Help me understand autism (and Asperger Syndrome)

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jamail77:

Pyrokinesis:
Autism is literally just a medical term for "ok I dont understand him/her why arent they like the rest of us?". The whole autisim diagnosis is just a huge "pool up things we dont get and call it a disease". Ive been told before when I was a child I had Asperger syndrome too. All it was is that Im a very logical thinker and alot of what people do is stupid and illogical, so I dont tend to socialize with them much, as a result I dont have much experience with sugar coating or B/Sing for the sake of being social. Its not some disease that makes it impossible for me to be social or something its just an active choice influenced by my choice to take life more logically than others. Where others see "going out getting hammered/having a good time" I see "idiots wasting braincells and making 'friends' who will never be there for them". So I guess in my case I just got an extra does of reality.rx and it makes it hard for me to socialize with those that are deficient in vitamin reality.

In short: Autism is a remarkably lazy categorization of those who dont act like the "norm". And as such some individuals in the medical community treat it like its a disease to be different and try to diagnose it like one. As appose to understanding why this is or understanding how it is different people act differently for different reasons they label it as "autistic" and brand you as mentally diseased because they dont get it.

It sounds like you were misdiagnosed by lazy doctors and are taking it out on science. Autism is well documented and very clear; my brother most certainly has autism. Just because we don't completely understand it doesn't mean it's a lazy categorization, it's far from it actually. I am very much like your description here yet I was never diagnosed with autism; they just diagnosed me with being a smart kid and more of an introvert (compliments not actual diagnosis). That's it. I did get checked due to genetic theories I might have it because of my brother but in the end I was ruled as not. I've done years of research on autism. My brother and (I didn't mention this earlier) half sister are both autistic and they have clear neurlogical differences; you can actually see some of it in their brain chemistry. My Mom is also a neurologist. By attacking the diagnosis you are attacking years of good science. I'm sorry you were misdiagnosed but don't let your personal experiences cloud your judgment. If you want I'll explain what it REALLY is.

Given how most of our DNA is still a mystery to the science community, cancer is still very prevalent, only a fraction of our brain is used, and we have yet to even isolate the differences in brain chemistry and accurately tie them to behaviors in lab mice id say the medical community has a long way to go before you can say that Autism is not just a broad spectrum of accusations and is genetic in nature. Besides your treading into nature vs nuture water here and I can tell your biased.

tricky-crazy:
I remember going to a EB Games and just before leaving the shop I said a little joke (don't remember what it was), right after he ''jokingly'' said to the cashier how his job doesn't contribute to society and how he should rethink his life.

I was shocked, I told him that his behavior was rater rude and the only excuse I got was ''Well I have autism remember ?'' to which I was insulted, like he was shielding his bad behavior by a diagnosis.

He was. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of nine and I've known people all my life who've had it or other autism spectrum disorders, and let me tell you something. Every last one of them were some of the nicest, most self sacrificing people I've known. You were right to think that he's hiding behind his diagnosis as an excuse to act like a jackass, because HE IS. Autism is no excuse for being an asshole. It should NEVER be an excuse.

The thing with autism is that it's like cancer, in that its symptoms, possible treatment, and severity vary widely from case to case. Some cancers are benign; some are severe. In the same way, some autism is mild and leaves people fully able to function in society, while some is so severe that cohabitation is pretty much impossible.

This is important to understand because often you'll see people--often people on the spectrum--who claim to know what sets off autism or how to treat it. And no doubt that's true for them; I'm sure they have a great understanding of how to handle their own disorder. But just like some cancers are treated with surgery and some with chemotherapy, there isn't any guarantee that their problems or solutions will be common to the next autistic person down the line.

Since we've already had examples of people with mild cases of autism sharing their stories here (not to belittle anyone's difficulties, but anyone sufficiently functioning to be able to post on a message board has, at least comparatively, a mild case), I'll share an example of a more severe case: I know a six or seven year old girl with a pretty severe case of autism. Half a year ago she was in diapers; even now, accidents are common. She has a very limited vocabulary (at a guess, maybe around 50 words that she'll say, and another 100 or so that she understands), and most of her words are various types of food. Her longest unprompted sentences are usually two or three words long, and almost always of the form "want [noun]" or "want [noun] please", e.g., "want berries" or "want cookie please". Even then, you have to take what she says liberally. "Cookie", for instance, can be anything from an actual cookie to a granola bar or a cracker. And even then, she'd rather just help herself to whatever it is -- she only asks when you're stopping her from getting what she wants. Maybe the best summary description of her I've heard so far is "A six year old's body with a two year old's mind."

tl;dr -- Autism is a huge spectrum of behavioral disorders. There isn't one set of effects or one set of cures. Take anything you read about autism with a grain of salt.

Xan Krieger:
I have asperger's syndrome (diagnosed age 12 by a professional) and I admit to being rude a few times, here's a great example. In high school me and my ROTC classmates had taken to calling breasts "torpedoes" since they're shaped like the warheads on one. I went up to a girl and told her she had torpedoes big enough to sink the bismark. I was slapped so hard my glasses flew across the hall. Let me explain my logic, if a woman tells a man he has big balls it's generally accepted as a compliment so in my mind telling a woman she had big breasts would be the equivalent owing to a female lack of testicles.

On other subjects my opinion is based on my own personal logic so I figure if people can express their opinions then I should be able to express mine, sadly mine aren't always popular because they're not based on emotions. My hatred ot the US military is a great example, everyone else seems too emotional about it and they ignore the atrocities they've committed. I don't share the emotions so I go based on the facts and no doubt if I said on Facebook that I hate the military my entire friend's list would delete me.

If I come across as an asshole give me a chance to explain, I'll always explain my thought process from start to finish. As for the whole threatening thing, we autistic people are prone to meltdowns where we just explode in anger or depression. Some of us are violent (I'm not, I just swear a lot). Everyone with autism needs a coping method like in my case I go somewhere to calm down.

I can confirm this. Got diagnosed with this by a legit psychiatrist when I was applying to Voc Rehab and they tested me for ADHD. They found that and Asperger's Syndrome. A very interesting twist to my life if I say so myself.

Deu Sex:
All you have to understand about autism is that it makes you House.

image

No it doesn't, you idiot.

...

Well, I certainly do seem to connect with him a crapload.

Autism Spectrum refers to a wide range of pervasive developmental disorders. The clinical diagnosis is in itself "Autism", which Aspergers being a sub-clinical diagnosis of the same umbrella developmental disorder category Autism finds itself in.

Also on this spectrum you'll find PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder - not otherwise specified), childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett Syndrome (not typically put on the autism spectrum due to it's vastly different bio-pathology, but there for reference since it's very close in symptomatic presentation).

Characteristic symptoms you'll find, in varying levels of intensity, on this spectrum include a marked deficit in social ability, difficulties in communication, delays in thought processing, routines that are strictly adhered to (and met with significant distress when broken), and obsessive-like behaviour towards a chosen interest.

Other conditions that can often mis-construe as placing on the AS (esecially as far as sociability and communication are concerned) are GAD (generalised affect disorder), SA (social anxiety), depression (often co-morbid to someone who places on the AS, but not necessarily always linked, IE - you can be depressed and not necessarily place on the AS and vice versa), and PiD (Pick's Disease).

