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Dr-David-Banner

THE DISTORTION OF ASPERGER'S

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Dr-David-Banner

What's been on my mind is how so many people want to have AS and really I think the media is the cause.  I think so much good has been said about AS maybe it became the creme de la creme of neurological deviations from neurotypical. Unlike schizophrenia or m.p.d. When was the last time you saw someone with a "Hug me I'm m.p.d."T-Shirt? The real history of AS is really so different and it never was a cool personality syndrome. It was linked to psychopathy, repetitive behaviour and often bottled up anger. Some people with AS do develop psychosis. One fact that would shock people was that three psychologists diagnosed Mark David Chapman with AS and as eventually psychotic. Chapman was at one time a Christian youth leader. The point is blunt and straight. Not every schizophrenic is dangerous. Many are great musicians. Not every person with AS is a Mark Chapman. And yet, with AS there is denial it is like other neurological irregularities. The whole thing has been airbrushed because people were convinced AS is a cool testimony to be different than mundane NTs. I would love to see more perspective even if to do that we tell people what they don't want to hear. That is AS people are often unemployed, isolated, misunderstood and not all that different from those with other neurological deviations. Given Schizoid Personality is almost identical to AS how many people would want others to apply the term?

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Dr-David-Banner

Years ago when I was naieve I told a girlfriend I had suspected AS and she said, "Oh, that! My brother's got that and my next door neighbour but one!" It's very open to debate the way to regain genuine perspective is to either usd Schizoid Personality Disorder or HFA. I never discuss AS around people and family have no idea. I dislike using AS as somehow it became a cool personality leap.

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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Dr-David-Banner

To further add, something bugged me for ages about modern psychology and AS. The original study took place in 1930s Austria. The children were severely impaired and barely functional as children. Modern psychology knew nothing of AS till Aspergers work was translated from German in the late 1980s. Somewhere along the line it morphed into a kind of New Age neurodiversity movement. Very often when I read articles by modern psychologists on AS, I am often inclined to disagree. Maybe the recent removal of AS as a diagnosis will allow us to return to the original research.

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nichii

When it comes to schizophrenia and m.p.d (which is called Dissociative Identity Disorder now), these disorders are very misunderstood and have a lot of stigma surrounding them. People with schizophrenia are often viewed as dangerous. Most people know very little or nothing about DID and people often think that DID is the same as schizophrenia. It's not at all the same. To a lot of people who only know about ASD through media like TV shows and movies, they see it as a neat personality rather than a medical condition that can make someone's life very difficult. People see the positive traits of ASD, but don't realize there's a lot of negatives to ASD as well.

Many people with ASD lack social skills and they feel different from others. This can lead to depression and self-isolation. There's also the sensory issues that are very uncomfortable and a pain to deal with. There's also meltdowns that come with ASD that can be overwhelming and a very awful thing to experience. That's just a few of the negatives. People with ASD have a lot of positive things about them. A lot of you probably wouldn't want to be cured of your ASD if a cure was developed because it's part of who you are. A lot of NTs only see the positive sides of ASD and don't realize just how hard it is to live with ASD. I'm glad people are becoming more open and accepting of ASD, but it can hurt people who have this because their struggles aren't taken seriously. They see it as a neat and quirky personality. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I would appreciate your imput on MPD because I am not sure if the personalities can recall what each one did. I wanted to make a negative post about AS as I am tired of public distortion. I found it sometimes arises in criminal cases the same as MPD, schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder. Not that there is a connection to crime but every time a person with AS does "crack" (as Elliot Rodger), the entire AS community will deny said person already had a diagnosis. This ignores Hans Asperger who clearly listed "bottled up anger" as a symptom. This builds up maybe due to our non-aggressive nature which provokes bullying from others. At some point all that tension can just explode. Normally this is via self-harm but in rare cases the anger can explode externally. Needless to say I had to address my own bottled up anger and accept it was part of a disorder. 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

I feel in some way I have more than one personality but this is complex. I grew up so inward that no specific gender ever became established. Finally I now realise how destabilising it can be when people struggle to relate to someone who is between gender. I can slip into my feminine personality often. I can also become the opposite. However I am aware of this and I figure, if anything, I fit depersonalisation more than disassociation. A psychologist also suspected depersonalisation. The truth is I read extensively on AS but I am limited on other forms of diagnosis. I clearly struggle to function in society but don't know what co-morbid conditions I may have. Although I struggle I would never just crack up as fortunately there are ways to manage AS.

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Sofi

I'm not really following what you are trying to say. I was diagnosed with Autism (high functioning) as a young child, then was diagnosed with schizophrenia in my early twenties, when it commonly develops. I find them two very separate things - Autism is part of me whereas schizophrenia is a definite illness, like if I developed diabetes or something. 
There was a time when I was having symptoms of schizophrenia yet nobody knew because I think the negative symptoms (withdrawal, isolation, lack of self care, anger etc) do seem like autism. Although, now I can definitely differentiate between the two like if I'm having more schizophrenia symptoms, I know it's that or if I'm having sensory overload, I know it's autism. I don't really think like that though, I just live my life!

