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FranzOren
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14 May 2022, 11:15 am

I developed neurotypical social skills by studying psychology, even though I have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I used to meet diagnostic criteria A and B for Autism Spectrum Disorder, but I improved so much in therapy that I only now meet diagnostic criteria B for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

I wonder if that is possible, I know that it's unusual.



Elgee
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14 May 2022, 5:40 pm

There's a big difference between doing something instinctively and intuitively and also feeling genuine about it as you do it, AND then...doing something mechanically, not truly feeing it's "you," and just running through the motions of it.

The NT recipient won't know the difference if you perfected your skill enough. You can learn NT behavior, but be honest: Does it come naturally? Or reflexively as a result of tons of practice? If you're autistic, it's still not "you" no matter how polished you are at it.



FranzOren
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14 May 2022, 6:00 pm

No, I had to work ten times harder than usual, and with frustration to develop neurotypical social skills, and had to have therapy, IEP and IPP reports to get to that complex goal. At the age 16, I started to study psychology and when I was a young adult, I developed neurotypical social skills from studying a little bit about psychology. Learning neurotypical social skills is also part of my restricted interest.



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14 May 2022, 7:10 pm

Yes it can be done. The diagnostic criteria are behavioural. Behaviours can be learned and can change. There are no neurological or genetic or “bio-marker” tests that currently count as diagnostic. But someday that might change.

The neurological and genetic and protein things are correlations - they may even be causes - but the current diagnosis is by behaviour.

The question of identity is a bit trickier.


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FranzOren
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14 May 2022, 7:21 pm

Even if my symptoms of ASD went away after many years, because it is behavioral, deep inside my brain, it will always say that I have history of developmental delay.



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14 May 2022, 8:44 pm

FranzOren wrote:
No, I had to work ten times harder than usual, and with frustration to develop neurotypical social skills, and had to have therapy, IEP and IPP reports to get to that complex goal. At the age 16, I started to study psychology and when I was a young adult, I developed neurotypical social skills from studying a little bit about psychology. Learning neurotypical social skills is also part of my restricted interest.

Congratulations on improving your social skills.

I've watched a couple videos on youtube from the "Aspergers from the Inside" channel, and he said one of his special interests was emotional intelligence.

How I learned Emotional Intelligence with Aspergers (and how you can too!) | Emotions Explained
https://youtu.be/nZvHurJi5sk
"There is Hope!"
"Don't give up!"
"You can improve!"


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FranzOren
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14 May 2022, 8:59 pm

Thank you!



kraftiekortie
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14 May 2022, 9:02 pm

I don’t find autistic/Asperger’s characteristics to be rare at all.

Most of the time, though, the characteristics are not seen to merit a formal diagnosis of ASD.



FranzOren
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14 May 2022, 10:21 pm

It's not about that, it's just rare to see some people with ASD have neurotypical social skills, but it was manually developed by external factor, and that external factor is therapy and social skill training. Most people with ASD only develop some social skills.



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14 May 2022, 10:52 pm

I did the same, aside my engineering degree I studied advanced psychology and communication. I took drama from a young age and practiced expressing myself "appropriately" and using scripts. My 10-year-old ASD-like daughter (DX still pending) has already taken it upon herself to educate herself (watching modern moral tales on YouTube). Still I qualified for ASD b/c although I have friends and am social (and definitely extroverted), the amount of effort is tremendous and the relationships always feel tenuous to me. I wouldn't call this rare though --- just an ASD phenotype that has been previously overlooked.



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14 May 2022, 10:57 pm

The thing that's getting to me, TBH, the more I look at autistic traits and look at my own life and the degree to which I've done the same, the basket of what's 'ASD' seems to melt under inspection.

Apparently I really stick out as different even though I spent years under the following assumption - that if there were major misunderstandings that people were having about who I was, my intentions, my character, etc. that what I needed was to be able to translate my actual language into NT - which meant simply phrasing it, timing it, and putting it into a cadence that matched NT style of expression.

What that's done is put me in a place where the times that I spoke at autism events the parents often told the guy and his wife who headed it that a lot of us on the panel hid it well and me especially, they could hardly see it at all.

