I think i have aspergers: What are the Signs and Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?
There are many signs and symptoms of Asperger’s. Your child might display just a few, several, or all the signature behaviors.
One telltale sign of Asperger’s syndrome is having difficulty in social situations.
Common symptoms of Asperger’s that may impact social interaction or communication include:
- Problems making or maintaining friendships
- Isolation or minimal interaction in social situations
- Poor eye contact or the tendency to stare at others
- Trouble interpreting gestures
- Inability to recognize humor, irony, and sarcasm
- Inappropriate behaviors or odd mannerisms
- Problems expressing empathy, controlling emotions, or communicating feelings
- Lack of common sense
- Tendency to engage in one-sided conversations (about oneself)
- Fascination with certain topics
- Interpretation of information as literal
- The preference for a strict schedule or routine
An adult or child with Asperger’s may not show all these signs, but in general, tends to struggle in social situations.
Some people might interpret a child’s symptoms as simply rude behavior. For instance, individuals with Asperger’s might talk exclusively about themselves. They may not recognize when someone is uncomfortable, disinterested, or offended. Because they don’t always recognize social cues, they may speak loudly at inappropriate times, such as during a church service.
A person with Asperger’s might talk obsessively about one particular subject. For example, he or she might be able to recite different types of flowers or sports statistics. (2)
Language and Speech Issues
Unlike other autism spectrum disorders, a person with Asperger’s typically doesn’t experience a speech delay. But, they do have specific language behaviors that set them apart.
A child or adult with Asperger’s may exhibit the following:
- A scripted, formal, or “robotic” type of speaking
- Lack of inflection when talking
- Repetitive speech
- Trouble using language in a social context
- Loud or high-pitched speech
Individuals with Asperger’s typically have an advanced vocabulary and good grammar skills but might not be able to use language appropriately in social situations. (3)
To an outsider, the speech pattern of a child with Asperger’s may sound unusual. They may speak in a very monotone or rhythmic manner, with a loud voice.
Typically, kids and adults with Asperger’s have normal to above-average intelligence. While some excel academically, others might struggle.
Some common cognitive traits in people with Asperger’s include:
- A superior rote memory
- Ability to understand technical or factual information
- Trouble absorbing abstract information
- Tendency to focus on details, which may result in missing “the bigger picture”
Children with Asperger’s might experience trouble focusing or have a nonverbal associated learning disability that can affect their reading, writing, or math skills. Still, many don’t have any cognitive issues. (3,4)
Kids with Asperger’s might experience physical symptoms, such as:
- Delay in motor skills
- Awkward movements
- Problems with coordination
- Sensitivity to loud noises, odors, clothing, or food textures
Children with Asperger’s may appear clumsy or awkward. They might have trouble with simple activities, such as catching a ball or swinging on monkey bars at a playground. But some kids don’t have any motor skill problems. (2)
Top 10 signs you have Aspergers
A humorous look at Aspergers. Englebert updated this blog post in 2021 here.
by Englebert Lau
What are the top 10 signs you have Asperger’s Syndrome?
1) You have inflexible routines
Girl: “Let’s go watch a movie tonight.”
Guy: “I can’t, I have to play hockey.”
Girl: “You play hockey every Friday night. Why can’t you change your routine?”
Guy: “Good habits are important. Do you know what happens if I skip hockey to watch a movie tonight? Next week, I’ll skip hockey because you want to go shopping. The week after that, I’ll have to skip hockey because you want to paint pottery. After years of no exercise, I’ll die early and overweight. Is that what you want?”
Girl: “Oh my god, you’re crazy.”
2) You have trouble displaying emotion
[Emotion #1: happy]
Girl: “Oh my god, you just won the lotto. Why don’t you look happy?”
Guy: “I am happy. I can pay off my mortgage faster. Look, I’m smiling. Doesn’t that mean I’m happy?”
[Emotion #2: sad]
Girl: “I’m sorry to hear that Calgary lost to Toronto. Are you okay?”
Guy: “I’m sad. Look, I’m not smiling. Doesn’t that prove I’m sad?”
[Emotion #3: angry]
Girl: “I’m so sorry that I broke your Batman DVD.”
Guy: “I’m angry. Do I need to snap one of your shoes in half to prove that I’m upset?”
3) You have trouble figuring what is appropriate in social situations
Guy: [Gives flimsy hug]
Girl: “Why is your hug so weak? Are you afraid of women?”
Guy: [Gives firm hug]
Girl: “Why are you squeezing me so tightly? Stop choking me, you weirdo!”
4) You lack empathy
Guy: “What’s wrong?”
Girl: “My boyfriend just dumped me.”
Guy: “Would you like a Kleenex?”
Girl: “What’s wrong with you? Haven’t you ever loved someone for years, then watched them walk away and then rip out your heart? Why can’t you show any emotion?”
Guy: “But I’m having a good day. The Calgary Flames won the hockey game. Why do I have to pretend that I’m sad just to make you feel better?”
5) You know way too much information about a single topic
Girl: “What’s the name of the girl who plays Daenerys on Game of Thrones?”
Guy: “Emilia Clarke.”
Girl: “How old is she?”
Guy: “She’s 28, born on May 1st, 1987.”
Girl: “Who is she going out with?”
Guy: “She broke up with Seth MacFarlane in March 2013.”
Girl: “Why do you know this stuff?
6) You have trouble figuring out when to lie
Girl: “Does this dress make me look fat?”
Girl: “What the hell is wrong with you?” [Throws shoe at guy]
Guy: “Do you want me to lie, or tell the truth? It’s one or the other. You can’t have both!”
7) You have trouble describing basic emotions
Girl: “So how would you describe yourself when you’re angry?”
Guy: “I change the pitch of my voice. People who yell are usually upset.”
Girl: “But at a hockey game, if the Flames score a goal, people yell because they’re happy.”
Guy: “Emotions are unreliable. Why do you always ask how I feel? Why can’t you focus on reliable information, like facts?”
Girl: “You’re weird. You’re an emotionless robot.”
8) You care way too much about organizing stuff
Girl: [Puts DVD back on shelf]
Guy: “What the hell are you doing?”
Girl: “I’m putting your Batman Blu-Ray back on your shelf. What’s your problem?”
Guy: “Did you go to kindergarten? Alphabetical order is “A”, then “B”, then “C”. You almost put Batman on my shelf after Community. Good lord. How can I find a DVD when you’re messing up my stuff?”
Girl: “Dude, relax. It’s just a Blu-Ray. It’s no big deal.”
Guy: “Sure. Just like the alphabet and kindergarten are no big deal. Without kindergarten, we wouldn’t be able to have this conversation!”
9) You have trouble understanding other people’s emotions
Girl: “Wasn’t Romeo and Juliet the best story every written? Didn’t the story make you feel really sad?”
Guy: “I didn’t feel anything. All I learned from Romeo and Juliet is that it’s important to develop technology.”
Girl: “What’s wrong with you? Romeo and Juliet both gave up their lives because they were in love. They made the ultimate sacrifice for each other!”
Guy: “Can you imagine if they lived in 2015? All they had to do was send each other one lousy text message. Bam! Problem solved. No one had to die.”
Girl: “Oh my god. You’re an emotionless robot who doesn’t understand romance.”
Guy: “Hey, it’s not my fault that they didn’t invent cell phones in the Middle Ages.”
10) You need other people to provide clear schedules and expectations
Girl: “We should hang out some time.”
Guy: “What does that mean? What day do you want to hang out? How long do you want to hang out? What do you want to do? Can you be more specific? What does hanging out mean? Does that mean doing something that you want to do? Do I have to hang out with new people, which will cause me to analyze what is acceptable social behaviour, which changes from one person to the next person? Why can’t you define anything clearly?”
* * *
Englebert Lau was diagnosed with a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 30. The majority of Englebert’s professional career has been working in Information Technology as a Business Analyst. Englebert created http://www.hitchhikeraspie.com. The purpose of this website is to share a light-hearted perspective on Asperger’s Syndrome. Englebert would like to increase exposure about Asperger’s Syndrome for a wide range of people, by providing examples of how it affects his everyday life. Englebert loves TV series and movies, especially the HBO Game of Thrones series.
Artwork: Debbie Denenburg – Giant Purple Planet
The Art of Autism realizes many people come to this page with the questions, Do I have Autism? or, Do I have Aspergers? We recommend diagnosis by a professional. However, there are a couple of popular online quizzes that may give you an indication if you might be on the spectrum:
Should I Get Diagnosed If I Have Asperger’s Syndrome?
Usually, I write about children or adolescents on the autism spectrum. However, I’ve been getting quite a number of emails lately from adults wondering if they have Asperger’s Syndrome or not, so I decided to share some information from my book 41 Things to Know About Autism.
Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a high functioning form of autism that has only been an official diagnosis since 1994. Adults with AS who seek help with challenges they face are sometimes misdiagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental illnesses. It is important that adults questioning whether or not they have AS, seek the services of a professional experienced in assessing AS in adults (see resources below).
If you are an adult with characteristics resembling AS, why does it matter if you get a diagnosis or not? If you are functioning well and have a job, and are happy with the life you have, then there is no reason to get a diagnosis. On the other hand, if you are struggling in important areas of your life, a diagnosis can provide a framework to understand and learn about behavioral and emotional challenges that have seemed unexplainable until now. Although challenges in sensory integration (the ability to organize sensory information for use by the brain) are not considered diagnostic criteria, I have yet to meet a person with Asperger’s who doesn’t have a sensory challenge of one kind or the other.
Some areas of difficulty where Asperger’s Syndrome could possibly be a factor:
- Do you have a tough time making and/or keeping friends, and don’t understand why? Or perhaps your friends are only interested in you when you’re engaged in an activity or interest that you share, but you have not built a personal relationship.
- Are parties not your thing because you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed? Social events are a great way to meet people and they can be essential for business, dating, and even marriage. But if you are uncomfortable because you are unsure of what to wear, how to start conversations, you have a hard time reading body language, then these supposedly fun events can be torturous.
- Do you avoid social events because you can’t hear the person next to you over the hum of the crowd, you don’t like the touch of shaking people’s hands or having people pat you on the back? Do you a problem focusing on what people are saying while looking at them?
- Have you ever met someone special that you wanted to get to know better, but didn’t have a clue as to how to go about asking him or her out on a date?
- Has someone you are very fond of pointed out certain behaviors that drive them crazy and suggested that you might have Asperger’s Syndrome. Maybe there is something to their suggestion.
- Do you have a passionate interest in a certain subject or topic? Perhaps you’ve been called obsessive but you think you’re just very interested in one incredibly fascinating subject matter. This passionate topic could help you in other areas of your life if only you knew how to use it.
- If you are a college student, do you have trouble keeping up with coursework and finishing a degree? Perhaps you could use some help in getting and staying organized and planning your time.
- Do you have trouble getting and keeping a job that reflects your abilities even though your credentials look great on paper? It could be that you are very talented but don’t have a clue as to how to sell yourself during an interview. Maybe the office politics are just something you don’t get, so you are routinely passed up when it comes to promotions.
Why you should get a diagnosis, if indeed you do have Asperger’s Syndrome:
- You can begin the process of learning to live more adaptively with an Asperger’s brain.
- Getting a diagnosis may help you find the strategies you need to be more successful in the areas where you are facing challenges.
- It may also help others in your life to understand why you are the way you are and respond to you differently.
- There is a whole community of people who get who you are, how you think, how you feel, and that you can share experiences with.
- There are autism and AS support groups out there (online as well as in person) who can help you in many ways so you don’t have to feel isolated and figure everything out for yourself.
- You may be eligible for services in areas of need thanks to having a diagnosis — perhaps help with finding a job or a place to live.
How to find out if you have Asperger’s Syndrome or not:
- Typically you need to see either a clinical social worker, a licensed professional counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or neuropsychiatrist. It is important to see a professional who specializes in autism spectrum disorders or Asperger’s Syndrome who is familiar with Asperger’s Syndrome in adults.
- One way to find the right person in your geographical location is to contact The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership (GRASP), and the Autism Society of America (ASA). These organizations may have chapters in your area. If not, they can provide you with the names of professionals who would know someone to refer you to, in your geographical area.
- if you know the parents of children with autism, ask them about the professionals in your area familiar with autism. If those professionals cannot help you, they will refer you to someone in your area familiar with AS in adults.
To find a therapist who specializes in autism, you can also visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.
So You Think it May be Asperger’s…Now What? Where to Find the Help You Need – The Asperger / Autism Network (AANE)
If you have just found out – or if you suspect – that you or someone in your care has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), you may feel as bewildered as Alice in Wonderland, just after she fell down the rabbit hole! It’s a whole new reality now, and you are probably going to need a guide or two to find your way around this new world. You may feel confused and overwhelmed, as you struggle to absorb a lot of new information, to decide what you need to do, and to figure out where to turn for help. You may find yourself asking: “What kind of help do I need? What is the right combination of service and supports to ensure the best possible future for me, or for my child? And where can I turn to obtain these services? What kinds of people, with what kings of titles and training, can help me most effectively?” Because the good news is, there are a lot of medical and mental health professionals out there – and the bad news is, there are a lot of medical and mental health professionals out there!
To whom should you turn if your kid with AS is driving you or his teachers crazy with his behavior, or if you think you need medication? What are “social pragmatic language” and “sensory integration,” which everyone in the parent support group is talking about? Are these things you or your kid needs- and who can provide those kinds of help? Do you need the services of a psychiatrist, psychologist, neurologist, neurophysiologist, or a psychopharmacologist? A social work, occupational therapist, a developmental or behavioral pediatrician? Yikes! Where do you start?
If you have not already done so, your first priority should be to get an official, properly documented diagnosis. For both adults and children with AS (or other conditions on the autism spectrum), the diagnosis serves as your starting point for securing future treatment, service, and support. For children, the diagnosis is essential for obtaining services from public schools; these services will be outlines in an Individualized Educational Plan (or “IEP”). The AS diagnosis may help adults qualify for important social security benefits, housing, or employment assistance from agencies like Mass Rehab. To obtain a diagnosis, you will probably need to get an evaluation from a neurophysiologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or…– but be sure that this professional also has experience with AS. Don’t be shy! If you suspect you or your child has AS, be sure to ask about the professional’s degree of past experience with AS. This professional will administer a range of cognitive and projective tests to determine the diagnosis. The same person will also write up a formal report, which will be an important tool for communicating with the school system or government agencies from which you will be requesting services.
Once you have the diagnosis, you will probably wish to have the support and expertise of one or more professionals who can help with specific issues. AS is a very complex condition; individuals with AS differ widely in their needs—the needs of each “Aspie” (individual with AS) will probably change significantly over time. Most individuals or families whose lives are affected by AS benefit a lot from having one knowledgeable professional who gets to know you or your child well, follows the Aspie’s progress over time, sees the “big picture,” and can help you choose which interventions and therapies will be most helpful in the current situation or stage of development. This person might be a social worker, a psychiatrist, behavioral psychologist, and education consultant. He or she should be someone who knows a lot about AS, and with whom you have a friendly and mutually respectful relationship, so that you can call them with questions or problems as they come up. This person may also be able to serve as an advocate for you or your child, since personnel in school systems and government agencies sometimes respond better to other professionals who “speak their language” or have clout.
Let us introduce you to some professionals who work with people with AS, and who may be helpful to you. We have asked a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker and a neurophysiologist, and member of a developmental team, to describe their role in supporter and serving someone with AS. Others in the same profession may offer different services or take a different approach, but we hope that the essays below will prove helpful, and we thank all our contributors.
This list of professionals that can help the individual with Asperger’s Syndrome and their family is by no means complete. Hopefully this article will serve as a guide indicating where to start looking for an appropriate professional. Individual choices will necessarily be based on logistics, cost, and your personal rapport with the doctor.
Besides those who wrote for us, other therapist may be enlisted to help with specific develop-mental problems, such as a speech and language pathologist for language therapy/social skills training, or an occupational therapist for ameliorating sensory integration and motor/coordination difficulties. (Maybe we can hear from some of these professionals in future issues of the newsletter.) For a child, these services will often be provided through the public school system. (However, you may need to advocate strongly to get them included in the IEP. If the school resists, you may need an educational advocate or, as a last resort, a lawyer experienced in special education/Chapter 766 laws, to make sure the student gets all the services he or she needs.).
