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Willow

Asperger Symptoms in Adult Males

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Willow
46 minutes ago, RiRi said:

Oh, are you writing a paper for one of your classes at uni?

No, for a video/article for my website. I don't study psychology at uni, it's just something I like to produce work for that may be of help to others.

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Alice

Its a really great documentary

 

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Willow
13 minutes ago, Alice said:

 

I have a lot of these myself as a female on the spectrum. I live a completely solitary life with no social, familial or other kind of support by choice. I have been mocked and bullied about my appearance for most of my life and feeling good about myself even as a mild baseline is difficult for me to achieve. (I wear makeup when I leave the house as false armour against societal rules I dont agree with but it doesnt raise my esteem to be treated better while wearing a mask, it just makes me feel safer when im out).

I like the diagram that portrays autism as a colour wheel rather than a linear spectrum, because we all differ in almost every aspect of our presentation. The saying "if you have met one person on the spectrum.. you have met one person" It doesnt generalise well. Even if aspies as share difficulties in understanding social information, there are big differences in whether people still socialise, are extroverted or introverted,  etc..

The differences in female and male autistics maybe has less to do with autism and more to do with social conditioning of an aspie child.
Males are generally more logically-centered, and action-centered (not necessarily to the mathematics end, but gravitate towards computer-programming and the like) as they are generally encouraged to do what THEY want to do, tantrums/outbursts are treated more permissively ("boys just being boys"), allowed to get their own way more, are allowed to play alone (without the teacher/parent thinking something is wrong), encouraged to choose logical and physical games (like lego, connex, science toys, , bike riding, anything imitating construction or physical activity etc..though children are born equally capable in terms of spacial understanding and maths, and are equally strong). This would show up in Aspies too as having more outward expressions during a meltdown. As males are conditioned to follow themselves, their wants, and put those into action, Aspies maybe pursued their special interests more intensely, spoke only about what they wanted to without reprimand which is a noticeable trait, and were allowed to not engage socially when they didnt want to, so they continue to not do so (if a more introverted aspie).

Females are generally more emotionally-centred. More silenced when rowdy, asked to join into groups, play nice, given dolls, given things to comfort and care for - toy animals, toys that imitate the kitchen or parenting, nursing/caretaking or creative things like paint and drawing sets, and given domestic chores, told to "imagine how that person feels" etc.
Even if not social/extroverted, in Aspies this might show up as preferring reading, movies, character-centred things (games like sims or more character-centered games), and more easily able to imitate socially expected masks and roles with effort, and more emotionally empathetic/aware/sensitive even if still not cognitively-empathetic (theory of mind/guessing what someone is thinking).

Every parent is different in how much they care about norms, also whether they match the general personality of their own child ("called goodness of fit" in psychology) which determines how much they will try to change their child's behaviour and nature.

Just my thoughts. Very interesting discussion

Thank you for your reply. When looking at lists of supposed female Asperger traits and symptoms, I know that a lot of those can be put down to social conditions etc., but I think the lists still manage to cover things which are majoritively true for females on the spectrum, and less true for males - so I'm hoping to gradually deduce a similar list for males.

9 minutes ago, Max000 said:

I can't think of much of anything to add to that list, but I would say most of those are a big yes, for me, with several exceptions. The second one is only 50% true. I definitely don't consider myself good looking, but I still take care of my appearance. I especially cared about appearance when I was younger and trying to impress girls. Also I don't think I'm easily manipulated by the opposite sex. I'm actually pretty dominant in relationships. If I have been manipulated, I wasn't even aware of it.

Thanks for your input - it's interesting to hear you are usually the dominant one in relationships - the other males I've heard from have largely said the opposite so far. 

8 minutes ago, Alice said:

This is very common in female Aspies too though - I think its also a general Aspie thing. Ive seen it in several Aspie books about setting boundaries to prevent manipulation for toxic people or being taken advantage of due to inherent naivety and social naivety, learning to stand ground and be assertive. Ive also experience this a lot personally. Common Aspie thing, though may not apply to everyone

As above - I'm hoping that over time it will become more apparent which traits are more common in males than females. Doing this kind of research and cross referencing with lists of female traits will hopefully leave me with some common patterns.

4 minutes ago, Alice said:

I also dont think the masking/social imitation thing is exclusive to female aspies - Some male aspies can too. Some male aspie do fairly alright socially. I just recently watched a documentary about a guy local in NZ who runs dungens and dragons meetups and stuff for aspies and presents himself very well socially - you would not guess he is an aspie from how he interacts.

This is the wheel I mentioned which should also have other things on it like masking, extroversion/introversion, naivety/child-like trust for any aspie regardless of gender etc..

understanding-the-spectrum6-724x1024.jpg

This image is important because it notes that whilst one aspect may function normal, it may be hampered by other aspects which don't. This is something that makes looking into it more deeply very complex, because, whilst there are a set of symptoms that must be present for diagnosis, these symptoms can lead to traits and habits which will only be there for people on the spectrum, but aren't considered diagnostic criteria - and these are the things I'm hoping to deduce. 

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Alice
55 minutes ago, Willow said:

This image is important because it notes that whilst one aspect may function normal, it may be hampered by other aspects which don't. This is something that makes looking into it more deeply very complex, because, whilst there are a set of symptoms that must be present for diagnosis, these symptoms can lead to traits and habits which will only be there for people on the spectrum, but aren't considered diagnostic criteria - and these are the things I'm hoping to deduce. 

