My Theory about Autism and Repetitive Movement

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I came up with a little theory about Autism that I wish to share.

Sometimes I get asked “why do you like Thomas?” My answer is usually “I just do.”

It’s a known fact that people with Autism have strong interests in machines or vehicles. We tend to be fascinated with vehicles like trains, cars, tractors, planes and helicopters. In my Mum’s school there are people with Autism who have been intrigued by fans, umbrella, drainage system etc. The question remains, why are we fascinated with things that move?

My personal belief is that we become hypnotised by the repetitive and steady movement of certain objects.

It’s not like being hypnotised by a magician for instance. It’s more like being mesmerised by repetitive movement. You could say it’s similar to someone being engrossed in a good film. However, instead of people with Autism being engrossed by films etc we become fixated with moving objects.

With toy trains, for example, if you put the rails in the circle that train will move around continually. That and trains, in my opinion, are majestic to look at. They are glossy and stylish.

That’s where Thomas the Tank Engine comes in.

You have an interesting vehicle, a train, which has us Autistic people engaged. However, give that train a face, a paint job and a personality that children can relate to and we are officially hypnotised with Thomas the Tank Engine.

I genuinely believed that Thomas could have been real. With cartoons, we couldn’t touch them or see them in person as they were on paper. However, with Thomas, you could actually go to the studio and watch him and physically touch him as he was a model. In that aspect, he felt real.

Not only was I fascinated and hypnotised by a train, I was fascinated and hypnotised by a train who has a human face and a human personality. To this day my enthusiasm for Thomas has never weathered and as I have mentioned many times before I owe him a lot. If it wasn’t for Thomas I’m not even sure I would be able to talk and socialise let alone type this up for a WordPress blog.

What do you think? What’s your opinion? I will be interested to hear your views.

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

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The Acting World: Autobiography Play (Part Three)

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On this very day, at this very time, exactly four years ago, I self-starred in the auto-bio play “Ryan’s World.”

If you fancy reading the other parts, you can see the links underneath.^^/

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-one/ 

https://ryanlikestospeak.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-acting-world-autobiography-play-part-two/

  1. DECISION

Choosing the right songs and implementing them into the show was tricky. However, Mr P and Mum suggested certain songs for me to use.

For the intro, and the audience coming in and settle their bums to the floor, I opted to use Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful.” We all thought that this would be an ideal way to start the performance as that song is about individuality and self-confidence. For good measure I added a picture of me when I was 5 holding a Thomas the Tank Engine train. Whilst I was incredibly embarrassed I wanted to give everyone an idea what I looked like when I was young. That and I think it adds to the realism of the performance.

I was behind the stage of the intro and the first video scene. Nerves started to grow up inside me, but I felt myself getting into the moment of my youth. The first video scene is the doctor diagnosing my condition and explained to my Mum (the character) what to expect of me in the future. It would be highly unlikely that I would ever come out of my own bubble. Listening to this really helped me to get into the moment as it set as a reminder of what I was like when I was young.

  1. SCENES YOUNGER THAN TEN

I walked into the open space and parked myself on the outer edge of the gazebo. I used the gazebo for the purpose of holding up the screen which showed the videos. I was very conscious that I was going to knock the whole thing down so I took great care not to bump into it. Haha.

These few scenes were all about me when I was a toddler. The video showed scenes whilst I held up phrases on the cards to show what I was thinking at that time. I couldn’t explain myself at that time but I was aware what was happening. I held up a cue card that said “I know you’re talking about me, I’m not stupid.” I also held up a few sad faces to show the audience that I was feeling sad in certain moments.

On stage I kept my face and body language neutral to reinforce how I would have been feeling at the time. However, I did feel trickles of tears running down my face. “That’s not supposed to happen,” I thought. That was the first time ever that I genuinely cried during a performance. I cringed every time I heard myself scream or cry out. It felt like a stab in the heart. I wanted to hide my face behind the big cards as I didn’t really want the audience to see tears running down my face. Haha. I spontaneously took a few deep breaths to regain my composure.

I did receive a few laughs when I got kissed with a lipstick in the video and when I showed my sad face for the first time. I think everyone laughed at first probably because they thought the face was drawn in a funny way. I put up a smiling face when the lady at the school residential read me a Thomas story.

I think the audience were very touched by this. I even added the song “Thomas, You’re the Leader.” I felt this was very appropriate as I was trying to tell the audience that Thomas was my saviour in many unhappy moments.

