Asperger’s

This was taken from  this website about Aspergers 

My comments are in Red on how much each of these 10 affects me.

 We are often referred to as Aspies.  It isn’t an insult.

  1. Failure to Develop Friendships

Children who have Asperger’s syndrome may have difficulty cultivating friendships. They may not connect with their peers due to a lack of social skills. They may find it hard to talk to other children or to participate in group activities.

To some extent when young.

This can be difficult for a child with Asperger’s as they may want very deeply to connect with their peers. Oppositely, some children with Asperger’s have no desire to make friendships and will prefer to be by themselves.

2. Selective Mutism

Young children with Asperger’s may demonstrate selective mutism as a symptom. This occurs when they will only speak freely with people they are comfortable with, and may not speak at all to strangers. Extreme cases last for years. Immediate family members are typically unaffected, as the child often feels comfortable speaking to them.

Selective mutism more often occurs at school and in public and some children may refuse to speak to anyone starting from a very young age. This condition can go away on its own, or your child may benefit from therapy.

Not much in me if it was a subject that interested me.

3. Inability to Empathize 

Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome may find difficulty empathizing with others. As they age, the affected person will learn the accepted social response for interacting with others. While they may react appropriately and say the “right” things, they may not understand why the other person is truly upset.

Me, big time when young.  Now I cry at the drop of a hat.  I often can’t watch the news due to my ability to identify with the victim’s pain.

This can be an issue in childhood as the individual with Asperger’s may play too roughly with their peers or say harsh things, unknowingly hurting the other person. When confronted with this behavior, the child may respond that what they said was true and that they do not understand the issue.

4. Unable to Make Eye Contact or Forcing Eye Contact

People who suffer from Asperger’s syndrome may find it difficult to make and hold eye contact with people they are speaking to. Some believe this condition is brought about by a lack of confidence. Others recount how making eye contact can make them very uncomfortable, almost painful.

There is also the theory that people with Asperger’s syndrome do not realize how important eye contact is for social communication. This may lead to the opposite problem of forcing eye contact. This can make people even more uncomfortable, while the individual with Asperger’s believes they are being more approachable.

This is me, but I learned to cheat by looking between one’s eyes and nobody notices.

5. Social Awkwardness

The idea that people with Asperger’s syndrome are not passionate is completely wrong. One common term professionals use to describe people who suffer from this illness is “active but odd”. They may become very socially active, forming close friendships.

Others may try to surround themselves with people, making lots of close acquaintances, but no deep friendships. This can be related to how well the individual empathizes with others. People with Asperger’s syndrome may not show many outward signs of this illness.

I can still be quite awkward, so I fight it daily.

6. Narrowed Interests

Individuals with Asperger’s syndrome may do poorly in school, but that is not to say they don’t have specific interests. Instead, their interests are likely very narrowed and focused. It could be playing video games, making models, or drawing.

These activities focus their minds and provide a sense of comfort for them. If they are forced to leave their projects, they may become distressed. Likewise, if their projects are failing. Fostering these narrowed interests is important for emotional and mental support.

This is me, but unlike many, I can change my highly narrowed interest as a new challenge.  As soon as I am as good as I am going to become, I drop the subject and go to a new one.

7. Sticking to Routine

Sticking to a routine can be very important for people with Asperger’s syndrome. They may become greatly distressed and anxious when their schedule changes. New situations can be frightening.

A routine can help manage the anxiety of people with Asperger’s syndrome. Thankfully, much of our world runs on tight schedules. If you suspect your child may have Asperger’s syndrome, putting them on a tight schedule may be an effective way to help manage some of their symptoms.

I have many routines that I keep in order to be efficient and not waste time.  However, I can and do change them often.  Some of my repetitions are silly and useless.  I hide them, or at least I think that I do.

8. Literal Interpretations

One of the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome is literally interpreting what people say. The affected individual may not understand sarcasm, instead of taking what the person has said as truth. The idea that people with Asperger’s syndrome do not understand humor is wrong.

I always hear things literally first and then try to figure out what it really means.  This takes time and so I often appear “slow” to new people.  Once I know someone and get used to their speech patterns, I quickly convert what they say to what they really mean.

I learned to use this to my advantage.  People with Autism tend to find it very hard to lie.  I am similar.  I have learned how to tell the literal truth and the listener tells themselves the lie that I would like to tell, but can’t.  Here is an example.

These individuals may be the funniest people you have ever met. When they realize the fault of their literal interpretations, they are able to understand the true meaning behind what is being said, perhaps with some explanation.

9. Excellent Pattern Recognition

Another symptom of Asperger’s syndrome is the amazing ability to recognize patterns. Often these individuals’ brains are trying to make sense of their surroundings, so a break in a pattern may show itself quite clearly.

Recognizing patterns is what has helped me be successful.  A recent test showed that I had a great ability to spot patterns.

This ability may be evident in childhood, as early schooling develops the neural pathways of pattern recognition. While children with Asperger’s syndrome may find the school setting difficult and struggle with their grades, pattern problems like math and in art may be very enriching. Fostering this natural talent is a great idea.

10. Poor Motor Skills

Some people with Asperger’s syndrome may find it difficult to control their gross and fine motor skills. The motor issues may manifest through poor handwriting thought to be caused by poor hand-eye coordination.

I have superb motor skills and always did.  The proof is my pool playing and excellent skills with mechanical things.

If you or someone you know experiences any of the symptoms indicated, it’s best to seek medical attention. While these symptoms do not necessarily mean the individual has Asperger’s, it’s always best to seek the advice of a medical professional.

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From the site, Autism speaks is this description.

The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:

  • limited or inappropriate social interactions
    • “robotic” or repetitive speech
    • challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
    • a tendency to discuss self rather than others
    • inability to understand social/emotional issues or nonliteral phrases
    • lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
    • obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
    • one-sided conversations
    • awkward movements and/or mannerisms

I have many friends with Aspergers and while we share some traits, we also differ.  Many Aspies also have other disorders.  I have two.

1.  I am borderline narcoleptic.  I fall asleep easily, too easily.  I might start to nod off in the middle of a conversation that I really want to have.  I fall asleep easily while driving.  My solution is to always carry a specially made pillow and a blanket in my car.  I frequently take naps too, often two a day and it helps a lot.

2.  I have facial recognition disorder.  I might work with someone daily and if I see them in another setting, I might not recognize them.  I learned about this from a TV show called 60 Minutes.  A mother didn’t recognize her own grown children.  They had to tell her who they were each time they met.

For years I would say hi to a friend.  The friend would say, “I thought that you were mad at me.”  For what?  Because I said hi to you and was ignored.  I spent my first 70 years not knowing anything about why this happened.  Now I know.

Often, I might slightly recognize a person and often the conversation allows me to remember them.  Once in a while that fails and I have learned to just ask, “Please help me, how is it that I know you?”  Yes, it is a bit weird.