If the school does not provide service your child needs, you may need to seek a private provider. AANE staff, or other families, may be able to help you find someone in your area. Call AANE, talk to the parent in one of our face-to-face support groups, call a parent from the AANE Parent Networking List, or post your problem on AANE’s interactive message board.
|AANE’S SYNOPSIS OF PRIVATE PROFESSIONALS|
|For an Initial Diagnosis, Evaluation or Re-evaluation:Psychiatrist (some)
Neurologist (usally to rule out other neurological issues, although some may give a diagnosis)Behavioral Issues:Social Worker
Clinical PsychologistSpeech Pragmatics / Social Skills:Speech and Language Pathologist
Sensory Issues:Speech and Language Pathologist
PsychiatristFamily Issues:Social Worker
Issues with School Providing Services
766 AdvocateHelp Figuring out What to Do in School:Educational Consultant
Employment Issues:Employment Specialist
Interdisciplinary Team Assessments
The Social Worker
By: Linda Weisberg, LICSW, Newton, MA
Social workers can assist individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome in a number of ways depending upon their age, level of cognitive ability, range of symptom severity, and family concerns.
Social workers provide supportive counseling to parents of young children whose diagnosis is unclear during the preschool years. This uncertainty creates significant stress for parents. Counseling can help parent cope with the wide range of emotions they experience during the diagnostic process and afterwards when the child with Asperger’s Syndrome attends early intervention programs and elementary school. Social workers also aid families in finding appropriate respite care, recreational opportunities, and psychiatric service if medication for the child or other family members is needed.
Many social workers focus on the individual with Asperger’s Syndrome in the context of the family. They are well aware of sibling issues and the strains on the parents’ relationship and help by providing marital counseling, parent guidance and behavior management strategies. Extended family members such as grandparents may not understand the problems of raising a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, and the social worker might recommend a family meeting to help ease tensions.
Adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome face a number of challenges. A social worker may help them to channel their individual interests to better understand their social relationships and sexuality. As families begin to consider plans for their children beyond high school, social workers provide counseling to ease the transition and to also identify educational and vocational programs and housing options available to young adults.
Independent living and sustaining employment or performing adequately in a supportive job placement can often present challenges for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome. Social workers can offer supportive counseling and clinical case management.
Clinical case management is a directed form of assistance by a social worker, who with the client’s permission, coordinates vocational, residential, and social programs. Family members are usually involved. Supportive counseling for both adolescents and adults with Asperger’s Syndrome includes learning to interpret social situations in order to improve social skills and to appropriately manage work responsibilities.
Social workers may bill insurance companies or an HMO for their services if they are members of provider panels. It is necessary to check with the particular social worker to ascertain if he/she can bill your particular insurance plan. Otherwise, it is possible to pay privately, and some practitioners might offer an extended payment plan or sliding fee.
To find a social worker who can assist you, call the Social Work Referral Service of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Social Workers at 617-720-2828. Also your physician, local school system or local Asperger association might assist with a referral to a social worker.
By: Teresa M. Kohlenberg, M.D, Belmont, MA
The psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has trained in the diagnosis and treatment of emotional disorders, using both “talking” therapy and medication. Psychiatrists usually complete at least a year of basic medical training (internship) and three years training in mental health care of adults, after which Child Psychiatrist add two years training with children and adolescents. There are also some Child Psychiatrists who initial training is in Pediatrics. Child Psychiatry training provides a great exposure to the developmental issues involved in Asperger’s Syndrome and related disorders, as well as the different medications available and their proper use in children. Many (but not all) psychiatrists who work with children with these disorders have gotten additional training or exposure in specialized settings.
What a child psychiatrist offers depends to a certain degree on their training and areas of expertise. The following list starts with the services more child psychiatrist offer, then includes services some, but not all, will offer.
- Perform a thorough evaluation of a child’s/adolescent’s emotional functioning.
- Make a diagnosis of AS and associated emotional or behavioral disorders.
- Suggest further appropriate medical and psychological testing.
- Prescribe and monitor medication as part of a treatment team.
- Provide ongoing individual or group therapy to the child.
- Provide family treatment, developmental a behavioral guidance and support to parents.
- Outline a comprehensive treatment plan in collaboration with psychologists, educators, social workers, and other involved in the child’s care.
- Provide consultation to the schools and attend planning meetings.
- Advocate for the child and family with schools and other agencies.
By: Gary Eisenhower, Ed. M, Marblehead, MA
Appropriate treatment planning for a child with Asperger’s Syndrome involved a constellation of individuals-including informed parents, teachers, psychopharmacists, pediatric neurologists, behavioral psychologists, neurophysiologists, clinical psychologists, etc. In my experience, it seems that the clinical psychologist often plays a coordinating role in the overall treatment plan for the child with Asperger’s.
The clinical psychologist may be initially involved in the diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and associated disorders. Common secondary diagnoses include ADHD, depression, generalized anxiety, or more specific anxiety disorders such as OCD or panic attacks. Treatment of these disorders involves specific therapies and consultation with other professionals.
The clinical psychologist also must help identify and reduce stressors in the environments in which the child functions. As stress is lowered generally around the child with Asperger’s, the child will be able utilize his/her own talents and interests, rather than having to generate inappropriate defenses against troublesome stressors. At a minimum, this will include necessary informational discussions with the child’s family and school regarding appropriate expectations for peer group interactions, family interactions, learning style, etc. Family therapy, Chapter 504 plans, special education plans and summer planning are common interventions at this level of treatment.
The clinical psychologist will likely be involved with the child and family for several year, sometimes on a monitoring relationship two or three times a year, sometimes doing family therapy, and sometimes more frequently and regularly with the child as new concerns may emerge.
By: Suzanne Dowdall, Ph. D, Wellesley, MA
And Kathleen Curran Ph. D, Newton, MA
A neuropsychologist is a licensed psychologist who has received a doctorate (Ph D., Psy. D, or Ed. M) signifying extensive instruction and supervised training, and has received additional specialized training in behavioral, psychological and emotional aspects of neurological disorders. The work they perform includes diagnosis, treatment, as well as consultation regarding a variety of disorders, including Asperger’s.
Evaluative tools employed by neuropsychologists include interviews with both the client and significant others, observations, as well as a wide array of ‘standardized’ tests where and individual’s performance can be compared with their peers) and may include academic and personality tests. This information is integrated to paint a complete diagnostic picture of neuropsychological strengths and weaknesses in a variety or areas (for instance: social-emotional functioning, expressive and receptive language skills, visual/spatial organization, problem solving, memory and learning, attention). Recommendations are created and neuropsychologists will often work collaboratively with a variety of other professionals to share and communicate their findings.
Basing their work on an understanding of the impact of brain functioning on behavior, thinking, learning, and emotion, neuropsychologists are able to help individuals, their families, and other working with them to capitalize on strengths and address difficulties.
The Interdisciplinary Team Assessments for Children with AS
By: Ellen Perrin at the Center for Children with Special Needs, New England Medical Center, Boston MA.
An interdisciplinary team evaluation aims to identify children’s strengths and weaknesses in medical, cognitive, emotional, academic, linguistic, social, motor, and sensory domains, and to integrate them into a coherent picture.
Most interdisciplinary teams are compromised of some combination of developmental-behavioral pediatricians, psychologists, or neuropsychologists, educational specialists, speech/language pathologists, clinical social workers, physical therapists and occupational therapists. An advantage of working with an integrated team is that the information and advice that you will be give is consistent and not contradictory.
Developmental-behavioral pediatricians take a long-term development and ecological view of children and families, and are particularly familiar with the necessity to work together with other professionals and parents. They also can evaluate and treat some of the psychiatric symptoms that often contribute to children’s difficulties. Developmental behavioral pediatricians may be especially helpful in pulling together the various evaluations and recommendations, and in following the child’s and family’s progress over time. Psychologists evaluate the child’s cognitive or intellectual strengths and weaknesses and can identify aspects of the child’s learning and emotional style. Children with AS are often quite bright, but may have subtle organizational problems or rigid thinking styles that affect independent work, organization, written output, and abstract thinking. Educational specialists look at children’s academic skill development in reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics. This assessment helps to determine what educational interventions will be most likely to be effective.
Many children and adults with AS have difficulty with pragmatic language, that is the ability to use language appropriately for social communication and reciprocal social interaction. Speech/language pathologists look at the child’s language functioning, not only in terms of linguistic development and receptive and expressive language, but in the areas of higher-order language and pragmatics. Physical and occupational therapists evaluate and help children to improve the motor clumsiness or visual-motor integration problems which affect their strength, tone, ability to participate in sports and writing tasks in school, and address their sensory integration problems.
Clinical social workers assess how the child is functioning at home and the stressors his/her difficulties may be causing within the family. They help the family identify these issues, provide individual and family therapy, assist with information about resources and referrals to community agencies, and provide support and advice for advocating within the school system.
The advantage of a team of professionals who work together is that you will get one comprehensive evaluation with recommendations that are consistent with each other.
I might have Asperger’s Syndrome, but do I really want to know?
Most people are unaware of the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. They include an unusually high IQ and a difficulty surviving in the social world. The fact that the symptoms vary in gender doesn’t help. Serenity Baruzzini, age 14, does not yet have a formal diagnosis, but she is struggling to decide whether or not she wants one at all.
Let me set the scene for you. It’s hot outside. We’re sitting near some old children’s playground toys, eating ice cream. The summer smells like riding old bicycles and blueberries. We talk for the longest time about Goosebumps books and what being alive feels like. I remember him mentioning something about wondering if the living dead still counts as being alive.
Dakota has autism.
This was a few summers ago, when we met up with our parents at a Schwinn bike swap. He is high functioning and a heck of a good time to talk to and hang out with. Out of all the friends I’ve had, I probably feel the most comfortable and can relate to the autistic ones the most. People just don’t seem to understand the way I think, so when they can follow my train of thought, it feels like I have superpowers.
In math class, I’m not a huge fan of following the rules. I love numbers, and I love the way they work. Prime numbers and all of the odd multiples of seven are my favorites. I like to manipulate numbers, and the way I’m taught just doesn’t always work. I have an easier time using more abstract methods to solve problems. It can be frustrating sometimes, because what I do on paper doesn’t quite match up with what is happening in my head. When my teacher asks me to explain how I got my answer, especially in front of the whole class, I struggle trying to find the right mathematical terminology to describe it. I love mathematics, but in the classroom, I can make myself sound like a total idiot. My math class is designed for neurotypical thinkers, which makes it harder for me to understand methods that aren’t as abstract as what I’m used to.
I’m with my regular group of friends at lunch when the new kid at school comes to joins us. I have no clue who he is, what he’s like, his social patterns, or how I can interact with him. It’s absolutely terrifying. I remember the past experiences I’ve had with meeting new people, and when characters on “Degrassi Junior High” met new people. I re-enact the responses that I know can work. I don’t even realize what I’m doing as I’m doing it. I do this all the time, and not just when I’m meeting new people. I do this in almost all social situations that have me like a deer at headlights. Not until recently did I learn this wasn’t normal, but it is common in girls on the same part of the spectrum we suspect I’m on.
Before I landed on a possible Asperger’s diagnosis, counselors and doctors suggested other things.
And that’s just naming a few.
The biggest thing is just really that we don’t know for sure. It’s like putting a puzzle together in the dark. It’s difficult to put the pieces together, but not difficult to find them. Once you put all the pieces together, you still aren’t sure what the puzzle looks like. That’s what it felt like trying to solve this mystery.
I chose not to interview anyone for this commentary, because people don’t often like talking to me about it. They seem uncomfortable, like they are unsure of what to say. If they do engage, they ask questions that even I don’t know the answers to, which in turn makes me uncomfortable. My true friends choose not to talk about it merely because it doesn’t matter to them. What society has made out of the idea of being autistic is the stereotypical low-functioning autistic person. In society, having the label of being autistic could mean being treated as if I’m less than the rest of the people out there. It could also mean that I could be put on a pedestal. Sadly, it seems like it’s easier to just not say anything at all.
I’m haunted by the possibilities of the unknown portion of this diagnosis. I really want a diagnosis, but I’m not sure if I am quite ready to make a life-changing decision at the miniscule age of fourteen. There are so many things that I’m afraid of happening, like experiencing even more social inequality from the people I know and higher prices for health insurance. Even still, I’m being driven by the hope that it would help me find more of my identity and support from other Aspies. The hardest part of this is deciding whether all the downsides of a diagnosis are worth what I really want out of it.
It feels like there’s a black hole in my stomach when it comes to trying to make a decision for myself, for my future. If I do get tested, it’ll most likely come back negative due to the fact that they don’t really test for Asperger’s anymore. If by some weird event I do get diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, I have no idea where I’d go from there. All I know is that, whether or not I get tested, or even diagnosed for that matter, I’ll always be the number-loving, football-playing punk rocker that I always have been.
Serenity Baruzzini is a long-time Mighty Writers student. Her essay has been picked up by Youth Radio, a project based in Oakland, California.
High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s: Technical Smarts
The Internet can be a social paradise for high-functioning autistic people and people with Asperger’s syndrome. Here, the nonverbal niceties of social interaction that they find so perplexing don’t apply. People who might strike others as gauche in person often fit in perfectly well on Internet message boards.
A Web link to an autism screening test posted recently on Digg.com, a tech news site, generated hundreds of comments from users. Many self-described computer geeks took the online test, for which a score of 16 is considered average, and a score of 32 or higher suggests autism.
“Twenty. Not autistic, just plain geek,” one user commented.
“Thirty-eight, definitely 38. Time for Judge Wapner,” wrote another, a reference to a TV show watched obsessively by an autistic character in the movie The Rain Man.
Of course, you can’t diagnose anything by taking a quiz on the Internet. “It is only a screening instrument. It is not a substitute for a full diagnostic assessment,” says the test’s author, Simon Baron-Cohen, PhD, a psychology professor and director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, England.
“In addition, the [test] tells you if you have lots of traits but it does not tell you if these traits are causing problems. A diagnosis is only given if the person is suffering in some way,” he tells WebMD.
But if nothing else, the lively discussion thread on Digg.com, and similar activity at other online techie hangouts like Slashdot, illustrates that many of them are inclined to identify with autism.
“It’s been said that people with autism invented the Internet,” Eric Hollander, MD, director of the Seaver and New York Autism Center of Excellence at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, tells WebMD. “By email you don’t have to read people’s nonverbal social cues. You don’t have to look at body language or facial expressions. It’s just the verbal content of communication.”
Not only does the Internet downplay autistic social deficits, but the language of computers also allows some people with autism to give full expression to their exceptional abilities.
Autism is a developmental brain disorder that includes many different symptoms, with a broad range of severity. People with the disorder are said to fall somewhere along the “autism spectrum.” Some are severely disabled, but others may only exhibit mild symptoms. IQ levels can also vary significantly.
Those with normal and above-average intelligence are said to have high-functioning autism. Asperger’s syndrome is closely related. Identified for the first time in 1944 by Viennese psychologist Hans Asperger, it wasn’t officially classified as a unique disorder until 1994. It shares all the features of high-functioning autism except that people with Asperger’s don’t have early delays in developing language.
Baron-Cohen studies the relationship between technical smarts and autistic tendencies, and he has developed a new theory about it.
The three hallmarks of autism are difficulty communicating, problems with social development, and obsessive, narrow interests. These obsessions are often extremely technical. Baron-Cohen explains it in terms of “empathizing” vs. “systemizing.” People on the autism spectrum are limited in their ability to comprehend, or care about, the emotions and motives of other people. But they are intensely interested in how certain things work. Their brains, he says, are wired to “systemize,” or to pick out patterns in information and to discern the logical rules that govern systems.
That means people with Asperger’s and high-functioning autism often have great talents for creating and analyzing mechanical systems, such as engines, or abstract systems, like mathematics and computer programs. Baron-Cohen recently surveyed undergrads at Cambridge and found significantly more math majors diagnosed with autism compared with students majoring in other disciplines, such as medicine, law, and social science. These are all brainy subjects, but mathematics is best suited to a systemizing mind.
