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rabo
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02 Sep 2021, 11:03 am

Hi, everybody!
I want to discuss the different forms of autism within the spectrum. Let's take two opposite poles: Aspies (as I am one) and severe, non-verbal autism. I think people with severe, non-verbal autism struggle a lot. On the other side, I do not face significant problems with "my" autism. I might look a bit strange to some people, but that is OK. On the opposite - as an artist - my aspie way of life might be even inspiring. As far as I know, it might be the same for other aspies who instead take the benefits of this mild form.

But one of the questions that make me think a lot, is, how it is possible to pack both forms of Autism into the same category. It is like two guys. One is blind the other one needs one-diopter glasses. So the guy with the glasses might say: "It is OK, if I take them off, I do not notice all the ugly design around me", whereás the other one has real problems in life, when crossing a street.

What I do not know is if it makes sense to start a blog project about my Asperger autism. I already created it, and there are several posts in it. As I already explained: It would be rather about the positive sides of an Aspies life. But I am afraid that my Aspie-life is nothing that might compare to severe, non-verbal autism. On the other hand, it took me a long time to find out what is "wrong" in my life and it nearly destroyed me, as long as I did not know about my Autism. So for me, knowing to be autistic is rather a relief than a burden. I hope you can understand what I want to express.

So I feel a bit stupid and would like your opinion.



kraftiekortie
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02 Sep 2021, 11:58 am

I don't find it's stupid at all.

People struggle in different ways. People who are "severe," many times, do not struggle in ways in which Aspies could struggle (perhaps severely).

The only trouble is: there's so much competition out there.



skibum
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02 Sep 2021, 3:03 pm

First of all, Autistics don't have to be nomverbal to be very severe and some Autistics who might not struggle severely can also be nonverbal. We need to stop equating nonverbality with severity.

Secondly, you should be able to blog about anything you want. As long as your blog is not hurting others, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to express yourself and share your experience. I am sure that many of us would enjoy reading it.

Thirdly, Autism is a very individual experience. You can't lump people into functioning level groups just like you can't lump neurotypicals into functioning level groups. In Autism our levels of functioning can vary so dramatically in any specific area or in all areas depending on the circumstances. So it's going to be impossible to categorize us into groups according to functioning abilities.


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02 Sep 2021, 3:34 pm

Probably nobody will read this, but this is what I go by:-

Autism level 1, high-functioning (Asperger's syndrome)
- Generally have no speech delays, are articulate even in childhood
- Generally symptoms are missed or unrecognised/unrecognisable in most high-functioning Aspies (unless your name is Joe90), and often traits that are recognised get mistaken for anxiety, depression or bipolar
- Has more natural social skills than those with classic autism (although still have some social delays), but usually mimic social behaviours from peers
- Generally are capable of learning to fit in at a young age and mask their symptoms
- Generally come across as quirky, eccentric or obsessive
- Generally expresses anxiety or depression more so than classic autistic behaviours
- Generally are high-functioning and most are capable of living a fully functioning life (working, family, driving, etc) although a lot do struggle with this but are usually aware of their struggles
- Usually have average to above average intelligence, although it isn't uncommon to struggle with things like math
- Traits can be complex

Autism level 2, moderate-functioning (autism)
- Most have speech delays in childhood
- Generally symptoms are more obvious and are recognised in childhood or teenage years
- Some can be noticeably delayed or clueless socially, or usually find it difficult to hide their social awkwardness in adulthood but it's not impossible for some to be able to mask successfully
- Some may visibly stim in public or look odd in other ways, due to lack of self-awareness or just not caring what people think
- More likely to have difficulties expressing or understanding own emotions
- Lack of eye contact and theory of mind difficulties is more common than in those with level 1
- Generally comes across as awkward, geeky, 'freaks' to those who don't understand autism, and more likely to lack expression when speaking
- Expresses anxiety more autistically, like may rock when stressed or go mute when having a meltdown, rather than communicating verbally
- Some are capable of living a fully functioning life but it's less common than in level 1 autistics, and many may need care and support throughout their lives due to executive dysfunction and communication difficulties
- A lot of people are intelligent and better at hyperfocusing on special interests than a lot of level 1 autistics. Some may rely on their intelligence to get by in life more than relying on social relationships. However, some may be below average intelligence (have learning difficulties)
- More stereotypical traits in a lot of people, also moderate-functioning is the most common among the whole autistic community because of 'spiky' functioning levels
- More chance of having epilepsy or seizures than level 1 Aspies

