Tag Archives: Voices

Question?: Schizophrenia Types

Jenny asks…

What distinguishes schizophrenia from other types of mental illness?

admin answers:

Schizophrenia like Bi-Polar or Uni-Polar are diseases just like diabetes or heart disease. They are caused by disruptions of the brain chemicals and the neurotransmitters. Schizophrenia is different because it causes one to have hallucinations, hear voices in their heads and sometimes paranoia that has to be treated.

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Question?: Schizophrenia Stories

Michael asks…

Schizophrenia?? need help…!! stories, anything…?

how does it affect the person living with the disorder?
how is the disorder best managed?

admin answers:

I’m not sz but hear voices,I also know many people that are sz.

It really depends on the severity of the symptoms. I know many people that live some what of a normal life. Many have had there symptoms go away for many years only to return later in life.

I know some people that are unable to handle day to day life and are hospitalized many times. I also know many that there meds work for them and are doing OK. Although meds can stop working and must be changed a lot.

Many of my friends have gone to collage, been married and have a family, now that doesn’t always work out.

I think that you must educate yourself and the people in your life. These people can see an episode coming on when the person with sz does not. You must keep in contact with your pdoc, eat healthy and find what works best for you.Therapy can help a great deal as it is hard for them to find people they can trust. Many of them live a very isolated life as mental illness has a very bad stigma. Also they have a lot of paranoia. Anyone who hears bad voices can somewhat relate to people that are sz. Some of the symptoms are the same. We try and teach new comers that our voices are liars and have no powers.

But dx at an early age you can learn best how to cope with it and most of them do much better. By the time they have had sz for many years they have learned to cope much better.

This is what I have learned in a suport group I’m in for people who hear voices. Many of these people are my main support and have educated me so much. I was so afraid to tell anyone that I heard voices because I thought since I heard them meant I was sz. Now I see things in a different light. I consider most of my friends in my suport group my very best friends.

Take care

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Question?: Schizophrenia Definition

George asks…

Can someone explain Schizophrenia to me, in depth?

Can someone explain Schizophrenia to me, in depth?
i know the basic definition of Schizophrenia, but i would like to know what really goes on in the heads of people who have this illness. Anyway i really want to understand what is the thought process. Do nightmares occur, and how bad can they get? Thank you for time.

admin answers:

There are a number of different types of schizophrenia. About one third of schizophrenics have paranoid schizophrenia, like me. In this type, the intellectual functioning and affect (whether your face looks animated or not) are not really affected. Short term memory is apparently something which is commonly affected by schizophrenia, but I never found that this was the case.

I had busy thoughts. My delusions came to me as if they were repressed memories, and I thought that the voices were memories of conversations past as well. However, it was all false. I didn’t realise it at the time though. I believed in it all.

I was very concerned with what words meant exactly (including the derivation as found in the dictionary). I would draw connections between various ideas in quite an imaginative fashion, to put it politely. I think that this is what they call “concrete thinking.” It means that you can’t interpret a proverb properly, because you can’t handle abstract thinking. You interpret everything literally.

My delusions and voices were relatively benign. I didn’t really get scared from most of them. I didn’t experience nightmares.

It would be different for everybody though. A lot of people wouldn’t have enough insight into their illness to be able to look back and see what their symptoms had been.

Some people suffer from what they call negative symptoms as well. These are ones that stop you living life so well, such as apathy and avolition. I only experienced these after I was on medication. I’ve switched to a medication that doesn’t have these side effects.

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Question?: Schizophrenia Treatment

Richard asks…

The most successful Schizophrenia treatment?

What is the most successful treatment for Schizophrenia thus far? I know it’s not a lobotomy. 😛

admin answers:

Without getting into a debate on the best type, in general the most successful treatment for schizophrenia is anti-psychotic medicines. There are atypical (most recently developed in 90’s) and the original ones (developed in 50’s). Different people respond differently to the various types of anti-psychotics and they must work closely with a doctor to find the right medication.