Many people are just socially awkward, and just happen to have something about them that mildly matches one or two of the things listed above. That doesn't necessarily mean that they place on the AS, but that they're just socially awkward due to disturbed social conditioning / integration.

This has been mainly a very brief outline on the facts of the disorder, but I've seen many very good personal accounts by people on here, so it's good to read those too.

Three years for a Neuropsychology degree and this is how I use it, to help people on a gaming forum. Oh well, it's got to count for something, right?

Pyrokinesis:

Given how most of our DNA is still a mystery to the science community, cancer is still very prevalent, only a fraction of our brain is used, and we have yet to even isolate the differences in brain chemistry and accurately tie them to behaviors in lab mice id say the medical community has a long way to go before you can say that Autism is not just a broad spectrum of accusations and is genetic in nature. Besides your treading into nature vs nuture water here and I can tell your biased.

Fair enough. I am biased because I have two autistic family members and avoided being misdiagnosed like you. Then agian my Mom is also a neurologist and I seem to have done more research than you are willing to put in so I also seem to be more knowledgable than you which is not the same as bias. Frankly, that was uncalled for. You do not insult a person personally just their argument; by saying "I can tell you're biased" you're insulting me. I won't go into how insulting that sounds. Basically you're writing me off as not worth listening to. This is insulting, demeaning, and dismissive. In order to not insult me you have to nicely point out why you think I'm biased. Saying I'm biased isn't good enough. You need proof.

First off, yes our DNA is still a mystery but the way you're describing it is as if we first discovered it. I love science. I'm studying a very science intensive major and plan on broadening it actually. We know more about DNA than you suggest we do.

Second, I could bring up studies right now that have done just that though not necessarily with lab mice.

Third, autism is not accusations about socially insecure individauls. That is called personality. My brother cannot speak complex sentences, often misunderstands points, is uneccesarily stubborn, rehashes his point thinking he is saying something different, and repeats words beyond that of a simple stutterer. He is very social however. Autism is not linked to sociality in the sense you choose to avoid people; it is linked in how you see and approach and in how you speak. An unsocial person still understands how to be social and what sociality is at a young age; an autistic person needs to be taught into adulthood. They often come off as rude without meaning too. He can sympathize but empathizing is trickier. He cries more over his own problems than over others but he genuinely feels sadness or anger over those of others. He hugs me with real emotion, happiness and all the others. He is very obsessive compulsive and has a routine by the second (it can never be off or he has to rest his alarm clock, compensate, and complains for five straight minutes) and to this very day is still at an elemtary school grade level of knowledge, intelligence, etc. By the way the brain chemisty in an autistic person HAS BEEN MAPPED...at least an extent. I can pull all this up for you.

Seeing as how I'm very different from my brother I'm not sure how much of a nature vs nurture argument this really is: I didn't turn out like my brother yet we grew up in the same environment and were born by the same mother though we're not twins so that factors in(nature) and we were nurtured the same.

Lastly, and perhaps the most ignorant statement that remains popular on the Internet, is that we only used a fraction of our brains. This isn't true. That study showed we fire a certain type of neuron/synapse/whatever I meant to say (little tired) 10% of the time. It got massively misreported leading to the current myth. We use all of our brain. That would be an evolutionary waste. This has been proven. Anyone who gets brain damage can attest to this; it doesn't matter what part of your brain it is. Our right hemisphere controls this, our left hemisphere that, the visual cortext that, etc. Why would we just have a piece that never gets used? Here's a link that disproves that myth: http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html

Pyrokinesis:

ObsidianJones:
I guess from my experience, I see Aspergers fiercely intelligent minds with just a slight inability to deal with or care about society at large. They'll have their interest, but at best they feel more secure alone, dealing with the masses as they see fit rather than how we say they should deal with us.

As much as I despise the Autism generalization and stupidly broad the term is to catch 22 anything that isnt deemed as "normal" by society, id have to say this is the most profoundly accurate statement for what Asperger syndrome is typically associated with. Sad matter of life is intelligence and sorrow are almost directly related. To know and understand more just tends to make you depressed by comparison when you see mass levels of stupidity around you. Imagine if you will being yourself but surrounded by a civilization of monkeys who pass time by hitting themselves in the head with hammers and greet each other with convoluted song and dance for hours on end. Obviously this is exaggerated to express the point of what I see when people say its normal to drink alcohol/smoke cigarettes and talk about their great uncles grandpas niece whom you have never met and lives on the other side of the nation for the sake of conversation.

When I train the boys, I usually seclude them from the others so they can call the shots as much as they want, and act like they want for at least a few hours each week. But it's hard with a busy personal training center.

Every now and again, a new person or a person who has never seen them will pull me aside and ask about them. One of my favorite interplays went as follows. I'm cleaning up and getting ready to go after training the boys, and a new older woman (say 50's) asks me about them.

Woman: So... what's their deal?
Me: Deal?
Woman: Why are they acting like that?
Me: They are being themselves. They Have Asperger's.
Woman: Ooooh. So they can't help it.
Me: They can, they just choose not to. It's their hour, so I let them do what they want while training. I just try to keep people away from them.
Woman: Yeah, that makes sense. People wouldn't understand.
Me: Oh, no. Well, yeah, people wouldn't understand. But I keep the boys away because I want them to be comfortable.
Woman: Why is that?
Me: People don't understand them, and said people make a big deal out of it and treat them differently. That's an uncomfortable feeling. They don't understand people, but they treat people all the same. I know I'd hate being one of the smartest people in the room, but people talking down to me like I'm 10 because I don't follow social cues.

Now, I made sure my tone was light and breezy while saying this, but I was very afraid I offended her. Luckily, I didn't. She nodded and then she engaged them the next time she saw them as regular kids. They do take a few times to get used to another person, to open up and talk, but they saw she was trying and it was a positive thing.

Really never felt prouder as a trainer, and it had nothing to do with a body's progression.

... Now I feel sad that I realized that...

ObsidianJones:

I guess from my experience, I see Aspergers fiercely intelligent minds with just a slight inability to deal with or care about society at large. They'll have their interest, but at best they feel more secure alone, dealing with the masses as they see fit rather than how we say they should deal with us.

This is not a good description of Aspergers but if you just met someone with it for 3 minutes this might be how you describe them. On to my bigger point: This is another misconception. Autism =/= Fierce intelligence

It is linked to some people with autism but it is not the deciding factor of whether you have it or not. Certain forms of autism actually inhibit learning. My brother is still at an elementary school level. My half sister's intelligence is not inhibited as much though she struggles more in school than a kid with her intelligence or position necessarily would. She has VERY big rage moments, worse than a temper tantrum. You do not have autism unless you fit a long list of criteria. If you only are fiercely intelligent but don't care or deal with society at large you don't have autism. It has to be more than that.

I have diagnosed ADHD, which is indeed a form of autism. It is extraordinarily hard to focus, and any discomfort is magnified. Hell, it was torture trying to sit perfectly still for 45 minutes when they were doing an MRI on my knee.

Autism is varying, quite extremely.

By sheer chance, I actually deal with a great number of autistic/AS people. I didn't go to them; rather, they came to me. And over the years, what I've learned is that in order to deal with people like this at an adult age in a casual social context, you have to have a really strong personality and not mind explaining normally extremely obvious social aspects to people in a way that isn't outwardly insulting.

