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Autism: Extended Support

I am not much of a party person; not at all in fact. So I didn’t do much for New Years Eve this year. We were in bed with the lights off by 10:30pm in fact – later than usual, I admit, but not too different from any other night when my husband doesn’t have to work the next day.

At 12:01am, Clara ran up to me whimpering, then both my girls ran barking to their space at the window. The fireworks had begun. I sat with them (no point taking them back to bed like that) petting and calming them for about 15 minutes until the fireworks were over (it was just a neighbour after all, and firecrackers are expensive) then we went back to bed and slept until 9am. I was thankful my girls allowed me the extra rest, for normally we are up so I can feed them and let them out sometime between 7:30 and 8:30am.

I got through their routine, then went through mine: breakfast, tea, surveys and such on Swagbucks, read the news, go through my emails, read through my news feed on Facebook… I haven’t done my ‘lessons’ in a while. No routine seems to last long, even when I enjoy it. It was 11 before I was finished all of that, and then I watched an episode of ‘Angel’ on Netflix while I was waiting for lunchtime to come.

Lunch was eaten, and it was just after noon when I started my Sims game. I have mentioned in the past how much I love Sims, but I haven’t played much in a while as it started freezing up on my old computer, and then I started having all those issues with that computer, and didn’t play at all.

Since this game was on my new (to me) computer, the house and family I built in my last game didn’t transfer over, and I had to start new. I do get attached to ‘my family’ in Sims, and was disappointed when I learned I couldn’t ‘bring them with me’, but I really enjoy building my houses and creating and naming my family as well.

As I said, I started at noon. For the next nine hours I was completely fixated, and was only (with much difficulty) able to tear myself away to walk, feed, and take my girls outside, and to get my own supper. Even at 9pm, I didn’t want to stop playing, and felt the tug back to the game through the night and until the morning when I was able to start playing again.

That was how I spent my New Years. Though I had to start again, it isn’t even a new game. I have been playing Sims since long before I lost ‘my’ foster children – so at least 7 or 8 years – and I always get fixated for days, weeks, even months at a time where it is pretty much all I can think of.

One thing I did notice especially this time was how when creating my family (on Sims 2 pets for the PC at least, because I am allowed a large family there) is that I always include extra adults to help with the care of the children. Always. I know that if those extra adults aren’t there, I have no hope in properly caring for the children, and I will be completely overwhelmed by the game.

I know this for the Sims. Yet when I had my three very high needs foster children, plus my autistic son to raise, I pretty much tried to do it all myself. Sure I had my husband, but he was away at work full time, so basically I just had him read stories to the children as I bathed the girls (separately) and put them to bed. I also flew my mom in to help for a couple of months a year – but most of the time I was alone, and overwhelmed.

What I needed, I think, was not to lose the children but instead to have a larger group of people caring for them. With the ministry, they believe that having more people caring for the children meant having the children taken to respite and school, and daycare, and other places outside of the home. But I think it is better the way I have it set up in Sims – where the ‘extra’ caregivers are family who all live in the same home. Seamless. When a need arises, it is met, and no one is ever on their own with the children.

True, the Sims world moves fast. Much faster than what happens in real life, or so it would seem. But time does move fast for me. So fast, in fact, that it feels like it is moving as fast as it does in the game (and at least in the game I can, and do, pause often to figure out the next moves so all needs are met.)

In life, I am nearly always overwhelmed, even when I have nothing pressing to do. I can’t help but wonder, however, if I could have been successful in the adoption of ‘my’ children if I too could have had a large built in extended family here to help.

I guess I will never know – but I think the way we do it here in North America, where most families – and most mothers especially – are pretty much doing it alone is a recipe for failure. Perhaps the solution isn’t to take, or send out, or struggle alone with the children, but to build larger extended families with lots of support, where no one is ever alone with the kids.

This from an extreme introvert, autistic person who works best on her own.

welland

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Autism: Don’t Need Real

I keep looking for it, but it isn’t available – at least, not where I live. Of course, it is such a new thing, and probably doesn’t offer what I am imagining yet. But if I can imagine it, someone else must have, and perhaps they can make it… soon, please?

While I would like it at home, I probably couldn’t afford it. So someone (not myself of course) would have to invest in it like a business. Like one of those old fashioned arcades they had when I was a kid… But then, I didn’t like arcades. Yet I think I would like this.

In order to feel safe, I would like it in individual rooms – or some things could be in a machine like a motion simulator, where there are several seats facing a screen instead of individual goggles.

Of course I am talking about virtual reality.

I wouldn’t use it for games like I guess so many would. I get scared watching regular games played – imagine then how I would feel about them in virtual reality! No thanks!

