Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

Do supercharged brains give rise to autism?

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IMAGINE a world where every sound jars like a jackhammer, every light is a blinding strobe, clothes feel like sandpaper and even your own mother’s face appears as a jumble of frightening and disconnected pieces. This, say neuroscientists Kamila and Henry Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, is how it feels to be autistic.

According to their “intense world” hypothesis, all of autism’s baffling and sometimes incongruous features – social problems, language impairment and obsessive behaviour, sometimes allied to dazzling savant abilities – can be explained by a single neurological defect: a hyperactive brain that makes ordinary, everyday sensory experiences utterly overwhelming.

If they’re right – and the idea is generating a deal of interest among autism experts – the husband-and-wife team could be on course to add a significant new theory to autism research. “It is a very compelling idea,” says neurobiologist Asaf Keller at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, who has arranged a symposium to discuss it at November’s Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC.

Recognition of sensory disturbance in autism goes back as far as the 1940s, and today it is widely seen as a fundamental aspect of the condition. “There is a lot of evidence for sensory hypersensitivity,” says Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. He notes that hypersensitivity can affect the vision, hearing and touch of people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD, see “Autism basics”).

“If you talk to practitioners, invariably they will say, ‘I’ve never seen a child with autism who doesn’t have sensory problems’,” adds Keller. “There’s a strong correlation, maybe 100 per cent.”

The Markrams, however, are the first to put sensory overload at the heart of the condition. “Our hypothesis is that autistic people perceive, feel and remember too much,” says Kamila Markram. Faced with this blooming, buzzing confusion, autistic infants withdraw, with serious consequences for their social and linguistic development. Repetitive behaviours such as rocking and head-banging, meanwhile, can be seen as an attempt to bring order and predictability to a blaring world (Frontiers in Neuroscience, vol 1, p 77).

Most theories of autism assume the affected person has a neurological deficit of some kind – that some part of their brain isn’t working properly (see “Five leading theories of autism”). According to the Markrams’ theory, though, the brain isn’t underperforming but overperforming.

System overload

Along with colleague Tania Rinaldi, they developed their hypothesis largely from work on an animal model of autism, plus human brain imaging, autopsy evidence and the subjective experiences of people with ASD, including Henry Markram’s son who is borderline autistic. “That’s the curse of having parents who are neuroscientists, they are constantly analysing you,” says Kamila Markram. She has observed the boy’s intense fears and anxieties and his struggles with oversensitivity.

For the animal work they used an autism model called the VPA rat. This model is based on dozens of case studies of children whose mothers took the anticonvulsant and mood-stabilising drug valproic acid (VPA) while pregnant. A frighteningly high proportion of these children ended up with some form of autism – around 10 per cent, compared with some 0.08 per cent of the general population.

In the mid-1990s, researchers working on the adverse effects of VPA tried exposing rat fetuses to the drug and found that giving it on the 12th day of gestation – equivalent to the early part of the first trimester in humans – caused major damage to the rats’ developing brainstem. This has far-reaching effects on later brain development and results in socially withdrawn behaviour that looks eerily similar to humans with autism. The VPA rat is now an established animal model of autism.

When the Markrams examined the brains of VPA rats in minute detail, they found that they didn’t just share behavioural traits with autistic humans. Their neuroanatomical changes were similar too.

One of the most replicated findings in autism neurology is abnormal brain growth. At birth the brains of autistic children are small or normal sized, but grow unusually quickly. By age 2 to 3 their brain volume is roughly 10 per cent larger than average. Human autopsy findings by Manuel Casanova of the University of Louisville in Kentucky suggest that part of this extra volume consists of structures called minicolumns in the brain’s outer layer, the cerebral cortex.

You can think of minicolumns as the brain’s microprocessors: clusters of around 80 to 120 neurons that crunch basic neural information, including perception, memory and so on, before it is somehow integrated into a whole. They are the smallest independent processing units in the cortex.

When the Markrams looked at minicolumns in VPA rats they saw some striking changes similar to the human autopsies. First and foremost the minicolumns were unusually abundant. They were also extraordinarily well connected. “Using a technique for recording directly from neurons, we found consistently, over many experiments, that these circuits are hyperconnected,” says Kamila Markram. Each minicolumn neuron in a VPA rat has up to 50 per cent more connections than normal and this causes them to be hyper-reactive, firing more readily when stimulated by an external electrical current. The circuits are also “hyperplastic”, meaning they form connections with other neurons more readily than normal.

