Introducing… ‘Were they on the Autism Spectrum?’

Hello everyone and welcome back to Neureco!

I have decided to do a new feature on my blog called ‘were they on the Autism Spectrum?’ It will look into people throughout history, ranging from long ago to more modern history, who were alleged to have been on the Autism Spectrum. I will discuss the reasons as to why this is thought about a particular individual and I will highlight some of their characteristics which may have meant that they were on the spectrum.

As demonstrated by the reasons being held by the hands above, we can’t be 100% sure if any of the people I will write about were indeed on the autism spectrum because:

1. It was possibly too long ago for us to build up a proper picture of the individual in question.

2. There was a lack of knowledge and understanding when it came to the spectrum when many of the people I will talk about were around.

3. Some people’s autism or Asperger’s in more recent years could have been missed (mainly due to reason 2 or if they were high functioning or masked their difficulties).

I hope you enjoy this feature and please do leave suggestions of people in history who were thought to be on the spectrum. Thanks!

Charlotte from Neureco X

Neureco comics – Autism, ADHD and Special Interests

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! Apologies for the time lapse between the last post and now. I have written a short comic strip about how autism and ADHD can affect special interests that neurodiverse people pick up. I hope you enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed the comic.

Charlotte from Neureco X

Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2021.

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco!

This week (15th – 21st March 2021) is Neurodiversity Celebration Week!

This was launched by Siena Castellon who runs the website ‘Quantum Leap Mentouring’ which you can visit here: https://www.qlmentoring.com

It is a week about celebrating and raising awareness of neurodiversity. This includes; Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, Tourette’s and many more.

If you would like to find out more about Neurodiversity Celebration Week, have a look at their website: https://www.neurodiversity-celebration-week.com

Happy celebrating!

Charlotte from Neureco X

Comic – the geography field trip and the dyspraxic

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! So today I am introducing small comic strips about the adventures/goings on in the life of a neurodiverse person. Some of the stories are fiction but others are based on actual experiences I have had. I hope you enjoy!

This all happened on my last geography field trip. The fact that I am tall and dyspraxic can sometimes make life difficult when doing fieldwork.

We went to Selwick Bay, Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, UK to do some fieldwork (I’ll add an actual photo).

It was very steep and the only way down to the beach was a small wooden staircase which was itself steep and caused many problems on the way back up, I became easily out of breath and tired and had to take a few rest stops on the way up because of my poor muscle tone.

Whilst we were there, we were asked to climb through a small cave to get to another area. This was a bit of a nightmare because I am tall, therefore didn’t fit very easily into the cave, and I struggled to crawl through because of my poor coordination and gross motor skills.

Honestly though, I absolutely love field trips and field work. It’s one of my favourite things in Geography.

Thank you very much for reading!

Charlotte from Neureco X

Dyspraxia out and about.

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! Today’s post is about the difficulties faced by those with dyspraxia when they’re out and about. I haven’t talked about dyspraxia often enough and I thought it would be interesting to explore.

I’ve drawn a couple of thoughts I sometimes have when I’m out.

I struggle to walk and stand for long periods of time because those with dyspraxia often have low muscle tone and low upper and lower body strength, this can also be experienced by those with autism. Because the body doesn’t have enough strength to support itself for prolonged amounts of time, those with dyspraxia can become easily exhausted after standing or walking for certain periods of time and it can cause aches and pain. I often find that my back goes, although I’m quite young and you only usually hear about older people having problems with their back going or people who have back problems due to an occupational hazard for example.

Fine and gross motor skills can be affected by dyspraxia and tasks such as paying for parking can be tricky as it involves many fine motor skills. I often worry if I am paying at a parking metre or even at the self service checkouts at the supermarkets about holding people up behind me because I am very slow.

People with dyspraxia can experience many other problems when they are out and about, these are only a couple of examples.

If someone struggles with coordination or fine/gross motor skills out and about, please be patient with them. They’re trying their best to get what they need to do done but it may take them time.

Thank you very much for reading!

Charlotte from Neureco x

Employment and Autism

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! Today’s post is about employment for those with autism, specifically why autistic people want to be and should be able to be in full time employment.