Eventually, I went off stage, gearing myself up to reappear in a certain scene.

  1. SCENES OLDER THAN TEN

On the video it showed the actual footage of me being the mascot for Charlton Athletic when they played Bolton in 2000.

I came onto the stage feeling excited as I gained confidence and started to understand the surroundings outside my bubble.

I spoke only basic words at that time. In hindsight I wonder if I should have spoken in a monotone voice because I used to be expressionless with my words. However, in the live performance I was representing my thoughts. So I figured it would be appropriate to speak with emotion.

The most important scene involves the Football School. I was pretty nervous about this. It was important to get this right. We filmed the parts where all the lads were making fun of me and showed a huge lack of understanding. The coach was no different. I was too meek and polite to not stick up for myself as I didn’t want to “upset” anyone. It went to the point where I started to get changed in front of the other lads, something which I was very uncomfortable with.

On the video I actually did get changed but my back was to the audience so only my back was visible. Haha. That was another big moment as I don’t like getting changed in front of other people. I think if the scene wasn’t so serious the audience would have had a good chuckle at this.

The video was pretty emotional as I kept on making mistakes and kept on being the victim of “being different.” I tried to be strong and be tough but I kept on making mistakes, especially when I missed the penalty and ran the full length of the pitch to score an own goal… My spirit eventually wavered and I broke down in the middle of the pitch, all alone… On cue- Girls Aloud’s cover of “I’ll Stand by You,” plays as the video zooms out and fades.

This was definitely challenging to perform on film. I was caught up in the emotion of that part of my life. The Football scene and hanging out with “normal people” was the main reason why I started to become insecure about being Autistic. Was it ok to be different? I made my feelings known at that very moment how I felt about the world.

“I hate normal people. I hate special needs… and I hate myself.”

And it was at that very moment that I started to become insecure about myself. I had a long string that kept me from the audience. When my confidence grew, I’d pull the string back, allowing the audience nearer. If my confidence was knocked, I would push the string back and push the audience away. The strings were held up by three stools. When I said “I hate special needs…” I started to push the stools back.

However, I managed to compose myself enough not to charge into Mr Ian who was right behind the stool that I was pushing. This was quite reassuring as I’ve never felt this emotional during a performance. It showed me that even though I was in the zone I was still aware of my surroundings. That was quite a proud moment. =)

  1. INDIVIDUALITY

From that moment on I tried to fight for individuality and to be accepted for whom I was and I tried this tactic in different situations. I bought a Thomas DVD at school but my teacher disapproved as she thought that it was “too childish” and so she took it back. Why wasn’t I allowed to express the things I like? Why couldn’t I get the things I like? What was wrong with being myself?

  1. REACHING COLLEGE

I had the option of attending two different colleges. One was my local college and the other was the college that I eventually went to. I was very determined not to go to this certain college as I knew that I would have to start in the Supported Learning Department. I really, really didn’t want that to happen.

I expressed my anger and stubbornness thoughts to the audience. Was it fate that I would never progress? On the video it showed the letter that I would be in the SLD department. It also said in the letter how it would have been “too much for me” to be in the actual Performing Arts course with the “normal” mainstream students.

It turns out that college has treated me very kindly and the SLD department was actually a good stepping stone for me to study and perform with the “normal” mainstream students. I went from expressing my anger on stage feeling to expressing my pride and happiness.

  1. I AM RYAN

On film, I spoke about the overview of my time on the course. I learned that my biggest achievement from this University Course wasn’t the high marks on paper. It was learning how to be myself. In those last couple of months I completely let myself go and allowed everyone to get to know the real me and who I really was.

I’m not Autistic, I’m Ryan who just so happens to have Autism.

Being Ryan was my identity. After this revelation I stopped acting at this point and I was genuinely myself. It was definitely natural as I completely forgot my line at that moment. Haha!

I changed clothes into a more casual outfit, cut the tap and invited the audience into “my space”. This was to signify that I now felt more comfortable with how I was. I personally am not comfortable with physical contact but it’s my way of letting everyone know that I’m opening myself up to them.

At this moment I walked out of the room and the video of me, wearing the same casual outfit, came up. This was the scene where I said my “THANKYOUS” to all my friends, colleagues and tutors for treating me kindly for all these years. I would be too embarrassed to say it to their faces so I coped out and made them watch the video instead. Haha. Ironically, this was actually the very first thing that I and Mr P did, shooting this video of “THANKYOUS.”