Taken together, hyper-reactivity and hyperplasticity mean that minicolumns in VPA rats (and presumably in autistic humans too) have a higher than normal capacity for processing information. And this, say the Markrams, is autism’s fundamental problem.

Take sensory disturbance, for example. Excessive information processing in the microcircuits that handle incoming data from the senses leads to exaggerated perception, producing extremely intense images, sounds, smells and touch, the Markrams claim. Hyperactive microcircuits, meanwhile, could prove difficult to integrate into a whole, so perception would be highly fragmented. This sensory overload causes autistic kids to withdraw from the world, or pay excessive attention to small fragments of it. “It’s what anyone would do if they were embedded in a welter or cacophony of unpredictable events,” says autism researcher Matthew Belmonte of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

The hypothesis also provides an explanation for the three core deficits of ASD. Social problems, for example, are a direct consequence of children withdrawing from the world during critical developmental windows. Because the developing human brain requires repeated exposure to relevant stimuli at the right time to develop properly, early avoidance of social stimuli can have a devastating effect on a child’s social development. “They don’t learn because they don’t interact,” says Kamila Markram.

Similarly, children whose exposure to language during infancy is inadequate will have impaired language skills all their lives. When almost every sensation is overwhelming it’s hard to socialise at all, let alone speak.

Hyperplasticity, meanwhile, could account for repetitive behaviour and the compulsive desire for routine in people with ASD. Plasticity underlies learning and memory, so hyperplastic brains could be primed for what the Markrams call “hypermemory”. “They build very strong memories,” says Kamila Markram. “So strong that you establish a routine that you can’t undo: you are stuck on a track.”

At the same time, however, by locking them into specific narrow interests and compelling them to practise compulsively, hypermemory may be what drives some autistic people to develop savant skills. This appears to be how musical, artistic and mathematical savants develop their talents.

Unfortunately, if their focus is too narrow, savant-like skills can appear to be the exact opposite. “If your focus of attention becomes too local then you may become an expert on such a tiny system – the wheel of your toy car, say – that you end up with very little demonstrable knowledge about other, wider systems,” says Baron-Cohen.
Wired for fear

Another crucial element of the new hypothesis is that VPA rats also have hyperconnectivity and hyperplasticity in the amygdala, the almond-shaped brain structure where memories of fear are made and stored, which looms large in many theories of autism. VPA rats learn to avoid frightening situations more quickly than other rats, readily fear non-threatening stimuli, and are quick to generalise fear from one situation to another. They also have a much harder time learning that a once-scary situation is now safe (Neuropsychopharmacology, vol 33, p 901).

Assuming humans also have these changes in their amygdala, this could further explain some of the symptoms of autism. As a result of an overactive amygdala, says Kamila Markram, autistic people find the world “not only intense, but also aversive”. Ordinary situations can be terrifying and fear is easy to learn and hard to forget. This is another reason why autistic people prefer predictable, repetitive routines and can overreact, sometimes explosively, to change.

So far the intense world hypothesis is playing well with autism experts. “I really think it is spot on,” says Belmonte. “For some years the autism literature has needed a greater focus on the idea of autistic behaviour as a normal response to an abnormal perceptual and cognitive world.” Baron-Cohen too sees many positives. While he disagrees with some aspects of the idea, overall, he says: “The attraction of the research is to find basic differences between the autistic and typical brain, out of which higher cognitive differences such as in systemising may develop. In this view, the higher cognitive differences are secondary to these more basic sensory differences. This is a view I have a lot of sympathy with.”

It also rings true with autistic people. “When I was younger, the school bell was like a dentist’s drill hitting a nerve,” says Temple Grandin, an animal scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins well known for being autistic. “I think it’s difficult for people to imagine a reality where sounds hurt your ears and a fluorescent light is like a discotheque,” she says. The Markrams have also received a positive response from families affected by ASD. “It gives them comfort,” Kamila Markram says, “there are actually reasons why these children aren’t responding well.”

