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OddMommy03
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19 Jan 2013, 12:56 am

At the risk of sounding prejudice (I apologize in advance), I have yet to come across any fellow African-Americans with ASD/Aspergers. In my Aspie Twitter searches, meetup.com group searches, and even from what I read in the forums on this site, it just seems like fellow African American Americans with AS don't exist. Am I wrong? It it that we do exist, but are just undiagnosed? I actually came across this article asking the same question:

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/my-li ... -aspergian

Is there a scientific reason for this, or are we just the minority in this group as well? Are there any black Aspies on this site?

(In no way am I prejudiced; I am and have always been a lover of all people, all cultures and especially all music. This was just something I found interesting and was curious.)



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19 Jan 2013, 1:20 am

There was another thread started by someone asking a similiar question. And there were several black aspies who responded.

There is a Brit who occasionally appears on the PPR forum who goes by "AspieChav" who has a pic of himself as his avatar who is obviously Black as well.

So black aspies exist-even if they are few and far between ( whether they really are rare, or are just underdiagnosed I dont know).

The Jazz musician Thelonius Monk, I suspect, was an aspie.



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19 Jan 2013, 2:06 am

When most people most we usually don't name off all our ethnic backgrounds .
Autism Spectrum does not discriminate.

Some studies done on advanced maternal and paternal age being possible factors into Autism, well those studies came under scrutiny since the children in the studies were from primarily white upper middle class family, thus they came from more money and were more likely to get a doctor to give a diagnosis.
Not to mention there are many young couples that have autistic children as well.. sorry for the randomness



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19 Jan 2013, 2:25 am

There are elements of being an aspie that wouldn't fly in a black family. To wit:

1. Being a picky eater. No choices here. If you didn't eat what the family was eating, you will starve. They'd force you anyway.
2. Tantrums are verboten! One sign of a tantrum and you'd get a lashing you'd feel for days.
3. Sensitive to bright lights? "Deal with it!" your mother would scream.
4. Stimming? "Stop picking that!" or "Stop that damned shaking!" you'd hear in the house. You can't stop but you'd learn to suppress it in company.
5. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" No eyes to the floor in conversations in a black household.
6. "Come out and say hi to your cousins!" Social issues? Not in a black family. Forced socialization is the norm. Either that or prepare to be homeless.
7. Special interests like your bug collection or encyclopedia reading was frowned upon in favor of basketball games or hanging out.
8. Shy in company? Unheard of. They'd drag you kicking and screaming out of your bedroom to meet strangers as they saw fit.
9. Privacy? Not in a black household. Your door may as well be a sheer curtain.
10. Family outing day to the beach but you want to go to a museum? You may as well pack your things and leave.

Aspie kids get NO support from black families. None, zero, zip. They deny it exists, but if they do see it they look at is as a white man's curse.



Chloe33
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19 Jan 2013, 2:56 am

redrobin62 wrote:
There are elements of being an aspie that wouldn't fly in a black family. To wit:

1. Being a picky eater. No choices here. If you didn't eat what the family was eating, you will starve. They'd force you anyway.
2. Tantrums are verboten! One sign of a tantrum and you'd get a lashing you'd feel for days.
3. Sensitive to bright lights? "Deal with it!" your mother would scream.
4. Stimming? "Stop picking that!" or "Stop that damned shaking!" you'd hear in the house. You can't stop but you'd learn to suppress it in company.
5. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" No eyes to the floor in conversations in a black household.
6. "Come out and say hi to your cousins!" Social issues? Not in a black family. Forced socialization is the norm. Either that or prepare to be homeless.
7. Special interests like your bug collection or encyclopedia reading was frowned upon in favor of basketball games or hanging out.
8. Shy in company? Unheard of. They'd drag you kicking and screaming out of your bedroom to meet strangers as they saw fit.
9. Privacy? Not in a black household. Your door may as well be a sheer curtain.
10. Family outing day to the beach but you want to go to a museum? You may as well pack your things and leave.

Aspie kids get NO support from black families. None, zero, zip. They deny it exists, but if they do see it they look at is as a white man's curse.


