Category Archives: Autism

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Review

I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time [The Book Depository] in two days. The books is brilliant: you enter into an Autistic kid’s mind and how he navigates and sees the world around himself. Christopher is a fifteen-year-old kid with autism. He lives with his dad. One day, when he takes a night walk, he discovers that someone has murdered the neighbor’s dog. And so, he decides to investigate who killed him.

This book is a breathtaking adventure where you discover the ins and outs of an autistic mind. And you do that from two points of view; Christopher’s and your own. You get involved in his world, and you end up questioning yourself how many different brains and ways of taking the world are out there.

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Me & My Vulcan: Loving an Autistic guy. Talking to Walls

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It’s been a long while since I talked about me & my Vulcan. Autism is a topic that I like to talk about from time to time when exciting things happen. The other day we went to have a pint with an old neighbor of ours to a nearby pub. As you know, my Vulcan has High Functioning Autism, aka HFA. He went out of the autistic closet, and to our surprise, our old neighbor told us about his group at Uni where people talk about diversity of all types. One of the girls has HFA too. In trying to explain how she feels when talking to people she had a brilliant idea: let’s talk to walls.

At first sight, this might seem silly. But, we’ve tried it as soon as we came back home and it works. I’m the neurotypical illogical part of this partnership that is going to celebrate ten years of happy entanglement. For me, it’s hard to understand what happens in my Vulcan’s head. However, there’s always a new way to get to understand my sweetie. It looks like walls work miracles!

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Pepi in Wonderland: 3/11 will be always there

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Today I have a very emotional Pepi in Wonderland because we’re going to remember the 3/11. As you know, five years ago, a huge Earthquake and Tsunami hit the northern part of Japan. This was a megathrust, a one in every 1000 years quake that would turn upside-down the lives of thousands in Japan. For those who were there, I included, it meant a point in our lives in which we would re-think what we were doing and assess our time on this beautiful Earth of ours. Lives were lost, time stopped, and all the evils into our hearts went out in the blink of an eye. Families were torn apart, marriages were broken, jobs were lost, and the fear in our hearts was, in just minutes, there to remember us how flickering our lives really are.

There is but one thing that marked me for the rest of my days. One action of my loved one: a promise.

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Valentine’s Day: A nightmare for some Autistic people

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Valentine’s day can be a nightmare for some autistic people like my Vulcan. Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate feelings, but what if you cannot understand them? Or what if you get easily overwhelmed by them? What if you don’t understand why you need a day to celebrate love when you can do it every day of the year? When I first met my Vulcan asked me that very last question: why do we need a celebration of love when you can celebrate it every single day? It does sound romantic, isn’t it? However, he was just asking the obvious logical thing. Why do we need a Valentine day for love if we can love each other every single day?

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Valentine’s day, like any other celebration, requires thinking about presents and postcards with lots of sloppy writing on them. These activities can be very challenging for someone who understands feelings in an entirely different way. First, choosing a present is a nightmare for my Vulcan. As I stated in other posts, I create lists with goodies (usually geek stuff I’d love to have) so that he has some guidelines and doesn’t feel nervous nor lost in trying to make me feel happy “on an illogical day to celebrate something you can celebrate on a daily basis.”

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When Xmas becomes a Nightmare, HFA meltdowns



We think that the entire world love Xmas, but not everyone does. When Xmas becomes a nightmare for neurotypicals, can you imagine how it must be like for an autistic person? My Vulcan is Italian. He was raised into a very stereotypical Italian family who celebrated Xmas very much in the way the video up above shows up. Even if you don’t understand what they say, you can feel that the main character is fed up with getting scarfs as presents, while the kid gets 300 bucks, cannot stand the staggering amounts of food that the family serves, and is annoyed to death with Gestapo questionnaires, Xmas poetry and noisy folks. And yes, the Xmas tree in process of biodegradation is not an exaggeration! [My cousin left hers at the entrance of the house three years ago… Colors have started to fade out. Just saying that… the Xmas tree thing is real!] So, if it can be such a nightmare for us, can you imagine how it might be for an autistic fellow? Living hell!

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Lessons on Geek Anthropology: Castiel, the Autistic Angel

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This week’s lessons on Geek Anthropology is a little bit unusual. We’re going to explore Castiel, the Autistic Angel. Autism is a reality to many families, including mine. If you’ve read this blog, you might have found that from time to time I write about my Vulcan, my Mr.Spock. I like to use Spock for him since it’s one of his favorite characters, but I should be using other characters like Mr. Data or Castiel. And you might say, Castiel? Autistic? Yes. Castiel is an aloof and curious angel who saves Dean from perdition. He acts in an awkward way most of the time. However, he is getting “better” under neurotypical standards (the Winchesters, for example, are pretty neurotypical) when interacting with humans. As he learns new patterns, he also learns how to navigate Earth. However, his cuteness and funny quotes can be explained under the Autism spectrum.

