Monthly Archives: February 2014

Gender and Autism Stereotypes: Problems for Autistic Girls

Standard

Since more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism, female autistic individuals face a lot of stereotypes about what autism “should” look like, based on what it tends to look like in the male autistic population. This is also true for gender-nonconforming autistic males and non-binary and trans* autistic individuals. I am glad that Blogging Astrid wrote a post about this important subject.

Blogging Astrid

Yesterday, I bought Parenting Girls on the Autism Spectrum by Eileen Riley-Hall. I’ve only read bits and pieces of it yet, but what struck a chord with me are the problems faced by both passive and aggressive autistic girls due to gender stereotypes and stereotypes about what autism should be.

First, most girls on the autism spectrum are passive. This can easily lead to them being ignored in a classroom or even at home. I notice this on my ward, too, because I’m fairly withdrawn. Because of this, my needs are not always met, as there are many patients who act out to get what they need. In the book, Riley-Hall talks about a girl in her daughter’s nursery who was so shy that she could easily be isolated if not for her attentive teacher. Passive autistic girls, according to Riley-Hall, need as much one-on-one attention as possible. This seems…

View original post 170 more words

Advertisements

Treatment Planning

Standard

I thought I’d share my current “treatment plan” (as professionals refer to what mad/disabled people do to get and stay well.  It could also be referred to as a “wellness toolbox”, “recovery plan”, etc).  This is honestly mostly for me to keep track of things, since it’s getting to be a bit complicated, but it might interest others to know how someone with mental, physical, and cognitive disabilities takes care of herself.  My main diagnoses are bipolar, autism, and ADHD; though I also have a history of trauma, non-chemical addiction and disordered eating, and some physical symptoms such as insomnia and hormonal fuckery.  (It’s yet to be determined the extent to which these physical symptoms are either caused by or cause the mental ones, though there is definitely a strong connection.)  Though I am a proponent of the “whole person” philosophy, believing that the mind and body are very much connected and so dividing things up into labels is really just a shorthand for doctors, for the sake of organization and readability, I will divide my treatment plan up into “mental” (emotional), “physical”, and “cognitive” (thought processes).

Mental

~therapy

~psychiatry as-needed (my psychiatrist prescribes psychotropic medication and also recommends over-the-counter meds, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies)

~Recovery Learning Center (peer-run drop-in mental health centers, which offer a variety of groups, classes, and social activities)

~expressive arts therapy studio and also art-making on my own

~Icarus Project (radical mental health activism and support)

~yoga, swimming, and hiking

~Paganism

Physical

~birth control to regulate my cycle and hormones

~probiotics to help with my GI issues

~physical therapy and occasional massage for my back, shoulder, and knee pain

~I have a sleep study scheduled for March 3rd to learn the cause(s) of my insomnia

~In the past, I’ve also had nutrition counseling, and may do so again in the future, though likely when I’m no longer in PT and have the time

~again, yoga, swimming, and hiking

Cognitive

~case management/coaching services at my apartment:  assistance with life skills such as cooking, cleaning, time-management, and organization

~study skills tutoring through my university when class is in session

~occasional consultation with an ADHD/LD/autism specialist, which typically includes cogmed (working memory training)

~Autistic Self-Advocacy Network

~neurodivergent social activities, including the Autistic Artists’ Collaborative

You may notice that this is a lot.

I spend roughly 8 hours/week at doctors’ offices or on the phone or at my apartment with specialists, and at least for the time being, it’s all absolutely necessary.  I am privileged to have health insurance which pays for most of this (aside from the non-clinical things, like yoga classes, and copays.)  Some is free, like Recovery Learning Center and the social and support groups, though I am also privileged to live in a large city with access to many options.  Not everyone has these opportunities, which is important to keep in mind if you ever find yourself frustrated with someone who is struggling and doesn’t seem to be getting better.  Being on disability, I also have the free time to devote 8 hours/week to my health and wellness, which would be impossible with a full-time job.

It does sometimes frustrate me that I have to spend so much time with doctors, because everyone knows that doctors are no fun.  I have goals and dreams, like working with children, being a Peer Support Specialist, showing and selling my art, being more involved in activism, traveling, and eventually having a family.  Every hour I spend on treatment is an hour less to devote to these goals or relaxing, having fun, and spending time with friends.  I remind myself, though, that it won’t be like this forever, and for now, I am very thankful to have the means and opportunity to take care of myself the best I can.  It does seem to be helping, which is wonderful.