I hate the stigma surrounding schizophrenia. Very few people with schizophrenia are dangerous - they may only appear intimidating if you meet them during a psychotic episode in which case they are genuinely ill and mean no harm - they are probably more scared than you :( . Most people with schizophrenia lead happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, even holding down jobs and marriages etc. 

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Dr-David-Banner

This was my point, Sofi. I agree with you as Brian Wilson is schizophrenic. Far from being dangerous Brian is a super gifted musician. Where we may disagree is you seem to view your autism as part of you but not schizophrenia? Yet what I want to say is that the actual studies of AS by the German neurologists do reveal a serious, often despairing condition. Modern psychologists allowed AS to morph into a "mild form of autism". This is not what Asperger observed. Those children would rock, sway, bang their heads and act unusual. They processed information differently. They were clumsy. So, over decades somehow AS has been airbrushed by over-emphasising all the positives but almost ignoring the darker side of psychopathy. Myself I don't see it as mild autism. Just having a normal IQ doesn't reduce the scale of the other traits which can make employment a nightmare. 

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Dr-David-Banner

I just referenced schizoid personality disorder. It was mentioned to me on the Russian forum. The big difference for me is it stated those with SPD are not aware of the fact they act abnormally and can't form friendships - show feelings. Maybe this was accurate for me a decade ago but these days I know how normal should be. Still my point is if you told other people you had Asperger Syndrome the truth is it would not be a huge deal. It is perceived as just an unusual, geeky personality trait. On the other hand, if you told friends you were schizoid they would be very uneasy. And yet AS is most definitely a severe condition for many. It frequently comes with other conditions such as OCD or even dysmorphia. Here is how I feel about my AS: Dr Banner is a fictional character. He is a doctor and scientist. He was accidentally exposed to gamma radiation which meant anger could cause him to mutate into The Hulk. As a result Banner has to survive doing temp jobs as school gardener or zoo keeper. He can't just get a research job, marry and settle down. On a funny note when Banner does change his shirts split but his pants stay on. So, that's how it feels. No prospect of a normal life and just having the things normal people take for granted. Often getting strange looks. Yes, you can make friends but the very sad thing I found is your friends may one day feel awkward when their other friends question that friendship. You find a sudden freeze. There is one episode I loved where Dr Banner meets an Asperger female. She wants him to help her trace her mother. It was one episode that I tbought had special meaning.

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Dr-David-Banner

By the way, as to MPD or Depersonalisation, what others describe doesn't fit my own experience. For me, derealisation is a sudden feeling of being totally cut off but not out of the body as others describe. It feels like not existing to other people all of a sudden but it only happens infrequently. The other symptom as it happens is feeling of changed perception where you feel alienated. This happens rarely but when it does it is very disturbing and leads to a week or so of withdrawel. I was shocked when I saw the movie Carnival Of Souls as the woman in it experienced just fading from reality as if becoming a ghost. I know with AS you get feelings of being ignored but not on that scale. So I am clueless as to what it is. 

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nichii
13 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

I would appreciate your imput on MPD because I am not sure if the personalities can recall what each one did.

I actually have been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (what MPD is now called), so I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to this.  The DID that's portrayed in movies and TV shows is a lot different from real DID. DID varies from person to person, and like ASD, not everyone with DID experiences the same symptoms and the severity of the symptoms vary. To answer your question, most personalities (commonly referred to as alters) have at least partial recall of what each one did. It's not like the DID portrayed in the media where someone's alter switches and they have no memory of anything that happened while the other alter was out. This may happen to someone with severe DID, but it's usually not like this.

 

13 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

I feel in some way I have more than one personality but this is complex. I grew up so inward that no specific gender ever became established. Finally I now realise how destabilising it can be when people struggle to relate to someone who is between gender. I can slip into my feminine personality often. I can also become the opposite.

I have a female alter and when that alter is present, I feel very feminine. Like I'm a woman in a man's body. This doesn't have anything to do with being transgender though. I don't desire to be a woman. I simply feel feminine when my female alter is out because she's a woman. Feeling like you have more than one personality can be a sign of DID, but it can also be something else as well. Schizophrenia,  bipolar disorder, epilepsy, borderline personality disorder, and even ASD can resemble DID in some ways. DID is believed to be in part caused by childhood trauma. Just because someone suffers trauma during childhood doesn't however mean they have DID though since not every child that experiences trauma goes on to develop DID. If you've experienced childhood trauma and you feel you have more than one personality then you might want to look into the possibility of having DID. I of course can't tell you what you do or don't have. I'm not a psychologist and it's not possible to diagnose someone over the internet anyway. 

