Tag Archives: sensory processing disorder

More on Autism

11 Apr

So I’ve mentioned before that both my case manager and the therapist wanted to have me evaluated to see if I fell on the Autistic Spectrum.  This was due to a variety of issues including my Sensory Processing Disorder, issues with eye contact, problems with socializing, and falling a lot.  With Kaiser’s evaluation system that took like 3 months to go through I was found not to have an ASD because I did not present symptoms as an infant, though I met enough criteria currently and had since a child.  This has been upsetting me a lot.  Transferring to UC Davis, I still haven’t made any connections and while I don’t need to have a lot of friends and to be honest am not interested in having a lot of friends, I would like to have one or two.  I never seem to say the right thing and I can’t figure out people.  My case manager went to a training about a week ago now and she said a lot of females on the spectrum are misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar because Autism is about not being able to control your emotions.  I have both.  She said if it’s any something she thinks I’m somewhere on the spectrum and that they need to train Kaiser doctors better.

I know several autistic young adults.  I found this on the internet the other day:

What do you think the most common cause of premature death is among adults of typical or high intelligence with autism spectrum disorders? It’s suicide.

A large study was recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry that examined the risk of death among the 27,122 persons diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders in Sweden when compared to age-matched controls. One significant finding from the study is that on average, persons with autism die sixteen years sooner than would be anticipated.  The finding we’ll examine more closely is that adults with autism and no intellectual disability are over nine times more likely to commit suicide when compared to their age-matched peers. Unlike the general population, in which men are significantly more likely to commit suicide than women, women with autism were at higher risk of suicide in this study than men.

Last month’s study isn’t the only signal that persons with autism are especially vulnerable to suicide.

  • study of 10-14 year-olds with autism reported that 70% of kids with autism also had at least one mental health disorder such as anxiety, ADHD or depression, and 41% had at least two comorbid mental health disorders. Of those with ADHD, 84% received a second comorbid diagnosis.
  • Kids with autism were 28 times more likely to experience suicidal ideation than age-matched peers without autism in this study.
  • In a study of 374 adults with Asperger’s Disorder, 66% of 367 respondents self-reported suicidal ideation, 127 (35%) of 365 respondents self-reported plans or attempts at suicide, and 116 (31%) of 368 respondents self-reported depression. Adults with Asperger’s syndrome were nearly ten times as likely to report lifetime experience of suicidal ideation than individuals from a general UK population sample, and more prone to suicidal ideation than people with one, two, or more medical illnesses, or people with psychotic illness.

Why might suicide represent such an enormous problem among high-functioning persons with autism spectrum disorders?

They’re more likely to experience social isolation and lack social supports. In the fall of 2014, we shared this anonymous post from a college student describing her experience of trying to attend church as a person with autism. Imagine how the challenges she describes would impact her day to day life outside of church.

High-functioning kids with autism are significantly more likely to become victims of bullying when compared to their peers with autism and intellectual disability. It’s become socially inappropriate to ridicule persons with an obvious disability…less so when the disability isn’t so obvious.

They’re more likely to experience difficulties with executive functioning that may translate into a greater risk of acting upon suicidal impulses, more difficulty employing effective problem-solving skills and more difficulty self-regulating emotions. Learn more here about the challenges persons face with executive functioning challenges.

Their propensity to become very fixated on specific thoughts or ideas may intensify suicidal thoughts, or result in more difficulty letting go of feelings of hopelessness when they occur.

http://www.keyministry.org/church4everychild/2017/4/4/the-suicide-epidemic-among-high-functioning-persons-with-autism

PS I’ve been more suicidal with less friendship and more lonely lately.

World Mental Health Day 2016

10 Oct

Today is World Mental Health Day.  If you had told me a few years ago that I would be moved out from my parents house, going to a 4 year university and hadn’t been in the hospital for almost 2 years I would have thouworld-mental-health-day-10-october-earth-globe-in-handsght you had to be kidding me.  I am amazed at the progress I have made in the last two years.  With four official diagnoses, 8 prescription medications, and a few appointments a month I’ve managed to stay stable for the first time in 10 years.  My counseling appointments are decreasing from every week to every two weeks or sometimes three.  I have few self harming urges and while the suicidal thoughts still come and go; I don’t have the urge to act on them like I use to and tend not to ruminate.  I used to think that I would be trapped in my lower state of functioning for the rest of my life, I hung on mostly for other people and out of guilt.  Now (most times) I actually look forward to the future.  I anticipate flare ups and relapses, I know I have acute chronic illnesses.  But I am enjoying the moment and success I have right now.

SPD and moving away

24 Sep

When I talk about my diagnoses, I always say my primary are schizoaffective and BPD because they affect my life the most my other two currently diagnosed are PTSD and SPD.  Most people don’t even know what SPD is and although I meet all the criteria for PTSD we don’t know my trauma, weird much.

