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The_Wrong_Child
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29 May 2008, 4:17 pm

I’ve been diagnosed with HFA (not AS) and I asked to my psychologist if it was more severe (because I read that). She said that sometimes HFA isn’t more severe than AS and that aspies are more strict minded that HF auties. I don’t know if she told me that to comfort me about the diagnosis (she told me that my autism is “very” high functioning and that my IQ is very good, while it’s average). I certainly had a delayed development of language and it was the main trait that focused the diagnosis for HFA.

Let’s say that sometimes I’d even prefer to be a low functioning autie, because being able to speak while you don’t even know what to say is really frustrating! It’s like being able to drive a car without knowing the streets.

Anyway, I think that my autism is “high functioning” only when I use my mother tongue (Italian), not English, so you shouldn’t be surprised if I write so badly.



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29 May 2008, 4:25 pm

The_Wrong_Child wrote:
Let’s say that sometimes I’d even prefer to be a low functioning autie, because being able to speak while you don’t even know what to say is really frustrating! It’s like being able to drive a car without knowing the streets.

.


Well put!



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29 May 2008, 5:01 pm

The_Wrong_Child wrote:
Anyway, I think that my autism is “high functioning” only when I use my mother tongue (Italian), not English, so you shouldn’t be surprised if I write so badly.


I don't think I could tell! I guess you speak italian pretty well, huh?
:lol:



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29 May 2008, 5:02 pm

I think the idea of "You met one and you met them all" is dumb and demeaning.



Daewoodrow
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29 May 2008, 6:05 pm

I don't consider myself a rival to Autistics in any way. Aspergers is different to Autism in many ways, but when I encounter full Autistics I have a profound sense of respect. I took a small hit of a condition and it has radically altered the way I see the world. It has given me abilities most normal people could only dream of, and weaknesses that they could never live with. That's just a small sample. Full autistics were inundated by it, and so in many ways they can't enjoy the great talent they have been given. it's a bitter irony, the further you get from Autism, the better you are at using it to your advantage.

It took me 10 minutes to write that, because I can't quite put my feelings on the matter into words. When I see Autism in its purest form, I feel as though i'm catching a small glimpse of the meaning of humanity, and our part in the universe.


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29 May 2008, 7:06 pm

The_Wrong_Child wrote:
I’ve been diagnosed with HFA (not AS) and I asked to my psychologist if it was more severe (because I read that). She said that sometimes HFA isn’t more severe than AS and that aspies are more strict minded that HF auties.


Yes, a person with AS can be more severely impaired than a person with classical.

Or, to word it in a more positive way: a person with classical can be a lot more happy/content, able to learn new stuff, be overall better skilled and further in learning to integrate into everyday life of kindergartens, schools, jobs, relationship stuff than a person with Asperger's can be.

At least in my country. Not sure about the US. They tend to do things... differently, I think?

Who's more or less impaired just really differs from case to case (and situation to situation I guess).


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29 May 2008, 7:17 pm

Great article on the subject...
High functioning versus low functioning autism
- it's more complex than you think
Donna Williams - November 23, 2007

High versus Low Functioning depends on the nature of the ‘autism fruit salad‘ underpinning the diagnosis with autism.

These ‘autism fruit salads’ can be standard or exotic, simple or complex, small or large quantities or pieces, separated contents or very mixed up.

High Functioning Autism

Asperger’s is usually when someone has Emotional-Social Agnosia and so cannot process facial expression, body language or intonation.

This restricts their involvement in the social-emotional realms of life so they compensate via intellectual interests, pursuits and abilities.

If they also have Simultagnosia they will struggle to hold a simultaneous sense of self and other and be rather mono-track, struggling to multi-task. If they also have some auditory agnosia, they’ll find that fans and external noises interfere with their ability to understand verbal information. If they have Dyspraxia or Dysgraphia, they’ll be clumsy, have motor planning problems and poor handwriting. Some will have face blindness, making it difficult to make or keep friendships. Being more stressed than those without information processing challenges, they will be more prone to sensory hypersensitivities than other people.

If they ALSO had oral dyspraxia, Selective Mutism or learned dependancy leading to late speech (ie not speaking by age 4) then they would speak later than those diagnosed with Asperger’s and some may be diagnosed as HFA even if a percentage of non-autistic children also won’t speak until age 3-4. Although if verbal language is clearly normal at the time of diagnosis and shows no signs of significant ongoing language processing disorder at the time of diagnosis, early history of late speech by age 3-4 would likely not change the diagnosis from Asperger’s to HFA. The more present signs of significant ongoing language processing disorder at time of diagnosis, the more likely the diagnosis will be Autism rather than Asperger’s Syndrome. Whether this is High Functioning Autism (HFA), Low Functioning Autism (LFA) or in the Moderate range midway between the two, will depend on the range and degree of functioning challenges at the time of diagnosis. Some people in the LFA group move into the moderate range and may have some skills in the HFA range. there have been reported cases of some in the HFA and even Asperger’s range who have later ended up functioning in the moderate or LFA range due to breakdown, substance abuse, acquired brain injury, neuroleptic abuse, brain infection, or severe CFS.