Some experts, however, are not convinced. The strongest critique comes from those who think the hypothesis extrapolates too much from the VPA rat. “[The Markrams are] extremely good on the neurophysiology… but we don’t yet know how to translate what the neurons are doing to what’s happening psychologically,” says neuropsychologist Chris Frith at University College London. “I think they made a leap too far.”

Keller, however, defends the use of animal models, noting that VPA causes the same anatomical and behavioural abnormalities in humans, monkeys and mice. “I see it not as a model, but as a recapitulation of the disease in other species,” he says.

These arguments aside, the intense world theory also has implications for the debate over the ultimate causes of autism. Although autism is highly heritable, genes alone are not enough to explain it; in pairs of identical twins where one twin has autism, the other is affected only 60 per cent of the time at most.

The VPA rat’s striking similarities to autism suggest that the condition might arise early in pregnancy when an as-yet unknown environmental insult combines with genetic vulnerability to damage the brainstem at a vital time. “What this study emphasises is not genetics but environment,” says Casanova. “It also emphasises the idea of a window of vulnerability. The timing of the insult is of great importance.”

This could also explain the wide range of the autistic spectrum, from severe impairment requiring 24-hour care to the near-normality of high-functioning Asperger’s. The later in the window exposure occurs, the less wide-ranging the attack on the fetal brainstem would be, reducing the subsequent damage as more regions would already have had time to develop unharmed.
Testing times

So how can the intense world idea be tested further? One way is to look for a correlation between sensory problems and the severity of ASD. If people with the worst oversensitivity – as measured by reactions to light, sound and touch – have the most incapacitating autism, that would offer support. And if intervening early in sensory problems mitigated the symptoms of autism this would also be evidence in favour.

Keller is collaborating on just such a study with researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who have pioneered early detection in children as young as 6 months. Together they are looking at autistic children at the earliest possible stage to see whether reducing their sensory overload can help. Strategies include noise-reducing headphones and other ways of producing calmer, less stimulating environments.

These same measures already work for children who have endured severe early trauma and neglect, such as being raised in an understaffed or abusive orphanage. These children often have overactive amygdalas, heightened fear memories, are withdrawn and exhibit repetitive behaviours indistinguishable from autism.

The results of early intervention to help autistic children will be watched with interest, not least because one of the most striking features of the intense world hypothesis is that it casts almost everybody on the autistic spectrum as highly gifted. “Basically, our theory really says that most autistic people or people with Asperger’s are savants,” says Kamila Markram. “But this is buried under social withdrawal and fear of new environments. Their resistance to interaction and fear may obscure the hypercapability that they have. It may well turn out that successful treatments could expose truly capable and highly gifted individuals.”

Autism basics

The autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) includes classical autism (now known as autistic disorder), Asperger’s syndrome (also known as high-functioning autism) and a constellation of similar but somewhat ill-defined conditions including Rett’s syndrome, disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Five leading theories of autism

Weak central coherence

Sees autism as a failure to integrate sensory information in a holistic or “gestalt” manner.

Executive function

Impairment of the brain’s frontal lobes causes loss of the top-down “executive” controls which build the big picture at the expense of minutiae.

Mind-blindness

An underactive amygdala – a brain structure central to the processing of emotional information, especially fear – leads to severe problems with empathy and theory of mind.

Extreme male brain

An excess of testosterone during early development magnifies typical male cognitive traits, such as systemising, at the expense of empathy, sociability and other more typically “female” thinking styles.

Intense world

The new kid on the block. Proposes that the root cause of autism is a supercharged brain (see main story).

Do supercharged brains give rise to autism?

Finally! A theory of autism that feels right!

I know that what holds me back socially is not ‘mind-blindness’ or ‘lack of empathy’ but my fear/shyness/stress response to other people. I have evolved several coping mechanisms to deal with this – the most primitive one is laughter. Since being very young, I giggle my way through sentences, even when there’s nothing to laugh at. This helps to relieve the stress response I feel when I interact with people, although it can make people misinterpret me, think I’m flirting with them, or think I’m completely crazy. I described in a previous post how the fear response in the amygdala is goverened by glutamate receptors. Autistics are thought to have brains bristling with glutamate receptors. This is a really good reason autistics should avoid MSG!

