What Is Asperger Syndrome?

Update (6/10/14) A Note to Readers: Why All the Strikethrough Text?

In the last several months, my understanding of neurodiversity has broadened. As I attempt to move away from the illness and pathology paradigm, I have edited the language to better reflect this. I have left the original text in, but in some cases have marked it up with the <strikethrough> tag to accurately reflect my state of mind when I originally wrote this page.

My understanding has been broadened through resources such as Nick Walker’s Neurocosmopolitainism blog, the Neuroqueer blog, and Bipolar: A Neurodiversity Approach.

To reflect my new understanding, I use the terms neurodivergent and neurodiverse to collectively refer to folks with alternate kinds of neurology (autism, ADHD/scout-minded, bipolar, dyslexic, synesthetes, and so forth). Also I chose to refer to myself as autistic and will use the word autistic to refer to folks anywhere on the spectrum.

What About Asperger’s?

Debate continues over the terms “Aspergian”, Asperger’s, and “Aspie”. This piece of writing by Michael Scott Monje, Jr. on the We Are Like Your Child blog is one of the things which influenced my decision to use the term autistic for myself. I have grown up in a life of some degree of privilege because of being a lighter-skinned multiracial woman (if you want to know more about the evils of colorism, check out the Interracial Colorism Project, these articles or the documentary “Dark Girls”) and being able to pass as heterosexual and cis-gendered. However, I have experienced prejudice in discrimination in other ways.

I want to help eliminate the schisms between groups of autistic people, as well as help parents of autistic people understand our realities. I believe that by using the term “Aspie” too much, I could be helping promote the idea of a divide between groups of autistic people, promote functioning labels (which are useless), and cause people to look down on those who are non-verbal, who have greater sensory challenges, and so forth. In my eyes, no matter how our autistic neurology manifests, we are all just that — autistic. 

What’s Culture Got to Do With It?

Below, in my original understanding of what was called Asperger’s, I included the typical diagnostic elements and characteristics for which medical and mental health professionals observe in whom they evaluated for Asperger’s. Desiring to reframe autism in a way that rejects the pathology/illness paradigm, I encourage readers to read my post “The Empathy Question, Revisited“, before continuing. I now suggest that the view of our autistic characteristics as problematic or disordered is a cross-cultural problem, not a medical problem. Things such as lack of eye contact and single-mindedness have for too long been viewed pejoratively in a negatively light.

What follows is my original writing, with modifications.

An Introduction to Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome is currently understood to be a neurological and development disorder condition difference that is part of the autism spectrum.  However, as more Aspies share our realities and collectively define what AS and autism mean, an answer emerges to the question of whether AS and other kinds of autism spectrum conditions are disorders or natural variations of human neurology becomes more appropriate.

What follows is partially an explanation of the current an understanding of Asperger’s which is emerging, morphing, and changing as new information becomes available and autistic people define their own realities. I strongly recommend reading the neurodiversity page after finishing this page.

According to Dr. Tony Attwood, Asperger Syndrome was first described in 1944 by Dr. Hans Asperger, an Austrian pediatrician. He had observed some of his patients — intelligent young children who displayed certain characteristics, such as impaired social interaction and narrow, sometimes obsessive interests. He named it the condition Asperger Syndrome, after himself; however, AS was not recognized by the American Psychological Association until 1994, when it was included as a diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition.