So what is so called Low Functioning Autism?

The levels of motor planning problems with Dyspraxia could be so disabling as to be on a par with mild-moderate Cerebral Palsy.

They may have all the same agnosias but additional Semantic Agnosia, Form Agnosia, Associative Agnosia, Face Blindness, all of which may make them significantly meaning blind and struggle to learn visually as well as alienated from faces and finding people interchangeable if not for smell, tone and movement and this will make these people LOOK more autistic, be more likely to remain uneducated because pictorial learning won’t be accessible for them and without the capacity to externalise thought through the use of gesture, typing, or representational objects, they may not even know of their own intelligence, let alone others knowing of it. If they have Apperceptive Agnosia, they will also struggle to draw which may lead others to imagine them as retarded even if they can produce beautiful abstract works.

If they also have not only auditory agnosia effecting the perceiving of non-word from word sounds, but also Auditory Verbal Agnosia and Visual Verbal Agnosia, they will also be meaning deaf to what they hear as well as meaning deaf to what they read - yet often still able to ’scan read’. This will commonly lead to either no speech or ‘dysfunctional speech’ (ie Semantic Pragmatic Disorder) and avoidance of reading, or fluent reading without comprehension. Both of which can lead others to presume mental retardation, emotional disturbance etc. It may also lead them to be presumed incapable of typing, even though expressive channels may actually still be relatively intact. If the person also has Alexia, they may be unable to perceive the written word as made up of letters and if this is combined with other significant visual and verbal agnosias they may struggle to demonstrate their intelligence through typing.

If the same person also had significant gut, immune, metabolic disorders which lead to ongoing brain toxicity, fatigue or being brain starved, this would reduce that person’s functioning level until these are addressed. The style with which meaning deaf-meaning blind people with autism learn will be more likely to be kinesthetic, musical or logical rather than visual-verbal, meaning they are less likely to be accomodated in mainstream educational settings. If they are also solitary and not social learners, the degree of their challenges will increase this and solitary learners are already poorly accomodated in most educational programs.

Similarly if the same person had significant untreated co-morbid mood, anxiety and compulsive disorders dramatically channeling their resources into exhausting self management at best, chaos at worst, this would greatly reduce functioning until treated.

If the same person also had severe Dystonia they would be very floppy in their body, easily fatigued and if combined with Tactile Agnosia, Finger Agnosia or Pain Agnosia, they may appear to have little sense of their body, little identification with it and a poor relationship between volition and action through the body. Combined with severe Dyspraxia and Simultagnosia, they may also be unable to experience body messages relating to toileting or switch perceptual channels when involved in another task in order to attend to toiletting. Where this is taken as reflection on their intellect this will usually lead people to presumption one is low functioning if not mentally retarded.

Chronic stress, emotional dysregulation and burden on information processing will put up the tempo of not just sensory hypersensitivities but also any natural personality trait. Those with extremely large, complex ‘autism fruit salads’ will be more likely to display a range of personality disorders as their natural personality traits display in the disorder proportions for each trait. As these then become labeled ‘the autism’ it can escalate the same issues if the person feels their personhood is being devalued.

Because those with more severe challenges struggle to manage on many more simpler levels, opportunities for the environment to take over, outshine, pursue relentlessly, fixate on the person as a case or pathology or build pathological levels of co-dependency, this can dramatically increase learned dependency in those with some personality traits, withdrawal in others. Self injury can escalate where this contributes to Dependant Personality Disorder where it is used to force the environment to take over, self injury due to extreme sense of helplessness where the environment constantly outshines the individual by taking over, or self injury where a solitary personality feels constantly pursued and finds self injury causes the environment to back off. All of these responses can be considered part of being ‘low functioning’.

Essentially, those in the low functioning group may be as intelligent as those in the high functioning group but are more likely to perform badly on the same IQ tests and may have great potential in fields far different to those people in the high functioning group may excel in but be socially more unlikely to get those opportunities or make the social contacts which would lead to those.

For more information please see The Jumbled Jigsaw by Donna Williams.
Donna Williams - utistic author and autism consultant:http://www.donnawilliams.net


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1Oryx2
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29 May 2008, 9:01 pm

Asperger's is Autism. The only difference is that AS kids can speak sooner and that we have litter or no motor skill delay.



