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Friday, December 18, 2009

Mathmatical thinking.

We're creatures of structure us autists. We like routine and we try to keep to our routine. Every morning at Nine o clock I get up and get on the computer. I check Dominic-Deegan first then e-mail and then Livejournal in that order. Then I get dressed, eat something or drink a cup of coffee brush hair and teeth, pack up and prepare to leave promptly at 10:15 or 10:17. I catch the ten-thirty bus. If the bus is late I get angry and I pace.

Even someone that can go with the flow has a set pattern. Even on the bus I sit on the same seat every day unless someone else is in it then I sit close by. Being anal about punctuality has a bonus though, I am almost never late to work. and I call in sick when I am under the weather.

Why are us autist so ridged when NTs are so pelt-melt? I can't tell you why I have to do the things I do. I'm not inflexible, I do other things within my morning routine like get a cup of coffee on the way to work, or cast runes or do tarot before I leave. In the afternoon I am back on the computer and I don't get off until I go get something to eat. Occasionally I go out with a friend on the weekends. But generally I keep to a pattern.

It's believe that we do this because we can't be abstract and have very black and white perspective. I don't think this is all the way true. We can be abstract but we're not black and white. I believe we're mathmatical thinkers. We follow a basic logic. A+B=C NT's don't. They are more, "A+B=whatever" They think logicily yes, but not mathematically. A mathematical thinker doesn't just put whatever answer the feels fits and then changes it when ever he likes. A+B=C that's it. For some autists, formals don't just change and when they do it doesn't make sense and we get confuse and panic. Because if "A+B=C.2 then what about the other formals and equations we follow? Does F-D+U=A now? We get angry when we're thrown off routine not because we're stubborn and we have to do things just so, but because now I don't know what to do or what the right response is and we end up panicking.

Whilst I am very flexible and I do enjoy spontaneity when I am not working and I love adventuring and exploring the new and the unknown (right brained here) Work is different. I have to follow a set of rules and routines. Getting me off these rules is not a good idea. Here is an example of this.

On Wendsday, the parents threw a big lunch for the teachers in an act of thanks. I had no idea about this. So when I walked into the Teacher's Lounge to clean the microwaves imagine my shock at all the food and teachers. Of course they welcomed me and said "Have some lunch Noranne" I was so confused and awkward (I mentioned that I was awkward and they all laughed), A+B now equals D. The math suddenly changed and I was scrambling to figure out why. I ate lunch an I appear to be totally fine but inside I was scared of getting yelled at by my supervisor. After lunch we talked before I left to go clean. She said ordinarily I wouldn't be allowed to eat in the lounge but today was ok. I nodded and was fine with it and I went back to work with some cookies and a clementine for later nomming. I was upset and confused but I went with it.

Changing routine is not something that parents do all the time unless they have to. Many know the consequences of breaking the equation to throwing a "whatever" into it. However many autists do learn to be "flexible" or rather in my case. Keep our frustrations and anger internal because gods forbid we ever get confuse when NT's do something that fucks up everything.

We also like routine I believe because we like to have a little control. One of the reasons I am so flexible at home than at work is because at home I can make my own decisions and not get punished. I don't have that power at work. So I want to know that after first period set up I start on heating second period's lunch. Because I have that power that knowledge. It's the only security I have and finally for some, it's the only comfort we have.

We like the comfort of A+B=C.

1 comment:

  1. That makes perfect sense. If it's my choice, then I maintain control. If someone else changes things on me without warning, then I think it's upsetting to most people. Some just deal with that better. My dad hates change, hates surprises, hates to be interrupted and often does a very poor job of keeping that frustration internalized. I can look and see some of myself in that - I love order and organization and knowing, like you that A + B = C, or that A is followed by B, then by C. It's no surprise that my three, then, need the stability and predictability of knowing what comes next. We program lots of extra time in our mornings so that we have plenty of time to get ready and accomodate meltdowns without ever running late or short on patience. We do this partly because I need the time and routine of knowing that whatever hiccups we have in trying to get everyone ready that I will be out the door in time to be 30 minutes early. I need that buffer time to get mentally ready for whatever it is I have to do: teach a class or sit in a class full of lots of sensory information.