How water helps me

Underwater video of me jumping in the pool

Being submerged in water has always been one of my favorite things for as long as I can remember. It’s been so beneficial for me in different ways and I wanted to share that with you.

Being submerged in water is a very calming sensory experience for me. It has helped me regulate overstimulation caused by my surroundings. The pressure of being in water makes me feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from me and I can finally relax and breathe. It also helps with my concentration and therefore I do a lot of mental processing while I’m in water because I can process my thoughts more at ease. It’s why I make most of my life decisions in the shower. Water puts out that fire I feel in my brain and calms my overactive nerves. It also brings out the best of me. My hands are flappy happy and I’m giggly when I’m in water.

Drowning is the #1 cause of death in autistic children. I have the advantage of knowing how to swim from a really young age so drowning was always less of a risk for me. I used to elope a lot as a child and I would always go where water was.

Fun fact: I used to swim in the Hudson River!

Info dumping about my special interests

I’m autistic and my main special interest is arts and crafts. It’s very broad because I’m also ADHD which makes it hard for me to focus on a task too long. So I hyper-fixate on several different forms of art to satisfy my need to indulge in my special interest.

A special interest is something that a autistic person develops deep interest to and therefore gathers all facts and information about the thing and sometimes it’s all they can talk about. I use my special interests to cope with sensory overload and my depression. My art is a form of self expression.

I love to draw. I used to spend hours when I was little drawing flowers and cats and eventually started drawing portraits of my favorite celebrities and people.

I love to sew. I make gowns for prom, weddings and other occasions. I enjoy making little dresses for my daughter and now I’m trying to teach myself how to make clothes for boys because I would like to make a suit for my son and husband. I also take baby clothes or loved ones clothes and I make a memory bear for customers of mine. I made one for each of my kids. I also make baby bows and tutus.

I love to embroider. I’m the only one in my family from the newer generation to carry on that skill. I was inspired by my grandma. My grandma and all her sisters did embroidery. My grandma is so happy that I do it now. I even like to incorporate hand beading into my embroidery work as well.

I love to crochet. I’m currently working on a beach waves blanket and a white table runner. I have many more ideas but I have to finish those 2 projects first. I also like to loom knit. My very first loom knitted project was a long bag that my grandma could use to stash all those plastic bags from the grocery store because it was always scattered around the house and I thought she would appreciate my effort in trying to minimize clutter for her.

I love resin art. I make resin paintings, sculptures and geodes. I also make jewelry with resin which brings me to my next thing.

I love making jewelry. I mainly make DNA keepsake jewelry that incorporates breastmilk, cremation ashes, lock of hair and more. I also work with fine silver metal clay. I make fingerprint pendants with that. I also do metal stamping with some of my Jewelry. I also like to do some wire wrapped jewelry.

I love polymer clay. I make fetuses from 4-18 weeks gestation and put them in a resin heart as a memorial keepsake for parents who suffered a miscarriage. I also make snakes that I hand paint myself.

I love needle felting. I make mini pocket pets and I also make 3D pet portraits. I also make small cat butt magnets.

I love paper crafts. I love making paper flowers and handmade cards.

I love making custom vinyl shirts. I’ve done many birthday shirts and other kind of shirts.

I love floral art. I pick pretty flowers and I remove all moisture and put them in resin.

Please feel free to info dump about your special interests in the comments. I would love to read them all and get to know you all better.

I love legos

This is a picture of me holding a flower bouquet made out of legos. If you want to purchase this same set, click on the link https://amzn.to/3sKkFg9. As an Amazon associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Growing up I didn’t have my own Lego set. I do desperately wanted legos but my mom always said she didn’t have the money to buy it. Now as an adult, I treat myself to Lego sets whenever I can afford it because I feel that I owe that to my inner child that’s still healing from trauma.

Our home is loaded with legos. I do have children so they obviously love it. But legos is more than just a toy for me. Whenever I complete a set, my confidence level goes through the roof. As someone who struggles with confidence development, legos is an easy way to help boost that. Legos also helps stimulate my brain and helps me with problem solving. I also love the opportunity to be creative. The instructions that comes with it are visual so I’m able to understand it just fine. It’s the perfect sensory tool for me and very therapeutic. It helps decrease stress levels and sensory overload. It helps me build patience and encourages my need to hyper focus on something I really love. It also helps me build a stronger bond with my children. Legos is one of the few things we can all do together that makes us all happy. Also, since I never received occupational therapy as a child for my needs, playing with legos is the best thing for my physical development because it develops dexterity and strength in the fingers but also teaches me control of the pressure applied when building things with intricate detail. I lack body awareness and I’m often heavy handed. Building with legos has taught me what gentle touch is.

