June 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Diagnosis, Family, Mind, Nature, Senses, Sight, Touch | 6 Comments
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Touch one, touch all.

At age three, you or your child may be told to put 50 fallen liquidambar leaves in a bucket.

Sounds fair: kids should help around the home.

50 ain’t many.

It’s a fine day.

Parents are near.

So why the crying?

The liquidambar leaf shape is relatively complex.

Worse, it can take infinite autumnal hues.

To an aspie toddler, a sole leaf may look challenging enough.

Mixed with other leaves, it becomes even more complicated – with endless permutations.

Focused on one leaf, the other 49 seem legion; the work highly daunting.

With more leaves falling on already cleared ground, the task appears impossible.

Too many simultaneous data overload the brain – triggering stress and threatening shutdown.

Mother can’t fathom the problem.

Nor can father, who becomes irate.

Yet the ‘brat’ before him isn’t ‘spoilt’, ‘stupid’, ‘disobedient’, ‘wilful’ or ‘lazy’.

Merely showing an early sign of what may take decades to identify and address.

It’s therefore advisable to try the ‘teaspoon test‘ before things turn ugly.

Doing so will likely save all parties time,

effort and


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Pic by The Marmot.

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Your smallest kindness will keep me going strong. With many thanks, Paul.



March 5, 2014 at 8:55 am | Posted in Animals, Family, Mind | 4 Comments
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The puppy as a child.

The puppy as a child.

If childless, you should have more success than most deriving faux-parenting experiences from non-infants.

This will likely be due to your vivid imagination and strong ability to anthropomorphize.

The flip side of ‘making do’ with substitute offspring is that when your pet does die, your heart will shatter with grief.

Yet it’ll probably be worth it.

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Even a buck or three will keep me in the hunt. With many thanks, Paul.


April 10, 2013 at 5:32 am | Posted in 1, Benefits, Family, Recreation, Senses, Treatment | 4 Comments
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Biplane start


A fabulous gift for an aspie is a biplane flight.

Strapped snugly in the cockpit, with the pilot behind, you see the airstrip beckon.

When the engine fires, you feel every rod and tappet clanking away.

Takeoff is breathtakingly swift.

Once you’re aloft, the strut wires zing as the tiny craft surfs every zephyr.

But you don’t feel afraid.

The plane is over 90 years old. Statistically, if it were going to crash, it would’ve done so already.

Though linked to the pilot by headphones, the wind and noise dissuade chit-chat – freeing you to savour the journey alone.

As you gaze down at your past – mapped out in homes, schools, offices and parks – you may feel brief respite from life’s struggle.

And on your reluctant return to earth, you’ll very likely feel blessed that someone cared enough to grant you such a wonderful adventure.


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.


December 26, 2012 at 7:23 am | Posted in Family, People, Society, Treatment | 9 Comments
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Graham Christmas Small

A time to take special care of yourself.

Xmas (Christmas) can be very tricky.

If you have no (or another) religion,

or can’t/don’t/won’t have kids,

or don’t believe in Santa,

or don’t like socialising,

or don’t wish to clutter your home with needless purchases,

there are few (if any) reasons to celebrate.

You may therefore feel your otherness particularly keenly at this time.

If you have a non-aspie partner, this will likely hit them pretty hard.

So it’s important to take extra care of yourselves and each other.

This may involve bolting the door and bunkering down until it’s all over.

A more positive use of ‘downtime’ is to go where others aren’t (e.g. a golf course at dawn on xmas morning).

If you have pets, make the most of them.

For they accept you, even if you are a ‘freak‘.


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May 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in 1, Compulsions, Family, Interests, Mind, Recreation, Senses, Sight, Touch | 5 Comments
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Points of difference.

You don’t see so many kids’ colouring-in books these days.

If you’re old enough, though, you may recall the pleasure of completing them.

Not all books were the same.

The designs, for instance, varied wildly – from obsessively intricate to insultingly facile.

The best fell somewhere in between.

The papers varied too. From shiny surfaces that barely took a pencil mark to blotter-style offerings that soaked each careful texta stroke far beyond its intended position.

It was rare, therefore, to get a pleasing design on practical paper.

Christmas ‘Bumper Fun Books’, by dint of their sheer size, usually carried two or three satisfying options.

With your attention to detail so keen, you naturally coloured within the lines.

Yet sometimes, engrossed in activity, an unguarded movement saw your marker slip.

This transgression marred the entire work. So much that you had to employ your black texta (the most valuable in the set, and the one most likely to fail first through overuse).

You traced the entire colouring-in design with black, making all the lines slightly wider.

At the slip-up, the line became wider still, as you covered the alien colour with pitch.

The result was not unlike a stained-glass window.

Alas, some errors were too big to mask and had to remain patent.

When you submitted a work thus flawed to your parent, their judgment was revealing.

Instead of praising your industry, your palette or your almost-perfect execution, they did something else.

They started at ten, then subtracted one mark for each crossed line.

