Described as having a "flavor" of Asperger's?

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buckguy
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14 Mar 2013, 12:03 pm

I have long felt that I may have Asperger's syndrome; I know that it was suggested to my parents by one of my teachers when I was a child I may have it (my parents did not do anything about it, though) but throughout adolescence and adulthood, I have had some very confusing social situations at work or school and have been told how awkward I am every once and a while. In general, the feedback I get from people who I am around socially is that my speaking volume can be a little bit high; sometimes I say inappropriate things or bring up inappropriate topics in public settings, most specifically in movie theaters or at plays we go to (though this is something I have made improvements on over time); and every once and a while, I am told that the way that I gesture looks extremely awkward, such as with my hands and body movements. The most stinging feedback I have received is that I sometimes revert to acting like a child or teenager in my speaking tone and expressions, and this has happened a few times in my 20s (I am 26 now).

However, I wonder that for the most part these have been isolated or semi-isolated incidents throughout adulthood. I don't know if it is that I have been using enough coping skills to "pass," or if my awkwardness is triggered by other issues such as mental health stuff, anxiety, neurological difficulties I have with coordination/spatial relations that goes on and off, or something is going on in my life that disrupts my usually way of being. However, sometimes even when I am feeling "normal" I come across hearing people let slip about my awkwardness. This happens as if I leave a room and but can hear people talking about me and imitating the way I talk or saying something about me, or when I enter a room and people were just talking about some of these things about me. This is when I was living with a somewhat gossip-y group of folks, though, but even still it was extremely painful to hear. "That is what they think of me?"

I had a career counselor once discuss my social problems with me in terms of a difficult job situation I was going through. I admitted to my concerns about potentially having Aspergers, and she suggested I may have a "flavor" of Asperger's syndrome. She then went on to say that I have demonstrated enough understanding of social dynamics, workplace politics/situations and other areas of functioning that it is only that, a "flavor." I am holding onto that description with all my might as I like to think that if I do have Asperger's, which I just might, that I can "pass" in a real-world setting.

Anyone else feel they have isolated symptoms, or social feedback that kind of sneaks up on you, or that your symptoms can come and go?



MjrMajorMajor
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14 Mar 2013, 1:16 pm

You sound a lot like my husband, who is "traity" for lack of a better term. He does have some social issues, and tends to pursue a select group of interests. Where we part is that he doesn't have the sensory issues, the poor ability for self expression, or the level of anxiety and focus issues that I have. Sounds like you're doing pretty okay, so I wouldn't worry about slapping a label on yourself.



goldfish21
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14 Mar 2013, 7:50 pm

buckguy wrote:
I am holding onto that description with all my might as I like to think that if I do have Asperger's, which I just might, that I can "pass" in a real-world setting.


Well, let that the f**k go asap as it's that line of thinking that's constraining you from achieving your goal of passing better in the real world. The more you can learn about yourself & how to manage you, and utilize your strengths, and improve upon your weaknesses the better. This is especially true when it comes to AS, as if you don't even know what most of the potential traits are, you won't be able to recognize them when they sneak up on you and thus won't be able to develop coping mechanisms and/or a combination of treatments in order to minimize their ability to mess with your life. Do yourself a huge favour and learn more about AS to figure out for yourself if you do indeed have it, then you'll be able to identify the traits that afflict you and screw with your life so that you can work on controlling them better and living a happier healthier more balanced better life.

I found this book to be the perfect starting point: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Com ... kwsec=Home

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Anyone else feel they have isolated symptoms, or social feedback that kind of sneaks up on you, or that your symptoms can come and go?


That is the exact nature of very high functioning ASD/AS.


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buckguy
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16 Mar 2013, 5:34 pm

MjrMajorMajor, what do you mean by "traity," as in your husband has some traits? I actually do feel like I have of those other issues you mention, especially anxiety and focus and sensory issues (such as eating/drinking/slurping sounds, repetitive sounds such as typing and shoes walking on carpet, rooms with many people talking simultaneously, etc.) so I may be minimizing my full set of symptoms. The social feedback ones have seemed to be the most consistent and ones that I am most oblivious to, though.

GoldFish21, thank you for your feedback. I agree that what you suggested about identifying strengths/weaknesses and finding coping skills is extremely important, but I have not thought of it in that framework before (and thanks for the Attwood book suggestion, just ordered it from Amazon). Since adolescence I have been using a lot of different types of life skills/communication skills/social skills/workplace skills/financial schools books to address confusing situations I have been in and insecurities I have about my abilities, these have been for general audiences though. Also, what do you mean by "very" high functioning ADS/AS? I have only seen the high-functioning designator. I Googled it, and I got a few different things. "High-functioning autism" looks somewhat close to me, but not sure that was it.

I have a question about knowing if I have Asperger's for sure or not.... I have seen several different counselors and psychiatrists over the years, exclusively for severe anxiety and depressive symptoms, and have asked about getting tested for Asperger's a couple times. One counselor was nearly completely dismissive and told me I don't match any of the "core qualifiers" (but I thought that was pretty dubious). I have not gotten any solid information on actual assessments. I have looked through this forum and have read about self-diagnoses. I took the first one that came up in a Google search, and it said essentially "You could have Asperger's, but not definitely have it." How do I find out whether there is an in-person diagnostic test or a self-test that has high validity?



MjrMajorMajor
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16 Mar 2013, 6:22 pm

buckguy wrote:
MjrMajorMajor, what do you mean by "traity," as in your husband has some traits? I actually do feel like I have of those other issues you mention, especially anxiety and focus and sensory issues (such as eating/drinking/slurping sounds, repetitive sounds such as typing and shoes walking on carpet, rooms with many people talking simultaneously, etc.) so I may be minimizing my full set of symptoms. The social feedback ones have seemed to be the most consistent and ones that I am most oblivious to, though.