Autism level 3, severe/low-functioning autism
- Speech delays, a lot of people are non-verbal
- Symptoms usually are more significant and can sometimes be recognised and diagnosed at as young as 2 years of age
- Some people may never learn social skills, or at least will be very delayed
- Most are unable to express or understand own emotions
- Need support throughout their lives, some even require 24-hour care and lack awareness of the world around them
- Very obviously autistic, very low chances of making friends, getting a job, having a relationship, etc
- Meltdowns can be more violent and frequent, may never learn self-control or understanding of behaviours or awareness of other people
- Some can be intelligent in their own way but generally most have lower IQ and need support and care
- More likely to have a few physical differences in facial features, like large forehead, although there isn't really enough evidence backing this up
- More likely to have epilepsy or seizures
- Unable to control repetitive behaviours such as spinning or stimming, no matter what environment they're in

DISCLAIMER: Before anyone argues that these aren't accurate for everybody on the spectrum, I am aware that these don't describe every high/moderate/low-functioning individual accurately, these are just guidelines of how functioning labels exist. I've emphasised this by using words such as "generally", "usually", "most", "some", etc.


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02 Sep 2021, 10:51 pm

Joe90 wrote:
Probably nobody will read this, but this is what I go by:-


I did. It was very useful. Thank you Joe90!



rabo
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03 Sep 2021, 3:07 am

Thank you all for your replies. The point is that I read a blog that the father of an autistic child runs. Autism level 3, severe/low-functioning autism Joe90, yes I read it, don't be that pessimistic. ;) After reading his blog, I felt ashamed that I dare think about writing my blog.

My life is strange somehow, but I like my neurodiversity. The only struggle is to communicate with others. Sometimes I think the "others" (aka neurotypical persons) have the problems, cause e. g. they do not think very deeply and are very superficial. But if I compare my situation to his child's situation, it is nothing. Or let's say: It feels like a different thing. That is why I asked.

Anyway, I will need some more time before I publish my blog. It is done (coding and designing is my job) but still not public.

Thanks!
rabo



rabo
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03 Sep 2021, 3:16 am

skibum wrote:
...Autistics don't have to be nonverbal to be very severe, and some Autistics who might not struggle severely can also be nonverbal. We need to stop equating nonverbality with severity.


I just copied the description from the blog.

skibum wrote:
Secondly, you should be able to blog about anything you want. As long as your blog is not hurting others, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to express yourself and share your experience. I am sure that many of us would enjoy reading it.

Thanks a lot. ;) I will publish a link to it as soon as I am ready. The design is done; there are several posts in. what is missing is the courage to publish it, ;) That might take some time.

skibum wrote:
Thirdly, Autism is a very individual experience. You can't lump people into functioning level groups just like you can't lump neurotypicals into functioning level groups. In Autism our levels of functioning can vary so dramatically in any specific area or in all areas depending on the circumstances. So it's going to be impossible to categorize us into groups according to functioning abilities.


I am no expert, but I think, this is right. I also see that I have functions that are much better developed than other peoples functions. That is why I like my diversity, and the blog is therefore called "Stranger than Paradise". Yea, I also like Jim Jarmusch, as you can see. ;)



Dandansson
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04 Sep 2021, 5:50 am

Let's take two opposite poles: Aspie (person A) and Aspie (person B).
I'm not trying to be funny. It's just the truth!



carlos55
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04 Sep 2021, 6:24 am

It sounds a little crazy but there is no such thing as autism in the biological sense.

Autism was only a temporary diagnosis until science knows the details.

It’s just a word to describe symptoms diagnosed by someone sitting with you questioning and / or observing ticking boxes. When enough boxes or categories are ticked you have autism.

Science has no idea if all types of autism are even linked by the same mechanism and causes.

It’s likely if Elon Musk is on the spectrum he has a completely different condition to ordinary autism and certainly not on the same page as level 3 autism.

It is probably the case that different autism’s are no more linked that depression is to schizophrenia since there are likely many autism’s where symptoms are funneled into a narrow band of presentation.

If someone is blind is it from an acid attack or glaucoma?

