Do I have Asperger's?
September 24, 2011 1:19 AM   Subscribe

Could I have Asperger's Syndrome?

It all started when a collegue sent around this test from Wired and I scored a 35. I then waited a couple of weeks, took it again and tried to be conservative in my answers, and scored a 35 again. Then I started reading up on Asperger's and it all kind of seemed to "click" for me.

I feel very uncomfortable in social situations, am very sensitive to bright lights and loud noises, and have nearly "savant" verbal skills (I won several state-wide and national prizes when I was a kid, etc). At the same time, I was placed in a program for kids with learning disabilities at school, even though I was doing well in my classes and earning these prizes. It was never really explained to me what kind of learning disability I was meant to have. My parents only know it was "something like dyslexia but not dyslexia". The school sent me to a psychiatrist and I did find out I have ADHD as well and was on ritalin for a while. I also have been bullied a lot at school and in the workplace. People have told me I'm argumentative and abrupt when I really don't mean to be.

However, I've asked my partner and my mother and they both laughed off my self-diagnosis. They say I can't have Asperger's because I'm very sensitive to other peoples' emotions and have strong feelings of being hurt, etc when someone puts me down. My partner is a social worker and my mother's a counselor so both of them feel they have a decent grasp of what Asperger's is and they say it doesn't fit me.

By the way, I asked my doctor to put me on the waiting list for therapy through the NHS. In my area the waiting list is about 3 years long. So please don't say "therapy" as yes, I'm considering going privately but that's not really my question.

So who's right, me or my mother and partner? I got the book "Asperger's on the Job" after seeing a recommendation here on Mefi and I feel the book is going to help me a lot. I suppose the main thing is I'm finding a way to work on my problems which is the important thing and a diagnosis shouldn't really matter. Still, I'd really like to know, do I or don't I? What does the hive think?
posted by hazyjane to Human Relations (37 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't want to give a non-answer here, but nobody on mefi knows you better than your mother or partner, and nobody here knows Asberger's better than a trained professional. I can totally understand the desire for confirmation and clarity, but:

Still, I'd really like to know, do I or don't I?

No one here can answer that question in any valuable kind of way whatsoever. If you want a whole lot of people saying "it sounds to me like you sure do!" you can get that here if you want, I'm sure. And if that will make if you feel better, by all means go for it. But it is absolutely not going to be a meaningful answer or substitute for a professional. Remember, also, that autism is a spectrum disorder; you may very well place somewhere along the spectrum without necessarily having to "have" Asberger's Syndrome.

Could you get a referral from your GP, if not to a counsellor maybe to a psychiatrist etc?

I suppose the main thing is I'm finding a way to work on my problems which is the important thing and a diagnosis shouldn't really matter.

It really is, and good for you for doing that! You don't need to be able to say "I have Asberger's Syndrome" to acknowledge that there are things you struggle with, things you may need help or sympathy with, and things you are working on. No one can invalidate that, and if they try, tell em to go eff themselves, or that it hurts your feelings when they marginalise your challenges - which I think might be the real root of the question here, anyways.
posted by smoke at 1:30 AM on September 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


What good does a diagnosis actually do you? This isn't like ADHD for kids in the '90s where everyone had ADHD and then, hooray, everyone had great drugs to treat it. You're an adult with a job, and whether or not you have Asperger's, you still have to be an adult, and you still have to have a job. You can't take a pill to give you social skills, or make you stop having meltdowns, or make you enjoy going to Best Buy.