It's a really delicate balance, because a lot of them have exceptional pools of knowledge on which they could be described as experts, thus making it far too easy to let them 'run with the ball,' so to speak.

Maybe I can try to offer a slightly different perspective -- I don't have an autism spectrum disorder, but many of my friends have Asperger's, and so have the majority of my boyfriends. Here are some things I've noticed that really stand out about the people I've known (and please note, I am not speaking about more serious autism types):

- I've noticed a general lack of empathic response to anything they don't understand. If my friend is freaking out about, say, how she thinks she looks fat when she's really not fat at all, I will still be able to offer sympathy and feel sad along with her, and thus try to help her out from a position of emotional commonality. My friends with Asperger's seem to have an inability to figure out how to emulate something they haven't experienced -- a mirroring response failure -- and thus I tend to get a lot of "but you're being silly and there's no reason to be sad here, so be happy!" They mean well -- really, they're not a bunch of assholes -- but they just can't viscerally understand a situation they haven't been in, empathically.
- They can regulate their emotions way, way more easily than many people. I've known many who can just stop being sad, like *that.* It used to drive me absolutely nuts to see someone who can have their cat die and then just decide to quit being sad. My boyfriend tells me if we broke up, he'd be sad for about a day. This isn't a statement of his caring; this is just a thing he can do. He can switch off his emotions and decide to have them not exist. Here, I've had to learn to be patient, and to have lots of open discussion with close friends and dates about how I can't do that, and thus the fact that I'm angry or sad is not a personal failing to "switch it off," but is something I genuinely can't control as much as they can. All of them have understood this fact eventually.
- They have to artificially boost their emotions to look and feel more "normal." I was shocked when I heard this, thinking that I had been lied to, but really, many may *want* to feel emotions and have to consciously encourage themselves to respond to their relatively damped emotional cues. It's not lying; it's bootstrapping. Their brains work differently. It's something one has to get used to. Even so, they can still have profound emotional responses, be moved by works of art or music, fall in deep love, etc., despite their damped starting state. Imagine having a low base stat and then adding a high multiplier -- that's what this is.
- They can memorize weird amounts of random shit while still having trouble with classes or basic life skills like "packing for a move" and "filling out forms." I know a guy who can flash-memorize an RPG book, including all the formulas and mechanics, but has failed like half his classes in college. Many get their friends to help them out in all sorts of areas that you'd think someone so brilliant at memorization would be good at, because it's very, very selective.
- A high reliance on reason and logic, to the exclusion of emotion. As a result of having damped emotions, oftentimes they decide to let "this is logical" guide all their decision-making. As logical as you think you may be, your emotions are determining much of what you do in a daily life, and I'm willing to say that you are nowhere near as Spock-like as you think and will realize this when you meet one of these folks. Some embrace it -- "logic is everything; emotions are a sign of weakness and misguided thinking" -- and others see it as a deficiency -- "I rely on logic, but I work on having more emotional responses when I can." I see this pop up in a lot of their arguments, the "but you're not being pristinely logical and/or you're getting angry and/or whatever else, therefore you don't matter to this discussion" kind of talk. It's frustrating as hell when you get biffed in the face with it, but it does keep them awfully stable when many people would flip their shit.
- Giving zero shits about social protocol. It's not just not knowing, it's not caring, because logically why should you care about specific cultural behavior? Most of these folks that I know just decide that they don't care what anyone thinks, because they like their life and no one else gets to determine whether they (wear certain clothes, look a certain way, have funny-colored or normal-colored hair, etc. etc.). They will do what they want because whose business is it to tell them they can't? Though usually once there is some kind of large benefit for conforming, they can learn, such as for a job environment where they won't get hired unless they fit in...although it seems to take a long time to learn. I have found it impossible to convince them to care what others think, even when it actually makes some amount of sense.

Negatives:
The overall impact of this...well, socially they are often very difficult and awkward and weird people out. From my experience dating Aspergers' folks, my friends have often had serious disagreements with them due to them just *not understanding emotions and social protocol.* Since cultural mores and emotional behavior are key to lots of human interaction, they stick out like sore thumbs, and they cause flareups in social situations. One of my closest friends can't stand my boyfriend because he basically gives no shits about not being blunt to everyone, and really, he just cannot seem to understand why tiptoeing around socially might be a good thing sometimes.

Positives:
They're amazingly chill and unfazeable many times, especially when it comes to other people's problems. You can be in suicidal hysterics and they can be that calm person who talks you down. Whatever your freakouts or problems, they can remain on an even keel, and that's amazing. Their mental capacities are impressive, and they are pleasantly non-judgmental about your social behavior.

And in the end, they're just people who think differently than you. If you have friends with Asperger's, talk to them about it if they're willing! It's neat to see how they think vs. how you think, and you both can learn more about each other. The differences and similarities will surprise you.

This is just my personal experience so far.

valium:
I have diagnosed ADHD, which is indeed a form of autism. It is extraordinarily hard to focus, and any discomfort is magnified. Hell, it was torture trying to sit perfectly still for 45 minutes when they were doing an MRI on my knee.

Autism is varying, quite extremely.

ADHD actually is not a form of autism. People with autism just often have ADHD. My half sister is autistic and has ADHD whereas my brother is autistic and does not have ADHD. Autism is a neural development disorder whereas ADHD is a psychiatric or neurobehavioral disorder.

To be honest though if there's one thing I'm biased against it's ADD and ADHD. A lot of has have attention deficit qualities. It's overdiagnosed and misdiagnosed as a quick fix to parent problems. It's not fair. I know maybe 6 or 7 people in my life who were diagnosed and only 1 or 2 actually had what we label "ADHD". The others were either average kids or had problems they had to work out that didn't require a psychologist, psychiatrist, and medication.

valium:
I have diagnosed ADHD, which is indeed a form of autism. It is extraordinarily hard to focus, and any discomfort is magnified. Hell, it was torture trying to sit perfectly still for 45 minutes when they were doing an MRI on my knee.

Autism is varying, quite extremely.

I really hate calling people out in threads like this, but are you sure?

I had a friend at my last work place who was taking some psych classes, and we discussed this. And he said this was in fact untrue. Checking on the Autism, ADHD, and Autism comorbid wikipedia pages support the notion that ADHD and Autism, while sharing some traits, are completely different.

Out of a true interest in the subject, could you please elaborate on your condition? I know Wikipedia diagnosing is looked down upon (I, in fact, look down upon it), but I do generally trust it when it comes to raw definitions.

jamail77:

valium:
I have diagnosed ADHD, which is indeed a form of autism. It is extraordinarily hard to focus, and any discomfort is magnified. Hell, it was torture trying to sit perfectly still for 45 minutes when they were doing an MRI on my knee.

Autism is varying, quite extremely.

ADHD actually is not a form of autism. People with autism just often have ADHD. My half sister is autistic and has ADHD whereas my brother is autistic and does not have ADHD. Autism is a neural development disorder whereas ADHD is a psychiatric or neurobehavioral disorder.

