I'm Wondering If I Have Asperger Syndrome.

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Kerze
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14 Aug 2012, 11:10 am

I'm not sure where in the forum I would post this but I decided that this was the best place. For detail: I am an 18 year old male who has not been diagnosed with any form of autism, or have I ever been tested or had an authority figure (teacher/councillor/family member) suggest that I might be. I first became aware of Asperger Syndrome when I was 16 and we had a homework assignment based around researching it. The next day, everyone kept saying that what they came across matched my personality, and I agreed. Since then people make comments about going to see a doctor and how they think I have asperger's. I think I might, but I don't know and I decided to post here to see if the 'experts' think there's a chance I do, in case I am over thinking this. I don't like going to see the doctor or using the phone (which I would have to do to make an appointment), so I'd really rather be told if you don't think I might have asperger's and save myself the greif of having to go through all that.

Some of the things I do that I am told are signs of autism are:

I find it very uncomfortable to make eye contact.
I don't like being touched and find it strange when people my age are constantly hugging each other.
I used to spend hours researching the stories, characters and writers of the X-Men comic books, yet have little to no interest in other super heros or comics.
The only TV shows I watch are sit-coms and science fiction; when I begin watching a show I must watching it from first to last episode without watching another show to interrupt the run.
My memory has perfect recall for trivia and facts, yet will not retain anything that I do not consider interesting.
When I spend time with people, there are often long periods of silence. I don't ask other people questions and never initiate convocations.
I used to cry when my mother made me go to school when I was little.
I liked lessons and teachers but never got along with the majority of my fellow students.
I am a high achiever who was in gifted and talented programs all through school
When I am told that something will happen (i.e. a certain food will be served for diner or I will meet certain people at a certain time to do something) I make sure I know the details by asking the person who told me at least 3 times if I am remembering correctly. When these things change I become worried and slightly panicked.
My mum says that I am 'difficult', and becomes very angry at me when I correct something she has said that is wrong or when I tell her that I don't like food she has given me.
I spend most of my time alone as I do not initiate social contact and people tend not to initiate it with me
She also becomes annoyed when I walk away because I think she is done talking and has not. She takes long gaps between clauses in her speech and I find it incredibly confusing.
I am told I have a very low voice with little intonation, though I don't understand what intonation is exactly.
I like making lists
I find patterns in things to pass the time

However there are things I do which I am told people with Autism or Asperger's cannot:

I have been in a gifted and talented program for English all my life. I will be studying English Literature and Creative writing at university this year and have consistently gotten 100% in my assignments through out GCSE and A-Level.
Despite being in the highest set class all through high school, I performed poorly at maths throughout my education; I got a B in GCSE Maths.
Similarly I performed below average in the sciences. I achieved A* in practical exams for Biology, Physics and Chemistry but did very badly in the written exams dragging my grade down to a B
I am artistic and am good at analysing symbols in artwork
I studied drama at AS-level and achieved an A
I enjoy watching sit-coms and have a good perception of humour.
I am not physically clumsy
I never through tantrums as a child. Occasionally I would cry when I was upset but I am told this never last longer than a few seconds.

One website I looked at went as far as to say most of these things would exclude me completely from an asperger's diagnosis. I'm not sure if it is worth me going to see a doctor or not. Even if people here do this I should, is there any point at this stage in the game? Now I'm out of school, I feel the benefit of a label has expired.



Bethykp
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14 Aug 2012, 11:25 am

I wouldn't quite call myself an expert but people have been suggesting I have aspergers since I was about 5 years old, and I got diagnosed when I was 17. I can relate to a lot of what you have said... Including enjoying comedy and being really, really good at English. If it wasn't for them factors my aspergers wouldn't be considered 'mild' like it is, but remember the spectrum is so wide that not every one has every single sign. If you really want the diagnosis, like I did, it's probably worth going to speak to a doctor. For me, finding out I had aspergers was a way of explaining who I was and made me feel more comfortable with myself.



antifeministfrills
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14 Aug 2012, 11:52 am

You don't need to be a maths genius to have AS.



jojobean
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14 Aug 2012, 12:13 pm

You sound like you are an aspie to me.I am no expert, but I spent alot of time on these boards and know one when I see one.
As far as the things that you think disqualify you....most of those are just stereotypes not real diagnostic critera.

I am a creative autie and I am horrible, truly horrible at math, I am also gifted in english.
I was diagnosed with PDD-with classic autistic traits at the age of 8-9 years old. PDD is on the autistic spectrum...its a diagnosis given to those on the autistic spectrum who dont fit all the critera, but meets most of it. The only thing that disqualified me from a classic autism diagnosis was that I engaged in imaginary play alot, in fact it was my special interest.

here is the diagnostic criteria

http://www.autreat.com/dsm4-aspergers.html

according with what you said, you meet the criteria for the diagnosis.

see, there is nothing there about not being creative, bad at english, and good at math....those are all stereotypes.

