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Journeyer
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25 Sep 2012, 12:26 am

Hello...

I was debating where to put this post, but since it is about me and I'm a brand-new member, I guess this section of the forum is most appropriate.

I beg pardon for the long post, but I have some ground I want to cover, and just maybe this forum will be a step in that direction.

I have wondered for years if I might have AS. I've only ever met a small handful of folks who do have it or might have it, and none of them knew me well enough to say one way or the other. On the one hand, it doesn't matter perhaps at this point in my life (I'm nearly 30) but on the other hand, maybe it would be nice to have the question answered....if it even can be answered. I don't know if it's such a spectrum thing that it can be hotly debated about a given individual.

I wanted to list some of symptoms here that fit me and see what other people say. I recognize that this is not a medical forum, and also I don't expect to get a real diagnosis here of course, and am not sure if I even want one.

So, without further ado, and at the risk of being too revealing, here goes:

-Finding social situations awkward. By this I mean having a hard time keeping conversations going, being uncomfortable or cold towards people I've just met. I tend to warm up fairly quickly, but not always. My parents think that the reason I am a bit socially awkward is because I missed a period of development by opting to entertain myself instead of hang out with my peers. I wonder it's not a case more of correlation rather than causation, though.

Sometimes I don't pick up on social cues for what they mean. I've gotten better at this, and have learned to listen to my instincts a little more. With the women I've been told that I have come across as "too intense" by a few people, which of course has made me feel awful since I don't want to scare people or make them uncomfortable. But often I have misread the signals they've sent me, or can be quite naive about people's behavior. On the other hand, sometimes I do feel like I can understand someone's feelings well, especially if it has to do with social anxiety of some kind. Often I have felt slow or like I just didn't "get it"

-Preferring to work alone, play computer games alone, read, etc. I can work with people, and I don't dislike people. I just taught English abroad for a year and found I really enjoyed being around others, but at my heart I'm more of an introvert. In grade school I would spend recess sitting on the swing-set in own fantasy land (jogging has no replaced swinging) or staying inside to read Michael Crichton books because I didn't want to play soccer. I've come to enjoy the company of people as I've gotten older, but when I was just a wee lad till high school, I had just one to three friends, and spent much of my time alone, disinterested in school sports or parties, as crowds and noise tend to drain me of energy.

- Related to the point above: I tended to avoid crowds, I always stayed home during sports games in school. I simply wasn't interested in sports. I don't like being surrounded by a ton of people, and strongly dislike loud noises, like loud music, stadium cheering, and so forth. I like the gentleness of quiet. I have enjoyed parties and clubs/discos, but this is more an exception.

-"Narrow" interests. As a kid I was mostly just interested in movies, as I wanted to be a director. Then it was languages. Now that I'm older I have a larger variety of interests, but rarely are they common ones. For instance, I don't know of anyone else who wants to learn Koine Greek, Classical Hebrew and Aramaic and do a translation of the Bible from the original, just to see what it would be like. Few people I know are interested in teaching themselves mathematics or shorthand, just to keep the mind spry or to develop these skills for fun. As a child I would sit with encyclopedias to read, or, more often, just look at the pictures.

-I tend to prefer to learn as an autodidact. Not always, but generally.

-Talking about the above interests (specifically as a youth I remember talking a lot about movies, novels I'd read, movie ratings, languages, and sometimes people's opinions about morality - although that might have more to do with how I have changed how I thought about morality and have taken a more liberal view than the more conservative and Catholic one I was raised with). Often I would talk about these oblivious to the fact that it was not as interesting to others. These days I tend to be more choosey about what I talk about and with now, but I've still not had a stellar filter installed betwixt my brain and mouth.

- I can be sarcastic and use jokes (jokes are what a lot of people know me for, actually), but I have a hard time picking up sarcasm unless it is layered on very thick. I actually have a very very low opinion of sarcasm and my first instinct is to take it as an insult. For this reason, I try to avoid using it, and don't use it against others unless I know them well AND am exceptionally annoyed. I also tend to have a very off-beat sense of humor. I read recently that that can be a characteristic, but I honestly don't know.

- As a youth I was very honest. Now I've learned to be more diplomatic or more economical with the truth as everyday life calls (white lies so as to not offend someone) but I still prefer honesty.

- I don't care much for fashion, and although my appearance is important as I don't want to look like someone who just crawled out of a gutter, sometimes I miss obvious things, and my parents would constantly have pointed out how my hair gets puffy if I don't get a haircut, or how I couldn't wear something to church or whatever. Now I'm better at it, more aware of these details, and also I recognize that I just don't really care for formal or matching clothes: I'm just more comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt, for example.

- I remember I talked different from people my age when younger. I don't know if it was more formal, but my vocabulary was bigger from books I had read (one specific incident involved me in 6th grade using the word "embellish" which perplexed my classmates). As I've gotten older, this isn't such a big deal; or maybe it is because instead of just vocabulary I have moved onto languages.

