Defying Stereotypes Since 1976

About This Blog

Who Are You?

Let me introduce myself. My name is Nicole Nicholson. I am a 36 year-old multiracial woman from the United States of African, European, and First People ancestry. I am a poet. And I also have Asperger Syndrome, which I discovered earlier this year and was officially diagnosed with this month.

Why Did You Start This Blog?

This blog has a three-fold purpose:

  1. To communicate to the world about my reality as an Aspie woman. While men are diagnosed with AS (and autism spectrum disorders in general) at a much higher frequency than women, this can lead to the idea that there are little to no women who have Asperger’s or who are on the autism spectrum at all. My current premise is that this is not true at all. We may be underdiagnosed for a variety of reasons, some of which have been addressed by experts in the field. And while we have some of the same challenges as men with AS, we as Aspie women also face our own set of issues as well.
  2. To help educate and do some “myth-busting”. There is a common misconception is that that Asperger Syndrome (and other disorders on the autism spectrum) are conditions which only affect white males. I, as a Aspie woman of color, am living proof that this is not true. If you don’t believe me, then Temple Grandin, Liane Holliday Willey,  Tito Mukhopadhyay, and a host of others will also tell you that this is so. I believe that there are many more of us out there: why we are not so visible is one of the issues that I plan to tackle on this blog.
  3. To reach out to others like myself. I know there MUST be more of us out there; I’ve found proof already, as I’ve cited above. However, I do need to make something clear: my purpose is not to exclude but to include. I welcome dialogue from people of all ethnic backgrounds, colors, creeds, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, and so forth.

What Will You Talk About?

I will be covering a variety of topics this blog, including:

  • Sensory issues
  • Social functioning
  • How family of origin issues affect the Aspie adult
  • Comorbidities (namely PTSD)
  • “Theory of mind” related topics
  • What I’m reading on the subject
  • Women’s health issues in relation to Asperger Syndrome
  • Cultural issues and Asperger Syndrome

This is just a short list — I won’t be limited to those topics.

Any Ground Rules?

Yes. Not many, but I have a few:

  1. Read with an open mind.
  2. If you comment, please play nice. Profanity is okay, in limited quantities. Flames, slurs directed at someone’s race/ethnicity/sexual orientation/nationality/religion/etc., and insults WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. This place is for communication and discussion, not tearing people apart.
  3. I am very much in favor of the concept of neurodiversity. I also believe that Aspergers and other autism spectrum disorders are issues with brain wiring and development; thus, I am not sure if there is a “cure” for these conditions. I may willing to debate this issue to a limited extent but Please DO NOT use this blog as an opportunity to promote a “pro-cure” stance or attempt to engage me in endless discussions about the subject. Comments of this kind of nature *will* be deleted and you will likely be banned from posting here again.

Anything Else?

Finally, I have to say that this blog is only the beginning. This is me, kicking the closet door open. I have come to  believe that Asperger’s — and other conditions on the autism spectrum — are nothing to be ashamed of.  I envision, and would love to see come to fruition, a world in which we can not only survive, but thrive and be accepted for who we are — social issues, eccentricities, sensory issues, and all. You could say that this blog aims to help achieve that goal, in whatever small ways that it can.

Comments on: "About This Blog" (22)

  1. Dear bloggyland friends—Laura, Rachel, Jess, Bruce, Aspergirl Maybe, and Nicole,

    As a long and strange year comes to a close, I wanted to say thank you to you all…. Your writing, thoughts, insight, and companionship have meant more to me this year than I can say.

    I smile every time I remember I’m not alone anymore; it’s something I’m still getting used to.

    I hope the new year brings you all joy and peace.