 

Moving out of my parents house for the first time at age 33 has set off some sensory issues this week.  I took a shower for the first time in nearly two years.  I HATE SHOWERS! One of my sensory issues revolves around my hands getting wet, and wet hands touching things, at home I had a bath tub.  While in inpatient setting I was forced to take a shower so it is not like I have never taken a shower before but the longest I’ve been there is 13 days.  I will live in this place a year.  In a week period I got away with taking one shower and driving home to take one bath, but I know this is not a long term solution.  My hair was very dirty.  I can’t use dry shampoo because the smell also bothers me.  I got use to washing my hair in the bath tub with my hands so I assume I will get use to showers but man this is torture at first.  Lil sis has some sensory issues too, but is anti-psychiatry and thus undiagnosed and I am unsure if she meets criteria but gave me the tip of bringing a gym towel in the shower with me to wrap my hands in and keep them dry until I need to wash my hair then throw it out quick and wash my hair.  That won’t help issues like water pressure but it’s a start.

 

Last night I went to an event with my roommates on campus, I ended up taking a separate car because I wasn’t done with dinner by the time they left.  I kinda already feel a little left out by them, but maybe it’s my paranoia.  I was good for the first hour and a half and then the live band music got too loud for my sensory issues and I had to leave.  I felt lame and embarrassed.  I don’t really know how to explain it to my roommates, if I should, and this is really just the tip of the iceberg in regards to my mental illness.  All 5 of my roommates are either psychology or sociology students and one is taking abnormal psych this semester.  I mentioned my sensory processing disorder early on and of course no one knew what it was in adults.  When I described it was a common co-occuring disorder in children with autism like kids who have difficulties with certain textures of clothes and have tags cut off t-shirts a couple nodded. It was very simple.  So it’s not like they have no introduction.

Illegitimate 

29 Jul

Do you sometimes feel illegitimate or your diagnosis means less than because it isn’t paired with the typical diagnosis. Than your case manager tells you that you weren’t washing your hair just to act out and you know distinctly it was because of the sensory issues. If it was to act out, why would you allow family members to wash it in the sink. Would those be the people you were acting out against?

I feel without the comirbid ASD diagnosis my SPD is less legitimate especially as an adult. I know there are few adults with SPD. And I know I meet the symptoms and criteria. I just don’t have melt downs, I do shut down. I’ve found coping strategies. And I feel I have to ignore my issues and sensitivities because people will now say they are less legitimate. Family always has, except for knife sharpening; cuz they can see how that would bother almost anyone.

Another day in the life of a complexly mentally ill person.

More waiting

14 Jul

So I had to come clean to my parents about the possible Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis (ASD) Evaluation.  I had my mom fill out a form the specialist gave me to fill out for my primary care giver or parent.  She filled out some and my sister looked over it and thought it was insufficient as my mom was looking through “rose tinted goggles” so she changed some answers and I had her fill out other sections where I knew she knew the answers, aka not the birth-3 years old.  The specialist called the day before I was suppose to have the appointment and need to ask my mom some questions for clarification.  I thought “oh no” and now I gotta tell her the truth.  So I told her about my most recent Sensory Processing Disorder and how I’ve always had the social awkwardness that now seems a little more than just social anxiety and paired with my poor motor skills they think I might be on the Autistic Spectrum.  I also told her when the specialist called not to answer questions with what she thinks I can do but with what I currently do do.  He just asked about 10 questions about when I was a baby and a toddler and now I have to wait a week and a half for results!  I wish this process went faster!

All over the place

30 Jun

My mood has kinda been all over the place lately and mostly reliant on other people or me level of boredom.  Which isn’t healthy.  Sometimes it’s not.  I’m kinda excited about starting summer school and the whole transition of moving out and transferring to UC Davis, but I try not to think about it to much because I don’t want to get overwhelmed.  Since I’m only taking one class this summer and it doesn’t start till August 1st, I was thinking about delving into some help type things I’ve been avoiding like maybe looking into talking about gender identity (though it isn’t bothering me too much right now) or looking into ACOA groups, again it’s not bothering me too much.  I guess things don’t have to be really difficult at the time to bother you, if you still know they are an issue.  I know when school starts up, it will be too crazy.  I’m interested to see what this ASD eval has to say.  I was talking to 20 something friend today about relationships and meeting people and how I don’t have skills and sometimes no interest and he was talking about like an ASD group or something.  I don’t know if that exists and technically I don’t know if I have a diagnosis or will.  I know in the past from being friends with others with BPD it was a mistake and caused a lot of drama.  I know I was trying not to look up info on ASD until I heard from the doctors, but I wanted to know what the new DSM5 had to say about it as I heard they were doing away with Aspergers and that’s most likely what I think I would be diagnosed with.  I was not surprised to find I met most the criteria but then that it said it had to be ruled out for schizophrenia, so I wonder if they will roll all the “social functioning” issues I have under the schizo in schizoaffective and then have the sensory issues in the Sensory Processing Disorder and just kind of ignore the other weird quirks like delayed sexuality, poor motor skills, my fixations, routines and problems with change.  So many questions and probably few will get answered.

