when is it considered aspergers and when is it personality?

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daydreamer84
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09 Apr 2014, 8:06 pm

I just posted this in another thread about this blog: LINK


Here is an excerpt, the author says:

"That’s the way things are—there is an intricate set of thousands of social rules, and we’re all sharply attuned to them. If we weren't, we’d be sent away somewhere. Even being nearly perfect will get you into trouble—you can have 98% of the rules down cold, but that last 2% will leave you with a reputation of “rude” or “weird” or “creepy.”

Then she does on to chronicle social difficulties with subtle things that probably many NTs and ASDers have. People with ASD along with people with other clinical level social impairment caused by other things would be the ones who have a reputation of being "rude", "weird" or "creepy", who aren't sharply attuned to the intricate set of social rules.

I think that's relevant to this thread because , yes, NTs can and do have trouble with social interaction and some have a lot more trouble than others but they still are sharply attuned enough to the thousands of social rules to not have a reputation of being very odd or rude or creepy. They may be thought of as socially awkward or eccentric, a little weird but they would not be thought so odd or rude that it stops them getting hired for a job or making and keeping friends etc. Of-course not everyone who does have social problems to that extent is autistic, there are other disorders that could cause that impairment but someone without that level of impairment would more likely just have an autistic-like personality than autism.



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09 Apr 2014, 8:09 pm

linatet wrote:
sheldon for instance has asperger traits, but he doesn't seem to have sensory processing issues. does it mean he can't have it?
people that have the traits but don't have sensory processing issues don't have aspergers?
also sensory processing issues is not even in the diagnostic criteria.

It's strange that they are just recently recognizing that sensory processing issues are part of autism, but it is still not necessary for a diagnosis.



daydreamer84
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09 Apr 2014, 8:16 pm

coffeebean wrote:
When you fit the diagnostic criteria...

Let's put it this way. Everyone can be awkward and has some situations in which they are awkward. Not everyone struggles with facial expressions, cognitive empathy, etc. Everyone has smells or sounds they're not fond of. Not everyone has smells or sounds that overload them beyond what the majority experiences.


Yes, and not all professionals are good and do a thorough assessment and follow the criteria exactly which is when misdiagnosis can occur. If they are thorough and strictly follow the criteria then the person needs to have social impairment including impairment in non-verbal reciprocity, non-verbal communication and relationships. They also have to have two of either stereotyped behaviours, restricted interests, rigid routines/rituals/sameness or sensory issues. They have to have these symptoms to the point that all the symptoms cause severe impairment in their daily functioning and there has to be no other condition that can better account for the symptoms. The ICD criteria also require severe impairment in daily functioning and symptoms not better accounted for by a different disorder. A person with an autistic-like personality who's socially awkward but not autistic wouldn't meet this criteria.

*Of-course as others have mentioned severe impairment doesn't have to mean you'd be dead without help. It is a bit subjective what constitutes severe impairment but diagnosis based on behavioural criteria is the best way available to do diagnosis now. I do think it's obvious when there's no impairment and in that case nothing should be diagnosed.



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09 Apr 2014, 8:41 pm

The character of Sheldon was not written to be an autistic person. I think the show's creator(s?) said that he was based on a number of people he used to work with. Some of those people were probably autistic, others were probably "just nerds," but regardless, Sheldon is just a character based on someone's outsider observations of a number of people.

I think they became pretty aware that he was being seen as autistic, but the writers did not want to officially make him so because it would open a whole can of worms about being "realistic" and doing a real condition justice in the context of show that, frankly, isn't supposed to be realistic. To be a little closer to reality, they instead had his girlfriend mention that she thinks he shows symptoms of OCD - which, he really does. So they were willing to pretty much label him with OCD on the show, but not with autism because I guess autism is much more complicated and harder to get right.

Note: He doesn't have sensory difficulties so much, but there is that one episode where he insists on sitting in the perfect acoustic spot in the theatre which indicates that he's hyper sensitive to sound.

The actor who plays Sheldon said in an interview that he thinks Sheldon meets the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers but that since "his mother didn't get a diagnosis, neither do we" or something to that effect.


Anyways, for the OC's question, I think that every neurological/mental condition is a spectrum and that every spectrum will have people who don't fit inside the diagnostic criteria. There always has to be a cut-off point. However, the current diagnostic criteria are pretty difficult to treat as absolutes, but they are the best that doctors have as of yet (as opposed to brain-scans or genetic testing). There are many people who are on the "broader autism phenotype," who might have a couple aspects of autism to a relatively mild degree, but they wouldn't qualify as actually being on the spectrum. They would, however, probably have a higher chance of having an autistic child or grandchild.

I think the simplest thing is that, if you fit the diagnostic criteria, you have the condition. If you don't, then you are close to having it - which might be another way of saying you just have an eccentric personality (though, biologically, it could very well be a mild case of autism). All this talk about levels of functioning and whether or not and to what degree your life is impacted is pretty negligible, in my opinion. If it impacted your development and functioning at one time in your life, but you've since improved, it doesn't mean that you suddenly became neurotypical. You are still autistic, just one who has learned skills and is able to get by according to whatever constitutes "normal" functioning.



