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Dr-David-Banner

Autism vs Aspergers

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Dr-David-Banner

My feeling is that, most likely, I have the two. Both Aspergers and Autism. Here's why I lean towards that conclusion:
(1) Most people with AS do fine at school so far as learning goes. That means at one level they do relate to other people. Emotionally and socially they do not. I had a best friend with a strong AS diagnosis and, at the time, he was way ahead of me in maths and education. He used to ask, "Didn't you listen at school?"
Autism as I experienced it is somewhat different. Everything shuts off. You do not connect with people either intellectually or socially. Therefore you develop learning disorders as well as social communication disorders. Clearly because we learn through teachers so, for that to happen, there must be at least communication exchange.
However, so far as AS goes, I did finally wind up high functioning once I discovered I could teach myself. I do have noise and light sensitivity, fabric sensitivity, meltdowns and lack of empathy. I have dyspraxia and motor clumsiness too.
I feel really I can relate to aspies around 50 per cent because the social side of it, sure, I understand. Still, I feel these symptoms are less subtle in me in as much as I feel pretty much a total disconnect. It's not like striving to improve interaction but more there is no sense of belonging or relating.
There is hope, though. Recently I noticed a lot of very positive changes. I find when I open up, people start to like me and ask questions. I make lots of jokes and learned to relate more to females as I find them more open. Plus, to a certain degree, I can make friends much easier. So, my guess is it's possible to improve socially but I think the key is to be yourself. That is, if you can get people to accept you as you are, that's safer than trying to fake it.
Of course, I suppose things go wrong. It's very hard for people to include those of us who don't seem to follow their rules. A lot of my friends keep giving me advice because they think you can wave a magic wand. Like, "pull yourself together, dress better, get a job and routine and then you'll be OK". I know it's not that easy because I can't just be normal fueled by willpower and good intentions. All I can do is keep making improvements and just be myself.

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Sanctuary

For me a central element of autism / AS is not feeling a great desire for sociability and being more comfortable with solitude than those off the spectrum. However we still feel some need for sociability and company. Change is definitely hard and it's very frustrating when, as you say, some people suggest it's easy. Changing if you have autism or AS is even more difficult. Trying to be more socially skilled especially can be very difficult - basic politeness is not hard but trying to make conversation or develop "warmth" and a good impression can be challenging. You're right that it's generally better to work with the autism / AS than try to change and be someone you're not. Setting modest, realistic targets is the way forward - they can be hard to achieve but it's always worth trying. 

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BDEGRD

Im not really understanding you differentiating the two.  Aspergers as per the DSM 5, is just Autism.  I just consider Aspergers as high functioning Autism, there are people on different ends of the spectrum and everything in between, but I agree with the DSM 5.

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Dr-David-Banner

Pretty much always Aspergers is high-functioning. That means in education all is fairly normal. It's not common for someone with Aspergers to be considered as "retarded" in learning. My friend years ago went to a Catholic School and got "A" grades even though he struggled to connect socially.
My own experience was the withdrawel blocked education as well as social interaction development. Moreover, there has to be some connection to others in order to learn language and maths (because all education is a social process).
Last night I noticed while watching a film that I couldn't follow the plot as the particular film didn't have characters with glasses or hats or distinctive clothes. So the faces alone left me unable to tell who was who. That facial blindness aspect has caused me employment related issues. At school personal education also left me floundering as it relied on personal communication.
Severe autism processes all information from within. No reason why an untreated low functioning autistic should be just assumed to be retarded. He or she may just need different learning methods. Whereas Aspergers tends to be high functioning from the onset.

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Miss Chief
17 hours ago, BDEGRD said:

Im not really understanding you differentiating the two.  Aspergers as per the DSM 5, is just Autism.  I just consider Aspergers as high functioning Autism, there are people on different ends of the spectrum and everything in between, but I agree with the DSM 5.

This... AS just means that you are at the high functioning end of the spectrum (hence why they have done away with the diagnosis of AS and now you just get diagnosed with ASD), I don't think it is possible to have 'both' having AS means you have Autism you are just at the high functioning end of the spectrum, if you are lower down the spectrum then you wouldn't have the AS diagnosis. Even people with AS can have severe learning difficulties.