To be honest though if there's one thing I'm biased against it's ADD and ADHD. A lot of has have attention deficit qualities. It's overdiagnosed and misdiagnosed as a quick fix to parent problems. It's not fair. I know maybe 6 or 7 people in my life who were diagnosed and only 1 or 2 actually had what we label "ADHD". The others were either average kids or had problems they had to work out that didn't require a psychologist, psychiatrist, and medication.

When I was a kid, my teacher requested my parents look into getting me checked for ADHD. My Dad was certain it was the situation you were describing.

I got lucky though, and was taken to an Adult Doctor who was actually a bit suspicious, rather then some child doctor that would have probably said 'yah, sure' and threw drugs at me. Turned out I was having Absence Seizures.

Fun.

Aurora Firestorm:
Maybe I can try to offer a slightly different perspective -- I don't have an autism spectrum disorder, but many of my friends have Asperger's, and so have the majority of my boyfriends. Here are some things I've noticed that really stand out about the people I've known (and please note, I am not speaking about more serious autism types):

- I've noticed a general lack of empathic response to anything they don't understand. If my friend is freaking out about, say, how she thinks she looks fat when she's really not fat at all, I will still be able to offer sympathy and feel sad along with her, and thus try to help her out from a position of emotional commonality. My friends with Asperger's seem to have an inability to figure out how to emulate something they haven't experienced -- a mirroring response failure -- and thus I tend to get a lot of "but you're being silly and there's no reason to be sad here, so be happy!" They mean well -- really, they're not a bunch of assholes -- but they just can't viscerally understand a situation they haven't been in, empathically.
- They can regulate their emotions way, way more easily than many people. I've known many who can just stop being sad, like *that.* It used to drive me absolutely nuts to see someone who can have their cat die and then just decide to quit being sad. My boyfriend tells me if we broke up, he'd be sad for about a day. This isn't a statement of his caring; this is just a thing he can do. He can switch off his emotions and decide to have them not exist. Here, I've had to learn to be patient, and to have lots of open discussion with close friends and dates about how I can't do that, and thus the fact that I'm angry or sad is not a personal failing to "switch it off," but is something I genuinely can't control as much as they can. All of them have understood this fact eventually.
- They have to artificially boost their emotions to look and feel more "normal." I was shocked when I heard this, thinking that I had been lied to, but really, many may *want* to feel emotions and have to consciously encourage themselves to respond to their relatively damped emotional cues. It's not lying; it's bootstrapping. Their brains work differently. It's something one has to get used to. Even so, they can still have profound emotional responses, be moved by works of art or music, fall in deep love, etc., despite their damped starting state. Imagine having a low base stat and then adding a high multiplier -- that's what this is.
- They can memorize weird amounts of random shit while still having trouble with classes or basic life skills like "packing for a move" and "filling out forms." I know a guy who can flash-memorize an RPG book, including all the formulas and mechanics, but has failed like half his classes in college. Many get their friends to help them out in all sorts of areas that you'd think someone so brilliant at memorization would be good at, because it's very, very selective.
- A high reliance on reason and logic, to the exclusion of emotion. As a result of having damped emotions, oftentimes they decide to let "this is logical" guide all their decision-making. As logical as you think you may be, your emotions are determining much of what you do in a daily life, and I'm willing to say that you are nowhere near as Spock-like as you think and will realize this when you meet one of these folks. Some embrace it -- "logic is everything; emotions are a sign of weakness and misguided thinking" -- and others see it as a deficiency -- "I rely on logic, but I work on having more emotional responses when I can." I see this pop up in a lot of their arguments, the "but you're not being pristinely logical and/or you're getting angry and/or whatever else, therefore you don't matter to this discussion" kind of talk. It's frustrating as hell when you get biffed in the face with it, but it does keep them awfully stable when many people would flip their shit.
- Giving zero shits about social protocol. It's not just not knowing, it's not caring, because logically why should you care about specific cultural behavior? Most of these folks that I know just decide that they don't care what anyone thinks, because they like their life and no one else gets to determine whether they (wear certain clothes, look a certain way, have funny-colored or normal-colored hair, etc. etc.). They will do what they want because whose business is it to tell them they can't? Though usually once there is some kind of large benefit for conforming, they can learn, such as for a job environment where they won't get hired unless they fit in...although it seems to take a long time to learn. I have found it impossible to convince them to care what others think, even when it actually makes some amount of sense.

Negatives:
The overall impact of this...well, socially they are often very difficult and awkward and weird people out. From my experience dating Aspergers' folks, my friends have often had serious disagreements with them due to them just *not understanding emotions and social protocol.* Since cultural mores and emotional behavior are key to lots of human interaction, they stick out like sore thumbs, and they cause flareups in social situations. One of my closest friends can't stand my boyfriend because he basically gives no shits about not being blunt to everyone, and really, he just cannot seem to understand why tiptoeing around socially might be a good thing sometimes.

Positives:
They're amazingly chill and unfazeable many times, especially when it comes to other people's problems. You can be in suicidal hysterics and they can be that calm person who talks you down. Whatever your freakouts or problems, they can remain on an even keel, and that's amazing. Their mental capacities are impressive, and they are pleasantly non-judgmental about your social behavior.

And in the end, they're just people who think differently than you. If you have friends with Asperger's, talk to them about it if they're willing! It's neat to see how they think vs. how you think, and you both can learn more about each other. The differences and similarities will surprise you.

This is just my personal experience so far.

Now, this is more accurate than Pyrokinetics' posts. You have to fit a long list of criteria to be autistic. Autism has to be noticable before a child is three years old for one thing. It is "characterized by impaired social interaction [it's not just you're unsocial but you also have to have trouble understanding what being social is and why to do it] and verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted, repetitive or stereotyped behavior. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize." (Wikipedia said it better than I could, ok people who noticed?!? -_-)

jamail77:

ObsidianJones:

I guess from my experience, I see Aspergers fiercely intelligent minds with just a slight inability to deal with or care about society at large. They'll have their interest, but at best they feel more secure alone, dealing with the masses as they see fit rather than how we say they should deal with us.

This is not a good description of Aspergers but if you just met someone with it for 3 minutes this might be how you describe them. On to my bigger point: This is another misconception. Autism =/= Fierce intelligence

It is linked to some people with autism but it is not the deciding factor of whether you have it or not. Certain forms of autism actually inhibit learning. My brother is still at an elementary school level. My half sister's intelligence is not inhibited as much though she struggles more in school than a kid with her intelligence or position necessarily would. She has VERY big rage moments, worse than a temper tantrum. You do not have autism unless you fit a long list of criteria. If you only are fiercely intelligent but don't care or deal with society at large you don't have autism. It has to be more than that.

Intelligence is not define-able by how you learn. You might get distracted, uninterested, or just might not be able to focus on something you don't care about. That doesn't mean you are not intelligent.

An Octopus can not build a rocket ship (... as far as I know...), but who are we to deny the intelligence it has just because we value something over another? The intensity of interest is what I find to be fiercely intelligent. To devote oneself to something or the other. I find that more with the Aspergers part of the spectrum (the intensity of interest), then others. It's hard to say 'a typical Autistic person', but each brand does exist because they show commonalities to make a branch.

Austim does not equal fierce intelligence, you're right. But like I said, my dealings with multiple Autistic people, each showing that fascination for a handful of subjects strikes me as intelligent because that's what strikes me as intelligent. I'm sure we all know people who have four year degrees who are dumb as posts, so we know education and/or focus on education does not really mean intelligent.