I would like to use them for travel experiences. I would like to visit all of the famous places in Israel, Greece, France, Italy, England… all over the world – just as if I were there, but without ever having to leave home.

You see, I don’t need real. I just need it to seem that way.

August Vacation 2016 015

So while I am not very much into new technology, and hardly keep up with the newest things, this excites me.

Traveling is hard for me. Not only is it expensive – too expensive for me to even consider much of the time – but it also causes me a lot of fear and anxiety. I am afraid to travel, either by car, or plane, or… and besides that, I get motion sickness. I am afraid going there, and coming back. I am afraid being there, and struggle with the crowds, and with the sounds, and with the smells. I can only handle so much. I am afraid of the food. If I struggle while at home, how much more will I struggle with a different culture and language? I can’t handle change.

So for all of those reasons and more, travel is too hard for me. I can’t enjoy my trip until it is over – and so much is missed with that level of anxiety. But with virtual reality, I could go, and be home, all at the same time. How great would that be!

I would use it for traveling through fairs, theme parks, and amusement parks. I would use it to watch theatre performances, and ride on roller coasters. I would use it to live.

Okay. The idea of using a cell phone for this makes me nervous. First, I don’t want to own a smart phone, or a cell phone, or whatever. Second, if these things cause cancer, I don’t want to have them hovering over my eyes for hours at at time. That would be bad!

There is no way I could afford the computer that could run it, or all the equipment that would go with it – but if someone else invested in these things that I could use at a cost (like a season pass, or a daily pass, or something) I would go. I would use it. And I would really love to have that available to me. Especially in a small town like mine where I have to travel far to get to anything like that, meaning I really can’t experience it for real. And for real, with my autism and anxiety issues, is often just too hard.

But this idea? I can’t wait for someone to bring in something like this that I could use!

 

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Autism: Imagination Pod

Pods. I think I may be obsessed with pods – though I hardly ever speak of them. I do find myself thinking of them. Designing with them. Longing for them even.

Especially when I am in bed, and struggling to sleep. Often I feel like I am going to fall off the bed. Sides would be nice – like a baby in a crib. Of course, it would have to be long enough that I wasn’t kicking the foot board. I also tend to feel like I am floating away. So some type of roof might come in handy. That would also help against the lights, smells, blowing air that are keeping me awake.

The pod I design for sleeping would have some sort of weighted retractable blanket. One that wouldn’t wrinkle, or fall off. One that was easy to put on, and quick to take off, even when I am sleeping on my stomach. The sheets would be easy to clean (because I love the smell of clean sheets) and tight! I cannot handle wrinkles in my sheets, yet they always seem to.

The temperature would be controlled, so that I never felt too cold or hot. The mattress would be soft, but not so soft that it hurt my back, or was hard to get out of. Speaking of getting out of it, it would have to open in such a way that I could get out easily. If I had to climb over it, I would likely just stay in bed.

Perhaps it would have a built in (quiet) sound system, so I could play white noise, or nature sounds (very quietly) to help me sleep. I can imagine myself lying in my pod, with those sounds, and in my mind, traveling to far off places.

Maybe it could have some sort of screen, like a virtual reality system, and along with the sounds, I could see myself traveling to other places, or being calmed by the sights and sounds of the forest, or an ocean…

Or the pod could move, and when I am not sleeping, it could become a virtual reality amusement park – complete with rides that feel like I am actually on them. And maybe it could have some sort of mild aromatherapy system, so I could be calmed by the smells as well as the sights and sounds. It would make the virtual reality system seem more real.

There would have to be room for me to stretch out, because my body aches when confined for too long – but not too much room, for I am comforted by small spaces. I would like it to be a place all my own, but maybe my animals could join me sometimes.

At night, I would worry about things such as fires, earthquakes, floods… my pod would have to protect me from these. Perhaps it would seal itself up in an emergency. Maybe it could even float. In these cases, I would want them for my family and pets, too. They would have to have their own, though, for it wouldn’t provide the comfort if I had to share mine. But maybe they would somehow cling together in an emergency.

Wouldn’t it be neat if my pod could also serve as a vehicle. It would have to have some sort of alternative energy source, like solar – but very reliable. I would want it to hover over the ground, rather than connect with it. I would want it to hover high enough that I would not be in danger of hitting animals. But then there are birds and stuff. It would need to be crash proof, I think, and maintain a certain distance between it, and anything else (trees, animals, people, cars, planes…)

pod

If it was self-automated, maybe I wouldn’t be so afraid of traveling. It could take me across the country to visit my mom, and maybe I could rest, or do other activities while it was going. But then, it would have to blend in, or be invisible. I wouldn’t want anyone asking me about my pod, or trying to steal it, or…

It may not be something available, but I sure do dream of it a lot. My pod. The answer to so many of my struggles. How wonderful would that be!

 

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