, but I'm hoping it might make things a little bit better for some people. To be honest.
My thought is, you know, making progress is better than not than not making any.
Yes, yeah. Yeah. It's a slow process. You know, that's one thing I've learned over the last few years. You know, two steps forward, one step back, you know, you some people start to understand more, and then, you know, then all of a sudden, they're trying to cure Autism. Again, it's oh, here we go.
I agree. Well, Pete, this has been a really great conversation, I think, I think my audience is really going to appreciate the information, the depth of this, this, this conversation. And so, thank you so much for this. And I look forward to your books. And just to tell my audience that next April, for Autism Acceptance Month, Pete is going to join me for a show about the special interests and how they've helped him based off that, the book that he's published just this past month, so my audience who can look forward to that and look forward to another, another, another conversation with Pete and myself. So, in the meantime, I've listed him on my guest bios, where you can read more about his books, and also follow him on Twitter, if you like. And he's another contact that I have been privileged to find on LinkedIn. So, there's that information. Okay. So, Pete, thank you for being here. And this conversation has been great. Thanks again.
Yeah, that's that. Thank you again, for having me. Yeah, it's been really, it's been a really good opportunity to chat about, you know, the intersection between the two neurologies which I think is so important, but we rarely find time to talk about I find, you know, it's nice to have had a good chat about that. I've enjoyed it. So, thank you very much.
And you're more than welcome.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Today’s Autistic Community Bulletin Board
All of these events with their links can be found on todaysautisticmoment.com/bulletinboard.
Understanding Autism virtual classes will be offered by The Autism Society of Minnesota. These classes are perfect for Autistic individuals, caregivers, those who want to understand the basics of Autism and support Autistic people. Classes will be held on November 21st from 10am to 12pm. December 19th from 2pm to 4pm. Classes are free of charge, but you must register to attend.
On Tuesday, October 25th beginning at 7pm to 9pm, Kathy Woods will present a virtual skillshop at the Autism Society of Minnesota entitled Learning to Drive While Autistic. This skillshop will share information and invite discussion on the critical skills needed for driving and how being Autistic can impact learning how to drive. Kathy Woods is the supervisor of the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Driver Assessment and Training. Kathy is an Occupational Therapist, Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist and MN State licensed driver instructor.
On Tuesday, November 15th beginning at 7pm-9pm, Jason Schellack an attorney and the Executive Director of the Autism Advocacy & Law Center will present a virtual skillshop at the Autism Society of Minnesota entitled Guardianship: Do We Need It? Learn about how legal guardianship works for many Autistics over the age of 18 who might need additional supports in Minnesota.
The Winter 2023 virtual sessions for the Autism Direct Support Certification classes will be on Saturdays beginning on January 14th, 21st and 28th. These classes are perfect for job coaches, support staff, personal care assistants, EIDBI Tier 3 providers, educational aides, direct support staff, day training and habilitation professionals, anyone who works directly with Autistic individuals and Autistic people. These classes fill up quickly, so register as soon as possible.
Go to ausm.org for more information about these and other events at The Autism Society of Minnesota.
If you have events for Autistic Adults and our supporters and would like them announced in Today’s Autistic Community Bulletin Board on the next episode on November 6th, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4:30pm on Wednesday November 2nd.
Today’s Autistic Moment is sponsored in part by Looking Forward Life Coaching. Looking Forward turns stumbling blocks into stepping stones towards success. Go to lookingforwardlc.org for more information.
If you have a topic that you think will be a great contribution to talk about the strengths and achievements of Autistic Adults and/or want to be a guest in season 3 in 2023; want your business or organization mentioned or have questions about Today’s Autistic Moment please send an email to email@example.com.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by An Autistic Adult.
May you have an Autistically Amazing day.