Hey guys, welcome to my channel, this is Erik Johnson, I want to talk about my childhood symptoms of Asperger’s, or autism or ASD. I’ve been doing a lot of research. So I’ve seen a lot of things that I did that other Asperger’s or autistic children have done. So if you’re curious about what the symptoms are, if you’re seeing your child acting differently, maybe this video can help, or maybe you can just see something about yourself in this video/article.
So it’s all about becoming aware of our symptoms, and that will give us relief, and know that you’re not alone. That there’s a lot of commonalities with the symptoms of autism and Asperger’s. When I got self diagnosed a year ago, it just made me cry with happiness, because my whole life was a mystery. My life was difficult in many areas where, you know, my friends, it was easy for them. But for me, I got tripped up on a lot of issues, which I’ll explain in this video/article.
But it was very liberating to self diagnose and find out that I truly do have autism, Asperger’s and it just made sense. It was the missing piece of my entire life sinceI discovered this when I was 47, and I’ve been stimming for 40 years, I started rocking back and forth when I was eight years old, and no one questioned it. No one teased me about it. I only did it at home alone. My parents were cool about it. But I never really knew why I did it. I didn’t even know it was called stimming until last year. So I’m going to talk about a few things that are common with autistic children and we’ll go from there.
So the first thing that happened where I was unique was I was very hypersensitive to sounds, and one of the worst memories I had, the one of the earliest bad memories I had, was watching a marching band go by. I was about four years old. I think I was in preschool and I remember when the drum section came by, it was so loud, and so scary and startling that I started to cry.
And what made it even worse was I was sitting next to a cute little girl and I was so embarrassed because she turned to me and she was so concerned. She’s like, what’s wrong? What’s wrong, and I couldn’t stop crying. And I was so scared. Then the drums were so loud. I eventually went to the nurse’s office. It was just a huge ordeal, especially for a four year old. I was super sensitive, and that was one of the first bad memories that I remember, you know, I was four years old.
Number Two: is late potty training. So people with Asperger’s and Autism, they have late developmental stages, they can have trouble developing physically, mentally, and so forth. So I remember wetting myself when I was in like second grade, and I believe I was seven years old. I remember wetting my bed at home and feeling a lot of shame and guilt – just peeing my, just letting my whole bladder out in bed because I was scared to get up.
There’s also a potty training issue around children that have been abused by their parents and I was scared of my dad. He had a huge temper problem. He has Asperger’s as well as I believe 50% of parents, usually on the father’s side, can have Asperger’s and pass it on to their children. It’s more predominant on the father’s side and I know my dad has Asperger’s for sure now.
Number Three: is intense focus on one subject. I was always fascinated and interested in one thing at one time and that’s the same as my dad. He’ll get into a hobby or something, a fad or something and he’ll be obsessed with it for six months to a year or two years and then move on to something new.
For instance, he really loved Texas barbecue. He would watch all the shows on it for about a year, it was their (parents) favorite thing, he would learn how to do brisket and his barbecue, he would learn the terminology about barbecuing, and he would be obsessed with it for about a year. Then he moved on.
Same thing with me when I had tutors growing up, because back to the late developmental stages, I did not pick up school. I did not pick up on class and education, like my peers. I always had a tutor. So when I would get with my tutor, I remember a reading tutor, for instance, she taught me how to read. I also had a math tutor, I also had a drumming tutor, because I was in the marching band eventually. So I got over my fear of noises, and actually got a drum set of my own, several years after that first occurrence of being scared of drums.
But I would always talk to my tutors about what I was fascinated with, and they would always have to tell me to concentrate on the coursework. Sometimes I would bring a catalog of dirt bikes, and I would pick out the one I liked and I would show the tutor, I’d be like, I really want this bike. This is my favorite bike.
It got to the point where she allowed me to talk about my interest for the first 15 minutes before we started to study, reading, you know, reading lessons. But I would always have a catalog or something, I’d always be fascinated with one thing, one song, etc.
I remember, I could listen to the same song over and over. I remember one of the very first songs I loved was by Gary Numan, and the song was Cars. I used to listen to the 45 on my record album over and over and over. And guess what? I just discovered a year ago that Gary Numan is one of the biggest proponents and spokes models for Asperger’s. That song Cars got me so much that I could listen to songs over and over and over hundreds of times. I was obsessed with it. It didn’t bother me. I liked repetition.
Number Four: is emotional outbursts. So when I get excited, or I feel like there’s injustice, I raise my voice, and I think I have hearing problems now from all the loud music because I listened to 40 years of loud rock and roll.
But when I get passionate about something, or I want to express an idea, and I feel like no one is listening to me, I raise my voice and for others, it sounds really loud. For me, it sounds like I’m just being passionate, and I’m raising my voice a little, like, What do you mean? What are you talking about? For me, I’m just being, I feel like I’m just being passionate, and I’m raising my voice a little. I learned that from my dad as well.