I don't mean to be a jerk, but I too am very prone to making self-diagnoses, and then I immediately start seeing my "syndrome" as an excuse not to do this or that. Well, there's no cure for Asperger's, so whatever symptoms you have, you have a few choices:

- you can let them rule your life, and subordinate yourself and others to this self-diagnosis ("I literally cannot go into Best Buy with you, it's too loud and bright in there and I have a Syndrome")
- you can try to ignore them
- you can try to get treated for comorbid issues like anxiety or depression that respond to medication and are therapeutically better understood
- you can take advantage of your currently heightened awareness of them to try to pick them apart and understand how to solve them

You can do all these things whether or not some mental health professional stamps your file with the official word that you're an aspie. Frankly, it's such a trendy diagnosis and such a poorly-understood set of symptoms right now that I'm not sure I'd trust it anyway, positive or negative. I really recommend you try the last option. Now that your social skills are constantly on your mind, this is the time to do something about it. I have learned that the mind is very, very plastic, and a lot of the time if you become aware of unconscious things you do, you can make yourself learn to do other things instead. I guess this is the root of cognitive-behavioral therapy, but I've made it work for me in other ways too.

I also highly recommend you check out the forums at WrongPlanet. They don't demand a signed copy of your diagnosis to join, and if you have problems that mean you can identify with others on the spectrum, you will find interesting stuff to read there.

BTW, I'm sorry it sounds like your mother and partner kind of laughed you off. I know it hurts to feel like you've found the answer to everything that makes it hard for you to be in the world and then find that the people who know you best think that your answer is wrong. The fact is, though, that it doesn't actually matter even slightly whether you're right or they are. What matters is how you personally choose to act on your belief that you have Asperger's.
posted by troublesome at 2:02 AM on September 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Alternatively, you have social anxiety, are a highly sensitive person (HSP), and are smart. Your school probably didn't know what to do with you because you were smart. Like many people, you have been bullied by others. And like many people you think there's something wrong with you that needs fixing or diagnosing when it's just really the vague discomfort we all feel in our respective existences.

Which is kind of good because it means you have enough self-awareness to keep improving yourself and your life (being mindful of your argumentativeness/abruptness; trying to decrease your anxiety in social situations).

Note: IANAD.
posted by mleigh at 2:11 AM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I took a similar test out of Baron-Cohen's book, where you ended up with a score for systematising "male brain" and an emotionally sensitive "female brain" (bear in mind that these are ill-chosen labels, but at the time, that's what he was using). I am well into typical Asperger scores on the systematising measure, but normal on the other one. (58 on a "male brain" scale of 0-80 where normal people are in the 20s and Aspies are 40+).

My experience in life is that I don't see things the way typical people do and I draw connections and conclusions they don't and I have intuitions they don't and this is well-explained by the systematising model. However, I don't believe for moment that I am on the autism spectrum -- for one thing, I have work colleagues who are, and they are not like me either. It seems to me that I have a brain that in some respecta only is wired up like a typical Aspie, and in other respects is not. That may explain why I am working well as a programmer whose major task is now management.

If coping strategies that work for Aspergers people work for you, neat. To the extent that you have traits that overlap with the classic description, that makes lots of sense. I don't see why it's necessary for you to assume the label though, and to the extent that you don't fit the classic description, it could be counter-productive.

One thing that volunteering in the mental health world (helping with Richmond Fellowship, for the record) has taught me is that labels are potentially useful in obtaining help and potentially harmful if you are given or adopt the wrong label. I would be reluctant to seek out a label, personally, unless I was feeling that I had a serious problem that self-help couldn't fix.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:15 AM on September 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


(And I just tried that test you linked and scored a 26.)
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:21 AM on September 24, 2011


Do you know anybody personally who is definitely diagnosed with Aspergers? I fit many of the things you described about yourself as well as a good handful of the other bits and bobs of Aspergers, but I grew up around a number of people with it at varying levels of functionality and believe me, I don't belong on that spectrum. I'm just quite odd in a variety of ways, some of which apply to Aspergers and some of which don't.

If you have the resources to speak to an expert and are motivated to work on your sundry problems, get a couple different professional opinions on the matter and do your best to improve your ability to enjoy life. But choosing a label, targeting and then seeking it out for yourself is the wrong way to go about it.