Even better for some people is a combination of medicinal treatment (anti-psychotics) and psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, schizophrenics can learn how to cope with their symptoms better. They can learn how to ignore voices, rationalize delusions, and learn techniques to manage the negative symptoms. Psychotherapy also helps schizophrenics deal with the day to day struggles of the illness such as how it manifests in the workplace, at school, or with family.

It is important to remember that different treatments work differently for various people. No one responds the same to one medication. For some, psychotherapy is completely useless. The key is finding a doctor who is willing to try many options to learn what will work best for the individual.

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Question?: Autistic Symptoms

Paul asks…

What are the dos and dont’s to do with autistic children?

Where could I find the dos and dont’s to do with autistic children? Where in the internet? Which books?

admin answers:

Well, being an autistic person, I should know. It honestly depends on the type of autism they have. Are they severely Autistic, high-functioning, asperger’s? You need to first do a little bit of research on a child’s particular condition, as well as their history at home. Every autistic is different.

There are a few symptoms that are almost across the board though. One of them is social dysfunction. Interacting with other children is not as easy as is it for “normal’ kids. You must be mindful of this, and not scold them or force them into doing social interaction. Another thing is sensory overload. For example, high-pitched sounds like certain people’s voices send me batty. Strong smells like perfume are also not appreciated by autistics. These are things that the parents should tell you about so you don’t use them in class. One more; autistics will wig out eventually, no matter what. Let them. Don’t be upset or scream at them because it will make things worse. Most also don’t like to be touched (again, sensory). For times like these, prepare a plan. Explain to other classmates that this is normal for him/her and you should be patient and respect them. Also, set up a “haven” for them. This could be anything from a special chair, teddy bear, or even a tent. Anything that will let them get away for a moment and calm down is a good thing.

The most important things are education and patience. No book or movie will help you anticipate the do’s and don’ts- it’s all trial and error. I’ll give you this site, which is a community of autistics and parents/spouses/friends of autistics who can answer any of your questions.

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Question?: Autism Symptoms In Infants

Mandy asks…

When can you diagnose autism in a baby?

And what are the signs and symptoms?

admin answers:

From these studies, five distinct areas of development are flagged for consideration. All parents should consider these “Big Five” if they suspect that their child may have autism.

1) Does the baby respond to his or her name when called by the caregiver? Within the first few months of life, babies respond to their own name by orienting toward the person who called them. Typical babies are very responsive to the voices of familiar people, and often respond with smiles and looks.

In contrast, infants later diagnosed with autism often fail to respond to their own name. That is, when called by name, they tend to turn and look at the person only about 20% of the time as found- in the videotaped one year-old birthday parties of children with autism. They also are often selectively responsive to sounds. They may ignore some sounds and respond to others that are of the same loudness. Thus, they may fail to respond to their parent calling their name, but immediately respond to the television being turned on. It is not unusual for parents to suspect their child has a hearing loss.

2) Does the young child engage in “joint attention”? Near the end of the first year of life, most infants begin to join with their caregivers in looking at the same object or event. To aid in this process of “joint attention”, typical infants begin to shift their gaze from toys to people, follow other’s points, monitor the gaze of others, point to objects or events to share interest, and show toys to others. These behaviors have a distinct sharing quality to them. For example, the young infant may point to an airplane flying over head, and look to the parent, as if to say, “do you see that!”

In contrast, young children with autism have particular difficulties in jointly attending with others. They rarely follow another’s points, do not often shift their gaze back and forth from objects to people, and do not seem to share “being with” the caregiver as they watch and talk about objects, people, or events. They also tend not to “show” a toy to the parent.

3) Does the child imitate others? Typical infants are mimics. Very young infants can imitate facial movements (e.g., sticking out their tongue). As early as 8-10 months, mothers and infants say the same sounds one after another, or clap or make other movements. Indeed, imitation is a major part of such common infant games as pat-a-cake and So Big (“How big is baby? Soooo big!” as infant raises hands to sky).

