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Old 11-13-2006, 09:22 PM   #1
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ask the autistic

I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon with this one. I have a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome. Ask me anything about this condition, I'll answer from experience.
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Old 11-13-2006, 10:13 PM   #2
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How has it affected you, personally, and emotionally?
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:44 PM   #3
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Did things change for you after you were diagnosed? I have a step-cousin who had many problems for years. No one understood what was wrong or how to help. Once he was diagnosed as an Aspie, it was almost a relief. He was able to get better medication and proper treatment. Have you had a similar experience?
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:10 AM   #4
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is your condition similar to the boy in the book, "Curious Incident of the Dog and the Nighttime"?
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:59 AM   #5
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How old were you when you were diagnosed, and had there been misdiagnoses prior to that?

What are some of the major disadvantages that having Asperger's creates for you personally? And some of the advantages?
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:29 AM   #6
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One of my friends has an 8 year old boy with Aspergers. She's worried about his social skills, (or rather lack of them) as he finds it difficult to interact properly with other kids and communicate with them. Have you had these problems and if so how have you dealt with them? Has your condition changed or improved at all over the years?
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:05 AM   #7
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My major problem is that I'm not good in social situations. I feel awkward around people, and I don't have much of a social life. I went for years with the wrong diagnosis. My child psychiatrist told me I was schizophrenic, then the doctors told me I had a personality disorder, and finally, when I was 46 years old, they told me I had Asperger's. It slowed me down in accomplishments in life. It took me twenty years to get a college degree! It's in history. People with Asperger's have intense interests; they tend to be obsessive. In fact, we even get treated with the same medication that an obsessive compulsive disorder patient gets.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
How old were you when you were diagnosed, and had there been misdiagnoses prior to that?

What are some of the major disadvantages that having Asperger's creates for you personally? And some of the advantages?
It's slowed me down educationally. It took me twenty years to get a college degree. The advantage is that I'm focused on what I'm interested in and I really love history and actually enjoy studying. I also have a really high pain threshold, sometimes I don't need anaesthetic when I go to the dentist. Like I said in my last post, I was 46 when I was diagnosed, and there had been two misdiagnoses.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greenlight
One of my friends has an 8 year old boy with Aspergers. She's worried about his social skills, (or rather lack of them) as he finds it difficult to interact properly with other kids and communicate with them. Have you had these problems and if so how have you dealt with them? Has your condition changed or improved at all over the years?
I have these problems. I've worked on them with a therapist, but there's only so much you can realistically improve. I'll always have a problem with lack of social skills.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by I'm Ready
is your condition similar to the boy in the book, "Curious Incident of the Dog and the Nighttime"?
Hm, I'm not familiar with this book. I'll have to check it out. For another famous portrayal of autisim, Dustin Hoffman was fantastic in "Rain Man".
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:51 AM   #11
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you said it took you awhile to graduate college. do you think that is because of the condition or because of the lack of services and accomodations available to you?

sorry, i work in student affairs and services for students with disabilities is really important to me. i wanna know what other accomodations we can do to help support everyone.
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I went for years with the wrong diagnosis. My child psychiatrist told me I was schizophrenic, then the doctors told me I had a personality disorder, and finally, when I was 46 years old, they told me I had Asperger's. It slowed me down in accomplishments in life.
I was afraid something like that might be the case...that seems to happen so often, and people your age especially, who grew up before widespread awareness of autism, often have such awful stories of inappropriate "treatments" in childhood. The school in the town I grew up in was too small and poor to have any Special Education programs, and the few unlucky kids I knew who needed them got bussed to a larger school a few towns away, where they were all lumped together in one classroom--autistics, kids with Down's Syndrome, kids with panic disorder, kids with sociopathic disorders, anything and everything basically--which couldn't possibly have been helpful for most of them. My own next-oldest brother has Tourette's, which wasn't diagnosed until adulthood either--fortunately, he had very patient teachers in our hometown school who recognized that he was very bright and were willing to be patient with his disruptiveness and distractedness, but both he and my parents went through a lot of grief hauling him to various counselors, who varyingly proclaimed him "psychotic", "emotionally disturbed", and various other diagnoses which did him no good at all. Today he works with disabled adults himself and is quite successful, but he still has anger management problems and needs medication and counseling.

What were your own pre-college experiences with school like?

Temple Grandin, who I share your admiration of, mentioned in one of her books that she has a high pain threshold, too--I can't remember the explanation for that, but I gather that's also characteristic of autistics. And it's wonderful that you've been able to put your heightened ability to focus to good use with your passion for history.

Do you find that being able to communicate with people in a more abstract context like the Internet helps transcend some of your social difficulties? I was wondering about that because it seems like then you wouldn't have to worry so much about things like reading body language, bothersome environmental distractions, etc.

Also--and this is kind of a delicate question, so no need to answer it if you don't want to--do you ever find it difficult to get other people to work with you socially in ways that help you interact more productively? I'm thinking for example of a couple students with Asperger's I've had who told me "Please just tell me flat-out if I'm not 'getting' something, or not interacting with other students appropriately," and I do my best to comply, but at the same time I'm often hesitant to be "flat-out" about such things for fear of hurting their feelings.
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Old 11-14-2006, 01:02 PM   #13
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Fascinating, Verte, thanks very much for posting, and thanks to everyone else for their thoughful questions. A friend of mine is doing his thesis on attentional attributes of autism, specifically having to do with the recognition of facial expressions, but along with the academic, hearing someone's personal experiences is invaluable.
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:00 PM   #14
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Quite honestly, my pre-college school life was a nightmare. I didn't have access to special education when I went to the local elementary and junior high schools, and I really struggled. Having an absolutely psychotic teacher in sixth grade, who got committed shortly afterwards, certainly didn't help. I finally graduated from an experimental private school that let me work at my own pace and was non-directive. That was a good experience.
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:50 PM   #15
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What is the difference between your type of autism and those of others?

My cousin has a form (not sure which) that's probably a little more intense than that of yours, for he cannot attain a high school degree. He does have an excellent memory of certain things (going along with the obsessive thing - he knows a lot about all of us cousins even though he lives in the south and we see him rarely, and I think he know a load of info on NASCAR), and socially his only noticeable problem is that he stares at the floor as opposed to making eye contact.
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