Dissociation is the ability to cut off from what is happening around you or to you. In its simplest form it is daydreaming. It is a skill all children have and which children with autism tend to overdevelop in managing a world they find overwhelming for a whole range of reasons. Dissociation, Derealisation (the feeling nothing is 'real' or that everything feels like a dream), and Depersonalisation (cutting off from emotions, detaching, inability to take experiences personally), are experiences most of us have had. Dissociative disorders are where these create problems with functioning and coping in every day life. Some people will have greater TENDENCY toward developing dissociative disorders and if they then experience significant trauma may be more at risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If they are continually entrapped with such experiences from infancy or very early childhood they may be at risk of more severe dissociative disorders such as Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNos) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
In 2010 I was diagnosed with the dissociative disorder, DID. I have since connected with a number of adults both on and off the autism spectrum who are also diagnosed with DID and used my skills as an autism consultant to begin to navigate the complexities of dissociative disorders.
You can find more information at my website http://www.donnawilliams.net
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