 

12 hours ago, Sofi said:

I hate the stigma surrounding schizophrenia. Very few people with schizophrenia are dangerous

I do as well. I was diagnosed with a mild form of schizophrenia and I'm not the least bit dangerous, but a lot of people would assume I'm crazy or dangerous if I told them I have schizophrenia. The truth is that people with mental illnesses are less likely to be a perpetrator of a crime and are more likely to be a victim of a crime instead. We're not dangerous, but the media likes to fool people into believing we are.

 

3 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

By the way, as to MPD or Depersonalisation, what others describe doesn't fit my own experience. For me, derealisation is a sudden feeling of being totally cut off but not out of the body as others describe. It feels like not existing to other people all of a sudden but it only happens infrequently.

That sounds like derealization to me. Depersonalization can almost feel like an out-of-body experience, while derealization feels like you're in a dream. Your surroundings don't feel real. It can feel like your surroundings have something in front of them that makes you see things differently. Like a fog, pane of glass, or veil.

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Dr-David-Banner

Great post, Nichi. I enjoy your feedback and will discuss your points later today. For now I want to say I think I solved my problem. I strongly suspect AS is not just one disorder, but a group. There is AS as a personality type and AS as more acute. The modern personality type AS wouldn't have been studied by Hans Asperger because the children he examined were clinical cases. Whereas in modern society people will themselves seek psychiatric help. Such people do have AS but the symptoms are not totally destabilising. These are geeky loners but often they have jobs. They have meltdowns and stim but  they can usually at least hold down a job. Jewish AS is definitely a personality type very often with giftedness and high intellect. Einstein is only one of several Jewish physicists suspected of autism such as Grigory Peshkin. Also if a random group of people have an AS diagnosis we don't all match. Some of us have dyspraxia and others may stim more. I mean, I don't stim much but I do have dyspraxia. I have also met people with more severe AS than myself as well as less severe. Of course I may be wrong but I felt AS seen as an all embracing single disorder doesn't make sense.

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Dr-David-Banner

I don't know much about MPD. I can sort of switch into a female personality but it's important to bear in mind I never developed fully as male. I never related to human beings in such a way any concrete gender could be established. Thus, autism delayed my emotional, intellectual, gender and social development. I say that because you learn all these patterns through other people. Through role models. This is serious too because girls seek men who are distinctly men so they know where they are. I find it super easy to talk to girls but probably they are rarely attracted as I guess I don't come across as assertive. Often too AS females feel like tomboys so it's fair to assume I am not alone. I don't think I have MPD although it does interest me as, sure, I can slip into this gender role. Derealisation interests me more. As I thought about it last night, I do now recall one experience that fits what others describe. I had taken a job in a really awful place and they put me on a work bench with lots of fast moving, employable girls. I had to unpack items very fast, feed codes into a PC, scan, log and repackage. All the girls were doing it easy but I just couldn't handle it. I got strange, disapproving looks. As I got stressed I began to feel as if my limbs were sort of dragging through water and all my movements slow and very robotic. And it did feel like a dream. I felt all my movements feel very slow and a bit like a puppet. Then I got drained and demoralised. I was taken off the job and reported as being unsuitable. That is the only instance that relates to the accounts others give where they feel disconnected from their body. 

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nichii

@Dr-David-Banner ASD has several comorbid disorders and that's why you might see it as as a group disorder rather than a single disorder. Since ASD is on a spectrum, the severity of ASD varies greatly. No two people with ASD are the same. ASD is developed in childhood, but some people can develop some ASD traits at a later time in life instead of developing the symptoms in childhood. I'm one of these people. I didn't show enough symptoms of ASD when I was a child and because of that, I don't have ASD according to a couple of psychologists I've seen. Several personality disorders and other mental illnesses can have similar symptoms as ASD. Schizoid personality disorder is an example of this. A lot of the lesser-known symptoms of schizophrenia (not the common ones like hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia) can be very similar to symptoms of ASD. It can be so similar in fact that ASD used to be referred to as childhood-type schizophrenia. 

As you mentioned, ASD isn't always debilitating and some autistic individuals can function normally in society and have a job. They may not even realize that they have ASD and others might not notice anything. The autistic person may just see their symptoms as their personality traits. ASD is a mental illness, but there are some people who might self-diagnose themselves with ASD and see it more as a neat or geeky personality rather than a medical condition. I believe this is due to the media portraying ASD incorrectly. People believe that autism just means someone who has a quirky personality and it's "cool" to be autistic. It's a shame people are so uninformed when it comes to ASD because people with ASD might not have their problems taken seriously. It's like OCD. People will say that they're "so OCD" because they have to have things a certain way or that they like washing their hands often and cleaning things. I hate this because OCD is a serious and debilitating condition that's so serious that it can lead to suicide. 

