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dancind
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23 Jun 2011, 2:44 pm

Finally got DD20 into a therapist for evaluation and counseling. She and I both have been about 99% sure for a long time that her diagnosis would be aspergers. For starters, we based it on Rudy Simone's List of Female Asperger traits. DD can check off all but a few of those, as can I.

Anyway, the therapist was recommended as someone who knows something about AS. But after about 10 minutes and a brief history, she said it's not AS because DD has good eye contact and expresses herself pretty well. Her diagnosis was Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I read up on it, and it covers maybe one third of my daughter's problems.

I don't think treatment for GAD is going to hurt her, and I don't know what a correct diagnosis will gain her, but wondering if we should move on. She has appointments in a month for meds and more counseling. The therapist mentioned the possibility of medical marijuana, which is legal in our state. Probably because DD told her about her many adverse reactions to meds she has taken.

So my question, ladies, if you are higher functioning, can you do the eye contact / social talk thing at times? At least one on one with no distractions?



MyriaJean
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23 Jun 2011, 3:07 pm

But is she coming across the way she intends to? I do make eye contact, but not appropriately, and people tend to think I'm either really anxious or a snot when I'm just trying to be friendly. I can do some small talk, but mostly as a facilitator and not as an equal participant.



dancind
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23 Jun 2011, 3:43 pm

Don't know if she is.

More digging around, found the diagnostic criteria for AS. Bolds are mine:

1. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
1. marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
2. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
3. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity

She does ok with no. 1, but definitely has had problems with 2,3, and 4. Starting to think the therapist is a quack.



MyriaJean
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23 Jun 2011, 4:20 pm

A second opinion would probably be helpful. Here, the evaluations are hours long, not minutes. Honestly, even my own mother misread me for years, and might still - I found out some new things about eye contact that I'll try when I see her next and see if it helps, but she seriously spent years thinking I got really bitchy when people were upset (when in reality I was trying to be reassuring - fail :lol:).
So I mean, the therapist might be right, but ten minutes is an awfully short interview.



Bloodheart
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23 Jun 2011, 4:37 pm

I've had a few people say to me after meeting me that I communicate well - I can of course talk, but this doesn't mean I'm communicating as I would like to or that it isn't causing me some distress, and there will be times when I'm unable to communicate much at all.

I can also make eye contact, I can even maintain eye contact and it doesn't cause me as much discomfort as it does others, however I have no idea how long I should hold eye contact for so my eye contact can sometimes look perfectly normal or other times may dart about making me look nervous.

No one can tell within 10 minutes if a person is on the spectrum, not even experts, then you've also got to take into consideration the fact that many of us will adapt as we get older, so we learn more NT traits. Second opinion time I'd say.


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dancind
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23 Jun 2011, 4:53 pm

Jadea, just told my daughter what you said. She just said a big "yeah".

I don't know where to go for a second opinion. I have called around and asked for recommendations, this is the first time I have been told that someone actually knew something. The therapist also said my daughter is "shy" and she is NOT! Never was anyway, though maybe cautious is the right word as a learned response.

We must live in the dark ages here.

Bitchy look when people get upset, that's here too. Actually, when DD gets upset I have never been able to touch her or try to comfort her because it made it SO much worse!



MyriaJean
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23 Jun 2011, 5:27 pm

dancind wrote:
Bitchy look when people get upset, that's here too.


For me it's because of inappropriate eye contact. I thought until a couple weeks ago that constant eye contact would make people feel like I was listening to them - that's how it makes me feel - but apparently it looks aggressive. And my precise wording (to avoid confusion during emotional turmoil) sounds condescending. And given those factors, my calm voice sounds furious.
Basically, I haven't been communicating appropriately even with my own family, I just figured it out two weeks ago, and I'm 26.
If she is Aspie, the best way (IMO) to know how she's feeling is to take the words that she says absolutely at face value, with no weight given to how she sounds or looks if it contradicts what she says.
I hope I'm not overstepping :) I was thinking that could be a way for you to figure out just how different her emotional state is from what you perceive it to be. You could give her feedback then too - I know my partner's feedback has been invaluable.



littlelily613
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24 Jun 2011, 9:17 pm

I have severe, but high-functioning, classic autism. I never make eye contact. If I ever do, it is an accident...and those accidents do not happen often.



squirrelflight-77
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25 Jun 2011, 6:26 pm

I think this is something that varies a lot. My daughter and I both look like we make eye contact. Hers is very fleeting though and her eval mentioned 'poor' eye contact and well I'm typically looking at someones face but not really eye contact. Others just think it is. I notice, lines, blemishes, make up, watch their mouth because its moving.. whatever. But to anyone in 10 minutes it would be eye contact. But I rarely just look at someones eyes. That's boring.


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Graelwyn
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25 Jun 2011, 9:01 pm

I find eye contact very difficult.. I either avoid it entirely, make clumsy attemps and then feel as if I must look suspicious, or stare non stop. I find I can only look a few people in the eyes, if that , but it is never comfortable.



kotshka
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26 Jun 2011, 5:47 am

I had to learn to make normal eye contact. Fortunately I am lucky enough that I seem to have succeeded and I don't have to think about it much anymore, though it is still uncomfortable sometimes. However, I personally know a couple of other aspies who have no problems with eye contact. They have all the other symptoms, but for some reason the eye contact thing was just never a problem for them. I guess they just learned to mimic it at an early age. (Although when they're engaged in their "special interests" they do usually make considerably less eye contact. When my friend the composer is working on, listening to, or even thinking about music, he doesn't talk as much and his comments are generally directed at the floor or his computer.)



cyanosity
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26 Jun 2011, 9:29 pm

I've been told that a lot of people can't actually perceive the difference between making eye contact with someone or someone looking at their nose (not that phrasing exactly, but you get the idea). Your daughter might be making eye contact in a way that is comfortable for her. Ask her to look you in the eye--is there anything slightly off about how she's looking at you? Is she staring into your eyes/staring past you, or is she looking at some other facial feature?

Afterwards, ask you how eye contact makes her feel. Most Aspies find it moderately uncomfortable, at least.

This is all from experience. I'm 16, diagnosed at 5, and I'm STILL learning eye contact!



LadySera
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27 Jun 2011, 5:17 am

I don't recall having a problem with eye contact with people as a child. That mainly happened to me due to the anxiety I developed from high school teasing. Then I tried to teach myself to do eye contact when necessary. However, as someone mentioned this can come off as aggressive. Plus a lot of NT people lie and will look anyway, not to mention all of the people who are on their phones not looking at you.



DreamSofa
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28 Jun 2011, 6:49 am

I can make eye contact briefly at the beginning of a conversation but not if the conversation lasts any length of time - I find the contact too intense and it makes me uncomfortable.



alhna
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03 Aug 2011, 11:40 pm

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Last edited by alhna on 08 Aug 2011, 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.