Inclusive autistic traits

This is brilliant. I’m reblogging so that I can find it more easily but also as a help to others…



Autism is big and messy and confusing, and no-one really understands it. It’s difficult to make a good summary and description of autistic traits, because generally no-one can agree on what autism actually is. But even taking that into account, I’ve never read a satisfactory article or leaflet summarising and describing autistic traits.  Every description I’ve ever read suffered from at least one of these problems:

  • Wrongly weighted. So many descriptions of autism written by neurotypical people focus completely on social traits. Often autism is described as an entirely social thing, and any other differences are considered incidental if they’re mentioned at all.
  • Vague. The “triad of impairments” is the worst offender here. It divides social traits arbitrarily into “interaction”, “communication”, and “imagination”, but there is absolutely no clear distinction between those categories. They’re meaningless and useless divisions that don’t remotely simplify the description, and so they serve no useful purpose…

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Early years

This evening, following dinner, I’ve been sitting watching tv but unusually I wasn’t working on anything. If my hands are idle they have to do something so they scratch and pick at my skin. Another thing I do is to fold my arms with my hands tucked under. Sounds normal enough but what I do is to press my arms tight down on my hands and I’ll maintain that pressure. It’s the same when I’m traveling as a passenger in the car; my hands sit just above and between my knees and I’ll apply constant pressure for miles. As far as I know I’ve always done this. It got me thinking about my early years.

Mum told me that I had a very worrying habit when I was a toddler. I would sit under the table and repeatedly and consistently bash the back of my head against the wall. It worried her so much that she took me to the Dr who in turn sent me for x-rays. Nothing untoward was found.

Another time I disappeared and Mum found me under the caravan eating the tea leaves she always chucked under there…maggots and all. It frightened her so much she washed my mouth out with some kind of disinfectant solution.

My poor mum!

My earliest memory is from when I was two years old. We were staying at my grandparents. I was in the bath having my hair washed and I was screaming my head off. My grandmother came in to offer me a coin, one off those old large pennies, if only I would be a good girl and be quiet. It had no effect. I carried on screaming. My grandfather was a baker and they lived over the shop. My grandmother was probably concerned because my screams could be heard downstairs. You can just imagine them trying to reassure customers that I wasn’t being murdered!

Mum says over the years she tried every possible different way she could think of when it was hair washing time. Nothing worked, I always screamed the house down. I can remember when I was five lying on my back along the kitchen counter top with my head tilted back in the sink, holding a face cloth over my eyes. I was crying.

I don’t remember why I hated it so much. I was never able to explain to mum so she cannot enlighten me. I still can’t explain myself. Something’s been wrong today but I can’t explain it. Maybe next week. Next year.

I think I was about six or seven when I stopped crying when having my hair washed. I still didn’t like it though.

I presume these were autistic traits rather than me just being a temperamental child.