Also, Your three minutes of experience as you say is actually nearing 3 years of my life. I'm sure we can put on other quantifiers that might prove another point, but having them apart of my life and having them teach me doesn't make me a master on the subject, as no one can be a master, but it gives me more insight than my life would have had without them.

Pyrokinesis:
[...] only a fraction of our brain is used[...]

Please get this urban legend out of your mind. It is not true and I dont know why there are so many people who want to believe it.

There is a vast wealth of insightful and valuable responses already posted here. Almost anything that I would be able to say would be to repeat something else that another has already said. So far, I feel those who have said things the best, or had a good explanation of one area are Aurora Firestorm, evilthecat, maidenm, Palademon, Xan Krieger, and Hagi.

However, I am also going to re-emphasise a point made several times over - You can still be disabled in some way and still be a Jerk. Your average Asperger-y person may be an unintentional Jerk, not deliberately trying to offend people, and will try to learn how to at least get by passably in societal interactions. If they don't try to improve on these things, or are even bothered by it, then they are indeed a genuine Jerk. In the end, I think this could be best summed up as the 'intent' behind it all - being deliberately offensive or being unintentionally offensive.

I have Asperger's Syndrome myself, and it is said to be remarkably high functioning - it's not something I oft mention because of some of those societal stigmas, and those who hide behind it, or use it as an excuse for being unpleasant.

There is genuine baseline of criteria to be met to be diagnosed - and I also think it's over-diagnosed - and even self-diagnosed by some. I would also urge you to do some independent research on it yourself, and not go by just the opinions and stories of others presented here as well. Always check things out for yourself. Google is the gateway to a vast wealth of knowledge at your fingertips - though you should also make sure to check said sources and the reliability of the information.

If you want to read something that will help explain how the mind of an autistic works, read the curious incident of the dog at night time. Its a story of a teenager with low functioning autism and how he works through cognitive processes within his daily life. Speaking as someone who has Autism, an internal sense of logic and rightness takes precedents over all else in day to day life and and occurrences, this of course can cause people to look upon behaviour as odd. When I was younger it was much more apparent and i've learned to adapt to social situations better, however still often I find my self at a loss how to react to things that people seem to have no trouble with, or have mental blocks on doing certain things for instance I couldn't tie my shoes till I was 14 despite being shown on a daily basis, However was capable of memorising pi to 40 digits.

After reading all the posts here, I don't know what else to add aside from my own experience living as an Aspie. I hit the genetic jackpot when I was born into a family where AS strikes at least once a generation, whether the parents have it or not. I'm a massive introvert, to the point where I feel more comfortable when I'm by myself than around other people. I received extensive treatment throughout childhood and adolescence (which must have been worse for me emotionally than for "normal" people) and I still struggle with interacting with people not like me, so this makes job interviews feel like the Spanish Inquisition. I'm also more logical in my decision making, rather than let emotions do it, as I see emotion as an involuntary reaction. In a way, that's kind of liberating, and it motivates me to find all the facts first. But another downside is I have trouble communicating with people who have their own hang-ups in that department, like stuttering, mumbling, thick accents, and interruptions. It does make me an excellent listener, so I can find the solutions to the problems people have.
Wow, it feels good to know there's others like me right here on the Escapist! I have to add you guys to me friends list!

My sister was diagnosed with Aspbergers a few years ago, which explained her weird behaviour I always hated. She's never rude, but she doesn't understand social rules at all and it doesn't matter how many times you try to explain it to her. Every time we were with mutual friends she always found a way to ridicule me and fuck was that tiresome. In school I often got teased for having such a weird sister. Led to tons of fighting between us and currently we haven't spoken to each other in over two years.
She met a few pshycologists when she was 14 for other reasons and it baffles and angers me that they never picked up on it. Perhaps it's because Aspbergers wasn't over-diagnosed and thrown around like a handkerchief back then, but you'd think that they should've noticed something was off. Would've made it so much easier to understand her behaviour. I know now that she can't help the way she acts, but at the same time it feels like I don't know her at all. Every single part of what was her personality was just a symptom list of Aspbergers.

OtherSideofSky:

I'd also like it if people in gaming communities would stop throwing the name of my condition around as an insult. I know there are a bunch of assholes who try to use it as an excuse to never learn manners, but it's still hurtful and deserves to be criticized as much as all the other slurs people throw around in this community.

I couldn't agree more with this.

It really grinds my gears when people just throw that word around and treat it like a slang word, from gaming communities to forum websites. 4chan's a perfect example of this and it just keeps reminding me of how people on the internet can be such twats.

I have Aspergers Syndrome, and so does my girlfriend. I dont know when she was diagnosed, but I was diagnosed in 3rd grade. Now that I have that out of the way, Aspergers is NOT an excuse to be rude. If you say something and people are like "Dude, not cool." you should say your sorry, not be like "I cant help it, I have Aspergers." Your giving us a bad name. >:(

Now, I saw a big post on the symtoms that I wanted to respond too:

Aurora Firestorm:

- I've noticed a general lack of empathic response to anything they don't understand. If my friend is freaking out about, say, how she thinks she looks fat when she's really not fat at all, I will still be able to offer sympathy and feel sad along with her, and thus try to help her out from a position of emotional commonality. My friends with Asperger's seem to have an inability to figure out how to emulate something they haven't experienced -- a mirroring response failure -- and thus I tend to get a lot of "but you're being silly and there's no reason to be sad here, so be happy!" They mean well -- really, they're not a bunch of assholes -- but they just can't viscerally understand a situation they haven't been in, empathically.

I can have this, but its very hit and miss. For instance, I have a hard time doing zombie games or watching horror movies because I start getting pangs of guilt over things like that, I can NEVER be the bad guy if the option exist. If I MUST be the bad guy (ie, GTA and Saints Row), then I avoid doing bad things if I can help it. No stick-ups, no killing civilians unless it was collateral damage, no killing cops unless forced too (I will shoot thier cars though), the only people activly targeted are OTHER gangsters, etc.

- They can regulate their emotions way, way more easily than many people. I've known many who can just stop being sad, like *that.* It used to drive me absolutely nuts to see someone who can have their cat die and then just decide to quit being sad. My boyfriend tells me if we broke up, he'd be sad for about a day. This isn't a statement of his caring; this is just a thing he can do. He can switch off his emotions and decide to have them not exist. Here, I've had to learn to be patient, and to have lots of open discussion with close friends and dates about how I can't do that, and thus the fact that I'm angry or sad is not a personal failing to "switch it off," but is something I genuinely can't control as much as they can. All of them have understood this fact eventually.

I have this so bad, unless it is a hard emotional connection. For instance, just the other day we had to put down one of our dogs because he was getting doggy cancer and couldnt eat or drink anything, and I was barely sad over it. But then if my girlfriend were to break up with me, I would be absolutely devastated and would need days, maybe even weeks to recover, and it would never be a full thing.

- They have to artificially boost their emotions to look and feel more "normal." I was shocked when I heard this, thinking that I had been lied to, but really, many may *want* to feel emotions and have to consciously encourage themselves to respond to their relatively damped emotional cues. It's not lying; it's bootstrapping. Their brains work differently. It's something one has to get used to. Even so, they can still have profound emotional responses, be moved by works of art or music, fall in deep love, etc., despite their damped starting state. Imagine having a low base stat and then adding a high multiplier -- that's what this is.