There is no cookie-cutter aspie profile. We are all very different people. In fact, we say here at WP, when you meet a person with asperger's syndrome, you have met just one person with asperger's syndrome.

What reason do you have in seeking a diagnosis?
Confirmation, access to services, and access to social skills training are the 3 main reasons.

So you're into art? Creative aspies and auties are kinda rare, but we exist. I am in into poetry (been writing for over 23 years), fiber art, painting, photography, usable art, see my profile for the complete list. I also went to art college at Savannah College of Art and Design, majored in photography and painting. later transfered to a state college for psychology and art...then both my parents became very ill and I had to quit for a while to take care of them. I hope to someday be an art therapist for others with autism. Helping others like me gain a voice through art when we cant express ourselves socially.

Anyway, welcome to WP!

Jojo


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Vomelche
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14 Aug 2012, 12:58 pm

Yes you probably do. Doctors can be wrong. If you find that it explains a lot to you then it can be helpful either way. Having a diagnosis might be helpful if you run into trouble with work, otherwise you don't really need it.



Tomas73
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14 Aug 2012, 5:39 pm

Hi folks :)

I just stumbled across this site and joined up too. ' Certainly seems like there are a lot of shared experiences/ similar situations that AS peeps have had... I mean if you read stuff on here and go, " oh wow - I've had that!" or "felt that" or whatever... that's enough reason to find out a little more, right?

I'm having a hard time actually getting a diagnostic assesment, because once your grown up and away from school etc. autism is really off the radar in a lot of areas of society. e.g. My GP didn't know where to refer me, the local mental health dept. sign posted me back to my GP. I went to the PCT (local health authorities) and they got back to my with info to give my GP, about who to apply for funding for an authorised assesment. etc etc.

I'm in my late thirties and have had problems all my life, drinking etc. and only in recent times have been able to reflect on the info about aspergers and autism, and think "this could explain a lot". And lets be clear that "explanation" is about understanding and dignity, not pity and excuses. I think it would be good to know, and if the diagnosis is NT then I guess I'm an "untypical" NT ;)

Interestingly, regarding stereotypes, I think there is a lot of empathy amongst people on this site.

Best wishes and hello :)



UnseenSkye
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14 Aug 2012, 10:53 pm

Let's pretend that I'm a 'Shrink with a lot of experience who has Aspergers with ADHD (a not uncommon combo) and feel heap big social anxiety from time to time (becoming worse after so-called NT people mess with my head). Social Anxiety has plagued me for much of my life..pretty much par for the course.

When something is intensely interesting to me, I learn everything possible about it. For this reason, I have difficulty with the idea of hobbies. My little girl resume would have read: believes there are five days in the week and the weekends have no names. A choir of angels used to sing this one to sleep every night from about the age of three til five and today, I self-identify spiritually as a Bon Buddhist. I am a Vegetarian, although it's easy for me to nuke a Vegan corndog and park a precise puddle of Hunt's Ketchup (NO High Fructose Corn Syrup!) and drink a cup of Jarritos Mandarin Orange Soda cut with mineral water... I'm not wearing a long skirt, shelling beans at the moment. The thought of ruffled pink gingham curtains makes my hair stand on end (no easy feat!). It is my opinion that I'm not even vaguely reminiscent of an Earthy type.

Everything musical is a life-long fascination and pursuit. I trip over my own feet, but have always danced pretty well. I keep music in my head. Every number from 0 - 9 has a color assigned to it in my mind (this last one has a name: Synesthesia).Last time I checked, this was not in any DSM and it really never needs to be..In exchange for these colorful numbers, I'm one of those people who has difficulty identifying North, South, East, West. I have a compass on the dashboard of my car and read maps.

Eye contact is a funny thing. I don't do a lot of it.I often "see" too much of people, because for awhile the notion of empathy became extraordinarily important to me and got a bit too good at it for comfort. This is one of the most difficult of my compensatory behaviors to manage. I don't do anything interesting half way. :wink: Are you in any part Native American or derived from any culture that might be considered tribal? Some component of eye contact is cultural. In other words, even if we're living in a white-centric, testosterone-driven version of Bedlam where great importance is placed upon eye contact and averting the eyes is considered taboo, (and I will now quote Frank Zappa): "You Are What You Is." I avoid looking into the eyes of people I dislike or who have hurt me and seemed aware while doing it. I have a L@@K that only is used under certain extreme circumstances and I usually have at least one fist on hip when it's delivered. I've made grown men cry and even race home to their wives in a car and once, on a golf cart. This is when you know: oh wow, she's MAD. I'm a non-violent sort (lucky for them).

