Asperger's or Non-Aspergers?

Tai writes:

Well I strongly agree about your idea that many people who are antisocial or perhaps just a bit on the odd side are falsely diagnosing themselves with Asperger’s Syndrome or diagnosing others, I do not agree with the over simplification you suggest stating “people with Asperger’s” as in all people with Asperger’s do the exact same things.
I am a 20 year old female and I was diagnosed when I was 7 years of age by a child psychologist, Dr. Seymour.
Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder (spectrum meaning a great variety of “symptoms” from person to person) is the Highest Functioning form of Autism. A diagnoses of Asperger’s excludes any mental retardation.
It is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Also hypersensitivity with touching, hearing, tasting and smelling.
Albert Einstein had ASD, and television characters Brennan from Bones and Sheldon from Big Bang Theory also have Asperger’s.
Though not everyone with ASD is a genius, they tend to be extremely bright in classes and situations that interest them and my excel greatly among their peers.
Some things take people with ASD longer to learn though, to which extra help and a new way of learning and patience will help them along.
For example, lets say 10 year old Bobby has Asperger’s. He knows everything about Dinosaurs and can memorize the lines 100% from his favorite movie. He is also very good with math and amazes his teachers and parents with his intelligence, as well as exhaust them when all he CAN talk about are his hobbies! Not all he chooses too, all he can do! However he still can’t tie his shoes, writing is very difficult for him and he has trouble making friends and adjusting to new people. People think he is odd, and he thinks everyone else is odd. He hates being touched and takes every thing he hears very literally. (when his mom asks got a Kleenex he says “sorry we only have tissue”.) He also hates LOUD unexpected noises like fire works. It hurts physically some how. And he can’t eat bananas or avocados because they “feel too mooshy” and he will “tantrum” if tried to force to eat them out of sensory overload causing him to panic.
That is one example of someone with AS. Another person with AS might love fireworks and hate the sound of car motors, love mushy things but hate crunchy things, be able to tie shoes but can’t jump rope, knows everything about his favorite cartoon instead of dinos and is an excellent writer but a poor learner with math. They may be able to NOT take things as literally but are unable to look someone in the eye.
It is a spectrum disorder. Because of this is can be hard to get a proper diagnoses. However I would suggest to all people who assume they have AS to go get evaluated. And to get evaluated by 2 or 3 doctors for more professional opinions. Falsely diagnosing oneself can only lead to issues, especially if there is another psychological problem.

My understanding is that Aspergers comes on at an early age, say age 2-3. In 100% of cases, symptoms will be present from a very early age. Any adult who has previously functioned well, or God forbid very well, cannot possibly have Aspergers.
People’s functioning varies with time. I know people who used to function perfectly but now they can barely leave their houses. So functioning can dramatically collapse in any given individual.
One thing that I noticed was that many people self-diagnosing as Aspies had anxiety disorders. I work with OCD patients, and many of them think that they have Aspergers. I generally do not think that they have it. Aspies do not seem to be very common. I think I met one in my life so far and another couple on the Net.
The problem is that a very large number of people are odd, weird, strange or out of it in some way or another. I run into them all the time. They can’t possibly all have Aspergers. Schizophrenics are obviously pretty odd. I have met some odd OCD’ers. A lot people with anxiety disorders can seem pretty weird. Many very shy people seem out of it and odd. Just being weird doesn’t mean you have Aspergers!
In addition, many introverts to super introverts are identifying as Aspergers. Obviously many introverts have problems in social interactions, but just because you have problems dealing with other humans because you are an introvert does not mean that you have Aspergers!
I read a recent paper that said that Aspergers and introversion are along a continuum, with introversion at one end and Aspergers at the other. I agree with this, and this is where the confusion sets in.
Although I am quite an introverted person and many people think I am pretty damn weird, I certainly do not have Aspergers. For one thing, my social skills are actually excellent, but my brain works in funny ways so that right there turns people off. They see my brain apparently working in a weird way and they just don’t want to have a conversation. But I am a master of social rules and not only that, I understand other people very, very well. I even know what they are thinking most of the time, to the extent that you can do that at all. Of course I know what they are feeling too. I read people very fast and I respond very fast too. I get all the subtle little nuances in conversation, the tricks and hints and whatnot and usually respond to them right away.
Things that I think are odd about Aspergers:
Not wanting to be touched. WTH?
Sensory overload. I don’t really get it, but we introverts have a bit of this. Parties are a bit much for me anymore, but the Aspie sensory overload just seems downright bizarre.
Not wanting to eat something because it’s too mushy or too crunchy? Huh? I eat anything and I don’t care what it feels like in my mouth. Who cares!
Hypersensitivity with hearing, touching, smelling or tasting. Ok that is just weird to me.
Wanting to talk about one thing all the time and not shutting up when you are boring people. I do this too sometimes, but I usually shut up when it seems like people don’t want to hear what I am saying.
Think everyone else is weird. Huh? No way, they are normal.
Takes everything very literally. This makes no sense to me either.
Hates loud unexpected noises like fireworks. Looks like sensory overload to me. I don’t care about fireworks. They are going off around me for the last few days now, and I don’t even care. Someone lit one in the street near the path of my car the other night and it was no big deal, but it was a little weird to drive past the burning, fizzling, crackling thing.
Why would I love one loud sound but hate another. They are all the same to me, just another loud sound. You get used to them sooner or later.
Ten years old and can’t tie your own shoes? Sorry, but you have major, major problems, kid.
Excellent writer but bad at math or great at math but poor at writing. This I can relate to, and I have known many non-Aspies who are like this. Intelligence is variable, and abilities differ even within the individual.
Can’t look someone in the eye. I have been accused of this myself sometimes. A lot of very shy people have problems with eye contact. I have gotten a lot better at this over time, but I still hardly think this is diagnostic because you are going to suck in a lot of introverts. Although I imagine an Aspie might be quite strange about not looking you in the eye to the point where it seems they are just being strange about it as it is so extreme.
As you can see, I obviously do not have Aspergers at all. But believe or not, some folks have insisted that I must have it!
Introversion and Aspergers are not the same thing, but they make both be part of a spectrum.

