Are there many AS who have had a relatively normal childhood

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AMD
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12 Oct 2009, 11:39 am

And what i mean by that is not being made fun of or preferring to be alone to where people thought you were weird.

I am not saying i definitely have AS. I suspect i do, but my childhood was pretty normal. I had friends at school and i played at their houses afterschool. Although, i WAS held back a year before starting K because i would sit in the corner alone and wouldn't interact with any of the students. I only talked to the teacher. But other than that, i had friends. I can't say who initiated play, but i was always playing with other kids. I was shy and took some time to warm up to people. (of course, as an adult, i have no friends and really don't care to make any). This is the one thing i feel that i can't have AS because i had friends and everywhere i read, kids with AS do not have friends or not many or don't play with them appropriately.

My son, who is dx'd AS seems to follow the same footsteps as me. He has friends, he plays with them at recess and he is pretty popular. Because he is such a pleaser, he is nice to everyone (doesn't want anyone to think negetive of him). The other kids like him cause he is polite and nice. Although, he is easily led. He comes home and does his homework and asks to go out and play with his friends. I thought for sure bullies would be a problem for him, but every kid who has started being rude to him are now friends with him. Next year is middle school and i am hoping this will continue though his school years, but so far he has done well.

Anyone else have a somewhat normal childhood yet on the spectrum? And how are you now as opposed to how you were back then?



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12 Oct 2009, 11:52 am

AMD wrote:
And what i mean by that is not being made fun of or preferring to be alone to where people thought you were weird.

I am not saying i definitely have AS. I suspect i do, but my childhood was pretty normal. I had friends at school and i played at their houses afterschool. Although, i WAS held back a year before starting K because i would sit in the corner alone and wouldn't interact with any of the students. I only talked to the teacher. But other than that, i had friends. I can't say who initiated play, but i was always playing with other kids. I was shy and took some time to warm up to people. (of course, as an adult, i have no friends and really don't care to make any). This is the one thing i feel that i can't have AS because i had friends and everywhere i read, kids with AS do not have friends or not many or don't play with them appropriately.

My son, who is dx'd AS seems to follow the same footsteps as me. He has friends, he plays with them at recess and he is pretty popular. Because he is such a pleaser, he is nice to everyone (doesn't want anyone to think negetive of him). The other kids like him cause he is polite and nice. Although, he is easily led. He comes home and does his homework and asks to go out and play with his friends. I thought for sure bullies would be a problem for him, but every kid who has started being rude to him are now friends with him. Next year is middle school and i am hoping this will continue though his school years, but so far he has done well.

Anyone else have a somewhat normal childhood yet on the spectrum? And how are you now as opposed to how you were back then?


Yep! That sounds a lot like how I am. I always try to be nice to everybody for the same reason. I always had plenty of friends, and I would do social things with them.


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12 Oct 2009, 11:54 am

I think I was quite normal until I was 2, when my brother was born :!:

He didn't speak much AND I used to answer all his questions (and almost everyone elses too).

Not sure if the two were connected or not.

According to my mother one of my first questions was asking what happens when you die (my first experience of death in the family was when my grandmother died when I was a teenager)

I think I was more or less ok until I started school.

Things fell apart quite quickly then and I was 'evaluated' when I was about 7.

Evaluation comprised an IQ test which I aced, the 'diagnosis'........boredom due to unusually high intelligence.....................SUCH INSIGHT :!:

This was more than a decade before AS was 'recognised'/named, and I didnt sit in the corner banging my head on the floor, so I shouldn't really hold a grudge.

Just to stick it in and break it off, I took the Mensa test in my 30's and my IQ tested about 15 points higher...........so it was just boredom after all :idea:



racooneyes
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12 Oct 2009, 12:04 pm

Yes, fairly normal and stable. I never reallly had anything bad done to me and had pretty much everything I needed. This is why I could never figure out why life was so s**t for me and not for my friends who'd had terrible childhoods of abuse or whatever. As made sense of it.


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12 Oct 2009, 1:47 pm

I had a couple of friends on and off through school. I smiled and had fun. I enjoyed vacations with my family.

I sometimes had trouble because of my so-so social skills, sometimes I was okay.

I think that the problem was that I thought I was supoose to have tonnes of friends, enjoy frenetic activity and (later, as a late teen) enjoy the nightclub scene.
I didn't quite fit this mold, so I felt odd.

As an adult - I am allowed more individuality. I enjoy quieter get togethers, avoid big crowds, am happy with my own company, but still enjoy the company of others on occasion.

I also have wayyyy better social skills now (developed over 30 years with reading in etiquette, inter personal communication, non-violent communication, assertiveness skills, etc).

I think that if I had been dx'd as a child, I would probably have been more comfortable as a kid, I would have learned better social skills for the times when I had to be in a social situation and may have enjoyed these more as a result. Also, if I knew that I had Autistic traits and my parents and teachers were aware of this - I might have found learning easier.