Also strong on this. I definitely have deep love with my girlfriend (we have talked about what rules we are going to have as a family, what kids we want, what names for said kids, where to live and raise this family.........completely failing to realise until afew weeks ago that we had completely neglected to think about what to do for the actual wedding and where to go for a honeymoon. XD But then in my normal day to day life, my face might as well be made of rock, because I maintain a very stoic facade 8/10 times. When I have to get a picture taken, it is almost always me having a completely straight face. Being told to smile doesnt cut it. So my parents usually tell me "Think of something funny." to attempt to get me to smile.

- They can memorize weird amounts of random shit while still having trouble with classes or basic life skills like "packing for a move" and "filling out forms." I know a guy who can flash-memorize an RPG book, including all the formulas and mechanics, but has failed like half his classes in college. Many get their friends to help them out in all sorts of areas that you'd think someone so brilliant at memorization would be good at, because it's very, very selective.

Oh....dear....lord....yes. I have a hard time with any class that isnt economics, politics, or history related (though I can still do good in the hard sciences, like geology and chemistry). But then I can rewatch movies IN MY HEAD because I have a mind that works in pictures (or as Temple Grandin, a famous individual with autism put it, "My mind works like Google Images). So I can memorize Star Wars from the opening to the ending, but then you tell me to memorize a math formula, and then repeat it later its like "What the hell are you smoking?"

- A high reliance on reason and logic, to the exclusion of emotion. As a result of having damped emotions, oftentimes they decide to let "this is logical" guide all their decision-making. As logical as you think you may be, your emotions are determining much of what you do in a daily life, and I'm willing to say that you are nowhere near as Spock-like as you think and will realize this when you meet one of these folks. Some embrace it -- "logic is everything; emotions are a sign of weakness and misguided thinking" -- and others see it as a deficiency -- "I rely on logic, but I work on having more emotional responses when I can." I see this pop up in a lot of their arguments, the "but you're not being pristinely logical and/or you're getting angry and/or whatever else, therefore you don't matter to this discussion" kind of talk. It's frustrating as hell when you get biffed in the face with it, but it does keep them awfully stable when many people would flip their shit.

I am kind of in the mid range on this one. I am wanting to get into politics as a job (political statagy, but I will take anything they give me), and there are afew issues I take emotion into (first one to come to mind is abortion. I can not for the life of me see why anyone would support that unless it is because of rape or the life of the mother is in danger. But I would rather not debate that here.), but I know that my mom says I would likely be good at politics BECAUSE I dont get emotional. This would have an added bonus, imo, of letting me communicate with the other side without a crapfest ensuing. I could argue with those who oppose gay marriage and try to change their minds, and if they dont, thats no skin off my bones. All that matters is getting 51% of the people to agree with you (though more is better, as the closer to 50% you are, the more likely people are to get at eachothers throats, in my experiance).

- Giving zero shits about social protocol. It's not just not knowing, it's not caring, because logically why should you care about specific cultural behavior? Most of these folks that I know just decide that they don't care what anyone thinks, because they like their life and no one else gets to determine whether they (wear certain clothes, look a certain way, have funny-colored or normal-colored hair, etc. etc.). They will do what they want because whose business is it to tell them they can't? Though usually once there is some kind of large benefit for conforming, they can learn, such as for a job environment where they won't get hired unless they fit in...although it seems to take a long time to learn. I have found it impossible to convince them to care what others think, even when it actually makes some amount of sense.

Its like you know me. I have a tendancy to ALWAYS wear sandals, shorts, and t-shirts when weather permits. This got on my nerves because my work has a dress code of khakis (even in the summer-_-) and closed shoes. I have gotten used to it, but when I am not there, I will wear the other.

I also give no shits about the social norms. Lets assume for the moment I get my job in politics. Odds are I will be making 6-digits per year. What does the social norm for people with that kind of money say? Live in a big house on the hill with 6 bathrooms and 20 bedrooms, and a big pool out back? Drive a fancy-pants car that has a price tag that says "If you have to ask, you cant afford it."? Eat at 5-star eateries with the most well trained chefs in the world? Wear the finest suits imported from Europe, with slicked back hair and $200 sunglasses?
............
............
............

*Laughs out loud* SCREW THAT!! Even if I had that kind of money, I would still be living in a little 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in a small town far away from it all, driving a rusty, mud covered pickup truck, eating at the Bar and Grill in said small town with the best BBQ in the county, manned by a chef who started when he was 15 and learned on his own and that when you ask about stars will get you wierd looks, and wearing the aforementioned cheap sandels, t-shirt with american flag, and cargo shorts..........which will likely leave me with much of my paycheck left over and unspent to scratch my head and say "What the heck am I going to SPEND all this on?!?"

I dont have any acquaintances with autism or aspergers.
But there re some people that I hope has aspergers because otherwise they are just plain rude and mean...

I know a few low-spectrum autistics, from what I have seen they're simply highly opinionated and argumentative and other than that they're just like everyone else :D Strangely, I've never met a female autistic.

Snowbell:
Strangely, I've never met a female autistic.

Autism is much more common amongst men. Over the years there've been some really embarrassing attempts to explain why this is.

Snowbell:
Strangely, I've never met a female autistic.

I've met a female with Asperger's. They apparently tend to dislike physical contact, and be quite violent. The scenarios she mention seemed like she had justification, but went too far with it.
She actually threatened to hit people if they made contact with her. Even friends. Not even any level of harassment-like contact. Touching her shoulder would probably make her hit you.
This isn't just me making generalisations based on her either, there are common differences.
But just like males they'd usually have a few interests really important to them, have social trouble etc.

I'm not sure how much of it is my Aspergers, how much of it is my anxiety and how much it is of my depression, but people don't make any sense and it annoys me and makes me want to avoid them (with the exception of those I know well)

Palademon:

I've met a female with Asperger's. They apparently tend to dislike physical contact, and be quite violent. The scenarios she mention seemed like she had justification, but went too far with it.
She actually threatened to hit people if they made contact with her. Even friends. Not even any level of harassment-like contact. Touching her shoulder would probably make her hit you.
This isn't just me making generalisations based on her either, there are common differences.
But just like males they'd usually have a few interests really important to them, have social trouble etc.

Yes, I have a friend who has apparently been diagnosed with Aspergers as of yesterday. I've never seen her violent, but she has had fits on the street where she'd just hunch into a ball and start shouting. Apparently this happens a lot in private too. However, she doesn't seem to have any aversion to physical contact and often asks to hold my hand when we're shopping together (she's older than me but kind of infantile). Perhaps it's because her Aspergers is presenting in co-morbidity with depression that causes her different symptoms? That being said, she is pretty antisocial and bored by everything that isn't to her exact tastes.

If you want to understand authism better, watch Mary and Max - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0978762/

Some interesting posts here, and reading it, you may see a bit of a problem as well.