Asperger Syndrome is a collection of traits and patterns of behavior. While it is considered an autism spectrum disorder, it differs from classic (or Kanner’s) autism. People with AS usually do not suffer delays in language (unlike classic autism, in which the child may not speak until age three or later); People who describe themselves as Aspergian, like other autistics, are bright, often articulate individuals with varying degrees of personality, humor, and desire for social interaction. However, the boys that Dr. Asperger observed in his research that those with AS tended to have difficulties in a few major areas:

  1. Social Interaction: this includes things such as trouble with making and maintaining eye contact; difficulty with reading social cues and working out the intentions of others; difficulty with small talk.
  2. Sensory issues: this could include oversensitivity in one channel of input (visual, auditory, olfactory); being overwhelmed easily by too much stimuli (which can cause panic attacks and temper tantrums); and sensitivity to certain kinds of stimuli (may hate florescent lights, overly strong smells, scratchy clothes)
  3. Communication: while there is no obvious speech delay, the AS person may nonetheless have trouble in the areas of speech and communication. This could include: difficulty with non-verbal communication, such as reading body language, facial expression and tone; echolalia (the tendency to repeat what is just said to them); difficulty in naming and communicating feelings (which, if combined with low frustration tolerance, can lead to panic attacks or temper outbursts); and a tendency to be very blunt in truth-telling, which could sound insulting, even if not intended. It should be noted that these difficulties can occur, despite the lack of speech delay; in some cases, children with AS can have vocabularies beyond their age or grade level. 
  4. Imagination: there are a collection of behaviors loosely associated with this area. This could mean difficulty with literal use of imagination (which leads to things such as difficulty in understanding figures of speech, as well as a tendency to take what is said literally) or it could refer to broader behaviors, such as: single-mindedness; being engaged in a task for hours at a time; rigid likes or dislikes (which can be related to sensory issues, depending on what the likes or dislikes are); repetitive routines or rituals; and limited interests (or a narrow, obsessive focus on a few subjects)

Women With Asperger Syndrome

While these are generally characteristics, what are we to say of women with AS? While we may display some or many of the above characteristics, we have been overlooked in the discussions on Asperger Syndrome and autism spectrum disorders until recently. Dr. Tony Attwood suggests that women and girls on the spectrum have a tendency to attempt to fit in social by observing the accepted behaviors of their group or culture, and then imitating them. A great example of this appears in “Aspie in the City”, an article published by Psychology Today in November 2006, which profiles a young woman, Kiriana Cowansage, diagnosed with AS at age 19:

Kiriana’s…strategy amounts to remembering and rehearsing scripts. When she walks into a clothing shop, for example, she pulls up a mental dialogue box: “No thanks, I’m just looking,” is what one should say if a saleswoman offers help. But as Attwood points out, such playacting is not intuitive, and is therefore exhausting.

Thus, we may tend not to stand out for odd behavior, unlike our male peers. This happens in varying degrees; not all of us are so good at “playacting” and may suffer in various arenas, such as socially, at school, and in the workplace. But some of us become really skilled at “pretending to be normal”, as author and Aspie Liane Holliday Willey so puts it in her book by the same title. This is why we might miss notice, and not be diagnosed in such high numbers. Also, as women we may more readily display emotions than our male counterparts — another reason why we might be misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Remember, for a good percentage of the history of autism and AS, only males have been studied, and it has been assumed by both professionals in the medical and mental heath fields and the general public that only males could be on the spectrum. Hence Johnny gets taken to the doctor, whereas Suzy may not. Neither may Keisha, for that matter, as I find that autism spectrum disorders may be even less understood in non-white communities.

I am not suggesting that inherent discrimination or prejudice in the system is affecting the ability of women and non-whites to receive diagnosis and adequate treatment, although this may happen in some cases. Also, socioeconomic factors may be at work as well, which includes access to mental health care and resources. However, I am suggesting that a misunderstanding about and stereotypes pertaining to autism spectrum conditions — including Asperger Syndrome – may be affecting how women and girls are diagnosed. Additionally, the public perception that these conditions only affect white males may affect how many non-whites are diagnosed and are able to obtain access to helpful resources. Stereotypes and misinformation may cause the formation of limited mental schemas: in other words, if you don’t think it’s a possibility, you won’t even explore it.