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Dr-David-Banner

I am not sure about that. Paul Cooijman seemed to think AS isn't even autism but a different condition altogether. Still I don't know how many people here had my experience of low-functioning at school. It's easy for me to explain: I just withdrew into a shell and, as teachers put it, "day-dreamed". The stereotype aspie is really the sort of guy who socially is clueless at school but academically quite high-functioning. I was very low functioning till I adopted sort of reclusive self-study techniques. There is HFA which I resemble more but HFA people tend to be late to read but then get through school OK.
My question is how did you do at school in maths and English? Did anyone suggest any learning disorder? How about teacher communication? Did the personal basis of that create any problems?

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BDEGRD

I did not do well in school.  short attention span and was unable to get myself to do anything I wasn't interested in.  It took me 6 years to get through high school.  I didn't get a diagnosis until I was 34, so there was really no idea as to what was really going on with me.  I was always withdrawn, anti-social etc...  in an over populated high school of 2500 students, it was just bad for me.

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Dr-David-Banner

So, at school you weren't high functioning. John Lennon had this experience so was anti social at school although he stated an art course would have benefited him.
One of my friends had severe AS but did well at school. He struggled really bad socially there but was a great student. He seemed to listen to any factual information but the social side was what threw him. With me it was different. Learning was an inner experience. I also needed something to visualise or look at. I didn't process either outwardly or collectively.

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Gone away

Asperger, autistic spectrum condition and autism are all the same thing. Everyone whos on 'the spectrum' will have a mix of both higher and lower ability in differing areas.

The notion of high and low functioning is just a prescribed construct, loosely related to pre-defined activities of daily living / independent living and subjective biased judgement.

It would be nice to move away from such definitions. I consider myself incredibly (potentially) clever and with unique perception in some areas - and hopelessly thick as pigshit (local term) in others - and perhaps just confused about some areas and completely lacking interest in other areas. All these measurements vary according to whats happening in life and how well accepted I feel on the planet - which determines how well I potentially function. All life factors vary continuously

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BDEGRD
9 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

So, at school you weren't high functioning. John Lennon had this experience so was anti social at school although he stated an art course would have benefited him.
One of my friends had severe AS but did well at school. He struggled really bad socially there but was a great student. He seemed to listen to any factual information but the social side was what threw him. With me it was different. Learning was an inner experience. I also needed something to visualise or look at. I didn't process either outwardly or collectively.

in that environment no, if I was diagnosed then and put in a school better equipped to deal with people like me than maybe.   A person in a wheel chair will be low functioning on a flight of stairs, but high functioning on a ramp.

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thirdriding

I always distinguish between the two. I've got a diagnosis of AS and I feel that this correct because I want to socialise and participate in the world...it's just that I'm not very good at it. My understanding is that people with a diagnosis of autism just want to have nothing to do with the world and completely withdraw from it.

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Miss Chief

I don't particularly want to socialise/participate and yet I have an AS diagnosis, although of course they don't use Asperger's as a diagnosis anymore just ASD or HFASD. Ultimately AS is Autism

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Nesf

Also, many people with a diagnosis of classic autism want to have friends and socialise, whether one does or not is more a matter of personality type than diagnosis.

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PandaPrincess
On 7/15/2017 at 4:06 AM, Nesf said:

Also, many people with a diagnosis of classic autism want to have friends and socialise, whether one does or not is more a matter of personality type than diagnosis.

Yes, I agree with this.  There was a girl at the school that I did my student teaching at who I think has classic autism, but she had a really good friend who was a year or two older than her, and I would often see them hanging out together at the after school art club.  

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RiRi

I've always thought that yes, ASD defines our personality in some ways, but we still have a component which is the introversion-extravesion scale. Based on where you fall on that scale, that's how social/not social you'll be. Personally, yes, if I were to be diagnosed with the DSM-IV, I'd probably be diagnosed with moderate Asperger's, not classic autism. HOWEVER, I'm extremely, like extremely introverted (I hate going out, I mostly force myself to go out). So, a person with classic autism who's more extroverted can be more social than me, even if they have/are diagnosed with classic autism. :wacko: I put that face because I wish I wasn't as introverted as I am. And I feel like I shouldn't be, but I am. :wacko: ?

Edited by Makelets
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DC1346

The spectrum is the spectrum. We're all different and efforts to categorize and pigeonhole us into this or that don't really work. 