The other theories of autism listed above just don’t take into account what it feels like to be autistic or aspie. They are usually patronising and quite insulting and talk about autism in terms of brain damage and what is missing. Though the Markrams still resort to unfortunate language like ‘devastating’ to describe autism (a popular cliché that gets bandied about far too much), they at least take into account the increased brain size and neural processing power that autistics have. Here’s a link to the full text of the intense world hypothesis.

I don’t think they need to fall back on brain stem damage in the majority of autism cases. It just depends whether you were born or made autistic. I think the statistic quoted in the article of 60% autism concordance for twins is misleading – we’re actually talking about either twin just scraping either side of the diagnostic criteria. I’ve seen statistics of eighty or ninety percent in identical twins for more specific features of autism – and some of that mismatch can be explained by simple chaos theory. Things change and go in different directions as they grow. Everyone knows no pair of twins looks exactly alike. The same goes for their personalities.

The extra processing power, brain capacity, savant skills, and intelligence of autistics is usually painted as a meaningless quirk, something that results from the wider ‘brain damage’ in certain autistics. In actual fact it’s central to autism. I think some kids are just so autistic they can’t learn to use the big brains they’ve been gifted with because they can’t break through the fear, learn language, or deal with the sensory amplification.

I’ve been frustrated that the ‘theory of the mind’ (that autistics are ‘mind-blind’ to others and unable to empathise) seems to describe a condition that sounds completely alien to me, yet when I read the blogs of other auties and aspies, I see myself quite clearly. Sometimes doctors describe autistics as though they are emotionless automatons. This is far from the truth, especially as many autistics have parents or close relatives who have bipolar disorder. You can’t get more emotional than bipolar disorder. I feel things very deeply. A lack of empathy isn’t central to autism, it’s just a feature of the social withdrawal.

At last this is an attempt to understand autism from the autistic’s perspective instead of the perspective of the neurotypical observer. One could in fact accuse those neurotypical observers as being mind-blind themselves, for failing to empathise with the autistic and placing too great an emphasis on what are actually the secondary effects of the brain differences (lack of sociability, lack of empathy, lack of conformism, need for routine), instead of the primary effects (fear, stress, sensory amplification, pain, increased processing power).

In spite of the difficult sensory and emotional issues, there are so many positives to autism. That increased processing power creates great programmers and engineers, and even artists and writers (I’m sure Dean Koontz and Poppy Z Brite are at least half-aspie). I don’t think the modern world would actually function without aspies in the workforce acting as lynchpins and keystones in those highly specialised jobs no one else can do. I would argue that the autistic personality and brain are required by the modern age, and that many inventions and technological advances would not have occurred without the effort of individuals who have autistic tendencies.

Sometimes the sensory disturbances themselves can lead to great talent. A lot of musicians and composers have autistic traits. When music takes over your brain, your brain can learn the patterns in the music. My sister and I both have a perfect ear. We can distinguish tiny differences in pitch between notes. My sister  harnessed her heightened sensory perception of sound and became a musician who can pick up tunes and distinguish and name notes by ear.

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Written by alienrobotgirl

25 September, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Posted in Autism

4 Responses

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  1. Hello again,
    First thank you very much for the links on food and chemical sensitivity. I can’t wait to start researching this!

    I find this topic re: autism interesting for very personal reasons… my whole life I’ve had really bad social difficulties and I’m not exactly sure how to get “over” it. I have so many autistic traits, but I concluded I can’t be autistic because I have a very active strong emotional response to faces and I understand emotional context of language very well. My emotional understanding is in tact… but there is something wrong with my ability or interest to be socially involved in the world none the less. Like you, it is mostly a fear / ineptitude issue.

    If I were autistic so many things would fit for me. I have this “hyperfocus” tendency where I become obsessed with whatever I do. I’m very good at figuring out systems, mechanically inclined, and it is natural to me to like understand how to build and repair anything that goes wrong with computer or machines. In social situations I am baffled/lost, and socializing is to me as figuring out how to fix a computer is for most people. I feel like an alien sometimes.
    Also I feel like I have “savant” qualities in the sense that I have talent which comes with sacrifice of normal ability… for example, I have artistic ability at the expense of social development. In fact when I was a kid, one of the other students saw my drawings and said “are you one of those people who is retarded but like in a good way?” The reason he said this is because my art “gift” clearly came with the expense of my social “deficits”.
    People call me robot. They say my brain is like a computer, it kinda stores so much info about a small topic, it’s just natural to me.
    I also find it curious that a lot of people who take care of severely autistic people tend to gravitate to me and “help” me, almost by second nature… it is always true when someone comes to my “rescue” in a social situation and seems to get me (rather than feel freaked out by me), that they have a relative with autism. Caretakers of autistic people empathize with me.