Yes, he'd be much higher on a sliding scale. Attwood' s book is very good, and checking out WP can be beneficial just to see what you relate to. It's very possible to be compensating without realizing to what extent. I was diagnosed over twenty years ago, but there wasn't enough knowledge for support, and that seems to be the continuing case in many areas. If you ever have the chance to interact with aspies irl, I find I can pick up much more of their body language than I do for other people. Keep searching, and hopefully you'll find what you're looking for.



buckguy
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19 Mar 2013, 7:38 pm

A couple updates:

I received Attwood's book in the mail yesterday, and could not put it down for several solid hours of reading. I am a little more than half-way through it now (skipped a couple things here and there about coping methods for children, which don't apply to me now, I suppose). For the most part, the majority of what I have read feels really true to my experiences, both the stuff in there about my childhood and about my current state. There were a few things here and there that were genuinely shocking to me in terms of putting a lampshade on certain behaviors that I did not realize could be attributed to this; specifically, things to do with conversations with people and not knowing when the other person is bored, not knowing when the other person wanted to talk about him or her, reading facial expressions, etc. I tend to attribute some of this stuff to my general social isolation and always feeling like I am "quirky;" and though it is not an excuse, I have also always felt females are more intuitive about such things than males.

My curiosity now takes me to finding an in-person assessor. The last time I attempted to do this, about four years ago, I was very dismissed, but I am realizing now that this was not fully training in this.

However, though I don't know if it is a self-esteem thing or not, I still feel as though I am still kind of at the outskirts. Most of the book has felt true thus far, but I feel that I am at the "soft" end of a lot of the symptoms it discusses. Also, I took one of the self-tests two days ago and took another one today. The first time I scored a "31" with 30-34 indicating "you may have it, may not," and I took one again today at PsychCentral and I scored in the range just below "you may have it, may not" (I got a 25). I am in a very sprightly mood today, though, so not sure how mood influences these.



goldfish21
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19 Mar 2013, 8:19 pm

Glad to hear you took my advice vs. taking offence to my blunt language. :lol:

"Very high functioning," isn't an official diagnosis label. I just use it as a descriptor to show someone waaaay over at the left end of the spectrum assuming we were to draw a straight line that goes from very high functioning on the left ----------------to-----------> very low functioning/non-verbal extremely "classic autistic," on the right end of the spectrum.

Read the entire book, you may find some things in the coping mechanisms or dealing with children parts that you experienced as a kid yourself and never attributed to AS. Part of the reason for this is that so many of these traits on their own don't add up to much and aren't cause for concern, but when you put them all together they ad up to AS. Also, we all have different traits and symptoms and varying degrees of severity of them, with some being polar opposite to other Aspies, so it can be even more difficult for someone to self assess if they're comparing to a diagnosed Aspie with different traits. We pretty well all have a different AS profile. I have an identical twin brother & our AS profiles, as well as personalities etc, are different. Sure, there are some overlapping common things, but we certainly have a lot of differences, too, many of which are all possible AS traits. Ditto with comparing myself to other AS friends/family/people I know.

You'll also find some very good descriptions of internal thought processes of the AS mind in the book. Only you will know if you do these things, and if you're like me you'll only realize you've done them all your life as learned coping mechanisms once you read them described to you in clinical terms by a doctor who's spent a career drawing this knowledge and info out of others like us and putting it together for us to learn from. These things are very unique to AS/ASD, and if you do them you'll just know.

Ditto with the Aspie vocal prosody. Once you read it's description, even if you don't hear it from another's voice, you'll recognize it in yourself if you do it. You'll pick up on all sorts of subtle things like that. Also the "walk," too, literally how you walk.. if you walk with the Aspie "gait." I know I do. I see it in other family members, too, as well as friends with AS. A subtle, yet telltale, sign.

As for assessors... find a different one. It's possible they're not very knowledgeable about these things, especially the more subtle traits of the higher functioning. If they're looking at ASD as "classic autism," and have no real career experience dealing with high functioning people who've managed to get educations, careers, have lives & relationships etc then they're simply not educated enough about it to make a proper assessment. (IMO) My brother had his son assessed by his diabetes doctor and whatever test he used said he had some traits but couldn't be considered autistic. Because I've read this book, and a couple others, and many webpages.. I know he's flat out incorrect and that he's not the right guy to be doing an assessment for this. I've persuaded my brother to read this book, which is a huge milestone for me on this topic with him, and so I've ordered another couple copies from Amazon as well. I know that he's going to discover his own AS while reading it, too, and hopefully he becomes much more open to learning things from me that I've learned about all of this so that my nephew can have a much better life sooner rathe than later. All in due time, it'll come together, including finding the right doctors to assess things. I've got the contact info for the 3 Psychiatrists here that assess adults and have to look into getting a referral for myself. I do hope that whichever one I see is very well versed in AS, because I've managed to reduce my outward signs and symptoms dramatically and it's going to take a keen observation of some of the more subtle traits for them to be able to diagnose me. Mind you, I also have my entire life's history to back up the simple fact that I know I'm AS and they should be able to confirm from that, too, vs. merely symptoms displayed live in the moment. Here's to hoping, anyways, as I don't particularly want the delay of having to convince my GP to give me a 2nd referral and then wait for a 2nd one to hear me out. My evidence is sound, though, so unless the first doc I see isn't actually an expert on this then they should be able to confirm my diagnosis in the first go around.


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