Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Young Aspie Parent (An Intro)

Well, Father's Day just came and went. Mother's Day was last month. Since the start of May, a few friends have announced that they are expecting their first (or even next) child. One thing that I've always believed is that the most challenging responsibility there is would be fatherhood. You're essentially setting up the next generation by becoming the guiding light.

With that, there are two words that a woman could tell me which would be worse than my nightmares: "I'm pregnant."

Why is that so scary? It's kids!
I don't want kids right now.
Are you really going to be one of those "I'm never having children" pricks?
No, I don't want kids right now, and may not ever. However, I'll do my best to avoid being a douche when talking about it. Having a child at this time in life scares me because I'm not ready. Then I think to myself when I would be ready to unleash my spawn on the world, and how long it may take.

So it made me think about how a person on the spectrum who just turned 30 could fare if parenthood were thrust upon him. The challenges of trying to raise a child when you hardly understand the body language and will definitely be giving up any sense of control. That's my concern about being a parent...the part that mandates we be empathetic. While I've mentioned enough times that I've improved my social abilities, I'm unsure I could handle it at this point when my world isn't quite settled down. Granted, this is a problem that some neurotypical people face also. However, the way I would handle this stress could involve some of my tantrums from when I was younger.

I've been so focused on other aspects that family is something I could not attach myself to, and my experience with little children has made me rather squeamish. For some reason I really can't deal with babies for the same reason I struggle with pets, and that's the communication barrier. Plus, not getting much time around them.

There's still too much to consider if it comes to someone with my abilities having kids, which would run on over too many entries. I'll be talking about this more over a few entries into the beginning of next month. One entry will feature perspectives from those on the spectrum with children. One entry will discuss the aspect of logic in "researching" child rearing. Plus a piece on more of what I don't understand, even my own upbringing. There's a lot worth mentioning about kids.

As of now, I just had an excuse to use that image.

Monday, June 15, 2015

"Keep Going"

Even Aspies have to keep going beyond their doubts.

As some of you are aware, April was the start of the SQL New Blogger Challenge. It was a blog every Tuesday during the month. At one point I had sent out a tweet where I referenced the blog challenge having ended.

I was taking it literally, as the challenge was issued for the month of April. Very much something I would do. However, the point of said challenge was to keep blogging, as notable names (Dwain Camps and Steve Jones, who runs the incredible SQL Server Central) in the professional network pointed out:
Okay, so this was me being very literal and believing the actual 'challenge' was over, per the original blog. The thing is, to keep going was the actual challenge subtext. While I always expected to become more consistent with blogging, the point of the challenge, from how I now interpreted this, was to get bloggers started during April and see critiques. Still, the point was also...don't quit. There's always more to talk about. During the month of May, I had hit a dry spell and fell down on the challenge of continuing, taking it way too literally for my own good. So it felt like my motivator was gone, but obviously it's good to blog for more than therapy - rather that others can get perspectives.

It got me thinking about how "keep going" is a motto that should apply to me often at this moment. Particularly as I go through a challenge for a new opportunity since the old one ended. I did not expect the job search to take me past the end of my severance from my previous job, but then I found myself among greater numbers of competition, and with less total opportunities that fit me. My frustration has increased after going 0-for-6 during the in person interview phase and finding myself not qualified enough for some positions.

Still, keep going.

After talking with a couple peers from my profession, I'm about to schedule my 70-462 exam for the MCSA. Yes, SQL Server is on 2014, and we just got the 2016 preview, but it was pointed out that having certification now could work in my favor during this period between jobs. I've noted a few times before that I tend to think about all the accolades too often. However, I definitely can follow the advice here. If I can hustle my way through the final two exams, then this will help greatly, as I haven't heard on when the SQL Server 2014 exams will start. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm working on some C# and perfecting my Python in the meantime. I am not even close to mastering them, but I've kept going this way I could expand my skill set. More languages will be coming, for sure. The hope is that I can use these skills to be a data architect across a full stack.

Work is one area of perseverance. There is also the I was struggling to find a way to get support groups started in the Triangle area. The person who was originally going to help me had dropped out a while back, and I put the project on hold. However, I then got some traction after getting connected with a person in Cary and another in Fayetteville. Problem now was trying to get some interest from others on the spectrum who often turn to the online forums more than in person discussions.

Still, keep going.

Turns out there are already a couple of them out there from a social standpoint, and I have attended a couple of the meetings to get interest. I got word that the Wake County regional libraries can host us as long as I choose one day out of the month. We're now attempting to set it up with some funding to have a meeting in August/September, since I've reached at least double digits for people interested. I was also able to pivot back to the ability to talk with parents of children, just as I had done once last year. I've been asked to speak at the Autism Society of North Carolina's Transition to Adulthood series for Wake and Orange Counties, after contacting the organizer. To be proactive is to win.

I think back now to my childhood. When I was diagnosed, the doctors believed I had smarts, but may end up dependent on others because of motor skill deficiencies. I had even less of a grasp on sarcasm then (it's just a tenuous grasp now), and I struggled with interactions outside of my family. Basic tasks like eating did not always come easy, as sad as it could be.

Still, keep going.

I eventually learned how to adapt, and channeled that into a college degree, a profession, and writing a blog about this stuff. My parents were able to push me to observe what others did, so I had an idea on customs and how to do basic tasks for myself. If anything, I became more "normalized" in a sense. We know that story.

You also now know the moral of this blog post, as much as I dislike calling them morals on here.

Time for me to keep the blog up more regularly.