My Favorite Amazon Items

DISCLAIMER: As an Amazon associate I earn commission from qualifying purchases. It does not affect the price for you in any way.

Here is a list of all my favorite Amazon items that accommodate mine and my kids autistic support needs. You’ll find all our sensory toys here and other important things we use.

**This list will be updated from time to time as more items come my way so please keep an eye on this post so you don’t miss anything**

Also, if you shop on Amazon a lot, you can scan all your receipts and e-receipts to get points. Once you reach a certain amount of points, you can earn a gift card of your choice. It’s a great way to save money. The app is free! Click on the following link to sign up https://fetchrewards.onelink.me/vvv3/referraltext?code=FQQ95

Grapat Mandala Set
https://amzn.to/3QzdLmS
Stepping Stones
https://amzn.to/3BB9IjO
Wooden Balls in Cup Color Sorting
https://amzn.to/3BAem1q
Rainbow Stones
https://amzn.to/3NCKAhh
Bristle Blocks
https://amzn.to/3NQxON9
Interlocking Building Discs
https://amzn.to/3wRxmGX
Geometric Stacking Rocks
https://amzn.to/3LUZaQd
Magnetic Apple Picking Tree
https://amzn.to/3P2MYyS
Rainbow Color Sorting Wooden Board
https://amzn.to/3A99hhH
Pop It Squeeze Balls
https://amzn.to/3d4EUQa
Magnetic Building Blocks
https://amzn.to/3QFmOTg
Porcupine Balls
https://amzn.to/3dihabn
Squishy Fruits Stress Balls
Set 1:
https://amzn.to/3MdXZew
Set 2:
https://amzn.to/3NgaqrB
Jumbo Blocks
https://amzn.to/3vjmH8C
Sensory Swing
https://amzn.to/3s2Glnb
Sensory Nightlight
https://amzn.to/3p1HQ34
Noise Canceling Headphones (Bluetooth)
https://amzn.to/3lQ04Tw
Sprocket Fidget
https://amzn.to/3vfipze
Infinity Cube Fidget
https://amzn.to/3t8dOfo
Wooden Hexagon Puzzle
https://amzn.to/3tybShc
Ice Cream Stand Set
https://amzn.to/3No3vMK
Blues Clues Wooden Puzzle
https://amzn.to/3QhlFCm
Magnetic Vehicles
https://amzn.to/3zOquxd
Screw Driver Board
https://amzn.to/3zyGymt
Cuberspeed Rainbow Ball
https://amzn.to/3AoR0xq

Autism poetry book now available on Amazon| Beautifully Wired by Jessica Jenkins

This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. I’m so happy to announce that my autism poetry book called “Beautifully Wired” is now available on Amazon. Click here to purchase and let’s see how many copies I can sell in the first month. Thank you to all who have supported me this far!

Accommodations can go a long way for autistic people

A short video of me sitting at my desk on a bouncy yoga ball with my sensory lamp on while I wear noise canceling headphones

For Christmas, my husband bought me a desk because I really wanted my own space to be on my laptop. I didn’t like having to sit at the dining room table to do my work where there was too much noise and too much light. I couldn’t stand the clutter I was making there.

Now I feel so peaceful in our room with my own desk. I bought myself a yoga ball with a base to keep it from rolling away so I’m able to bounce and fidget freely. I bought myself a better quality noise canceling headphones and I really love it.

The room can stay dark or dim while my sensory lamp projects pretty colors on to the wall and I don’t have to hear noise from the kids playing. I find it’s much easier for me to focus while I work.

If you’re autistic or otherwise neurodivergent, please be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to accommodate your sensory needs. It really can make a huge difference.

What it was like growing up autistic

For the first 11 years of my life, I went undiagnosed. The signs were there but no one knew much about autism back then. When I was 4 years old, my mom got married to a man who ended up abusing us both. I was abused for a lot of my autistic traits. I ended up having to mask my autistic traits from a very young age to keep myself safe but of course I just continued to be abused no matter what. When I was 10, I was taken away from my mom due to the abuse and I went to live with my grandma and uncle. My uncle is the one who had my legal custody since he spoke English. While staying with them, they kept bringing up my behaviors to the DYFS worker and then they ordered that I see a psychologist for an evaluation. At this point I was 11 years old and that’s when I received the diagnosis of autism and ADHD.