    So, like, I really wonder if I might be autistic… but ultimately my emotional processing is very in tact… and that is the core deficit in autism (emotionally/mind blind).
    Also, regarding enhanced senses, this is there but it is mild. When I was a kid there were a few sensations that were disorganizing and overwhelming (like velvet under fingers or grass under feet) but this is rare.

    Sometimes I think that when it comes to autism, it’s basically what happens when an otherwise very extreme introvert (with an extremely sensitive dopamine system ) experiences some sort of prenatal trauma so as to damage the parts of the brain involved in say, organizing sensory input and understanding emotions in language and faces. People who are introverts are more sensitive to developing this trauma, because it might be they have “one foot int he door” so to speak, the condition of being introverted might already sacrifice some of that function by the nature of our brains. So when you add on damage from a prenatal / post natal immune system response, the result could be autism (severe deficit in organizing perception of stimuli and emotional understanding).

    I think people who are very, very introverted like me can appear autistic, because if you reach a certain level of introversion it starts to look like aspbergers. There is a lot of social difficulty involved in being introverted, but it’s not for the same reasons as an autistic and this there in is the difference. For me, I emotionally tuned in and understand communication/expression, but because I am so introverted and prone to being overwhelmed people just stress me out and this makes my brain withdraw as a self protective mechanism. It’s unconscious, and I just tune out, I can’t stay “with it” because it’s too overwhelming.
    For an autistic, depending on how severe, they really can’t understand what people mean, or what faces mean, or language… PLUS they also have the same burden as any introvert (being overwhelmed thus afraid).

    There is so much debate over where “introvert” ends and where “autistic spectrum” begins, and I think it is only fair to say that autistic must always begin when there is a loss of normal mental processes.

    I do think there is a huge connection between extreme introversion, bipolar disorder, and autism … and I think that connection is a highly sensitive and somehow atypical dopamine system, which is integral to having that heightened perception, senses, and fixation. Bipolar and autism share similarities in that they may be the result of immune system dysfunctions affecting the brain.

    A pet theory of mine is that anorexia nervosa often represents a female-specific form of autism. The behaviors and personalities of individuals with anorexia nervosa are strikingly similar to autism – there is usually hypersensitivity to the environment, a systematic way of looking at the world, an inability to process what is going on around them normally, a fixation on small meaningless details and an inability to shift attention from it giving way to compulsive behaviors, etc.

    I think there is some truth to the “male brain” theory in that I think testosterone may worsen or exacerbate the symptoms (so being male might be the difference between mild symptoms, vs being completely unable to understand emotions in faces for example and being obsessed with systems to the point of entire social withdrawal). I think if you take a brain which is otherwise geared toward autism, replacing testosterone for estrogen protects against classic autism but possibly raises the risk for compulsive starvation behaviors because of how estrogen affects the serotonin system. This produces nervous loss of appetite in women with very sensitive serotonin systems, and if there is also the predisposition toward having those autistic-like traits, starvation, food and the body can quickly become another system to compulsively deconstruct, understand, and organize.

    itsthewooo

    26 September, 2008 at 8:01 am

  2. Hi Woo,

    Interesting thoughts. I personally think that extreme introversion is central to autism and mind-blindness is simply something caused incidentally by that introversion. For years, based on that stereotype, I thought autism had nothing to do with me. When I started reading blogs by other people with autism and asperger’s syndrome (some of whom don’t even SPEAK in the real world), I was astonished by the similarities they had with me. They were emotional, intelligent people whose responses to others were based around fear, stress and paranoia.

    If you study the behaviours of very autistic children, they start to make sense if you think ‘this child is afraid’. When children fail to engage and make eye contact, they’re doing what I do to get people to leave me alone! Other autistics just talk and talk. I know people who just can’t stop talking, and when I ask them why, they usually say it’s because they get nervous.