Baron-Cohen’s research also found that Cambridge students pursuing math, physics, and engineering were more likely to have autistic family members compared with students of literature.
Spike in Autism Cases
Autism used to be considered a rare disorder, but current estimates place the number of children with autism spectrum disorders somewhere between one in 500 and one in 166. There has been a spike in autism rates over the past two decades, but the cause is unknown and very controversial. Baron-Cohen is now investigating whether what he terms “assortative mating” may play some role in it.
He proposes that people who may carry genes for autism can have strong systemizing traits, which leads them to pursue careers in science and technology, where they meet like-minded mates and have children who turn out to be autistic. To test this idea, he is studying places like California. The California state health department reported in 2003 that autism cases doubled between 1998 and 2002, which coincides with the Internet technology boom.
Jobs and Autism
No one has yet taken a head count of people with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s among the ranks of engineers, physicists, and computer programmers. Popular belief holds that places like NASA and Silicon Valley are havens for them.
To Nancy Minshew, MD, professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, that’s beside the point. Far too many, she says, are not employed at all. Only about one-third have jobs, and many of them are underemployed.
One of the best-known Asperger’s success stories is that of Temple Grandin, who carved out a unique career designing systems for managing livestock and who has written books about her experience. “If she had to go through human resources, she’d be a failure,” Minshew tells WebMD. “For some reason, we think that they have to pass socially-based interviews in order to do a technological job. Most of the people with Asperger’s and autism are going to fail and never get a job.”
Minshew says there are countless jobs — not just in technology — that people with autism could do better than anyone else. “A man in construction said, ‘I need a tile layer that will lay tile straight,’ and I said, ‘I’ll give you somebody that’ll give you a new definition of straight.'”
Symptoms, Tests, Diagnosis, and Treatment
When you meet someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, you might notice two things right off. They’re just as smart as other folks, but they have more trouble with social skills. They also tend to have an obsessive focus on one topic or perform the same behaviors again and again.
Doctors used to think of Asperger’s as a separate condition. But in 2013, the newest edition of the standard book that mental health experts use, called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), changed how it’s classified.
Today, Asperger’s syndrome is technically no longer a diagnosis on its own. It is now part of a broader category called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This group of related mental health issues shares some symptoms. Even so, lots of people still use the term Asperger’s.
The condition is what doctors call a “high-functioning” type of ASD. This means the symptoms are less severe than other kinds of autism spectrum disorders.
The DSM-5 also includes a new diagnosis, called social pragmatic communication disorder, which has some symptoms that overlap with Asperger’s. Doctors use it to describe people who have trouble talking and writing, but have normal intelligence.
They start early in life. If you’re a mom or dad of a kid who has it, you may notice that they can’t make eye contact. You may also find that your child seems awkward in social situations and doesn’t know what to say or how to respond when someone talks to them.
They may miss social cues that are obvious to other folks, like body language or the expressions on people’s faces. For instance, they may not realize that when somebody crosses their arms and scowls, they’re angry.
Another sign is that your child may show few emotions. They may not smile when they’re happy or laugh at a joke. Or they may speak in a flat, robotic kind of way.
If your child has the condition, they may talk about themselves most of the time and zero in with a lot of intensity on a single subject, like rocks or football stats. And they might repeat themselves a lot, especially on a topic that they’re interested in. They might also do the same movements over and over.
They also may dislike change. For instance, they may eat the same food for breakfast every day or have trouble moving from one class to another during the school day.
How You Get a Diagnosis
If you notice signs in your child, see your pediatrician. They can refer you to a mental health expert who specializes in ASDs, like one of these:
Psychologist. They diagnose and treat problems with emotions and behavior.
Pediatric neurologist. They treat conditions of the brain.
Developmental pediatrician. They specialize in speech and language issues and other developmental problems.
Psychiatrist. They have expertise in mental health conditions and can prescribe medicine to treat them.
The condition is often treated with a team approach. That means you might see more than one doctor for your child’s care.
The doctor will ask questions about your child’s behavior, including:
- What symptoms do they have, and when did you first notice them?
- When did your child first learn to speak, and how do they communicate?
- Are they focused on any subjects or activities?
- Do they have friends, and how do they interact with others?
Then they’ll observe your child in different situations to see firsthand how they communicate and behave.
Every child is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Your doctor might need to try a few therapies to find one that works.
Treatments can include:
Social skills training. In groups or one-on-one sessions, therapists teach your child how to interact with others and express themselves in more appropriate ways. Social skills are often best learned by modeling after typical behavior.
Speech-language therapy. This helps improve your kid’s communication skills. For example, they’ll learn how to use a normal up-and-down pattern when they speak rather than a flat tone. They’ll also get lessons on how to keep up a two-way conversation and understand social cues like hand gestures and eye contact.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It helps your child change their way of thinking, so they can better control their emotions and repetitive behaviors. They’ll be able to get a handle on things like outbursts, meltdowns, and obsessions.
Parent education and training. You’ll learn many of the same techniques your child is taught so you can work on social skills with them at home. Some families also see a counselor to help them deal with the challenges of living with someone with Asperger’s.
Applied behavior analysis. It’s a technique that encourages positive social and communication skills in your child — and discourages behavior you’d rather not see. The therapist will use praise or other “positive reinforcement” to get results.
Medicine. There aren’t any drugs approved by the FDA that specifically treat Asperger’s or autism spectrum disorders. Some medications, though, can help with related symptoms like depression and anxiety. Your doctor may prescribe some of these:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Stimulant medicines
With the right treatment, your child can learn to control some of the social and communication challenges they face. They can do well in school and go on to succeed in life.
90,000 “I began to understand sarcasm only by the age of 30”
According to the WHO, one in 160 children in the world have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which makes it very difficult for a person to socialize. Anna Alekseeva talked with people who discovered autistic traits in themselves in adulthood, about their relationships with loved ones, career, self-acceptance, mimicry and life according to a template.
“I had to be picked up from kindergarten because I was constantly yelling”
Anna, 36 years old, call center operator
The doctors suggested that I had some kind of disorder at the age of 4, but they never made an official diagnosis.I did not know anything about this – my parents were hiding, and I do not blame them: I could have been diagnosed with “childhood schizophrenia” with a high probability – and such a diagnosis would have crossed out my future, and I would have had one way – to a neuropsychiatric dispensary. I learned about everything closer to thirty, when, on the advice of a neurologist, I took my daughter to see a child psychiatrist (she has noticeable autistic motor skills). As a result, she was diagnosed with RDA – early childhood autism.
– Doctor, what to do with this autism? I asked.
– What are you doing with yours? He replied.
So I found out. Then there was another meeting with the same psychiatrist, but this time in private. I have read many articles and books on the topic – mostly foreign ones.
I still have no official diagnosis. It is problematic for an adult in Russia to get it: many psychiatrists do not believe that autism also occurs in adults, and can still draw schizophrenia on the map instead of ASD. And my children, you never know, will snitch in custody.I know we shouldn’t, but I’m not sure.
When I found out that I had ASD, it changed my life for the better – I understood a lot about myself. True, I did not immediately accept my diagnosis: I thought that everything was normal, my behavior did not seem strange to me – after all, I had lived like this all my life. But then I started to analyze – you can’t argue with the obvious. When I accepted that autism is just my feature, an integral part of me, it became easier. Now I build my life taking into account my own characteristics and successfully avoid sensory overload: I use headphones in transport and all kinds of stimming toys.It’s a pity that fidget spinners are in vogue – it was convenient.
I did not say anything to my parents, but I told my younger sister everything. We remembered a lot from childhood. Now she no longer takes offense at some moments, she understands that there were reasons for my behavior. As a child, I screamed, no, ORALA, especially from touching my head. I even had to be taken out of the kindergarten: I screamed constantly, during my two years of staying there there was no adaptation. I learned to read, write, and count early. I have always found it more interesting with books than with people – and this is still the case.She did not fit into the team either in the garden, or at school, or at the university, or at work. As a child, I stimulated: I swayed, slapped myself on the ears (an interesting acoustic effect, I still like to do this, but alone), etc. Closer to school they began to forbid me to do this, then I began to bite my nails, bite my shoulders pulling out hair. Stimulating for me is like breathing: it is a natural bodily need, a way to express emotions, concentrate, calm down.
I have quite a lot of friends now.They appeared when I began to consciously approach teaching myself to social interaction
Then I went to school. I lived in a small town, and at that time there was no question of home schooling. My grandmother, herself a primary school teacher, chose a teacher for me and, apparently, informed her that the girl was clever, but weird. The teacher was clearly protecting me. But you can’t save yourself from everything: bullying and beatings by peers began in the second grade and continued until graduation.The music room was my outlet. I didn’t wonder what they hate me for. The fact that I, apparently, somehow differs from this zoo, I began to think only at the age of 15. At the same time I made the first timid attempts to make friends. Now I understand that I was simply used: “Anh, write me an essay, we are friends”, “Let me write it off, we are friends”, “Do it for me, we are friends.” Only in the tenth grade did I establish some semblance of friendly relations with the same outcasts – a boy with epilepsy, a girl from a poor family and another girl from a large family.
From adolescence I began my attempts to “be like everyone else”: love, tragedies, the first sexual experience. There was little good there: I was too trusting and naive, I was easily deceived, because I did not understand a damn thing in interpersonal relationships, I believed every word. In general, only lazy Anya did not fuck. I still don’t understand romantic relationships. She got married only because she was invited, however, her husband eventually could not stand it and dumped to “normal”. Personal life has fallen off, new relationships are not expected, and I’m not looking.I bring up children alone. With an autistic child, it’s somewhat easier for me, clearer. For the sake of the neurotypical (, that is, not autistic. – Note “Cold” ) one has to study the literature on developmental psychology and pedagogy. If only they would give instructions to the children in the maternity hospital …
I maintain relations with other relatives by correspondence, which is also convenient. I live far from everyone.
Friends, of course, know everything. I have quite a few friends now. They appeared when I began to consciously approach teaching myself to social interaction.Basically, these are creative people – as they say, in this environment there are no normal ones, there are unexplored ones. Well, people are autistic and with other diagnoses (bipolar disorder, OCD, etc.). Now I am even promoting a music group, and that wow! I feel good with the guys, and they were lucky with me: concerts, tours – things are going. I don’t know how to be shy, I don’t know where it should be done.
I work as a call center operator. Oddly enough, this job does not require communication skills – you just need to follow the instructions.The very thing for me! And with the coronavirus social distance, I can calmly stimulate and not bother my colleagues. I often take breaks so as not to overload. In general, the office is sensory-friendly, there are no unnecessary irritants. At work, of course, I don’t talk about myself. Even though my job is not prestigious and low-paid, it exists, and I do not want to lose it. Being considered just weird in a team is better than being crazy. And although autism is clearly a neurological condition, not a psychiatric one, it is still under the jurisdiction of psychiatrists.Western psychiatry is gradually coming to the conclusion that autism is not for them, but for neurologists and educators. Domestic medicine lags behind for 30 years, if not more. And how did Elisey Osin get it from the professional community for “teaching, not treating” … ( Elisey Osin is a child psychiatrist specializing in the diagnosis of ASD. – Approx. “Cold” ).
There are many of us. But we have to hide in order to be able to provide for ourselves. Most likely, there will be no help, no special conditions at the workplace.But there will definitely be a restriction of labor activity, harassment and hatred. Thank you for eating at school.
“In communicating with people, I reproduce patterns that I spied on in films and books”
Alexey, 36 years old, engineer
I considered myself quite an ordinary child. True, it was hard for me to understand what others want from me: I did not read the hints, looks, intonations and facial expressions, I did not understand why it was necessary to follow certain rules of behavior (for example, not making noise in the hospital).Now I know that people are conformists, they easily communicate with each other non-verbally and for some reason immediately understand each other. I had to learn this consciously. For example, I began to understand sarcasm only by the age of 30.
At the age of 12, I saw the film “Rain Man”, in which one of the main characters had autism. I was not interested in the behavior of this hero – I have never behaved like that – but in his ability to perform complex arithmetic calculations in his mind. Since childhood, I very easily memorize arrays of data: to learn a poem, I just need to read it once.A good memory is a consequence of a constant thought process. A feeling of a word in space appears in my head, its image is its approximate size, the first and last letter and its meaning. One word leads to another, like a magician – handkerchiefs from a hat. In this form, huge amounts of information are stored, up to books. I memorize logical chains, that is, everything that can be strung on the canvas according to some methodology.
As a child, I liked to read scientific books – medical and technical reference books, encyclopedias.It was a pleasure for me to understand the diagrams and numbers, because it was clear. I also read fiction, but selectively: I never liked it when the characters behaved illogically. I often rearranged books on the shelves by author and topic, by color, alphabetically. When I got a computer, I put everything into folders and organized it. I once stole Rocket Engine Theory from the library and copied paragraphs out of it because I wanted to design a rocket.
If I was distracted from my special interests – essentially a hobby – it would pop up in my head that I hadn’t completed something or could have done better, and I immediately wanted to return to what I started.This desire was very strong, even painful. I was looking forward to the end of the lessons in order to do what I loved, and not only immersed myself in work, but changed myself and tried to adjust the world around me to my interest. A film, for example, “Gattaca”, could also become my interest – after watching it, I began to understand what it means to hit the target. I was very inspired by the phrase of one of the heroes: “When we sailed into the sea and the coast became farther and farther, I defeated you because I didn’t save my strength on the way back”. By the way, films and books taught me to understand what a person wants from me and what he feels.I constantly analyzed those around me: I had to look at a person’s facial expressions, listen to what he was saying, compare it with a file cabinet in my head and draw conclusions.
I could do what I loved all day, but it was very difficult to concentrate on what seemed uninteresting to me. Therefore, at school I knew history, geography, mathematics perfectly well, and, for example, in the Russian language I had two and three. I could not go to physical education: from childhood I was strained by noise, crowds of people, and wet clothes were very unpleasant for me.All this sucked the energy out of me, I wanted to escape somewhere quiet. I was under a lot of stress.
Despite excellent grades in difficult subjects, they considered me stupid and wanted to keep me for the second year, but in the end, in the tenth grade, I was transferred to an evening school for very weak students. I could not force myself to go to school where my classmates were bullied or there were illogical subjects that made me feel uncomfortable. He began to skip. But our geography teacher noticed that I can study well, and said that if I skipped school, he would inform my mother about it every time.And I didn’t want to disturb her: my father died recently, and she had enough reasons to worry. I went to school through strength, but I graduated with good grades and am still grateful to my teacher for that.
Dealing with people has always been difficult for me. After school, I entered the medical university, but could not go there because of the bullying of classmates, and I was expelled. Then there was the army – hell! You do not understand what they want from you, what needs to be done, and for any offense you are punished physically.
My self-esteem suffered a lot from all this, and I wanted to be successful. I decided that it was time to change my life, and began to work on myself. I began to pay attention to my speech, I learned to speak correctly, beautifully. I realized that all people have a different rate of speech, a different vocabulary. I copied the speech of people, their behavior, gestures. I practiced for a long time in front of a mirror or sat in an armchair and talked to myself. These exercises have proven to be very helpful. I learned how to behave with several types of people – gopniks that I encountered on the streets, colleagues and educated people.To communicate with each type of people, I tried on a certain image, put on a mask.
I also began to accustom myself to living in discomfort. Before that, sometimes I could not bring myself to go to the supermarket, even if there was nothing to eat at home, because there are a lot of people, it is noisy and hot. I forced myself to go to the store, communicate a lot with people, even if I didn’t feel like it. I entered a civil engineering university, choosing the specialty of an engineer, which is in great demand in my city. Also, I loved precision, and I always wanted to be creative.During my studies, I observed how others behaved, listened to fellow students who advised in a certain manner to communicate with one or another teacher, so that he understood me. This usually helped.