As for Doctors, proceed with caution. Find someone with good Cognitive Behavioral Chops (although my personal preference is for the Transpersonal Psych folks, some may think em a tad radical. Google "Stanislav Grof" and you'll get the gist of it). who doesn't jump to conclusions and have a lot of memo pads, pens, desk sets, mouse pads and brochures touting the products of one large pharmaceutical company prominently displayed.

Yeah..I've noticed there are some way cool people up here who are supportive with one another. Welcome to The Society For Creative Autism. You seem pretty danged familiar to me..



UnseenSkye
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15 Aug 2012, 12:30 am

Tomas73 wrote:
Hi folks :)

I'm having a hard time actually getting a diagnostic assesment, because once your grown up and away from school etc. autism is really off the radar in a lot of areas of society. e.g. My GP didn't know where to refer me, the local mental health dept. sign posted me back to my GP. I went to the PCT (local health authorities) and they got back to my with info to give my GP, about who to apply for funding for an authorised assesment. etc etc.

Best wishes and hello :)


My personal opinion is that you are far better off in the hands of a good GP than to enter the jaws of a Mental Health system.. I'd definitely have a look at the focus of your local Mental Health clinic(s) and look for any feedback written by actual people online. I think you want to avoid the clinic that focuses on Detox, where staff often overreact to the concept of substance abuse as a means of self-medicating. It is not unusual for people who have difficulty socializing and suffer from anxiety to use alcohol in an attempt to function and find it has the opposite effect (there are far finer alternatives your Doctor might prescribe).

I take nothing specifically to treat Aspergers, although I take a med for Social Anxiety, which is a problem many people with ASD experience.. Often, I have trouble sleeping due to (quote from the band XTC: "Senses working overtime"). I have ADHD and PTSD co-morbid, which is more or less troublesome depending upon external stimuli and how relaxed I feel within the framework of my life. I've found that being employed in a job where I'm proficient, with a bunch of other eccentric people around me (software companies, for example), most people don't notice "she's different." I prefer living alone with a cat or two, but am able to withstand the presence of people who are intelligent, kind, open-minded.

The most frequently prescribed med for those who are on the spectrum is very often of the SSRI variety (form of antidepressant, like Prozac or Zoloft). These don't work well for me, but they do for other people.. I'd do a lot of research on these (I have done. I recommend you do). I tried St John's Wort. I had some wacky responses to this. I've found L-Tryptophan with co-enzyme B6 and something named "GABA calm" helpful for relaxing.

Getting a diagnosis for autism should not be difficult for an adult. There are numerous self-assessment tests online. I'm at 151 out of 200 on the Aspie test, but have a high level of Empathy... this can be a real pain in the <insert name of body part here>. I see an Osteopath. He is my Primary Care Doctor and is really quite good. He knows I am an Aspie, but treating people for Aspergers: there is no panacea. My preference is to take a natural and holistic approach, which is easiest for me to do when my life is on track and I'm gainfully employed. I don't drink alcohol. For about six years in my twenties, I did... and went "off the hook". I wasn't hospitalized and didn't end up in jail.. I just totally screwed up a marriage to a great man and acted like a total idiot. The ADHD diagnosis and mild medication I took for it.. amazing. I was able to totally turn my life around.

So? Be honest with yourself about what is most troubling you and the times when some things bother you more than other times. Try to communicate this information to your GP. Write it down, if this helps. If he's computer savvy you might email him links to what seems to you to be good information.

Advocate for yourself! If you feel at all unsure of your ability to do this, find someone you know who understands you and has experience in advocating for individuals. Some good people can be found at Independent Living Centers.

Google: brain posts best drugs alcohol
if you're in need of some good information.

Wanting all good things for you. Hope you'll keep us posted on your progress.



CockneyRebel
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16 Aug 2012, 10:59 pm

Welkome to WP

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windtreeman
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17 Aug 2012, 12:17 am

Hey Kerze! I'm in the same situation as you and also rather unsure as to whether I should pursue a diagnosis. I just wanted to point out that we're next to identical in both our symptoms and the things that might disqualify us; exceptional writing, well-developed and appreciated sense of humor, highly artistic, eye-contact kind of breaks my brain, perfect grades in essentially everything but math (I was in the highest level of math but BARELY made it through), not clumsy and never had serious tantrums as children/toddlers, exceptional factual memory, etc....pretty much spot on with everything so that's cool except for how annoying dealing with some of these things are, of course, ha. I hope you'll let me know if you do see a specialist and what your diagnosis is. I'm trying pretty desperately to see what routes I can and should take as well.


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