    I think you might benefit from reading this old post of mine. It’s where I discover I have asperger’s syndrome. For years I used to think to myself, ‘god, I’m such an autistic’ in a humorous kind of way… It might be worth you taking the tests that I link to. The AQ test and the Baron-Cohen tests are used by psychologists to diagnose autism. I also have very good facial/emotional recognition. Perhaps because I’m female. Female aspies aren’t quite the same as the regular male aspie stereotype. I’d be interested to know your scores. It’s entirely possible to be half-aspie.

    You do kinda write like an aspie – you’re a confident expert in your field of interest and I like the way you write. It’s not often I get comments that actually point out stuff I don’t already know. Tee hee! Neurotypical people tend to say things like ‘I think/might/perhaps/what if’ and only write short comments. When I first went online, I had to actively learn to shorten my comments (lol, I don’t do that very well), and to add in that modest/suggestion language instead of stating facts as facts, because people misinterpreted my scientific/factual language as arrogance. LOL. The list of aspie/neurotypical misunderstandings goes on and on.

    alienrobotgirl

    27 September, 2008 at 12:01 am

  3. Hi again,
    Thank you for replying to my long comments again (that’s another thing… I can’t seem to stop rambling and I either don’t say anything or I talk waaay too much, I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are aspbergers communicate the way I do). I have been trying to shorten my comments to include only the most relevant on topic information but it’s hard. I think it is related to the social deficits. Even when communicating I am focusing on the idea/thing rather than the communication to the other person so I make these long rambling posts that are like a transcription of what I”m thinking. I speak this way as well. Very little, unless it is about an idea or subject I understand then I just pour out words and people look at me surprised that I talk at all LOL.
    I know exactly what you mean about coming across as arrogant, I had to make a big effort to use language that modified my viewpoint in a more emotionally neutral way. I find necessary because of others emotions surrounding certain discussions, even if the information was entirely objective and factual. I’m still not always successful with this but much improved.

    Here were my scores:
    On the aq test I got a 34
    On the baron-cohen tests I scored a 36 for systemizing, a 23 for empathizing, a 30 on the aspberger spectrum quotient test, and a 29 for the mind’s eye test. I took the systemizing test again and got a 50 though.

    This seems to indicate I have some of the traits of the systemizing aspects… whereas I have lots of the empathizing deficits.

    Personally I think the “systemizing” test was very gender stereotyped. A lot of the examples I didn’t feel any interest in, like stocks or sports tables or big machines, because these are more male interests. If they had used an example like dieting (weight trend tables, average calorie intakes and macronutrients) that would have been different, and I find sort of data very interesting, even soothing. Small electronics and computers I find extremely interesting, whereas trains and planes less so (although I do often have ideas pop into my head about how these things work when I see them).

    I actually laughed when I saw the question on “finding grammar structure interesting” because like, just a few hours ago I was reading about japanese honorifics finding that very interesting and all. I always have been very excited by the nuts and bolts of language. When I was a kid I would have my mom read me the dictionary, because I found the wide variety of words themselves more interesting than stories.

    Mind’s eye (facial interpretation) is absolutely normal, even borderline above average just like you. Thank god because I am a nurse! I consider myself very empathetic in spite of my social deficits… one of the reasons I”ve always felt a drive to do some kind of nursing work is because it is a great way for me to express my empathetic/caring side without requiring social skills that much. There’s a great paradox in me, in that I am deeply emotional but socially retarded and damaged somehow. Most of a nurses caring work is through procedures and vigilance.

    You have definitely given me a lot to think about!… I’ve become used to thinking of my social issues as something bad, something I’ve got to get over my “social phobia”…perhaps it is simply who I am? I am, after all, very content to be alone, to do my thing, social situations not only overwhelm me but I get very little out of social interaction. I am genuinely happy in my little world.

    itsthewooo

    27 September, 2008 at 11:00 am

  4. Hi Woo. I have to say I’m not surprised! You’re going to develop a radar for spotting aspie traits in others now. 🙂

    I felt like my personality took a bit of a knock when I realised this about myself, but it was quite a revelation too. The world started making more sense. I felt much happier about myself when I stopped thinking there was something wrong with me. There’s nothing particularly wrong with being shy. On the other hand it’s pretty cool to be smart and be able to figure out how things work. I view asperger’s as a gift. A double-edged sword, but still a gift.

    alienrobotgirl

    27 September, 2008 at 8:13 pm


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