Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Asperger's Syndrome

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Asperger Syndrome or (Asperger’s Disorder) is a neurobiological disorder named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger, who in 1944 published a paper which described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills. In spite of the publication of his paper in the 1940’s, it wasn’t until 1994 that Asperger Syndrome was added to the DSM IV and only in the past few years has AS been recognized by professionals and parents.

Individuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills,
Yep. I don’t know how to make friends with people. I don’t know how to keep friends. I don’t know how to answer emails from friends. I have to work hard at social niceties. If a friend hurts me, I am like the elephant that never forgets (bitter, twisted).

have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness.
Not exactly. I get bored by sameness. I have to move house every couple of years. I have to change my specialist subject/career every few years. This is supposed to be an ADD/ADHD trait. However, I feel really “put out” and panicky when people change things at short notice, for example, if I am given some new work to do, it will take me a day to get used to the idea of doing it. My maternal grandmother was an absolute slave of routine. Nothing would alter her plans, come hell or high water. She would complain about not seeing her grandchildren, but she wouldn’t go out of her way and delay her Saturday shopping trip for a couple of hours to see us!

They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest.
Yep. The food/nutrition obsession is justified, but yep. I’ve always been obsessive, and as a teenager had seriously obsessive crushes on some unlikely people. I had a lot of OCD traits: hand washing, also, washing new things I bought from shops. Strange teenage obsession with stationery. When I was a kid I used to climb one side of the climbing frame, and have to climb the other side. I had to do everything ten times. I had to jump ten times, and if one hand touched the floor, the other hand had to touch the floor, then I used to have to touch the floor ten times to make it even… My sister had this trait too, but to a much lesser extent. She was the hyperactive one.

They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space.
I think I’m actually good at this, but the result is it makes me paranoid because I can tell when people are taking the piss or being fake. I don’t have any problems with body space, but I get very put out when someone enters my space.

Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells, and sights, the person with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see.
This makes me laugh, because it’s so “me” it’s untrue. I’m like “turn the radio DOWN!!!!” or “what is that annoying noise?!” all the time, and like Captain Hook, I can’t stand ticking clocks. Or dripping taps, or high-pitched almost inaudible whining from electrical equipment. I was a very picky eater as a child. This was trained out of me, but now I understand why I need to be on a bland food diet. I’m ultra-sensitive to labels in clothing, scratchy seams, anything stiff, tight, or made of wool. I hold my breath all the time when I smell something nasty. I hate it when the room is too dark or too light. I am always complaining it’s too hot or too cold.

It’s important to remember that the person with AS perceives the world very differently.
I suppose since I’m a subjective observer, I can’t really comment on what is a normal way to perceive the world, but I’d rather be me than most of the other people I meet.

Therefore, many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior, and most certainly not the result of “improper parenting”.

By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area.
Of course!

Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying.
That would be an accurate description of my miserable life as a child and a teenager. I was very naive. I was badly bullied.

While language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound like “little professors.” However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.
I do have a big vocabularly, I do a lot of reading and always have. I was an annoying smart-arse who used long words when I was a kid. My dad has this habit too, and it’s really embarrassing to watch when he does it when he’s talking to a builder or a labourer. I muddle up the words in clichés all the time or word-substitute by mistake. I’m not sure what specifically is meant by a social context. The definitions of pragmatics and prosody are:

Linguistics. the analysis of language in terms of the situational context within which utterances are made, including the knowledge and beliefs of the speaker and the relation between speaker and listener.

1. the science or study of poetic meters and versification.
2. a particular or distinctive system of metrics and versification: Milton’s prosody.
3. Linguistics. the stress and intonation patterns of an utterance.

Pragmatics: you’re not kidding. I have a habit of assuming that people think the same way as me about the world, i.e. I might offend someone religious by assuming they are an atheist like me, or end up in a misunderstanding because I assume someone knows more about something than they actually do.

Prosody: I have a postgrad degree in writing, but I am absolutely useless at rhyming, structured verse. I don’t think my language is repetitive. I do often exaggerate or get the emphasis wrong when I say things. Sometimes I sound stilted. I am not very good at speaking out loud and have problems completing sentences, I tend to let them trail off into a “…” assuming that people get the meaning. This is probably very irritating.

At this time there is a great deal of debate as to exactly where AS fits. It is presently described as an autism spectrum disorder and Uta Frith, in her book AUTISM AND ASPERGER’S SYNDROME, described AS individuals as “having a dash of Autism”. Some professionals feel that AS is the same as High Functioning Autism, while others feel that it is better described as a Nonverbal Learning Disability. AS shares many of the characteristics of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder; Not otherwise specified), HFA, and NLD and because it was virtually unknown until a few years ago, many individuals either received an incorrect diagnosis or remained undiagnosed. For example, it is not at all uncommon for a child who was initially diagnosed with ADD or ADHD be re-diagnosed with AS. In addition, some individuals who were originally diagnosed with HFA or PDD-NOS are now being given the AS diagnosis and many individuals have a dual diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism.

I guess I could rediagnose myself.

Asperger’s definition from OASIS: What is Asperger Syndrome?

Whatever the case, Asperger’s syndrome is a good thing for the human race.


Written by alienrobotgirl

18 November, 2006 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Asperger's Syndrome

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  1. My first exposure to AS was through a few people at gfcfnn, so I thought Apies were just highly intelligent people with quirky social issues (supposedly a lot of computer programmers are Aspies). I didn’t realize it could be something so serious until I started to research it. The info I found online was confusing to me. That’s why I liked those books so much. I like to change things around, too, and I only have short term obsessions (like planning a holiday, etc). I pick up and lose accents very easily (related to echolalia). Poeple often giggle at my use of formal language. Those of us living pretty normal lives likely all have very mild AS. Knowing I have it has helped me to understand why I struggle with certain things. I started to tell people about it in real life, but they just all looked at me funny, so I stopped. LOL. They don’t really need to know anyway. :-)Steph


    18 November, 2006 at 9:07 pm

  2. “I pick up and lose accents very easily (related to echolalia).”It’s so funny you should say that because I do that too. My mum does it and I find it embarrassing when she does it, but I find myself doing it too. I went on a long holiday to the states for six weeks when I was in my early twenties, and I spent the whole time talking with an American accent and I had no idea why I was doing it, and I kept thinking “stop doing that!” because it was such an embarrassing thing to do, but I couldn’t.I always go into American mode when I talk to Americans on messageboards, I actually have to make a concerted effort not to use American spellings!

    Alien Robot Girl

    19 November, 2006 at 2:56 pm

  3. I’m the same way!! I keep wanting to use British spellings when I write you – I even said “holiday” above, see? LOL. I was in London for 6 days a few years ago and I had already mastered the difference in speech. If I’d been there a few more weeks, I could have sounded like I was born there. :-)Mind the gap.Steph


    24 November, 2006 at 6:23 am

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