One of the chief ways to help clear up these misunderstandings and erroneous mental schemas is education and awareness raising. This is part of what Woman With Asperger’s is about. I know that I went for 33 years undiagnosed, and I’m sure there I know for a fact that are women out there who are just like me. We struggle through life, knowing that something is different about us isn’t quite right while we pretend to be normal the whole time. Finding out that I have Asperger’s was a literal godsend: it has helped me understand and explain a lot of my difficulties, as well as my strengths, and why I have done certain things and have undergone certain events in my life.

I believe that there is no “fixing” Asperger’s, and many of us may not feel that it is a “thing” to be fixed. However, greater understanding can help us gain access to resources and learn coping strategies that will help us live our lives to a greater, more satisfying extent.

Sources:

19 thoughts on “What Is Asperger Syndrome?

  1. Thank you for this inciteful post. I am slowly coming to the realization that my 8 year old daughter may have Aspergers. She has many of the symptoms. I plan to schedule a session with a therapist tomorrow morning.

    Tonight she told me she has no friends and never has. I am heartbroken and need some hope. Are you happy with your life? Do you feel that those with Aspergers, though they may never have the ability to master social cues, can learn to manage their lives in such a way that they are happy?

    You are such a bright and talented young lady. I wish you the best in your journey.

    • Hello Barb, and thank you for stopping by.

      Your comment has made me think about my own life and my own childhood. I was in the exact same position as your daughter for many parts of my chidlhood and teenage years — except my particular experience was exacerbated by all the moving around my family did plus the bullying and abuse I received at home (in addition to what happened at school). I was certainly not the social butterfly, and to be quite honest, there were times in my life that I gave up having meaningful relationships with friends and peers my own age or close to it.

      HOWEVER, I need to say this — judging from your post and the fact that you clearly express your concern for her well being, she has one thing that I did not: a loving and supportive family. That will probably help her stand a better chance at getting through her childhood and teen years than I did in her position so many years ago. She will need your support and strength, growing up as a girl with Asperger’s. She will also need to develop a strong self-esteem and a strong sense of self: if she has that, the rest will be easier.

      I can understand being heartbroken over what your daughter has told you, and I’m guessing from your post that she is not happy that she doesn’t have friends and hasn’t up until now. Thus I’m guessing that she desires friends. That is true for some of us on the spectrum: we want to connect with other human beings, but sometimes we “get it wrong” and we either don’t understand what is needed to connect with others socially or we bungle it to our horror and sometimes the amusment of others.

      But I believe that there is hope, and she will not have to grow up without forming some meaningful friendships before she reaches adulthood. What you are doing by pursuing the possibility of her having AS is the first step in the right direction. I would also highly recommend Girls Growing Up On the Spectrum (the link to it on Amazon is here — http://www.amazon.com/Girls-Growing-Autism-Spectrum-Professionals/dp/1843108550) as a good starting point, as it does cover peer and friendship relations amongst many other topics. You will also see some other good resources on that same page, such as Rudy Simone’s Aspergirls and Dr. Tony Attwood’s Asperger’s and Girls. Another possibility is that she may form friendships based on common interests or that she will find other children on the spectrum to develop peer relationships with (since the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders is increasing, and right now, it’s estimated that about every 1 in 110 people worldwide have an autism spectrum disorder). And definitely check with your therapist about resources in the area available to your daughter (there could be children’s groups, etc. for kids with autism).

      If you live in or near Vancouver, BC I might suggest the ANCA Foundation — they work with both autistic children and adults, and from what I understand they do hold group activities. See http://naturallyautistic.com for more info.

