what’s the difference between “executive functioning issues” and procrastination?
what’s the difference between “special interests” and hobbies?
I mean, other than ableism.
the degree to which these things impact your life.
and the degree to which there is a choice in what you are doing…
with autism, there is a lot of evidence that suggests executive functioning issues are related to movement planning and execution issues…which i have, very very badly. I did not learn to walk until i was three, three and a half. i had to crawl up and down stairs well into my teens, and still can have bad falls of varying degrees on them.
A good analogy for executive functioning issues is this: an autistic brain is a specialized brain. think of an airport with planes that are top-of-the-line, super modern technology-equipped luxury jumbo jets. But the air traffic controller is a half-trained monkey.
I also have moderate agnosia, visual and otherwise. Basically this means, if I don’t already know something is there and I have all of the criteria for identifying it, I cannot recognize it. For example, I was unable to find a tan filing cabinet in the 14’X8’ office i’ve worked in for months because my filing cabinet at home is black.
I have basically starved because as much as i wanted to feed myself i couldnt quite figure out how to manage it.
I have attempted to complete tasks that even in the face of horrible consequences, physical duress, knowing that my inaction would impact another person terribly, and desperately WANTING to complete the task, I was still unable to.
In times of stress, I sometimes pick up things and start using them for their intended purpose without realizing that the action is unwarranted, i.e. why am I opening this can and washing this dish when I already opened a can or the dish is clean? Or, why did I automatically wash my face, brush my teeth, and use the toilet when I came into the bathroom instead of grabbing an object I left in here and meant to retrieve?
I sometimes get stuck in behavior loops in which i preform the same task over and over needlessly.
that’s executive dysfunction.
that is totally different than putting off something undesirable. it makes no difference if you WANT to do the thing or NOT to do the thing. It’s disordered doing of things. It’s being unable to plan and/or execute that plan.
NT: I’m going to do THING! *does thing*
autistic: I’m going to do thing! *nothing happens*
autistic: I’m going to do thing! *something else happens that is not thing*
ok. the difference between special interests and hobbies.
-a lot of people like to read books and do so in their free time.
- my family figured out i could read when i was two. i am capable of reading for 16 hours straight and not really lose comprehension. I have been able to do this since i was a child. i have nearly unlimited attention for the things i like. My mom invited like 8 people to my 12th birthday and I ignored everyone and spent the day reading. I STILL will miss work because I want to be reading instead.
-many people love to have conversations in person, on the phone, or online.
-I have pissed my pants multiple times because i don’t want to take a break in the conversation to go to the bathroom. I have forgotten to eat and subsequently passed out because I didn’t want to stop having a conversation. I often walk into walls and other easily avoidable obstacles because i’m having a conversation-i can’t walk and talk at the same time, for the most part.
-some people like to talk about spaceships.
-some autistic people have encyclopedic knowledge about spaceships and can’t NOT talk about spaceships. they start every conversation with spaceships and even when someone tries to change the subject NOPE! spaceships. they will interrupt random casual conversation between other people in order to spaceships.
now, there are plenty of allistic people who have interests that dominate their lives. a lot of the diagnostic criteria focuses on the social acceptability of obsessive or near-obsessive interests; the difference between a “sports nut” and someone who recites RBI statistics without context or consideration whether the person they’re talking to is interested.
Now, many people who have made it to adulthood have figured out ways to kinda soften these tendencies, cope, get help and support, or make them into a lucrative thing, or generally find ways to incorporate them into their life.