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30 May 2008, 12:27 am

I'm glad somebody posted this thread. I don't think either is better. I met kids with pddnos far worse then any classic autie or aspie for that matter, or aspies who are worse then auties. I goto a special dentist who works with people with disabilities, I actually conversed with one of the assistants breifly but did it, she said i'm surprised your actually talking to me. The boy who had aspergers before you that came in, didn't even look at me. I also actually give somewhat good eye contact, I was forced into it when I was 15 i think after my brother got killed, his friends hated how i didnt look them in the eye so they would do the classic hold my chin til i looked them in the eyes over and over and over again. I also have to do it when i sign, in the deaf community, eye contact is extremely important in the deaf community.

So theres times I dont look, theres times I just glance, then theres times I stare which is my eye contact lol, but even then I can't do it for long, I tend to get upset real fast. I also have conversed with people before, just today I stayed in the car while my boyfriend chatted with his friends until I was ready enough to step outside of the car. Eventually when I did, I talked to his one friend, pretty good for awhile until my words started started running together, then slowly starting diminishing, so I had to leave and walk away for a bit before my voice just disappeared completely. The other people who were around prob wouldn't even know I had autism even though jim did blurt out that I was autistic, but anyways point is, theres times I can seem more NTish as well.

I don't really like the different labels. I stim a lot, I have tons of problems speaking, my self help skills suck, my social skills yea they suck too lol, but there are defintely times I can still seem NTish! I tell jim that im afraid people will not understand if one time they see me completely shut off from the world, nonverbal, rocking, seem utterly emotionless, and then the next time see me very verbal, friendly, and seem to care more that they think I'm faking it! Like at walks or places with a lot of stimulation or days i just cant handle anything or times I'm so stressed my brain is not there, you could probably diagnosis me with LFA, but then theres times I slept good, eat well, seem very high functioning.

The reason doctors gave me the moderate functioning level is because I don't stay high functioning for long, but I really don't think functioning labels have to do with anything. Everybody has low functioning oppose to high functioning days. All I know is I have classic autism due to the fact my iq isnt the highest, i stim like crazy, my verbal iq is lower, and i seem to be in my own world a lot, but when I go to doctors and need to have things filled out, i always put down high functioning autism, because I think since I can drive, and have a boyfriend, that label would fit me better especially in a doctor scene.

I know alittle boy whos severely autistic, somewhat nonverbal, who was sitting with his older brother whom has aspergers and was conversing with the therapist, had problems speaking, but gave the therapist eye contact, and smiled acted like a typical 8 year old, the therapist was training another new therapist at the same time, the new therapist goes, is he on the spectrum as well? The boys mother smiled and answered for the therapist "hes actually severely autistic, but has grown custom to giving eye contact and with therapy is actually socializing much better that you can't always tell!"

People automatically assume "autistics" don't talk, can't socialize, all they do is stim, and assume "aspies" talk very well, extremely smart, and mildly on the spectrum. Those myths are so very wrong! I know aspies that rarely talk, who can't socialize well either, and I know autistics who talk well, who are actually really smart, and seem mild on the spectrum as well. Autism is Autism, doesn't matter what diagnosis you have, your affected one way or another from Autism!


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30 May 2008, 12:59 am

anbuend wrote:
I have seen no evidence for that assertion at all.


From that psychiatry manual I posted awhile back, as well as the DSM-IV-TR; aloof/passive for Autism versus passive/odd for Asperger's. It's not in relation to desire, it's in relation to being able to do it, i.e., appearance. Though of note, those with Autism have a greater level of disconnection to others (aloof), empathetic connection, etcetera, so generally speaking, people with Autism don't care about people or relationships as those with Asperger's do. I can post evidence if you like; I have a whole slew of clinical accounts and papers that state such (when I was trying to figure out what I was, a speech and cognitive delayed "aspie", or a typical person with Autism).

For me, I don't care for social interaction, I don't want to socialize or know people; in fact, people are as important to me as blades of grass (actually, I like blades of grass better, they're prettier, and they don't tease/deride one for they don't interact with others). I'm "normal" in this aspect from the clinical picture.



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30 May 2008, 2:41 am

Aspergers is described as mild autisim.

I like the the name autie rather that aspie. Autie means you are autistic, most people have no idea what Asperger's means.


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30 May 2008, 7:40 am

I prefer to be called aspie rather than autie. Not because I have anything against people with Kanner's syndrome, but because most people don't know that autism is a spectrum. When people hear the word "autism", they automatically think of Rain Man.


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30 May 2008, 7:51 am

Reodor_Felgen wrote:
I prefer to be called aspie rather than autie. Not because I have anything against people with Kanner's syndrome, but because most people don't know that autism is a spectrum. When people hear the word "autism", they automatically think of Rain Man.

But he was awesome!
Dustin Hoffman didn't do such a bad job really.

I mean... exaggerated the works, sure.... but still.



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30 May 2008, 8:14 am

I don't feel I have much in common with Rain Man. I'm actually more similar to the NTs than to the Hollywood autistics.


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