I know aspies who are married and who have families. I personally don't understand why anyone would want to be married or to have a family but I'm not judgmental so long as people don't expect me to conform to the social or cultural expectation that I should be married and that I should have children.  At 57 years of age I think my parents have largely given up on the idea that they'll ever have grandchildren. For many years, my father actually wondered if I was gay. Even though he's a medical doctor, it took him some time to accept my late-in-life clinical diagnosis that I was autistic. My father has not been amused over my repeated insistence that instead of grandchildren, he has "grandkitties." (sigh)

In this forum, I also know that there are people who have said that they're lonely. I don't entirely understand why they're lonely or why they're unhappy with being lonely as this would require me to understand other points of view which is admittedly one of my personal weaknesses.  Speaking for myself, I'm perfectly happy with being a reclusive introvert when I'm not at work. 

 

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nichii
8 hours ago, DC1346 said:

I personally don't understand why anyone would want to be married or to have a family

Yeah, I feel the same way. I don't mind dating someone, but marriage is not for me. I also don't want kids because there's a high risk that they'll develop at least one mental illness. I don't want to bring a child in this world who will likely suffer. I'd rather adopt a kid who has nobody and give them a good life.

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DC1346
3 hours ago, nichii said:

Yeah, I feel the same way. I don't mind dating someone, but marriage is not for me. I also don't want kids because there's a high risk that they'll develop at least one mental illness. I don't want to bring a child in this world who will likely suffer. I'd rather adopt a kid who has nobody and give them a good life.

I'm curious as to why you wouldn't want to be married but why you might consider adopting a child. Both would involve emotional intimacy and both would also require a commitment of your personal time to develop this relationship.

I thought it was interesting that you mentioned adoption. I once openly mused over the topic of adoption a few years ago (before learning I was autistic) while having lunch with some neighbors. I was shocked when both neighbors jumped to their feet and shouted, "NO!" They then looked at each other, sat down quietly, and resumed eating without looking at me. This latter behavior suggested that they were embarrassed as it has been my experience that most neurotypicals tend to look at you when they're talking. For the rest of this meal, neither of these people would even look at me.

To this day, I do not entirely understand their reaction. It was very clear to me that they thought I should not adopt but I don't understand why. They had previously told me that I was a good neighbor, that I was a kind person, and that I was considerate. I theorize that it's possible to be all of these things while also not being suited to being a parent. Since I now realize that adoption would not be a good thing given my autism and my need for personal space and quiet time, I surmise that they must have seen some of these needs well before I received a clinical diagnosis. One of my neighbors was a counselor at a local college and it could well be that he suspected that I was autistic. 

This is not to say that I don't think that you don't have the potential for being a great adoptive parent. Everyone on the spectrum is different and some of us (well ... not me), have a much greater tolerance for social interaction than others. 

 

 

 

 

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nichii
2 hours ago, DC1346 said:

I'm curious as to why you wouldn't want to be married but why you might consider adopting a child. Both would involve emotional intimacy and both would also require a commitment of your personal time to develop this relationship.

Marriage can be very unfortunate for men. If you get divorced it will financially ruin you. Half of what you own is now hers. This is especially awful if you get divorced because your partner cheated on you. You're being forced to give someone who betrayed you half of your stuff. Married couples also have less sex than couples who aren't married. Being denied sex frequently can really hurt a marriage. Sex is a big part of any relationship. If either the man or the woman is refusing sex and it happens very often then that's a clear sign the your marriage isn't doing well.

Divorce rates are unfortunately high as well. A marriage can ruin a relationship. At the time it seems like a good idea, but as time goes on there's a good chance your relationship will suffer and lead to divorce. This is just my personal opinion, but I believe couples are happier when they're dating and not married. This is just a few of the reasons, but there are a lot more. Go on a search engine and search for reasons not to get married. You'll come across a lot of websites explaining why it's a bad idea. My examples of course don't apply to every single marriage. There are plenty of healthy marriages that don't have the problems I listed. Unfortunately a lot marriages are the way I described though.

I honestly don't like kids, but I feel sad when I think about all the children that don't have parents. They're suffering and I want to help them. Even if I only adopt one child, that's one child's life that I can try to improve. I want to be the father they deserve and raise them right. I want them to be happy being a part of the family. I might be in favor of adoptions because my mother and ex were both adopted.

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DC1346
6 hours ago, nichii said:

Marriage can be very unfortunate for men. If you get divorced it will financially ruin you... I honestly don't like kids, but I feel sad when I think about all the children that don't have parents. They're suffering and I want to help them. Even if I only adopt one child, that's one child's life that I can try to improve. 