    Chavisory

  2. Louise Thundercloud said:

    I am 54 years old, have a daughter who is 32 years old & also an Aspie. I am a social activist & live in Washington DC. I am a mixed blood of Hunkpapa/Dakota/Tslagi/Siksika & Coast Salish aboriginal ancestry. I have African blood from Benin West Africa & Scot Irish & Irish blood.
    I am pleased to meet you. I am divorcing from a man who has told me that dating women who have Aspergers is fine, but not marrying them. He says it is horrible. I do not understand what he means.

  3. female person said:

    I am saying hi, and letting you know I’m reading, listening as it were. I’m terribly glad to realize there are others like myself as I’ve lived a very long time thinking not so much there was something wrong with me; but perhaps I was an anomaly, a genetic throwback to an earler variation of human or something.
    I’m over 50, single mom and artist. I found out very recently I am an Aspie. Many things fell into place in my mind once I read about Aspergers. My stress levels can be managed but at a price. PTSD is an issue but I’ve worked through parts of that. My creativity has been increasing – a function of the journey of acceptance and discovery perhaps.

    • Hello:

      Thanks for stopping by. I know I have a tendency to lurk out in the blogosphere too, but it’s nice to hear a hello. When I read “The Lost Soul Companion” by Susan Brackney, she mentioned the phenomenon of phatic communication between birds — that sometimes, their chirping serves as a way of saying: “I am here, where are you?” You could say that this is a major function of this blog — to find others through a sort of echolocation. So, thanks for commenting.

      I also saw many things fall into place for me mentally once I figured out that I was an Aspie. I suffered through years of knowing that something was different about me, but not knowing just what is was…and sometimes, the “what’s different about me” question turned into the “what’s wrong with me” question. Despite the fact that I’ve committed myself to self-acceptance, to accepting that Asperger’s is an aspect of me and not a disorder, I do sometimes have my days. It is a journey. But I fight back, because I believe that accepting myself as I am is the best thing to do on this journey.

      I’m 34 years old, soon to be 35. There are still parts of my mind adjusting to the whole idea. Best wishes to you as you continue on your own journey.

      -Nicole

  4. Thanks for starting this blog Nichol. I am 35 years old and white Jewish American woman who also has Asperger’s too. I was diagnosed at age 25 for the first time and could not accept said diagnosis until earlier this year. I find this diagnosis liberating as I know there is no “cure” for it. I look forward to reading your blog posts and sharing experiences with you.

    • Hi Rebecca:

      Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you found WWA. I think how we understand and accept a diagnosis is up to us — meaning, we have to process it, understand it, and accept it in our own way. But once we do, it seems to be a very helpful thing. I was just diagnosed last year, and earlier that year I began to even consider the question, which kind of helped me not have a “Shocking” moment when I was diagnosed. Best wishes to you on your journey and hope to see you around here again.

      -Nicole

  5. Hello,
    I am looking forward to reading your blog. I am also a woman on the autistic spectrum. I am a little further down the path of life than you as I am approaching my 56th birthday next year. I had no idea I was on the spectrum till my Mom casually mentioned it to me when I was in my 40′s. She said she had me tested as a 2 year old. The medical evaluation was succinct: “genius with borderline autism”. She was told I would outgrow it, and to “ignore it”. So there was no early intervention for me. Finding out I was an Aspie explained so many things! The sensory issues (especially noise), the constant meltdowns from sensory overload (always in private ~ I have spent many an hour in public bathrooms or in my car quietly sobbing). The inability to “read” people, the list goes on and on. I have come to terms with these things about me, and have fully accepted myself as an Aspie. I strongly believe in the neurodiversity movement. Many aspects of being an Aspie really work for me. I love my memory, and ability to hyperfocus. I would not want to live without those abilities. So thanks for starting this inclusive blog. I look forward to reading about your journey with Asperger’s Syndrome.

  6. Dana Cetz said:

    Hello I came across your blog and wanted to say thanks for writing it. Do you struggle with any bad habits? I have ASpergers and found out at 40 years old. I have a bad habit of cussing, and not having any routines because I was left to myself as a kid and could do what ever I wanted.

