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Autism Live

An interactive web-show and podcast providing support, resources, information, facts, and entertainment.

Sep 30, 2021

The founder of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders  answering viewer questions again about decision making, dealing with death, social skills and more! Check it out!


 4:06 My friend and I both have autistic sons. Both have problems when faced with making a decision or a choice. They cannot select any of the options. Do you know what could cause this & how to resolve it?
 11:41 Hi Shannon, I’m so excited I get to watch Dr. Doreen live today! I have a question. My baby boy is 8 ½ yrs old now. Has been doing ABA since 5yrs old. Was diagnosed at the age of 3.5 and I learned ABA techniques from I behavioral training while we waited for ABA by a BCBA. His preschool was supported by early childhood development. He only received 20 hrs a week, once we were accepted by a BCBA and we had to fight for that. He was minorly effected by autism but lost all language by the time he was diagnosed. Fast forward to now, he’s doing great, and his BCBA continues to cut his hours back. We are looking for out of center events to expose him to, but don’t really know what direction to go towards. His additional speech and OT are also trying to reduce hours. We are users of skills for living, and have been using that to continue to move the goal post and establish more goals that seem to be overlooked. Lots of executive function, conversation enders, savers, etc. Am I crazy to think they should be worked on by both speech and ABA? I’m worried that things are being cut back too early. Am I just being a control freak, or are those categories in Skills supposed to all be completed? If so by what age. I’ll add a photo. Thanks for all that you do and always sending love and support!
 20:20 How can I help my 11yr old son about death, he mentions a lot that he wants all his family and himself to be alive for ever, that he doesn’t want the world to explode. That he wants the world to be ok. This has been going on for years. He says he wants to stay a small boy; I once try to explain to him about death and it was not good, he was very upset. Since then, I don’t know how to address the death situation, but he asks me every few days if the world and he’s family are going to be alive, please help.
 26:13 How do I make friends as an autistic adult in college?
 I (18F) am autistic and have recently started college. I have moved to a different state, effectively leaving all of my “safe things” behind (my home, my family and pets, my childhood friends, favorite museums, restaurants, etc.). I have registered with the school’s disability services to get the proper accommodations. My sister (19F, NT*) attends the same school. Things I am struggling with: I am entering the second month of the semester, and have made no real friends. The only meaningful conversations I have are with my sister, with every other interaction being no more than greetings and goodbyes (yes, that includes my roommate, whom I simply coexist with). I am not worried about not having friends, but my parents and psychiatrist have their reservations. I struggle on weekends due to the lack of structure. It is when I feel most overwhelmed by work and other duties and seemingly when my executive functioning deficits are the most prominent. I have been experiencing meltdowns and despite doing my best to implement structure into my weekend, without the incentive to complete a task from another person, I have no motivation to stay focused or even start tasks. There have been a few times where I was able to be productive, but I had been FaceTiming my father for several hours at a time while he continuously reminded me of and talked me through tasks. My parents are busy people and cannot afford to be on video chat for hours at a time. TL;DR: Since starting college, I have made no friends, have experienced meltdowns on weekends due to lack of structure, and consistently struggle to complete tasks independently. Questions: How do I make friends as an autistic person in college? Do I even need to make friends to have a successful college career? How can I implement structure into my weekends? How do I become more independent when managing my schedule and tasks? What are some suggestions that would help my further my success in college as an autistic person?
 35:48  Hey everyone! So, this will be a bit longer, but I still hope to fit everything in as shortly as possible. I was made aware I may have ADHD and Autism around 2 years ago by my now ex-girlfriend. ADHD didn't seem too farfetched, since my brother has a diagnosis 8-9 years ago. With Autism I rejected the idea, well because of ableism. I am 27 and live in Germany. It's quite complicated to get a diagnosis as an adult here and also have the insurance pay for it. I fortunately found a University Clinic which did exactly that, but even though I called there in early January, the earliest appointment was today. The complete year of 2020 I was informing myself, reading books, diagnosis manuals I gobbled down everything I could find. After a while I accepted that I may have Autism also. The amount of hurdles to get appointments for both diagnosis did seem insurmountable, but somehow I managed and I was excited for both at last. In May my newfound psychiatrist did diagnose me with ADHD and I am on medication since then, which helps a lot. But there is this percentage of my perception differences, the way I take specific hurdles and how I cope with this neurotypical world which does not align with ADHD. Or so I thought. The appointment wasn't really short (2 hours total talking time), she even called in a colleague for 10-15 min. In the end she said I don't have Autism, but emotional problems, yadayada, I should do therapy (which I am searching for since January independently, because yes I do have fucking emotional problems). I was taken aback and tried to argue to get why she has this opinion. Then she started retelling some details of our talk, but in a manner I felt weren't really what I wanted to tell her. Like she asked me if my family was rational, and I told her yes very much, but she construed it that my family is cold and that there is pressure to be something (because my father is an orthopedic doctor) but this is not what I meant. My family is very emotional, loving and caring; too much for my liking or everyones good. One of the reasons I do get checked out at that late age is, because my parents never saw a bad thing in being different, they saw it as a badge of honor! So they dismissed all the teachers and acquaintances who said