- As a kid I was very fascinated with snakes, a love I still have. While reading a website about snakes, this was one of the suggested interests (along with astronomy or dinosaurs) that children with Asperger's might exhibit. I also collected rocks and stuff. (Probably normal kid's stuff, but I wanted to point it out.)

- Some people, namely my mom, pointed out that I would sometimes respond to people strangely or "rudely" when they asked me something, whereas I was never had that intent, I was merely answering their question and that was that. I'm not sure how often this happened, mainly because if someone didn't point it out, I was probably unaware of it.

- I love details, such as in drawing and so forth. I haven't built models, but I loved playing with Legos, building rockets with them, or robots, or play movie-making equipment, where I would "film" a movie with a complete Lego man film crew, and then later on when the scenes were all "filmed", I'd re-enact the movie in order, as if it were a film that had finally been produced.

- I've always had an innate sense of spirituality, even though I no longer subscribe to any formal religion. I've heard that's also a characteristic.

I don't think I have quite the stamina to work on for example languages for hours and hours on end with Asperger's - like focus. I can do those things, but not always for such long time periods, and sometimes I'm easily distracted (but with things that bore me, so I don't that's out of the ordinary).

I also admit that I am easily suggestible so by reading info about Asperger's I may just be diagnosing myself. I also know that even if I don't have it, it might just be tendencies towards it. I also know that what I described probably applies to everyone at some point or another. I don't know how rigid I've been about things; about thinking I'm not so rigid because I'm always willing to listen to others' opinions.

Alright, that's quite enough. If you have read this all, I thank you. I know none of these by themselves means anything, but all grouped together, maybe it does.

I would be interested in any feedback anyone has.

:-)



eric76
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25 Sep 2012, 2:54 am

Journeyer wrote:
Hello...


Howdy

Quote:
I have wondered for years if I might have AS. I've only ever met a small handful of folks who do have it or might have it, and none of them knew me well enough to say one way or the other. On the one hand, it doesn't matter perhaps at this point in my life (I'm nearly 30) but on the other hand, maybe it would be nice to have the question answered....if it even can be answered. I don't know if it's such a spectrum thing that it can be hotly debated about a given individual.


I'm somewhat in the same boat except I really didn't think about it that much until more recently. One afternoon several years ago I was talking to someone who works with autistic children and he suddenly asked me if I had been diagnosed as being autistic. I didn't have a clue what brought that question on and so I just figured he must be joking.

Reading up on autism, it didn't strike me as likely that I suffered from it.

Then I learned about prosopagnosia. I've long been aware that I have immense difficulties recognizing people by face, even people I know real well. (For that matter, on Sunday night, I didn't even recognize my younger brother when I saw him.) In my readings, I came across a statement that it is quite commonly seen in people with Aspergers Syndrome.

It didn't take long looking at Aspergers Syndrome to see that it describes me fairly well in many ways.

Quote:
-Finding social situations awkward. By this I mean having a hard time keeping conversations going, being uncomfortable or cold towards people I've just met. I tend to warm up fairly quickly, but not always. My parents think that the reason I am a bit socially awkward is because I missed a period of development by opting to entertain myself instead of hang out with my peers. I wonder it's not a case more of correlation rather than causation, though.


I'm quite similar if it is not a fairly technical conversation about something of which I have some knowledge.

I never really hung out with my peers. As a kid on a farm, I spent most of my time either with my family or working. During the course of many summers, I hardly saw anyone outside of family (immediate family and paternal grandparents who lived across the field on the farm) except on Sundays at church.

Quote:
-Preferring to work alone, play computer games alone, read, etc. I can work with people, and I don't dislike people. I just taught English abroad for a year and found I really enjoyed being around others, but at my heart I'm more of an introvert. In grade school I would spend recess sitting on the swing-set in own fantasy land (jogging has no replaced swinging) or staying inside to read Michael Crichton books because I didn't want to play soccer. I've come to enjoy the company of people as I've gotten older, but when I was just a wee lad till high school, I had just one to three friends, and spent much of my time alone, disinterested in school sports or parties, as crowds and noise tend to drain me of energy.


If anything, I enjoy other people even less at the age of 58.

In school, I was the only kid in my grade who wasn't on the football team. There was no way I was going to do that much exercise. I didn't know until I took my Navy physical when I was 20 that I had an ASD (Atrial Septal Defect), a hole between the upper two chambers of the heart which would have made playing football quite problematical. Fortunately, they were able to fix the ASD.

Quote:
- Related to the point above: I tended to avoid crowds, I always stayed home during sports games in school. I simply wasn't interested in sports. I don't like being surrounded by a ton of people, and strongly dislike loud noises, like loud music, stadium cheering, and so forth. I like the gentleness of quiet. I have enjoyed parties and clubs/discos, but this is more an exception.


