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strawberryswing
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16 Jun 2013, 6:15 pm

I'm asking because I'm an 18 year old girl that has noticed recently how much AS symptoms remind me of myself as a child, despite the fact that most of them don't match me at all as an adult and I don't think I could be diagnosed with AS. I struggled with some social skills as a child and had plenty of other symptoms that could point to AS, but as I got older most of these symptoms started to disappear. Is that normal/possible? Just to give you some examples of stuff that I think points to AS...

- It took me longer than most to make friends and every time a new school year came around I was always really worried about if I had any friends in my classes and who I would hang out with at recess/lunch. I remember hanging out with my teachers for the first week of kindergarten. It never seemed natural for me to just go up to kids I didn't know and try to become friends. Despite this, I still managed to make friends and I had a good amount of friends and was generally well liked.
- I didn't have much empathy for other people at all as a kid. Other people to me were more like characters on a tv show that were there to entertain me. For the most part I was nice to people because I wanted them to be nice to me, but I didn't have much of a problem excluding people from groups I was in or saying extremely rude things to people. I remember there being a huge argument with one of my friends in 4th grade because she said I was always so rude to her and everyone else, and I was really confused and didn't think that I was rude to other people at all. The first time I remember actually feeling bad about something I had done to someone, I was 9 years old. Before that, I just didn't care how other people felt. Not that I wanted to hurt other people, but just that I didn't think or care much about what went on in other people's heads. Even now, I sometimes have to really think and put myself in another person's shoes and imagine that I'm them to feel empathy. I feel like it takes a bit more effort than most people.
- I was very precocious and I learned at about twice the speed of other kids in my grade. I always felt like an outsider because of my academic skills and sometimes wished that I could be placed in a higher grade.
- I had (and still do have) a very obsessive, organized way of thinking. It's gotten a lot better since I was a kid, but my brain still functions in a way that I really enjoy having things ordered and organized. When I was a kid, I always had everything in an 'order'. I would put my food in an order and eat it in that order. I would put my barbies in an order and play with them in that order. I would put my books in an order and read them in that order. Looking back on it, it was really odd. However, I definitely enjoyed playing with my toys in a normal way outside of 'ordering' them and I still enjoyed playing with other people. I also tend to get really obsessive about things that interest me. My interests are pretty broad and normal and I'm able to focus on things outside of my main interests, but I still feel like my love and obsession for these things is a bit beyond most peoples. I don't dominate conversations with information about my obsessions (something I always hear about with AS), but instead they're like these private things that I don't share with other people that make me really excited/happy and sometimes calm me down.
- I had a lot of tics as a kid, like blinking and raising my eyebrows and clearing my throat. I have most of them under control now, but I still sometimes have urges to start doing some of them again. I know that tics aren't necessarily indicative of AS but I've heard that they could be related.
- When I was a kid, I was very much into fantasy and imagination and most of the time I was pretending to be some character from a tv show or a person I knew that I looked up to. I still do this in a sense sometimes during social situations that make me anxious - imagine myself as someone I know that's really socially adept and try to picture what they would say or how they would respond to a situation. I don't do this around people that I know well, but when I'm nervous it helps me act more 'normal'.
- I threw tantrums for a lot longer than most kids. Probably until 3rd or 4th grade. I knew at the time that they were immature and I was embarrassed about them but they continued anyways. Even up to middle school, I would have 'fits' where I would be screaming and crying and even throwing things. They would turn almost into panic attacks where I felt out of control. They eventually stopped by the time I hit high school age, but I feel like they were more extreme than most kids and they went on a lot longer than most kids.

Aside from these things, I think I'm pretty NT. Nobody in my life has ever suggested that I have AS or thought that I was anything other than normal. Most people just thought I was wise beyond my years and maybe a little shy. I don't have a lot of trouble in social situations anymore and I live a pretty normal life, but I still feel awkward/nervous around new people and I feel like I relate a lot to the whole AS mind of organization and obsession, etc. The only thing that doesn't fit the AS diagnosis is that I really don't have any trouble understanding humor, sarcasm, figures of speech, nonverbal cues, etc. I don't think I ever had that much trouble with it as a kid either. Is it possible to still have AS and not have trouble understanding body language, non literal speech, etc?

