The problem that I often come across is that my thinking is very rigid or inflexible. Now we cannot mistake this as stubborn, this is when something has been put into place or something that someone has told us that may of changed. When this happens our tunnels, in which our visions of the world travel through, explode and we frantically try to rebuild them.
When there’s a sudden change this requires some imagination but not necessarily creative. This is more problem solving aspect to imagination.
Autistic people like myself may not forward think/think ahead and this is where we struggle with organisation. Me personally I couldn’t run a bath, neuro-typical are able to imagine the many possible outcomes to something and create many contingencies. I and other people with Autism may be unable to imagine the many possible outcomes.
Also with the tunnels we like to keep moving in straight line where we can see, but if you’re and like shiny objects you will get distracted. This can send you off track my brain will then delete the initial task and create a new tunnel that predominantly features the shiny object. Thus completely forgetting my previous task, I’ll be honest this happens far too often and my peers must think I have early onset Dementia, as my short term memory is awful.
That was an almost seeming less transition into my next talk point, SHORT TERM MEMORY.
As I said above a distraction can literally make me forgot what I was doing as if a giant claw has picked me up and plopped me after somewhere new.
These distractions can be very subtle to humungous; well a subtle one could be a noise of joy from outside in the distance, then your grumpy teacher snaps their fingers and re-enter the room forgotten what you were doing.
It can be like a trance when I’m engrossed in something and there’s a mad energy of focus flowing through my body incredibly fast. The more you do the more you get engrossed and the faster that crazy energy flows. Then when the grumpy teacher snaps his fingers and breaks the trance, it can feel like that you’ve instantly transported to another world, it’s the strangest feeling.
That trance like feeling actually happens to me quite a lot and sometimes for no reason I become a zombie, not a flesh eating one, you know the kind that are enslaved or under a spell.
That’s a very long winded way of explaining what happen can cause me to lose some short term memory. Now when we say short term memory loss I most definitely do not mean goldfish style, but on occasion I will forget things after 5 seconds.
A lot of neurotypicals will get that feeling of leaving a room and forgetting why you left? Or even entering a room and forget why you had to go there?
That feeling happens to me a lot more often than it should and it’s all because quite often my information processing process gets interrupted,
This will happen to all people, everyone forgets things, but in this instance for someone who is Autistic this information has vanished. So as frustrating it maybe for you to have to explain it again, please do because they may have no recollection of what you said, now I’m not saying this happens with everyone. But this does happen to me, so I assume it’ll happen to other people on the spectrum.
As someone who has been able to crack the difficult concept known as “self-analysis”, I am more than happy to explain what happens to me and my short term memory:
- Now I’m at work and my boss has given me an instruction.
- Then I leave the room to carry out that instruction.
But as I’m walking towards the concept of completing the task, I spot something shiny and this shiny object has the immense power to erase the task from my brain.
2 HOURS LATER
MY BOSS: Tom.
MY BOSS: Did you complete the task?
ME: What task?
MY BOSS: The one is asked you do 10 minutes ago.
ME: Erm….no sorry, I forgot.
(My Boss exits the stage in a huff)
Now you may look at that riveting piece and think, “We’ve all been there.” But I doubt you’ve all had that same conversation on a daily basis.
Moving swiftly on to talk about more tunnel vision stuff, now we must discuss perception. This is how we see or interpret the world and of course everyone perceives things in a very different, this may be decided on how life has treated them.
There’s that old cliché of;
It’s difficult to categorise how people see the world because everyone is different. The world can be perceived based on your religion, the country you live in, your upbringing, a series of unfortunate events (good film) and many others I’m sure.
As I’m Autistic, the very thought of diluting all of those potential categories to construct full analysis of how the world is perceived, is giving me a headache. So let’s discuss how I perceive the world.
The world is full of information, like it’s almost too much for one person. But while working with a lot of neuro-typical people I have noticed that information can enter their body without them knowing, as they’re able to focus the area of their brain that collects ad eats information.
Now lovely neuro-typicals, who I still don’t understand, imagine the brain is a microphone connected to a mixing desk. On the mixing desk you can move the switches higher or lower; the higher the switch, the more information you take in. The neuro-typicals desk can decide if it should take in more or less of something before the information has been fully processed.
If you’re me, the chances are that you will take in everything at once, the information will be processed and after that the brain will decide what to keep or bin. I find that when I’m presented with something new all the information comes at like a scene from Jumamji.
The concept of information charging at you is quite distressing. This is the way it works e.g. I’m reading a book (maybe one that’s a bit better than this) and I take in the words, but the problem is when reading you need to process the words meaning after the words.
Here’s a helper that may help demonstrate how it works:
I read: Once upon a time a little girl name Rose went to visit her friends.
Awwww how lovely….
After I’ve read that sentence my brain deciphers that nonsense like a code and sort of re-words it into an explanation like so:
So, a little girl named Rose went to visit her grandmother.
You may think “that’s not difficult”, but this happens with everything and this can get awfully stressful when you’re having a conversation. If I’m in the middle of processing something that’s been said and it gets interrupted, my brain will either delete or reset.