Autism is a natural variation of human neurology which is categorized as a developmental disability. About 1% of the worlds population is autistic. Autism is a lifelong condition meaning that autistic people are born autistic and that they will die autistic. You cannot “catch autism” or “become autistic” like you can risk becoming mentally or physically ill - neither vaccines or heavy metals or gluten will make you autistic if you aren’t born with it. You also can’t cure autism or recover from it - but all autistic people can live fulfilling, happy lives with the right accommodations so an autism diagnosis isn’t the death sentence that many people make it out to be. Autism isn’t a diagnosis which can be clearly separated from who you are and how you see the world - it affects every aspect about of how you think about, experience and interact with the world around you. There are many different aspects of being autistic which makes it hard to summarize the condition, but I’ll do my best to introduce you to some of the common autistic traits and experiences in this post.
Sensory processing. Autistic people’s sensory processing is different from most people’s sensory processing. This means that autistic people may be over- or undersensitive to different sensory input. This means that we may have trouble with sounds, touches, smells, tastes, etc that most people can easily tolerate or block out or that we may seek out loud music, blinking lights, bright colors, spicy food, strong smells and activities which provide physical activity and deep pressure. Many autistic people lack the filter that most people have which makes them able to block out background sounds, meaning that the ticking of a clock, the buzzing from a lamp or two people having a conversation nearby might make us unable to focus on what we’re supposed to be focusing on. This means that many autistic people will have trouble focusing in situations with lots of sensory input, for example situations where many people are gathered together, and that we are more easily overwhelmed and stressed out by different sensory input than allistic (non-autistc) people.
Stimming. Stimming is short for self-stimulatory behavior, meaning a behavior which is meant to stimulate one of your senses. Some common stims are rocking back and forth, bouncing your legs or feet, hand flapping, hand wringing and repeating words and sentences, but a stim can be any kind of repeated movement or action which stimulates one of your senses. Stimming can thus be many different things - you can stim by smelling, touching, watching, moving, tasting and listening. The reason why autistic people stim is tied up in the fact that autistic people’s sensory processing tend to be atypical - when there’s a lot of overwhelming, stressing sensory input, providing your own repeated sensory input by listening to a song on repeat or rocking back or forth or smelling something you like the smell of may help you focus and calm down. Autistic people also stim to express emotions - it’s a natural part of our body language just like smiling or frowning is a natural part of most people’s body language. We may jump up and down and flap our hands when excited where most people would simply smile, or we may rock back and forth and press our hands against our faces where other people would cry. That being said, an autistic person doesn’t need a certain, deep reason for stimming - we often do it simply because it’s fun and because it feels good.
Shutdowns and meltdowns. Shutdowns and meltdowns are both responses to extreme distress - they’re often caused by unpleasant, overwhelming sensory input that the autistic person in question is unable to escape, but they can also be caused by strong negative emotions. A meltdown is an outward reaction to said distress where a shutdown is an inwards reaction. An autistic person having a meltdown is a person who has reached a point where they are no longer in control of their own body - they’re experiencing an flight or fight response, so to say. An autistic person may scream, lash out, cry, smash things and run away during a meltdown. Shutdowns are another possible response to a similar situation - during those, the autistic person may become unresponsive, locked in place, unable to talk, etc. You should never get mad at autistic people or hold them responsible for having meltdowns and shutdowns - they’ve reached a place where they’re so distressed that they’re losing control of themselves and instead of distressing them further, you should help them escape or resolve what’s causing the distress - after you have given them plenty of time to calm down and recover, that is.
Trouble with non-verbal communication such as body language, facial expressions and tone of voice. Autism is a disability which affects communication and the ability to socialize, meaning that autistic people may have trouble reading, using and comprehending body language, facial expressions and tone of voice just like they may have trouble learning, conforming to and applying social rules. We may not be able to take a hint that someone’s not interested in talking to us just like we may not notice when someone’s interested in us romantically or sexually. We have trouble noticing when other people are bored or tired or sad or angry and we might thus often come across as uncaring or annoying in social situations. Our trouble with reading other people and seeing the nuance in their body language, facial expressions and tone of voice also means that many autistic people have trouble grasping sarcasm, irony and metaphors.
Trouble with words and speech. Most autistic people have some degree of trouble with expressing their thoughts and opinions through spoken words.This is because most of us don’t naturally think in words - we may experience, think about and process the world around us in pictures or sensory experiences and we may thus have trouble transforming those input and experiences into words. We may also have trouble with the process of speaking, not because there’s something physically wrong with us but because we can have trouble with making our throats and mouths pronounce the words or because we may have trouble with going from thinking a word to succeeding with the process of actually saying it out loud. It’s common for autistic people to have periods where they aren’t able to speak - we call it going nonverbal - and some autistic people can’t speak at all. That doesn’t mean that they can’t think or communicate, though - they may instead communicate via written words, text to speech apps, facilitated typing, sign language, picture boards, etc.
Executive dysfunction. Executive functioning is what allows us to go from thinking about or wanting to do something to actually doing it, it’s what makes us able to keep the different steps required to complete a task straight in our heads and it’s what makes us able to plan and focus on different tasks. Autistic people often have trouble with executive functioning which makes many everyday tasks that most people can just do without thinking twice about it really hard. Imagine that you want to do laundry but your brain doesn’t automatically come up with the steps required to complete the task - take the laundry basket to the washing machine, open the washing machine, put clothes into the washing machine, add soap, etc - instead you’re just standing there, knowing that you somehow have to go from dirty laundry to clean clothes without knowing how to go about it. This is a problem for many autistic people which makes many everyday tasks hard or impossible to do without help. We may need someone to prompt us to do what we need to do or we may need someone to talk us through the steps or we may need visual or written instructions which illustrate the steps required to complete a certain task. Executive dysfunction is the main reason why many autistic people have trouble with basic, everyday tasks that most people their age can easily do without help.