    I was also wanting to ask if I can possibly use you as a primary source in an up and coming research paper of marginalized population groups and the negative impact of health that microaggression has upon the population group of woman of color who have Aspergers or HFA.

    I want to open my own nonprofit that deals with having everyone who has HFA or Aspergers helping each other out so we can be more succesful. So those of us who are on the autism spectrum can live longer lives and have a longer quality of life.

    Sincerely,
    Dana Cetz

  7. Hi there, I have aspergers. Diagnosed in my 40s. I am easily overwhelmed and prone to rages. I pick my skin and eat sweets to relieve anxiety. How do you all cope with that side of things. I know I don’t fit in with others and I feel so raw among people. I prefer to be alone but people mistake that for rudeness and aloofness. It’s not at all. I have a knot in my stomach all the time.

    • Hello Wendy:

      Wow. It sounds like you have a lot of anxiety issues. I can relate to that — in my case I can be naturally anxious but with having PTSD I also experience my anxiety amplified sometimes. When my stress levels are up, I am more easily overwhelmed and prone to meltdowns than when I am calm and relaxed.

      I think it really depends on how affected you are as to what coping strategies would be useful. You might want to read some of my earlier posts on stress and anxiety. I am a large believer in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and its benefits, but more specifically it’s been my experience that overthinking and overanalyzing tend to raise my levels of anxiety. I know it’s easier said than done to cut down on the overanalyzing, especially for me because it’s as if I’m premeditating or trying to prepare to deal for things that might hurt or might be a huge challenge. Just know that you are not alone and many of us are struggling with this too.

      There have been times in my life where I have felt that I don’t fit in. These days, that feeling comes and goes. When I am dealing with coworkers, strangers, etc. I revert to my social scripts which seem to help. With family and friends, I can relax and be myself a bit more. In terms of being around people, the best I can say is that you have to do what’s best for you and what your system can handle.

      Do you have a counselor you see frequently, and if so, has he or she proven to be helpful? Do they understand your unique issues with Asperger’s? These are some things you may want to consider.

      I hope my response might be a bit of help. Sometimes, I feel like I am muddling through the same issues myself. That’s part of the reason I started this blog was for phatic communication. Susan Brackney, author of “The Lost Soul Companion”, mentions that birds use a form of phatic communication and that some of their vocalizations are equivalent to saying: “I am here, where are you”? So, part of the reason was to find other Aspie women in the same boat as me. And so far, I’ve found varying degrees of some of the same concerns that are mentioned very frequently: anxiety issues, social communication, sexuality, and sensory issues just to name a few.

      Please feel free to come back and comment again. Thank you for the introduction. :)

      -Nicole

    • Hi Wendy and Nicole
      Nicole your blog is awesome, I have aspergers and I am 44 years old, I have 2 sons and a niece on the spectrum. I work in the disability industry and have specialized in ASD, it is also my obsession. Wendy, although I have never been one to advocate medication, my doctor talked me into taking antidepressants, I have always had knots in my stomach and thoughts of suicide. I hated my life and thought everyone would be better off without me around. I was angry and depressed and almost lost my marriage and family. after getting diagnosed and being on medication and seeing a psychologist once a month I now feel more in charge of my life and happier than I have ever been. I now embrace my aspergers and the gifts it brings, I am a brilliant care worker for people with an intellectual disability and can read their moods and behaviours which has earned me a promotion to being in charge. Looking for your strengths and obsessions helps, be positive as negative thoughts make you more depressed. I hope this helps :)

      • Hello Janette:

        I’m very sorry for my delay in my response: I’ve only begun to recently catch up on replying to comments again. Thank you for the compliment — I’m glad to see you found WWA and hope to see you here again. Thank you also for sharing your experience with counseling and medication. I’m cautious in speaking about medication these days, because a) my experience has been mixed with antidepressants, and b) everyone’s biochemistry is so different that what make work for one person may not work for another. This is where an old phrase I came across years ago is most appropriate — “Your Mileage May Vary”. I’m glad that you were able to find your answers and solution.