According to organisations such as the National Autistic Society and Ambitious About Autism, only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full time employment. There are several reasons as to why this statistic is so low. Some people with autism may find the working environment overwhelming and difficult to navigate, as a result some people may find having a job too tiring and overwhelming or may only be able to cope with a part time job. Additionally, some employers may not fully understand autism therefore autistic employees may find places inaccessible as their employers don’t understand their needs. The whole process of applying for a job can be stressful enough for neurotypical people but can be even more stressful and confusing for those on the spectrum.

I believe that many autistic people, including myself, would like to raise this statistic. Many autistic people would love to be in full time employment if they could access that. Autistic people have so much to offer to the world.

Autistic people have different qualities compared to neurotypical people which may benefit them in their working lives and could benefit their employers.

For example:

• Autistic people have great attention to detail and can spot it in the big picture.

• Autistic people can be very committed and devoted to what they do, particularly if their job relates to their special interest.

• Autistic people are very reliable.

• Those with autism also have a very unique and different way of viewing the world and thinking which can benefit many areas e.g. problem solving.

These are just a few qualities people on the spectrum poses. Fortunately many employers actively look for autistic people to take on specific jobs because of these unique characteristics.

Employers could become more aware of autism through taking courses, some organisations offer courses for employers and professionals about the topic. Also if employers asked employees if they have any disabilities or any other conditions, they would be able to make suitable adjustments and accommodations so these people can do their job to the best of their ability.

All of this doesn’t just apply to those on the spectrum, this applies to all the other neurodiverse conditions too!

Thank you very much for reading!

Charlotte from Neureco X

Sibling appreciation post

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! Today’s post is dedicated to appreciating the siblings of those who are neurodiverse.

Siblings are awesome people who often understand neurodiverse conditions better than most people as they live and experience it every day.

Siblings can be those people who stick up for their neurodiverse siblings in the playground. They look after their siblings and show them the ways of the world.

Siblings of neurodiverse people are often neurodiverse themselves as many of the conditions which fall under neurodiversity are likely to be hereditary.

I wanted to say thank you to those who have neurodiverse siblings for supporting them, understanding them and love them for who they are. You guys are absolutely fantastic!

Charlotte from Neureco X

The neurodiverse guide to periods.

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco. Today’s post is targeted more at those who have periods. A period being a few days of bleeding from your uterus.

Sometimes with neurodiverse conditions, people can find it slightly more difficult to deal with periods, mainly because of difficulties with organisation. So I have decided to do a brief guide to periods for those with neurodiverse conditions.

So firstly if you are quite young or are a parent of a young neurodiverse person, it’s important to know what to expect when you get your first period. Usually it will just happen but you can prepare by reading a book on it or by watching a factual video about periods if that’s what you prefer. When you have had your first period, you don’t tend to have another one for a few months and during adolescence they will not always be regular because of your changing hormones.

One important thing to decide is what kind of sanitary products you would prefer to use.

The most common sanitary products are towels and tampons.

Towels stick to your underwear and will catch/absorb blood when it comes out. You can have different shapes and sizes and they can come with wings which help to keep them more secure.

Tampons are inserted into the vagina, some tampons come with applicators to make this easier, once it’s in you can’t feel it. They will absorb the blood and expand. Tampons are great for if you do physical activity or want to go swimming. However it’s important to change them regularly and possibly advisable to wear a sanitary towel at night due to a small risk of toxic shock syndrome.

It’s always a good idea to keep a towel or tampon in your bag or coat just in case of an emergency, for example if you get your period and you’re not quite prepared.

As those with neurodiverse conditions struggle with organisation, it may be useful to use something like this (see above) to know when sanitary products need changing. With sanitary towels, it is advisable to change those every 2-3 hours. Of course you can’t really to this at night but various companies do night time towels which are designed to be used for the time when you are asleep. But it’s important to change towels every 2-3 hours because when the blood from the uterus is exposed to the air, it will mix with bacteria in the air which could result in an infection.