Out with it

22 Jun

Why I asked/my case manager pushed for the Autistic Spectrum Disorder evaluation:

  • I was just in October of 2015 diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, even though I have had sensory issues that have made functioning on different levels difficult for as long as I can remember.
  • Problems with eye-contact
  • Don’t shake hands or high 5 because I don’t like people touching the palms of my hands; I just kinda stand there if I don’t know them.  Backwards high 5 people I do know, and have recently became more of a hugger
  • Clumsiness/ motor skills; I fall a lot, and my case manager says I walk funny
  • Bad communication skills in general
  • Awkward social skills
  • Most my life have had one or two friends except high school
  • Will not use the phone, usually have my mom pretend to be me and make calls for me
  • Very small group of things I like to eat and places I will eat those food at and thats all I eat over and over again, don’t try new things.
  • Won’t eat yogurt, jello, cottage cheese, or things with a similar consistency (SPD)
  • Wearing same clothes, like smell and worn-out-ness of already worn clothes.
  • Won’t wear certain fabrics, closed toe shoes, socks, or gloves unless necessary (SPD)
  • Won’t wash, lotion, antibacterial soap, sunscreen or let most liquid touch my lands; occasionally lick them when they feel dry (SPD)
  • Loud music (like at clubs/bars) makes my eyes blink and head spin (SPD)
  • Flashing lights do the same (SPD)

SPD is not a “dubious diagnosis”

6 Mar

I’m an adult with SPD!

Eating Off Plastic

There I was, spending a quiet evening at home, munching diligently on some freshly-baked oatmeal cookies when my eyes scanned the internet headline “Why ‘Sensory Integration Disorder’ Is A Dubious Diagnosis.” The author of the article, Peter L. Heilbroner, MD, PhD, states that Sensory Processing Disorder (or Sensory Integration Disorder, as it’s also known) is not a real condition.

cookies yay

As I began to violently shovel oatmeal cookies into my mouth, I read and re-read his article over and over. Below, I have written a counter-argument, because I believe Sensory Processing Disorder is real and those of us with SPD deserve advocacy. Since I am an adult with SPD, I will do the advocating!

His argument:

“Many children with autism have “sensory issues” such as oversensitivity to touch. Similar symptoms occur with other neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems (including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and anxiety disorders. However, the prevailing medical view is that “sensory…

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Counseling Update 3/4/16

4 Mar

Today was an interesting day.  Because my case manager has been so busy and her role within my health insurance is changing my appointments are now about 30 minutes a week instead of the usual hour, I assume if I needed a full hour she would be there for me.  First  things first, yesterday I found out I got into San Diego State University which is/was my first choice for attending school but would require a move and some big changes.  I earlier had sort of written it off because I was not stable enough, but now am actually considering it.  Anyways, if you follow me on my blog Facebook page you would see I was “feeling stoked!”  My case manager practically cried today when she found out, she was so proud and excited.  It also happens to be her alma mater.  The main reason I applied is it’s the only college in the state that has a BA in LGBT studies.

Next I mentioned how I went to 20 somethings group last night and after group, one of the members was talking about a co-worker who had to move office cubicles because of the strong scent of another co-workers perfume/cologne.  It was a good opportunity to bring up Sensory Processing Disorder, and it being a spectrum and the complexities.  I also explained my history with it.  While recanting the story to my case manager she was surprised I had so many issues with it, as we have never talked about it all together in one session, she suggested I get an evaluation for ASD  (Autistic Spectrum Disorders) because of these and other symptoms I have, she’s going to talk to the therapist about it.  I feel torn; another diagnosis, possible more resources especially if I’ll be making this big step towards moving.  There’s always something new.

On belonging and feeling “in place.”

8 Oct

“In the end, I burnt out, caught between the desire to fit in and the desire to be authentic.” I can relate

closertohappiness

“Contrary to what most of us think, belonging is not fitting in.  In fact, fitting in is the greatest barrier to belonging.  Fitting in, I’ve discovered during more than a decade or research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them.  Belonging is something else entirely – it’s showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are…”  – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection.

A few weeks ago, while taking a hike with my dad and two of our long-time family friends, I had the realization:  I do belong.  I am loved.  I have been searching for community for so much of my life, and while I can always meet more people I value and who value me, I have had it all along.  And most of…

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