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22Phoenix22
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11 May 2021, 11:52 pm

I recently got a diagnosis of Asperger's in December last year. Long story short, I always felt different and like I didn't belong. I finally went to see what was up, thinking it was Autism. But I got diagnosed with Asperger's, NOT Autism, and the person who diagnosed me specifically said that I was NOT Autistic and to not think of myself as such. She went on to belittle Autistic people, which made me uneasy. After one more session, once I had the diagnosis at last, I stopped seeing her.
But what I was wondering is: If she diagnosed me with Asperger's when Asperger's "no longer exists", would I actually have Asperger's--or Autism? Despite her saying not to think of myself as Autistic, I know that Asperger's got "put" on the Autism spectrum now, as high-functioning Autism. So what would my diagnosis actually be? She said she couldn't give me an "official" diagnosis of Asperger's since it doesn't exist, but she also told me I wasn't Autistic.
Honestly, I don't really understand what the difference is between them in the first place? They seemed to have all the same traits. She just seemed to think Autistic people couldn't be independent or accomplish anything--which I know isn't true, since I have an Autistic friend who lives on their own and wrote a whole book, despite having more severe Autism. Plus that was just, so messed up of her to say that kind of stuff? Like I don't even see much difference between Asperger's and Autism, so it's no wonder they got put together on the same spectrum.
I just want to know what my actual diagnosis would be. I don't want to say I have Asperger's if I don't have it, especially since there's all that controversy going on with the Nazi doctor. But I don't want to say I have Autism if I don't have it, since it has more negative connotation around it (that's the only major difference I see between the two, which is all outside perspective rather than the actual traits).
I'd just like some help on figuring out what my diagnosis is. My mom and sister suggested I get a second opinion, but it was SO hard to find someone in the first place. And when I wrote up an essay analyzing myself in the past and present, looking at the traits listed for Autism and how I fit a good chunk of them, it all just clicks. It's like, "I know I have it, with or without the diagnosis." I guess I'm just struggling with: is it Asperger's or Autism? Which is correct? Especially now that Asperger's is part of the Autism spectrum, yet my doctor didn't want me to identify as such?



IsabellaLinton
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11 May 2021, 11:58 pm

Hello and welcome to WP. I'm sorry your doctor left you with so many questions.

Were you given a full ASD assessment, and did she use the DSM5?

Did you get a written report? What did the report say?

That does seem strange to me unless it was a very informal assessment.



mohsart
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12 May 2021, 3:36 am

My diagnosis says both :)
ICD-10: Aspergers; DSM-5: Autism level 1
There is no doubt in my mind that it's the same thing.
I usually say "I am diagnosed with autism level 1, also known as aspergers and sometimes (though I don't think it's a proper term) high functioning autism."

/Mats


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Earthbound_Alien
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12 May 2021, 5:13 am

Were you tested by a chil psychologist when you were young?

"There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood."

This was taken from here in regards to diagnostic criteria for Aspergers: https://iancommunity.org/cs/about_asds/about_asds_dsm_iv_criteria_for_aspergers_syndrome

I was tested as a youngster and was for to be developmentally different to my same age peers, I was behind in some ways but in front in others.

My development was not normal.

If you have been tested as having had abnormal development at any point it may make a difference.



mohsart
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12 May 2021, 5:33 am

If you're asking me, I was assessed in January this year.

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kraftiekortie
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12 May 2021, 6:55 am

Aspergers is a form of (usually) high-functioning autism.

One can be high-functioning without Aspergers; one could be a high-functioning Kanner-type autistic person. Kanner-type autism is also called "classical" autism.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 12 May 2021, 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

timf
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12 May 2021, 6:59 am

Many people discovering the realm of neuro diversity often are perplexed by labels and definitions.

This is often compounded by so called "professionals" who brandish labels as if they understood what they meant. They lose credibility when the take an existing label like autism and expand it as a sort of miscellaneous category and include things like Aspergers in it.

I still refer to Aspergers as Aspergers for the clarity it presents (those characteristics observed in a few children by Hans Asperger)

For those perplexed by professionals I suggest that one dig in and do your own research. Eventually one will have to recognize that a lot of information will have to be sifted through to find a nugget or two that is useful.

There are some professionals that mean well and occasionally one that can be helpful, but for the most part, each of us is on his own and the help available on this forum can be very useful.