      One closing thought: You asked me if I was happy with my life. I have to say that I am, in spite of everything I have gone through. The self-doubt, the abuse, the loneliness, and the knowing that I was different but not knowing why. Even with my background, I have begun to find happiness as an adult. This is because I am committed to several things: 1) working through my pain, 2) accepting myself as an adult on the autism spectrum with both strengths and challenges, and encouraging others to do the same, 3) finding meaning in my life through my family (by this I primarily mean my fiance and my relationship with him), my art (poetry), and all the things that I love about life, and 4) leaving something meaningful behind. I will be bluntly honest that in my case, I have more friends/acquaintances/etc online than elsewhere, but this is because social media makes it easier for me to communicate and reach out: but I can and do have experiences in the real world with other people that I draw happiness and meaning from. So I have no doubts that there is hope for your daughter, whom I see has the love and support of her mother.

      Thank you for writing in. I also wish you the best in your journey.

      -Nicole

  2. I am just really new to all of this. At 26 years old, my therapist has done a test with me and said we might actually be on to something… Aspergers. Of course I haven’t had a whole long time to research this and understand it, and to be quite honest don’t really understand ALL of it!?!?! I am concerned this will not go over well with anyone I know…. That being said their title is “I’m just crazy, or I never understand or blah blah blah.” I understand compeletly ~ Things are either this way or they are that there shouldn’t be a gray…. I see things one way and its not that its my way or the highway but if its something that strongly believe, then dang it I am not wrong, they are. (anyone else feel that way) Why is it that some things will either send me up to where I get so fustrated I want to scream, or so down that whats the sense of trying or caring? I feel LOST, I feel like I’m loosing it, like I need a padded room or something. But then I look again, and think…. I am not wrong nor am I bad for having a different opinion, its my opinion and how I think; who cares if they see it the wrong way. (LOL) I dont have friends~ nor do I want them, to me its to much to keep up the chared, I like to have quiet time with my boyfriend and our girls, no company, when the inlaws come over my immediate reaction is, LORD HELP ME DEAL WITH THESE GOONS! and they aren’t I just dont agree with the way they raise their kids, I don’t like the mess they make (and it seems everytime they come its right after I clean the house and break my back mopping the all wood floor house) I tend to like everything a particular way and I dont want it out of place. When the girls clean their rooms if its not how I would do it, its wrong! :( I feel so horrible cause I cant just seem to be relaxed, I cant seem to just chill, I cant seem to just let things role off my back… AHHH. Another thing…. NO ONE Understands~ Its me alone surrounded by a bunch of people who think and live in no where land (I dont they do) One little thing they do sets me off and I either melt in depression or am full of FURY! Usually FURY and then deep depression :( PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND ALL OF THIS! I want to be HAPPY, (and sometimes I am) I want to have self-esteem, I want to have pride, I want all the good things…. I AM STUCK AND MISERABLE :( AND ALONE!!!

  3. @Jessica, I felt compelled to comment about your post. I came to this site looking for answers b/c of my story…
    I could have written your post not even 6 months ago. I’m 28 yrs old, married, with 2 daughters. That was my life. My husband and I have been married 8 1/2 yrs, it has been rocky the whole time, even though we are best friends and do love each other very much. About 6 mo. ago, he was getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan and I believe if he hadn’t left, I would have left him =( So I knew something had to change. I couldn’t live like that anymore. It was killing my marriage, I could see it affecting my kids, and I even saw my health decline. I started really taking a step back and looking at myself…what I like/dislike about myself, what I want to change, how I think it got so bad. I actually had come to the conclusion that I had ADHD and/or OCD. I hadn’t even thought about Aspergers. I decided to go to a therapist, which has helped a whole lot, along with my willingness to change. But there has still been something I couldn’t put my finger on.
    Now I understand!! Now my whole life makes sense!! I feel like this is the last piece of the puzzle. I feel like now I just might be able to deal with the “issues” that I’ve always struggled with. Maybe some of them I can finally just let go…
    So I know it wasn’t the intent of your post, but you have just changed my life with your story =) I hope that inspires you to keep fighting for yourself. I had to learn to just let go of a lot of things that used to stress me out….my new mantra is “so what??” Sometimes actually answering the question to myself helps me find new perspective on the situation.