        I definitely agree that Asperger’s and autism have their advantages and gifts, and thank you also for sharing your own advantages and strengths. The more we share and the more we understand the positive aspects of autism and Asperger’s, the more understanding this will hopefully bring about.

        -Nicole

  8. Hello! Thank you for this blog. My fourteen year old son was diagnosed at the age of four with Asperger’s. I have always made it a point to do what I can to help raise awareness. I am writing my first novel, “Collapse”, a dystopian novel about the future downfall of America. The novel has three main characters that fight to survive in a world that is falling apart, in the end they unite together to help save the country. One of the main characters is the world’s richest man and has Asperger’s. When I began drafting out the story, it was never a question that one of the main characters would be an Aspie. I envision the character of Howard Beck as the adult version of my Aspie. The novel will be released July 6th. I am offering a free sneak peek to raise interest. I hope you will take a look at it.

    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/163667.

    I welcome contact with anyone that is blessed to have an Aspie in their life.

    collapsethenovel@gmail.com

    I have also written an article entitled “Asperger’s Syndrome in Fiction” that you are welcome to use if it meets the needs of your blog.

    http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/2332741-asperger-s-syndrome-in-fiction

  9. Erica C said:

    Hello I’m Erica and I’m 19 years old thank you for making this blog I find it has been helpful. My father has Aspergers but he didn’t find out until recently (In his forties) So curiously I began reading about it because I had no idea what it was. Also when my step mother and my father told me he has it she said it was genetic so I was curious if I could have it. After reading about Aspergers in women I’m pretty certain that I do in fact have it. I have a lot of anxiety, don’t like to be around a lot of people at a time, have very good hearing and when the tv is too loud I get anxiety so I have to turn it down & also have very good sense of smell. When I get upset I kind of shut down I can’t talk even if I want to. Before reading about Aspergers I thought that maybe I was Bipolar because I’m pretty emotional and little things can offset my mood very quickly and I have a bit of a problem with depression. I’ve been very good at drawing from a young age I’m very artistic. There are other things that contribute to my belief that I have Asperbergs but I just realized today. I haven’t been diagnosed but I think I should look into it to be certain.

  10. Hello! I’ve been a reader of your blog for quite a while now… I connected with it after I started my own blog about life with my daughter (now 4.5) with autism. I’d like to ask you if you’d be at all interested in writing a column in my online newsletter/magazine I edit and produce. I don’t want to put my email address on here, but, if you are willing – can you contact me through Facebook? Daleth McCoy is my username. It’s a pretty small deal right now, I just had my one-year anniversary celebration (for the newsletter) and it’s all volunteer. But I’m looking to make some great changes, including new authors, perspectives, etc. :) Let me know what you think!

  11. Hi Nicole -
    I’d love to chat with you via email. Is that possible?
    I’ve been researching Aspergers for a novel I’m writing and in doing so believe I’ve discovered my daughter is an Aspie. We adopted her from a Russian orphanage when she was 25 months. She had developmental delays and when she was in second grade we had her tested at Northwestern University. We were told she had both a receptive and expressive language disorder. (The schools could do nothing for this. We live in a small community.) For a while I had her in counseling thinking she had an attachment disorder. But after reading about this disorder (do you call it that?) I’m confident she’s an Aspie.
    Here are my questions:
    1. Why is it important to get a diagnosis? She is who she is, unique and loveable. We’ve accepted her for who she is. She’s comfortable with herself. She hates being hugged, rarely talks, and is hyper-focused on horses. She has a math disability, unlike many other Aspies.
    2. She doesn’t have an IEP. She’s a junior in high school and plans on going to a community college for a degree in vet tech. (animal science) She works hard in school.
    2. She’s learned to compensate for her social awkwardness by reading books and online discussions of how to talk to boys and other people. She did this on her own, not through any coercing from me. I’m sure she knows that social skills don’t come easy for her.
    3. We all have peculiar personality traits. No two people are the same. No two people with Aspergers are the same. Besides getting help in education, what benefit is there in having a firm diagnosis?
    Thanks. I look forward to talking to you.
    Michelle

    • Hello Michelle:

      I’m finally getting around to answering more comments. You’ll see some answers to your questions via email shortly. Thank you for stopping by.