Young children with autism, however, less often imitate others. They show less imitation of body and facial movements (waving, making faces, playing infant games), and less imitation with objects.

4) Does the child respond emotionally to others? Typical infants are socially responsive to others. They smile when others smile at them, and they initiate smiles and laughs when playing with toys and others. When typical infants observe another child crying, they may cry themselves, or looked concerned. Somewhat older infants may crawl near the person, pat, or in other ways offer comfort. These latter behaviors are suggestive of empathy and are commonly observed among children in the second year of life.

In contrast, children with autism may seem unaware of the emotions of others. They may not take notice of the social smiles of others, and thus may not look and smile in response to other’s smiles. They also may ignore the distress of others. Several researchers have now shown that when an adult feigns pain and distress after hitting herself with a toy, or banging her knee, young children with autism are less likely to look at the adult, or show facial concern.

5) Does the baby engage in pretend play? Someone once noted that “play is the work of children.” Young children love to pretend-to be a mother, father, or baby, to be a firefighter or police officer. Although children start to play with toys around six months or so, play does not take on a pretend quality until the end of the first year. Their first actions may involve pretending to feed themselves, their mother or a doll, brush the doll’s hair, or wipe the doll’s nose. Nearer their second birthday, children engage in truly imaginative play as dolls may take on human qualities of talking or engaging in household routines. Children may pretend that a sponge is a piece of food, a block is a hat, or a plastic bowl is a swimming pool that contains water.

In contrast, the play of children with autism may be lacking in several ways. The young child may not be interested in objects at all, paying more attention to the movement of his hands, or a piece of string. If interested in toys, only certain ones may catch his interest, and these may be used in a repetitive way that is not consistent with how most children would play with the toy. They may be more interested in turning a toy car upside down and spinning the wheels than pushing the car back and forth. Overall, pretend qualities are nearly absent in the play of children with autism under 2 years of age.

It is important to note that in each of the 5 areas we have flagged, we are most concerned with behaviors that are absent or occur at very low rates. The absence of certain behaviors may be more difficult to pinpoint than the presence of atypical behaviors. But concerns in any of the above areas should prompt a parent to investigate screening their child for autism. Several screening measures are now available, and information from the screener will help to determine if the parent should pursue further evaluations. If the parent is convinced their child has autism, then they should seek an evaluation with an expert in autism. Most likely, this evaluation will involve an interview with the parents to obtain a complete developmental history of the child, and direct observations of the child in different situations.

Luckily, Timmy and his parents were able to get the diagnosis of autism before Timmy’s third birthday. They began intensive treatment with Timmy, and he made immediate progress. They are hoping for the best outcome, and feel confident that his early diagnosis was critical in getting him the help he needs to reach his potential.



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Question?: Schizophrenia Definition

Maria asks…

what is the definition of schizophrenia?

in people’s terms. what are the signs of it?

admin answers:

Depression (lack of motivation-emotionless)
hallucinations (voices)
disordered thinking (doesn’t make sense)
bizarre or disorganized behavior

There are three types of schizophrenia so the symptoms may differ between them.

Paranoid schizophrenia causes unreasonable fears due to misinterpretations of what is going on around you.

Catatonic schizophrenia causes peculiar behaviors such as standing in an awkward position for long periods of time.

Disorganized schizophrenia causes unusual speech and behavior, such as making up words or constantly rhyming words.

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Question?: Schizophrenia

John asks…


It’s a possibility for me to be Schizophrenic…Do you Agree….?

Well, it runs through my family and I have every illness and condition and mental state that has gone through my family. I seem to have the symptoms.
but I am still young so it’s not that obvious (I’m 15, turning 16 in 2 weeks)
I have been called “mental” a few times and my sister and mum sense I am.
I am overly conscious, I always think people are always talking about me, I talk to myself or pretend someone is there and just talk to “the imaginary person”.
But, I don’t think a Schizophrenic person would admit that themselves or notice that about them self.

But…what do you think?

