The Importance of Supporting Friendship Development Early in the Lives of Autistic People

Why it’s important for autistic people to receive proper support early when helping them make friends.

Autism Life Hacks

The earlier we support autistic people, the easier it is to help them develop friendships.

Image by iQoncept

Here are six reasons why we should properly support autistic people early in life.

1. Sometimes Autistic People Receive Better Support Early in Life
Early in life, many autistic people receive support such as IEP’s and funding for various services that last until around age 18.

Research shows that autistic people almost always need support, including those who seem to be mildly affected. When you look up the statistics, you’ll see large differences between autistics and non-autistics in terms of various areas such as employment and marriage.

There are advantages of receiving proper support early in life. Early in life, more people can support the autistic person such as relatives and teachers.

School teachers often have low turnover rates, with many spending a large part of their careers in the same school…

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People with Down syndrome are not ‘forever children’.

I am River

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As a parent of a child with Down syndrome I often have to read hurtful things online, sometimes from harmless people who are just not thinking , and sometimes from people just being cruel. I’m lucky that in my day to day life I’ve actually never faced any negativity, many do, but for me nobody has really said anything disrespectful to my face. But I’ve seen plenty on the online world. ‘Retard’, ‘mong’, ‘special’, ‘window licker’, even that my son would be ‘better of dead’ and is a ‘strain on society’. I read these things all the time, but for some reason I’m just able to shrug them off and they genuinely don’t play on my mind. I hate it yes and wish people were just better, but I refuse to give anyone the power to ruin our day. Especially when the chances are they’re a lot less content with their…

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How to Develop Close Friendships With Autistic People

Autism Life Hacks

To successfully develop close friendships with autistic people, getting to know them by interacting with them directly is important, which appears to be lacking.

Why direct social interactions make sense

There’s a reason why we prefer to interact in person rather than through text messaging. You’ll see their non-verbal social cues which account for most communication, and you get to spend quality time with them.

If your friend speaks mostly a foreign language, how would you communicate with them? You might start by learning their language. It’s preferable to having an interpreter every time you talk to your friend.

If you have a spouse who’s deaf and mute, imagine what it would be like if most of the time, their parent, who understands ASL, communicates with them on your behalf. You’d probably feel lonely and distant. You should find that the challenge of having to communicate differently is worth the…

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The Masking Theory of Flat Affect on the Autism Spectrum

One of my theories of flat affect on the autism spectrum is our attempts at masking our autistic traits through emotional suppression.

Flat affect includes an expressionless face, a flat tone of voice, and a lack of body language and gestures.

I remember that when I was walking to take the bus seven years ago, I showed that I was happy and a lady asked me whether I was okay.

This is one example of why autistic people feel the need to hide what they’re feeling. If it causes flat affect, it’s like making a poker face.

Even if we learn how neurotypicals react and copy them, we could still come across as robotic or scripted as people pick up subtle social cues, so unmasking autistic traits could be a solution to this issue.

Some of the ways we stand out when expressing autistic traits include:

  • Producing atypical facial expressions. Alexithymia could be one explanation. For example, confusing a smile of victory with a friendly smile.
  • Stimming when expressing emotions such as happy hands flapping and rocking while others tap their feet or dance while enjoying music.
  • Having special interests, which look more like an obsession than a hobby. When we share special interests, we naturally have improvements in eye contact and flat affect

Masking can cause flat affect

Because autistic people often feel the need to fit in, masking may contribute to flat affect.

What are your thoughts about this theory? Please share by commenting below!

Update on my Helmet Light (Reduced Weight Design)

This is my newest helmet light for safety while commuting. It’s similar to my previous one but was designed to be lighter.

It was powered by 3 rechargeable AA batteries. The unused battery slot was used for the circuitry. It used AMC7135 LED drivers so that 3 AA batteries could be used instead of 4 for stability.

The front light was warm white for preserving night vision and had a narrow beam pattern.

The rear light was wide-angle and installed on a self-levelling mount to make it consistently visible.

It weighed around 175g. With less weight on the helmet, it should be easier on the neck and back. It’s possible to go even lighter by using 3 AAA batteries instead, but you’ll need to recharge them more often.

The light was programmed to have four settings in total. It has two settings for being seen during the day, and two for seeing at night. On its lowest setting, it lasts around 40 hours, and on its highest setting, it lasts approximately 6 hours which I think is reasonable.

Here are some pictures of the older helmet light. It used 2 18650 cells and had more LEDs. It weighed about 350g, about twice as heavy as the newest version!

Do you have any suggestions for improvements? If so, please share by commenting below!

VO2 Max Spreadsheet Calculator

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You may not need a lab test to estimate your VO2 max. You can use a calculator to do it. You’ll need to know your age, resting heart rate, waist circumference, exercise frequency, intensity, and duration.

Once you have the information you can use this VO2 max calculator.

The formulas were based on the HUNT Study in Norway.

Here’s an article about it: https://www.runnersworld.com/sweat-science/should-your-doctor-check-your-vo2-max

Here’s the link for the study: http://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/fulltext/2011/11000/Estimating_V_O2peak_from_a_Nonexercise_Prediction.2.aspx

Minoura M80 Trainer’s Power Curve at its Maximum Resistance Setting

This chart was made using LibreOffice Calc. The power was measured at different speeds. There was a big gap between the last two points because a high power output was required even though I used the minimum resistance to do the test.

Since it’s linear, you can use a speedometer to estimate your power. You should set the wheel size so that the numbers are close to those in the chart. This is useful if you don’t have a power meter.

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Comparing Different Trainer Selections in TrainerRoad

In TrainerRoad, it’s possible to use virtual power even though if your trainer isn’t supported.

I tested the wattage readings from the selections of Minoura’s trainers at different resistance settings. The speed was around 25 kph and the cadence around 53 RPM. The Minoura M80 trainer was used at the lowest resistance.

Minoura M50/M80/MAG850L

  • Level 1: 53W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 2: 105W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 3: 128W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 4: 146W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 5: 199W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM

Minoura 850

  • Level 5: 206W at 25.4 kph and 53 RPM
  • Level 6: 218W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM

Minoura M80-R/M70-R/B60

Level 0: 121W at 24.9 kph and 53 RPM
Level 1: 143W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM
Level 2: 161W at 25.2 kph and 53 RPM
Level 3: 185W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM
Level 4: 194W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM
Level 5: 206W at 25.1 kph and 53 RPM
Level 6: 218W at 25.0 kph and 53 RPM

The highest settings seemed to match.

I also tested virtual power for my trainer at 46.6 kph and 83 RPM. The power reading was 466W.

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