Now I work as an engineer in a large company, I am in good standing, I earn decent money, and no one can say that I am some other . I go to corporate parties, even if it is physically difficult for me. If I relax and lose control of myself, then I quickly roll back.For example, last year after a vacation in Europe, in peace and quiet, it was very difficult for me to do something and communicate with colleagues.
Due to constant self-control and stress, by the age of 30 I developed hypertension and started to have a headache. I realized that you need to protect your body from overload. Over time, many rules have developed. For example, in public places, I almost always wear earplugs or headphones with active noise canceling, not turning on music, I wear clothes that are pleasant to the body, with good thermoregulation, etc.d.
I asked my girlfriend to immediately explain to me all her feelings in plain text, to speak out grievances and so on. She agreed. Since then we have been together and almost never quarrel
I tried to discuss my condition with my mother, but it is useless. Mom thinks that I am quite an ordinary person. In her understanding, everything is fine with me: arms and legs are in place, I do not drink, and is successful at work.
As for my personal life and friends, for a long time I was alone. In the initial communication, I use a template, as I said, acting according to a template that I spied on from other people or in films, or that I developed myself.I became a genius of mimicry. But in close communication, I behaved differently, using different patterns, and then I started repeating myself. People were annoyed by this fake, and the relationship collapsed.
Relationships with women were also short-lived. I understand what love is, but I have never felt it. In people, this happens instinctively, but I need to turn on this love through the brain. I only have the instinct to get angry and yell if something starts to annoy me – but I restrain myself. My emotions are very primitive, this is a basic set.It makes me angry, because I feel inferior, flawed. Because because of that, I missed out on many opportunities. My girls did not understand me. If I said that I was tired and wanted to be alone, they were offended, they thought that, for example, I was lying to them or I had some ulterior motive. Nobody took my words literally. But four years ago I met my bride and almost immediately told her that I did not have a wide range of emotions, that I might not understand why, for example, she was sad. I asked her to immediately explain to me all her feelings in plain text, to speak out grievances and so on.She agreed. Since then we have been together and hardly ever quarrel. I once told her that she was my best friend. It was a revelation to her.
Four years ago I came across a text about great people with autistic disorders. I wanted to know more about these disorders, and I began to study medical reference books and scientific articles on the topic. I realized that autism can manifest itself in different ways (and not just as shown in films like “Rain Man”, with the heroes of which I have never associated myself), began to analyze my past and thought about having an ASD.I took tests several times, the last one at a center for autistic children, where there was a paid testing service for adults. They all showed me a mild form of autism. But tests show not what a person was born, but what he became. And autistic people evolve over time. I did not communicate with psychologists, because they are looking for some ulterior motives in everything and do not understand me. Once at the medical university, a psychologist asked us to draw something. And I have long wanted to draw Mona Lisa (I am mediocre as an artist, but I draw very well), having seen her portrait in the reference book.And the psychologist asks me: “Why did you choose her? But what did you want to say with this detail? ” etc. He does not understand that I just literally repeated the picture that I liked … In general, it is useless to diagnose me now, because my autism is now almost not manifested in any way.
I understand that I was deprived of much. If I was what I am now, at 26, I would have done much more than anything else. But I understood people worse and missed many chances and opportunities.So I’m not very happy that I have autism. Yes, I’m autistic, it’s a part of me, but that doesn’t mean I have to love that part. I want to change her, and I gradually succeed.
“I used to consider myself not a very good person, since I have so much rage”
Svetlana, 42 years old, psychologist
For quite a long time I pretended to be the same as everyone else – after all, being different is scary. Several years ago I turned to an analytical psychologist for help.In the course of therapy, I came across an article about the life of people with Asperger’s syndrome ( this name is currently considered outdated : in the International Classification of Diseases of the 10th revision (ICD-10), Asperger’s syndrome is allocated as a separate disorder, in the ICD -11 is regarded as an ASD – note “Cold” ) and realized that I, like the heroes of that text, “were not given instructions” on how to interact with society. My analyst gave me a link to a website with diagnostic tests.All of them showed a high risk of having the syndrome, and the last test, “reading the mental state by sight,” turned out to be ridiculously impassable for me. My analyst was skeptical about the results, saying that autistic disorders are not my case, because I can understand sarcasm. Of course, with age I became much better at this, but as a teenager I was much worse at identifying sarcasm. Later, the diagnosis of ASD was confirmed by a psychiatrist who also specialized in this disorder.I reported this to my analyst, but she did not respond: she just thinks that I am “impressionable.”
From the very beginning I had problems with the nervous system: convulsions, gross motor disorders. I was registered with a neurologist until I came of age. My mother, a teacher who had an idea of children’s intellectual development, says that I developed ahead of schedule.
As a child, it was strange for me to hear from adults: “Get away from the dog, you do not know what is on her mind!”I was very fond of dogs (they look like little horses – my special interest in childhood), and it was always obvious to me what to expect from them. But what is on the minds of adults, I never understood.
In the garden, I talked only with those who talked to me, but I still liked just watching more. Then I had a friend – a girl who never expressed emotions and was such a “snow queen”. Unlike me, she had a rich imagination, she seemed to draw frosty patterns with her imagination, and I was drowning in this beauty.Our moms facilitated the meetings and we eventually became friends. I even asked to go to school with her, refusing to go to the one where my mother worked. When my parents’ turn came to an apartment, they refused for my sake: we would have to leave for the other side of the city, and I would not have been able to see my friend so often. Our friendship lasted until almost 35 years, when a friend developed schizotypal disorder. I often think about her, but I cannot communicate: there is a lot of aggression in her that cannot be subdued.
In the same kindergarten period, my mother sent me to a children’s choir and a theater studio. Performing on stage for me was tantamount to walking on a tightrope without belay over an abyss: I only looked at my mother in the hall, just so as not to fall. Once I played a fox in a New Year’s play. According to the script, I had to steal the key with which the Christmas tree was lit, then they exposed me, and I publicly apologized. Everyone applauded and said that I was a very good fox. And I haven’t lost consciousness – it’s still scary to remember.Once my mother joked with me about my burr during the performance. After that I could not go to the studio, although in general I love to sing, but I do it only for myself – it helps me to relieve tension.
I played at home, mostly sitting in or on a closet. Mom had to bring food there because I refused to go down. I didn’t like hugs – only if I came up. People often thought I was spoiled or ill-mannered. It offended me, because I tried very hard to understand everything correctly and follow the rules.I knew all the polite words, but I could not learn why to use them: they only overloaded speech, and it became more difficult for me to understand the essence of what was said.
My favorite toy was a kaleidoscope, and later – a “magic lantern”, I liked to play with light. At the same time, I could not stand fluorescent lamps. I thought that they were hung for severity, so that life does not seem like honey. When I was very little, I liked to look at the aquarium and pretend that I am also a fish and the thickness of greenish water shelters me from this blinking light.Once, visiting a friend, I saw the same lamp over the writing table and was very surprised that someone voluntarily brought this nightmare into the house. I asked: “Why? This lamp is terrible! ” A friend replied: “No, she’s cool: you can touch her with your hand without fear of getting burned.” Then I realized that my dislike for fluorescent lamps was not universal for everyone. It turned out the same with blankets: lightness is valued in blankets, and I hated light blankets and could not sleep under them.
Mom was very offended when I did not fulfill her requests.Then she began to experiment, recording requests on paper or a tape recorder. This method worked – I did everything that was asked of me in this way. At the same time, my mother always inspired me that I was normal and that everything was fine with me. Most likely, my mother herself is a little autistic – she has some kind of prohibitive degree of naivety. This is not very striking, since she works with children. Before retirement, she worked as a defectologist with autistic children, and they were very disposed to her, as if they took her for their own.But nevertheless, sometimes my mother would say to me with irritation: “Sveta, stop playing the fool – how can you not understand such simple things ?!”.
I spent half my life in the city library. I read everything, I even had a goal – to read all the books there. I also really liked the catalog. Now I think that the library attracted me with its silence and order.
I have always been afraid of the children’s team and tried to stay closer to adults. But as I grew up, I discovered that most adults are no better.I could not fit into the team normally, unless they were the same strange outcasts like me. That’s probably why I hung out with punks easily.
As a teenager, I became a subject of interest to the opposite sex. I was delighted with this: now I did not have to go out of my way to establish interaction. However, no one explained to me that this interaction should not turn into promiscuity … On the other hand, everything that happens to you is an experience.
My first husband was a schizoid person. It was a terrible marriage! I suffered a lot. No, my husband did not beat me, he was just loud and unpredictable. We had two children. The second time I married a man similar to me: he is mathematically gifted, does not require much attention to himself, is taciturn, although very emotional. He does not express his emotions outwardly, but I always feel what is happening inside him. We also have two children.
Many relatives complain that I am strange, indifferent, I think only of myself, that I am a manipulator or something like that.In these moments, I feel like a victim of projective identification. My third child, a son, began to dislike me as a teenager. He even tried to hit me, and I called the police. At the meeting of the commission on juvenile affairs, I was very nervous: some people told me that I was a useless mother because I did not love my son. I didn’t understand what was happening. I felt sick to the point of fainting from these people who were hostile to me. She offered to talk to him with the involvement of a qualified mediator, but he refused.But he was very pleased with the meeting, because there he was clearly told that his mother was terrible, and he was right. When teenagers’ emotions start to rage, I feel physically ill, I can’t cope. But someday they will grow up: now I have a good relationship with my eldest daughter, although I also had problems before. I am really a little detached, but that does not mean that I do not love my children. Apparently, I didn’t give my son enough attention in early childhood – the older children took away too much energy from me.
When I told my family and some acquaintances about Asperger’s syndrome, someone believed, and someone began to “humor” that I had come up with a very convenient excuse for myself.A childhood friend laughed: “Well, of course, it turns out that you have a rare disease. How unusual and fashionable it is, and most importantly, you don’t have to work on yourself at all. ” It was a shame.
With a permanent job, I always did not go well. At the age of 22, I graduated from the courses and received a certificate as an electrician for the repair of automotive electrical equipment. In general, I really liked the mechanisms – I liked to think about them. She worked in a car service for two months and was the only girl there. However, I was embarrassed by the male attention, and I left.
I graduated from the Faculty of Journalism, but I could not work in journalism: I cannot read “between the lines”, in addition, in this environment, quick reactions are needed and a lot is based on informal communication, in which I am not at all strong.
I tried to work in a big city, an hour away by train, but I couldn’t – I got sick, because the noisy world took too much of my strength. When I started using earplugs and sunglasses, I immediately noticed that I was less tired. Now it is much easier for me to travel by transport, but crowds of people still frighten me.How to explain this: a feeling from another person is a very strong feeling. Especially there is a lot of this in the eyes, which is probably why it is so uncomfortable to look in them – as if it burns you. In the crowd, an overload begins, which throws me into the opposite feeling: as if all people are inanimate, and I myself cut them out of cardboard and seated them (in a carriage, for example). It helps me calm down and regain control. Treating others like cardboard is inadequate, but finding a balance is very difficult for me.
Sometimes I feel like fighting the world and screaming.After these outbreaks, I feel terribly weak for several days. Now I understand that this is a meltdown, but before I considered myself not a very good person, since I was so angry. In general, now I began to listen more to myself and my feelings. For example, I used to dislike brushing my teeth and washing myself. I explained this in the same way as those around me: I’m just “dirty” or “my parents didn’t teach me.” Now I have replaced the usual toothpaste with a children’s toothpaste, which is not so scalding, and now I never forget to brush my teeth and do it with pleasure.Even while washing, I feel unpleasant from the shower on the skin (painful) and to be wet for a while after. Therefore, now I know that the bathroom should be warm, you need to prepare clothes and all sorts of gadgets to ease the discomfort.
Several years ago I graduated from the Jungian Analyst program. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing well. But at the same time, I think that a psychologist who is poorly versed in emotions is something very strange. However, I am successful in my practice and I am in good standing with my colleagues.However, I am wary of talking about my syndrome in a professional environment. It’s scary what other people can do to you when they find out that you are not like that.
“My daughters thought I didn’t love them because I had problems expressing emotions”
Nadezhda, 48 years old, housewife
My parents considered me a stubborn child. Dad often punished for disobedience, and I simply did not understand why I had to perform actions that I did not understand on the orders of my parents.Dad said that one must live according to the order (apparently, this habit remained with the army). One day he pulled my hand hard and I called him a fool. He beat me, but I still didn’t understand why. The word “fool” became forbidden for me, I tried not to pronounce it for ten years. My mother was kind, but strict, and often scolded when I could not behave “correctly”: “You cannot open your mouth where it is necessary!”. I considered myself to be some kind of defective.
I did not go to kindergarten, my grandmother was with me.School was a lot of stress for me: the noise and crowds of children frightened me. I did not know how to communicate at all: I usually sat quietly at my desk and did not talk to anyone. In high school it became more difficult because the girls parted in pairs – they called it “friendship.” I didn’t have a pair, and it was very depressing. The ninth grade was the most difficult: the girls with whom I somehow could communicate left, and I was left all alone. They didn’t seem to notice me. In the tenth, a new, simple village girl came to us, I immediately liked her, we got along in character, and it was very interesting for us together.This is probably called people who are close in spirit. It’s a pity, but after graduation we got lost, so I never found her, but I would like to see her. After all, she was my first friend.
Sometimes I fell in love with boys at school and, oddly enough, tried to explain myself to them. This surprised me myself, because I tried not to communicate with anyone. When I fell in love, I could sit at home for hours and dream. A rare meeting at a break, a couple of glances – and I was happy! The feeling was almost always unrequited, but I loved for a long time.
After school, I received the specialty of an artist at the school (I loved to draw from childhood and graduated from art school) and got a job in a puppet theater as a props artist. I really liked the atmosphere of the theater, but it was very difficult for me to be in the same office with other people. At work, they treated me well, tried to communicate, but I was terribly bad at it. When I had to communicate with someone for a long time, small cramps began in the solar plexus area, the muscles tensed, I scratched my fingers, my hands clenched into fists by themselves.And so it was with everyone. If at this stage communication did not stop, I felt severe exhaustion, I had a wild desire to drop everything and run away to where I could be all alone and calm down.
Or here’s another example. When the music is very loud and someone is talking to me, I cannot concentrate. My brain doesn’t know what to do, who to listen to – a person or music? I understand that the conversation is more important, but I cannot control it. My head is a mess of sounds, so I need to either turn off the music, or just go to another place.I can hardly stand loud noises, especially the noise of a drill, a vacuum cleaner, women’s screams, crying children – they seem painfully unbearable to me. Bright light also knocks me out of my rut: for example, in the evening on the bus, lamps in the doctor’s office at an appointment at the clinic. I tried to hide these features from others, to seem normal, so that I was at least a little mistaken for my own.
After three years of work, I got married and went on maternity leave. My husband is smart, calm, silent, so I feel good with him.He understood me, and over the years of living together, we became very close. We had two daughters, it took me a lot of work to raise and educate them. I can feel and empathize with people, but I cannot express my emotions directly or I do it differently from neurotypical people. Therefore, when my daughters grew up, they still expressed their doubts to me about my love for them. I love them, of course, and I have to repeat this often. I hug them when we meet and say goodbye, as is customary to do – it calms them down.But hugs scare me, even with people I know.
About four years ago, I saw the movie Dear John, which was about people with mild autism, and I realized that it was about me. I was shocked. Tests confirmed that I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I checked all my features for a long time and compared them with the description, they coincided by 80-90%. The realization that I was not alone, that everything was fine with me, reassured me. I just have a neurodifference: my brain works differently, I see the world differently and process information.If I knew about this earlier, my life would be easier and more understandable for myself.
I try not to talk about autism with my acquaintances, because I know they will not understand and will look at me like I’m a crazy person and watch me like a guinea pig, which is unpleasant for me. I told my loved ones about everything, but they dismissed that I was just inventing everything for myself, and many people have problems with society. I have heard that it is very difficult to confirm the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, you need to find a good specialist, because some people confuse him with schizoid disorder and schizophrenia.Plus it costs a lot of money. Therefore, I have no particular desire to see a doctor.
