about me

I’m Autistic. I’m a proud single parent of a neurodivergent pre-teen young man. We homeschool, and love it.  I’m an Autism activist/advocate… Dog lover, cats too… and cows especially. Pagan, listening to the beauty and movement of the earth. Cosmetic formulator, obsessed with making pretty sparkly things. Business owner, grateful to be my own boss. I’m a Writer. List-maker. Jewelry maker. Avid gardener. Eternal student. Photographer. History buff. Star gazer. Violinist, and currently obsessed with Greek and Norse mythology.

I prefer the written word over speaking. Speaking is difficult/stressful, unless my words are previously rehearsed, repetitively. But even the written word can result in misplaced meaning and hazy communication…

Let me guess, you’re wondering what “Sonnolenta” means?

Sonnolenta. (so-no-len-ta) In Italian, to be drowsy. sleepy. soporific; is “SONNOLENTO”. I started saying this word, because the Italian word for tired, “STANCA” sounded like “stinky” to me. Silly thing, but how words sound and look is a bit of a fascination for me. I like words. I especially like unusual words, like “dormiveglia”- the Italian language is beautiful, and home to many complex words that appear most lovely. Literally to me, I’ve pieced together other things, loosely:  sono: I am (io sono)  lenta: slow  “Sono lenta, sonnolenta, lenta al sonno” … “I’m slow, sleepy, slow to sleep…” :) For me, “sonnolenta” is the art of living life slowly, fully, intentionally… 

Why Italian? Well, I’m second generation Italian-American, and exploring and researching the Italian heritage that my Grandfather felt he had to hide and be ashamed of- is important to me. In a lot of ways I can relate to his feeling like he had to “pass” for being American, much in the same way I have always felt like I have to pass as normal, or neurotypical.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding and ignorance regarding Autism Spectrum disorders in women. Women tend to go undiagnosed, with a trail of misdiagnoses and a lifetime of confusion and struggling to fit in, left behind in their wake. Women with ASD are more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, than their male counterparts. Women with ASD are more likely to be treated like they are mental patients, flawed, weak or defective; while males are more likely to be correctly diagnosed, seen as disabled, receiving correct treatment/help, and not looked upon as negatively. This presents a unique, and often heartbreaking set of challenges for women with ASD to overcome. Mostly all of the early writing, documentation and research about Autism and Aspergers was done with male children, and men. Not women. It was believed that it was a male disorder. That is not the case. I’ve got links to many great blogs written by Autistic women on my sidebar. Check them out!

I’m not sure what direction this blog is going in. Some days I write about life on the spectrum, neurodivergence in the family, or homeschooling. Some days I share photos from my hiking excursions. Other days I reblog, when I can’t get the words to flow correctly. But most of all, what I wish to eventually share is this journey. Who knows where it may lead?


21 thoughts on “about me

  1. I admire your courage in blogging. My niece’s son has been diagnosed with a similar diagnosis. I have been interested in trying to gain an understanding of the thoughts, feelings and the mechanics involved in dealing with issues of problems involving communication with other s. In no way would I wish to offend you .

    • Thanks for visiting my blog, Tony! I’ve remained quiet about it for a long time. I wanted to just see if I could “blend in” with the rest of the world, but that’s just not happening. I’ve realized that I need to accept myself as I am, not try to change myself like I’ve been urged to do my entire life. The aspergers/autism community is really a spectacular thing. There’s so many bloggers, parents, and loved ones out there writing and working hard each day to not just raise awareness, but to create acceptance. Was your nieces’ son diagnosed with PDD-NOS or ?

  2. Thanks so much for following Scribbles of a Geek! As an autistic woman being assessed for ADHD, I’m really glad that there are now more of us speaking out about AS and how we are angry at the way we’re treated by professionals and by society. Will follow back, can’t wait to see your stuff!

    • Thank you very much Heidi! My ADHD diagnosis happened first, and eventually led to the rest. It’s only been three years since that, and I’ve mostly been silent, because people just didn’t “get it”. Very glad that I found the courage to start writing and sharing, and it means the world to me that people are reading it! Good luck with your ADHD stuff!

  3. Dear Sonnolenta,

    I’m Myriam Leggieri and I’m a PhD student in computer science
    (http://www.insight-centre.org/users/myriam-leggieri) with a passion for
    social issues. Since social work doesn’t pay much, I’m trying to use my
    programming skills to help society nonetheless, especially those people
    more in need. I volunteer for an autism-related charity in my city,
    Galway, Ireland (Galway Autism Partnership) and that’s where the idea of
    a mobile app to support independent living for adult with autism raised.

    I’m currently developing a mobile app called “My Ambrosia”
    (my-ambrosia.com) that is a weekly meal recommender (for healthy diet
    style), planner (to take the fuss out of organizing) and grocery
    shopping support (to never waste or run out of food items).

    The idea was accepted to the second stage (out of three) of the Student
    Entrepreneur Awards competition, so that I’m now in the process of
    writing a Business Plan.

    In particular, I’m running a Market Research and I’d love to get
    feedback on the concept behind my app, from adults with autism. I’m a little struggling with this
    because all the charities I contacted deal with children and parents of
    children with autism, rather than with adults.

    Could you kindly help me out by simply filling the questionnaire at
    http://my-ambrosia.com/?q=survey , please? Also it
    would be super-awesome if you could spread the word and ask your friends to fill the questionnaire.

    I read that you usually eat the same thing for long time frames. I wonder, how would you like an app to recommend the best meal for you, taking into consideration your own preferences? Maybe the recommender could stick to only a small set of food items that you like in this specific time period. It would suggest the best combination of those food items which may not be the healthiest ever but still as healthy as you can get, while satisfying your current wishes.