Regarding the derealization, I had to quit my past job because it was too fast-paced and this made me feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to anxiety or stress and then trigger derealization because your brain is trying to disconnect you in a way to protect you from the anxiety you're feeling. It's possible to only experience DPDR once or a couple times in life, but not have a chronic case of it. This can happen to someone if they experience a traumatic event or witness a traumatic event. DPDR is actually the third most common mental illness with anxiety and depression being the first. It's not well known though and most people have never heard of it.I recall the first time I experienced derealization. It happened when I was a young child and I was in a car accident that fortunately didn't result in injury. It felt surreal and I felt very disconnected from my body and my surroundings. This is a common reaction to traumatic events.

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Sanctuary

I would certainly question the idea that AS is seen as a "cool" condition in the wider population. There may be small sections of society who - as Nichii suggested - somehow equate AS with being "eccentric" or "quirky" but far more commonly it is seen as some sort of problem. Most people still have little idea what AS is or - if they think they know - see it in a negative way. For example individuals with AS may be seen as "difficult", "unreliable", "not team players", "weird", etc. Sometimes they are viewed as incapable and people to be pitied. I don't deny there are some more supportive attitudes out there but they remain few and far between. If AS were truly seen as "cool" or even just an alternative, highly valid personality type then there would be no need for many people on the spectrum to cover up their condition. Unfortunately many with AS have to keep their condition secret, or only reveal it to those they can trust to be supportive.

Many stereotypes about AS do persist, e.g. the brilliant but socially inept scientist, computer expert or savant. Those with AS range very widely in academic ability and their success or otherwise in many activities and relationships. Many conditions are comorbid including dyspraxia but not essential parts of AS. Some Aspies struggle with the most basic practical tasks while others have no difficulty. Some have dreadful problems with depression and anxiety while others lead happy, apparently stress-free lives. There are so many different experiences with AS but unfortunately too few of us are truly accepted by others and we have to play by the rules of the neurotypical majority whether we want to or not. 

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Dr-David-Banner

We can simplify AS a bit by going back to the thirties. The Nazi Party were definitely experimenting with eugenics with plans to eliminate defective children. Asperger was to study highly problematic groups of children and nobody really knows whether he genuinely wished to cover for them. What he did was simple: join up the dots. What symptoms did they have in common? Clumsiness, repetitive behaviour, stims and so on. Asperger did not distinguish HFA as a distinct diagnosis as in delays in speech. The problem for me at present is modern psychology because I keep noticing major differences of opinion. For example a lot of people think AS is not actually autism. You may be asked about delays in speech. However, generally I think AS is not difficult to diagnose but much harder to understand. To diagnose roughly an AS person will stuggle to understand non spoken language. Sarcasm may be seen as flattery. The person may not be aware of boring someone. AS people stim or rock. They may not connect with the emotions shared by others at a given moment. Empathy so to speak. Dyspraxia is common or simply poor co-ordination. Sensitivity to sound and fabrics are common. Special interests, yes. Meltdowns, yes. Bottled up anger is often not mentioned.Given AS people are not aggressive, people will take advantage and exclude the individual. For anyone this is stressful. As time passes the anger builds up and up. It may then explode in huge meltdowns. 

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Dr-David-Banner
14 hours ago, nichii said:

@Dr-David-Banner ASD has several comorbid disorders and that's why you might see it as as a group disorder rather than a single disorder. Since ASD is on a spectrum, the severity of ASD varies greatly. No two people with ASD are the same. ASD is developed in childhood, but some people can develop some ASD traits at a later time in life instead of developing the symptoms in childhood. I'm one of these people. I didn't show enough symptoms of ASD when I was a child and because of that, I don't have ASD according to a couple of psychologists I've seen. Several personality disorders and other mental illnesses can have similar symptoms as ASD. Schizoid personality disorder is an example of this. A lot of the lesser-known symptoms of schizophrenia (not the common ones like hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia) can be very similar to symptoms of ASD. It can be so similar in fact that ASD used to be referred to as childhood-type schizophrenia. 

As you mentioned, ASD isn't always debilitating and some autistic individuals can function normally in society and have a job. They may not even realize that they have ASD and others might not notice anything. The autistic person may just see their symptoms as their personality traits. ASD is a mental illness, but there are some people who might self-diagnose themselves with ASD and see it more as a neat or geeky personality rather than a medical condition. I believe this is due to the media portraying ASD incorrectly. People believe that autism just means someone who has a quirky personality and it's "cool" to be autistic. It's a shame people are so uninformed when it comes to ASD because people with ASD might not have their problems taken seriously. It's like OCD. People will say that they're "so OCD" because they have to have things a certain way or that they like washing their hands often and cleaning things. I hate this because OCD is a serious and debilitating condition that's so serious that it can lead to suicide. 