“It is impossible to diagnose ASD using tests”
In Russia, psychiatrists are not taught to diagnose ASD in adults. I give lectures to doctors from time to time, and many of them are first hearing about autism in adults as a disorder in its own right. And all because they are taught according to programs that were developed on the basis of the already outdated programs of the 1970-1980s of the last century: only the terminology is updated, but the basis remains largely the same.If the world is constantly updating the knowledge base, then we are trying to preserve the traditions of the old school. Psychiatrists of the old school, if they diagnose “autism”, it is very rare, and they treat it with antipsychotics, as a symptom of schizophrenia according to Bleuler ( Eigen Bleuler is a Swiss psychiatrist who at the beginning of the 20th century introduced the terms “schizophrenia” and “autism” as one key symptoms of schizophrenia – Note “Cold” ). At the same time, by autism Bleuler meant not at all what they mean now. Some doctors, if they use the term “autism” in the concept of ASD, they mean savants – people with low social competence who are talented in some narrow area, as in the movie “Rain Man”.But cases of savantism are very rare. Because of this, almost none of the adult patients with ASD has a correct diagnosis: instead of autism they are diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizotypal disorder, organic brain lesions, etc.
Until recently, people who were diagnosed with early childhood autism changed their diagnosis after 18 years of age. The Medical and Social Commission, not knowing anything about the behavioral characteristics of patients in childhood, saw the diagnosis of “childhood autism” and did not give disability.The commission thought as follows: since autism is “childish”, it means that this diagnosis can only be in childhood, and if it has not passed by the age of 18, then it is not autism, but schizophrenia, for example. Accordingly, if after 18 years the need for a disability group persisted, the diagnosis was changed – not by the commission itself, but by the attending physicians, sending it to the commission. But recently, the Ministry of Health published an explanatory letter: autism is for life, so the diagnosis cannot change.
Psychiatrists who work with children usually do not see what happens to their patients after 18 years of age.For example, they assume schizophrenia in a child, begin to treat it with antipsychotics. But if the child actually has ASD, long-term treatment with antipsychotics in childhood changes the profile of receptors in the brain, makes him dependent on these drugs, weakens the emotional-volitional sphere. Then you have to work with such a person for many years, put a lot of effort into socializing him at least a little. Plus, these people often develop very striking post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Autistic people do not tolerate changes in their environment, so a stay in a psychiatric hospital, where they are also treated with haloperidol, results in full-fledged PTSD.Such people, at the sight of an ambulance passing by, fall into hysterics and hide.
People with mild ASD who were not diagnosed in childhood, as a rule, are not aware of their autism and come to the doctor with anxious, depressive reactions to external events. Once a patient came to me who complained of a lack of understanding of his colleagues. He is talented, knows many languages, studied well at school. As a child, he did not need the ability to make friends, communicate, build relationships with the opposite sex – he studied.But in adulthood, a person has difficulties. Colleagues are unhappy with him, it is difficult to communicate with him, there are no friends. And what is wrong with him, the person does not understand. He reacted very negatively to the fact that he most likely had an ASD: “Why do I need this label?” But it is important for a person with ASD to accept himself. Antidepressants will reduce anxiety and depressive reactions, but they will not solve the problem. After all, these reactions appear due to a misunderstanding of other people and the inability to build consistent relationships with them. It cannot be cured with medicine.Here you need to understand yourself, accept your peculiarity, find life hacks that would help you positively use your peculiarities in work, and improve some communication skills.
It happens that a person interpreted himself correctly, came to me to confirm the diagnosis, and I agreed with him. But this happens very rarely. It is impossible to diagnose ASD on the basis of any questionnaires. When a person answers questions himself, his answers may poorly correlate with his mental state and problems.In addition, the language is polysemantic, and when a person reads some medical terms (in common parlance, we often use words like “depression”, “delirium” and so on in a non-medical sense, but in medicine, many terms have a significantly different understanding than in everyday life ), he interprets them in a completely different way from an experienced doctor.
Several years ago my patients with confirmed ASD were interviewed for aspergers.ru (a good site, there is a lot of useful information). After that, ten people came to my appointment from this site to confirm Asperger’s syndrome.Only one or two cases were confirmed, I don’t remember exactly, the rest had anxiety disorder. I remember very well one girl, expressive, very lively, socialized. She said that she did not understand herself and other people: “I guess I have Asperger’s syndrome.” In the course of the conversation it became clear that she could not choose between two men, rushed from one to the other, and it was by this that she meant “misunderstanding”. Therefore, only the clinical judgment of a psychiatrist is used to diagnose mental disorders.
Some doctors call autism “the epidemic of the 21st century.” But in fact, the rise in incidence in our time has not happened. Previously, a person went to the factory, worked at the machine, came home, went to bed – everything was clearly structured and understandable. And now the requirements for socialization are higher and the demand for emotional relationships is greater, so people who have problems with this have become more visible.
Asperger’s Syndrome: what is known about the most mysterious disease of the century
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Asperger’s syndrome: what is known about the most mysterious disease of the century
Asperger’s syndrome: what is known about the most mysterious disease of the century – RIA Novosti, 10/15/2019
Asperger’s syndrome: what is known about the most mysterious disease of the century
Until 1994, Asperger’s syndrome, one of the types of autism, did not have its own code in diagnosis, it was not singled out separately in the statistics of mental illness … RIA Novosti, 15.10.2019
2019- 10-15T08: 00
discoveries – RIA Science
Sechenov First MGMU
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MOSCOW, October 15 – RIA Novosti, Tatyana Pichugina Until 1994, Asperger’s syndrome, one of the types of autism, did not have its own diagnostic code, it was not singled out separately in the statistics of mental illness. It was later calculated that this syndrome occurs on average in 0.06 percent of the population, but the number of such diagnoses has recently been growing sharply. With what this may be due – in the material RIA Novosti.Normality versus Weirdness In 1985, autism had an average of five in ten thousand; now it is one in one hundred and fifty. They started talking about the “autism epidemic”, serious programs were launched to study and treat it. The term “autism” is understood as several pathological conditions, including Asperger’s syndrome, which manifests itself in a person’s isolation, inability to recognize other people’s emotions. The patient utters long monologues in a peculiar monotonous manner. Interest in this syndrome is strongly fueled by tabloids discussing the psychological portraits of the mass murderer Anders Breivik, environmental activist Greta Thunberg and even the fictional hero of the TV series “The Big Bang Theory” – the brilliant physicist Sheldon Cooper.However, without observing a person, without talking with him, it is unprofessional to talk about mental disorders, all the more to distribute comments to the media on this matter, says psychiatrist, professor Marina Kinkulkina, director of the Institute of Clinical Medicine of Sechenov University. “Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by low contact, turning inward, a pronounced isolation from the outside world, focus on one’s own interests, fixation on one task, a lack of understanding of the motives of other people, a violation of fine motor skills, which can normalize with age, and can also gain a foothold in the form of eccentric movements.At the same time, mental abilities are normal. Sometimes such patients are ahead of their peers in intelligence. This gives a very unusual clinical picture, “- says the doctor. Asperger’s syndrome is diagnosed clinically. No biochemical, hormonal or genetic markers have been found that unambiguously accompany this condition. It is not possible to detect it in a brain scan.” We do not always see structural changes in the brain. with Asperger’s syndrome – as opposed to tumors, cysts or vascular abnormalities.In adult patients, a normal electroencephalogram is more common, “the doctor specifies. Genetics plus unknown factors Asperger’s syndrome, like other types of autism, manifests itself in early childhood and determines all subsequent human development. specialties that, along with psychiatrists, make a diagnosis. “There is no specific treatment. This is for life. With the child, only correctional work is carried out in order to facilitate his adaptation in the team, to develop social skills.Educate parents. Sometimes symptomatic treatment is prescribed if, for example, a person’s mood has decreased, anxiety has increased, “explains Kinkulkina. Mountains of scientific literature have been written about the causes of Asperger’s syndrome, but there is no complete clarity. Observations of identical twins gave reason to talk about the great contribution of genetics to the development of the disease Several genes on the X chromosome have been identified whose breakdowns are associated with autism, which probably explains why the syndrome is four times more common in boys – they have one X chromosome, so there is no second copy of all genes.There is also evidence of the influence of environmental and immunological factors that can act alone or in combination with a hereditary predisposition. Now they are actively investigating which toxins, for example, in the air, are dangerous for a pregnant woman. Perhaps the antibodies produced in the body of the expectant mother in response to some external stress, penetrate the placenta and cause abnormalities in the development of the fetus. Toxins and negative factors include drugs, alcohol, and social factors such as immigration.Finnish scientists in 2015 analyzed the histories of children born from 1987 to 2005 and by 2007 received the corresponding diagnosis. It turned out that the disease in children of immigrants is not observed more often, and in some cases (when both parents immigrated) even less often. However, the authors of the work admit that the statistics are distorted by the reluctance of this category to seek psychiatric help. There is no reason to say that there are more autists among those born as a result of IVF. Statistics are not enough to draw such conclusions.”I have not yet seen the results of a well-designed study on this topic,” the doctor emphasizes. The Effect of Friendship The public is also interested in how dangerous people with Asperger’s can be, whether they are more likely to have a murderous tendency. There is no evidence for this either. “A study by Austrian scientists showed that there are no more offenders among people with Asperger’s syndrome than among healthy people,” says Marina Kinkulkina. A child with Asperger’s syndrome has a higher risk of becoming an outcast at school, the subject of bullying.Peculiarities of behavior, manner of communication, inability to make friends and maintain friendship repels children, forces them to avoid a special classmate. According to researchers from France, communication with peers is very important for children and adolescents. Friendship forms emotional contact, develops communication skills, a sense of sympathy, teaches to empathize with others. This is difficult for children with Asperger Syndrome. They prefer games according to clear, clearly defined rules, activity, where a minimum of interaction with others is required.Autistic people find it difficult to decipher communication characteristics such as tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions, and body language. They literally understand words, do not catch jokes, and often enter the conversation at random. They are characterized by stereotypical behavior, unnatural intonation, alienation, unusual hobbies. Meanwhile, special children want to be friends and do not understand why they are alone. They often have depressive symptoms and anxiety. According to a study by scientists from Cambridge, adults with Asperger Syndrome are much more likely to have suicidal thoughts than healthy and even psychotic patients: 66 percent versus 17 percent and 55 percent.This is primarily due to depression against the background of social isolation, loneliness, lack of communication, disorder and unemployment. Who discovered Asperger’s syndrome In the early years of Soviet power, a child psychiatrist from Kiev Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva founded in Moscow a school and a treatment department for children with neuropsychiatric problems … Observing six boys with mental disabilities there, she described the new disease and its clinical symptoms in 1925 in a Soviet scientific journal, and later in a German one.At first she spoke about “schizoid psychopathy”, later – “autistic psychopathy”. Moreover, she noted a paradoxical combination of features: a high level of intelligence of patients and poor motor skills. This is exactly what is characteristic of Asperger’s syndrome. The scientific community did not notice this article, and autistic psychopathy was “rediscovered” by Austrian psychiatrist Hans Asperger in 1938 and a little later by his fellow countryman who immigrated to the United States, Leo Kanner. Some believe, based on indirect evidence, that they were familiar with Sukhareva’s work.Be that as it may, but Asperger’s articles gained wide popularity in the English-speaking world only in 1981, when they were translated. And two years ago it turned out that he apparently collaborated with the Nazis, although he positioned himself as an active fighter against the Third Reich. As established by the medical historian Herwig Cech, studying previously unknown archives, during the war, Asperger practiced at the university children’s clinic in Vienna. He selected children with severe mental disabilities and wrote them directions to the clinic “Am Spiegelgrund”, included in the Nazi program of eugenics and the purification of the nation.From July 1940 until the collapse of Nazi Germany, 789 children died there, many of them were killed.
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Vienna, Greta Thunberg, discoveries – RIA Novosti, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, USA
MOSCOW, 15 oct – RIA Novosti, Tatyana Pichugina. Until 1994, Asperger’s syndrome, one of the types of autism, did not have its own diagnostic code, it was not singled out separately in the statistics of mental illness.It was later calculated that this syndrome occurs on average in 0.06 percent of the population, but the number of such diagnoses has recently been growing sharply. With what this may be due – in the material RIA Novosti.
Normality amid oddities
In 1985, autism suffered an average of five in ten thousand, now it is one in one hundred and fifty. They started talking about the “autism epidemic” and launched serious programs to study and treat it.
The term “autism” is understood to mean several pathological conditions, including Asperger’s syndrome, which manifests itself in a person’s isolation, inability to recognize other people’s emotions.The patient pronounces long monologues in a peculiar monotonous manner.
Interest in this syndrome is strongly fueled by tabloids discussing psychological portraits of mass murderer Anders Breivik, environmental activist Greta Thunberg and even the fictional hero of the series “The Big Bang Theory” – genius physicist Sheldon Cooper.
February 26, 2013, 12:48 p.m. Culture Debut novel about a man with Asperger’s syndrome has become a world bestseller The author of the book, Australian IT engineer Graham Simsion, tells in the novel Rosie Project the story of professor of genetics Don Tillman, who lectures at the university about Asperger’s syndrome, but does not recognize the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
However, without observing a person, without talking to him, it is unprofessional to talk about mental disorders, all the more to distribute comments to the media on this matter, says psychiatrist, professor Marina Kinkulkina, director of the Institute of Clinical Medicine at Sechenov University.
“Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by low contact, turning inward, pronounced isolation from the outside world, concentration on one’s own interests, obsession with one task, a lack of understanding of the motives of other people, impaired fine motor skills, which can normalize with age, and may even gain a foothold in the form of eccentric movements.At the same time, mental abilities are normal. Sometimes such patients are ahead of their peers in intelligence. This gives a very unusual clinical picture “, – says the doctor.
Asperger’s syndrome is diagnosed clinically. No biochemical, hormonal or genetic markers have been found unambiguously accompanying this condition. It is not possible to detect it in a brain scan.
” We are far from always we see structural changes in the brain in Asperger’s syndrome – in contrast to tumors, cysts or vascular anomalies.In adult patients, a normal electroencephalogram is more common. ”
21 July 2019, 08:00 childhood and determines all subsequent human development.It is possible that the surge in autism is partly caused by the too broad interpretation of this term by doctors of other specialties, who, along with psychiatrists, make a diagnosis.
“There is no specific treatment. This is for life. With the child, only corrective work is carried out in order to facilitate his adaptation in the team, to develop social skills. Parents are taught. Sometimes symptomatic treatment is prescribed if, for example, a person’s mood decreased, anxiety increased.” , – explains Kinkulkina.
Mountains of scientific literature have been written about the causes of Asperger’s syndrome, but there is no complete clarity. Observations of identical twins gave grounds for to talk about the great contribution of genetics to the development of the disease.Several genes on the X chromosome have been identified whose breakdowns are associated with autism. This probably explains why the syndrome is four times more common in boys – they have one X chromosome, so there is no second copy of all genes. 16 January 2013, 12:04 pm taken from 55 people from families where autism spectrum disorders have been diagnosed in several members.
There is also evidence of the influence of environmental and immunological factors that can act alone or in combination with a hereditary predisposition.Now they are actively investigating which toxins, for example, in the air, are dangerous for a pregnant woman. Perhaps the antibodies produced in the body of the expectant mother in response to some external stress, penetrate the placenta and cause abnormalities in the development of the fetus. Toxins and negative factors include drugs, alcohol.
Social factors such as immigration are also taken into account. Finnish scientists in 2015 analyzed the histories of children born from 1987 to 2005 and who had received the corresponding diagnosis by 2007.It turned out that the disease in children of immigrants is not observed more often, and in some cases (when both parents immigrated) even less often. However, the authors of the work admit that the statistics are distorted by the reluctance of this category to seek psychiatric help.
There is no reason to say that there are more autists among those born as a result of IVF. Statistics are not enough to draw such conclusions.
“I have not yet seen the results of a well-planned study on this topic,” the doctor emphasizes.
23 May 2019, 08:00 Science Scientists have developed an unexpected way to treat diabetes and autism
The effect of friendship
The public also wonders how dangerous people with Asperger’s can be, whether they are more likely to have a tendency to kill. There is also no evidence for this.