School was very hard on me because I never was able to fit in with the rest of the students. I was bullied for most of my school years. I was always seen as odd and weird and people hated me for being so different. I was very vulnerable because I was so trusting and wasn’t able to see the red flags at the time. I thought these people were my friends. But they would laugh at me and steal from me and I was always the last one to understand the “joke”. Eventually I was told “they’re not laughing with you, they’re laughing at you.” That’s when I realized I was the joke and it really hurt my self esteem. I’ve had several suicide attempts but yet I’m still here so obviously there must be a reason for my existence.

I’ve always felt misunderstood. Growing up, I didn’t know much about autism either, so it was very hard living life without even fully understanding who I am and why I do the things I do. I would’ve never even known about the diagnosis if I wasn’t snooping through all paperwork that my uncle had piled up in a folder. And even after the diagnosis, no one really tried to help accommodate my needs or even try to understand what my needs were. My family saw my suicide attempts as a manipulative tactic. Everyone thought I was an attention seeker.

I tried so hard to live up to everyone’s high expectations but it was never good enough. Everything I did and said was wrong. Everything was considered bad behavior and being defiant but no one cared enough to get to the root of the problem. I was communicating but no one wanted to listen.

It wasn’t until my early 20s when I started doing more research about my diagnosis and really started to understand it. And it’s all because I felt like I was regressing and then spoke to my psychiatrist about what I was experiencing and feeling. She helped me understand that I was just going through autistic burnout. That’s when I came to the realization that I owed it to myself to start doing the things that wasn’t done for me as a child. I slowly started to accommodate my own needs. I still feel burned out but it’s a little easier to manage when I can fulfill my sensory needs.

Autism & ADHD | What it’s like having both

I really am excited about this blog post because a lot of people have absolutely no idea what it’s like having 2 different disorders co-occurring. I’ve heard a few people say that autism and ADHD are the same thing. It really upsets me because I know exactly how different both are and how they affect me differently. In this blog, I’m going to explain how both disorders basically contradict each other on a lot of things.

Autism vs ADHD

My autism causes me to be overstimulated and need to shut down but my ADHD causes me to be hyperactive and now I can’t relax enough to restore myself.

My autism insists I need order and routine but my ADHD makes it hard to follow the routine because I get bored and distracted easy.

My autism wants to obsess over a special interest and while my ADHD mostly agrees with that because it makes me hyper fixate on my autistic special interests, I still get distracted and bored easily which makes me unable to stick to one thing for too long. That’s why I have a long list of crafts that I do and continue to add more to the list.

My autism causes me to be sensory avoidant but my ADHD causes me to need constant stimulation so I’m always stuck picking which one will have the least harm done if I ignore it.

My autism makes me not want to be social but my ADHD pushes me to be social because being stuck at home relaxing doesn’t feel good for my ADHD, which then makes my autism very uncomfortable struggling with the lack of social cues.

I need sleep to restore my autistic brain but my ADHD makes me feel restless and now I can’t shut my brain off so I’m up all night with racing thoughts that my autism is unable to process.

My autism wants to organize everything in my space but my ADHD makes it hard to stay focused on a task and both conditions tend to struggle with execution dysfunction.

My autism causes me to have meltdowns due to sensory processing issues while my ADHD doesn’t really care unless it’s distracting me.

My autism does very well focusing on details but my ADHD causes me to easily forget the details and now I need a step by step process broken down.

My autism makes me learn new things pretty quick but my ADHD makes me hyper focus on something else prematurely and now I can’t retain the information I learned.

My autism makes me shut down and occasionally have non verbal episodes when dealing with severe sensory overload but my ADHD makes it hard to shut up sometimes and I talk nonstop.

My ADHD causes me to be impulsive but my autism can’t tolerate unpredictability and now I have to carefully plan it out before it’s executed.

It feels like a constant war in my head between the two. I can’t always accommodate one’s needs without interrupting the other. My depression is amplified due to the confusion and inability to be comforted. I can’t help myself when there’s such confusion.

While there are some similarities between the two, it’s definitely not the same thing and it’s absolutely not the same spectrum. Some people have one or the other but there’s some who deal with both and it’s very complicated. I hope you learned something from this blog because it’s very important to be able to recognize the difference so that you can accommodate your needs accordingly.

Executive Dysfunction | I’m Not Lazy!!!!

Hey everyone! I hope this blog post finds you all doing well. Last week I published a blog post talking about why I haven’t been posting anything. I also mentioned that one of my next posts was going to be about executive function so here it is… the topic a lot of you have been waiting for.

