Autistic Traits

Autistic Traits

autistic-traits

Everything that I am and can hope to be is because I am autistic.

All of my traits are autistic traits.

All that is good about me, everything that I have, can and will achieve is because I am autistic. 

There are so many incredible autistic traits that make me who I am and who my little boys are.

I was going to write a long winded post about autistic traits but the reality is, we are all so different.

One blog post could never tell you in enough words how proud I am that I am autistic, that my autistic traits make me who I am and have helped me to help thousands of parents, professionals and most importantly children just like my own little puddins all over the world.

Having spent almost 40 years trying to fit into a mould that was not meant for me, I am so incredibly thankful to have been identified as autistic and am now able to retrospectively look back over my life, my triumphs and my foibles, with a kinder eye.

I want my gorgeous boys to grow up knowing they have so many positive autistic traits.

Conor’s ability to communicate without words with just a look that feels as though it goes straight into my heart.

Jack’s ability to name just about every dinosaur that has ever existed and tell me if they are a carnivore or herbivore.

Max’s gentleness and memory. He never forgets, he will always find exactly where he has left his toys and know exactly how to put the most intricate toys together after just being shown once, his memory is incredible.

He is the first to put his little hand on my face to say “are you okay mama”. 


Autistic traits; they make my boys and I who, we are.


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The Language We Use Matters.

The Language We Use Matters.

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The Language We Use Matters.

We need to think about the language we use and it’s implications and impact. 


I remember growing up always trying to be “normal” and trying to get it “right”. 


The word “Normal” to me was so vast and immeasurable it preoccupied my thoughts, trying to fit myself into this word that dominated my world . 


If you weren’t perceived as “normal” and didn’t fit within the clearly defined boundaries it commanded, then you were “other- odd -weird-strange” – a social outcast, always on the periphery. 


I spent most of my young life chasing “normal” around trying to catch up with her, trying to be what she said I should be, trying to copy what everyone else did, always trying so hard to please “normal” so I could fit in and I ended up burnt out, with low self esteem, not sure what was “wrong” with me and why I couldn’t do or be what everyone else seemed to get so easily. 


I guess what I’m trying to say in a long winded post, is we need to think carefully before we speak, before we influence and before we irrevocably change how our young feel about themselves, how they grow up feeling and how they perceive themselves. 


For my gorgeous Hailey and her little brothers, we celebrate difference and WHO they are.

Not who I think they should be or what I want for them. Who they are matters. 


They weren’t born to follow anyone, they were born to be themselves and that matters, a lot. 


Celebrate diversity, change the conversation and stamp out the compulsion of trying to be “normal”. 


There’s a spectrum of humanity in our house and I am incredibly proud of each of my gorgeous puddins, and hope they growing up being exactly who they want to be.

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Follow my family’s journey over on our instagram.

Identity First Language Matters

Identity First Language Matters

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Using Autistic Identity First Language Matters.

Do you say “autistic” or “with autism”? Identity first or person first language? 


As a parent to three autistic sons, in the past I have used “with autism” or that they “had autism”. 

Reading and Research


But then I started to read, research and learn.

Through my reading and research and lived experience I realised that I was “autistic”, later receiving a formal identification as an “autistic” individual. 



I started to really think about the terminology used around the words autism and autistic and realised that often the person first connotations of autism were steeped in a medicalised hue of autism. 

Moving away from the Medical Model of Autism


My own experience as an autistic individual has taught me that everything that is good about me, everything that makes me, “me” is because I am autistic. 


I am the same person I was as a young child, older now, more aware and hopefully a little wiser. 

Autism is all of who I am.


When I was born, I was born autistic, I am neurodivergent. I am different. I am ME. 



I did not arrive into the world with autism in tow. I was born autistic. I am autistic. 


I know that for many it can be confusing as to which terminology to use. 


Research has shown that most autistic individuals prefer identity first language, however if you are unsure, ask. 💜 

Follow my autistic journey over on my instagram.

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Adult Autism Diagnosis

Adult Autism Diagnosis

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I am autistic. This year I received an adult autism diagnosis.

I have been autistic all my life. Over the course of the last decade, on three separate occasions I booked and later cancelled 3 different adult autism assessments. But this past year, with the support of my husband, my parents, my family and closest friends, I went ahead with an adult autism assessment and was left shell-shocked by what the Psychologist told me and advised me to do going forward.

I have always known that I am different. I am one of 11 children and each of my brothers and sisters will tell you that I am unlike anyone else in our household.

My beloved sister will tell you that she could barely get into our childhood bedroom for I had filled every crevice with books, researching my interests. Staying up late at night to highlight my favourite words in the dictionary, later looking up synonyms for words I had just taught myself. I colour coded our wardrobes and constantly rearranged our furniture. I was lucky I had a sister who loved me dearly and who had the patience of a saint.

My mother will tell you that when I started school at 4 I was already an advanced reader, yet no one in the household had taught me. No one ever had to teach me anything, I would take my books and devour them. I would do my homework and then teach my brothers and sisters.  

My Father’s Daughter

My dad saw that I needed space to study and do my research so gave me a key to his office. I spent many happy days and nights all throughout my education even into my university days studying at my father’s office desk. He eventually bought me my own desk for his office. So, he worked, and I studied whatever interest I had at that time. I will always be thankful for his love that saw my potential and ensured I had a space in a busy household to be myself and do what I enjoyed most, being on my own, researching.

Later I met my husband, who when he first walked into my study room, saw walls of books, and started to laugh, not knowing what to make of this woman he was falling in love with. I being so particular about order and rules and research, have been incredibly lucky to find a husband who is the balance our household needs. He accepts me as I am, and I will always be thankful for his nature and kindness.