I did make it to a Grassroots concert once. I was in the most remote corner and it was quite enjoyable. I don't enjoy clubs/discos/bars or anything like that.

Every July a friend of mine I grew up with hosts a benefit/cookoff on his ranch. It's really quite a get together. Every year I plan on going, but I've only made it once.

Quote:
-"Narrow" interests. As a kid I was mostly just interested in movies, as I wanted to be a director. Then it was languages. Now that I'm older I have a larger variety of interests, but rarely are they common ones. For instance, I don't know of anyone else who wants to learn Koine Greek, Classical Hebrew and Aramaic and do a translation of the Bible from the original, just to see what it would be like. Few people I know are interested in teaching themselves mathematics or shorthand, just to keep the mind spry or to develop these skills for fun. As a child I would sit with encyclopedias to read, or, more often, just look at the pictures.


I would read airplane magazines and knew various performance figures and other information about those small aircraft and corporate jets written about in those magazines.

My strangest interest was ants. I have always been fascinated by watching ants. These are the big red and black ants found around here along caliche roads and in the fields and pastures. Once when I was real young and I found an ant bed at a church picnic and stood in it watching the ants, I got so many ant bites that they took me to the emergency room. I stood in ant beds watching the ants many times for years but eventually learned to stand to the side and got bit less often.

The last time I stood by an ant bed to watch the ants was something like three or four weeks ago at a neighbor's house. A little over a week ago I was there and went over to look at the ants and found that they had poisoned them -- there wasn't an ant to be seen anywhere. They seemed rather proud of themselves but I was not happy to see them gone.

Quote:
-I tend to prefer to learn as an autodidact. Not always, but generally.


Same here. I often wish that I was living near a major library again. My favorite was the medical/veterinary library at Texas A&M. If I could afford to retire and move back to that area, I'd probably spend tens of hours a week for the rest of my life at that library.

Quote:
-Talking about the above interests (specifically as a youth I remember talking a lot about movies, novels I'd read, movie ratings, languages, and sometimes people's opinions about morality - although that might have more to do with how I have changed how I thought about morality and have taken a more liberal view than the more conservative and Catholic one I was raised with). Often I would talk about these oblivious to the fact that it was not as interesting to others. These days I tend to be more choosey about what I talk about and with now, but I've still not had a stellar filter installed betwixt my brain and mouth.

- I can be sarcastic and use jokes (jokes are what a lot of people know me for, actually), but I have a hard time picking up sarcasm unless it is layered on very thick. I actually have a very very low opinion of sarcasm and my first instinct is to take it as an insult. For this reason, I try to avoid using it, and don't use it against others unless I know them well AND am exceptionally annoyed. I also tend to have a very off-beat sense of humor. I read recently that that can be a characteristic, but I honestly don't know.


For many years, I couldn't tell a joke in such a way that anyone would laugh. If they did laugh, it was more to be polite than because they thought it was funny. I've gotten better and my chief form of being social is to tell a joke or two, listen to a joke or two, and then leave.

Quote:
- As a youth I was very honest. Now I've learned to be more diplomatic or more economical with the truth as everyday life calls (white lies so as to not offend someone) but I still prefer honesty.

- I don't care much for fashion, and although my appearance is important as I don't want to look like someone who just crawled out of a gutter, sometimes I miss obvious things, and my parents would constantly have pointed out how my hair gets puffy if I don't get a haircut, or how I couldn't wear something to church or whatever. Now I'm better at it, more aware of these details, and also I recognize that I just don't really care for formal or matching clothes: I'm just more comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt, for example.


I've gone as long as two years without a haircut. The last time I got a haircut at a barber shop was in 1999 or 2000. My hair got so long in 2001 or 2002 that I bought some clippers and now give myself my own haircuts.

My normal clothes are shorts and t-shirt. For church on Sundays, dressing up means levis and a regular shirt on communion Sundays and shorts and a message-type t-shirt on other Sundays.

Quote:
- I remember I talked different from people my age when younger. I don't know if it was more formal, but my vocabulary was bigger from books I had read (one specific incident involved me in 6th grade using the word "embellish" which perplexed my classmates). As I've gotten older, this isn't such a big deal; or maybe it is because instead of just vocabulary I have moved onto languages.

- As a kid I was very fascinated with snakes, a love I still have. While reading a website about snakes, this was one of the suggested interests (along with astronomy or dinosaurs) that children with Asperger's might exhibit. I also collected rocks and stuff. (Probably normal kid's stuff, but I wanted to point it out.)


Snakes are cool, too. But not as cool as ants. :)

If I see a snake on a roadway and it hasn't been run over, I nearly always stop and chase it off the road so that it doesn't get run over. That includes rattlesnakes as well as non-poisonous snakes like bullsnakes and black racers.