But Asperger’s and autistic people do that as well. They can have tantrums if things don’t go their way. It can just completely derail them, and they’re obsessed with it and they feel they feel like they’re not heard.
So when I feel like I’m not heard, even today with my fiance, I will get very upset. If something is out of my routine I am just really upset it can throw off my whole day. For instance, we moved into a new studio and so we’re only in one room now. Whereas before we lived in a two bedroom house and our cat could go into the separate room. When we sleep now the cat is sleeping with me and taking up half the bed. So it’s really upsetting to me because I’m losing sleep.
But for a normal person, they’re just like cool with it. They’re just like, whatever man, the cat is sleeping with me, you know, but with someone with a tight routine. I gotta sleep eight hours a night. You know, the cat is throwing that off. So I’m just like, Oh my gosh, you know, I’ve never had children of my own. I’m still kind of a child myself. So when things throw me off, I’m just like, wow.
So I’ve been raising my voice and for instance, a couple years ago, I was talking to a chef, I was a sous chef at a restaurant and I was complaining about a coworker who wasn’t doing his job and I was raising my voice. I was like, Yeah, he didn’t do anything last night and the chef was like, Dude, are you okay? You know, are you on Ritalin or something? And I was like, No, I’m just being passionate. And that’s all I said to him. I was like, I’m just being passionate. I’m not yelling. But a lot of people think I’m yelling. So that’s definitely a big one I can still work on today.
Number Five: is lack of understanding of social cues, lack of empathy, or compassion. So when someone gets hurt, you know, I might be like, oh, gee, that’s, I’m sorry, that’s too bad. But other people, they might be like, are you okay? You know, Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe that happened to you. You know, for me, I’m just like, oh, bummer. Then I’m back to thinking about myself.
So my empathy and my compassion is very low compared to other people. I am just, oh, that’s tragic, man, you know, sorry. You know, I’m not really feeling what they’re feeling. It’s kind of like lip service. I’m just like, Oh, I’m sorry. You know, but I’m still thinking about me, it’s really hard for me to think about others.
So I’m working on that as well. I’m thinking about them more. When I wake up in the morning, I’ll ask my fiance, you know, how did you sleep? How do you feel? Is there anything I can get you and I’m working on that. So that can be changed, don’t think that all of these things can’t be changed. It’s all about awareness first.
Number Six: unique hobbies. So back to my childhood, children with Asperger’s or autism can have very unique hobbies. I remember my dad was an electrician, or he worked for the phone company and he’d bring home these little color coded wires, electrical wires, and spools.
So I would go through his workshop and collect these wires and I would take my lunch box, and I would put the wires in my lunch box. I would string them along all together. You know, there would be a red one, a green one, a black one and they’d have to be different colors and I would make them curl around a certain way. I would collect wires.
Later on, my favorite holiday was Fourth of July and I didn’t even want to light off the fireworks. I wanted to line them up on my floor and take pictures of them. I did not want to light them off. Other hobbies could be collecting batteries, collecting weird stuff, you know parts of tools, sockets, any electrical fuses, I was obsessed with tubes from amps, electrical glass tubes that go into analog amplifiers.
I love stereo equipment. I love looking at amplifiers, I love different antique amplifiers, things like that, you know, Asperger’s children, at least the males are obsessed with different, unique hobbies and my dad even likes interesting things. I love trains. I am still in love with trains. In fact, if I had the money, I would buy a huge train set and it would take up probably half of our room. I love little lights on trains on the railroads. When I was hopping trains when I was in my 20s I loved seeing the red and green lights passing and I loved smells.
That’s the other thing is hypersensitivity to smells. I loved diesel exhaust from my dad’s sailboat. He had a diesel motor. I love the chug chug chug of motors. My dad, he loves steam engines or old boat gas motors. The ones with the huge flywheels and they’d go “chug” every time it would fire, this plume of smoke would pop out of the exhaust stack. I love that stuff.
My dad had like 10 of those motors and he restored those. So I definitely have what my dad has. I have these traits more because of all my addictions that have beaten me down as well, you know alcoholism for 20 years, cigarettes, coffee, porn, you name it, I was addicted to it.
So I hope this helps guys, it helps me share it with you. If you’re new to this channel, hit the subscribe button. I’ll leave a couple links under this video, check out my website, check out the breathing techniques. and hang in there guys, we’re not alone. And this, you know, there’s a lot of unique attributes to Asperger’s that can be to our advantage. Hyper focus.
I’m very hyper focused now on my blog. I was hyper focused before on network marketing, and I made over $200,000 in network marketing as an introvert, you know, go figure. So you can pretty much succeed in anything you put your mind to. So don’t think that it’s a crutch. Think of it as a gift. Alright, so I love you guys. Leave a comment if you have a child with autism or Asperger’s or if you have autism or Asperger’s. Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you and we’ll talk to you soon.
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Erik C Johnson