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Amanda Mc Guinness

As each of my children have grown older, the boys become more like me every day. Hailey so like my husband, Jack so like me. His interests and passions, I found myself just like my dad, making space for my child in my room. Jack comes in and hangs out with me everyday and evening. Researching his passions; diggers, dinosaurs, and bin trucks. He is my mirror and I, his.

Adult Assessment

The latter part of this year saw my attending an adult autism diagnosis / assessment. The Psychologist identified me as being autistic.  He told me he has never in all his days met someone as exceptional as me.

He explained to me that the rate and manner with which I process information is exceptional. He told me of a study that was conducted on a handful of autistic individuals in the world who process information at the rate and manner with which I do. He said I belonged in that study.

Adult Autism Diagnosis

He wanted me to understand that I was being diagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome because of my exceptional visual mind; the fact that my mind was cinematic, that I could access immeasurable information within my mind in a moments notice, that I could “see” whole days as a reel within my mind. The fact I deconstruct information visually within my mind and reconstruct it back piece by piece until I have the answer I am looking for.

Cinematic Mind

I have always found speaking so difficult as while I try to speak in that same moment, my mind shows be cinematic imagery of that which I speak about. I find myself speaking so fast, I call it a ramble, but he explained it wasn’t a ramble at all. With a large smile he told me that my ability to process information at the incredible rate with which I can, meant that when I spoke the information came out just as quickly as I tried to decipher the cinematic information and formulate words.

He told me that my intelligence was on par with leading academics in the world and he told me the questionnaire I filled out as part of the assessment stopped him in his tracks. He told me he had never read anything like it.

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He advised I return to University obtain my Masters, and later a PHD in Autism. He advised that I begin writing academic papers on autism and the manner within which I process and access information. He said he would expect to see my name on books with a PHD after my name in a few years’ time.

He told me that the manner with which I process information would be of great interest to leading academics and experts in the field of autism and to ready myself for busy years ahead.

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Link to @littlepuddins.ie on Instagram. (c) Amanda Mc Guinness

Exceptional

He told me there was only one word for me and that was exceptional and said going forward he was very excited to see what I do next.

I am so thankful to the Psychologist who has made such a deep irrevocable difference to my understanding of myself going forward but also retrospectively.

I am thankful to every person who has supported me here on Little Puddins and The Autism Educator. I owe an incredibly special thank you to Fiona Ferris of AsIam who I spoke to after my diagnosis. She and the AsIam team are incredible autism advocates.

I am Amanda Mc Guinness, I am Autistic.

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Contact me on Social Media if you would like more information about Adult Autism Diagnosis.

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Autistic Women Books

Autistic Women Books

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Autism in women has been a huge area of interest to me of late and thus I found myself ordering countless autistic women books. Like many adults who have autistic children I have tirelessly researched and continue my learning to understand the world from my children’s perspective. I have, over the years, read and researched thoroughly from the perspective of a parent to children, who are autistic.

In recent times, I find myself researching from the perspective of the aspergian; the adult, autistic woman. Of the books I have read thus far; there have been some stand-outs.

Below I will list my top 3 autism books for women but ask the reader to have cognizance that my reading and researching is prolific in nature and is on-going with regard to this subject matter. I have a “to – be – read” book catalogue that one would ordinarily only see in the likes of a well stocked book shop! Therefore expect to see numerous additions (over time) to my “recommended reading” with regard to female autism books.

Top 3 Female Autism Books

Autism & Asperger Syndrome in Adults. (Dr. Luke Beardon)

Albeit not written specifically for autistic females, this is by far my favourite book on adult autism & asperger syndrome. Over 117 pages Dr. Beardon discusses a plethora of key issues and factors to consider from an adult autistic point of view. The manner in which he views the heterogeneity of the autistic population very much aligns with my own views. A key point he notes about autism is “the impact that being autistic has on a person at any given time“… “it is the combination of you, the autistic person and the environment in which you find yourself that determines what sort of impact and outcome you will experience”. (p. 11-12)

When I consider this point retrospectively with regard to my own life’s past and now into the present from the view point of an autistic parent to three autistic sons, he brings a clarity to my thoughts on situations that occurred in the past that would not occur today. My absolute favourite autism book albeit not specifically intended for women alone.

Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Sandra Hendrickx)

A book dedicated to the fact that the profile of autism manifests itself differently in females than males. An insightful read at 243 pages. As noted by Sandra in her introduction “there are plenty of women with autism, but we just hide it better, make sense of it differently or present it in a way that slips under the radar of those looking for classic (male) indicators derived from the (almost) exclusively male research (or atleast that does not differentiate according to gender)“. (p.15)

17 key issues are discussed in great detail within the book. I found myself picking up the text to read and ponder a chapter at a time. A book that will long remain a staple in my repository.

Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate. (Cynthia Kim.)

“I’ve been autistic all my life, but I didn’t know it until I was in my forties” (p.13) The opening line of Cynthia’s text sets the tone for a journey of exploration of the autistic adult in retrospect and present day. “I’ve been forced to relearn how to be me. All the things that I thought were broken or defective or weird about me? It turns out they’re perfectly normal for people like me”. (p.19)

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For many adults who recieve a late in life diagnosis, it can be an overwhelming experience to reflect on a life in which you may have felt out of place, like the odd peg, never truly fitting in. Cynthia’s book catches you off guard, before you know it, an hour has passed and you are still reading. I found myself nodding to so much of her experiences as if it was a mirror to my own.

If you would like to obtain copies of my top 3 Female Autism Books, I have a created a list of my favourite autism & aspergers books in my Amazon Store Front.

I am always interested to hear of autism book recommendations. Feel free to contact me through my social media or drop me an email with your recommendations.

Amanda.