Facing Frustration

I can relate to many of the points in this article.   For years I was not aware I was on the spectrum.  Now that I am aware it can still be difficult.  In my career I was often misunderstood. I can be rigid in my thinking and I am repetitive in my thoughts. I have learned over the years to disclose my autism as needed.  In dating I do get some rejection. I wish I knew about it when I was working.  The hard part at times is reminding myself of my strengths and successes.  – Greg

Dania Jekel, Executive Director, and Sonia Janks, Contributing Editor

There are many words and phrases connected with autism that we hear a lot — like anxiety, executive functioning, bullying, passions, social communication, and sensory sensitivities. But I think there is one word that underpins many areas, but is often ignored. That word is frustration.

The definition of frustration is “the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.” Over the past 25 years, I have seen this emotion become a common thread when individuals with an Asperger/autism profiles feel they are unable to change a circumstance or achieve a goal (whether that is actually true or not.) The root causes are many and vary depending on a person’s traits and lived experience, but here are some of the main reasons why I often see frustration accumulate:

  • Delayed, inaccurate, or unacknowledged diagnosis. This can often be the first frustration that is the core of all of the other frustrations. Before a person’s neurological differences are recognized or understood, many things just don’t make sense. Why are certain tasks harder? Why are things confusing? Why do things seem easier for others? Even after a diagnosis is realized, frustration can continue if people you come in contact with dismiss or minimize it. 
  • Not feeling understood. Whether communication challenges make it hard for the person to convey their thoughts the way they want, or they are trying to interact with those who lack the ability to relate to different neurologies, the absence of understanding can cause deep frustration. read more

I participate in a weekly Asberger support group. I have been doing it for the past several years. We talk about various topics in each session. Today the question was raised about Autism and ADHD.

Unfolding Autism and ADHD
Autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often overlap, making it difficult to disentangle their biology. A new review probed the patterns of brain foldsknown as gyrification, in the cortex of people with either condition. Across 24 papers — 20 focused on autism — the researchers found no differences in cortical gyrification between controls and people with either condition. It is possible these differences really don’t exist. It’s also possible, however, that they are too subtle or varied to be picked up in such a research review, the researchers note. Differences may only emerge in controlled studies using the same protocols to compare people with the two conditions.

The work was published in Cerebral Cortex in December.

Some autistic people report poor quality of life, but many do not

By Peter Hess

Autistic people vary widely in their quality of life, a new study shows1. Some report shortcomings in their physical health and school achievement, among other areas, but many do not.

To help autistic people improve their well-being and satisfaction with life, researchers need a better understanding of what matters to individuals, says lead researcher Eva Loth, senior lecturer in forensic and neurodevelopmental sciences at King’s College London in the United Kingdom.

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