On the other hand, I have a relatively longterm online friend who has always struck me as having undiagnosed Aspergers, and in the past eight months she finally got diagnosed and began to work with some good people on how to handle the world and has started using many resources available to help people like her, and her life and enjoyment thereof has improved *tremendously*. She sometimes says that she feels "vindicated", almost.

So it's worth it, I think, to spend some time and money on this. Yes, it's a trendy sort of thing, but the fact that you're asking this question shows that you can be introspective and observant enough to want to improve yourself. Just make sure you go about it in the right way. Don't lock yourself into a specific spectrum unless you extremely confident in it.
posted by Mizu at 2:50 AM on September 24, 2011


Just a thought - if you get diagnosed with Aspergers via the NHS, won't that 'label' stay with you, on medical records, far into the future?

Right now, Asperger's is a relatively new, very fashionable diagnosis (as Mizu and troublesome pointed out), and is considered basically harmless or even beneficial. There's no way to be sure that the positive public image of Asperger's will persist into the future, especially when so much of the public conversation around this type of disability in the UK is so focused on 'workshyness' and 'malingering'.

Look what's happened to the image of ADHD over the last 5 years: all that took was a few documentaries about extreme cases in schoolkids and the resulting press coverage!

You have no way of knowing what "expose of the suffering of Asperger's parents" or "groundbreaking documentary on the Asperger's industry" the BBC or the Daily Mail is planning, or how much Dr. Baron-Cohen's views about men's and women's place in society (or anything else that a celeb or TV producer or famous doctor might say or do) are going to change the perceptions of Asperger's in the future.

Five years from now, having the A-word attached to you might have implications you can't anticipate now...I'd say go private if that choice makes sense for you.
posted by Wylla at 3:35 AM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mental health diagnoses are an attempt by the medical community to systematize their responses to large numbers of people who seem to share clusters of similarities, for the sake of efficiency, and to demonstrate to insurance companies/government funders/payors that their money is both needed and being spent wisely.

Diagnoses are generally not information about your "true" identity --even though the language people use about it make it sound that way.

I think you should use any strategies you can find that are helpful, regardless of the source --- Aspberger's literature, eastern religion, advice from a trusted friend...use anything that's helpful.

You may find a medical professional who diagnoses you, but it's for their convenience--they're trying to work within a system, in an efficient way, to help you out.

It sounds like you have a good plan.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:00 AM on September 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't really speak to the Asperger's part of this, but just as a data point, it is possible to have sensory processing problems (Sensory Processing Disorder) without actually being on the autism spectrum.

Regardless of whether any of your sensory processing-related concerns are due to Asperger's, it's possible to learn to manage your sensory input more proactively and make it more comfortable for you. The best book to start with is Sharon Heller's Too Loud Too Bright Too Fast Too Tight, which may have some very useful coping strategies.
posted by pie ninja at 4:03 AM on September 24, 2011


Sensitivity to lights and noise can be part of ADHD as well.
posted by betweenthebars at 4:06 AM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


From an epidemiological point of view, Asperger Syndrome is actually quite rare.

I have a friend who has been clinically diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (Let's call him C). I have also met many people who have diagnosed themselves as having AS, usually based upon the Wired article you have referenced.

95% of the time, C's behavior is completely different to what I have seen in people who are self-diagnosed.

Some observations. (Admitted, only a single data point - but I hope it helps clarify)

1) Humour
This is the main difference I see. C just doesn't get sarcasm. I don't mean that he is a little slow to get the joke or a little awkward. I mean that he literally can't tell the difference between a sarcastic sentence and a normal one. He is physically incapable of distinguishing between me telling a joke, and me telling about a time I went to a bar with an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scot. To him, they are the same thing unless we specifically point it out to him.

2) Social Awkwardness/Discomfort
C is actual quite social and generally likes meeting new people. He just isn't very good at it.