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09 Apr 2014, 9:13 pm

The problem with recognizing aspergers is really the human need of stereotyping in order to understand and recognize.
AS is a bag of very mixed traits: some autistic traits of different severity/character, some ADHD traits, some that overlap NLD, and in some even a slight tourette thing without it being actual tourette....along with a majority of completely average traits.

It is so hard to put a finger on it may only shine through as different in socially or sensory very demanding situations.


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10 Apr 2014, 2:30 am

It can't all be down to people lacking social skills, if it were, what about individuals that were not socialised positively or even feral children raised by animals. They have no understanding of human social rules and may even have trouble adapting to them.



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10 Apr 2014, 4:21 am

No. Feral children haven´t learned social rules, but they may observe "something" going on.
AS people may not even observe the slight changes in facial expression or voice, or the subtle changes in social interactions of a group. The may have slightly or grossly distorted sensory experiences, that the inexperienced, but nerotypical feral child probably don´t have.


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linatet
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10 Apr 2014, 4:35 am

daydreamer84 wrote:
I just posted this in another thread about this blog: LINK


Here is an excerpt, the author says:

"That’s the way things are—there is an intricate set of thousands of social rules, and we’re all sharply attuned to them. If we weren't, we’d be sent away somewhere. Even being nearly perfect will get you into trouble—you can have 98% of the rules down cold, but that last 2% will leave you with a reputation of “rude” or “weird” or “creepy.”

Then she does on to chronicle social difficulties with subtle things that probably many NTs and ASDers have. People with ASD along with people with other clinical level social impairment caused by other things would be the ones who have a reputation of being "rude", "weird" or "creepy", who aren't sharply attuned to the intricate set of social rules.

I think that's relevant to this thread because , yes, NTs can and do have trouble with social interaction and some have a lot more trouble than others but they still are sharply attuned enough to the thousands of social rules to not have a reputation of being very odd or rude or creepy. They may be thought of as socially awkward or eccentric, a little weird but they would not be thought so odd or rude that it stops them getting hired for a job or making and keeping friends etc. Of-course not everyone who does have social problems to that extent is autistic, there are other disorders that could cause that impairment but someone without that level of impairment would more likely just have an autistic-like personality than autism.

well, I know a lot about social rules, but that's probably because this is my special interest. When I am not alone I spend majority of the time observing other people's behavior. I have always done that. My biggest trouble is when I am talking to them and don't know how to react,or what to say, or sometimes what is their intention, like if they are joking or not. I was never seen as creepy, more as shy and sensitive. I think others may have been seen like that too, probably the ones that are more quiet.


unlike others in this thread I am not very fond of the diagnostic criteria. I know this is one of the best we have so far but I wouldn't rely so much on it. It is fallible, highly subjective, and what some specialists consider aspergers others don't. As I said some think we are being under diagnosed and a lot of people are being missed, other think we are being overdiagnosed with a lot of people that didn't need the diagnosis receiving it. Besides, as they learn more about autism they see they are getting some things wrong.



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10 Apr 2014, 4:48 am

An example of the personality thing, I have an aspie best friend, I call her like that, she was never evaluated but she has the same traits as I do. When we were 10 yo or so we were nearly the same and with the same issues. Then she moved to another state and now we are 19 yo and our traits developed very differently! She went through anorexia, depression, she doesn't have "real life" friends and spend all day on the computer and her traits now are much worse than mine. I think this is because of personality and life outcomes. But if someone tries really hard to be able to do things and overcome some struggles it doesn't mean they don't have it anymore, right? Like, we both get lost, but I take buses because I have to in order to go to college. She doesn't even want to try buses. Then she is always going to be dependent on her parents driving her around and I will be more "independent" and "milder" even though the symptom is the same to the same intensity. Do you know what I mean?
I don't know if it contributes to the discussion but you understand what I mean? Two people may have the same impairments but one considered too mild to be on the spectrum (not my case but could be). Like she is dependent on her parents, spends all day on the computer, barely leaves her room and doesn't have actual friends. I go to college and have friends and move around even though we actually have the same intensity of traits. I appear to be much milder but in reality I am not.



Last edited by linatet on 10 Apr 2014, 5:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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10 Apr 2014, 4:50 am

I think the main thing that distinguishes ASDs is a social aspect. I really feel how that's not functioning in me and I've had all sorts of troubles throughout my life because of that. I don't have social instincts like people around me do, I truly sometimes feel a bit retarded in that area despite my otherwise high intelligence. I like that theory of "theory of mind" and certain blindness that autists have. I mean, really, how can a person be so smart but so stupid at the same time?

But then again, maybe my mum didn't love me enough for me to develop a decent social mind? Or maybe my personality came along with autism? These are the questions I am very keen to explore.