Regarding the derealization, I had to quit my past job because it was too fast-paced and this made me feel overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed can lead to anxiety or stress and then trigger derealization because your brain is trying to disconnect you in a way to protect you from the anxiety you're feeling. It's possible to only experience DPDR once or a couple times in life, but not have a chronic case of it. This can happen to someone if they experience a traumatic event or witness a traumatic event. DPDR is actually the third most common mental illness with anxiety and depression being the first. It's not well known though and most people have never heard of it.I recall the first time I experienced derealization. It happened when I was a young child and I was in a car accident that fortunately didn't result in injury. It felt surreal and I felt very disconnected from my body and my surroundings. This is a common reaction to traumatic events.

I find it essential to sometimes forget what you're expected to feel and just pinpoint what you do feel. So, with derealisation, the truth is what I.experience doesn't match what is typical. By the way I found a lot of Russian psychologists have done talks on this on Youtube. Anyway, for me it is sudden change in perception at 180 degrees. All is as normal and then suddenly it's as if the channel changes. The derealisation is negative. Suddenly you feel alienated from the environment and like being forced to face an ugly reality in the past you refused to face up to. It's an intense awareness of not belonging. The trigger is growing friendships so as you get closer to possible friends, this experience can just happen. Other people, of course, were affected and confused. This is why I have a thing for the 1961 Carnival Of Souls movie as for me it's a film almost with hidden messages. The woman in the film goes to Salt Lake City to work in a church as an organist. However, she keeps suddenly experiencing being cut off from reality, to the point nobody can see her. First time is in a big store where suddenly she can't manage to be noticed to get served. When a doctor tries to help it turns out she confesses to never having had a boyfriend or needing to share with other people. Also weird was a reference by the doctor to prosopagnosia when he tries to explain imagination can be deceptive. "Have you ever walked up to someone to say 'hello' only to find it was not the person you imagined to be?" This film made such an impact on me I searched on google to try and find any connection between the scriptwriter and either Aspergers or just psychology. I found zilch. The scriptwriter was a guy called Harvey and had just sat down and wrote the film. Critics review it as a basic gothic, spooky movie but for me it describes my derealisation. Not only that but the female protagonist is an organist who survived a drowning accident. Today I'm a pretty decent synth player but I started on an organ years ago and also barely survived a drowning accident aged about 10. In many ways it's like the number 9 that somehow was connected to John Lennon in a way John felt was very real to him (you can find it on Google). Anyway if nothing else, Carnival Of Souls is on YouTube and a real classic cult movie. 

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Dr-David-Banner

Quotes on a researcher's study into Hans Asperger himself:

"Asperger at first warned against classifying children, writing in 1937 that “it is impossible to establish a rigid set of criteria for a diagnosis.” But right after the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938 — and the purge of his Jewish and liberal associates from the University of Vienna — Asperger introduced his own diagnosis of social detachment: “autistic psychopathy.”

From the same article I quote:

"The official diagnosis of Asperger disorder has recently been dropped from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders because clinicians largely agreed it wasn’t a separate condition from autism.

Now, to clarify the point I was making at the start, compare here what one Asperger expert (and diagnosed with the condition) wrote in his analysis:
 

"Personally I think Asperger and autism should not be treated as the same disorder and do deserve separate diagnoses. I have heard that some psychiatrists, who believe Asperger and autism are the same, more or less boycott the current diagnostic criteria and simply give everyone "autism". This is bad because it makes research into the possible differences a priori impossible."

So, it's really pretty clear there seems to be disagreement and confusion over Asperger Syndrome. Here, for example, we are now officially told Asperger Syndrome is indeed autism.

There is disagreement over whether Asperger was a good guy or an evil Nazi, determined either to eradicate autistic conditions (or maybe try and enhance the traits seen as positive).

"Some laud Asperger’s language about the “special abilities” of children on the “most favorable” end of his autistic “range,” speculating that he applied his diagnosis to protect them from Nazi eugenics — a kind of psychiatric Schindler’s list. But this was in keeping with the selective benevolence of Nazi psychiatry; Asperger also warned that “less favorable cases” would “roam the streets” as adults, “grotesque and dilapidated.”

Good job I have a sense of humour as I sure do "roam the streets" as one of those "less favourable cases".

I still suspect a really good approach is to start examining not just the pattern itself (as Asperger did) but the pattern within the pattern. The probability that Asperger Syndrome contains more than one type of syndrome -all of which have a common root base. I definitely always felt that within the Jewish community, Asperger Syndrome is a frequent personality type and again to quote Paul Cooijman who seems to share my view. By the way, don't take this as in any way sinister (I always admired Jewish culture and artists, scientists like Einstein).
 

"In this respect it should be noted that Ashkenazi Jewish ethnic groups have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group, and a highly plausible theory explaining the eugenic effects responsible for that is given by Henry Harpending and others in their article "The Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence". It seems reasonable to hypothesize that Asperger in Jews may be a side-effect of their thus genetically raised intelligence and conscientiousness."

Great point made by Paul. Myself I noticed Einstein and other great Jewish physicists seem to be so intellectually developed that people try to state they never had autism at all but we need to understand that autism could very well be a highly positive personality type (if we can reduce all the other negative symptoms).