In this video I played the soundtrack “The Island Song” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” These songs are very poignant to me as I used to severely dislike music. However, these were the very first songs that I liked and they were the platform for me to open myself up to all kinds of music. Now, whilst I still don’t like noise, I can handle music better and I’m very open-minded about it. Once again, Thomas the Tank Engine helped as The Island Song was actually a soundtrack from Thomas the Tank Engine. Haha.

  1. POST SHOW

I came out and took a bow. I was a little bit overwhelmed by the loud clapping and I literally couldn’t look at any of them in the face. After the bow I ran as fast as I could so that I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I was a little caught up in the moment. Well, that’s a fib. I was VERY caught up in the moment. Haha.

I actually get very embarrassed when I’m the centre of attention or if everyone is looking at me, which is among the reasons why I ran off. If I had spoken to people straightaway I probably would have been too caught up and cried and I really didn’t want that to happen.

After calming down I spoke with my friends one by one and had a good chin-wag with all of them. It was a strange moment as I was talking with them as if I had never performed the piece. It felt natural, very natural. I really did like that feeling and it was at that moment that I realised that all my Uni friends were actually my friends.

By revealing my autism to everyone has turned out to be one of the best moments in my life. I can now say that I have autism without feeling ashamed or insecure.

THANKS FOR READING

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Since this day, four years ago, life has been great and for the first time I felt free of doubt. I have never looked back… and I never will.

Thanks for reading. =)

Namaste.^^/

Ryan

My Christmas Spirit

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Ho, Ho, Ho.^^/

Christmas has an impact on people in different but wonderful ways. For me, it represents a time to spend with family and friends. So far, I’m doing just that. However, it never really occurs to me that Christmas is coming until certain things trigger my realisation…

  1. The Coca-Cola Advert
  2. Putting up the decorations
  3. Home Alone on TV
  4. Advent Calendar
  5. Walking out in the freezing cold
  6. Putting up the Christmas tree

When do you realise Christmas is coming?

The decorations in my house look splendid, and I’ve got a new star to put at the top of the tree. =) I watched Home Alone the other day on Channel 4 +1. I would say that both Home Alone 1 and 2 are probably my favourite Christmas films of all time. I enjoy it now as I did when I was much younger. Even in the days when I in a complete world of my own. I remember my Mum buying the Home Alone soundtrack all the way back in 1992. It’s both wonderful and amazing how time flies. I’ve come a long way since then. =)

I’ve been in a good mood recently. I recently finished my illustration on a picture that I’m quite proud of. I drew and coloured Aoi Sakurai from the anime, ‘Rail Wars.’ I was thinking of doing either Rias Gremory or Takao next. However, I also begin to wonder if it’s more appropriate to draw a Christmas picture with a bunch of anime girls squashed together. That could be a lot of fun actually. If I feel like it, I’ll give them a go.

So far I’ve been doing a countdown to Christmas. Every morning I would eat a piece of chocolate from my Thomas the Tank Engine advent calendar. Then, I would post #day1 for example onto Instagram. I’m finding that a lot of fun. I don’t really eat heaps of chocolate in truth, but when I do, it’s on a special occasion. =D

THANKS FOR READING

Father Christmas

 I still have plenty of presents to wrap and cards to send but it’s all worth it when the 25th December arrives. 😉

Thanks for reading.

Namaste.^^/

Ryan.

Reviewing Anime, Manga and Film

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Konbanwa.^^/

It wasn’t my intention to review my favourite anime and manga when I started blogging, it just sort of happened. I was blogging about how I cope with Autism around the same time when I started to get into manga. It was at this point, I thought, that I could actually add another string to my bow (aka my blog) and review manga. Reviewing my favourite things, such as anime, manga and movies, would be another good way for me to express myself. Most of my friends and family don’t share this common interest with me so I don’t really have anyone to talk about this kind of stuff with. How do I solve this problem? Simple. Share my thoughts through the art of blogging. =)

I didn’t really know how to review a story. Is there only one way of reviewing? Initially I sort of just used my instinct and just spoke about what I enjoyed about that story. I also posted some anime news that I was happy about, especially concerning High School DxD. I could have easily researched previous reviews of anime and manga but I didn’t want to be influenced, so, I just went with my gut instinct. =D

When reviewing entertainment products I did find that I did probably force myself at times, especially when it comes to anime seasons. I felt I had to review every single anime that I watched. Here, I put unnecessary pressure on myself. Because I forced myself I wasn’t as natural as I could have been. It is at that point that I did research some reviews and this seemed to put more pressure on me to get it right. I felt that I ought to try to be more professional in my writing. This detracted my enjoyment of reviewing. It was only after the High School DxD Volume 2 that I had an epiphany… Reviewing manga, anime and films like a pro was never my intention to begin with.