I agree, it is complex and very individual, you cant know the reasons behind behaviour based on its appearance.

 

55 minutes ago, Willow said:
1 hour ago, Alice said:

This is very common in female Aspies too though - I think its also a general Aspie thing. Ive seen it in several Aspie books about setting boundaries to prevent manipulation for toxic people or being taken advantage of due to inherent naivety and social naivety, learning to stand ground and be assertive. Ive also experience this a lot personally. Common Aspie thing, though may not apply to everyone

As above - I'm hoping that over time it will become more apparent which traits are more common in males than females. Doing this kind of research and cross referencing with lists of female traits will hopefully leave me with some common patterns.

Fair enough, I do think this one is a general Aspie thing though - ive seen it in specifically female lists as well. It goes with the territory of not having theory of mind and not perceiving social intentions and masks in others which makes you more susceptible to manipulation or abuse even from a partner who you supposedly know very well

 

55 minutes ago, Willow said:

Thank you for your reply. When looking at lists of supposed female Asperger traits and symptoms, I know that a lot of those can be put down to social conditions etc., but I think the lists still manage to cover things which are majoritively true for females on the spectrum, and less true for males - so I'm hoping to gradually deduce a similar list for males.


Nice. I think I get a better sense of what you are doing. There is a similar list for females on Aspienwomen which has a massive list of very general traits, tendencies and behaviours common in autistic females that are not diagnostic indicators but more like adaptations Aspie females may have adopted to cope with the actual Aspie symptoms. Good luck

Edited by Alice

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Sanctuary
4 hours ago, Alice said:

The differences in female and male autistics maybe has less to do with autism and more to do with social conditioning of an aspie child.
Males are generally more logically-centered, and action-centered (not necessarily to the mathematics end, but gravitate towards computer-programming and the like) as they are generally encouraged to do what THEY want to do, tantrums/outbursts are treated more permissively ("boys just being boys"), allowed to get their own way more, are allowed to play alone (without the teacher/parent thinking something is wrong), encouraged to choose logical and physical games (like lego, connex, science toys, , bike riding, anything imitating construction or physical activity etc..though children are born equally capable in terms of spacial understanding and maths, and are equally strong). This would show up in Aspies too as having more outward expressions during a meltdown. As males are conditioned to follow themselves, their wants, and put those into action, Aspies maybe pursued their special interests more intensely, spoke only about what they wanted to without reprimand which is a noticeable trait, and were allowed to not engage socially when they didnt want to, so they continue to not do so (if a more introverted aspie).

It may well be true that parents give autistic boys more latitude than they do to autistic girls and this may have effects leading into adulthood. As you suggest they may give them more opportunity to pursue specialised interests and generally to spend time alone. This was certainly true for me. At the time I was happy with this but maybe it didn't help me in the long-term and moving into adulthood - perhaps I became too detached from social norms. Autistic males may be more likely than autistic women to live alone and generally have few social contacts and this can give them more time and space (literally and metaphorically) to pursue their interests which can become deeper and more intense. Collecting, e.g. of books, music, linked to interests of one kind or another may also be common among autistic men - their female counterparts may do this as well but probably not to the same extent as their interest may not be so strong and they may not have the finances, time or opportunity to build large collections.

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Ben
10 hours ago, Willow said:

@Ben thanks for the reply - I knew you'd be an exception to the rule kind of guy, sort of like I am in a few senses. But your reply is still helpful - it seems common amongst the replies I've had so far on here, on Facebook and via email, that Aspie males tend to avoid looking to other people for help - which may be as a result of the way males are raised to be 'manly' and not ask for help, but I think it's still worth adding. 

I'm fiercely independent by nature, so I never see the point in asking someone to help me, even if it's a two man job , because it's in my psyche to be  a problem solver. I'm in my element when I'm thrown into an impossible situation that I have to think and act my way out of. 

I think that 'manly image' is amplified somewhat with AS, because that difficulty some of us have with expressing emotions can really work in our favour in that regard - making us appear tougher than we really are . (Not always the case. Sometimes we are that tough, especially with important things on the line.)

 

But yeah, I think the link is "symbiotic" - for want of a more accurate word. Or possibly the reverse of that depending on how you look at it.  

Edited by Ben

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RiRi
On 2/4/2019 at 4:40 PM, Harrow said:

do not think I get mood swings I used to when I was younger but have not in years, nor am I ever verbally aggressive I do not think.

You were aggressive in one of the PMs we had, where you just suddenly got mad at something I asked you. Does that count as a mood swing?

Edited by RiRi

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RiRi

@Willow I have a symptom but I don't know if it would be male exclusive, maybe just in general: misinterpreting people's intentions and also always being on the look out/like being defensive?

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Harrow
9 minutes ago, RiRi said:

You were aggressive in one of the PMs we had, where you just suddenly got mad at something I asked you. Does that count as a mood swing?

No, but that is something I need to apologize for I was unfair and I am truly sorry. You did not deserve that. I was a coward 

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Willow
9 minutes ago, RiRi said:

@Willow I have a symptom but I don't know if it would be male exclusive, maybe just in general: misinterpreting people's intentions and also always being on the look out/like being defensive?

I'm not sure if it's male exclusive - I know my brother can be very defensive though, like, to such a crazy extent.

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