And back to my main question, is it possible to have AS as a kid and outgrow it as you mature? I truly feel that I had at least a mild version of it as a child. I can't think of any other explanation as to why I was so different/awkward/weird/etc. I've also noticed some of these in my brother, although maybe to a lesser extent. And based on stories I've heard, my mom was also a bit awkward/socially inept when she was younger, although she seems to have outgrown that awkwardness as an adult. Do we maybe just all have mild AS? I don't think I'll ever get an official diagnosis. It doesn't feel necessary to me right now and I don't know that I could even get diagnosed with my current lack of symptoms. It'd be nice to know that there was an explanation for some of the stranger parts of my mind, though. I know you guys can't diagnose me, but I'm curious to see if anyone has a similar story to mine. Thanks!



redrobin62
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16 Jun 2013, 6:28 pm

I believe you can learn to minimize certain symptoms like stimming in public. I know I barely made eye contact as a child. (But with me, that could either have been my poor vision, my fear of looking people in the face because of the fear drilled in by abuse from my father, or Asperger's Syndrome). I do look people in the eyes now.

I can't turn off my extreme interest in one topic or another. That seems to be life long.

I also can't seem to get a good grasp on my social/verbal deficits. That seems likely to be life long as well.



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16 Jun 2013, 7:05 pm

No.

But you will learn to manage your symptoms better and better.
Everyone learns. Nearly everyone.


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16 Jun 2013, 7:10 pm

strawberryswing wrote:
Aside from these things, I think I'm pretty NT. Nobody in my life has ever suggested that I have AS or thought that I was anything other than normal. Most people just thought I was wise beyond my years and maybe a little shy. I don't have a lot of trouble in social situations anymore and I live a pretty normal life, but I still feel awkward/nervous around new people and I feel like I relate a lot to the whole AS mind of organization and obsession, etc. The only thing that doesn't fit the AS diagnosis is that I really don't have any trouble understanding humor, sarcasm, figures of speech, nonverbal cues, etc. I don't think I ever had that much trouble with it as a kid either. Is it possible to still have AS and not have trouble understanding body language, non literal speech, etc?

And back to my main question, is it possible to have AS as a kid and outgrow it as you mature? I truly feel that I had at least a mild version of it as a child. I can't think of any other explanation as to why I was so different/awkward/weird/etc. I've also noticed some of these in my brother, although maybe to a lesser extent. And based on stories I've heard, my mom was also a bit awkward/socially inept when she was younger, although she seems to have outgrown that awkwardness as an adult. Do we maybe just all have mild AS? I don't think I'll ever get an official diagnosis. It doesn't feel necessary to me right now and I don't know that I could even get diagnosed with my current lack of symptoms. It'd be nice to know that there was an explanation for some of the stranger parts of my mind, though. I know you guys can't diagnose me, but I'm curious to see if anyone has a similar story to mine. Thanks!


It does sound like you might have mild AS to me. I was similar to you as a child, from what you've described. I was officially diagnosed with AS at around 7 or 8 although some symptoms didn't fit. The doctor who diagnosed me was shocked when my mum said I had a very dry sense of humour. Like you, I have no real problems with reading body language, facial expression etc. I also have a broad range of interests and can switch between tasks fairly easily. Like all medical conditions, not all cases of AS are the same.

I've also got ADHD, so I wonder if this has anything to do with it. It kind of feels like some of the ADHD symptoms cancel out some of the AS symptoms. Do you think it's possible you have ADHD as well?


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16 Jun 2013, 9:22 pm

Well,

On the one hand AS is meant to be a brain wiring issue which is fairly stable over time however almost everybody is capable of learning new behaviours.

Everytime you learn something new , your brain wiring changes forever - new connections are made so to what extent is brain wiring really a fixed thing that cannot be altered? Is it just the extent that change is possible ? the long time it takes?

Personally I can say I've made solid attempts to understand and mend some of my ways and it seems to be paying off!



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16 Jun 2013, 9:43 pm

strawberryswing wrote:
Aside from these things, I think I'm pretty NT. Nobody in my life has ever suggested that I have AS or thought that I was anything other than normal. Most people just thought I was wise beyond my years and maybe a little shy. I don't have a lot of trouble in social situations anymore and I live a pretty normal life, but I still feel awkward/nervous around new people and I feel like I relate a lot to the whole AS mind of organization and obsession, etc. The only thing that doesn't fit the AS diagnosis is that I really don't have any trouble understanding humor, sarcasm, figures of speech, nonverbal cues, etc. I don't think I ever had that much trouble with it as a kid either. Is it possible to still have AS and not have trouble understanding body language, non literal speech, etc?


While I do definitely have AS,(with an official diagnosis) I understand body language and non literal speech as easily as anybody. I love dry humor and sarcasm, and use both frequently. I do have some social difficulties, although I think that is largely due to my general social disinterest and misanthropic attitudes. I do have some minor sensory issues and spacial awareness difficulties, although nothing that would be considered irregular for an NT. There are some who say that I have bad social skills, but this is largely due to the fact that I refuse to participate in much of the BS social interactions we are supposed to do. Brownnosing, gossip, interest in fashion/pop culture, etc.