3) Intense fascination with something.
People often confuse this for ferocious savant intelligence, thinking that all people with Asperger's Syndrome have ridiculous IQs and are academically gifted. This is often the case, but it is not the same as being 'fascinated' with something. C loves computers. He studied it at technical college and spends hours a day with his computer. We gave him a little project (just a simple Powerpoint presentation of about 4-5 slides), but he spent HOURS doing it. If he was gifted with computers, one would expect him to polish it off in about 20 minutes, but for C it is about the time spent on the computer. Exploring all the options, flddling and optimising. Not necessarily about doing it brilliantly.

4) 'Savant' Verbal Skills
I am not entirely sure what you mean by this. I am guessing you mean that you are quite articulate. Well, C isn't. He can be very difficult to understand during conversations.

--

The people I see self-diagnosing are usually smart people, with some social ineptness that they hope to pass off as something else. I myself score 33 on the Baron-Cohen test. I don't like social situations, I have a Mensa IQ, and work in a very specialised job.

But after meeting C, I know that my weaknesses and failings are purely that: weaknesses. I don't want to trivialise the struggles I see C go through every day by claiming I have the same. Because I don't. And now, I get somewhat antsy when I see other people do the same.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 5:07 AM on September 24, 2011 [34 favorites]


Yes, I was coming in to say that sensitivity to noise and light (as well as rudeness and abruptness and other social problems) are all things I have issues with as it relates to ADHD. I certainly do not have an autism spectrum disorder.

Specifically, noise and bright lights make it impossible for me to concentrate on anything else; being in Best Buy is, for me, like having someone constantly poking me and saying "HEY. HEY. HEY." Annoying and stressful.

Anyway, I have no idea if you have an autism spectrum disorder, but what you wrote doesn't sound at all incompatible with simply being bright and having ADHD.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:09 AM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah and you seem to be thinking that you were hyperlexic in the autistic sense. I have met hyperlexic autistic children, and generally their comprehension is very low compared to their vocabulary and fluency. Of course, you don't have to be hyperlexic to be autistic.

(I use autism instead of Asperger's because I agree with those sciencey-types that think they are functionally indistinguishable)
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:16 AM on September 24, 2011


1) With mental disorders and illnesses, the symptoms are things that most people have a little of or some of the time. (This is true for even things like schizophrenia.) It's not like doctors can ask if you had feeling x and go, "Ah, yes, only people with y ever have feeling x." Instead they go by how many of the criteria you have and how intensely. In order to clinically have the disorder or illness, the answers need to be "almost all of them" and "very, very intensely".

2) The Wired quiz counts "slightly agree" as equal to "agree".
posted by anaelith at 5:23 AM on September 24, 2011


Maybe. There are no common external factors, and the tests online are superficial. On the emotional stuff your people are wrong. I'm not sure how reliable diagnosis is these days, but I gather it often takes a while. Best test is probably to look at Aspergers forums (1, 2), read people's stories and see how often you go "Whoa!". It'll be little things that tip you off, stuff you hadn't thought of.
posted by fraac at 5:45 AM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bear in mind that all of these categories are imposed on a continuous more-than-one-dimensional spectrum. We are all on that spectrum somewhere.
posted by unSane at 6:06 AM on September 24, 2011


PS I think I'm a 33 on that test and other folks I know are 35. I think we are all pretty neurotypical to be honest.
posted by unSane at 6:08 AM on September 24, 2011


You might have mild Asperger's. or not. It's a continuum disorder, and you may have some symptoms. Instead of focusing on the diagnosis, I think you're doing the smart thing by researching adaptive strategies. You have significant personal strengths - your language skills suggest a good memory, which is really useful. Build on the strengths, and learn to manage the social anxiety.
posted by theora55 at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2011


Somewhat recently I was reading the articles from Baron-Cohen et al. about the AQ questionnaire. One of the things they did when developing it was have a bunch of undergrads take it. They found men score slightly higher than women and scientists and mathematicians score higher than the general population. They also gave it to former members of the British IMO team (so current undergraduates), many of whom scored exceptionally high. They then interviewed some of those people who scored very high and found a number hit the diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome. They didn't diagnose them, though, on the grounds that they seemed to get on just fine.

