“Technique” by English naturalist Chris Packham for managing uncomfortable situations – autism

Growing up in the 60s and 70s as a child, Chris’ “relapses” in the supermarket were considered his “bad behavior”. “I didn’t act bad,” Chris said on Good Morning Britain (GMB). “I was stunned … by the environment.” In 2003, Chris was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, at the age of 42.

Recalling the “dirty situation” he found himself in at the supermarket as a child, he talked about his own “technique” that makes him feel more secure.

His “management plan,” which he shared on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, has become so “habitual” that at times he forgets that he is still implementing it.

Preparing for an awkward situation, because when he thinks something might “go wrong”, he “thinks about it ahead of time”.

By reviewing “possible scenarios”, Chris “pre-experiences them a little”, thereby “warning” himself of what is about to happen.

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He added that feeling “moderate anxiety” in front of a difficult environment helped him cope with his experience.

But he emphasized that he was “a 60-year-old man… [with] years of practice.”

In his younger years, Chris had a “dark outlook” on life, feeling “lonely and downtrodden”.

Now in a new two-part documentary, Chris wants to help other autistic people portray what their lives are like.

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While there have been “significant improvements” in autism recognition, Chris said people “need faster diagnosis and proper support after [a] diagnostics”.

Chris hopes the documentary will “give everyone a broader view” of autism.

In the first episode, Chris is dating Flo, a 28-year-old woman with a knack for “disguise”.

“Young women with autism don’t get diagnosed,” Chris said, as they are “better at camouflage,” which “requires a huge amount of energy.”

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What is disguise?

Dr. Hannah Belcher, a supporter of the National Autism Society, explains: “’Mask’ or ‘camouflage’ means to hide or disguise parts of yourself to better fit those around you.

“Masking can involve suppressing certain behaviors that we find comforting but that others find ‘weird’.

Examples include suppressing the “intense interests” of others and “stimming”, which means vocalizing repeated sounds or repeating certain physical movements.

Dr. Belcher added: “I was 23 years old when I was diagnosed with autism, and it wasn’t until I learned more about masking that I realized why my diagnosis had been hidden for so long.”

Signs of autism in adults

The NHS says that “common signs of autism in adults” include:

  • Difficulty understanding what others think or feel
  • Becomes very anxious due to social situations
  • You find it difficult to make friends or prefer to be alone
  • Appear rude, rude, or uninterested in others without intention
  • It’s hard to tell how you feel
  • Take things very literally – for example, you may not understand sarcasm or phrases like “break a leg.”
  • Having the same routine every day and being very anxious if it changes.

Other signs that may indicate autism include avoiding eye contact, getting frustrated if someone gets too close to you, and “a desire to carefully plan things before you do them.”

People may also not understand “social rules”, such as not talking about others.

On Tuesday 14 February, Inside Our Autistic Minds will be broadcast on BBC Two at 21:00.

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