“A study by Austrian scientists has shown that there are no more offenders among people with Asperger’s syndrome than among healthy people,” says Marina Kinkulkina.
September 19, 2019, 08:00 Science Scientists have found out how the most dangerous people on the planet appear
A child with Asperger’s syndrome has a higher risk of becoming an outcast at school, the subject of bullying.Features of behavior, manner of communication, inability to make friends and maintain friendship repels children, forcing them to avoid a special classmate.
As write researchers in France, peer communication is very important for children and adolescents. Friendship forms emotional contact, develops communication skills, a sense of sympathy, teaches to empathize with others. This is difficult for children with Asperger Syndrome. They prefer games according to clear, clearly defined rules, activity, where a minimum of interaction with others is required.Autistic people find it difficult to decipher communication characteristics such as tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions, and body language. They literally understand words, do not catch jokes, and often enter the conversation at random. They are characterized by stereotypical behavior, unnatural intonation, alienation, unusual hobbies.
Meanwhile, special children want to be friends and do not understand why they are alone. They often have depressive symptoms and anxiety.
According to a study of scientists from Cambridge, adults with Asperger Syndrome are much more likely to have suicidal thoughts than healthy and even psychotic patients: 66 percent versus 17 percent and 55 percent.This is primarily due to depression against the background of social isolation, loneliness, lack of communication, disorder and unemployment.
October 2, 2019, 14:52
Cinema medicine: how world cinema represented the medicine of the future
Who discovered Asperger’s syndrome
In the first years of Soviet power, a child psychiatrist from Kiev Grunya Efimovna Sukhareva founded a school and a treatment department in Moscow for children with neuropsychiatric problems. Observing six boys with mental disabilities there, she described a new disease and its clinical symptoms in 1925 in a Soviet scientific journal, and later in a German one.At first she spoke about “schizoid psychopathy”, later – “autistic psychopathy”. Moreover, she noted a paradoxical combination of features: a high level of intelligence of patients and poor motor skills. This is exactly what is characteristic of Asperger’s syndrome.
The scientific community did not notice this article, and autistic psychopathy was “rediscovered” by the Austrian psychiatrist Hans Asperger in 1938 and a little later by his fellow countryman, who immigrated to the United States, Leo Kanner. Some believe, based on indirect evidence, that they were familiar with Sukhareva’s work.
Be that as it may, but Asperger’s articles gained wide popularity in the English-speaking world only in 1981, when they were translated. And two years ago it turned out that he, most likely, collaborated with the Nazis, although he himself positioned himself as an active fighter against the Third Reich.
As established the historian of medicine Herwig Cech, studying previously unknown archives, during the war, Asperger practiced at the University Children’s Hospital in Vienna. He selected children with severe mental disabilities and wrote them directions to the clinic “Am Spiegelgrund”, included in the Nazi program of eugenics and the purification of the nation.From July 1940 until the collapse of Hitler’s Germany 90,334 killed 90,335,789 children, many of them were killed. September 10, 2019, 08:00 Night Live with Elon Musk Editor’s articles
He also played a cowboy who invented the “electric horse”, a hero from Mario and other characters.
The head of Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk, on May 8 acted as the host of the comedy show Saturday Night Live on NBC.
In his welcoming monologue, Musk stated that he suffers from Asperger Syndrome, a disorder characterized by severe difficulties in social communication, perception of the world around him and a stereotypical, repetitive set of interests and activities.
“I am honored to host Saturday Night Live.My performance today is historic as I will become the first SNL host with Asperger’s Syndrome. At least the first to admit it, ”Musk said.
He also joked that he often writes ambiguous things on his Twitter. “But this is how my brain works,” he noted. “I have reinvented electric cars and send people to Mars in a spaceship.Did you really think that I would be an ordinary calm guy? ” – he declared.
Musk also joked that such shows are a way to find out more about the host. He joked about the name of his son, whose name is X Æ A-12, and stated that it is pronounced like “the cat ran over the keyboard.”
At the end of the monologue, Musk brought his mother onto the stage, since Mother’s Day is celebrated in the United States on the second Sunday in May.May Musk said she was waiting for her gift and hoped it wasn’t Dogecoin. “Actually, it’s him,” Musk admitted.
Financial expert, cowboy, colonizer of Mars and character from Mario
Also in conversation with other hosts, Musk acted as financial expert Lloyd Ostertag – he explained what Dogecoin is and called himself a “dog father”.
After the release of the show, the value of the cryptocurrency at some point dropped to € 0.39. At the time of this writing, Dogecoin was worth € 0.44 – down 25%.
In addition, Musk played a cowboy who invented the “electric horse” and the “unmanned horse” – which is, in fact, just an ordinary horse.
He became the hero of a sketch about life on Mars, where an accident occurred at the station – Musk plays himself in the future, where he asks a volunteer named Chad to go to the surface of the planet in a spacesuit and fix the oxygen supply to the station.
Musk also appeared in a parody of Super Mario – he played Vario, the complete opposite of Mario, who is trying to prove in court that he did not kill Mario.Musk’s girlfriend, singer Grimes, also appears in the video as Princess Peach.
Musk reincarnated as a doctor at the Generation Z clinic, where he spoke slang to “typical” teenagers.
And played a guy at a party after the end of quarantine due to the pandemic.
Saturday Night Live with Elon Musk was broadcast live on YouTube for the first time simultaneously in the United States and 100 more countries around the world. “This is the first time that viewers around the world will see the show at the same time as the US,” said NBC’s entertainment executive Frances Berwick.
90,000 Elon Musk said that he has Asperger’s syndrome
This is an autism spectrum disorder.People with this syndrome have difficulties with communication and socialization, but they are often characterized by increased cognitive and verbal abilities
Elon Musk. Photo: DPA / TASS
The head of Tesla and SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk, admitted that he has Asperger’s syndrome. He announced this on the air of Saturday Night Live on NBC, where he was a guest presenter.
“I am honored to be the host of this program. My performance today is historic because I am the first SNL host with Asperger’s Syndrome.Or at least the first one to admit it, ”he said.
True, the first presenter with Asperger’s syndrome back in 2003 was comedian Dan Aykroyd, the Daily Beast notes.
Physician-psychotherapist, associate professor of the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis Vladimir Fainzilberg says that for entrepreneurs and creative people who have been able to adapt in society, such a disease can even help in their work:
– That is, it is difficult for a person to establish, say, eye contact, it is difficult for him to communicate with a small number of people, but this absolutely does not affect intellectual and mental abilities.On the contrary, sometimes such patients, since they are less distracted by the world around them, progress in some rather narrow area. For example, they like to repeat some movements in childhood, one of the popular symptoms described in the literature is the endless flipping of sheets of paper. What attracts the child to this, the rustle of paper or a stereotypical movement? So far, this is very poorly described, and, accordingly, it is also not being treated effectively enough.
– Considering Musk’s statements and actions, is it possible to somehow say whether he has a mild form or not?
– You understand, of course there are stages, but, firstly, they appear in childhood and usually by the age of, say, 25-35 years, they are somehow leveled, and a person becomes sufficiently adapted to society.That is, he learns in the process of life to overcome some of his lack of communication.
As you know, director Stanley Kubrick, actor and comedian Robin Williams, and even, according to some studies, American President Abraham Lincoln had Asperger’s syndrome.
Observers also noticed similar symptoms in Microsoft founder Bill Gates: his obsessive swaying from side to side, rejection of other people’s opinions and monotonous speech. But this did not stop him from making the company one of the largest in the world.
Could Elon Musk’s confession have any effect on Tesla and SpaceX? financial expert Mikhail Mashchenko comments :
– I don’t think this news came as a surprise to investors, given Elon Musk’s behavior in public and on social networks. Musk has always been known for his eccentric behavior and fixation on rather strange topics, given his position in society. For example, his passion for the meme cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which has caused a stir on the crypto market lately.Musk clearly understood the consequences of his actions, his statements, but nevertheless continued to blindly act in his strategy, which he adhered to. At the same time, the entrepreneur is focused on actions that are more beneficial to the investor. That is, he is extremely effective in accelerating the value of Tesla shares and is respected and loved among young people who are ready to buy everything related to Musk, be it electric cars or shares of companies involved in him. That is, hardly anyone will argue with the fact that he sincerely devotes himself to the cause, develops his projects, so that there will hardly be any negative consequences here.We remember that in March one of the investors sued Musk for his promiscuous tweets, but nevertheless, I think even he will not deny the fact that thanks to Elon Musk, he has made quite a lot of money in recent years.
– Is this the same for SpaceX?
– Yes, and all projects that are somehow connected with Elon Musk.
Saturday Night Live, where Musk participated, is a famous American sketch show that has been airing since 1975. A feature of the program is the star presenters replacing each other.At one time, the program was hosted by almost all Hollywood actors, and in 2015 even the future President Donald Trump.
The fact that Musk will become the host became known in April. Then it was expected that his speech would raise the price of the humorous cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which is being promoted by the head of Tesla. While waiting for the show, the currency has already reached an all-time high. But after Musk mentioned it again during the transfer, the price of the token plummeted.
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How people with autism disorder live – Snob
“Kissing and touching makes me gag reflex”
Tatiana, 27 years old, Ufa:
As a child, I did not have any developmental delays: I have been reading since I was two, I speak normally.When I got a little older, I could not sit out the lesson at school, I could not write accurately with a pen and paint with paints, I constantly wanted to circle around its axis. Learning was easy, but sitting in a class / audience is still torture for me. I was hysterical from crowds and noise, I could not stand touching myself and overly tight clothes.
Psychotherapists and psychologists gave stupid advice that doesn’t help ordinary people. They unanimously repeated about the need for socialization, taught to break oneself, leave the comfort zone, analyze and correct their behavior.I couldn’t do it. My dissimilarity from others became more and more distinct. By the age of 19, another problem arose: all relationships with young people looked like torture and ended quickly, I had no sexual desire. Psychologists kept repeating: “Now you will meet that one, you will love him, you will start to trust him, you want to.”
I learned that I have Asperger’s Syndrome by chance: a year ago I got into neurology with a nervous breakdown, where I was appointed to consult a psychiatrist.He let me pass the tests, got hooked on what most people call “hovering in the clouds”: I can go into myself out of the blue and not hear what the interlocutor is saying. I also don’t like to look in the eyes and move away if they come too close to me.
One person close to me says that every day he meets much more inadequate people who buy iPhones on credit with their last money.
On the one hand, it became easier for me: all the dots above the i are placed.On the other hand, not oncology, of course, but also a kind of sentence. I still can’t stand the noise and crowds. Sometimes I can concentrate on a small detail for a long time. Well, my vision of the world is peculiar: I may not see a building, a store or something else at close range, if I do not look for it purposefully. I have certain food addictions: I adore chalk and charcoal, in my teens I still chewed erasers and expanded clay, washed, dried and ate, now there is no such need. Before I began to travel abroad often, I was terribly afraid to try something new, and now I experiment with pleasure.I have no obvious repetitions of actions, but it is vitally important for me that interior items, clothes are combined with each other in color and style.
Social contacts are one big challenge. I can easily ask for directions or resolve an issue in a municipal institution, but I cannot be the first to speak with a person on informal topics. If they do, I’ll keep up the conversation and even go down as normal.
I work remotely – this is the only way out, in a team I cannot. The main work is related to geographic information systems.For my heart, I write seo articles and sell travel photos on stock.
Romantic relationships in the usual format are disgusting for me. Kisses and physiological odors cause an irrational gag reflex, I have already spoken about tactile contact. I also hate it when they force me to do something. I hate to obey, but I don’t want to subdue anyone either.
I have friends, albeit a little, they are quite ordinary people. One person close to me, a scientist, says that every day he meets much more inadequate people who buy iPhones on credit with their last money.
“The wife said that she would not bring up our son”
Sergey, 41 years old, Find:
Photo from personal archive
My wife and I began to understand that something was wrong with Nikita when he was 2 years old: he did not speak, did not respond to his name, and he also had uncontrolled falls to the floor and tantrums, it was impossible to calm him down. We then lived and worked in the Philippines, met tourists. Our friends had a girl of the same age, and they noticed that the children are very different.We thought it was just a developmental delay, but friends suspected something else. Soon we returned to Russia, and in the provinces, the diagnosis is very difficult.
Neurologists at first also talked about developmental delay, and then they advised me to take Nikita to Vladivostok for examination. There it turned out that the child has atypical autism without mental retardation: he has a non-verbal intelligence that can be reached. There are no specialists in our city, so the family should be engaged in this.Nikita was 5 years and 7 months old at that time.
When it became clear that it was with our child, my wife began to gradually move away from him, and a year and a half ago she said that she would not raise him. The last time we saw my mother was five months ago. Well, on his birthday, she called and asked to kiss Nikita on the cheek for her, although she lives nearby and could come.
Familiar coaches said that Nikita was not created for sports, because he did not understand the commands and did not follow them.But I’m a fan of my child and believed in him
Now I am raising my son alone. At the municipal rehabilitation center two years ago, psychologists asked me how to understand my child, how to contact him. And the first thing that was suggested there, when my wife left me, was to send Nikita to a neuropsychiatric boarding school. But he is the meaning of my life!
I had to give up my permanent job. I used to do commercial video filming on a full-time basis, but now I have a part-time job.Sometimes I rent and edit not only for money, but also for barter. Volunteer at a local charity for children with disabilities.
Nikita is now 8 years old. He does not speak, cannot draw, read, write: fine motor skills are impaired. When he wants something, he takes my hand and shows it. We have a special school, but it is designed for mild forms of autism. Nikita is completely non-verbal, it is very difficult to teach him anything.
But recently we learned to roller-skate.Familiar coaches said that Nikita was not created for sports, because he did not understand the commands and did not follow them. But I am a fan of my child and believed in him, so he went in a week.
Children with autism have moments of overload, when a lot of information accumulates in the head and needs to be thrown away somehow. It turns into uncontrollable hysteria
At first he did not understand that he had to push off the asphalt with his skate in order to ride. Then I took my son by one hand and began to lead him along the dead sidewalks with pits and bumps.A couple of days later, something turned on in Nikita’s head and, in order not to fall, he began to put his leg forward. Then we went out on a flat road, by the end of the first week the child was driving more or less, and now he goes around all the irregularities. We trained every day for 3-4 hours.
Let’s skate soon. You just need to agree with the coach so that the ice is free, because Nikita is frightened by a large crowd of people.
Children with autism have moments of overload, when a lot of information accumulates in the head and needs to be thrown away somehow.This results in an uncontrollable hysteria that cannot be stopped. You can only be there and hold the child’s hand. Sometimes it happens on the street. People around me often do not understand what is happening, they come up, make comments, I try not to pay attention. Once on the playground a woman asked Nikita something. I said that the child would not answer her because he has atypical autism. “Is it contagious?” She asked. Many people think that all autistic people are geniuses, and when they find out what happened to Nikita, they ask if I let him solve the Rubik’s cube.And I would teach him to recognize danger, to understand what a traffic light and cars are. Nikita has no sense of fear, so he must be monitored 24 hours a day. I am thinking about how he learns to understand the world around him, let alone speak.
“I felt like a dumb, useless creature”
Daniel, 17 years old, Moscow:
At the age of 3, I was diagnosed with autism, while the intellect is intact. I didn’t have standard childhood interests, I didn’t like fairy tales.At the age of 3 I learned to read, write and count – this, according to my mother, was almost my only hobby. My parents were not going to make me a child prodigy, I just liked doing it. Mom says that somehow in a neuropsychiatric dispensary I almost smashed the whole office in search of a calculator. From the outside it looked as if I was badly brought up.
I didn’t go to school right away. Several were refused, although they were private schools. During interviews, I withdrawn into myself and did not listen to what was being said.As a result, I went to school at the age of 8, but immediately to the second grade. The first few months my mother sat with me in class. I could not remember that the teacher and other adults should be addressed as “you”, it was difficult to understand social norms. I had no friends, I hardly talked to anyone.