    Thanks a million in advance! and keep up the great work ;)

    Best regards,
    Myriam Leggieri

  4. I don’t know what was wrong with Steve Jobs, but I was told he ate the same thing for weeks at a time and/or lived on apples or something else. I read that someone else who was as famous as he was… was invited to his house for dinner and that they did not expect there to be anything there that was halfway edible. They probably ate before they went there. I had never heard of anyone being called a fruitarian before either…, it seems very odd.

    I do know some people get so involved in what they are doing they forget to eat. I also know that Bill Gates and some of the early computer and/or software developers stayed awake for over 24 hours at a time and programmed.

    • I definitely forget to eat when I am involved doing something I’m really interested in, or hyper focusing on. Although at other times, I can be a stress eater. I tend to eat the same exact thing for breakfast every morning. Routine is an important part of my day. That doesn’t mean I don’t like variety, but just that the morning hours are a time when routine is most important to me, to get a less stressed start on my day.

  5. Thank you, Cristiana, for sharing with us the moments from your journey!
    As a regular reader of your blog, I have to tell you that I feel very blessed to have a resource which provides a very needful insight into the life of a fellow Autistic, and, the daily struggles that one has to go through everyday and also describes them in a way that is easy to understand for both neuroatypicals & neurotypicals. These daily struggles are the real invisible disability that no NTs or experts can recognise, let alone understand!
    But this is just one aspect. Through reading your blog, I’ve had my own moments of joy, sorrow, laughter & epiphany. There have been numerous moments when I read something that struck a chord with me. You may have been told this earlier too, but you are really blessed with words & expressiveness. You have this extraordinary ability to paint with your words.
    Through your writings, I’ve learnt so much in the last 4 months about my very own neurology and this has helped me enormously to decide what should be the correct take on it – the take that I should have and others should, too, whether it’s my family or the people that I come into contact with everyday. This, in turn, has proved valuable for me as a guidebook to avoid situations and events that may overwhelm me but are completely avoidable otherwise.

    As you are at a point where your Son is about to embark on his own journey, I wish both of you a smooth ride.
    Thank you once again for all that you are doing, be it blogging, advocacy, awareness, philanthropic activities or other similar stuff.
    May you find the correct inspiration & energy to start writing again on a regular basis soon. X

    Best wishes,

    • Thank you for these kind words, and encouragement! I really appreciate it, and it inspires me to write more, even though the words have been shortcoming lately. Thank you.

  6. Hi, just writing a short blog on some recent experiences of how autistics girls are recieved and identified by adults in school and may be doing a research dissertation on the subject. Your knowledge would be very useful – I’ll link your blog to the article and it would be really good to chat online if you have the time. Thanks – danny.e.mills@gmail.com

  7. Dear Sonnolenta,

    My name is Vered Seidmann and I am conducting a study on Autistic people and the Social Media. I am a PhD student at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information Studies (WKWSCI), in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. I study the voice and the presence of autism as reflected in social media. The direct voice of autistic people is under-explored and I find it extremely important to listen to the unique voice of autistic people. I was wondering if I can be in touch with you for more detailed explanation.
    If you are willing, I would be very grateful to be in touch with you directly via e-mail and send you more detailed information. My e-mail address is: vered001@e.ntu.edu.sg .

    Thank you,
    Vered Seidmann

  8. When I was formally diagnosed, it felt like my entire world suddenly made sense. It’s such a great feeling for me to find others who accept who they are, rather than trying to fight it. I have actually heard of your eye shadow via AWN and I’m so happy to have found your blog! :)

  9. I only found out I was an aspie in my mid forties. although I’m glad I found out, it kinda ticks me off that I found out so late. I envy those diagnosed in early childhood, when your self esteem is developing.
    it’s neurotypical world, and you have to make the best of it.
    You’re so right about females not being diagnosed. aspie girls are quieter than aspie boys, more likely to go into shutdown than a rage attack. social phobias can be explained as girlie shyness, and fear of noise is just another girlie thing, right? as is general anxiety, for instance. girls learn to follow the herd and pretend better than boys, so we’re way under diagnosed, and that’s a shame.

  10. I have come to really love this blog. I was so hoping to comment on your meltdown post and I see you are not having comments…I very much hope you were not bullied. I share SO many of your triggers and I WISH I had your awareness of beginnings of meltdowns…I do share that lack of the luxury and thus the need to be on top of things as I too carry many things right now, above all my family.
    Love and gratitude for your wonderful blog!
    Oh…your dots might get me ;)
    Full Spectrum Mama

    • Hi, thank you so much I really appreciate hearing that! I did have a very unfortunate rash of bullying occur, and the comments people were submitting were so vile and cruel that I had to close commenting for a few days- it just got too triggering for me to handle. I’m not used to being told to go kill myself. Comments are open again now, but I think that articles I wrote while it was closed it never allows open comments on, and it won’t let me edit the post to add them for some reason. Anyway I am glad you could relate to what I wrote about triggers and meltdowns. It took a long time before I was at a calm and focused enough place in my daily life to be able to start identifying the physical associations of the start of meltdown, but I eventually did and it’s helped a lot for me to stop the process. A big part of that was removing myself from difficult and toxic situations and people, as a lot of what I experience is situational, so controlling my environment is crucial. <3

      • I am so, SO sorry you went through that. I myself have also been through a great deal of trauma and have had to literally not have contact with toxic people in order to get to that same point of being able to begin to be aware around my meltdowns and manage them to some extent…But I still have a ways to go. Thanks for your bravery and wisdom.
        What is neurodiversity if not…hmmm…DIVERSE?

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