      -Nicole

  12. AdroitAspie said:

    Hi all. Wow. I have never posted on a blog, as i had been thinking no one cares. But since I’ve decided I have asp traits I see blogging as the perfect resource for those of us who choose to be alone, only to then later be lonely and need some form of socialization. It’s so ironic that we have so much going on in our brains, that could be shared, but few to share with. Blogging offers a limitless audience in terms of panning out our multiple levels of perception and intellectual thoughts. I’m looking forward to developing my ability to post and follow a blog. My goal will be to be positive and perhaps even humorous. I tend to be funny often and hope I can share that with you, because we need it. Here is something I find humorous about being aspie:

    We have a ‘disorder’ that in part is defined by the advanced, even gifted, wiring of our brains. I guess being smart is probably one of the best ‘disorders’ to have. I don’t know about anyone else but I love my unique intellect and don’t see it as a hindrance. At 12 I said to myself, and innocently to a few NT adults, that “my brain is different than other people’s brains. I remember trying to describe how I thought on many perceptual levels. Inrealized too that no body was going to understand me. I was elated to read about how aspie woman are known for that. It is me. It amazes me to remember about the thought processes I had at twelve. How did I know at twelve how the brains of other people worked and that they were different then mine? I do not know …. but I did. Now I am a teacher and I am sure that when I am in my element, in the classroom that is, I can see the brains of the students at work, processing information. I understand the levels they think on. I wouldn’t trade my brain and it’s wiring for anything.

    Now to make light of the challenging aspie aspect: emotional perspective and control. Ha. Trying to find my man, and now at age 49, I have read many relationship self help books; and I can tell you that I was previously doomed by the trueth; that chasing and being overly nice were bad traits. I thought I’d never be enough of a bitch to get someone, though I do have my uncontrolled tantrums, which are what led me to seek this aspie understanding. Apparently I do the bitch thing fine then. Burned too often, and now validated in my true preference to be alone, I can say that not only do I feel liberated to be free from needing some one, but I also feel that I no longer feel the desire to chase OR be overly nice. Doing the bitch thing is a little too much but better than not express one self at all, in my opinion. I find it humorously ironic that, in this situation, just identifying with myself has given me the chance for a better future, not by changing but by being given the freedom to be me.

    This is my first post. And fun to be a part!

    • Hello AdriotAspie: I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner. At 12 it sounds like you had some incredible awareness and insight. As for me, I always had that “nagging” feeling that I was different but I could never pinpoint exactly why. I knew that when it came to people, I didn’t understand them or what was going on. Age can bring on some incredible insights and understanding, and I’m glad you’ve found your niche and liberation.

      Dating was sometimes a bit of a mystery to me. When I first met my fiance thirteen years ago, I expressed to him that I wasn’t interested in “playing games” (and neither was he)…what I meant by “playing games” were things like “playing hard to get” “acting coy”, and hoping that the guy would know that I wanted him without any obvious signals from me (which I think is utterly stupid).

      I love your honesty and positive attitude. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon.