  4. @ Alicia,
    I am getting a little better, I just try to IGNORE as much as I possibly can, and I keep telling myself I’M RIGHT; THEY ARE WRONG! (and really its not a matter or right and wrong, it just helps to know its my opinion) Me & my other half have been together 7 years, and we went through so many bad things, acholoism, cheating, lies, everything you can think of ~ I have even thought the grass was greener on the other side and tried it, only to find out it was just as dead as the side I was already on. Dont get me wrong I love this man more than life itself. I just want a family. I want to belong somewhere, I want to call it MINE! and know that nothing and no one can or will ever take it away. See I have had lots of disappointments in this crap 27 years of life! Came from a very disfunctional & bad bad family, and that has unfortunetly shaped a lot of who I am and how I react, and I have to 100% honest when I say (its so not FAIR) and then of course fell in love with the same exact thing I was running from! So here I sit, confused, sad, lonely, blah! I have no idea what tomorrow will bring (nor do I want to) and it scares the crap out of me, I hate not knowing whats next! Thats how I lived my whole childhood, and dang it I am an adult now why cant I just plan, why cant anyone get it? (I ask that question a LOT) But I think they cant understand cause the one I want to understand has never had to deal with whats next :( So for him to understand is like getting my 6 year old to understand! Plus I think men are from another planet anyway! :) They say I have depression, ocd, anxiety, all this stuff, but they cant give me an exact guideline to help, and that is why I turned here maybe being able to talk with SOMEONE – ANYONE who understands will help! I still go to my therapist (which helps more than words can describe) but I only go once a week, (it could get expensive if it was more than that)

    • Hello Jessica and Alicia:

      I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner: the last couple of weeks I am finally able to get around to responding to comments. Anyway….

      It sounds to me like Jessica, you have dealt with something I have been struggling with my whole life: the need for calm, peace, certainty, and predictability. The need to not be scared or frightened, the need not to be thrown into an unpredictable world with 12 million things coming at you from all sides…and you having no clue how to handle it, or what to do. And on top of it, having anxiety through the roof.

      I also grew up in a dysfunctional family…most of my trouble happened between ages 12 and 18. In my family, there was always one person with a major problem — it was either the alcoholic uncle or the rage-filled aunt who kept covering for him — and rather than actually deal with the problem, I ended up being the scapegoat: “you’re the problem — when are you going to change” was the mantra (I loathe to call it that, but I need to impress just how often I heard this, and how constant) I heard at least 2-3 times a week during those six years of my life. As a result, I am very sensitive to criticism, I can be very suspicious of people and my environment, I battle fear almost daily, and I am still trying to stop “Pretending to be normal”, as Liane Holliday Willey might put it. I’m also trying my best now to handle unpredictability and be flexible, with a key strategy of allowing myself time to think first and not freak out when something happen — but I know I need to stop sacrificing my own needs and peace of mind to accommodate and please other people.

      Jessica, I can recommend a few of things. First of all, have you broached the possibility of Asperger’s with your doctor, counselor, etc.? If not, I would start there. And if you can’t trust or don’t feel like the professional you see is listening to you, then find someone who will. It sounds like to me that they’ve identified only symptoms but not the core issue…and treating symptoms, while a good thing, will not be very helpful unless you know the core issue. If you do indeed have Asperger’s, that knowledge can help you approach your problems from a different light. Knowing that I have Asperger’s has done a world of good for me — once I connected all the dots, I knew why I did certain things and why certain things happened in both my past and present.

      Second, you need to be a bit gentle with yourself — recognise both your strengths and limitations. Do what you can do, do your best, and do not let anyone — or even your own inner critic — belittle you for being anxious, for not doing things “just right”, for getting stressed out over things, etc.