Conclusion: We still don't know all that much about A.S. in my view because really nobody agrees, which means it's an open field for further research.

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Edited by Dr-David-Banner
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nichii
On 4/8/2018 at 9:37 AM, Sanctuary said:

Most people still have little idea what AS is or - if they think they know - see it in a negative way.

That's certainly true. If someone were asked to write a list of ASD symptoms, I imagine most people would barely know any. What people know about ASD can come from media like TV shows. An example of this is The Big Bang Theory. As far as I know, the producers have never stated that the character Sheldon has ASD, but many fans think he does. If people only know about ASD through the media, then people may associate Sheldon's character as what ASD is like. Someone who is quirky and has an interesting personality, and that's not a good representation of what ASD is like. Unless someone knows someone on the spectrum, then I think most people are ignorant about what ASD is really like. I believe ASD is more accepted than it used to be, but it's still stigmatized. People with ASD can be looked down upon because they're different and don't fit in. 

 

On 4/8/2018 at 9:37 AM, Sanctuary said:

I would certainly question the idea that AS is seen as a "cool" condition in the wider population. There may be small sections of society who - as Nichii suggested - somehow equate AS with being "eccentric" or "quirky" but far more commonly it is seen as some sort of problem

Maybe that was a poor choice of words on my part. ASD isn't necessarily seen as cool, but I think some people find it interesting. Unfortunately because of the ignorance surrounding ASD, a lot of people may not know what ASD is really like. Like all the problems that come with ASD that can make a person on the spectrum feel depressed, anxious, isolated, and withdrawn. There's good things about ASD as well, but the struggles people with ASD face aren't acknowledged enough in my opinion. This is why I believe schools need a required mental health class, so kids can learn about what disorders like ASD are really like and perhaps it will lessen the stigma of ASD.

 

On 4/8/2018 at 3:18 PM, Dr-David-Banner said:

The problem for me at present is modern psychology because I keep noticing major differences of opinion. For example a lot of people think AS is not actually autism.

When people think of autism they might see it as the low functioning kind while asperger's is often seen as the high functioning kind. I feel that combining the different types of autism into one diagnosis (ASD) which is what happened in the DSM-5, was a bad idea. Asperger's is a term still used, but if someone on the spectrum tells someone they have autism or ASD, the person may get the wrong idea. Unless the person already knows the person with ASD pretty well, then they might be confused by the term autism or ASD. They may associate those terms with the lower end of the autism spectrum. That's why I'm in favor of using the term asperger's or high functioning autism.

 

On 4/8/2018 at 7:04 PM, Dr-David-Banner said:

Suddenly you feel alienated from the environment and like being forced to face an ugly reality in the past you refused to face up to. It's an intense awareness of not belonging.

My derealization is just like that. Derealization is a defense mechanism to protect the person experiencing it from trauma. Whether it's a trauma that just happened or is still happening, or trauma that has happened in the past. It's possible that derealization can be related to something you've experienced in the past that you're unable to face up to. Addressing the problems you've faced with a therapist may be able to affect the derealization in some way. Derealization is complicated however and it's not well understood. Derealization isn't always due to trauma. There are a lot of people who have developed permanent DPDR (depersonalization and derealization) from smoking marijuana. Even if you've only smoked one time. My DPDR wasn't caused by marijuana, but smoking marijuana one time triggered my DPDR severely. It was very unsettling and uncomfortable. It didn't last since my medication treats my DPDR well and I was able to feel better.

The movie you mentioned sounds interesting. Especially the part regarding prosopagnosia. I have a mild form of this and have mistaken strangers for my family members. I also usually can't remember faces of a lot of people in real life, but it's a bit easier recognizing someone if I'm seeing the person in a picture or video. If you ask me to describe the facial features of a family member, I can't really tell you anything. I have a feeling this is connected to my aphantasia since I'm not able to picture things in my mind's eye. All I see is darkness or a very feint image.

15 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

"Personally I think Asperger and autism should not be treated as the same disorder and do deserve separate diagnoses. I have heard that some psychiatrists, who believe Asperger and autism are the same, more or less boycott the current diagnostic criteria and simply give everyone "autism". This is bad because it makes research into the possible differences a priori impossible."

I completely agree with this. Asperger's and autism should definitely be treated as separate disorders. Just because they're on the same spectrum doesn't mean they're the same. There could be biological differences, as well as different brain structures, like some areas of the brain that are smaller than that of a healthy brain due to poor brain development in certain areas. Neurotransmitter dysfunctions can play a role too. For example, glutamate and GABA are thought to play a role in autism. 