Notwithstanding that - I am happy with myself and my life the way it is now :D



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12 Oct 2009, 2:06 pm

I only had maybe 2 or 3 friends at a time growing up, but I think I thoroughly enjoyed my childhood.


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melissa17b
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12 Oct 2009, 2:44 pm

I'm sure such people exist, but I'm not one of them. To me childhood was a bad joke, a nightmare that dragged on forever, getting worse as it went along. From earliest memory at age 4, I knew that my existence was something terrible that had to be hidden from absolutely everyone, even my own mother and the rest of my now-estranged family. Every failure at total oppression was met with ridicule or even violence, with school's unstructured time being the worst. Anxiety was perpetual, even at night. There was absolutely no refuge whatsoever.

Still, to the extent I knew how, I always treated people with courtesy and respect, even the worst offenders. This approach got me nowhere as a child, although it has taken me far in adulthood. Being unmistakably different from just about everybody, I was and still am non-judgmental. Growing up, only the other obviously different children would ever interact with me in a non-hostile way.

It could have been even worse. I had some curious talents that were known throughout the school, and was sufficiently entertaining to enough influential classmates to afford me at least some degree of protection from the full brunt of the bullying that might otherwise have occurred.

Now, many years on, I can see that these experiences have given me a fine appreciation for the exceptionally rare true friends I have been fortunate enough to find.

I could only wonder how different things might be growing up today, with so much more known about autism and other conditions for which complete ignorance used to be the order of the day.



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12 Oct 2009, 2:51 pm

Relative to the average diagnosed aspie, I like to think so.



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12 Oct 2009, 3:51 pm

My house was in a neighborhood with very few other children. My grandparents and an aunt and uncle lived next door and my sister and neice lived with us for a few years, so if I wanted someone to play with, Theresa was always there. (She was there if I didn't want someone to play with, too, but that's another story.) I occasionally played with whatever child was around and had one or two friends every year through elementary school, but only one that I went out of my way to visit. She lived a few doors down from us for years and we played together from about the fifth grade through the seventh grade, when she moved. Mostly I spent my time reading or running in the woods lot behind our house. My sister said they used to call me their changeling child, because I always seemed to be in my own little world.

Bullying became a problem for me in junior high and high school. There was a group of girls in those grades who delighted in tormenting me and just about drove me to suicide. I had a couple of friends throughout this period, too, and during school hours I orbited on the perifery of a larger group of other honors students, but was never really invited along to things outside of school. It surprised me in my senior year when I realized this group had been having parties and going places together all that time. This is when they started inviting me along to the occasional get-together or lecture. It didn't offend me, it had just never occurred to me that they had been doing these things. :roll: (I had been invited to a few things at the beginning of high school, as well, but the invitations stopped coming within the first year. Apparently, I danced weird. :? Again, not really offensive, since it didn't really occur to me that I was supposed to want to be invited. Ostracism and black-listing never does much good with me -- I tend to shrug and go on my own way. :lol:)

So, yeah, I had a pretty good childhood, mainly I think, because I wasn't expected to get out and socialize a great deal. My parents were pretty happy with a kid who read quietly for a large portion of the day -- sometimes my mother would forget that I was there at all. They occasionally made me do something like take swimming lessons at the YMCA every summer -- I still can't really swim well -- or play with my neice (two inventive but not terribly girly little girls + Barbies + Saturday afternoon Vincent Price marathons = Barbie Dream Torture Chamber :lol: ) but mostly they left me alone to do what I wanted.

I'm another one, though, who isn't quite sure where I fit on the spectrum, so don't give too much weight to my experiences. My therapist says I'm too high functioning to be called autistic, but that I have features of autism instead -- 90% normal, but that last 10% is a problem.



12 Oct 2009, 4:35 pm

Definitely. I had friends and in school friends. I had at least three best friends in my neighborhood growing up and then we drifted apart when I was 9. Interest changed and one of them moved. I had my first friend when I was 3 but she was older and she lived across the street from us and she always came over and hung out. Then she moved when I was about four. I had another friend but she moved too. I also had a friend from my special school and I had bunch of friends in my special ed classs when I was six and seven. I hardly had any in regular ed. Kids get mad at me when I follow them but was only able to befriend two of them.

I didn't really start getting bullied till I was about six and it was in my neighborhood and then it was followed by "retarded" when I was seven and it got worse as I got older. Then by the time I was 12 it was so bad, I couldn't handle it, I had a nervous breakdown. It might have gotten worse if we didn't move. I think the older kids get, the meaner they get with their bullying.

I had only been invited to birthdays maybe six or seven times growing up and only three sleepovers.