A lot of these posts are anecdotal, with the symptoms and people involved acting in very different manners, even from people that have Autism/Asperger's syndrome. From my observations, this happens for a couple of reasons. Firstly, any personality disorder interacts differently with individual personalities. Secondly, the autism spectrum often has a bad habit of teaming up with other personality disorders. The combination of these two factors makes for wildly different stories not only from people with friends/family with the disorder, but from posters that have the disorder themselves!

For some background information, I have been diagnosed with Asperger's, after a false diagnosis of ADD. Due to a lot of childhood bullcrap, I also developed a case of social anxiety, and a dash of depression thrown in the mix. Throw that in with my individual personality, and my case of Aspeger's would be seen quite differently than other posters here.

OthersideofSky and Aurora Firestorm have some of the best 'general' diagnosis for Asperger's, the same of which can be found on Wikipedia's entry on it.

Aka:

- Difficulty in reading and interpreting other's emotions and non-verbal social cues.
- A tendency towards routine.
- Narrow focus of interest on topics.
- Sometimes having physical issues, such as general clumsiness.
- Sometimes having an odd way of speaking.
- Sometimes having a general love/fascination with pattern recognition.

Now even with this list for Asperger's, there are problems. Individuals, due to lifestyle or personality, can often overcome or completely ignore some of these. An adult with Asperger's can, with a lot of practice, eventually learn to break routines, or broaden their interests, or even not develop odd speaking habits.

The thing that most non-autistic/non-asperger's, (often referred to as Neuro-typcal, or NT's in the Autism/Asperger community,) have the most difficulty in understand is the first point: The difficulty in emotional and non-verbal social cues.

I shall now share some of my own anecdotal thoughts, to further muddy the matter.

It is very difficult to explain what it is like to operate without something that most have by instinct. It would be like a man who must consciously breathe. AKA, he has to will himself to take each and every breath, something we all do instinctually, without thinking, but he must concentrate on it, and at night, has to be hooked up to a machine to keep breathing. Imagine having to do that. It would be mentally exhausting.

That is what socializing is like with Asperger's, where it is not just something you do, but something you have to mentally gird yourself for, to pick up the cues, to understand what people mean, to concentrate on intent and emotion, and to learn to ignore the unimportant. The analogy Hagi made was excellent; most people, reading social cues is instinctual. You look at a person, and you write a single, clear sentence on a piece of paper, something one can quickly read and know. For Asperger's, they have to concentrate first, and doing so, they get the entire page filled up in a rush, and must mentally work through the entire thing, trying to find the specific cue they are looking for, assuming that they know what they are looking for in the first place. I heard one person describe it as not a lack of empathy, but rather, too much empathy, being bombarded by so much information that it is almost useless.

Even then, the anecdotal problem shows up, as, with practice, one with Aspergers can get better at it. It can become almost invisible, but it will show up now and again.

A minor aspect of Autism/Asperger's, is a love of pattern recognition. It is something that all people have, but many on the Autistic spectrum are especially sensitive to it. For social learning, it's one way an Asperger individual can cope. They can look at their entire sheet of paper generated when talking to people, and look for a pattern that they have seen before. From there, they can guess the intent. This guesswork sometimes works, and sometimes misses the mark, resulting in the social oddities, accidental insults, and misunderstandings that show up on occasion, much to the autistic's individual's embarrassment and confusion. I heard another comparison from an acquaintance with Asperger's who likened this as memorizing lines in a play, waiting for the triggering line, and then responding with a memorized response. The social confusion comes when an unexpected line comes. Then the Asperger individual must go back and re-analyze that sheet of paper, desperately looking for something to work with.

This is where the disorder becomes a problem in daily society. An individual with Asperger's may ace a job interview, because it has a steady structure and format, but then be fired in a month for misunderstanding a sarcastic comment during the work day.

These symptoms contribute to a bunch of different erroneous generalizations about individuals with Aspergers. These generalizations include the following:

- Lack of empathy: In Aurora Firestorm's example, someone thin complaining about their weight. The Asperger individual will be confused about this complaint. They are being bombarded with someone complaining they are fat when they are not, showing despair, and a great deal of other information. The easiest thing to pick up on in that case is the lack of pattern recognition, aka, complaining about something that is not true. The Asperger individual will then likely act on that, pointing out the fallacy, hence missing the point of the complaint. This is not lack of empathy. If the person clearly stated 'I'm feeling unlovely today,' an individual with Asperger syndrome would easily pick up on that, and empathize/sympathize. As stated before, it's not a lack of empathy, but more like having too much, and not knowing what to work with.

- No sense of humour: People with Asperger's Syndrome have a sense of humour. Just when they must scan that mass of words on the piece of paper, it can get lost in the shuffle.

- Always logical: Pattern recognition rears its head. Some with Aspergers embrace this, some do not. Myself, I am not often the most logical of people when it comes to myself, but to outside information, I often surprise people.

- Extreme Intelligence. In general, Asperger/Autistic individuals are on average no more intelligent than anyone else. This generalization is made though, because of their extreme focus on small topics. When someone with Asperger's sees information related to a topic of their interest, their endorphins will spike, and they will absorb it like a sponge. They can easily regurgitate these facts, and everything about their point of interest will instantly get them excited and happy. As they say, if you practice something enough, you will become good at it, and because of the pleasure of their focus, we often get really good at the topic of our interests. An individual with Asperger syndrome will have problems, as they often have difficulty doing the same for topics that are not their interest. This is the primary reason why Asperger individuals often get diagnosed with ADD, they often don't care about things outside of their interests, to an extreme degree. I personally think the problem is the endorphin high. If learning about things you love gives you a rush, the comparative learning in things that do not do so seems horrible. This can be a boon if your interest lies in something that society as a whole values, it can lead to a happy life. If it is an interest in things that are non-topical, it can lead to a lot or problems. This can be mitigated a bit, by a strategy I call transitioning. For myself, I have had an obsession with the Medieval era since I was 3. I use this obsession to branch out into other things. I have to mentally trick myself to link medieval studies to a topic I must focus on but don't really care about. So if I was presented with learning about the textile industry, the result would be disinterest. If the topic was the textile industry in the Medieval period: Oh boy, I'm interested like hell in that. I could then take that, and learn about the textile industry as a whole, spurring from how medieval textile practices are in use/disuse today.

See how complicated it gets? And I have barely scratched the surface. To the OP, I hope my summary somewhat helped with your issue, and explained a bit what it is like to have Asperger's, as anecdotal as it was. In regards to your two friends: The first one is just being an asshole. Misunderstanding that you are insulting someone is one thing, willfully ignoring it is another. Your second friend threatening people again, has nothing to do with bloody autism. It's him being a threatening asshole. Autism/Asperger's does not make one more violent or aggressive than anyone else. It is simply a different way of thinking and processing the world. The conclusions drawn are still the individual's responsibility.

Palademon:

Snowbell:
Strangely, I've never met a female autistic.

I've met a female with Asperger's. They apparently tend to dislike physical contact, and be quite violent. The scenarios she mention seemed like she had justification, but went too far with it.
She actually threatened to hit people if they made contact with her. Even friends. Not even any level of harassment-like contact. Touching her shoulder would probably make her hit you.
This isn't just me making generalisations based on her either, there are common differences.
But just like males they'd usually have a few interests really important to them, have social trouble etc.

Guys are more often "trainspotters" than girls are. Females tend to have special interests that are normal for girls; I had a classmate who was obsessed with horses and didn't understand that other people were not interested in hearing about it.

