Please don’t “Tease” me or joke about me being Autistic.

Sometimes I get very frustrated because people tease me about being Autistic. I’ve had good friends that I think unintentionally teased me and hurt my feelings, because they don’t know what it is like to be autistic. I’ve heard my fair share of comments that make me feel upset. The best thing to do is to try to remember, we can’t control our reactions to certain things. A sudden loud sound can make me jump, it is an automatic reaction of my nervous system. It hurts when people laugh and tease me or joke about me being Autistic.

It’s ok when I joke about it, but I don’t like it when people laugh when I am startled. It makes me feel different and ashamed. It’s not my fault, if I had a choice I would make my nervous system to where it wouldn’t jump at loud, sudden sounds or movement, but I can’t change that. So what can people do that will help me? Well people could learn to not laugh at me, and ask me if I am ok. That would be helpful.

Yes, I know, it’s silly in neurotypical eyes to watch an Autistic person jump at a loud noise, but imagine if you were the person? How would you feel? This is what frustrates me about neurotypcial people, they can’t understand because they can’t experience the overload.

I hope that someday people will not tease or joke about me being Autistic. It may be hard to deal with people who don’t understand Autism, but I will keep going forward.

My new service dog in training.

On July the 8th 2017, I got my first dog. I adopted a border collie/lab mix named “Nikki”. That day was so exciting!

 

We are in the car. I am rocking back and forth because I am so excited, I am going to meet Nikki! This is soooo exciting! After waiting for what seemed like eternity to get to our destination, we finally pulled into the parking lot. I see a small black dog with a woman outside the building. We walk up, and it turns out to be Nikki! Nikki wags her tail excitedly. We decide to go inside, the woman, whose name is Liz, demonstrates some of the service dog tasks she has learned such as deep pressure therapy, block, and watch my back. I am hoping with all my heart that that I can take this sweet girl home. My mom asks about taking Nikki home. My heart flutters with excitement as the papers are filled out, and then we were out of the door and on the way home with Nikki. Later on that evening after a trip to PetSmart and Orange leaf, in which Nikki got a small amount of vanilla froyo, we headed home. That night she jumped onto my bed, she looked at me like “I am going to sleep on your bed with you, right??” So I let her sleep on my bed. At one point she came up beside me and licked my face, such a sweet dog. I think she is going to be a great service dog with more training.

 That was an exciting day. Nikki is learning how to sit, lay, and I am going to be teaching her come, stay, anxiety alert, and guiding through a crowd. Her vest, which we ordered today, is supposed to come on Wednesday. I am excited to start the process of training Nikki to be a service dog.

 

I would like to get a service dog, here’s why

Lately I have been wanting my own service dog. I would like to get a puppy, and train it to be a service dog. So, why do I want a service dog? Well, I love dogs. I have always loved dogs since I was very small. I used to collect stuffed dogs, from poodles to Chihuahua’s.  I also work with a dog in a small dog club. I like doing rally courses and showmanship. It is fun, and challenges me to use problem solving when my dog doesn’t do something right or if I make a mistake.

I also like dogs because they are very calming to me. Petting a dog can make me feel a lot calmer. In my last vaulting performance, I had the opportunity to snuggle with an adorable Sussex spaniel puppy. His fur was super soft and I loved stroking his fur and holding him in my lap. I felt calmer as I stroked the puppy’s fur and my sensory processing seemed to be less noticeable, as I often hear every sound and sometimes get overwhelmed by sound.

I also have anxiety/panic attacks. Although I do not know if I am truly having panic attacks, but I do have symptoms including tight chest, sweaty palms, increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, shakiness, stomachache, burning in stomach and chest, tinging in hands, arms, legs, and feet, and sometimes difficulty breathing easily. All of these symptoms do not happen with each attack either, sometimes they are combined, and sometimes they are not.

These can make me feel very uncomfortable. One I had made me feel like I was dying, because my chest was so tight, and my stomach was hurting, and my heart rate was up. I felt like my whole body was going crazy on the inside. I can act pretty normal on the outside, even though on the inside my body is going nuts with anxiety.

Service dogs can help with anxiety by doing anxiety alerts, DPT (deep pressure therapy), guiding to an exit, getting help, etc. Service dogs can also help with autistic people with sensory processing difficulties and meltdowns. One autistic individual I read about found it easier to communicate to people with her service dog by her side.

I think a service dog would help me a lot. Although I am on Zoloft, It does not completely prevent anxiety/panic attacks. It has helped some, but it does not “cure” my anxiety. My mentor likes to think of medication as the foundation for working on your anxiety, if you have a firm foundation, then you can find it easier to work on your anxiety. I wasn’t put on medication for a long time, and even before going onto medication my therapist and I discussed whether or not it would be beneficial to me.

I hope someday that I can get a dog of my own to train as my own service dog. I know it would take a lot of time and effort, but I am willing to do that. I encourage anyone interested in a service dog to look into getting a service dog, or training one of their own. Service dogs are great dogs, they can help so many people with many different issues feel happier, safer, and more confident.