I find wearing new clothes really challenging and due to sensory issues it takes me a long time to find clothes I am comfortable in. When I do find something I like, I buy multiples of that item. For example, I have 6 of the same t-shirt in 3 different colours! To reduce any anxiety surrounding getting dressed, I wear certain clothes on certain days. This routine is familiar to me and means I won’t spend a disproportionate amount of time choosing what to wear.
As an autistic student, mainstream education was tough for me. Of all the school years, Sixth Form is where I felt most comfortable.
Although it took me a very long time to get used to you, and I’m sure at times it was difficult for you to adjust to me as well, I thoroughly enjoyed learning. However, I didn’t always like being in the classroom, and being at school wasn’t always easy.
Where most students hated having a seating plan, for me it was the difference between being able to attend the lesson or not. It was very important to know that I had my own seat, to feel that I had something constant in an ever-changing environment.
A couple of weeks ago, after reading my previous blog post (Tourette Syndrome | 10 Things I’d Like You To Know), Jess Thom (Touretteshero) asked me if I would write a guest blog post for her website.
I was delighted to have been given this opportunity and decided to write a piece on Tourette syndrome and education, called ‘Educating the Educators’.
To read my piece, please click on the link below.
Don’t forget to check out some more of Touretteshero’s blog posts while you’re there!
I have Tourette syndrome. A neurological condition characterised by involuntary movements and vocalisations called tics. Here are 10 things I’d like you to know:
1) Tourette’s is more than just tics.
Like more than 85% of people with Tourette syndrome, I have coexisting conditions: Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, to name a few. Although tics tend to manifest themselves outwardly, it is often these ‘invisible’ conditions and the symptoms you can’t see that are more problematic.
2) There’s an urge.
Most of the time, before I tic, I get a ‘warning’. It is an involuntary sensation best described as a burning, tingling ache. Sometimes I feel it in one part of my body, other times it’s all over like there are thousands of ants running inside me. Ticcing is a release, it reduces this uncomfortable sensation (known as a premonitory urge) ever so briefly. I fight this sensation throughout the day, so don’t assume that because you can’t see or hear me ticcing that I’m not battling inside.
Today, 2nd of April, is World Autism Awareness Day.
I wanted to do a post discussing my feelings on the problems with ‘high’ and ‘low’ functioning labels.
There is no consensus
There is no agreement on the definition of these labels. For example, is ‘high’ functioning referring to the individuals IQ, how they communicate, or perhaps whether or not they can interact with others in social situations? What is ‘low’ functioning? Where does ‘normal’ functioning end and ‘high’ functioning begin?
Functioning is not stable
Often, the way somebody functions can depend on the circumstance or situation. A student who excels academically is likely to be labelled ‘high’ functioning, but let’s say this same student struggles to speak on the phone, or has crippling sensory issues. It is probable that because of their ‘high’ functioning label, their difficulties may be underestimated or even ignored. Equally, those labelled as ‘low’ functioning may be underrated and their capabilities dismissed.
The important thing to remember is that ‘functioning’ is not fixed. Neurotypicals do not function equally in all aspects of life, so why does this idea of functioning only apply to autistic individuals?
My name is Sophia.
I am an autistic female, who has Tourette syndrome and OCD.
Welcome to my blog!