I may have struggled going over to peoples houses and being wlecomed in them but kids came over and played with me. I was mostly used for my stuff but my mom allowed it because she didn't want me to be lonely. My friend Sara would come and play with me if none of her other friends could play so she saved me for last. I think my other friend did the same. Also Sara and her cousin were always locked out of their home because theyr parents and grandparents didn't want their kids around. So they had to go over to friends houses to hang out and it was hard for the parents my mom says because then they had to watch them. They came over to mine also and I always loved it when they got locked out because it meant they come over and play.

I didn't have parents who forced me to be in things except track one time when I was 10. We didn't really go anywhere on holidays. They had family or friends over for Thanksgiving and it didn't change for me. The only difference was we all ate in the living room using different plates and silverware. Then I be done eating and go back to doing my own thing. I never understood why that was hard for other aspies. Maybe their situations were different than mine. Also when we have Christmas, we sometimes had uncles over or my grandparents but we do our own thing. We open our gifts and play with our new toys. But I remember hating to sleep in my parents bedroom when I was seven because my bedroom got taken by my gay uncles. It was just different is why.



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12 Oct 2009, 5:15 pm

pschristmas wrote:
90% normal, but that last 10% is a problem.


That's me as well.


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Azharia
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12 Oct 2009, 5:17 pm

I had a normalish childhood?
I did go to houses and play with kids after school, but it was all my mom making connections and playdates not me...



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12 Oct 2009, 5:39 pm

At my first primary level school, I played with other kids, but no one consistently, and did not have any particular friend. This was the case for the first couple of years at my next primary level school, until I started being “friends” with a couple of girls who mostly let me hang around them, and required the best portions of my lunch in return.

The year I turned nine, a new girl moved to my school and she was a proper friend (she taught me to tie my shoe laces actually). When she moved away I did not have any friends for about a year, but then a girl in my class initiated a friendship with me and she was my friend until we went to different “intermediate” schools.

I did have at least one friend at any one time throughout the rest of my schooling, and would sometimes be on friendly terms with their friends as well.



Cassia
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13 Oct 2009, 1:33 am

AMD - your post sounds quite familiar to me. It's part of the big question mark I have about my place on the autism spectrum. If I'm on the autism spectrum enough that it's discernable by people who know me well and are well-informed about autism (and even by some who know me less well?), how can it be that I had quite a happy childhood, complete with friends and fairly little bullying/teasing? (I was teased/bullied somewhat, but mostly for being friends with boys, not for being awkward or bad at interacting.)


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13 Oct 2009, 7:13 am

I was mostly bullied by family members growing up-my cousins hated me and thought I was spoiled and all because I was an only child. They also blamed everything they could on me, and their mom believed most of it...

But as far as the other kids went... I had friends, but they were the same friends always until someone moved or something. I latched onto 3-4 certain people, and didn't care much for anyone else after that.

I really don't get where they think we wouldn't have any friends just because we are awkward and all... in an environment in which you are forced to be around 100s of other children daily (where plenty of them are quirky here and there as well for reasons either known or unknown), a few are bound to get along with you in one way or another at some point.

My friends were always the "oddballs" though. I don't know if that makes any difference or not, but they were still friends regardless. I'd never make it into the popular group or anything like that... but I didn't really want to either.

Do you think when they address friendship as an issue and all for children, they are looking at it more as kind of a popularity contest? As in, we are the kid with just a couple of friends (sometimes seen playing with them, sometimes not), rather than being friends with everybody? I had plenty of acquaintances and was nice and all, other kids liked me a lot of the time... but I wasn't friends with them-not in a sense that I cared whether or not they were there, etc.

Being cordial to others on a regular basis could be confused with literally being friends with people as well. As an adult, there are a few people that I talk to here and there, but by no means are they friends. I would rather spend my time alone, but can enjoy myself if I'm forced to be around these people. I still don't personally consider them to be close friends or anything though, just people that come by to talk to me here and there randomly. I've had to realize over time that just because I like someone and am nice to them, it does not make them a friend necessarily.

I used to get it confused a lot-if I talked to someone once and liked them and they were nice to me, they would be referred to as "friend" quite a bit (as well as cataloged as such in my mind), but it really stung when I figured out they were just being neighborly or something like that and weren't really friends.


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13 Oct 2009, 9:35 am

well, i dont have a diagnosis....

i was a pretty normal kid. like your son, i was never mean to anybody in elementary school, so i never got beat up or made fun of. i never hit anyone or said mean things, and i gave people compliments that i meant . i wasnt a popular kid, though. i had 3 friends i would hang out with. i spent a lot of time alone at home, though during school i always was with my friends. i remember never making a single friend at my day care or sunday school. and i was passionately obsessed with reptiles, dinosaurs, and make believe games (where we were dinosaurs or made up pokemon :P)
when i moved to turkey and experienced middle schoolers who hated christians as well as americans...that got to be a problem......