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44 thoughts on “Asperger's or Non-Aspergers?”

  1. I’m an asperger, I know a little about it.
    There are so many things.. I will try to come back through the day and address every single one of your points, all of which have questionable accuracy.
    To obtain an asperger’s diagnosis, your constellation of symptoms must reach CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE i.e. if the person who claims to suffer from asperger’s has not gone (or tried) to see a doctor about it, they are NOT an asperger because it is not ruining their life enough to be of clinical significance.
    Asperger’s is typically not noticeable at age 2-3 though is is most certainly ‘in place’. Many of us, myself included, are obviously totally weird from very young, but as a kid it can be really cute and no bother to anyone. Those same cute eccentricities scare people when coming from a large adult male.

  2. “Wanting to talk about one thing all the time and not shutting up when you are boring people.”
    Is the only thing you’ve written that I can identify as an actual symptom (or the result of the interaction of a couple of symptoms) of asperger’s.
    http://www.autreat.com/dsm4-aspergers.html
    All that stuff about ‘sensory issues’? What is all that? So it’s common amongst ‘aspies’, sure, but then so is ‘depression’, and depression is not a symptoms of asperger’s either.
    Stick to the core symptoms and it all makes more sense. No Robert you don’t come across as an asperger. While you may cross the line of what is deemed appropriate, you are very aware of where that line is and you consciously walk that line when you blog. Your analyses of social situations are far too incisive to be the work of the aspie mind.

  3. Asperger’s syndrome is a fad diagnosis and it is currently in vogue. My paperwork says I have it. Last fad was Bipolar syndrome: at time my caseworker said I had that: and so on down the line. My local clinic has disbanded ad I no longer see a psychiatrist or psychologist, take medication or go to group therapy. People that really know me say the diagnosis is wrong for me: I have functioned well in society before (And do not do so now basically because I have worked from home for several years on end, and so I have few social contacts these days) but I am also extremely empathic and I have a very wide variety of interests. I am not only a genius but I am over the top on that (You can disbelieve that if you will, that’s OK, but that will only go to show you don’t know me very well) And I can be very passionate in putting the point across. Ironically it is that passionate part that causes some therapists to say I have Apsberger’s. That and the fact I don’t follow along blindly after authority, I am rebellious and can be quite contrary. When I was a teenager these things were valued as virtues.
    Best Wishes, Dale D.
    PS, Having a sex addiction is something I freely admit to, but Apsberger’s I just can’t see as applying to me.

  4. robert u like 2 pick ur nose and eat ur boougurs and u also like 2 lik ur dogs butthol and snif ur own armpit hair and u r a fan of powerpuff girls and u dont like ressling bekuse it is 2 vialant 4 u cuz u r a sissy and u still hug and kis ur mom.