Some of that sounds very familiar, i don't think thats limited to one race though. I am mixed so....
I have known Black families who were support of their children (one was LFA)



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19 Jan 2013, 3:47 am

When Hayden Christensen was a teen, he starred in a movie called Life as a House. There was one scene where his mother angered him. He yelled at her, saying, "Get out of my room!" Promptly, his mother left his room, sat down on the stairs, and started crying. In a black family, if Hayden had yelled at his mother or father like that, they'd dangle him out the bedroom window by his neck and shout, "Say that again, mother*cker!"



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19 Jan 2013, 5:20 am

There are definitely certain cultures in which autism is underdiagnosed (and at least in America, there tends to be a significant cultural divide between communities of European and African descent - though this doesn't exist to quite the same degree in other countries like the UK). In some cultures autism just isn't "on the radar", so to speak.

It's not in any way a prejudiced question. It's interesting in the same way it's interesting that females are underdiagnosed. Likelihood for diagnosis is definitely affected by cultural factors, such as gender, ethnic background, country of origin, and family affluence. It's clear there are more diagnosed AS/HFA people who are white males from financially secure backgrounds, and I don't personally believe this is because AS happens to appear more in that sector of the community.



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19 Jan 2013, 5:40 am

redrobin62 wrote:
There are elements of being an aspie that wouldn't fly in a black family. To wit:

1. Being a picky eater. No choices here. If you didn't eat what the family was eating, you will starve. They'd force you anyway.
2. Tantrums are verboten! One sign of a tantrum and you'd get a lashing you'd feel for days.
3. Sensitive to bright lights? "Deal with it!" your mother would scream.
4. Stimming? "Stop picking that!" or "Stop that damned shaking!" you'd hear in the house. You can't stop but you'd learn to suppress it in company.
5. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" No eyes to the floor in conversations in a black household.
6. "Come out and say hi to your cousins!" Social issues? Not in a black family. Forced socialization is the norm. Either that or prepare to be homeless.
7. Special interests like your bug collection or encyclopedia reading was frowned upon in favor of basketball games or hanging out.
8. Shy in company? Unheard of. They'd drag you kicking and screaming out of your bedroom to meet strangers as they saw fit.
9. Privacy? Not in a black household. Your door may as well be a sheer curtain.
10. Family outing day to the beach but you want to go to a museum? You may as well pack your things and leave.

Aspie kids get NO support from black families. None, zero, zip. They deny it exists, but if they do see it they look at is as a white man's curse.


I'm mixed race, looking white, and grew up in a non-western society. I recognize a lot of the above; especially the forced socialization. It is the reason I now refuse to go back to my country, even for holidays.

Yet I was kind of lucky. My mother is western and sometimes stood up for me; she made sure I got alone time, and was allowed to withdraw if possible.

But there were advantages too: I was not expected to 'be assertive' and in school there was a very strict, clear structure, and hardly any of that stupid group work. And because I was quiet I was considered a good girl. Also, there was no bullying. (social exclusion, yes, but no actually bullying).

For the record: when I was a teenager there was a 'black' (he was more like toffee-brown) kid in my class who, looking back, I'm pretty sure would have been diagnosed with autism if he'd been young now. Poor thing was socially clueless. I don't know what became of him. And my biology teacher, also black, was a tad odd too. Totally absorbed in his topic, barely aware of the class. He dressed peculiar as well. I think he may have had an ASD too.



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19 Jan 2013, 7:25 am

redrobin62 wrote:
1. Being a picky eater. No choices here. If you didn't eat what the family was eating, you will starve. They'd force you anyway.
2. Tantrums are verboten! One sign of a tantrum and you'd get a lashing you'd feel for days.
3. Sensitive to bright lights? "Deal with it!" your mother would scream.
4. Stimming? "Stop picking that!" or "Stop that damned shaking!" you'd hear in the house. You can't stop but you'd learn to suppress it in company.
5. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" No eyes to the floor in conversations in a black household.
6. "Come out and say hi to your cousins!" Social issues? Not in a black family. Forced socialization is the norm. Either that or prepare to be homeless.
7. Special interests like your bug collection or encyclopedia reading was frowned upon in favor of basketball games or hanging out.
8. Shy in company? Unheard of. They'd drag you kicking and screaming out of your bedroom to meet strangers as they saw fit.
9. Privacy? Not in a black household. Your door may as well be a sheer curtain.
10. Family outing day to the beach but you want to go to a museum? You may as well pack your things and leave.