You have made some excellent points. I hadn't thought about the possibility of divorce, but of course you are correct in thinking that this is a possibility. From a statistical view point, 41% of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. You would think that having experienced one marital breakup, people would be more sensible about committing themselves to a 2nd marriage. In an ideal world, people would have learned from their experiences and one would think that the divorce rate would diminish. Not so. According to U.S. government statistics, 60% of all 2nd marriages end in divorce. An astounding 73% of all third marriages also end in divorce. 

On the flip side, age apparently brings some degree of wisdom. If you look at divorce rates by age, over 80.6% of all divorces for women occur when they are 29 years or younger. The steepest rate of divorce (36.6%)  appears to be between the ages of 20-24. I would surmise that this is because these young women are just starting out in life. By this age, most will have finished college and the transition from school life to the workplace combined with relatively low starting salaries (depending upon the profession) can put a lot of additional stress upon a marriage.

In contrast the divorce rates for older women are significantly lower. Only 8.5% of women aged 30-34 and only 5.1% of all women aged 35-39 get divorced. 

Divorce rates among men are somewhat similar. 72.8% of men aged 29 or younger are likely to divorce. As with the women, the divorce rate (38.8%) is highest for those between the ages of 20-24%. 

Divorce rates for older men are actually worse than they are for women of comparable ages. 

Men aged:             Divorce Rate

  • 25-29:            22.4%
  • 30-34             11.6%
  • 35-39              6.5%

With this being said, I would point out that you could always have an attorney draw up a prenuptial agreement to protect your assets prior to marriage. The average cost of a prenup is $2500 which isn't bad if you think of this as a sort of marital insurance policy. Sadly only 4% of all couples have a prenup. 

I would hope that concerns over the possibility of a divorce would not cause you to limit your future possibilities. Actuary statistics for 2014 mortality risks show that there is a 1 in 645 chance that we could die in a car crash. Given the possibility that we could die in a car accident every time we step into a car, does this mean that we shouldn't drive?

Life is fraught with risks. 

I have not chosen to remain a bachelor because I'm worried about the possibility of divorce. I have chosen this lifestyle because by nature, I'm a reclusive introvert and I'm not psychologically suited towards emotional intimacy. I don't even want to think about physical intimacy which seems abhorrent given the need for physical contact. 

If you don't mind physical and emotional intimacy, why not take a chance? Vet someone through a long term courtship as well as a private investigative service to confirm your beau's background information, and have an attorney draw up a prenup. 

As far as kids go, as a professional educator with nearly three decades of experience int teaching grades 3-5 and 7-12), I would suggest that if you want to improve children's lives, you might consider foster care as opposed to adoption. Adoption is legally binding. Foster care is more like checking out a library book. The library book has to be returned at some point and if you don't care for the book, you could return it sooner than later. I would also point out that foster parents receive a stipend to help defray the cost of child care whereas adoptive parents are financially liable for the upkeep and support of their children. 

One of my colleagues is a bachelor who decided to adopt three siblings instead of fostering them. The youngest is a special needs student with severe learning disability issues. The middle child has anger management and other emotional issues. The oldest has personal issues related to trying to look out for his two younger brothers. All three are in high school. The oldest is a senior and the youngest is (I think) a freshman. 

Last year my school was finally forced to expel the middle kid. In addition to repeated problems with gross insubordination, talking back, class disruption, theft, vandalism, and failing grades because he absolutely refused to do any written assignments, the boy TWICE exposed himself in public.

Medical bills (including counseling services) for all three kids are mounting and since our district has saddled us with cruddy health insurance, a debt collection agency is now after this teacher to pay bills that were left unpaid by district insurance. There is now an on-going class action lawsuit against the district insurance provider for breach of contract.

 

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nichii

@DC1346 That was an excellent and informative post. I suppose there's a possibility of me wanting to get married one day. I just want to wait until I'm much older before I consider getting married. I'm not currently looking for a relationship, so marriage isn't something that's important to me right now, but I may change my mind in the future. If I were to adopt a kid I would definitely choose a foster care rather than an adoption place. It's a shame that middle kid turned out so badly. It's unfortunately a problem with kids who are in foster care and don't grow up with parents. Especially a father or father figure. Kids who grow up without parents are more likely to be violent and suffer from mental illness. I hope that kid sees a therapist and a psychiatrist to help him change his ways. I don't know how effective it will be, but it certainly sounds like he's dealing with some mental health issues.

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