      Thirdly, if you feel comfortable, I’d recommend a conversation with your boyfriend. You must decide how you will open the subject to him, but the bottom line is to tell him about your feelings, your difficulties, your suspicion that you have Asperger’s, how the unexpected visits by his family make you feel, etc. The whole ball of wax. And since you mentioned that you’re not sure that he will understand….a thought just came to me that maybe writing out what you want to say before you say it may possibly help. I know that when I write, it helps organize my thoughts versus trying to spontaneous speak them, especially if it’s a difficult or emotionally charged subject. Not only that, you can be clear, to the point, and hopefully help him understand what you are trying to say. Pick a time where there are no distractions — the kids are in bed, nothing pressing to be done (that can’t be done, say, tomorrow), etc.

      Alicia: it’s awful funny how seeing someone else’s issues help us recognise our own, right? It was after a college friend posted on Facebook that she thought she had Asperger’s and after me looking at the list of Asperger traits she’d posted that I began to consider that I have Asperger’s. I am glad that you felt some recognition and wish you continued blessing on your journey.

      -Nicole

  5. Hi, I stumbled across your blog and will be reading it now.
    I am like you — I was diagnosed asperger’s at age 34. I am now almost 45, so I’ve had my 10 year “aut-versary” this year. What a long strange trip it’s been.

    Thank you for being so bold as to write about you, and our, life/lives. It is greatly needed and highly respected. Be well.

  6. I am 64 and I have always known that I was different, Kids in my elementary school would say that I was different but I didnt understand what they meant. I met a man who is 100% Aspie and just by observing him and then thinking of my own personality traits I diagnosed myself. My friend just recenlty separated and he said his marriage was hell for some 20 years, but even as early as the second year of marriage he had arguments with his wife. He is insensitive and not compationate and so am I. I imitated others’ behavior so I can function in the social world. I am very academic, intelligent and intuitive. My husband (nt)has always been telling me that I have no relationship skills and I was always upset and angry at him. He was right. I dont know if I am going to succeed in the relationship with my Aspie friend. We seem to have lots of sexual feelings and also affection for each other. I am less of an Aspie than he is. Has anyone ever studied two Aspies in a relationship ?

  7. Hi there

    I’m 37 and did the AQ test I think it’s called and got 22 (it says that 32 or more could be autism/aspergers) and the average is 16.

    I probably wouldn’t get a diagnosis of anything but there are certain things I really suffer from:

    dislike of open plan offices
    dislike of strip lights

    I cannot function in this environment. I HAVE to have my own space.

    I’m not sure I could ever get an employer to take account of this without a diagnosis of anything. Does anyone think sensory sensitivity could be something worth mentioning to a potential employer?

    People probably think you are being self important for wanting your own office but I can’t think with background noise and mindless chit chat plus I feel exposed and stressed.

    I like to have space and work independently.

  8. Hi there,

    I am a 38 yr old female whose father was recently diagnosed with Aspergers.
    I have 3boys and often find myself overwhelmed with the stresses of day to day life.
    On a whim, or possibly inspiration, I decided to do some reading re other adult women with Aspergers and whether I share any common traits.
    I have been diagnosed with moderate depression and panic disorder, and after years and years of medication, I am still struggling day to day.
    Like many others, I have always struggled socially, but over the years I have mastered the art to Hold a conversation with peopleI don’t know well, but the experience leaves me exhausted. I also have an obsessive love of animals, am highly sensitive, especially to criticism or indifference from other people. I have low self esteem and don’t cope at all with failure. I interrupt people in conversation, especially when more than one person is talking . I find myself repeating songs or counting over and over in my head. I tap my fingers when I’m stressed or agitated.
    I do however have three close adult friends unlike many women I have read about. These girls have never pointed out oddities in my nature, however are used to my frequent tearful meltdowns when I become stressed or overwhelmed, and are very tolerant and loving. In return I find myself obsessing when they have problems with a huge need to advise them how to solve their problems. I feel fiercely protective of them, as well as my husband and family.
    Does this discount the possibility that I could fit into the Aspergers category as I am almost hoping for a lable to my issues.
    Also I have a lot of difficulty in driving in many situations which also causes me distress on a daily basis. I only drive locally, freak out if I have to drive somewhere new, or have to deal with traffic, drive ar night, or have to coordinate changing lanes if the roads carry any traffic.