By the age of 11, I began to slowly realize that I did not look like my peers, and in my essays I wrote that I had a difficult character. I began to ask my mother why I was not interested in what my classmates were interested in, and she said that I had autism.I didn’t believe it. I told her that I will prove that I am not autistic, and these are just flaws in my character that I will work on. It was very painful to admit my autism. By the time I was 13, I still admitted it and fell into depression. I felt like a stupid, unhappy, useless creature. After talking with the psychotherapist, it became a little easier for me.
The girls treated me better, they even felt sorry for me sometimes and called other boys fools
My self-esteem at a more or less normal level was supported by good studies.I let them cheat: it seemed that because of this I had authority among my classmates. It was not so difficult to study, it was difficult to force myself to do my homework because of my psychological state.
When I moved to the fifth grade, “A” and “B” were combined into one. So I got not very kind classmates. I was not only bullied, but mocked. They said “Kiss the wall!”, But it was difficult for me to refuse, or asked to dance cha-cha-cha. I thought I was dancing well, but in reality I was bad, they laughed at me.I was very worried about being bullied because I lacked communication. The girls treated me better, sometimes even felt sorry for me and called other boys fools. The boys respected my mind, but considered me socially underdeveloped. I wanted to prove that this is not so.
My parents did not allow me to play computer games, but my grandmother did. I was relieved: others are playing, and so am I. At the age of 15, I realized that games would not give me anything, and I stopped playing them. I got to know VKontakte people like me, but this brought temporary relief.Then I went into myself. Severe headaches prevented me from studying. I spent some time in the Mental Health Research Center and was in a sanatorium, after I did not want to go back to school, I went to college after the ninth grade, but dropped out. Now I am finishing school as an external student. I became more or less “even”, I study normally, only my mother is unhappy that I do not complete all the tasks. But there is something else in my life besides studying! Since childhood, I wanted to earn money. Now I buy things in bulk on the market and sell them via the Internet.After graduation, I want to enter the Faculty of Business and Business Administration.
I have a grudge against others and myself for what I had to endure when I found out about my diagnosis
I am also worried that I cannot understand whether my friend is real or fake. One of them treated me rudely, did not appreciate gifts, but because I did not have a girlfriend, he said that I would be alone all the time. I felt hurt and removed him from my friends. I tried to meet girls on the Internet and on the street, but then I stopped communicating myself.It was not interesting. Once I had an affection for a girl, but she used me: she slyly asked for a gift from me, borrowed money and did not return it, I did not feel worried when I was sick for a long time, she was not interested in my well-being.
I periodically experience bouts of loneliness and thoughts of suicide, often have nervous breakdowns. I take sedatives because I yell at my relatives, I can yell at the whole house and I have no control over myself. Sometimes you want to cut your hands or drink.I have a grudge against others and myself for what I had to endure when I found out about my diagnosis. I also break off when they yell at me, they consider me a child, when they underestimate my work on myself: my mother believes that all my changes are her merit. My parents did a lot for me, that’s what my mother basically says. I don’t have a very good relationship with her, unlike my dad. I’m angry with her because I don’t feel like a happy person: she did a lot for me until I was 11-12, and then she made a lot of mistakes.
“I explained to my husband that it’s okay to cry”
Julia, 44 years old, Moscow:
Photo from personal archive
Niko and I met five years ago in the online gaming community. I thought he was strange: he was not like the rest of my acquaintances, he spoke a lot, in detail, and somehow not right. Once there was a scandal in the community, everyone quarreled, and Niko did not just remain calm, there was a feeling that there was a robot among us: he took out the brain for three hours, in a completely even voice he bent his line.If someone yelled or started to insult him, he clicked on mute so as not to hear the interlocutor. It was a mesmerizing sight! Everyone was acting emotionally, and he was rational, and thus he resolved the conflict. We can say that then I fell in love with him, in some way because of his autism. Then another conflict occurred in the community: someone was offended by someone, difficulties began. And Niko all the time turned out to be “guilty”, because he did not get into the emotional argumentation of people, answered the wrong way and not about that.
Then something clicked in my head. I thought about autism, started reading about it, and it helped me understand Niko’s behavior. As a result, we began to communicate more often, and at some point I dragged him to be tested for autism. Tests showed the presence of ASD. Prior to this, Niko, as he himself says, considered himself an alien. They reacted to him all the time as a freak. He saw that people were building relationships, but he was not. When Niko realized that he had an ASD and there were many such people, he began to watch lectures on the net to understand himself.
If it were his will, he would eat only rice and chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We began to communicate closer, not only on gaming, but also on personal topics, met, started visiting each other and eventually got married. It is difficult for Niko to get used to a new one, a new task, as it were, leads to a malfunction in the program, because when he needs to master a lot of new information, he freezes. When Niko came from Greece to Russia to marry, he fell into a stupor, because he did not know what to expect.He tried to apply the Greek wedding patterns to ours, but it didn’t go well. I explained that we are having a secular wedding, not the same as he saw in Greece: no crowd of relatives, only two friends for moral support, we sign and leave. I see – does not understand. I went online, found a video from an ordinary Russian wedding and showed it to him. The panic is gone. At the registry office, the employee said that we should follow her into the hall and in the center, but she herself did not go in the center, but from the side. Niko stalled, not understanding how to go.Now, when we watch the video from our wedding, we roll with laughter: Niko seems to go to the execution and begins to smile only when he realizes that everything is finally over.
Niko is inclined to act according to the scheme: as he is used to, so be it. Each morning begins with a sequence of activities, from brushing teeth to gripping cats. Everything about everything takes an hour and a half. If the scheme is violated, it is very difficult for him. Previously, he was completely inflexible, but gradually the situation is changing: communication with me taught Niko that the scheme must be adjusted to reality, and not vice versa.Niko has certain food addictions: if it were his will, he would eat only rice with chicken for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But again, a lot has changed over the past 5 years: before, new dishes came in with a creak, but now it’s worth turning away – and my kimchi is gone.
Niko does not read emotions and hints. If I take offense at him, he will never notice in his life. I must say bluntly: I am offended by you because of that. And Niko will tweak the scheme – he is very negotiable. And he, in turn, calmly, without aggression, pronounces when he does not like something.
In general, I am a harsh and quick-tempered person. When I first broke out, Niko was in a panic: his wife was yelling, what to do about it?
We have shared household responsibilities, but at some point everything happens for the first time. And now Niko had to clean the bathroom for the first time. He asked what should be done there. I said: well, wash the sink, toilet, bath. He washed strictly on assignment: sink, toilet, bath – but did not touch the floor, mirror, etc.
I looked and asked: “Well, how did you get out? There you have cat litter lying on the floor! ” He says: “You didn’t say that you have to wash the floor.”Sometimes I just laugh to tears. I say: “Well, do you have your own head? Okay, let’s change the scheme: take a close look at what’s dirty and take it away. ”
In general, I am a harsh and quick-tempered person. When I first broke out, Niko was in a panic: his wife was yelling, what to do about it? I explained to him that screaming or crying sometimes is normal. People do this because they have kicks and emotions. That is, with Niko, I learned to say some things that I had never said in my life, and even to see them from the outside.After all, something that seems obvious to you may not be obvious to another person.
Niko is the nicest person, but completely different. And he greatly expanded my understanding of the world. Over the years, Niko himself realized that people rarely act according to a scheme, and the norm is a very elastic concept, and as long as people are comfortable and they do not bother anyone, these are all thousands of options for the normal.
90,000 What is alexithymia and how to understand your feelings
Alexithymia is not a psychiatric diagnosis, it is a condition in which a person is unable to describe and understand his feelings and emotions.It leads not only to problems in interpersonal relationships, but can also cause psychosomatic illnesses. We spoke with people living with alexithymia and learned from experts how to deal with it.
“It’s like not feeling taste and smell”
Tatiana, 21 years old
I have schizoaffective disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger’s syndrome – the first signs were in adolescence, diagnosed several years ago.As a child, I first realized that it was difficult for me to define emotions and feelings. I could cry and did not realize why. Because of the pain or because I am sad.
When I understand that I am feeling something, I try to pay attention to the sensations in the body. If there is a heaviness in the chest, most likely these are negative emotions – sadness, sadness, resentment. If warmth is felt in the body and limbs, then for sure positive.
For a long time I did not understand what falling in love and sympathy are and whether I could feel them.I was able to distinguish them from other feelings when I met my boyfriend at the age of eighteen. This is a completely different level of feelings that I felt physically : my heart beat faster when I thought about him, I wanted to be near him, it became hot when talking, palms were sweating, my head felt drunk. And somehow I realized that this was something new and that I could love someone.
Fear also manifests itself more physically: there is not enough air, headache, severe tinnitus, intestinal spasm, muscle stiffness, coldness in the body, trembling.It looks like the beginning of a cold – I would say so to make it clearer.
The most difficult thing for me is to tell my relatives how I feel if they ask me about it or expect me to say something about emotions. I just feel that I can’t find the words for this, it’s as if there are none, and I don’t know what to say. At such moments, people think that I do not feel anything, and my silence baffles them.
Sometimes relatives get angry – apparently, they expect an emotional response in the course of a conversation, but I often don’t know what to do, what emotion to show, to squeeze out of myself.But I don’t think they are angry on purpose. Once we talked with my mother about further education, I explained where and for whom I want to study, to which she replied that I speak without interest and emotions, as if I didn’t care.
You seem to be deprived of the opportunity to feel the emotions to the fullest. It is as if they are not there, and you do not know what they are, because anger and joy are felt equally insipid. For me, it’s like living with a constant runny nose and not feeling the taste and smell.
I did not tell my parents about alexithymia and Asperger’s syndrome. They are old school, all people with autism for them are unable to speak and are kept in boarding schools. Also, we are not very close, and I don’t even know how to softly talk about my conditions. I tried to explain to my mother my mental disorder, but for her it is “you cannot control yourself”, so all my stories and featured articles on this topic are useless. I have a physical disability – my parents treat me the same way they treat people with disabilities in Russia: they consider me weak and unable to work.They are aware that I am mentally ill, but if you also tell them about problems with emotions and Asperger’s syndrome, they will treat me with even more pity and the thought that I am not like normal children, and that this is their punishment from God. But my boyfriend is aware of my problems, and after he found out about them, we began to understand each other better.
I am undergoing a course of psychotherapy, and it is very difficult for me to talk about how I feel, about my emotions. But the more time passes, the more I learn to describe my emotions in images. For example, sadness is a dark and cloudy cloud . It’s a weird experience, but I love it.
“I was considered a callous and unsociable person”
I have type 2 bipolar disorder. I am currently in remission and continue with medication. I have long felt that it is difficult for me to describe emotions and feelings, but I first realized this about ten years ago. Then we often played word games in the company, and several times I got questions of the format “what do you feel in relation to … (a person, phenomenon, event, and so on)?” Such questions threw me into a stupor, and at the same time I noticed that other people had no problem answering.I tried to understand how they find words so quickly, for some time I even suspected that they were coming up with them on the go. Later, I stumbled across an article on alexithymia on the Internet and recognized familiar symptoms.
In my case, alexithymia does not affect creativity and professional tasks: I love fiction based on the problems of human relationships, sometimes I myself write prose, poetry, and songs. It is easier to formulate feelings on behalf of the lyric hero, and besides, this is a training for verbalization.
But in my personal life and communication with friends, alexithymia leads to problems: my relatives often noticed that I had difficulties with expressing emotions – before, they were mostly angry and took the position of “why you can’t say normal right away”. For a long time I was considered a callous and unsociable person, because I did not understand how to express various kinds of empathy. Several times they quarreled with my girlfriend almost to the point of breaking up, because my reaction was “wrong”: it did not correspond to the situation and did not correctly reflect my own emotions.
After I began to warn about my problem, there were fewer conflicts, with loved ones we began to talk more about feelings.
I also have problems with decision-making due to the inability to understand which feeling guides the opinion, but this is rather good: I have to learn to look at things from the standpoint of rationality, fixing the pros and cons, instead of succumbing to emotions.
“My feelings are a mystery to myself”
Anton, 30 years old
Until recently, I did not know about such a problem as alexithymia, but I began to notice that I did not understand my emotions and feelings in my youth.I could not understand how to react to the actions of classmates and friends – when to laugh, get angry and upset. Until now, I can’t tell a joke from an insult if it’s not obvious. For example, I can be offended to tears if they say “fool” to me in a friendly way, and laugh when I hear obscenities in my address.
Trying to socialize, I repeated after other people, but it looked awkward, I did not grasp the norms. I was persecuted at school, but I did not know how to react: I was silent to insults, and for a slight irony I could get into a fight, then I was ashamed and apologized.
When I started working, I could not get accustomed to the team, because I did not read someone else’s attitude towards me and, accordingly, did not know how I should relate to people. Many people said that I was being arrogant, which surprised and upset me, because I was just silent all the time. My unsociability leads to the fact that, despite my high professional performance, career growth and a leading position do not shine for me. In the humanitarian field, which I am engaged in, relationships with people, the ability to understand and read the emotions of others, are extremely important, especially if you want to manage a team.
Relationships with friends and close people do not develop for the same reason – mutual misunderstanding, which even a strong romantic or friendly affection could not overcome. I felt the difference in the direction of these attachments only by the presence of sexual desire, which manifests itself in a standard human way. However, his absence did not stop me from rash actions: I confessed my romantic love to my friends and even friends, although I did not think about sexual relations with them, I was simply drawn to them and in their presence I became physically warm and comfortable.People, to put it mildly, were surprised in response to my offer to meet, and the guys expressed dislike. Relations with many wonderful people were ruined once and for all, even an apology did not help restore friendship.
And after the breakup, I did not understand what I was experiencing – I was sad, then I was happy, and it drove me crazy. When my ex-girlfriend moved away from me, it often took my breath away in an empty apartment, my pulse quickened, especially when I remembered our everyday life. The reasons are not clear, because there is nothing to be offended and angry about, because we parted on my initiative.And somehow a friend posted a photo from a party, and everything boiled inside me, my breath caught too (it seems that this is my standard reaction to anything), but I did not understand what was happening inside me. I called him and asked why he went there, which sounded very stupid – he did not understand this question, and I no longer understood why I was asking him, and even in a broken voice. My friends know that I am not a party fan in principle, and I know this about myself, so I didn’t keep any complaints in my mind, but some emotions overwhelmed, judging by the physical manifestations.I would call them meaningless, phantom.
“I wondered how best to die”: stories of adolescents with mental disabilities
“I wondered how best to die”: stories of teens with mental disabilities
An attempt to explain to people that I have problems with emotions does not help: even those closest to me are sure that this is a whim and I just do not want to control myself and “try to understand others”.
When I first went to a psychiatrist, he said that emotional problems are neurosis. I was treated with various drugs for a long time, but the situation did not get better, until now my feelings are a mystery to me. Psychotherapy is weak, but it helps: the doctor taught me to determine how feelings differ from emotions, but it is still difficult to recognize them. I learned that emotion is a small short-term acute sensation, like a flash, lightning, you don’t have time to think about anything. And a feeling is a long-term state, accompanied by a bunch of thoughts.For example, I hit a chair and screamed, my hands clenched, instinctively hit the chair in response – that means an emotion arose. But I had a colleague at a former job who set me up, and if we went out in the same shift, then I felt muscle tension, heart palpitations and often thought about how he could be such a lousy person.
The hardest thing for me is to tell the doctors what I am experiencing: no matter what words I choose, everything seems like a lie or a fantasy. This applies to both mental and physical sensations.As soon as I go into the office of a gastroenterologist or therapist and start complaining, I listen to myself more closely and begin to think that I have dreamed the sensations. It’s the same with a psychotherapist and a psychiatrist: it seems that I am actually a healthy dreamer, because I cannot convey exactly how I feel, and specialists are not telepathic and cannot understand.
“I cannot clothe feelings in human language”
Christina, 28 years old
I went to a psychologist with borderline disorder and depression, once he asked me to describe myself, and I felt confused because I don’t know who I am.I told him that I was made up of layers: outside there was a polite shell, under it was an evil gopnik, and under it was a kind soul that saved everyone, and it was she who was protected by the gopnik. Then again something dark that I do not understand and am afraid to analyze, and so on ad infinitum. Later, these layers came out into certain subpersonalities, and their emotions were perceived as strangers, which I cannot understand or control. I gave them names, and they speak in my head like separate parts of me: kind, aggressive, overly emotional, my usual.
