Whats the difference between Social Anxiety and Autism?

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Corp900
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17 Sep 2010, 8:22 pm

Autistics can do anything but socialize basically, Social Anxiety seems the same.



buryuntime
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17 Sep 2010, 8:25 pm

Corp900 wrote:
Autistics can do anything but socialize basically, Social Anxiety seems the same.

Think of a piano player, and social skills being piano skills. The autistic person would play the piano wrong, or not play it at all. The person with social anxiety would know how to play the piano. They'd just be afraid to, and from lack of exposure might be "rusty."



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17 Sep 2010, 8:34 pm

You misunderstand autism, which includes not only social deficits but issues with sensory processing and a tendency to obsess.


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Apple_in_my_Eye
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17 Sep 2010, 8:49 pm

There are non-social aspects, i.e sensory processing, executive dysfunction. And there are extroverted people on the spectrum, like the "active but odd" types, who have no social phobia at all.



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17 Sep 2010, 9:00 pm

There are language, processing and pragmatic language aspects to autism as well. Autism is much more than just social anxiety. The brain of a person with autism is wired differently than neuro-typicals.



Corp900
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17 Sep 2010, 9:13 pm

OK, im autistic then, thats a very good analogy buddy



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17 Sep 2010, 9:25 pm

People with social anxiety are afraid of socializing. Autistic people may or may not be afraid of socializing b/c of lack of social skills, ability to read body language, communication skills & sensory processing problems.


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17 Sep 2010, 10:07 pm

Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
There are non-social aspects, i.e sensory processing, executive dysfunction.


yes, I read here that only 20% of AS people are sensory free.

And even to a minor degree, executive dysfunction is part and parcel of the DSM's criteria on narrow or intense focus on things ,i.e. "special interest" (that do consume my time , although pleasurable).

You fall into a "track" of thinking, and you're stuck there , and the illusion is that you made the "choice" here , but in fact your neurology "decided" this for you.

"Executive functioning" would have moved you on to another track. This information is not my own speculation as it was researched by someones post about this here at W.P., and I found it to be fascinating- (it was in one of PANDDS post).



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17 Sep 2010, 11:31 pm

Many autistic people don't have social phobia at all. I'm one of them. I used to be afraid to embarrass myself; but I've gotten used to it now. I don't care so much what people think; I know they'll think I'm very odd, whatever I do; so I've figured out that it's just easier to interact on my own terms and not judge myself by their standards.

Autism and social phobia are commonly found together, but they are completely different things.

Autistic people have problems with language, both verbal and non-verbal, having to do with everything from comprehension to word use to tone of voice and body language. People who have social phobia will have, at the very most, problems with socializing that result from hesitating and second-guessing themselves too much. When someone with social phobia but no autism is afraid of interacting, they will be sending perfectly plain body-language signals that plainly say they're afraid of interacting. And they will be reading others' body language for hostility, rejection, etc., and be able to detect those things.

Autistic people also have traits that have nothing to do with socializing; and for many these can be the main part of their autism. Perseveration, including everything from getting stuck saying one word to getting stuck studying one subject or perfecting one homework problem, is related to special interests, which are very strong hobbies which give the autistic person a great deal of pleasure, and which are very meaningful to them. Sensory integration problems are near-universal, everything from having problems hearing a conversation in a crowded room to being unable to wear polyester clothing. There are also problems with figuring out the big picture from putting together the parts of the subject, thinking abstractly, and planning ahead. Executive dysfunction, an ADHD-like issue often faced by autistics, can be mild (like the kind that messes up your sleep schedule because you forget to go to bed) to severe (like needing prompts to brush one's teeth). Being able to filter and process information is also quite different for autistics. Sometimes, the information-processing differences mean you're handling raw data from the outside world, spending ten times the processing power to do what an NT would just do instinctively. Information and sensory overload are common, leading to very high stress levels if the problem isn't managed properly.

Bottom line... autism and social phobia actually have very little overlap. They're commonly found together but the social phobia is usually an acquired problem that can be solved by the usual methods that most phobias will respond to (progressive desensitization--though with autism one has to be careful that the phobia is what's being challenged, rather than simply hitting the processing issues involved with socialization.)


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18 Sep 2010, 9:31 am

Callista wrote:
Many autistic people don't have social phobia at all. I'm one of them. I used to be afraid to embarrass myself; but I've gotten used to it now. I don't care so much what people think; I know they'll think I'm very odd, whatever I do; so I've figured out that it's just easier to interact on my own terms and not judge myself by their standards.

Autism and social phobia are commonly found together, but they are completely different things.

Autistic people have problems with language, both verbal and non-verbal, having to do with everything from comprehension to word use to tone of voice and body language. People who have social phobia will have, at the very most, problems with socializing that result from hesitating and second-guessing themselves too much. When someone with social phobia but no autism is afraid of interacting, they will be sending perfectly plain body-language signals that plainly say they're afraid of interacting. And they will be reading others' body language for hostility, rejection, etc., and be able to detect those things.

Autistic people also have traits that have nothing to do with socializing; and for many these can be the main part of their autism. Perseveration, including everything from getting stuck saying one word to getting stuck studying one subject or perfecting one homework problem, is related to special interests, which are very strong hobbies which give the autistic person a great deal of pleasure, and which are very meaningful to them. Sensory integration problems are near-universal, everything from having problems hearing a conversation in a crowded room to being unable to wear polyester clothing. There are also problems with figuring out the big picture from putting together the parts of the subject, thinking abstractly, and planning ahead. Executive dysfunction, an ADHD-like issue often faced by autistics, can be mild (like the kind that messes up your sleep schedule because you forget to go to bed) to severe (like needing prompts to brush one's teeth). Being able to filter and process information is also quite different for autistics. Sometimes, the information-processing differences mean you're handling raw data from the outside world, spending ten times the processing power to do what an NT would just do instinctively. Information and sensory overload are common, leading to very high stress levels if the problem isn't managed properly.

Bottom line... autism and social phobia actually have very little overlap. They're commonly found together but the social phobia is usually an acquired problem that can be solved by the usual methods that most phobias will respond to (progressive desensitization--though with autism one has to be careful that the phobia is what's being challenged, rather than simply hitting the processing issues involved with socialization.)


Wow. This is possibly the best definition of autism that I've ever read. BRAVO!