Characters that we can find in fandom can help us understand better people around us that might be special or who might have a different neurological wiring. Even if writers didn’t intend to make of Castiel an autistic character, he does show up a bunch of traits. Remember that autism is a vast spectrum where we can find Aspergers and high functioning autistic people (docs have changed the names recently, but I keep on the ones I know more). Not all aspies nor autistic people are the same, but common traits make them special.

1. His face doesn’t convey emotions.

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For the most part, Castiel’s face is emotionless. Not in a bad way, but in a sweet one. He seems aloof most of the time unable to show up any emotion on his face. This drives Dean crazy, every time he tries to get some feedback from Castiel. Nods and facial gestures are hard for this angel, and when he does them, they feel awkward most of the time. As time passes, he learns little by little about some gestures, but he has an emotionless face that no other angel has. No wonder the Winchesters have adopted him, since he seems lost, despite having great powers. My Vulcan has problems in showing up emotions on his face as well. He, like Castiel, looks like a blank canvas with big eyes looking back at you most of the time. Pretty much like the gif up there. He is dang cute, but it can get on your nerves when he is on Castiel mode on.

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#AKF Always Keep Fighting

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I finally got my #AKF Always Keep Fighting tee! It has taken a while to arrive to destination, but I finally have it here with me. And with it comes the opportunity to get more personal on this blog. If you’ve been reading me for a while, you’ve already noticed that I don’t really get that emotional nor I tend to share many deep personal experiences. Yes, I do fangirl a lot. Yes, I do give tips on some topics related to living with my Vulcan… But I’ve never go beyond to a certain point here. But, today I want to change that and open a little bit more my personal door to you.

I love how Jared Padalecki has shared with the world his journey of always keep fighting. His message is strong and sound while giving example for others to follow. The brain is an incredible machine that sometimes works in a different way. We expect it to be perfect, and sometimes it fails. Other times it is just wired in a different way. I want to talk a little bit about that wiring.

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Understanding HFA time

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We take for granted our understanding of time. However, different cultures can have a different understanding of what time is and how it works. Not only different cultures might understand time in different ways, autistic people can do that too. Understanding HFA time can be challenging, since HFA time could mean “no time at all.” My Vulcan understands time as “no time,” so let me explain it using the world of comics.

In the world of comics time and space are the same. Time can vary as much as seconds or a million years in just what might look similar sequences. You can have dinosaurs in one panel, and then a car in the next one. The reader can interpret a quick pace of time in this sequence. You could also have a dinosaur looking left in one panel, and then the same dinosaur smiling in the next. In this case, we could assume that some seconds have elapsed. In comics, time is vague, and so it is for autistic people.

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The hugging machine

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Do you like hugs? I am an incredible hug addict (but only from people that I know and I like). However, my Vulcan does not feel the same about hugs. Though he might want some from time to time, his hugs are not the same as my hugs. Have you seen the movie of Temple Grandin? (I recommend this movie a lot, since it is useful.) In the movie, we can see Temple make her own “hugging machine.” She was unable to stand human hugs, so she built her own hugging machine. This machine did not really mimmic the human hug, instead it “squeezed” her tight, enabling her to release all the anxiety she had stored during time. Now that she is older, she seems to like human hugs more than the machine ones. Whatever the case, “hugs” help both of us to feel better, though in different ways.

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My Vulcan gets nervous with interaction with people. His anxiety can be challenging for him, creating discomfort and restlessness. In times of a high amount of anxiety, a “hug” a good way to help him release tension. Unlike the hugs I like to get, his hugs are “squeezing hugs.” In fact, what he needs is to be squeezed for a while. In that sense I become a “squeezing/hug machine” for him. While I like my hugs tender, he likes strong squeezing hugs. It seems that this type of hugs help him release the tension he has been storing, maybe during weeks, quite quickly. Huggins though it’s not perfect. He might feel relieved, but the whole anxiety issue does not disappear as if by magic. But they do help a lot.

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Sheldon and Leonard

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I have recently started to watch the Big Bang Theory. Though a friend of mine introduced me to it years ago, I simply disregarded it because it didn’t appeal to me too much: there were way too many stereotypes. Recently, despite the stereotypes, I’ve decided to watch it from another perspective and analyze some of its characters: Sheldon Cooper (the nerd who seems to have HFA and OCD) and Leonard Hofstadter (the neurotypical geek).

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Sheldon Cooper does show traits of having HFA. However he is an extreme stereotype of what a nerd with HFA might be. So he can be extremely enervating, specially for a non-geek neurotypical. Let’s see some of his traits:

  • He has a high IQ and a photographic memory. He remembers everything like if it were a movie, and can tell you exactly when and what happened, and which were your words. In fact, he seems to have photographic memory and think with images (very much like Temple Grandin does.)
  • He has interests in many different things, and he does know deeply about all of those interests. Ask, and he’ll tell you all about them.
  • He does not like physical contact. Hugging is an issue for him.
  • Being alone is being at peace. He gets nervous with people around, but being alone does not affect him in any way, in fact, it is Heaven.
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