    Again, I’m hoping for any feedback :)

    • Hello Mel:

      Thank you for commenting and please forgive the slowness in my response. I would say just by a reading of the characteristics you mention, it’s very likely you could have Asperger’s or be on the autism spectrum.

      A few things jumped out at me. First of all, you mentioned social struggles. I use “scripts” to get by with day-to-day social interactions but it never comes natural to me. Sometimes, I get it wrong and when I am under stress I am liable to bungle things like “please” and “thank you”. You also mentioned being overwhelmed with the stresses of daily life — anxiety is very common in the autism population and we tend to have a harder time with it and stress due to a few unique factors: low frustration tolerance, difficulty dealing with unpredictability, and monotropism (the tendency to overfocus on small details instead of the big picture), to name a few. (Speaking of which, I’ve written more information about autism and anxiety in these earlier posts). Lastly, you mentioned that your father was diagnosed with Asperger’s. Most current research suggests a genetic component to autism spectrum disorders — namely, that they can be inherited. The common occurrence is that a woman’s child is diagnosed, upon which she discovers that she herself is autistic. I know my late father had a LOT of spectrum traits as well as a couple of my half-siblings so I conclude that this is how I ended up having Asperger’s myself.

      Of course since I am not a professional, I would strongly advise seeking a psychological professional in your area who has experience diagnosing autistic adults, especially adult women. A diagnosis might help put a name to what you are experiencing and may, depending on the area in which you live, obtain needed services; if this is not the case, you will at least know what is affecting you and knowledge is a very powerful tool if used properly.

      Best wishes to you on your journey ahead. Please come back and comment again if you like. :)

      -Nicole

  9. WOW, why do everyone think ‘asperger syndrome’ is a disorder?
    It’s a natural variation. Difference in social communication, small biological and differences sexuality is no prove it’s is a disorder.

    Is a chimpanzee in comparison with a baboon defective in social behaviour because he/she behave differently?

    theories like, theory of mind are based on the idea that an autistic person is the same as a normal person despite that he/she can’t empathise. This is false, their are so many differences that we could say that it’s a variation. I myself can communicate very good with other aspies, my girlfriend is an aspie.

  10. Bless your fine aspie lady self….All and everything I am reading on your blog is like replication borg sister to me…I am 42, 2 sons diagnosed and as I learned what? Got it from me then on down the family treeline I am so relieved to find this blog Looked for years but found you today…..Can I say blogger you had just made my day for it is hard to find women info and its a lost world helping my sons along with myself the greatest life long life worth living and THANK YOU or crossing out disorder LOL for I so got that and Yes indeed It’s so true…… I will stay connected as we go along this thang called Life….