Serious answers please, this is no joke. Keep it serious.
I forgot to mention that I DO hallucinate and hear voices A LOT like at least twice everyday
I get told that I am mental and there is something wrong with me but I snap and scream back “No! There is something wrong with you!! You are the mental one”

I talk to myself a lot and I do it in public without realising (people tell me I’m talking to myself)

admin answers:

Well in Schizophrenia, one doesn’t typically “pretend” someone else is there; one typically really believes they are speaking to another person who isn’t really there. However, you can actually make yourself go insane by constantly thinking something is wrong with you. My best suggestion is that you go to a psyhologist and have a professional analyze you. They will be able to tell you if something is actuallyy wrong with you..and then you can be at peace. If there’s nothing wrong with you, you can move on with your life and stop worrying. And if you do in fact have a mental illness, you will be provided with proper therapy/medication so that you can get better. 🙂 So either way, everything will be okay!

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47 days


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

~ Barack Obama

I am grateful that Liz has begun the process of reaching out to self-advocates. I am hopeful that through her conversations, the gap can be bridged, changes will be made and that when Autism Speaks it will be autistic voices that we hear.

~ Diary , August 2012


We lament the pace of change. It simply doesn’t happen fast enough to satisfy our hunger. Call us impatient. Go ahead, we’ve been called far worse. But we need the world to be different NOW. There is no time to wait. 

We scream and shout and we talk and cajole and we negotiate and politic and then …

And then we climb into bed at night and wonder if all that we did, all that we do, was and is for naught. We wonder if we stood and shouted into the air yet again, the wind taking our words before they could ever dream of being heard, having impact, making something – anything – different for our kids.

We cry and we fight, we scratch and we claw and we wonder …

We wonder if the very people who are meant to represent us, to support us, to help us, are really representing or supporting or helping us at all – or if perhaps, despite all the good they might be doing, if they’re also part of the problem.

We shake our heads (and our fists) and wonder how they could be getting it quite so wrong.

So wind or no wind, we keep talking. And we talk and we talk and we talk. And we listen. And we ask questions. And we offer solutions, suggestions, different paths. Real, solid alternatives to what we know isn’t working. Because banging on the walls and yelling isn’t enough.

And sometimes, the right person listens. If we talk enough the odds are good. 

And we begin to hear not just platitudes and empty promises but our words reflected back to us – our ideas winding into strategy and flowing into execution. And we realize that things are changing. That priorities are shifting. That attitudes and organizations and elected officials are listening. And evolving. More slowly than we’d like perhaps, but the monumental changes we seek simply do not happen overnight, no matter how much we may want and will them to. 

And in that moment, that very instant that we see something change, we know that it is possible. We can change the institutions that represent us. We can affect the process.

Autism Speaks put out a video yesterday. It looks different from what you may have seen them do in the past. For one thing, it prominently features autistic adults speaking for themselves.

Are people going to find plenty to take issue with? Yup. They always will. Autism is far too sticky and messy and God, it affects us all in so very many different ways – I can imagine almost nothing that will please everyone in one fell swoop. But is it a hell of a closer? Yup. Is change happening? It is.

The other night, I listened to Liz Feld, the President of Autism Speaks, speak to a room full of some 220 people. She talked about autistic young people transitioning to adulthood. She talked about transportation and housing and employment. She talked about bullying and respect. She talked about research as an avenue to make life better – to mitigate the challenges of those on the spectrum. She talked about returning money to the communities from which it comes – supporting services for autistic individuals and their families.

Speaking to her at the end of the evening, she said, “See, Jess? I listened.” I told her I’d heard it. That I’d heard my words reflected back to me.

She looked at my friends Judith and Jersey who were standing with us. “She taught me,” she said, “that our words matter.”

I was heartened.

I felt empowered.

I felt like the words, the emotion, the passion of so many who stuck around and continued the conversation mattered.

Liz is listening.

Autism Speaks is listening.

And changing.

And I am so, so grateful.