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10 Apr 2014, 6:38 am

The difference between a personality and Asperger's? A personality is how we all differ and Asperger's is how we're all similar (in regards to the wrong planet community).



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10 Apr 2014, 11:33 am

Quote:
An example of the personality thing, I have an aspie best friend, I call her like that, she was never evaluated but she has the same traits as I do. When we were 10 yo or so we were nearly the same and with the same issues. Then she moved to another state and now we are 19 yo and our traits developed very differently! She went through anorexia, depression, she doesn't have "real life" friends and spend all day on the computer and her traits now are much worse than mine. I think this is because of personality and life outcomes. But if someone tries really hard to be able to do things and overcome some struggles it doesn't mean they don't have it anymore, right? Like, we both get lost, but I take buses because I have to in order to go to college. She doesn't even want to try buses. Then she is always going to be dependent on her parents driving her around and I will be more "independent" and "milder" even though the symptom is the same to the same intensity. Do you know what I mean?
I don't know if it contributes to the discussion but you understand what I mean? Two people may have the same impairments but one considered too mild to be on the spectrum (not my case but could be). Like she is dependent on her parents, spends all day on the computer, barely leaves her room and doesn't have actual friends. I go to college and have friends and move around even though we actually have the same intensity of traits. I appear to be much milder but in reality I am not.


This.

I think this is a perfect example. I know exactly what you're getting at here. The bus thing is a great illustration of your point and is something I relate to as well. I think the first time I ever took a bus (at 14, with my mom) I was really overwhelmed by the sounds, smells, people, and how long it took for what should have been a quick drive. I hated it and decided I would avoid taking buses at all costs. But when I reached adulthood and realized that I couldn't afford a car and it would be stupid to have one when my school was so close, I was forced to start using the bus. The first few times I must have seemed incredibly retarded: I fell over on people, knocked into people with my backpack, panicked and froze for half an hour when the one bus I was waiting for didn't arrive - when I could have just walked to a different route, and I didn't realize that only the front door opened for people getting on - so I stood at the back door and got yelled at by the driver. The list could go on.

Maybe being autistic made it a little harder to learn a new thing and to get used to doing something different, but I still learned it. Now I think of the bus as a pretty routine thing, as opposed to a horrifying complicated process where angry bus drivers are liable to yell at me at any given point. The thing is, it was just about experience. Everything we do in life gets better with experience. If we don't do anything, then we will seem like we can't do anything.



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10 Apr 2014, 1:25 pm

My husband shared his interesting opinion with me about autism. He thinks how people are affected by it may have to do with personality. Linatet explained it well. There are NTs out there who have to be right and love to argue, there are aspies out there who are the same way too but what is the difference? Well with the aspie that personality may get in their way it jeopardizes their career and how well they get along with people. But I still see it as a personality as needing to be right and keeping on arguing it and not let it go. That would be one example of how AS may affect someone because of their personality trait they have. If another aspie has a personality where they are laid back and don't like confrontations and don't like to argue and fight and can't take the tension from people, they may not even have this issue the other aspie has because of their personality.

I also remember my therapist telling me about learning attitude when I told him "I don't think people really changed me over the years, it was me who did all the work because I wanted to change and they just helped me with it, I wanted to be a better person and have an easier life so I did the work" and he told me that is what exactly happens when people get treatment and therapy, it's called a learning attitude. I have noticed when someone doesn't have one, it's impossible to even teach them so they never change and never get better. If someone isn't willing to work on something, they will not get better. So learning attitude is a must for getting better.


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10 Apr 2014, 3:37 pm

Willard wrote:
People have got to get past this notion that Asperger Syndrome is nothing but a social skills impairment - those are SYMPTOMS, not the CAUSE of the disorder.
>>Link: Autistic Brains Hyper-Connected<<


The odds are better that I will win the lottery then the NT world will care about the cause more the the "social deficit" symptoms. As much as we rightfully b***h about getting no help in our youth I am beginning to wonder if we were not as bad off then today's kids getting such "help" as behavioral therapy, "social skills" training. People skills are considered a more important job requirement then when we started in the job market as young adults.


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10 Apr 2014, 3:46 pm

I would like to point out that people tend to be biased by the way questions are phrased. I think this is the source of many peoples "Asperger's is just a personality quirk" beliefs.

For example if you ask someone
1. Do you enjoy crowded gatherings?
The vast majority of people will answer no, AS or not, because "crowded" of course has an inbuilt negative connotation. The
assertion that AS people do not like crowds will confuse NTs. I mean, no-one much like crowds, so what's the big deal???

If however, you ask the question like this
2. Do you enjoy situations in which you have the oppourtunity to communicate with a wide variety of friendly people?
The vast majority of people will answer yes, because of the positive connotations of the question. But AS people I think are still likely to say no, because of the potential to be overwhelmed by such a situation.

My point is this: its all about how you phrase things. The way AS symptoms are phrased often sound just like natural personality traits, when they really are not.