The whole point of my ‘reviewing’ style is to share my enjoyment in manga and film and TV. My intention was to make my style personal rather than professional. After my reviews from High School DxD, I felt that my enjoyment and personality came out more. I actually enjoyed reviewing the latest manga and anime. I never forced myself to bring the words together, they all came together naturally. =)

I already have some anime and manga that I plan to review in the near future, but, I will not force myself to review them. I want to take my time and when I’m happy with it, I’ll share my thoughts on them with you. =) I think, in all honesty, my reviews are more like casual rambles. I feel like I’m a fan just spouting my thoughts on manga rather than analysing its contents.

I also found my own style of rating anime, manga and movies. You can check it out in the blog, My Rating System.

Here is a list of anime that I intend to review

  • High School DxD
  • Locodol
  • Non Non Biyori

A list of manga that I intend to review

  • Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends – Now With 50% More Fail!
  • Nisekoi: False Love – Volume 4
  • No Game No Life – Volume 1
  • See Me After Class – Volume 1

A list of TV series that I intend to review

  • Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends – Series 1

A list of Movies that I intend to review

  • Iron Man

I originally had a category called ‘Ryan’s Game World’. I intended to review games but I never got round to them. A year has gone by since I started to blog and I still haven’t reviewed a game. I might review the games of Atelier Escha and Logy, Super Mario and Senran Kagura but I’ll see how things go. =)

THANKS FOR READING

Non Non Biyori Wallpaper

I figured this blog would be an appropriate follow up to my First Year Blog Anniversary. I wanted to talk about my reviews in that blog but I deemed it not relevant, hence, why I made a separate blog for this one.

I hope you enjoyed the read, even if it was a short one. =)

See you next time.

Sayonara,^^/

Ryan.

Thomas the Tank Engine TV Anniversary

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Peep, Peep Tidings!

 

Today we are all celebrating. On this very day, 30 years ago, Thomas the Tank Engine first aired on television, produced by the good company of Britt Allcroft. =D

 

HOW THOMAS HELPED ME

Thomas is very precious to me, as he is too many others. One of my earliest childhood memories was Thomas. It was a basic play-set with Thomas and his two coaches, The Fat Controller, Percy, Bertie and a couple of troublesome trucks.

 

I’ve been blogging for almost a year now and I have made many links between my Autism and Thomas. I can’t express enough how instrumental Thomas was in my younger years. He helped me in many ways unimaginable. I was trapped in my own bubble and I never interacted with anyone or uttered a single word. Being young was difficult. The only time I would utter a sound is when the music started to play and I would scream very loudly. I would relieve this horrible tension in my head by banging it against the wall. Haha.

 

Some people started to talk to me through Thomas and made references through Thomas, to gain my attention. I can’t explain why I liked Thomas; I guess I felt that he was real. In cartoons you know it’s animated, but, I knew deep down that Thomas was a model. So, it felt like, I could just go down to the studio and see his model up close. I would be able to touch him. From my point of view, Thomas was an actor but playing the role of himself. Haha.

 

Till this day I still watch the first series of Thomas the Tank Engine, it was only yesterday when I actually watched Thomas Comes to Breakfast.

 

Through the world of Thomas, I started to open up my bubble and, even though it took time, started to open many paths that I would never have thought were possible. I started to share my toys with my brother, since we shared a common interest in Thomas. When I first listened to the songs of Thomas, like the Island Song, I started to listen to other songs. I disliked music at that time, but, I found that music wasn’t so bad because Thomas had music too. I also started to read, because Thomas had books. I like all different versions of Thomas and I especially like the Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry

 

Most importantly, it helped me to relax. When I was anxious I was unable to find a cure, so I was in a constant upset state. But, as soon as I learnt the existence of Thomas, I found a source of happiness. It cheered me up every time I was upset or anxious. There have been other attributes to what made me gradually come out of my shell.  However, this blog is dedicated to Thomas so everything else at this moment is irrelevant. =)

 

NOWADAYS

Thomas has now entered into the CGI stage… I can’t really say that I’m happy about this. I’m not questioning its change; it’s just that I prefer the model stage since it is what I’ve grown up with. I still collect the annuals, dvds and blu-rays. =) I started to narrate the classic Thomas stories and send those clips to my Uncle, who enjoys my narration a lot. I’m hoping to sometime in the future to send some of my recordings to hospitals etc as it helped me so much I know it could help lots of other children. =) I also started writing my own short stories about Thomas and his friends, and I’m having a lot of fun with that.