I manage to describe my feelings using a table of feelings, we were asked to use it in psychotherapy couples (I was studying to be a doctor) to tell others about my feelings. But sometimes I experience things that are not in this table or there is no name for these feelings.
I have developed empathy, I easily understand those around me, but inside me there is either a mixture [of feelings], or nothing at all. This does not affect my hobby: I paint the necessary emotions for my characters, sometimes drawing helps me figure out what I feel, or others begin to understand it – sometimes they are horrified.Because of alexithymia, I do not communicate much with people, because I cannot respond with the emotional reactions they need.
For example, if a person raised his voice at me, I may cry, even if I just thought I was being pressured, or I get too angry and scream. There is no average response to pressure. If they regret it, they roar.
The most difficult thing is to tell those who expect warmth from me that I feel this warmth, but I don’t show it, because I don’t know how. This feeling is smeared, it is impossible to concretize it in words.Also, I can’t tell people what exactly I was offended with, because the words get stuck or I can’t clothe feelings in human language. It’s hard to be locked up and not understand how I really feel . I ignore my feelings more often than I track.
Alexithymia often leads to psychosomatic manifestations: when I am nervous, the temperature rises to 37-37.5 degrees, pains in the abdomen, heart, head, aching teeth, allergies begin (itching, covered with a rash), breathing problems (I cannot breathe or I don’t feel oxygen in the air), anything can hurt at all, regardless of the absence of physical pathology.
“Jealousy smells like socks”: how the world of synesthetes feel
“Jealousy smells like socks”: how the world of synesthetes feel
Why does alexithymia occur and how to cope with it?
Clinical Psychologist at Mental Health Center, CBT therapist
Alexithymia is most common in autism spectrum disorders, but can accompany any mental disorder (depression, personality disorders, etc.)P.). It is associated with the mechanism of formation and maintenance of a psychosomatic symptom, but not the only reason for its occurrence. Clients with alexithymia tend to seek physical discomfort first with a somatic physician.
According to the results of some studies, difficulties with the expression of emotions are more common in men than in women; in people of a different gender identity, alexithymia is practically not studied. However, the quality of most studies of alexithymia is quite low.
The exact causes of this condition have not yet been identified. There is evidence that mirror neurons are involved in the occurrence of alexithymia, structures such as the amygdala, insula, and cerebellum are involved. Disruption of dopaminergic metabolism in these structures is associated with manifestations of alexithymia.
Nevertheless, the environment plays a significant role in the development of difficulties in understanding their emotions: does the child see the expression of emotions, does he hear their names, does it tell him what emotions are, how they are manifested.
Alexithymia can lead to difficulties in building or maintaining interpersonal relationships – in these cases, I would recommend contacting a specialist. If you notice that it is difficult for you in interacting with people, there is a feeling that no one understands your goals, motives, and it is often difficult for you to understand people when they talk about their emotions – you can independently study materials about emotions, gradually learn to notice them from yourself and others, observe and express.
By itself, this problem does not imply medical treatment. A psychotherapist works with alexithymia at the beginning of any psychotherapy, since it is important for a specialist to understand how the client feels in problem situations.
Relatives can help a person by talking about their emotions and thereby showing the experience of their living, as well as asking about the person’s experiences, thereby drawing his attention to the emotional sphere.
Alexithymia is indeed common among my clients and makes communication much more difficult at first meetings.At the beginning of work, the specialist collects information about what is happening with the client (about his behavior, thinking, emotions), of course, alexithymia interferes with this process. In such cases, we devote several meetings so that the client learns what emotions are, how they manifest themselves, how they feel, learns to notice them in himself, call them, observe them. The most difficult case of alexithymia for me in a client required eight meetings of work specifically on identifying, observing, describing and expressing emotions.
How does alexithymia affect physical health?
Psychologist at the Mental Health Center, cognitive behavioral therapist, schema therapist, resident psychiatrist
Alexithymia can lead to the appearance of psychosomatic symptoms – pain, squeezing, distention, tingling and others, but at the same time, according to analyzes and studies, doctors do not find anything.
A number of data indicate that patients with a higher level of alexithymia, suffering from bronchial asthma, require longer hospitalizations.In patients with primary arterial hypertension, with the severity of alexithymia, higher blood pressure figures are noted, and hypertension may be resistant to drug therapy. There is a relationship between the severity of alexithymia and blood levels of cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and norepinephrine. In patients with difficulties with the perception of emotions, there is a decrease in immunity indicators . Patients with medically unexplained symptoms have shown higher levels of alexithymia in studies.
People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain syndrome, skin diseases, bronchial asthma, ischemic heart disease, gastric ulcer and (or) duodenal ulcer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, also showed a higher level of alexithymia than in the rest of the population.
There are two opposite points of view on Asperger’s syndrome.Parents of autistic people consider Asperger’s syndrome a painful condition, make attempts at psychological correction and drug treatment of their children. This is the path of stigmatization, social exoskeleton, castrating pedagogy, destruction of identity.
Adults aspies who managed to overcome the greatest difficulties, socialize and become successful enough to get the right to speak, consider the peculiarities of perception and response of people with Asperger’s syndrome one of the variants of the norm, speak out for tolerance to neurodiversity, against repressive corrective methods, say that that the aforementioned difficulties are artificially created by society and call for the creation of conditions under which all people, regardless of how much their capabilities and characteristics deviate from a certain average mental norm, will be included in the life of society.
The very idea that there can be a “healthy” majority for which the world is ideal, and an “unhealthy” minority that needs to be treated, ruled, isolated or eliminated because it does not fit into the framework is an ignorant idea … There is no norm, but there is a probability of normal distribution and the theory of three sigma, from which we can understand that zero ideality, in principle, does not suit anyone. All people deviate from the norm to some extent, which means that everyone needs special, individual conditions for self-realization.
Temple Grandin. The world needs different ways of thinking
Important note: if something “does not suit” social groups with peculiarities of functioning – those who deviate by 2σ or 3σ – this is something that “does not suit” the whole society as a whole. If the staircase is insurmountable for a person in a wheelchair, then the inaccessibility of the upper floor is a problem not only for wheelchair users. This means that an elderly person, a person in a cast, a mother with a stroller, a man with a heavy bag, and a small child will not go up the stairs either.
And these aforementioned orphaned and poor comrades are not public rubbish, they are exactly the ones for whom we are building our stairs, our society. These are our families: children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers and our friends. If a citizen is stoned for publicly expressing feelings for the “wrong” person, the problem is not in the wrongly addressed feeling. Because social rules are written for a person, not to get rid of a person. Fortunately, the stigmatization of nontraditional sexuality is a thing of the past.It’s time to move neurostigmatization in the same direction. The fact that society cannot find a common language with autists, receive and use for the good the genius of people with other systems of thinking is not a problem for autists, but there is a problem for society.
Stephen Hawking, wheelchair user with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Probably, there is now a person who does not know what a wheelchair user with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or a modest color blind programmer can give the world.But the benefits from each of us – from each person – are not measured by ingenious discoveries or projects. There are intangible values that people use to enrich their lives. Especially not those who are lucky to realize themselves. Although there is a huge demand for highly socialized autists, the reputation of the syndrome is still being built by examples from the past. For many, an Aspie is someone who is good at adding 10-digit numbers, speaks 50 languages, memorizes books in libraries, or collects bullshit. Moreover, the appearance that is customary to represent when the word “asperger” is necessarily strange.But the other operating system installed in the head of the Aspergers may have absolutely no effect on their appearance, especially on the appearance of those who are “lucky.” On the other hand, it is gratifying to see young Aspies who write in their diaries “I don’t want to adapt to you” and express their identity in appearance as well. However, they do not look like aliens or neglected psychiatric patients. You will never guess about the syndrome if you are not told about it in confidence.
Mark Zuckerberg, color blind programmer
You will be surprised, but you are surrounded by people with autism spectrum disorders, the very ones + 3σ and above. Of course, there are very few successful aspies openly today. But this does not mean that the best results of repressive pedagogy, which are much more popularized, are a model for describing Aspie. The development of the Internet and applications for people with different systems of thinking allows us to hope that there will be more open, highly socialized autists.
All people with Asperger Syndrome are very different from each other. But there are similarities that set them apart from the so-called extended spectrum autism group. And these special features are exactly what the society must accept and assimilate, this is a gift from the Aspergers, that same intangible value and spiritual contribution, the main history of this text.
What I will write next is a completely unclassical and far from exhaustive description of people with Asperger, and, of course, I deliberately do not draw your attention to the mass of other (“unpleasant”) traits that lead Aspie to social decompensation.But all the “negative” features follow from those given by me.
So what are the Aspergers teaching us?
Start with empathy, or the capacity for compassion. It is often said that aspies lack the capacity for compassion. I believe that this impression is produced by the acquired Asperger mask, and in fact many Aspergers have the highest, off-scale empathy. This empathy is so great that conventional emotional colors cannot fully express it, and after many unsuccessful attempts, Aspergers choose a mask of insensitivity and seek strength to shield the “neurotypical” from their cosmic sensations, because they do not feel the need to communicate at a low empathic level.Emotional exhaustion of Aspergers, in my opinion, is due to the fact that all the reactions of a hyperampathic person from the very beginning of life seem to be directed into emptiness. Society remains indifferent to reactions and appeals, and Aspie picks up steam, turns into a preacher and can die from severe decompensation due to lack of feedback.
It is scary that the “majority” consider lies, theft, and competition to be the norm. Be a little aspie – tell the truth
There are some fairly compensated or retrained Aspies who are in contact with society through TV shows or writing books, and they talk about their intense feelings, intense spiritual life.I am not suggesting that you develop a dangerous level of hyperempathy, but maybe you should try to learn to sympathize a little more than you can? If before you were only interested in your family, maybe include neighbors in the empathy zone? If your neighbor has already enjoyed your exclusive location, maybe you are able to make the people living in your house, neighborhood or city the object of your responsibility? If your biological compassion worked for people of your nationality, maybe try to sympathize with others? If your solidarity was only masculine or only feminine, isn’t it time to shift the frame to a universal one? If you were jerking when someone else had their finger bled, maybe you should think about how a cow feels in a slaughterhouse? This is Asperger’s empathy, but take a small part for yourself – it will brighten your life and tell you more about your own possibilities.
Try to be honest as aspie. Saying something damaging to a relationship seems counterintuitive to us. But is it really so? We’ve been building personal bonds for years that really shouldn’t exist at all. We use lies as a family-cementing mixture. We manipulate private interests for the sake of the overall effectiveness of the group, and all this leads to disastrous consequences. We’re building houses of cards on shaky ground instead of learning to say, “I don’t like your clothes.I don’t like your voice. I just hate your habits. “Yes, the person will leave. Yes, you will lose the resources associated with him. But you cannot build resource relationships. This high decency of Aspergers seems to be an angular bad manners, but try to notice something delightful in this grotesque. even a small lie, does not play even larger games – aspergers are inert, they cannot be moved from their place by political manipulation.Imagine a world of people who do not steal, do not lie and do not try to crush others in a competitive race.No, this is not a pathology. It is scary that the “majority” consider lies, theft, and competition to be the norm. Be a little bit aspie – tell the truth.
Another funny personality trait that Aspergers exhibit is their amazing attentiveness to key or minor things. Asperger can endlessly explore a tiny field of science and achieve amazing, unexpected results. On the other hand, an Asperger can be superficial, ignore insignificant details and discover the laws that govern phenomena, completely new systemic things.This is meticulousness, punctuality, this is a departure from the world into the desert, resulting from the awareness of one’s own place and the ability to give an adequate assessment of both someone else’s and one’s own activities.
Incredible and incomprehensible persistence until the very end of the work incomprehensible to others, the ability to be the best in one’s place is a very important and worthy quality that should be taken as one’s own. Like Gorbanevskaya: “I have a place, maybe this is so small, but it’s mine …”
Awareness of their role, respect for the chosen activity helps aspergers respect the activities of other people, other specialists.The “hungry and thirsty for the truth” have a broken counter of vanity, they are inert to criticism, insults, compliments or flattery, not interested in material or historical rewards. Moreover, the Aspergers are the inventors of the cure for vanity, envy, and bragging. They sincerely rejoice at the success of other people, because they approach the perception of achievements in a systemic way: “It was not a genius who discovered it, it was we, humanity, who made a breakthrough.” That, in fact, is an objective assessment of what happened, because not a single person develops independently, but we are all a social product, and our achievements are based on the victories of our ancestors and serve as a basis for the achievements of descendants.Hi copyright theorists! Be a little aspie, share your successes and enjoy the achievements of others!
Alix Generous. My inner life with the Aspergers
The best in love and friendship, from the side aspergers resemble elephants in a china shop. Social rules and boundaries fall off the shelves like meaningless cheap china. Asperger will be the first to break all existing rules, but not out of a desire to be evil. He will not be afraid that he looks funny or eccentric, he will not refuse to give his hand to the untouchable.An internal compass – everything I wrote about above, all arrows: empathy, consistency, honesty, passion – will show the direction of movement, and the boundaries will be destroyed. This is how Aspergers destroy their social contacts, and this is how they make their brilliant scientific discoveries.
Sometimes it seems to me that Aspergers have hearts the size of the Universe, and instead of eyes, complex optical magnifying systems that are able to detect meaning and meaning in all manifestations of life and in all colors of the surrounding world.Aspies can spend years enthusiastically studying a bug or a bacterium. Water, wind, fire, the sound of trees, the splash of waves, the movement of cool air, the rustle of leaves, the growth of grass, the life of insects – all this fascinates the Aspergers, makes their hearts vibrate. “A speck of dust from distant lands” launches a chain of endless reflection that depletes the vivid living of every moment. Whispers and clicking become tickets to the festival of brayngasms and passages to the realm of Autonomous sensory meridional reaction.
Meltdown, or Aspie’s emotional breakdown, is a manifestation of the overload of the aforementioned beauty.Too much taste, color, sound, feeling, empathy, hugs. Meltdown is seriously different from other emotional disorders. In movies, we often see scenes during which a crying person is hit in the face – and he calms down. I doubt that such “support” is generally effective, but now I cite a similar example because I want to note – hitting an Aspie in the meltdown or yelling at him at that moment means causing an outrageous shock, which Aspie cannot cope with on its own.On the other hand, any dog, in the literal sense, remarkably stops the meltdown, just showing increased empathy: it does not require verbal answers, it reminds that it is nearby, shows positive emotions, asserts the stability of the world, gives warmth, switches attention to its soft coat and shows an example of calmness and friendliness.
The episode of meltdown as the highest degree of susceptibility, before the collapse is the idea that it might be fun to slightly increase the brightness of our life monitor.If someone is literally blown away by a violin concert or a noisy children’s party, maybe we should try to listen and look at our surroundings a little harder – not until the glasses crack, but at least until the harmonics appear? Maybe add a sliver of vanilla sugar to our sour life jam?
And the last amazing ability of Aspergers is the ability to self-actualize, no matter what. I think the social sacrifice that Aspies make is not a natural need.This is the result of the intolerance of society, which, like a mothball bureaucrat with a questionnaire, asks: “Do you have this piece of paper? No? Can you do that? No? Get out!” Not all the skills that are taught to us are vital. Most of the mossy social norms, which once, in prehistoric times, ensured the survival of man as a species, are no more useful than the masks with which shamans scare away evil spirits. Many norms impede social progress and crush the happiness of entire generations. Each of us should have time to enjoy life, for an inappropriate smile, for averted gaze, for naive honesty, for rapid decision-making and for pondering every step.
Brodsky said: “If speech is what distinguishes us from other representatives of the animal kingdom, then literature, and poetry in particular, being the highest form of literature, is, roughly speaking, our specific goal.” Yes, poetry is a specific goal. But this is not the only species target. The new Brodsky, who will one day write the next instructive Nobel speech for us, will add other specific goals, such as solidarity, for example. And I am sure that in addition to solidarity, the list will include the most important thing that people with Asperger’s syndrome can teach us.