Never, in your entire childhood, did you score a perfect ten.

Though you tried and tried and tried.

It was only 40 years later, when writing a blog post to ameliorate the Great Sadness that had befallen you on waking, that you realised something.

Your parent had Asperger’s too.


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April 8, 2010 at 7:30 am | Posted in Benefits, Family, Interests, Senses, Smell | 6 Comments
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Nothing hooks your delicate sense of smell
like these babies.

When you return home from dropping your partner at the airport, you may find evidence of their hurry to pack.

The instant you enter the house, the stench of mothballs will assail you.

The balls may be old and few.

The wardrobe (closet) door may be open mere millimetres.

It may only have been an hour since you left.

Yet for you the smell has pervaded the whole building, altering its aspect and bombarding your uber-delicate senses with torrents of data.

If you feel this way, you may consider becoming a detective – where attention to detail is a boon.


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April 2, 2010 at 8:30 am | Posted in Family, Mind, People, Society, Threats, Treatment | 5 Comments
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Read my lips.

Conversation can be so very difficult.

It’s especially upsetting when you try to participate fully and in good faith, only to fail utterly and incur the wrath of the other party.

Let’s say your partner informs you that their sibling’s cat is missing.

You ask if the sibling is upset.

Your partner becomes annoyed. Of course the sibling is upset!

This perplexes you, because six months ago, you heard the sibling tied their pet dog to their toddler’s tricycle because they didn’t have time to exercise either.

From this, you deduced the sibling didn’t much care for the dog.

By extrapolation, you surmised they weren’t fond of the cat either.

Your question, therefore, is logical.

Logical, perhaps. But your error lies elsewhere.

You perceived your partner’s news as an invitation to dialogue.

To participate fully and in good faith in this dialogue, you asked a question.

In reality, however, your partner merely wanted you to make the noises appropriate to such news under normal circumstances.

This is akin to small talk.

The dog, toddler and tricycle, however pertinent to your situational view, were irrelevant to the discussion.

Thus your deeper interest, though it sprang from a genuine place, was neither necessary nor welcome.

Your partner’s rebuff stings twice, because you:

  1. Were trying hard to converse like a normal person.
  2. Felt you were doing pretty well to recall the discussion of six months ago.

Alas, no dice. It just isn’t that simple.

This is one of the downsides of aspergers.

Your counsellor may say casual conversation can be learned.

But it certainly seems small talk is a big ask.


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December 7, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Benefits, Body, Family, Humour, Senses, Touch, Treatment | Leave a comment
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It’s difficult to overstate the calming effect of flannelette on ultra-sensitive skin.

Flannelette (also called flannel) warms, cradles and soothes.

It never cuts, rubs, snags, shocks or prickles.

If you were lucky enough to experience this fabric as a child, a trip down memory lane is highly recommended.

If you’re married, there’s a good chance your spouse won’t take kindly to you capering around the house in flannelette pajamas.

A less difficult goal is to shoot for a flannelette sheet on your bed.

Though you may also encounter stiff opposition to this idea, your partner will eat their words when they finally slide onto a slice of sheer comfort.

Chances are your bed is already a haven.

Flannelette will make it a nest.

Good luck!


October 17, 2009 at 8:04 am | Posted in Compulsions, Family, Mind, Senses, Sight, Threats | Leave a comment
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The Importance of White Small

The importance of white.

When choosing paint for your walls and ceiling, you may argue vigorously with your partner.

To you, white should be white. Like snow. Or swans. Or talcum powder.

It shouldn’t have ‘hints’ or ‘accents’ of pink or beige. It shouldn’t have fancy names like ‘cornflower’, ‘alpine’ or ‘baby’s breath’.

It should just be white. Especially if it’s going to surround you daily at home.

White represents truth and purity, both of which are in short supply.

It’s plain and easy to understand and it reflects light. It’s therefore very attractive and useful.

If you lose the paint debate, you’ll likely wince slightly every time you look at your tainted surfaces.



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August 4, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in Family, Hearing, Mind, People, Society | 2 Comments
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Very. Hard. Work.

When watching a social event, you can tune in to any number of conversations, provided you do so singly.

As soon as you’re following one thread, any auditory stimulus directed at you (e.g. a question from another quarter) crosses your wires.

This can even happen at a small table, with just four people.

You can focus perfectly on one thing, but not at all on two.

This is why you turn off the radio when writing, searching for street numbers or reverse parking.

As you’re genuinely interested in what people have to say, you may wonder why they don’t take turns to speak – so everyone gets a ‘go’ and nothing’s missed.

Instead, they all want to talk at once, often over each other, invariably using each other’s stories merely as a point of departure for their own.

And even if you tap your glass with a knife, call for silence, describe your difficulty and request order, it seems the nature of conversation is to revert swiftly to chaos.

Especially with families.

Incredibly, some people even have a television on while chatting with guests.

If your imprecations fall on deaf ears, you may be best advised to ‘unjam’ yourself by taking a short walk somewhere quiet.


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