Put me in the work place under stress, pissing contests, and zero-sum games and it's a completely different story - ie. everyone knows the knives belong in my back. I also notice that the people who are extra-fake and zero-sum see me as a threat very quickly and yet anyone else I don't trigger.

So, the more I look at it, I really think what they despise is integrity, and one of the things that often goes with how we sort out reality is being something like logical Platonists. I remember in one of Manly P Hall's lectures when he tried to define honesty vs. integrity he used the example that a person whose honest, when needing to give change back for a dollar, gave the right change back because it was the 'right thing to do' whereas the person who had integrity gave the right change back because the math. I'm almost forced to conclude that this sort of integrity, ie. Platonic or mathematical integrity, when people see it, it both puts a target on you and also seems to describe quite well what's seen as so bizarre about the autistic mindset (it actually makes me wonder if MP Hall might have been partially on the spectrum to even say a thing like that).

This is where I can't escape the notion that even erasing your outside ASD markers still isn't enough not to be weird. Even having good social skills, being empathetic in exchanges, etc. isn't enough unless you maybe consider that 'good social skills' amounts to having almost all of your social traits copied from the person next to you and that building your social skills from first principles is creepy. If you're not lying, backstabbing, gossiping, socially gaming, etc., you're still sticking out like a sore thumb.

My best understanding of that then - at least the kinds of NT's I'm thinking of, they live very close to their genes and genetic imperatives, and have little or no trust (or even fear) of anyone who doesn't. The rumors then start going around about what kinds of closet aberrances you might have - ie. the whole you might be a serial killer, a cannibal, a baby-rapist, whatever bizarre thing they can imagine. The best bucket I've found for this sort of thing is Rene Girard's memetic desire, unease, and people's tendencies to find scapegoats when they're feeling uneasy about things that they can't put their finger on.

It's a bit like life is a gene war, going on eternally, the subtext is dominion, and anyone whose playing a different game or, perhaps more frightening still, living honestly but showing signals that they see all of this in a self-aware manner, they don't handle it well. It's like spooking the horses in a barn.


It really makes me wonder - are NT's actually intimidated by us and are most of our problems stemming from that?

I know I'm saying some bold things in this post, give it time to process, but we have different strengths and weakness and - TBH - they tend not to freak out about people who are clueless, living in their own bubbles, etc., they freak out instead about people who aren't doing that or who aren't playing the bully game. All of that really gives me pause for thought.


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14 May 2022, 11:04 pm

I've had a similar experience as described by OP, but not in terms of the superficiality. I took an interest in epistemology and psychology around my first year of high school, and that led me to the realization that most of my "autistic" behaviors weren't neurological in nature, and stemmed either from some psychological complex I needed to resolve or from my lack of socialization as a child. At this point, I'm more or less convinced all high-functioning autism stems from these socially constructed symptoms piling on top of some narrow, less extreme condition. In my case, speech aphasia, or at least something superficially resembling it.



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14 May 2022, 11:15 pm

I started having an interest in psychology at 11, and around 15 started to use my already established interest in great apes and human evolution to learn about the "basics" of human behaviour, and fill in the gaps that I didn't learn via psychology. I understand people better now and am better at socializing, but still have a lot of issues with it and will always appear obviously odd or "delayed" in most of my social interactions. Interacting with my coworkers for 8+ hours a day for more than a month now has made that obvious.


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FranzOren
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15 May 2022, 12:34 am

I met some people like me here. Hey, how is life?

I want to get know you.



techstepgenr8tion
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15 May 2022, 12:52 pm

This is sort of what I think a lot of us are catching onto and realizing that the social world is made of:


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15 May 2022, 1:05 pm

I had to learn some social skills the hard way (later than my peers) but now at 32 I feel that it comes naturally most of the time. I love people and I get interested in people and I desire social approval and friendships. Even gossip interests me. I tend to get emotionally involved with people and I enjoy it.

I'm a very rare Aspie though. I lack all autism stereotypes, I hate autism with a passion and feel ashamed about it, and I seem to think too deeply into things - more than most Aspies here (according to my posts Vs most other people's).

I'm "too autistic" to be neurotypical but too neurotypical to be autistic. No wonder I get angry about myself, because I'm not sure where abouts I lie.


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