Because they have a voice. They have a platform. They have political connections and they have resources. And we need them.

In 47 days, this nation will elect or re-elect its next President. We have GOT to part of the conversation. We are too big and our kids are too important to be ignored. We need to – by God we HAVE to – work together to become an unavoidable topic in any political debate. From town councils and school boards across the country to state legislatures and Governor’s offices. From the House of Representatives to Senate to the Oval Office. WE MUST BE PART OF THE DEBATE.

When candidates talk about so-called entitlements, WE must remind them that behind that now dirty word and political hot potato are programs with very real impacts on very real lives. WE must remind them that it’s not just morally imperative but fiscally responsible to ensure accessible employment opportunities, to allow us to save for our own children’s futures, to support education and housing and transportation that will enable them to grow into not just fulfilled human beings but productive members of society.

It is up to our entire community to remind them that individuals with autism matter.

What will YOU do in the next 47 days to make us part of the conversation?


More on becoming engaged in the political process and what I believe we need from our politicians:

My letter to Massachusetts congressional candidate Joe Kennedy

My letter to the President

View the original article here

Voices of autism: self-advocates speak

I know a lot about autism from a parent’s perspective, but have a lot to learn from individuals who are on the autism spectrum themselves. Today, Lynne Soraya, who writes about Life through the lens of Asperger’s Syndrome for Psychology Today shows us what empathy – true empathy, looks like:


Sometimes What Looks Like Empathy, Isn’t

Real compassion and empathy often means asking “Why?”

Change isn’t easy for those of us on the spectrum. The beginning of a new school year is replete with it. Given this, it’s inevitable that students on the autism spectrum would run into a few bumps along the way. Sometimes, subtleties such as language, perception, and social position can create unexpected complications that are not always easy to explain.

When I think of this, I am reminded of a very difficult time in my life. Fourth grade was particularly challenging. I was subjected to a level of bullying I had never before experienced. It was calculated, coordinated, violent, and relentless – and took a terrible toll.

Long before the school year ended, my father began making preparations to get us out of there. When he was finally offered a job in a neighboring town, he wasted no time. He took it – happy to have removed me from an intolerable situation. But the true cost of the bullying and betrayal I’d experienced wouldn’t be truly evident until the new school year began.

My new teacher was very extroverted and people-centric – traits that would seem ideal in a teacher. But we quickly came to clash. In her estimation, being alone and isolated were the worst possible outcomes for anyone. I was both.

Not that I wanted to be…but I was coming from a completely different perspective. For me, isolation was a far less painful place than the world in which I had spent the previous year – a world in which it was impossible to tell the cruel from the kind,and being around people meant living in constant fear, wondering where and when the next attack would come. And my teacher unknowingly made it worse – in an attempt to integrate me into the social sphere of the classroom, she “assigned” me a friend.

It was a situation I’d been primed to fear. The worst bully in my previous school – the ringleader who led many of the attacks – had been a girl who’d been “assigned” to befriend me, in that case by her mother. She’d resented it, and made me pay for it, dearly. I now feared the same from this new girl.

I didn’t know how to articulate my feelings, or how to explain the dynamics that caused them, so I reacted the only way I knew how. I waited until I thought no-one was looking, and made a beeline to a remote corner of the playground. After the first recess, when my new friend came inside without me in tow, our teacher reprimanded her publicly. Now, the girl had definite motive to dislike me – I’d gotten her in trouble. Embarrassed at having caused this girl grief, I avoided her all the more.

Afraid and unsure what to do, I spend most days pacing the edges of the playground. I wanted friends, and social contact,but I had no idea how to successfully make it happen – I didn’t have the tools. I didn’t know how to identify what I needed, or ask for the help. So, I resigned myself to isolation.

My teacher became more and more troubled, and decided it was time for her to take action. During every recess, she would watch me like a hawk, alert to any sign of unsociability on my part. When she saw it, she’d intervene, and attempt to push me into some form of social activity.

