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Norny
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26 Oct 2015, 12:31 am

Ashariel wrote:
Norny, those are good observations, and I don't deny there are people who seem to fit both groups.

However, I would add a third category, of people who don't necessarily see it as their 'core identity', nor are they seeking special snowflake status, but have a lifelong history of employment failure and social ostracism due to a genuinely disabling level of autistic symptoms – for which there is no help to be found, because the professionals who specialize in helping people with disabilities see Asperger's as a trendy fad diagnosis.


I don't think people seek special snowflake status knowingly but that everybody wants to develop a sense of significance subconsciously, and when there aren't many options a diagnosis may seem like a viable option. I don't mean that everybody who identifies with the label just wants to be special, I was only including that as a potential pro/con pairing because I've witnessed people be diagnosed with disorders only to blab on about it to everybody they know and that often comes across as 'look how unique/troubled I am', which while a normal part of development (during the teenage years), is frustrating to deal with. That IMO is not so much an identification as it is an obsessive attachment to the label.

I can understand why Asperger's could seem like a trendy diagnosis but I don't think professionals should ever view any diagnosis that way. I've never encountered any that have so I can't comment further.

Ashariel wrote:
That is what I meant when I said there is no point in an 'official' diagnosis. Not because I give a crap about being accepted socially (I gave up on that decades ago) – but because I would genuinely like to turn my life around, be able to hold down a job, and live independently... But my oh-so-trendy Asperger's diagnosis gets me zero help with any of those issues. (Whereas if I were a parolee and drug addict with three crack babies, those resources would be available to me... And I am speaking of a close family member when I say that.)

Until Aspergers/ASD is viewed by health professionals and social services as a condition every bit as real and disabling as substance abuse, the diagnosis will ultimately not help us, in a world where we barely have the coping skills to survive.


I think that should be the goal. The diagnosis currently seems quite useless outside of personal reasons for adults, hence why I center my pros/cons around identity. There are often threads here of people complaining about the lack of services available to older autistic individuals.


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NowhereWoman
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26 Oct 2015, 12:42 am

^ I can imagine that a person desperate for a sense of significance could "fake," consciously, or subconsciously, any DX (hypochondria, sciatica, fibromyalgia without a DX, I don't know...just...anything), but I have to think such desperation constitutes a smaller percentage of the population. Unless we're ALL hopelessly needy...KWIM? In which case we're doomed anyway. :lol:

I am just not seeing that people are flocking to a fake ASD DX in droves, that doesn't seem logical or practical at all. How many people IRL - besides in groups specific to autism - do you know who say they have autism? I know of exactly...Well, none. Just me. :) I've known quite a few people whom I felt had loads of ASD characteristics but who denied possibly being autistic when the subject was gently broached - which of course is the diametric opposite of the assertion that people go around pretending to be autistic. Of the many many autistic people I've known, they have ALL been via programs due to my son being moderately autistic.

So I just don't have a sense at all that this this is some major significant problem or anything. I feel if it happens, it's definitely a minority of the time and nothing to alert the papers about. :lol: And nothing to the extent that I've heard some people insist (that so many of us are "wanting" or even faking an ASD DX, that the self-diagnosed are all over the place without any actual evidence, that people "want" to be called "Aspies" to be special snowflakes and so on).

Just my view, as always, I could be wrong, who knows.



Adamantium
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26 Oct 2015, 10:18 am

NowhereWoman wrote:
I am just not seeing that people are flocking to a fake ASD DX in droves, that doesn't seem logical or practical at all. How many people IRL - besides in groups specific to autism - do you know who say they have autism? I know of exactly...Well, none. Just me. :) I've known quite a few people whom I felt had loads of ASD characteristics but who denied possibly being autistic when the subject was gently broached - which of course is the diametric opposite of the assertion that people go around pretending to be autistic. Of the many many autistic people I've known, they have ALL been via programs due to my son being moderately autistic.

So I just don't have a sense at all that this this is some major significant problem or anything. I feel if it happens, it's definitely a minority of the time and nothing to alert the papers about. :lol: And nothing to the extent that I've heard some people insist (that so many of us are "wanting" or even faking an ASD DX, that the self-diagnosed are all over the place without any actual evidence, that people "want" to be called "Aspies" to be special snowflakes and so on).


I agree with all of this. It made no sense to me that people would think this way until it was pointed out that this is primarily an issue for teenagers and young adults who are experiencing life through the distorting lens of school.
Once you are out in the world, this is a non issue. No one gets any kind of special snowflake status in the cold, hard reality of adult life and autism is anything but cool and trendy.

Rocket's perspective on the experience and value of a late diagnosis seems more like reality to me, but then we are of a similar generation and in some ways have a similar history, so that is hardly surprising.



em_tsuj
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26 Oct 2015, 11:05 am

Pro/con: more realistic view of ones abilities and limitations

This is both positive and negative. There is something to be said for the relentless drive to be normal I had before getting diagnosed. It forced me to be more social, get out there and take more chances. This relentless drive to be normal is why I am able to live independently and support myself financially. I had no excuses. Getting diagnosed has led to me taking fewer risks and seeking services. I realize that I am disabled.

Realizing I will never be normal helped me accept myself, but I also refuse to try to adapt socially anymore. I don't care enough to make the effort. It seems futile. This is detrimental because you have to try to adapt socially or you won't be accepted in any group and won't get the support you need.

So diagnosis has been a mixed bag for me. Greater self-acceptance but less ambition.



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26 Oct 2015, 11:31 am

Joe90 wrote:
For Aspies who are only affected mildly and are high-functioning, like me, there are more cons with having a diagnosis. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, so not knowing what I had might have made me socialize better. OK I may have fell behind academically if I never had a diagnosis for the teachers to be aware of, but at least I would have fitted in socially. But because my diagnosis was told to everybody in the class, they all thought of me as someone with AIDs or something, and only saw me by my label, instead of the normal child I really was underneath.


