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Quagmirian

Skydiving with Aspergers

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Hello everyone

I've been jumping for a while now, but I have only recently been assessed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, with some symptoms of ADHD. I do not currently take any medications for this. I'd like to know what it's like for other skydivers 'on the spectrum'. What you struggle with, what you excel at etc.

Happy jumping

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I think there's a guy who jumps in the UK who has aspergers - Jamie and Ricard? (think Ricard is Jamie's carer). Really good story and some good videos of his first 100 jumps or so (IIRC).

Jamie's mum has posted before on UKS, so might be worth looking on there :)

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Your the dude making your own parachute? Your diagnosis explains a lot:PI have 2 very close friends with Aspergers (one of them with ADHD too) and what they have in common is that once they find something they really like they can have 100% focus on the project and devote completely to it for a long period of time. Every time I was reading your thread about your little project I was thinking how much determination and time it takes :p I don't really see Aspergers as being a problem in Skydiving as long as you can honestly say that you have no problems concentrating on safety, checking your equipment and so on.

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I had a friend with AS who said that the biggest problem with skydiving was the noise. He found it impossible to make more than 2-3 jumps in a day. Frankly, his personality was the other big drawback, because he could be very abrasive, and came across as creepy sometimes to women because he didn't let go of conversations easily once started.

When people knew him it was OK, but the one away boogie he went to wasn't really a screaming success. He was fine at his home DZ

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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The the UK site, Jamie's mum posted a number of updates and videos of Jamie's progress. He's probably got well over 300 jumps by now, has jumped from balloons, plenty of different DZ's and has got some awesome skills - might try get in contact with her if you want an in depth perspective. The thread she started can be found here: http://www.ukskydiver.co.uk/cms/topic/23851-ricars-1st-100-jumps/

Blue Skies!

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Similar to you, I have been recently (1 year ago) diagnosed with HFA on the ASD. I am 52yrs old. In my case, due to the criteria, I am not considered AS as I had and still have Language/speech problems.
I started jumping when I was 23 yrs. I excel in rigging and instruction of BASE jumping. I struggle with sarcasm. Some one says they want to do something and i immediately go into a solution finder mode, Only to be told that it was a joke. Some people joke about impossibilities. To me, there are no impossibilities.
The 100% focus has helped me in rigging and BASE jumping and has also screwed up relationships.
The problem is that people dont always believe you when you tell them the parameters and that, if they exceed them that it will cost them their life. They exceed them and die exactly in the manner and place you told/showed them.
Other than that, I think it makes me a more conscientious jumper.
Take care,
space (Gee, I wonder how he got that name)

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Don't feel bad.
I sewed and jumped (hundreds of times) a couple of kit parachutes long before I even heard the term Aspergers.
When I was in my fifties, my sister suggested that I might be some degree of high-functioning autistic.
My biggest variable is how much sleep I have gotten during the last week.

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Quagmirian

Autistic Spectrum Disorder, with some symptoms of ADHD.



Honestly, I believe that's just about anyone. I think if anyone ever talked to a psychologist for any length of time at some point they'd be diagnosed falling somewhere on "the spectrum."

As long as it's not severe and judging from the fact that nobody seemed to notice it in you until just now, I wouldn't give that diagnosis a second thought.
quade -
The World's Most Boring Skydiver

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Hello! I only just saw this thread. I finally put my foot down and we went on a "non-skydiving" holiday sailing the Greek Islands and had no internet. Jamie decided he wanted to fly when he was tiny. He then spent A LOT of time in the tunnel. Mostly because we found it very therapeutic for him. He has high functioning Autism (but it's usually just to say Asperger's to people as they understand that), Tourette's Syndrome, severe dyslexia and dyspraxia (they usually all go together). He went from being a curled up ball in the corner that wouldn't interact with anyone to the point that unless people know, they rarely think he has a diagnosis of anything at all. You can tell at times when he's on the ground, especially at briefings as he can seem a bit "vacant" but actually he is taking everything in and processing it at such a speed that he appears not to be doing anything (think vampires in Twilight). He has 506 jumps now and spent the whole summer just travelling round the different skydiving festivals. 95% of the time people are brilliant with him. They sometimes expect him to "prove himself" before they are happy about him flying, but generally once they've flown with him a couple of times they chill out and don't have an issue. We have come across some prejudice (but it's rare) and I've said to people that's fine - it's normal to be scared of something you don't understand and we'll make sure he's not on the same lift as you. For anyone considering taking to the sky for the first time I would strongly recommend spending time in the tunnel first. It gives you the chance to get used to the noise, and the sensations of flying and to know that you can be in control of you body. I did the same thing when Jamie learnt to drive (another thing he wasn't supposed to be able to do). I got him to do off road driving lessons from the moment his feet touched the pedals so he 100% had the mechanics of driving down first and then when he was 17 and could do lessons all he had to do was learn how to cope with other drivers on the road (exactly the same principle as skydiving). Jamie is in the top 1% for processing speeds, this is massively helpful when skydiving - it means he is hyper-aware of what is going on, where people are etc. I got him to do a canopy course early on so he knows how to fly his wing and how to get out of trouble. The biggest thing I think that keeps him safe in the sky is that he doesn't have an ego. For Jamie it's all about being safe and perfecting his flight - it's never about showing off and that is what seems to get people into trouble (but then I'm a whuffo and what would I know). I'm really glad I let him jump. I'm glad I got him the best preparation I could find for him. I'm glad I got him the best coaches and most off I'm glad I let him do it at 16 so I have two years when I can control where he flies (mostly Empuriabrava in Spain), who he jumps with (mostly Adam Mattacola - thanks Adam :)

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