Special interests. Many autistic people have a topic or a thing that they’re deeply, passionately interested in. Some autistic people compare having a special interest to being in love - it’s what your mind drifts to when there’s nothing else to occupy it, it’s the only thing you want to talk about, it’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning and it’s the last thing you think of before you fall asleep. This intense level of interest and passion often allows autistic people to excel in their areas of interest even when they may have trouble with basic everyday tasks. Some autistic people have special interests that lasts a life time, other people experience that their special interests change every couple years or maybe every couple months - or in some cases, every couple weeks. Some autistic people have one special interest at a time, other autistic people have many special interests.
Routines. Since the world is often very chaotic and confusing for autistic people due to our atypical sensory processing and our struggles with executive dysfunction and social interaction, many autistic people rely on routines to create a sense of order in a confusing and chaotic world. We usually like to do the same things in the exact same way every day and if something breaks our routine or if something unexpected happens - or if somebody suggests an impulsive trip to the beach on a day where we hadn’t expected to do anything but the usual - it may result in shutdowns or meltdowns. If you want an autistic person to break or change their routine it’s recommended that you warn them in good time and that you give them plenty of time to prepare and adjust.
Unique points of view and different ways of thinking. Due to the fact that autistic people experience the world so differently from how most people experience it, we see the world from a different angle - often allowing us to come up with ideas or thoughts or input or solutions that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. Autistic people often have unique points of view and unusual ways or thinking and learning and this is often a strength - as we say in the autistic community, we are different, not less.
I’ve now summarized some of the more common autistic traits and I hope that this post gave you a better understanding of what autism is and what it means to be autistic. Feel free to reblog and share this post far and wide if you found it helpful or educational.
I created the sugar list out of need. I needed to songs to get ready to, to boost my confidence to, to remember why I had decided to go pro in the first place. Once I started the list, I found myself listening to and discovering new songs to add to the list. It’s an ever growing monster that I hope you enjoy. There are some songs that would be perfect on this playlist that I avoided because I had exhausted their appeal to me and others because I didn’t like the artist or the message they were providing. This list is just a jumping off point. Tweak it to your hearts content.
Whatever You Like- T.I.- Perhaps one of the first songs I ever heard that talked about sugaring. It’s still a dream. A man that will look me in the eye and say I can have whatever I like? Please, sugar gods, please.
Can’t Tell Me Nothing- Kanye West- This is my reminder that I’m not sugaring for accessories. I’m trying to better myself. To get certain things that will advance me towards my goal. To build a business that will get my money so right, I’ll only have men around for giggles.
All N My Grill- Missy Elliott- To the men who want to text and email and date the women they met on SD sites but don’t want to do the one thing that the site says they should be doing. Why aren’t they paying bills?
She Wants to Move- N.E.R.D. - When it’s time for me to leave you, when it’s time for me to dance, you don’t need to come with me, daddy.
About the Money- T.I.- His second feature on this list and perhaps one of the more obvious songs. If it aint about the money, why are we speaking? What else could you possibly offer?
Mascara- Jazmine Sullivan- Perhaps the song that speaks the most blatantly about life as a sugar baby on this list and the song that I think should be the sugar baby anthem, it’s a reminder to always stay well dressed, always stay ready for more.
GALAXY HidE and SeeK, from AZALEA’s upcoming single, was previewed on Uraraji! (So you’ll get some bonus seiyuu chatter at the end.) It continues the electronic theme of their songs, and definitely sounds space-y~
5 simple ways to stay creative when you’re off from school
Now is the perfect time to explore the questions that spark your creativity!
1. Design your own learning adventure. ”What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything,” wrote Pedro Arrupe. “It will decide what gets you out of bed in the mornings, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you.” What do you love to do? What experiences do you want to have? How much time and energy are you willing to commit to practicing a new skill? These are your primary creative constraints. To find a way to learn more about what you love, check out the nerd’s guide to learning everything online.
2. Schedule fun, weekly field trips to follow your curiosity. Julia Cameron calls this practice “the artist date” — and describes it as “a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you.” For example, you might visit a museum, art gallery, or science center; go for a long walk outside in a city, campus, or park; or seek out live music and performance. The specifics are up to you!
3. Keep an idea notebook. If ideas are butterflies, notebooks are nets. Whether you carry a pocket-sized sketchbook, a bunch of index cards with a rubber band around them, or a digital notepad, the important thing is to capture the ideas, dialogue, or patterns that draw your attention, because that’s how you start to find wonderful ideas.
4. Try a 10-day creative challenge. The idea is simple: for 10 days, spend 20 minutes a day in active creativity. Document your progress. Not sure where to start? Try these creative writing prompts.
5. Get a library card and read, read, read. Every great book is a portal — to adventure, to knowledge, or to new perspectives. Libraries make it easy for you to follow your curiosity and stay creative. If you don’t yet have a library card, now’s the time to get one. Not sure what to read? Try something from the world’s required reading list.