I am supposedly HFA, but did not get that diagnoses as a child....the lack of diagnoses did nothing to make me socialize better or diminish the amount of ostracism and being picked on I experienced due to being 'weird' and/or 'different'...eventually the term 'retarded' was used a lot. Maybe if you didn't have a diagnoses it would have helped you but it didn't help me any.


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26 Oct 2015, 11:38 am

Cons...well, I suppose a big one is that I can't really tell anyone about it for fear of discrimination or stereotyping. so it's quite difficult sometimes.

But at least I know the areas in my life that need to be worked on. So there's a pro.


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Ashariel
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26 Oct 2015, 11:45 am

em_tsuj wrote:
Realizing I will never be normal helped me accept myself, but I also refuse to try to adapt socially anymore. I don't care enough to make the effort. It seems futile. This is detrimental because you have to try to adapt socially or you won't be accepted in any group and won't get the support you need.


I'm learning to choose which situations are worth the effort of trying to fit in, and which to let go of. If it's necessary for my survival and functioning in this world, I will go along to get along. Otherwise, I prefer my solitude, and that's okay!



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26 Oct 2015, 9:27 pm

Diagnosed at the age of 58, and I like the special snowflake thing, but don't use it as a crutch.

Have spent much of my life blaming myself for what I thought were character weaknesses or potential madness, now I don't.

In Britain at diagnosis I was given a card with "Autism Alert" on it to show to people if needs be. This has worked out as very very useful a few times, with people being positive about it.

That's it - otherwise socially isolated, though have a handful of good friends.

Diagnosis was all positives in my case, the experience itself was a bit odd though.



sorrowfairiewhisper
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26 Oct 2015, 9:42 pm

For me, it was a confirmation of what I already knew and my parents knew deep down.

It however made no difference to my life a diagnosis.

No pros or cons for me really, just got told what I already knew about myself but didn't put a name to it before.



Adamantium
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28 Oct 2015, 8:45 am

Rocket123 wrote:
I actually felt less unique after being diagnosed (i.e., after being diagnosed I had the realization that there are countless others that are more similar to me than I thought).
...
For me, it put ~ 50 years of my prior life’s experiences in a totally new perspective. Things in my past that previously didn’t make sense, now did. It was an incredible shock/revelation. In the 2 years after being diagnosed, I would regularly come up with memories from my past and think, “Aha! I now understand why this happened". I don’t believe this would have happened (at least for me) without being diagnosed.


This is very much in line with my own experience. I think of these as Pros for diagnosis.

Also on the Pro side, I disclosed to my boss and work has been very supportive.

There aren't many cons.
One has to do with realizing that the feeling I had of being different all my life is based in a real difference, rather than simply an issue of conventional thinkers being uncomfortable with an unconventional person. I used to believe that and I think it was a sort of protective thought that helped me to push to do things despite not fitting in when the idea of not fitting in because of a fundamental difference might have made me give up (speculation, I can't do a comparative trial).

There are some deep fears about those issues that come out in nightmares and I think I am still working through this internally.

On the other hand, some of the core ideas of the neurodiversity movement are helping to offset that negative psychological impact. I read something the other day that left me understanding that being truly different did not mean unworthy or defective and that I am legitimate or OK as I am and as I was through the painful experiences of childhood and school. Learning about and coming to understand that perspective has been very helpful, though this too seems to be something I am in the middle of working through internally.



Rocket123
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28 Oct 2015, 10:04 pm

Adamantium wrote:
There aren't many cons...

I could only think of two cons. One the cost. The other is what happens if I get diagnosed with something else. Something which didn’t make sense. Something that doesn’t provide an explanation for my prior life’s experiences. Something that would leave me in limbo.



Adamantium
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29 Oct 2015, 9:28 am

Rocket123 wrote:
Adamantium wrote:
There aren't many cons...

I could only think of two cons. One the cost. The other is what happens if I get diagnosed with something else. Something which didn’t make sense. Something that doesn’t provide an explanation for my prior life’s experiences. Something that would leave me in limbo.


Oh yes, the cost. That is a big one. At first I thought it might be insurmountable.

The second would seem like a pro. If autism wasn't the explanation, but it was something else, it would be good to know what that was. I am going to assume that if one had some other diagnosis, that would come to make sense when one studied it.



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29 Oct 2015, 10:00 am

Alexanderplatz wrote:

In Britain at diagnosis I was given a card with "Autism Alert" on it to show to people if needs be. This has worked out as very very useful a few times, with people being positive about it.



An autism alert card sounds interesting. I must look into that one. Do you get it from your GP or psychiatrist?


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29 Oct 2015, 10:28 am

One pro not mentioned:

Legal defense.

You may be able to use your ASD as a legal defense for committed crimes.



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29 Oct 2015, 3:35 pm

Wow. So many answers. Thanks. I am currently 16 years old. But the culture i come from everyone is quiet and keep to themselvs alot, and i like that, exept that i usually talk loundly and say my opinions. But if it wasnt for my culture i think i would have been diagnosed when younger. I would not be able to handle a "nice" culture. When i was in England and i stepped on a bus and the bus driver said hello hows your day been i freaked out cause that doesnt happen where i live.



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29 Oct 2015, 3:55 pm

Stigma and letting the label become your whole identity are the two main cons that come to mind for me.

I admit I'm vulnerable to that sort of thing. I've always desperately needed to belong somewhere and attach some meaning to my life.

But of course I also believe the pros out weigh the cons. I truly believe my life would've turned out a helluva a lot better if I was diagnosed as a child or even as a teenager.