I was non-compliant. Fear was a powerful motivator – and I found more and more ways to avoid her. It became an ongoing tug of war. The harder she pushed me to be social, the more my fears and anxieties grew – and the more I isolated myself.

As it escalated, so did my stress level. I came home more and more tense and exhausted. Seeing this, my father attempted to intervene. But no matter how he fought to explain my fears, he only encountered frustration. She just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, hear him – and the tug of war continued.

For all my social isolation, I’d always excelled academically. In that I held myself to high standards, and so did my father. But as my stress level climbed, it began to show in my grades. One day, as I stared at a big red “C” scrawled across the top of my most recent test, I cracked.

All the stress and anxiety boiled over. I began to shake, and started to cry. My classmates were kind and concerned, and they asked me what was wrong. “I got a C.” I showed them the paper. “My father’s gonna kill me.” It was phrase I’d heard my peers casually use countless times to denote parental displeasure. When they used it, no one ever seemed to give it a second thought. When I used it, it backfired badly.

My father was on the receiving end of a panicked phone call. “Why would you say such a thing,” he burst out as we drove home. “You know I’d never hurt you!” I was surprised at the vehemence of his reaction, and confused. Why was everyone upset? Why were they taking me so literally? I wondered what he had been told – and how the meaning of my words had been twisted.

I can only imagine my father’s fear when he received this call – he understood all too clearly what an errant accusation could do. We’d been through it before. Was my poorly received attempt at peer-appropriate language going to result in another investigation? Would the family be further torn apart by outside suspicion?

From the outside, looking in, people may have admired my teacher. “Look at how she cares,” I imagine them saying, “Look at how hard she tries to help that poor little girl!” But from the other side, it looked very different.

My experience in her classroom was one of the worst in my school career. I can’t tell you how many times I wished for a single word from her: “Why?” Her aims and my aims were the same – I wanted to be social as much as she wanted me to be. But I needed help that only understanding could provide. But I didn’t get that.

I didn’t have a diagnosis – so I can only guess what my teacher had labeled me in her mind. Abused? Disturbed? Regardless of what name she put on it – it was clear she saw me as “other.”

My best teachers did ask why. Better yet, they often read between the lines and came up with the answers themselves. It’s sad for me to see that despite all the education and awareness, so many have not learned to do the same. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, what masquerades as compassion and empathy is really just judgment, in disguise.


Lynne Soraya (a pseudonym) learned early the impact of expectations and the reality of the diversity of the human experience. A child with an unusual profile of skills and abilities, she was blessed with excellent teachers who saw through her struggles, valuing her differences and emphasized her strengths. It was only in adulthood, after years of difficulties and confusion, that she learned that her differences had a name: Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism.

Today, she is a woman who wears many hats. As a disability advocate and writer, she works to build awareness to the issues affecting those who do not fit into the mold society labels as “typical.” In her day job, she’s a technological professional in the Fortune 500 who also works to drive diversity and inclusion in a corporate context.

Find out more at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/aspergers-diary

This story is excerpted from Asperger’s Diary:Life through the lens of Asperger’s Syndrome.


What are your questions? Do you need resources? Email me here lshumaker@sfgate.com and I will do my very best to help.


Don’t miss..

Autism and Technology:
Resources and opportunities for Transitional Age Youth, an interactive discussion.

Topics include: Independent Living- Education and Employment.

Audience: YOU, The general public; people with disabilities, their families and friends; veterans, legal community,  vocational rehabilitation; mental and social service providers.

Friday, August 17th, 2011, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin St.
San Francisco CA 94102

RSVP Steven Leibof sleibof@pwdf.org Call at (415) 931-3070 . For anyone needing sign language interpreters,  please contact us no later than August 10, 2012.

CLICK HERE to learn more about speakers.

ALSO, The Morgan Autism Center Conference is September 22. More about it soon, but REGISTER NOW because it is going to be amazing. (Carol Gray is keynote!)


SIGN UP for myautismteam.com. The more of us that do, the better.


View the original article here