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Dr-David-Banner

"When people think of autism they might see it as the low functioning kind while asperger's is often seen as the high functioning kind. I feel that combining the different types of autism into one diagnosis (ASD) which is what happened in the DSM-5, was a bad idea. Asperger's is a term still used, but if someone on the spectrum tells someone they have autism or ASD, the person may get the wrong idea. Unless the person already knows the person with ASD pretty well, then they might be confused by the term autism or ASD. They may associate those terms with the lower end of the autism spectrum. That's why I'm in favor of using the term asperger's or high functioning autism."

The question here, Nichii, is the one that first needs to be solved: Are Asperger Syndrome and Autism (high-functioning) the same? You see, my point all along here has been too many psychologists and neurologists are simply not agreeing. In science this is not possible. To move ahead to understanding, each step along the way needs to be "pinned". The way that helps me is to first of all try and determine what autism is. I have an advantage here compared to psychologists as I "am" autistic and I know what it feels like to be in that situation. I see autism as divided into two aspects:
(1) Delay in development. If the autism is (high-functioning) this simply means the delays don't cause very low intelligence or being "simple". It can cause learning difficulties, for sure, and it can cause us to lag behind in education (due to the various stresses linked to socialisation). However, it is not like being simple. From my own experiences, other delays can be social awkwardness, emotional development delay, immaturity, co-ordination, empathy, sexual development, personality development and so on.
(2) Withdrawing. "Autism" is like "selfism". You go inwards. In cases where you can control the inwardness, it can be really good for science (I think it was Einstein's edge).Often, though, the withdrawing can lead to suspicion and distrust. You refer to others as "them". We're supposed to be connected to the team mentality so being a loner is always seen as anti-social and an illness.

With regard to Asperger's as a personality type, the best case I can think of is Lieutenant Columbo in the TV series. His autism characteristics seem to me to be very shallow but he definitely has AS traits. He is definitely clumsy (there is one episode where he stands on the fringe of an Arab ambassador's robe and you hear it tear). He talks to his dog. He doesn't know how to behave that well when invited into homes and keeps boring people about his wife. He is very scruffy and not very clean (unshaven and hair all over the place). He has awesome associative reasoning which enables him to solve homicide cases that leave the rest of his team baffled. Therefore, Columbo is employed by the L.A.P.D. In my view he is only just about employable and, not only that, he's married as well. I would say that guy does have A.S. but on a scale that doesn't leave him totally excluded from a career and a life. I don't see him so strongly as being autistic because he does interact (just not as well to ever be employed in other roles).

I read part of the reasons for doing away with the A.S. diagnosis and resorting only to autism spectrum diagnosis was the fact levels of A.S. diagnosis had sky-rocketed. I mean, they went ballistic, especially in the U.S.A.. This must be because an awful lot of people could see themselves in Columbo and bridge the gap, whereas it's much more difficult to see yourself in someone with, say, schizophrenia or M.P.D. As you said above, Nichii, people latched onto the "nerd type" A.S. The pity is people like Columbo really do deserve to be diagnosed with A.S. These people may not struggle in ways that are immediately obvious but, over the longer term, they do suffer a heck of a lot by losing friends or being misunderstood. However, although Peter Parker and Columbo may seem pretty similar, Peter Parker is genuinely nerdy.

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Edited by Dr-David-Banner
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Dr-David-Banner

The carnival of souls has been described by one critic I found as connected to unreality. It was first shown as a low budget drive-in movie and made little impact. In time though it found a cult following. The inspiration for the movie was a derelict pavillion in Utah Salt Lake City. The main star is a woman who survives a car crash into the water but then decides to take a job as an organist. She lodges in a house where a very sleazy tenant in the room opposite seeks to chat her up. The woman starts to have more problems where she seems to phase out of reality and disappear from peoples' radar. I stated before I often find people may be unaware of my presence as if I give off very low energy. More so if there's a conversation going on. They don't notice so this is why the film really made an impact. My favourite bit is when she's driving a car and you can see the 1961 car radio (I now rebuild these). When the radio stops working she then hears organ music as pavillion dance music and reality shifts for her. In the film too she loses her job as church organist due to her playing the strange dance music in the church. The pastor accuses her of total insensitivity to the feelings and values of the congregation. Later, another incident of derealisation causes a doctor to take her to his surgery to discuss her episodes. Then comes the bit that really made an impact as she tells the doctor she experiences no sense of sharing experiences with other people. As if there is a gap between herself and others. My question was how could a very regular script writer like Harvey sense all of this? Had he met someone who shared these feelings? Had there been some experience? 

