Uncertainty drives anxiety, sensory issues in autism | Spectrum | Autism Research News

“Autistic children want to have control over their environment, to make it more predictable,” says lead researcher Elizabeth Pellicano, professor of psychology and human development at the University of London. Helping children learn to draw from past experiences to better predict the outcome of future situations may quell their anxiety along with their sensory sensitivities, Pellicano says. The work appeared 10 February in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

The findings suggest that interventions aimed at helping children with autism to cope with unpredictability could help to ease their anxiety and sensory sensitivities.

“What we’re suggesting is that all three of these factors are interacting, and if you act on one of these things, it might have consequences for the others,” Pellicano says.

In 2014, Sinha unveiled the provocative theory that children with autism overlook important clues leading up to an event and are often taken by surprise when a situation unfolds. The world can seem unpredictable and overwhelming from this perspective, he says.

“The link between sensory sensitivities and difficulties in handling uncertainty has important implications not only for our basic understanding of autism, but also for potential interventions,” Pawan says. “Instead of attempting to simply ‘dampen down’ the sensory environment of a child on the spectrum, it may be more effective to enhance its predictability.”


Autistic in the Pandemic: A Call to Action

What I’d like you to consider doing: write a poem, letter, essay, paragraph, sentence, bullet list or record a video or audio statement or create a work of art or music or photography—in some way express yourself to others on this theme: how I have learned to take care of myself when I’m alone.

Takes the joke of autistics have been practicing for this for years and turns it on its head: if you have, then share what you’ve learned for those who haven’t.

Quotes, Writing

30 years after Prozac arrived, we still buy the lie that chemical imbalances cause depression

Some 2,000 years ago, the Ancient Greek scholar Hippocrates argued that all ailments, including mental illnesses such as melancholia, could be explained by imbalances in the four bodily fluids, or “humors.” Today, most of us like to think we know better: Depression—our term for melancholia—is caused by an imbalance, sure, but a chemical imbalance, in the brain.

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An Autistic Perspective #TakeTheMaskOff – Masking, Mental Health, & Burnout

Masking can be hard on your self-esteem. Things you do naturally seem to irritate or be strange to other people. You learn to become whoever the person in front of you expects you to be. When an autistic person picks up the mask it is often a way to blend in, survive, or avoid abuse and bullying. Shaming comments like “That was weird!” “What’s wrong with you?” and “Are you okay?” become cues not to do whatever it was you were doing just before the comment. So you put it away – not now, not here, not in public. Wait till you’re home alone.

This is what I was talking about when I was talking about my mask the other day. It’s a defense mechanism, a way of coping, blending in. And it’s emotionally taxing.

I’ve been making a point of taking the mask off when I’m alone lately, and it seems to be helping. I’m hoping that once I get comfortable with that, I can move on to taking it off around my family, and then maybe the public? I don’t know. That seems risky.


Odd Days

It’s turning into an oddly emotional day for me. Odd because I don’t usually feel this emotional, odd for the emotions being felt. I started crying as I fell asleep last night. This is odd because I rarely cry.

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Staying the hell away from Twitter for a while. Tired of people from other states complaining about our caucus. I’ll keep my mouth shut when it’s your turn.