Sometimes people get after me for chasing rattlesnakes off of the road but I just tell them that I worry far more about hantavirus than I do about being bitten by a rattlesnake. The more rattlesnakes, the more they might be able to control the population of mice and thus lower the chances of hantavirus.

In reality, though, I don't worry about hantavirus either. I really just don't want to see the rattlesnakes and other snakes getting run over.

As a kid, I was around rattlesnakes from time to time and they never bothered me. I even fell on top of one once. My father was watching and said that he couldn't tell which of us was in a bigger hurry to get away from the other, me or the rattlesnake.

Quote:
- Some people, namely my mom, pointed out that I would sometimes respond to people strangely or "rudely" when they asked me something, whereas I was never had that intent, I was merely answering their question and that was that. I'm not sure how often this happened, mainly because if someone didn't point it out, I was probably unaware of it.


Same here.

Another thing I often did as a kid was to answer in such a quiet voice that you had to have really great hearing to hear me. That presented real problems in restaurants when the waitress was older and couldn't hear so good.

Quote:
- I love details, such as in drawing and so forth. I haven't built models, but I loved playing with Legos, building rockets with them, or robots, or play movie-making equipment, where I would "film" a movie with a complete Lego man film crew, and then later on when the scenes were all "filmed", I'd re-enact the movie in order, as if it were a film that had finally been produced.

- I've always had an innate sense of spirituality, even though I no longer subscribe to any formal religion. I've heard that's also a characteristic.

I don't think I have quite the stamina to work on for example languages for hours and hours on end with Asperger's - like focus. I can do those things, but not always for such long time periods, and sometimes I'm easily distracted (but with things that bore me, so I don't that's out of the ordinary).


There are a number of things that I'd like to do given better finances and the time to do them. One of them would be to spend hours and hours in the fields and pastures, either horseback or walking, trying to identify, take pictures of, and catalog the various plants, animals, and insects in this part of Texas.

As it is, I have two cameras but have never taken any pictures of anyone with them. I'm really only interested in taking pictures of nature, not of people.



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25 Sep 2012, 2:59 am

Look dude, I'm not gonna read all this. My advice: read some other posts here. Lurk for a while, then see how much this stuff resonates with you. That'll help you at least have a better understanding of whether or not you could be.

You may not agree with everything you read here. Hell, you may see some off the wall s**t as I have with some of the games the mods play. But on the whole, see if the majority of stuff here resonates with you.

If after a while it doesn't, then you may not have AS. If it does, it'll let you know you're hunch has validity.



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29 Sep 2012, 10:01 pm

I just wanted to let you know that I did read all this.

But yeah, really, only you are going to know whether or not you have Aspergers' Syndrome or classic autism.


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Journeyer
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29 Sep 2012, 10:23 pm

Thanks for reading it all, I really appreciate it.

I don't understand your last sentence. How would I know. I basically have had nothing to compare it to other than just reading about it.



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29 Sep 2012, 11:45 pm

There's some tests/quiz things you can take that pertain to Aspergers.



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29 Sep 2012, 11:50 pm

Ah, very nice. Are they available through this forum?

If I googled them, what is some advice to know I'm not getting something that's similar to those IQ tests you can talk online, but are essentially bogus?

Thanks. :-)



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30 Sep 2012, 12:04 am

Okay, I found this one, and it looks good, but I'm too new to this to really be sure:

Aspergers Test Site (I cannot yet enter the hyperlink since I haven't posted enough yet, sorry.)

The score I got there was this:

Quote:
Your score in the Aspergers AQ Test was 28 . This is a borderline score. 86% of people receiving this score can correctly be classified as having Aspergers Syndrome.


As an adult I've become more comfortable in social situations with people and smalltalk and all that, but while taking the test I found myself wondering if those have just been things I've learned over the years. I've come to like being around people, but I can't say I'm ever really truly comfortable being in a situation with people... Like everything, it all depends on the individual(s) I'm with. That's probably true for everyone here.



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30 Sep 2012, 12:44 am

At http://www.rdos.net/eng/

I took their quiz and it said:
Your Aspie score: 98 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 114 of 200
You seem to have both Aspie and neurotypical traits

Very few things were marked 2 (strongly agree), most were marked 1 or "Don't know"....

Maybe someday I'll take it again in the future and see if it changes any or if I can answer the "Don't know"'s a little better...

Again, I don't know how authoritative that quiz is, but I guess it's something to consider.



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30 Sep 2012, 4:07 pm

Journeyer wrote:
I don't understand your last sentence. How would I know. I basically have had nothing to compare it to other than just reading about it.


You would know by comparing what you read to your own experiences. I think the last sentence of my previous is something you will just need to process with time.


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