I can’t stress enough how useful it is to keep track of your periods using a calendar or an app. If you have Apple products, you can use the period tracker function on the health app. I use Clue which was recommended to me by a friend and you can track symptoms you can experience during the pre-menstrual tension period just before you start your period such as tender breasts and irritability. You can also track if you do sporting activities as these can affect when your period comes. It’s useful to track your periods because you will have a rough idea of when to expect your period and you can add sanitary products to the shopping list and do whatever else you need to do to prepare for your period.

Thank you very much for reading, I hope this was helpful!

Charlotte from Neureco X

The Autism Spectrum, Autism and Asperger’s.

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! Today I will be talking a bit about the autism spectrum, autism and Asperger’s and the differences and similarities between them.

So Autism and Asperger’s are the same in that they are both neurodevelopmental conditions which affect a person’s ability to communicate and understand social situations. They both fall on the autism spectrum.

I’ve drawn the autism spectrum here (sorry it looks like the electromagnetic spectrum 😂).

When someone is diagnosed in the UK (I’m unsure about the diagnostic classifications in other countries), they will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder regardless of whether they have autism or Asperger’s.

This leads me on to the most major difference between autism and Asperger’s, those with autism have a speech and language disorder which involves a speech delay and those with Asperger’s don’t have a speech delay.

Because of this, there is an argument about whether Asperger’s should be a separate diagnosis.

On the spectrum above, I have put Asperger’s at the far left of the spectrum as it could be considered as one of the most high functioning forms of autism spectrum disorder. High functioning autism falls on the left as well but not as far as Asperger’s as those with high functioning autism often have speech delays and/or a speech and language disorder. This is about where I am on the spectrum, I had a speech delay meaning I couldn’t talk properly until around the age of 4. Severe autism is on the right of the spectrum line, those with severe autism will likely share similarly characteristics with those who have high functioning autism or Asperger’s but may experience them more intensely. Sometimes those with severe autism may be non verbal.

For many people, visualising the autism spectrum like in the drawing above is helpful so they can visually see where they or someone else is on the spectrum. Although, others prefer not to use a visualisation of the spectrum. But it doesn’t matter whether people visualise the autism spectrum or use other methods of understanding it. At the end of the day, understanding and acceptance is all we would like 🥰.

Thank you very much for reading!

Charlotte from Neureco X

Comic story – Charlotte in the cafeteria

Hi everyone and welcome back to Neureco! I thought it would be fun to do visual/comic stories illustrating how neurodiversity affects everyday life and adventures (both positively and negatively!) I hope you enjoy!

Charlotte is in the school cafeteria, she finds this experience challenging.

When I was at school, the cafeteria was one of the most difficult environments I encountered. It was a very bright, echoey and noisy room and the mixture of different food smells was overwhelming. Unless we had a lunchtime club or lesson, year 7-11 had to eat in the cafeteria. Luckily in sixth form, we had a bit more freedom with where we ate. Most of the problems I experienced were due to my sensory processing difficulties, especially my heightened senses.

Charlotte usually brings a packed lunch to school, because of her sensory processing.

Throughout my school life I never really had school dinners, except for Fridays at my second primary school because they did fish and chips. At my third primary school/secondary school, the cafeteria system seemed quite complicated to me and I didn’t want to be worrying about that whilst worrying about whether they had any food that I would eat so I always had packed lunches. Because I struggle with the taste and texture of foods, I often ate things separately. For example, I had a plain bread roll/bap/cob and had a piece of cheese separately.

Charlotte prefers to eat her lunch in the school library (when she’s allowed), it’s much quieter and there are less smells.

Especially during sixth form, I took to eating my lunch in the library. I would use the library during my free periods and if I had a free period before lunchtime, I would eat my lunch then. We were also permitted to eat lunch in the library if we were attending a lunchtime club or if we were working in the library that lunchtime. I preferred this because there were no overwhelming smells of food as eating wasn’t really allowed in the library expect for the circumstances mentioned, also it was quiet in there too.

If you or someone you know struggles with the environment where lunch is eaten, you could try finding an alternative place to have lunch to reduce sensory overload so you can enjoy your lunch as everyone else does.

Thank you very much for reading and please share your experiences of sensory processing issues in a cafeteria.

Charlotte from Neureco X

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