I actually find great irony in the fact that, for the most part, my misanthropic attitudes are largely caused because I perceive NT's to have amazingly little empathy for anyone different from them. That's supposed to be my game!



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17 Jun 2013, 8:05 am

Troy_Guther wrote:
I actually find great irony in the fact that, for the most part, my misanthropic attitudes are largely caused because I perceive NT's to have amazingly little empathy for anyone different from them. That's supposed to be my game!


This is so true. The belief that aspies have no empathy is a load of codswallop anyway


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strawberryswing
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19 Jun 2013, 3:53 am

Thanks for the responses everybody. I actually took the time yesterday to do some of those online AS diagnostic tests. (I know none of these are official, but I thought it'd be somewhere to start.) To make things even more confusing, my results on all these tests not only said that I was NT, but I actually scored lower for AS than most NTs. And I also made sure to answer questions in a way that if I wasn't sure about something or the answer was 'slightly/sometimes', I would just choose the answer that sounded most like AS. Across the board, on every single test, I was told that I pretty much have the exact opposite of AS, whatever that would be. The tests I used were ones that I saw people had taken on here, and my results were a lot different than other people on here. On one of them I had something like a 34 out of 200 for AS and a 166 out of 200 for NT. So, I'm pretty confused now? What could I have if not AS? This again leads me to thinking that I somehow had it as a kid but outgrew it, even though I've never heard of such a thing. I'm sure that if I took any of those tests back in elementary school, it would have said I had AS. I had most of the major symptoms. But now? I'm apparently more NT than most NTs, go figure.

In response to Laddo - I have sometimes wondered if I have ADHD, but I don't know much about symptoms, etc aside from some common knowledge. I do sometimes have trouble focusing on things I'm not interested in or get sidetracked easily, but I feel like those could also be symptoms of AS. And I'm not hyperactive or anything.



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19 Jun 2013, 6:04 am

You don´t outgrow it. Your brain doesn´t change its structure. It learns to handle input in a more appropriate way.
By the way: the symtoms you describe is very often seen in gifted children. In fact they are often mistaken for AS kids.

Try taking the RAADS-R, which is one of the most reliable. Read the questions carefully with and think them over as personal questions before you answer. Don´t try to be as aspie-ish as possible. Answer truthfully, and read, what is behind the single parts of the result.
Then go to Mensa. They have a home test, which is not like an official test, but it can give a hint.

Good luck!


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19 Jun 2013, 7:28 am

it sounds typical of how people experience intelectual giftedness rather than mild/high functioning autism.
go see a ASD specialist if want to be sure.


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19 Jun 2013, 8:00 am

Laddo wrote:
Troy_Guther wrote:
I actually find great irony in the fact that, for the most part, my misanthropic attitudes are largely caused because I perceive NT's to have amazingly little empathy for anyone different from them. That's supposed to be my game!


This is so true. The belief that aspies have no empathy is a load of codswallop anyway


There are so many definitions of empathy, but the official one seems to be this:

Quote:
Emotional empathy, also called affective empathy: the drive to respond with an appropriate emotion to another's mental states. Our ability to empathize emotionally is supposed to be based on emotional contagion: being affected by another's emotional or arousal state.
Cognitive empathy: the drive to identify another's mental states. The term cognitive empathy and theory of mind are often used synonymously.


People with AsPD (and "empaths") often score high on empathy tests. Which is ironic because that is not according to the stereotype.



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19 Jun 2013, 8:06 am

OP, I agree with KingdomOfRats, here's a thought-provoking article about that: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/54642 ... brilliant/
Though they should realize that many aspies are gifted too.

If you are an aspie, then you could learn the rules of socialising over time. That doesn't mean you would have outgrown it though, Asperger's is much more than social difficulties.



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19 Jun 2013, 11:39 am

It's not possible to outgrow autism. It's possible to adapt and lighten the symptoms a lesser severity-I used to stim much more when I was younger than now.


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19 Jun 2013, 12:23 pm

Yes, it is.



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19 Jun 2013, 8:55 pm

@The OP

You sound a lot like me. I acted a lot like you when I was younger. I was very shy around other kids and would organize my toys like you did. I also have always been ahead academically. but not socially. Now I'm 18 years old, and my AS has changed a lot. I can be quite outgoing, but I'm still a bit awkward. I believe that someone with AS can learn to reduce their symptoms, but can never truly eliminate the effects of AS.



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19 Jun 2013, 10:05 pm

Like others have said, you learn to adapt at least in part over time.


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