Technic1
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12 May 2021, 9:46 am

Did Hans Asperger have Aspergers or autistic children?



Technic1
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12 May 2021, 9:55 am

And why did an Aspergers export call it Aspergers and autism and the DSM 5 thinks it’s different?

Even though,

Better social skills
Masking
Less developmental problems
Are better in Aspergers an night functioning
And
IQ with a proper test for autism and Aspergers

That should be a start to distinguish between Aspergers and autism



IsabellaLinton
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12 May 2021, 10:00 am

I've never researched what "Aspergers" is, compared to Autism, but in general it seems that an Aspergian is more chatty like a little professor, and they're socially awkward, but they don't have the Part B characters of the DSM5: stimming, sensory issues, adverse reactions like meltdowns, etc.

I could be totally wrong but that's how I imagine it.

My brother hasn't been tested but I see him as being "Aspergers" whereas I'm hardcore Autistic.

I still think it's odd that the therapist wouldn't explain it properly or give a written report with diagnostic scales.



ASPartOfMe
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12 May 2021, 10:03 am

Most professionals view Aspergers as a form of autism so I do not see a problem with identifying or describing yourself as Autistic.

You should ask the clinician why you were diagnosed with Aspergers instead of Autism.


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DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


22Phoenix22
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12 May 2021, 12:02 pm

Hi, everyone! Thanks for all the responses. I'll reply to everyone's posts in the order of which they are posted!

To IsabellaLinton: I don't actually know what a full assessment would consist of? I wrote a 12-page essay basically analyzing myself over the years, looking at a list of Autism traits and realizing how they fit me. So I explained how they fit me and basically why I thought I have Autism, and I pointed out several scenarios for each trait. There was only like one or two that didn't (fully) fit. She was an online doctor, as I couldn't find anything in my area that wasn't for children (I'm 23, and adult-diagnosing doctors don't seem to exist). I sent her that "essay" and she looked it over before our first session. We then had a few sessions after, so she could see how I interacted and what my body language, facial expressions, and all that was like. She then said, with lots of certainty, that I did have Asperger's--but not the one on the Autism spectrum, the one that isn't a thing anymore. I never received a written report; I didn't even think of that. I guess it was more informal than I thought, but she definitely seemed certain in what I have.

To mohsart: Okay, that makes sense; Asperger's does seem to be a "mild" form of Autism, from what I gathered. I guess I could use either? I just don't want to offend anyone by using the incorrect term or something...

To Earthbound_Alien: I was not tested by a psychologist when I was young...though many psychologists did come after me in middle and high schools. I think they knew something was always different about me, but as far as I know, they never diagnosed me. And if they did, they kept my parents from knowing because my mom said she didn't even know the psychologists had sessions with me. Which is already like ??
As for development, I feel like I was only really behind when it came to social interaction. It's something I've only recently got a bit better at, and I never made eye contact until late high school and college when I tried. I didn't feel I was developing different from others, apart from communication. The only other thing I'm diagnosed with is anxiety.

To kraftiekortie: Yeah I've heard Asperger's being high-functioning Autism, which is why I thought those were interchangeable terms until I got my diagnosis, and the doctor said I wasn't Autistic. So I'm pretty confused about that. I haven't heard of Kanner-typer Autism, so I'll look further into that!

To timf: I definitely know what you mean by "professionals" getting things mixed/messed up. I have done a bit of research on the subject since my diagnosis (and before it), but I thought I'd reach out to the Autistic community for help with understanding these differences further.

To Technic1: Yeah, Asperger's seems to have better social skills. I feel my social skills completely suck. My doctor acted like Autistic people weren't intelligent, though, so I took that to be a "difference" to HER, but I have Autistic friends and know other Autistic people, and these people are quite smart. So I don't know why my doctor was thinking that.

To IsabellaLinton: Oh, I like how you worded that clarification between the two! That makes more sense with how they're different then. I would definitely say I was Autistic, especially as a child, going off that definition. Because I was NOT chatty, and I definitely had meltdowns and sensory issues. I do still get overwhelmed at times, but it's more manageable, and my social skills have improved from actively working on them. Yeah I am starting to think the doctor I saw was weird, now that I see everyone's input here. I'm wondering if I should get re-diagnosed? But it's also very difficult to find someone in the first place, and there's a good chance there are plenty of these misinformed doctors out there.