I am not normal. I purposefully didn't check what the diagnostic criteria for Autism are in the last few months to not prime myself to get that diagnosis. I thought the doctor will ask the right and precise questions to get the answers which are relevant. After coming home and being disappointed, furious and very very confused, I researched the diagnostic criteria again and found that she never even asked my about my perception or even those very specific questions my psychiatrist asked my in my ADHD diagnosis back in May. I am questioning so much at the moment and would really like to hear your stories. If you had similar situations. I would also like to know if I should get a second opinion, because it seems like the same fucking hurdles again, with an unending waiting game A-fucking-GAIN. A small part in me is thinking maybe you hoped too much, maybe I developed too much attachment to this diagnosis and I really don't have it. Any advice is welcome! Thank you for reading my ramblings! Love to you all!
 41:58 Hello. I am 24 with autism. I also have a neurodegenerative condition that causes me near-constant migraines and also seizures sometimes. I deal with mystery body issues too like weakness and pain. You can imagine this life has made me very resilient, but I am not able to be independent. I can't work, I make a little money here and there selling art or nudes and stuff lol, and it's enough to take some weight off of my partner. I also do most of the house work and stuff, which I feel is fair and I don't mind it...I do prefer it to be done my way anyways. More comfy that way. But some days I'm much more sick than other days, and I'm having a meltdown inside my head and want to scream and cry for help but my Masking Level is Way Too High and so I just carry on. On the inside, I'm wailing, crying, wanting to die but my mask filters it out and so trying to express this pain to my partner or family or friends but I don't think they get it. They don't realize that if I'm "saying" I'm not okay and if it reads like a not-okay lvl 3/10 that I'm already at a 9/10 and just don't seem like it. I'm highly independent of spirit, and I don't like asking for help, and I especially have a hard time asking for help because it never seems like there's a "good time." I try very hard to respect my partners stress (he's ADHD and bipolar and I admire his resilience) because he supports both of us and I don't want to pile more on top of him. Do y'all ever feel like this mask you've made to maintain function is actually detrimental? Do you ever want to just have a full-blown autistic meltdown, panic attack level, rocking back and forth, expressing thoughts of suicide just to get those inner thoughts and feelings your mask usually filters away, out there? Sometimes I feel like that would be the only way to express truly what's going on inside of me, and how severely I need help. Asking both for advice and solidarity.
 49:06 I told her that I've suspected for a long time that I have autism, but I'm 33 years old and have never been diagnosed. When I was a child, I was diagnosed with ADHD, however. She asked me why I thought I had autism, and I expressed a number of my issues: Hyperfixations/Obsessions, difficulty reading body language and tone of voice, hard time making friends and difficulty flourishing in social settings, being too blunt, taking things literally or being unable to read the underlying context of someone's words or actions, sensory processing issues, overstimulation, and burnout etc. After I expressed this to her, I told her I'd like to get a diagnosis but I wasn't sure where to start. She immediately told me that there was absolutely no world in which I would get a diagnosis at 33 years old, and that she didn't personally think that I'm on the spectrum because I'm 'very verbal' and able to express myself. I'm DFAB (born female) and I thought that was exactly why we have a harder time being diagnosed on the spectrum than DMAB people? We're tend to (but aren't always) better at masking. It actually kind of made me pretty angry that she dismissed me out of hand so readily, when this is something I've struggled with my entire life. It also runs in my family, I am not the only person with these tendencies in my family. TBH she has done this with things I've actually been diagnosed with before seeing her. She has dismissed the idea that I have schizoaffective disorder, even though I have been on an antipsychotic for 8 years and was initially hospitalized in 2014 due to a psychotic break. She's also dismissed the idea that I have C-PTSD, even though again, I've been diagnosed with it. It always seems vaguely petty when she disagrees with me about this stuff, maybe she just feels like I'm talking down to her, I'm not sure.
 54:30 Help dealing with food texture sensitivity
 Hi, so, for all my life I’ve had food texture sensitivity, specifically with a LOT of vegetables and seafood. Even if I love the taste, I hate the texture. Honestly, I’m so sick of it. It has negatively impacted my diet so much, and the only advice I’ve ever been given is to “just get over it,” and to force myself to eat things till I like it. I’ve tried eating things prepared differently, and in small quantities in food, but I react so poorly that I’ll almost puke at the table, or it will bring me to the verge of tears. It’s so embarrassing having to order something without any vegetables, or just basically eliminating entire sections of menus because of it. I want so badly to eat healthy, but it’s so hard, and living on a college campus meal plan, I practically live off the grill items, and have gained so much weight. Is food sensitivity really just something I have to force my way through and be miserable with? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Edit: I would like to add, I’m on a college meal plan, so if I try something, and don’t like it, I really can’t get something else, and end up not having that meal. I also do not have a kitchen in my dorm.
 I only eat milk and biscuits (sometimes cereals) and I gained weight. I don't know how to stop this! I don't even see other foods as foods anymore, but rather items that are not supposed to be eaten, like a jar of body lotion or a bag of pencils. I live with my parents and I have food but I open the fridge and my brain sees no food... I don't understand why! It's been more than 2 months since I slowly started to replace every meal with milk and biscuits and even though I know it's not ok, I can't stop. Do you have any idea that might help or know any food that by itself is a meal, but it's healthier than milk with biscuits that I could eat everyday and slowly get rid of this biscuits addiction?