      1. This looks like that same guy you already banned, same modus operandi, I had no idea internet Hindus could start at 5 years of age.

        1. It is incredible the number of Afrocentrist trolls this site gets. They are all totally insane, and almost everything they say is a lie. A lot of them are extremely, viciously racist against White people too. Mostly they are just pitiful.

      2. I am trying to blow the whistle on these Hindu monsters. Most people are in the dark about them. I would not mind if people hated them about as much as they hate Muslims (Islamophobia). The Muslims pretty much deserve all that contempt, sorry, but if the Muslims deserve scorn, then so do the Hindus. Each one is as bad as the other. I will say though that you can meet many many Muslims who are very good people. Sometimes I wonder if that is true with Hindus. Hindu culture seems like a poison that gets under your skin and poisons everyone in India. Only cure is a detox or antidote.

        1. Maybe so, at any rate, Hinduism just seems to turn you into a RAT!
          Islam doesn’t really turn you into a bad person at all. In fact, it is a very moral religion that holds morals in extremely high regard. Islam is bad in that it attacks other religions, seeks to take over non-Muslim societies, is horribly intolerant of non-Muslims and criticism of Islam, and it is at its base a violent religion.
          But aside from all of that, most of the Muslims that I know seem like very good people. Good, fine, morally upstanding folks with strong, strict, almost too strict, morals. I can’t say that about Hindus.

        2. Cyrus
          Hinduism is an ethnic religion so the lines between culture and religion are blurred. This is unlike the Abrahamic traditions that were always imposed and had to clash with local values. Muhammad tried to discourage muruwwa (manliness ie Arab machismo) and the Church’s Iconoclastic Controversy” of 787CE clearly illustrate that cultures eventually still have the last word. But this is hard to determine in an ethnic religion

        3. It’s not really Hinduism that turns people into monsters. It’s culture, not Hinduism itself. Now the two are all wrapped up in each other, but I don’t want to blame the religion too much. Or maybe I should?

  5. I’m not sure i understand your point here Robert. Are you saying you don’t believe AS is real, or are you just going out of your way to point out how weird Aspies are?

    1. AS is real, but they are pretty darned weird. There is something wrong with their brains. A very large number of people are misdiagnosing themselves or being misdiagnosed with AS. It’s a fad dx.

      1. Robert I took the same test for AS as you did from the link you posted here several months ago and according to the results I’m quite normal thank God! I am an artist and a rational thinker and lots of average minded folk do somewhat find me eccentric at times and could possibly mistake me for an AS sufferer, I do have to filter what I say sometimes depending on who’s around me and that could make me a little paranoid, it seems I only let myself be myself when I’m surrounded by people who are either creative and or are well to highly educated intelligent people. This whole AS scare really is a fad just the same way ADD was until recently, or maybe that one’s still going on, they’ve put a ton of normal children on ADD medication for normal childhood behavior for God’s sake!

    2. I think he’s clearing up some misconceptions regarding AS due to its newfound popularity and poking fun at those who have adopted the “autistic” title. But this is already occuring as many clinical disorders are making their way into pop culture, which gives way to stereotyping (or in this case trivializing) and gives the disorder on a whole new meaning, with many fully functional people adopting the label. OTOH, there are armchair experts who make it out that the disorder is more serious so they can increase their own relevance and that of their profession. Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise Specified includes an entire umbrella of issues including Aspergers, NLD, HFA Right Hemisphere Dysfunction Disorder, and subtypes such as Dyspraxia and Dysgraphia, ADHD and Executive Functioning Disorder, Visual, Spatial and Tactile processing disorders, a whole host of academic issues including hyperlexia (literal reading) and dyscalculia, and is usually accompanied by a slew of emotional problems as well. But it is just an umbrella of potential issues and should not. be taken too seriously. Most people will not be affected by every issue listed, but early literature on PDDs (especially NLD so disparaging I refuse to associate with it) suggests otherwise. I am worried that if children are diagnosed at a young age, their parents may have unfounded aassumptions and expect the worst.
      I would never claim to be a technological genius or a linguistic savant, but likewise I would not want it to be presumed that I suffered from all these symptoms with great severity. There are a few subtypes which debilitating for me, such as dyspraxia and Executive Functioning Disorder, but others where I am not affected in the slightest like mathematics or understanding of humor and irony, and others which are relative (but far from crippling) weaknesses such as visual spatial reasoning.