 

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nichii
13 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

The question here, Nichii, is the one that first needs to be solved: Are Asperger Syndrome and Autism (high-functioning) the same? You see, my point all along here has been too many psychologists and neurologists are simply not agreeing. In science this is not possible. To move ahead to understanding, each step along the way needs to be "pinned". The way that helps me is to first of all try and determine what autism is. I have an advantage here compared to psychologists as I "am" autistic and I know what it feels like to be in that situation. I see autism as divided into two aspects:

It's difficult to know the answer to that question because there just isn't enough evidence to suggest what the cause may be, and the biological differences between HFA and LFA. Autism may differ in the severity of possible brain abnormalities. For example, schizophrenia is also on a spectrum like autism. It's now believed that there's brain shrinkage in people with schizophrenia, grey matter loss, as well as brain inflammation. Those with mild schizophrenia may have more grey matter as well as less or no brain inflammation than those with severe schizophrenia. This may apply to autism too. There isn't a lot of information on the cause of autism, but it's possible that brain abnormalities such as brain inflammation may be more severe in people with LFA and less severe in those with HFA. Of course, this is just a theory of mine and I don't have evidence to back it up. There could be a lot of different reasons why people with HFA and LFA differ. There just isn't enough evidence to say for sure what the difference is biologically. 

4 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

The pastor accuses her of total insensitivity to the feelings and values of the congregation. Later, another incident of derealisation causes a doctor to take her to his surgery to discuss her episodes. Then comes the bit that really made an impact as she tells the doctor she experiences no sense of sharing experiences with other people. As if there is a gap between herself and others. My question was how could a very regular script writer like Harvey sense all of this? Had he met someone who shared these feelings? Had there been some experience? 

It's possible that Harvey knew someone who was like this or consulted a psychologist, so he could understand better what derealization is like. It's also possible that he himself had derealization and understood exactly what it's like. It's pretty common for movie directors to consult an expert when they're portraying something that they don't know enough about, so that could also be the reason.

Edited by nichii

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Sanctuary
On 10/04/2018 at 9:08 AM, nichii said:

That's certainly true. If someone were asked to write a list of ASD symptoms, I imagine most people would barely know any. What people know about ASD can come from media like TV shows. An example of this is The Big Bang Theory. As far as I know, the producers have never stated that the character Sheldon has ASD, but many fans think he does. If people only know about ASD through the media, then people may associate Sheldon's character as what ASD is like. Someone who is quirky and has an interesting personality, and that's not a good representation of what ASD is like. Unless someone knows someone on the spectrum, then I think most people are ignorant about what ASD is really like. I believe ASD is more accepted than it used to be, but it's still stigmatized. People with ASD can be looked down upon because they're different and don't fit in. 

 

Maybe that was a poor choice of words on my part. ASD isn't necessarily seen as cool, but I think some people find it interesting. Unfortunately because of the ignorance surrounding ASD, a lot of people may not know what ASD is really like. Like all the problems that come with ASD that can make a person on the spectrum feel depressed, anxious, isolated, and withdrawn. There's good things about ASD as well, but the struggles people with ASD face aren't acknowledged enough in my opinion. This is why I believe schools need a required mental health class, so kids can learn about what disorders like ASD are really like and perhaps it will lessen the stigma of ASD.

It was David rather than yourself who referred to AS being seen by some as a "cool" even desirable condition. I think that very few people have such an idea but if they do it is because - as you say - they wrongly associate it with a "quirky" personality (or wrongly believe it gives someone incredible "gifts", e.g. brilliance in science and maths). I also agree that they don't think about all the other issues that come with AS such as social and communication difficulties. They may also be the sorts of people who find an AS character in a TV show or film interesting and entertaining but - if they meet one in real life - are much less positive. This is often the way in life that people can engage with a media stereotype of a personality but find the reality much less to their liking and that is when we see the negative attitudes emerging.

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Dr-David-Banner

Here is a clip from Carnival Of Souls. You find that such clips get hardly any comments on sites like YouTube. It's an old movie, of course, and older movies contained far more psychological content and deeper plots than modern films. In this clip Mary opens up to her psychologist. I recall when I first saw this scene, all I could think was, "Wow, that's just how I feel!". Notice, though, when the psychologist turns around at the end of the scene, reality suddenly shifts again and Mary turns out to be in her car.
The guy who scripted the movie was Herk Harvey and I tried reading all I could about his personal history and artistic interest. I really found nothing to indicate to suggest he had any connection to either psychology or any signs of personal symptoms of A.S.

"He grew up in Waverly, Illinois and in Fort Collins and was a graduate of Fort Collins High School before serving in the U.S. Navy as a Quartermaster, 3rd Class, during World War II, during which time he was studying chemical engineering. 'But when I got out," Harvey has said, "I decided that wasn't for me and so I went into the theater.'"
 

 

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Dr-David-Banner

Now, below is an interesting pic. One critic pointed to the door in this scene as representing a divide between Mr. Linden, the creepy guy who has his room opposite on the staircase. So, it's like his world (the real of world of going to work and trying to make it with girls) and her world (the world of not belonging, not relating and feeling invisible). To me it sort of suggests like the door is one she can pop her head through some of the time but, during the derealisation experiences, it closes fully and she realises she just can't "belong". And although Mr Linden recognises Mary is actually quite easy on the eye, once he finds out she has all these very weird issues, he runs a mile.

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