The end result is the same blindness but the causes have nothing in common.


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naturalplastic
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04 Sep 2021, 6:35 am

Blog about what ever you want.

Your personal experience is what it is. The blog doesnt have to be about other autistics' experiences.

There are many young aspies who do video blogs on Utube about aspergers, and none of them ever touch upon the subject of other parts of the autism spectrum. They dont talk about level three autistics ("low functioning"). They talk about what they know -which is their own situation.



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04 Sep 2021, 7:08 am

carlos55 wrote:
It sounds a little crazy but there is no such thing as autism in the biological sense.


There are actually quite a few biological markers for autism and autopsies of autistic brains do have differences in the dendrite density of neurons and other ways



carlos55
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04 Sep 2021, 10:38 am

aquafelix wrote:
carlos55 wrote:
It sounds a little crazy but there is no such thing as autism in the biological sense.


There are actually quite a few biological markers for autism and autopsies of autistic brains do have differences in the dendrite density of neurons and other ways


In some but not all.

There is as yet no brain scan or biological test for autism.

Brain scans of many autistic people have been similar to NT in lots of cases.


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04 Sep 2021, 11:54 am

Stage 0 cancer is wholly different experience then stage 4, same with lung and skin cancer yet few have difficulty with the concept they are all cancer, same with pain, or being left handed and a whole lot of other things. But not with autism, frustrating.


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04 Sep 2021, 12:46 pm

In the future they may get that advanced..."this tangible thing in the subject's nervous system that we can see under a microscope ...correlates so strongly with that type of behavior so we can use it as a marker". And be able to do that with both austism vs NT and different types of autism. Be we arent there yet.



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04 Sep 2021, 2:01 pm

My BFF and I have the same "level" of ASD but it manifests very differently. She has a low-pressure life and she is "high functioning". I have a high-pressure life and I appear "high functioning" but am constantly in a state of agitation and overwhelm. That said, I have become very, very, very good at communication (for an ASD person) and she is still fairly stunted there (struggles to respond to text messages). So actually I function better than her in that way and yet I am in meltdown every daily (supported myself financially in college, sales-facing career, children and spouse) while she has a meltdown once every year or two (supported by her parents in college, analytics career, no children or spouse).

If I were you, I would keep in mind how demanding (or not) your life is relative to your areas of skill (or not).

I would be considered "normal" for speech, talkative actually. However, my internal experience is horrible. I really struggle to hear people clearly and to articulate my thoughts --- so although outwardly I am "average", inwardly it is like slugging through molasses relative to my thoughts (which go a mile a minutes and I have a hard time organizing). I relate very much to non-verbal ASD people. I don't feel that "far" from them at all. I think most that I have met are very engaging (or willing to be engaged), but NTs miss it.



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04 Sep 2021, 4:10 pm

'Forms' are not merely divided by levels.
It's based on several individual profiles.

The current divisions were formally based on the support levels -- it is about how much support an autistic needed regardless of 'form' or 'profile'.

But I won't get into that because it is not necessarily severity nor type by itself.
There are such guidelines mentioned, but the category's purpose is to gauge "how much support needed", not how individual a case can be.

So I'll just mention the 'dimensions'.

IQ seems to be one -- the generalized number won't just do. Usually divided to verbal and "other". I'd say it is more complex than that.
One had to be specific if the individual also has specific profiles in their IQ subscores.
On top of that, one also had to determine whether or not the individual in question's intelligence is also accompanied with learning disabilities.

The EQ is more complex than your usual stereotypical standardized stuff.
With two main domains: social and emotional.
There's the matter of ability to pass. There's a matter of communication, which may tie on their IQ profiles. There's the matter of one's ability to express emotions. Heck, there's also a matter if emotions are even being aware and comprehending it exists in themselves at all.
On top of that, a matter to regulate said emotions, a matter of reading it, a matter of intensity itself...

Between that, there's their respective mental health, communication and languages, executive functions, the senses as a whole and it's dimensions and combinations, individual's social inclinations, other possible health problems, etc...

And across time with -- if a specific areas ot development that if they're merely delayed, had a developmental spurt due to time or specific changes, or no change at all since at any developing ages or stages which could be at infancy or at later life.

There's just too many -- that's just the individual -- it hadn't accounted their environment -- their upbringing, the culture they're involved, etc...


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