      1. I wrote this post because people who know me keep telling me that I must have Aspergers! I am getting tired of hearing it. I have been seeing clinicians including psychologists and psychiatrists for many many years. I have told them to give me every dx that I have, don’t hold back on anything. Never once has anyone suggested that I have AS, never even once. It’s crazy. I am really getting tired of this crap AS fad. Sure there are people who really have it, but probably MANY people are misdiagnosed and many others are misdiagnosing themselves.

        1. Amen to that. I wrote that post because I believe the PDDs are both trivialized and overstated depending on whom your dealing with. I am worried about the impact of misconceptions from both sides.

        2. OH you can have so much fun coming up with snide responses to people who go around diagnosing asperger’s following casual contact with a person, especially if it’s over the internet where, let’s face it, the naturalness of one’s body language cannot be observed.
          My favourite must be “I might or might not have aspergers but YOU must have it because only an asperger would think it appropriate to go around trying to diagnose others with aspergers.”

        3. Yeah all the people who said I must be AS told me so over the Internet. No one in meatspace has ever said such a thing to me.
          I would think that the clinicians would have told me by now…

      2. Congratulations for not being autistic Robert, but please don’t demonize Asperger’s. Think of it as being blind or deaf or having a stutter or born mute, only in terms of socializing. It hurts, and people can’t tell you suffer (or don’t care). The word tragedy comes to mind.

        1. West Coasters don’t go back east. It’s a step down for us. We already live in paradise.
          ——————-
          West Coast = Heaven
          East Coast = Hell
          Midwest = Hell’s Hell

        1. I’m too old to remember which college I went to. University of Chicago, I believe. It’s a pseudo-intellectual place like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford Not the real places of thinking- Las Vegas, Caltech, Deep Springs, Albequerque, Gangnam, all of Beijing, Bangkok, and Shanghai, Amazon.com.

    1. I’m an old tar. I have been to the Emerald City and to the land of Nod. Is that far enough for you?
      I just assumed because Lindsay said that he’s a trust fund baby. No other reason.
      East Coast is better because we don’t have blond surfer dudes, Kardashians, Nation of Aztlan, and the fags and hippies are somewhat quieter.

      1. True. I have an easier time getting laid everytime I’m on the East Coast…All the women like the “Italian” look…In California, it’s the blonde hitler youth surfer dude all the white womenz want.

        1. I’m a sucker for the hitler youth, but they have to have be the real deal, I wouldn’t settle for a bland personalityless meathead.

      2. But the East Coast has blond surfer dudes working in Wall Street, and in Washington. In California, they are ghettoized to the beach. We’ve identified and isolated them. In the East they still run amok.

  6. There doesn’t seem to be much serious discussion in the comments section, but let me make a serious comment anyway. For shits and giggles.
    The self-description by Robert Lindsay fairly well describes me as well.
    However, my mom has speculated that I had Aspergers. She worked as a speech pathologist in public schools in numerous states from the Midwest down to the Deep South, from rural to urban areas. She has dealt with the full spectrum of disorders and their manifestations. But her speculation about me is just speculation.
    I don’t care too much about labels. I’ve been diagnosed with depression as have my brothers. One brother has also been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, and having seen in it happen to him I know I have exhibited it before. I’m very introverted and it does cause some dysfunction, but not enough to make me homebound or homeless.
    When I was diagnosed with depression, I was also diagnosed with something along the lines of a thought disorder, but I don’t remember exactly what the diagnosis was now as it was so long ago. Before that, I was diagnosed with a learning disorder. I learned reading late because I have word recall issues. I don’t remember isolated facts well and instead remember relationships between things. I’m especially good with patterns and puzzles which I tested high on as a child which is how they knew I wasn’t low IQ.
    When younger, I was almost entirely socially clueless and very emotionally sensitive, I’ve over the years compensated for that former social cluelessness by obsessing over figuring people out. So now I’m extremely insightful about what people are thinking and feeling. I’m still emotionally sensitive, but I’ve never been physically sensitive and quite the opposite in fact. I was always a tough athletic child and never lacked coordination.
    I have no idea what all of this adds up to. But it seems to relate, at least in my own mind, for I don’t know how to disentangle the various strands.

  7. Isn’t aspergers and autism meant to be the result of a fetus receiving too much testosterone in the womb? These people don’t see very masculine to me, though.
    They’re never described as competitive, agressive, hypersexual and enjoying rough and tumble activities, maybe it’s just because they lack interest in people and are way too detached from their emotions.

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