I spent last evening watching Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Tony Attwood, a British psychologist who has studied and written widely on the subject. This in preparation for a series of trainings we are undertaking with our staff to learn more about Asperger's and autism.
While I like to joke that I speak fluent Downs, I can't claim the same about the autism spectrum. If anything, the whole subject, especially when it gets into the areas of anxiety and social cluelessness, is uncomfortable for me–not surprising, since I have struggled my whole life with these very issues.
Most cerebral people, I find, when they really sit down and look at the spectrum, are able to locate themselves on it somewhere. If you know me well at all, I have probably inflicted upon you more than you ever wanted to know about certain subjects. (My apologies, but really, in your heart of hearts, how can you not share my horror at the loss of the pluperfect subjunctive in everyday English usage? I'm just saying.)
And so I have struggled to do justice to our Ranchers on the spectrum. Anxious people push my anxiety buttons.
But last spring, in the daily struggle with my own anxiety disorder, I discovered a simple relaxation ap for my IPAD. I've tried so many things, read so many books, taken so many pills, usually with some marginal degree of relief but not really much help when push comes to shove.
(I sympathize with the character in a famous New Yorker cartoon: “I garden, I meditate, I take bubble baths. Why do I still feel like I want to slug somebody?”)
These simple little aps (www.withandrewjohnson.com), lo and behold, for whatever reason, taken like medication for 15 minutes, after lunch, in the midst of my busy, stressful day–amazing. Within weeks I was able to sleep through the night and get through the day without the host of symptoms that have plagued me since I was a teenager.
Therefore I was not surprised to see daily relaxation prescribed on the Attwood site for people on the spectrum.
It's a step to take at the beginning of a long journey.