      -Nicole

  13. Hi Nicole, after spending the last two days and countless hours looking for some helpful information about obtaining an AS diagnosis for adults I have ended my search here on your blog.
    I am married to a man who we both suspect has AS. This has led to one of my adult daughter’s suspicions that she may have aspergers. She has taken an online test that my husband and I also took. The two of them scored very clearly on the AS spectrum, although with difficulties in different areas. The test broke down the results into multiple areas which are then correlated with statistical norms. As I suspected I scored very clearly on the NT side of of the scale, which also showed my areas of difficulties. If you’d like I’d be happy to find the test we took and send you the link, I just don’t have it saved on this computer.
    In any case I am desperate to help my daughter get an official diagnosis. She has struggled in quite a few areas which seem to be related to aspergers. She very much wants to know if this explains some of her struggles, and would go a long way in shedding light on many things for her.
    I read over your blog where you describe your own experience with getting diagnosed and this is what I have been concerned about. I don’t want her to go to just anyone who says they are an expert in aspergers, but really doesn’t know much about the difference of adult aspergers as opposed to diagnosing a younger person, not to mention the woman verses men aspect.
    I am wondering if you have gained any further knowledge of counselors, clinics, etc. that have experience in diagnosing adults? We are willing to travel outside of VA where we live, although something in driving distance would be much better.
    I have written numerous professionals and advocates and haven’t made any headway in locating such a person so I’m feeling rather discouraged.
    Any help you can give would be so much appreciated:)
    Thanks so much for your blog,
    Elena

  14. Hello there, Nicole,

    Nice to meet you. I have just found your blog. I very much look forward to reading about your experiences.

    One of the issues I face in general is in the ignorance of so many that surround me. Blind ignorance is one thing, but when you are trying to inform others about your difficulties, and they simply refute you have any issues, I often feel like my experiences are being invalidated, and not only does that hurt, but I feel very angry by it. I know what i go through, and know what I have been through. Each time I am forced to blend in, I am as rigid as a plank inside, and suffer language processing delay. The anxiety that rapidly develops alongside that, means socialising is just plain exhausting for me. I applaud you for being brave and for writing your wonderful poetry (of which I have just watched on YouTube). You are very expressive in your art, and I am inspired by that.

    I always wonder about intuition. I have it, but what is it? I tend to lose it when I am conversing face-to-face, but at distance, when I am alone to observe, I can ‘see’ things very clearly, and I can therefore sense (sixth sense) situations and emotions. I always considered that my intuition had been actively developed over years of intense scrutiny of people on TV, online socialising, and general human observations as well as reading books (psychology, etc), such that it is more an accumulation of dissected facts. When I have that ‘gut’ feeling, I know never to ignore it. It is so easy to ignore in the chaos of life- that little twinge – but I tend to think my gut twinges are very powerful indicators that something is not quite right, or that perhaps something is perfectly right; the gut twinge itself is probably just a reminder of a fuzzy historical experience that lodged itself into my head for later guidance. The gut twinge, of course forces me to raid my mental filing system in order to find out why the alarm is sounding. This takes time, a lot of time alone. Eventually, I find the answer, and it is usually right, and whats more, i usually work things out better than others I am surrounded by ‘because’ of this ‘magic’ (it feels like magic, but only because to others it is esoteric, although to me it is merely a highly refined analysing system). My intuition seems ‘active’ rather than ‘intrinsic’, if that makes sense? Do you experience the same?

    I went on a little more than I thought! Anyway, I shall take a look at some of your entries right now with a nice cup of chamomile tea!

    Melanie

  15. So Glad to find Your page!

    I have recently decided to take the tests and see if what I have suspected is true, done about 4 tests all scores point to quite a loud yes.

    I am have tried for a long time to “self medicate” with Booze and Sex, I know its not healthy so I thought it should be about time I get a diagnosis and “be good”. I have kicked the Booze, have fallen off a couple of times, but get back on it straight away and don’t beat myself up to much about it.

    I know this will probably sound odd, but I wanted to see if Black Women got diagnosed with aspergers. I wanted to make sure if I got a diagnosis that I it would be understood, and not a totally alien concept. So, Thank You for sharing I suppose. I know I can go on with help. I couldn’t imagine being out there with a label and an alien concept.

    More I write the weirder this sounds, I hope You understand what I am trying to say though.

    Much Love

    Dx

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