  11. My little brother (well, a year younger than me, anyway) seems to have symptoms of aspergers, but I’m not sure. His current obsession, or interest, you could say, is in comedians. He likes to memorize their lines word for word and use them in conversations in order to have something to talk about, even though sometimes it is very out of place. His social skills are okay at best, it’s just that he rambles on and on without realizing that he should stop talking. He also gets angry easily over unpredictability. For example, our high school would announce birthdays over the announcements in the morning, and on his fifteenth birthday, they forgot to mention his, and he went into a violent rage. I later on figured out that it wasn’t that he wanted people to know it was his birthday, but the fact that he was expecting it, and it was the unexpected that upset him.
    However, i used to exhibit signs very similar to his. When we were younger, we both used to rewatch the same movies over and over again (especially the Lion King) until we could quote all of the script in order. We both started talking very early and I taught myself how to read, but I’ve always had trouble understanding people well. Most of my interests are in psychological diseases, (i have a list of phobias memorized from a to z) which is how I found out about aspergers, and after reading about it a bit, I was surprised to recognize myself and my brother.
    However, after much scolding/social lessons from my parents and my older sister, as well as being bullied quite a bit in elementary, I learned that reflecting the person I was talking to often helped me make friends. My mother used to tell me that i usually imitated the talking style and word usage of a friend if i hung out with them long enough. I made more middle school friends by imitating their interests and sense of humor, but in high school, I realized I was tired of pleasing people, so I became distant with the friends that I had to change the most for and kept the friends that I could be myself with. Also a lot of small things bother me, like the color combination of bright orange and dark green. In kindergarden once, we had to make paper pumpkins, and I refused to do so until my teacher gave up and did it for me because the orange and green burned my eyes.
    I don’t think I can call myself an aspie, but I was wondering, do you think it’s possible to exhibit some symptoms but not enough to be medically diagnosed? Or maybe it’s something else? I’m sorry if I sound ignorent but I’m just very confused.

    • hi, my experience mirrors yours!

      i have the added problem of a simply horrible childhood.
      I only decided that i wanted to fit in at about 14. I initially put off a few people whom I imitated too much. I learnt not to repeat too much of their behaviour, kind of mixing people’s actions together.

      i definitely managed to fit in in the end. very, very, very well in fact. no one who knew me thought I was remotely asocial. I wouldn’t have thought I might actually have aspergers until i had a breakdown, because I’d gotten used to finding patterns and I was terrified of committing a social faux pas so I always prepped myself for social meetings and actions.

      i actually got good enough to sense what some people wanted and “fit in” the needed behaviours. people have patterns and i like pattern finding.
      but i felt like a people-pleaser and it was SO exhausting.

      when I cracked and decided to quit acting I started doing things again that i had “taught” myself not to, all without realising – privacy invasions and being oblivious to a person’s being upset till she cries.
      it was confirmation for me that my social skills were literally learnt behaviour and not innate.

      like you, i’m not 100% sure i have that. my childhood experience is EXACTLY that of a boy’s with aspergers (my mum was an autistic needs teacher and she thought i was kind of autistic too) but my parents reacted with what you could call abuse, even for a normal child.
      it might have helped me in a way; i felt ashamed that i wasn’t socially adept (although I couldn’t express it in words at that time) and it made me determined to learn.

      i daresay that while i can’t always read by feeling I can definitely read almost every situation well through the use of patterns and experience. sometimes it’s an advantage because you can see through the facades people construct through feelings.

      tbh i don’t think asperger’s means you can’t be socially apt. if I do have asperger’s, it just shows that what you can’t learn via a “normal” way, aka empathy, you can learn by pattern finding. and you can get very very good at it because patterns lie less often than feelings

  12. Hello, I love that there are those that are on the Spectrum that have embraced the thinking that it is just another way of thinking, Just as there are some people that can type fast and those that cannot is just a trait. Honestly I like to think of it as a personality trait that has limits that we must individually recognize. Every one has these traits or lack of, and which makes life smooth or bumpy. Strengths and weaknesses are what makes the world go round. Some one started the traditional thinking of a “normal” mind. Rigid descriptors are in place. Did anyone stop to think that maybe the “thinking mind” (Asperger type thinking) may be the “norm” and we were just to discreet to make it the “norm” because we are more willing to accept the differences that surround us, as well as acknowledge that there are different ways of coming to conclusions….maybe what some view as social inadequacies are actually just social traditions someone made up. Ok, maybe that is a little farfetched. It bothers me that so many of us Aspies think being an Aspie is a problem. No, it is a way of life that we must own and accept. Everyone has limits, it is the fact that the “normal” people have made such a fuss that if we do not do as they do it makes us wrong, different, socially unacceptable. Embrace who and what you are and learn about yourself and find the relief that you are normal for your way of thinking….besides who is to judge?

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