I’ll start out by explaining exactly what executive function is. Executive function is the cognitive processes that help regulate, control and manage our thoughts and actions. The aspects of executive function includes planning, problem solving, working memory, attention, verbal reasoning, initiation, self control, cognitive flexibility, and monitoring. Still confused? Let me elaborate and break it down for you, since that’s what helps me understand things better. Always be specific with me…

Planning

Planning is being able to think and come up with the order or steps of how a goal or task will be achieved. It’s the ability to compartmentalize tasks into completable sections which can be hard for some autistic people. I personally don’t struggle with this aspect. I’m a very deep thinker and over analyze everything which makes my planning very detail oriented.

Problem Solving

The ability to identify a problem and think of a strategy to solve the problem. Problem solving uses almost all the aspects of executive functions. So depending on which aspect you struggle with, it can affect your ability to effectively problem solve.

Working Memory

A lot of autistic people struggle with memory. My short term memory is completely off. I can script a whole movie or TV show or memorize a song after listening to a twice. But I can’t remember to eat when I’m supposed to or take my medications on time. I also struggle with memorizing tasks if there’s too many steps which then can lead to incompletion of the task.

Attention

Attention works hand in hand with working memory. I am able to focus very deeply on something but what I struggle with is shifting my focus on to whatever it needs to be on. Change is hard for me. If I’m in the middle of crafting, which is my biggest special interest, then it’s almost impossible to direct my focus on to chores or anything else. It’s also hard to keep my attention on something particular when I’m trying so hard to regulate all the sensory input around me. Things as simple as too much light or too much background noise at one time can be enough to distract me from a task that needs my full attention. Then I go into sensory overload which then completely shifts everything and then I spend the rest of the day trying to erase the bad input and replacing it with good input. If I wasn’t able to focus on something, then that information wasn’t retained which then means my short term memory won’t recall it at all.

Verbal Reasoning

It’s the ability to understand concepts presented in words and relay them back. This can be hard for me because I do not do well with verbal or social cues. I take things very literally which can hinder my ability to reason. I also have times I go non verbal under severe sensory overload so therefore can’t relay anything back verbally.

Initiation

Initiation is the ability to start a task. It has nothing to do with desire. I struggle with this heavily. I may want to do chores, play a game or run an errand. But unless the task is initiated by someone else, it doesn’t happen most of the time.

Self Control

The ability to have emotional, cognitive or physical reactions controlled in that moment. That’s very challenging for me because have a hard time regulating emotions and sensory input, which causes me to stim. If I end up overstimulated trying to download and process all the information, it can lead to outbursts or meltdowns. I can’t help it and sometimes my impulse control isn’t enough to participate in a structured situation.

Cognitive Function

It’s the ability to just go with the flow. Change is very hard for me. I can function best when there is predictability and routine.

Monitoring

So, let’s say you’re walking. Only small part of your brain is engaged in walking because you already know how to walk. The monitoring part of your brain kicks in and keeps you from bumping into things and walking right into traffic. When autistic people are overstimulated, their brains suddenly have issues with monitoring basic tasks which can lead to them unintentionally doing dangerous things.

It’s very important to understand that not all autistic people struggle with all the same aspects. Each individual has different struggles. Also, executive function issues isn’t even only an autistic struggle. People with ADHD and other conditions can also struggle with it. I’m only focused on autism specifically because I’m autistic and wanted to explain my personal experience.

My family used to always call me “lazy”. I really wish people could understand that I don’t intentionally do these things. I’m not lazy! Laziness is intentional. I actually want to do a task but I just can not initiate it myself without there being an external stimulus to prompt me. I want to focus but I simply can’t. I don’t purposely act without thinking or make careless mistakes when doing basic tasks. I simply have a hard time monitoring when I’m overstimulated. Now this doesn’t mean I can’t function at all. When I get the proper accommodations and assistance, I am able to function well. When I’m not overstimulated, I’m more likely to reach my full potential. Autism is not what disables me, it’s my environment. If we lived in a more sensory friendly world where everyone truly accepted autism and people accommodated all autistic people regardless of their level of support needs, then we wouldn’t have so many “deficits”.

I hope you learned something from this blog post. If you think you know someone who absolutely needs to read this, then please feel free to share this with them. We shouldn’t have to tolerate people putting us down for being “lazy” when laziness isn’t even what it is. The first step to acceptance is knowledge and being informed. Thank you for reading!