Well, it's kind of true but not totally.

1. There are a lot of african-americans who don't starve.
2. I was a non talker as a child. You could have forced me later in life, but not in my early childhood, this just wouldn't have worked.
You can explain this way, why there are less ppl getting dx on the higher end of the spectrum, but not the classical autistic ppl, even not really those with HFA, they would have been noticable at least in early childhood.


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19 Jan 2013, 9:11 am

When my mother went over to Kenya for a couple of weeks last year to help in a school, she found an aspie there. So, Aspie Kenyans certainly exist... but it's not very well understood. Perhaps that's why there don't seem to be as many?


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19 Jan 2013, 11:24 am

Magneto wrote:
So, Aspie Kenyans certainly exist... but it's not very well understood. Perhaps that's why there don't seem to be as many?


Kind of, well it explains why there are hardly getting dx with ASD in Africa.
But it doesn't explain why there are also hardly any African-Americans getting dx with ASD. They live in a country who has knowledge in ASD, they don't starve etc.


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Last edited by Raziel on 19 Jan 2013, 11:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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19 Jan 2013, 11:53 am

It makes you wonder: in black families, do they bully and/or beat the aspieness out of someone with mild Asperger's?
And what about the comorbids (depression, anxiety, executive function disorder,, etc): do they beat those out of sufferers too? Those conditions get denied often?
Psychologists? "Eh, an invention by white people to squeeze money out of their overly sensitive kind."
Executive function disorder? "Clean up that room now or in five minutes you'll be calling for an ambulance!"
Depressed? "See these fists? I'll give you something to be depressed about!"
Anxious? "Man up, n*gger! Ain't no child of mine anxious!!"
"Mom! My uncle touched me!" "Shut up, boy! I don't wanna hear no nonsense!"



Last edited by redrobin62 on 19 Jan 2013, 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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19 Jan 2013, 11:59 am

redrobin62 wrote:
It makes you wonder: in black families, do they bully and/or beat the aspieness out of someone with mild Asperger's?


I think there are many different reasons.
Maybe they are more strict in some points, but exept other differences more easily?
Maybe they are also not so much into diagnosing their kids?

Just thinking, I dunno...!


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19 Jan 2013, 12:00 pm

I feel that socioeconomic factors come in to play and religious factors also come in to play regarding the amount of diagnosed African Americans. As mentioned, a great deal of African American families are not prepared or particularly concerned with paying attention to the signs of what it means to be on the spectrum in general due to a number of other much more pressing issues. That does not mean that there are no African Americans who are Autistic. It means that other factors are much more likely to come into play before recognizing them.

Often these individuals who are not like everyone else are ostracized or simply labeled as crazy. Families may turn to religion or punishment as a means to "readjust" their family member who is not behaving as expected. Often this is due to a lack of knowledge or funds to get proper assessment and treatment. Usually in these cases it takes an institution like schooling or perhaps social work or law enforcement involvement to recognize symptoms.

As Autism becomes more recognized and understood many of these problems preventing the proper recognition and care for individuals on the spectrum in the African American community become less and less prevalent. One could draw comparisons between the low recognition of African American ASD individuals and Adult ASD individuals in some ways. Knowledge and means are the key issues concerning both groups who obviously are prone to overlap.


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19 Jan 2013, 12:17 pm

jayroo79 wrote:
As mentioned, a great deal of African American families are not prepared or particularly concerned with paying attention to the signs of what it means to be on the spectrum in general due to a number of other much more pressing issues.


Is this with all psychiatric disorders the case? :?
So, but what do they do if a person gets seriously mentally ill? 8O

And what's with african-american autistics getting serious problems/mentally ill?
Why don't they get recognized by the care givers? :?


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