Why do I mention that? Well, it's a suggestion that a diagnosis might not be particularly useful to you, unless it lets you obtain services of some kind. If this Asperger's on the Job book turns out to be helpful, score. It suggests that maybe other strategies people with Asperger's use might work for you, too.

They say I can't have Asperger's because I'm very sensitive to other peoples' emotions and have strong feelings of being hurt, etc when someone puts me down.

Wasn't there an article on the blue a while back about this idea being false? Something about many autistic people having a well-developed sense of justice and being upset by other people being hurt?
posted by hoyland at 6:23 AM on September 24, 2011


I had a somewhat similar semi-epiphany: read up on Asperger's, felt thunderstruck at how applicable some of it was and how much of it made sense to me, told someone with some knowledge of it who knows me well and was laughed at. Much like how people laugh at me when I try to tell them how shy I am. I don't see a need for me to pursue it, with 40 years of social discomfort, quirkiness, and coping skills under my belt, but it has done me a world of good as far as being a little kinder to myself. It's okay to be kind of a social klutz, I'm not just a stupid idiot for not knowing what to do in some situations, I'm just wired a little funny, there are a lot of people more or less like me. So I've found it useful.

tl;dr Maybe.
posted by Occula at 6:53 AM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Much like how people laugh at me when I try to tell them how shy I am."

I get this too. It's weird because I'm like 'surely that's the most visible thing about me?' Big feature of Aspergers is (most) people don't see you the same way you see yourself. If most of your social misadventures could be put down to this sort of thing (anxiety obviously, but beyond that) then it's probably Aspergers. Then you win!
posted by fraac at 7:19 AM on September 24, 2011


However, I've asked my partner and my mother and they both laughed off my self-diagnosis. They say I can't have Asperger's because I'm very sensitive to other peoples' emotions and have strong feelings of being hurt, etc when someone puts me down. My partner is a social worker and my mother's a counselor so both of them feel they have a decent grasp of what Asperger's is and they say it doesn't fit me.

I would gently suggest they don't have as big a grasp on AS as they think. One of the hallmarks of the syndrome are the ability to notice tiny differences. With things, it is possible to classify and correlate those differences with some kind of system, but with people, there is no such reference. People with AS are generally very adept at being sensitive to other people's moods and feelings, to the extent they are able to notice something going on. What they AREN'T able to do so well is work out why.
posted by gjc at 8:11 AM on September 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sugar's diagnosis.
posted by TheBones at 8:28 AM on September 24, 2011


Response by poster: Thank you so much to everyone for trying to help. I'm finding a lot of useful perspectives in so many of the answers that I'm finding it hard to pick just one or two "best answers." I really appreciate everyone who's taken the time to answer.

I don't want to trivialise the struggles I see C go through every day by claiming I have the same. Because I don't. And now, I get somewhat antsy when I see other people do the same.

I found this statement a bit difficult to understand, and with 14 favorites I must be missing something obvious. I certainly don't mean to trivialize what your friend "C" or anyone else has gone through but at the same time I do feel I've been through enough myself to question whether there might be something significantly wrong with me. For example, growing up I was "the biggest nerd in the school" as I was frequently informed and my younger sister's classmates often told her this about about me as well. This was at a school of around 500 kids so I was in the top 0.2 % of nerdiness! So you can imagine how much I was picked on and bullied - kids can be really cruel. At the first party I was ever invited to when I was 13, all the boys at the party got into a big conga line and one by one came up to me and asked me to dance, then ran away laughing as if dancing with me was the biggest joke in the world. I could go on and on up to last month when I had to leave my position at work because I couldn't take the bullying anymore, and I'm nearly 40 now.