Girls who are quiet because they are autistic are discovered later because girls are expected to be quiet anyway.

Dismal purple:

Palademon:

Snowbell:
Strangely, I've never met a female autistic.

I've met a female with Asperger's. They apparently tend to dislike physical contact, and be quite violent. The scenarios she mention seemed like she had justification, but went too far with it.
She actually threatened to hit people if they made contact with her. Even friends. Not even any level of harassment-like contact. Touching her shoulder would probably make her hit you.
This isn't just me making generalisations based on her either, there are common differences.
But just like males they'd usually have a few interests really important to them, have social trouble etc.

Guys are more often "trainspotters" than girls are. Females tend to have special interests that are normal for girls; I had a classmate who was obsessed with horses and didn't understand that other people were not interested in hearing about it.

Girls who are quiet because they are autistic are discovered later because girls are expected to be quiet anyway.

Hi, female autistic here. I was never particularly violent, but was diagnosed pretty quickly as having something, becauase I absolutely refused to socialise. I had a perfectly good imagination, thank you, why would I want to spend time with real people? Real people might as well have been martians for all I could work them out.

Which is the best way I've found of explaining the condition: it's like being on another planet, in an alien society. They can't work out you're not one of them, they just think you're odd, but you can't really work out how they work ebcause you're just so different. You like them as a whole, but trying to predict what they do, or how they feel is almost impossible without someone actually sitting you down and walking you through what you need to do in any given situation.

Of course, it also depends how well you can adapt. You can learn tricks and remember from experience how things go, but it won't even feel normal.

I remember an Isaac Asimov story about a severely autistic guy put into a VR machine to pilot a robot on Mercury. He felt at home for the first time in his life.

tricky-crazy:
snip

Dont worry about understanding Aspergers - as of the newest iteration of the DSM, it doesnt exist, and all existing diagnoses are reclassified as autistic. For those above who have an Aspergers diagnosis, dont hate on me, thats just the way it is now (in the USA at least, UK soon to follow).

Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder that occurs before birth. Symptoms will usually become apparent by the time a child is 2, which is when social development really takes off in a neurotypical child.

There are four main aspects used to diagnose autism (used to be three, but its being changed now). These are (1) social communication, (2) flexibility of thought, (3) sensory hyper/hyposensitivity and (4) emotional regulation and understanding. All autistic individuals will have some impairment in all of these categories, but it can be so minor as to be unnoticeable. Examples of each are as follows;
1) difficulty understanding societal rules, difficulty with speaking or understanding speech, difficulty reading body language, solipsism, lack of interest in creating relationships.
2) reliance on a very rigid schedule, difficulty solving new problems/performing new tasks, being unable to grasp more than one way of accomplishing a task.
3) being easily overwhelmed by noise, smell, heat, crowds, touch etc, needing higher levels of those things to register (eg. needing noises to be very loud).
4) lack of understanding of own and others emotional states, mood swings, social isolation and being withdrawn.

Ive worked with autistic adults in a carehome setting for four years, and whilst we are "encouraged" to put a positive spin on everything mentioned above, in the interests of explaining autism it is far easier to look at the deficits. Im sorry if anyone with autism or who knows someone with autism is offended by this, its just easier.

Deu Sex:
All you have to understand about autism is that it makes you House.

When my mother and I had first started watching this show, my mom turned to me once and said, "House is a lot like you, isn't he?"

It's interesting seeing people sharing their own experiences with autism and Aspergers. I have Aspergers myself, and just thought I'd share a little story that from my childhood.

When I was younger, there was a girl named Sarah who lived up the street from where I lived. We used to hang out, play video games together, play in her backyard, and sometimes I helped her with her homework. It was a good innocent childhood friendship.

One day, she told me that she wanted to have Donald, another student from our class, over to hang out with us. I told her, "I don't want to hang out with Donald."

"Why not?" she asked.

I responded plainly, "He's stupid."

In my mind, I wasn't saying this to be a jerk. I bore no ill will toward Donald. It was simply a reality that he wasn't very intelligent, at least from the narrow intellectual and academic view of intelligence. As far as I was concerned, I was simply stating a fact, and I saw no reason why anyone should get upset about that.

But Sarah was very angry. She issued me an ultimatum: "Donald is my friend and he's nice, and I don't want you talking that way about him. I'm going to have him over and you're going to hang out with him, and help him with his math homework like you help me, and we're going to play games together. He's my friend and you're going to be nice to him or I'm not going to hang out with you anymore."

So after this, I weighed my options, and decided that since I wanted to keep hanging out with her and I wouldn't lose anything by being nice to Donald, the most logical decision is to do as she asked. So I did that, and we all became friends, and everything worked out. I didn't really understand why Sarah was so insistent about it, but I didn't mind, either. Later I came to realize that the initial premise upon which I was operating, namely that people who are less intelligent than myself are inferior and I have nothing to gain by being friends with them, was a very mistaken assumption, and changed my way of thinking.

Perhaps this story illustrates some of the types of thinking that factor into the minds of some people with Aspergers (but not all, of course; everyone is different). When I spoke, I simply thought that I was "speaking the facts" or at least, the facts as I saw them. If I said something cruel, it wasn't to be malicious, but simply because that was how I saw things, and I had difficulty understanding why they would see things differently.

As an avowed atheist out of high school, I had thought that there should be nothing wrong with going up to a religious person and telling them, "There is no god and your beliefs are contrary to both reason and scientfic evidence." I saw no reason why they should get upset about this; I was simply speaking facts. If they disagreed, they should logically put forward their counterargument, but what good does it do to get angry?

Later I came to realize that religious beliefs are a very personal thing to people, and one should not be so quick to shoot down the foundation upon which others have built their sense of life, purpose, and morality. These kinds of realizations came slowly to me, and were not something I picked up naturally or intuitively as most people do.

As a person with Aspergers, I do not lack empathy, but I may appear to at first. Once I have come to understand how a person thinks and feels, I go out of my way to treat them with with respect and kindness. But before that happens, I may entirely oblivious to the fact that I've said something harmful.

Some other things I exhibited when I was younger: an inability to tell when others were joking, sarcastic, or making me the butt of their jokes; an unwillingness to break specific rules and a sense of irritation when others broke them (grammatical and spelling rules, for example); being "too honest"; using oddly formal vocabulary in informal situations; a tendency to stare at people, which they found unnerving; sensitivity to loud noises, sudden sharp or high-pitched sounds, and yelling, as well as a tendency to get VERY aggravated when being exposed to such noises.

Well, rudeness is part and parcel with autism. As someone with Asperger's Syndrome, the defining characteristic of it is a limited ability to properly read social interactions and an emotional disconnect with people and circumstances. Your friend might "jokingly" comment on things of a personal nature, not out of a sense of being a dick, but because he genuinely doesn't realize that what he's saying isn't appropriate.

That said, your friend sounds like he's taking advantage of his situation, in perfect honesty. Just because you have autism doesn't mean you're incapable of reading social situations or that you can't comprehend context, it's just something that doesn't come naturally.

Asperger's is a relatively benign form of autism, more related to social understanding and emotional comprehension than anything else. Considering some other people with more severe forms of autism that I know, it's really not that bad.

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