June 28, 2009

I may well have Asperger's syndrome

So, a large piece of the puzzle as to why I act that way that I do act may have been answered by my psychiatrist. She's suggested that I look up on Asperger's syndrome. I'd heard the name of it but never read anything about it before yesterday. It's an autism spectrum disorder.

What strikes me right off the bat is the social impact on peers. How one with AS (Asperger's Syndrome) lacks the social graces, and knowledge of how to properly, and effectively communicate with others. Often characterized by a marked lack of friends (that is so me), and a feeling of 'being shunned due to oddness of behaviour' but not knowing why.

A marked feeling of knowing things and yet not being able to effectively communicate them. Written word appears to be a much better way of communication, apparently in AS people. I'd agree with that. I find it much easier to write than I do to talk.

BTW I'm getting a lot of talking points from this page Sociological and cultural aspects of Asperger's syndrome

This paragraph, in particular
Children with AS often display advanced abilities for their age in language, reading, mathematics, spatial skills, and/or music—sometimes into the "gifted" range—but this may be counterbalanced by considerable delays in other developmental areas. This combination of traits can lead to problems with teachers and other authority figures. A child with AS might be regarded by teachers as a "problem child" or a "poor performer." The child’s extremely low tolerance for what they perceive to be ordinary and mediocre tasks, such as typical homework assignments, can easily become frustrating; a teacher may well consider the child arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate.

I was an advanced reader, seen as bright by my teachers, but definitely not applying that to my studies. I tested as very smart on my aptitude tests but didn't do well in marks. I was barely scraping by in my marks. 50 to 60% was my avg. I believe. I can recall teachers writing "poor performer" on my report card.

If you were to ask any of my friends in high school they'd say I was different. Not a cookie cutter of a girl who fit in easily with the crowd. And yes I can remember celebrating that I *WAS* different, odd, marched to my own drummer.

This line:

Two traits sometimes found in AS individuals are mind-blindness (the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others)

Yes, I'd have a hard time predicting the belief of anyone reading this blog. I don't know how to do that. I can't predict your reaction or intention of reading this. I could guess the intention is to learn, perhaps, what Asperger's is. I'd guess that, but not know it, inside myself. Whereas if you asked me a fact of something like weather, I'd be able to tell you that fact, easily. It's facts, figures, snippets of information within my brain that I feel I have the best control over.

This line:

People with AS report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. They may have difficulty finding a life partner or getting married due to poor social skills.

Yes, I often have a feeling of other-worldiness about me when I've been focusing on learning something, and come back to earth. My mother said to me that often she'd see me with my 'head in the clouds' so to speak. I'd touch down to earth from time to time, and she'd see me there, focusing on her. Often though, I wasn't there mentally. I wasn't aware of what was going on.

This line:
The intense focus and tendency to work things out logically often grants people with AS a high level of ability in their field of interest. When these special interests coincide with a materially or socially useful task, the person with AS can lead a profitable career and a fulfilled life. The child obsessed with a specific area may succeed in employment related to that area.

I've been called gifted by some in my knowledge. "How in the world did you know that?" or "How in the world did you remember that fact Debbie?" Yes, if somehow I could find a use for the useless, but smart thoughts swirling in my head, I'd have a job, I'm sure.

Another quote, from a page I can't find but recall, was something about how AS people seem to gravitate towards each other. This leads to breeding, perhaps of AS children. An astounding 24.8% of AS people are children of engineer's in one study. My father? An engineer. I can quickly name off about 5 things I see in him that should/could be considered "Asperger's syndrome" type habits/mannerisms, btw.

Not that any of this makes any difference at all to my life. It's not treatable, and some say why treat a simply different way of looking at the world. It's not a disability, but a different ability to see our world. An object focused view instead of a social focused view of the world.

Great essay on it here. "Is Asperger's Syndrome necessarily a disability?"

Where he writes this:

Whereas the disability view might be clearly appropriate for classic autism, the article suggests that from a particular perspective, the close relative of autism, called Asperger Syndrome, can be viewed simply as a different cognitive style. This important idea can be traced to Uta Frith’s book (Frith, 1989), and has been recently discussed in relation to ‘central coherence’ theory (Happe, 1999), but deserves a fuller discussion because of the implications of this shift of emphasis.

Yes, why should a simple cognitive style difference be labeled as "a disability". It is simply different, after all.

Anyhow, enough written for this entry. Will sign off and write more tomorrow, perhaps.

1 comment:

L.RabbitGirl said...

I'm bipolar and aspie.

If you want, I could point out some things on my blog that hit upon those sort of things.

It's hard when it first dawns on you. You wonder how much is you and how much is this "asperger thing". But it's not like that.

Asperger's is me. It's different from saying I have bipolar... in a way.

I feel with my asperger's "symptoms" the rest of the world has the problem, not me. Maybe that's a little simplified, but it is how I feel. The world is being too loud, the paint smells too strong, that person is talking to fast. I'm not the issue here.
But with bipolar... I display symptoms that are an affront to other people that don't necessarily jive with my personality.

I don't know if I've explained myself appropriately.

If you want me to point you in the right direction on my blog, let me know via comments.