To ASPartOfMe: Yeah, it does seem Asperger's is part of the Autism spectrum, so I guess I can use either diagnosis in the end. The doctor was saying I have Asperger's because I "only" had the social issues, and there was no way I could be Autistic if I could write a whole book without help, have a job, and do things without needing others' help. But my Autistic friend (who definitely has stronger Autism) was able to write a book, have a job, and do things without help too. I mean, that's why it's a spectrum, right? So I don't understand why she was trying to put down Autistic people like that, and make me see myself as "above" them...especially if Asperger's IS Autism. Plus, it's not just the social issues for me; I have the other traits of Autism too, like repetitive motions, needing structure, and being really sensitive to my environment.

Thank you to everyone for your input!



kraftiekortie
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12 May 2021, 4:33 pm

Kanner was the guy who made "autism" famous.

I was very much like a Kanner-type autistic person until I was about 5-6 years old. Then, I became more "Aspergian" in my presentation.



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12 May 2021, 5:19 pm

The reason why it is all classed as autism today is that they both have the same cause. This was not known in the past so they were diagnosed as seperate conditions which was based on both ones IQ and the severity. Often I heard that if one had a higher then average IQ it was Aspergers and if one had a lower then average IQ and it was classed as autism, but there was a little more to it then that... But in general, this has been used as a deciding factor in the past from what I have read.

I do not know where I fit and if I am on the spectrum or not. I know I do have traits. Actually was surprized how many! I did not know they were traits until I joined this site. Hopefully one day I will know and I hope it is soon... Quite a few things hinge on an assessment for me and it is something I must know for more then one reason.



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12 May 2021, 5:34 pm

Did you pay for the online assessment? What were the doctor's credentials?

If she has accreditation for autism assessments, and those credentials are accepted where you live, it should be fine. Normally the proper credentials will be a PsychD or PhD psychologist / neuropsychologist, as opposed to being a psychiatrist. Sometimes a Masters in Psychology is recognised, depending where you live.

I've heard of some therapists charging an additional fee for the written report, so perhaps yours was optional and you can still request it? Either way I recommend that you contact the doctor again, and ask for a written summary / report of the testing along with your diagnosis.

I was tested in person during one marathon session about ten + hours, and then I did some more questionnaires from home online. Then I had to go back for the "followup" and to receive my report. At the end of that long day she didn't tell me her clinical opinion so I nervously asked, "Do you think I might have Aspergers?" I didn't think she would tell me until the day I received my report, but she said "No you definitely don't have Aspergers". I thought that meant that I didn't have "anything", but she clarified by saying I was autistic. I said, "Oh -- so you mean High Functioning Autism? Isn't that the same as Aspergers? You said I'm not Aspergers so I'm confused ..." The doctor told me that Aspergers and High Functioning / Level 1 Autism are NOT the same thing, and that I wasn't either one of them. (I'm Level 2 Autism without an intellectual disability).

My point is that according to her, Aspergers is NOT the same as High Functioning Autism, although I'm not completely sure what the differences are because neither one applied to me at Level 2.

From my research on Autism I know that IQ has nothing to do with a person's functional level or their level of support. A person can be Level 2 or 3 Autism and still be highly intelligent. Or they can be Aspergers / HFA and have a learning disability.

Anyway, I'm rambling - I'd definitely contact her again and ask for something in writing. Then at least you know her formal diagnosis and you can decide what to do next.

Hugs!



22Phoenix22
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12 May 2021, 6:30 pm

To MountainGoat: Yeah they do seem very similar. I hope you find out a diagnosis for yourself soon!

To IsabellaLinton: Yeah I paid to see her. I don't remember her credentials, but she WAS able to diagnose Autism and Aspergers; I specifically looked for those types of doctors. I'll try to look for her contact information to reach out! The only reason I can tell from her diagnosing me as Aspergers and not Autism is due to the whole "being able to accomplish things without needing help". Like, she literally said, "Do you think you'd be able to do X if you had Autism?"
Wow, that's a huge session! How long ago was that? Like, was it when Asperger's was still its own thing, or when it got put on the spectrum? I do wonder how Asperger's and High Functioning/Level 1 Autism is different though. Thanks for sharing, and all the information!
EDIT: I just found her information, she's a LCSW, LCAS, and MSW.



Last edited by 22Phoenix22 on 12 May 2021, 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.