So please don't accuse me of trivializing what someone else has been through as that is certainly not my intention in asking this question. Neither is it my intention to be seen as "hip" or "cool" by having the latest diagnosis.
posted by hazyjane at 9:28 AM on September 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Response by poster: Oh, and at work a couple of months ago when everyone took the test and my score came out so high, no one seemed at all surprised by it. One of my colleagues responded, "yeah, well, we already knew there was something really weird about you."
posted by hazyjane at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2011


gic is right. Nothing infuriates more w/r/t to autism/Asperger's is people's belief that ASD individuals are unfeeling automatons. That's just not true for every single person on the ASD spectrum.

I know two children, one who has autism (J) and one who has Asperger's (L). J is acutely aware of how people treat him and understands completely when he's being ostracized. He has an incredibly attuned sense of justice and fairness and feels his emotions deeply. L, on the other hand, does not comprehend when other children shut her out. She is, however, a wonderful friend to my daughter; she remembers the tiniest details about her and always performs the "correct" societal niceties (for example: making her a get-well card when my daughter broke her leg, and finding a stuffed pig - because they're my daughter's favorite).

The best way to investigate this is to find a psychiatrist who will run you through a battery of tests. What you don't want to is go in looking for something to be "wrong." When you make the appointment, the best thing to do is to say you have some concerns regarding your social interactions. If you want to say you suspect you have Asperger's, be up front, but be wary of a doctor who looks only at ASD.
posted by cooker girl at 9:32 AM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, for whatever it's worth, it's more likely than not that Asperger's will be removed from the DSM-V. That is, unless some social skills deficit causes clear impairment, they want to lean toward not placing people on the autistic spectrum as much as possible.

That is, of course no one can tell you anything meaningful in this thread :-/

If this is something that bothers you (e.g. your colleague's comment - a friendly comment to a colleague he knows well, or a hurtful comment that has bothered you?) it can't hurt to consult a professional specialized in adult ASD.
posted by namesarehard at 10:49 AM on September 24, 2011


I was diagnosed with Asperger's a few months ago by a neurologist. I'm of the mind that it's part of the autism spectrum and I'd be just as comfortable telling someone I'm autistic.

cooker girl has it right; some people with Asperger's can be incredibly empathetic and sometimes even too overly emotional. I also agree that it's important that you look at the issues you're dealing with separate from a potential diagnosis, because having the diagnosis will not instantly solve things for you.

A diagnosis did help me a lot in being able to focus on what I need to do now with my life and my difficulties instead of not knowing where it was coming from or that it was all my fault. I don't use it to make excuses, I use this knowledge as preventative medicine.

I feel like Mizu's friend does; having a diagnosis did make me feel relieved and my enjoyment of life is improving tremendously. Likewise, though, the diagnosis is still seen by many as "attention seeking" or "trendy" so right now I try to pass as normal even though that is often more stressful to me than when I can be myself at home. Even though my autism is called the "high functioning" kind, it can be a ridiculous label because the only way I manage to be high functioning is to be conscious about every single moment of my social life. I come home from work totally exhausted, not from the work itself but the exertion of being as normal as I can be. I'm half terrified even to post this because I'm not even out to any of my online friends, people I have known for years. But being silent can also be exhausting so... here goes nothing?

To answer your question, you do need the opinion of a professional if you do want to go that route. Although some people without insurance cannot even get a professional diagnosis and for those people if they find resources for autism useful, then that's beneficial too. I do encourage the book reading, I've been reading one about teaching life skills to autistic kids which is really useful for late-diagnosed adults too. Regardless of your direction, it is helpful to have support.
posted by Wuggie Norple at 12:46 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another thing to consider is that Asperger's is a syndrome. That's just a fancy name for a collection of symptoms for which there is not (yet?) an underlying disease or disorder. Further, because there is no disease or disorder that can be cured (that we know of), all you can do is work to alleviate the effects of the symptoms in your life.

So, whether your symptoms add up to the disease or not, it would be helpful to gather books about AS and see if there are any tips and mindsets that help you live a more enjoyable life.