 

Nowadays I can go out and socialise more confidently then I could when I was younger. I went to College, went to University and got a 2:1 degree in performing arts, which I’m very proud of. =) I can even tolerate loud noise and music for a short period of time. Having Autism is not easy, but, I feel that the gateway of me coming out of my bubble is the result of Thomas being on TV. If it weren’t for Thomas who knows how my life would have turned out.

 

I’m not the sentimental kind but I would to take this opportunity to thank Britt Company and everyone involved for bringing Thomas to our screens. It helped me immensely as I’m sure it helped everyone else. Not just thanks for helping, but, for bringing happiness into our lives. I for one am truly grateful. =)

 

THANKS FOR READING

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It’s weird to think that Thomas has been airing for 30 years. It’s always been a dream of mine to get involved with the creative side of Thomas. Mainly writing and narrating. My main dream now is to be an author, but that’s another story! 😉

 

Thanks for reading.^^/

Ryan

Getting My Hair Cut

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Spring Tidings!^^/

 

On this lovely spring day I started to reminisce, basking in the cool sun. Even though it’s only been a matter of years that I left college I realised that I’ve developed a lot as a person more than I realised. One of the biggest independent steps I have taken in my role of…independence is getting my hair-cut- at a hair salon.

 

In the past I use to scream the whole place down, making many ears bleed in the process. I was very talented at that back then. 😉 We can all laugh about it now, especially me, but I was severely Autistic back then. I absolutely hated change. If I needed a new pair of shoes, my Mum would have to get the exact ones but in bigger size. Same applied to getting a new coat, new pants, new toothpaste, and new duvet and so on…

 

So, with all these “quirks” in mind, getting a hair-cut was a nightmare experience. My thought process at that era… I have to sit idly in a chair whilst someone was touching me (I hated close contact and being touched). And I hated change, I.E., getting rid of hair that was on my head, which I grew accustomed to for many months. With that hair gone it was like losing a part of me as an individual…and made the back of my neck very cold!

 

What did work one time is when I bought a Thomas the Tank Engine toy with me. It made me feel safe, and I was engaged with the toy rather than having a hair-cut. The toy I bought along was Devious Diesel…a true scoundrel he was. I still have that very same toy with me today, safely placed in my very own Thomas the Tank Engine carrier case. ;-D

 

I did gradually get used to getting my hair-cut, especially after I found a certain hairstyle that I liked (that’s not an interesting story though, so I won’t delve into that. XD). But what was a bother though was every time I kept on changing hair salons and hairdressers. I needed familiar faces and familiar routines.

 

I went to the one in my local town but I was quite uncomfortable with it because it was very tiny and made me feel squashed. I went to another local salon for a good number of years. I do think I was quite successful there since I gradually became more independent and actually started to walk on my own. I still felt vastly uncomfortable though but I still managed. Sometimes I would get a hair-cut with either my mum or sister if I felt uneasy that very week. I think what made me nervous was how busy the whole place was. It wasn’t as cramped as the other local salon but it was much, much busier.

 

My confidence did grow every time I did go out independently to the hair salon, especially when I went to a new hair salon based in Westhoughton. The person who owns the hair salon or co owns the hair salon, actually used to work as a hair-cutter at the salon before I came to here. So, that especially enticed me to going to the hairdressers based in Westhoughton. I’ve known this person for… 10 years or so? Familiarity can be quite key for an autistic person, especially for me. Hey, that rhymed. =D

 

Ahem-

 

In all seriousness this is the ideal salon for me. It’s very spacious and the most people that will get their hair cut at the time will be three. It has a familiar face and it has a general nice presentation, especially that plant in the corner. XD Now I can talk without any worries. I do still get anxious every time I go there though but I’m like there every time I go out.

 

The Autism side of me surfaces at the thought of going out and harbouring the guilty feeling of doing something “wrong.”

 

So yes I’m very happy at the hairdressers I have now as it’s the first time I’ve been myself when getting my hair-cut.

 

Namaste.^^/

Ryan