(I've looked at some of the AS message boards. They do not seem terribly helpful. But you mileage may vary.)
posted by gjc at 1:17 PM on September 24, 2011


"I've looked at some of the AS message boards. They do not seem terribly helpful."

Superficially they aren't, and I wouldn't stay longer than I had to. But I found the old topics on AFF to be a goldmine. Use the search.
posted by fraac at 1:24 PM on September 24, 2011


I'm not sure how it works in England, but in America students need to be tested to be placed in special education. There are psychoeducational evaluations every 3 years and and academic assessments every year. There are written reports and formal paperwork. If England is similar, these reports will explain, in depth, why you were in those classes. These are school records and are saved for a certain amount of time even after the student graduates. Could you contact your old schools and see if they still have your records?

There is also a lot of overlap in the symptoms for Aspergers, High Functioning Autism (and debate about whether AS and HFA are even different things), ADHD, Learning Disabilities (especially Nonverbal Learning Disability/NLD, possibly the learning disability that you had?) and "gifted" individuals. It seems like it all boils down to: smart, verbally average or above, slightly awkward, misreads some social cues, and has trouble navigating life. I'm the same way, so I've looked into these things for myself and I can make myself fit any of these diagnoses. Now, either I have A LOT of disorders, or, as suggested above, I'm looking for some external explanation for my "quirks."

Check out Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Asperger's, Tourette's, Bipolar, and More! and even just a few pages in this google search for Aspergers vs NLD as a starting point.

Although I understand the argument that sometimes the label isn't important and you should just treat the symptoms (eg work on social skills, etc), I also feel you on the wanting to understand yourself better and having an explanation for why you're a certain way. Good luck!
posted by Nickel at 1:52 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


They say I can't have Asperger's because I'm very sensitive to other peoples' emotions and have strong feelings of being hurt, etc when someone puts me down. My partner is a social worker and my mother's a counselor so both of them feel they have a decent grasp of what Asperger's is and they say it doesn't fit me.

I am sorry but neither of them have a decent grasp of what Asperger's is. What they have is a grasp of what the stereotypes of Asperger's are. Both your mother and your partner are claiming more expertise than they actually have.

It is very very characteristic of some kinds of Aspies to be extremely porous to other people's emotions and to have strong feelings of being hurt when someone puts them down.

Don't waste time, go private. If you want to memail me I can give you the number of a psychiatrist who specializes in these matters. He will be able to rule Asperger's in or out for you. Whether your mother and/or partner will accept whatever diagnosis you get (if any) is hard to say, of course.
posted by tel3path at 3:11 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling your partner and mother only "know" about the extreme cases where someone's behavioral problems warranted an explanation.

Yes, it is entirely possible that you have Asperger's.

Of course, Asperger's is just a list of symptoms that tend to go together. A formal diagnosis is helpful for bureaucratic purposes (officially qualifying for this & that), but not much else. Despite the fact that they often come in one neat package, each symptom still needs to be treated separately. If you've got specific quirks that you'd like to correct, there's no reason not to just go right on ahead and do so, diagnosis or not.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:07 PM on September 24, 2011


I did the test on two separate occasions, and got 32 the first time and 30 the second time. For the longest time, I thought I had Asperger's and told everyone so.

It wasn't only until 1.5 years later when I realised that I only scored 'high' on the test because I didn't have the necessary social skills to act on my feelings. I grew up overprotected and anxious, and as a result was just too scared to talk to people or didn't know how to. I guess I had convinced myself that I didnt like people or crowds or parties.

It has been 4 years since I last took the tests. I learned all those social skills and realized that I LOVE hanging out with people. I am much happier now. I think I had always been too preoccupied with my own insecurities and anxiousness, too self obsessed with my special loneness.
posted by moiraine at 3:07 PM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love hanging out with people more than anything. I score 16 on that test. I'm still autistic. But it's just a word, and if it's not useful then don't use it.
posted by fraac at 4:15 PM on September 25, 2011


The test isn't important. It's not a diagnostic tool, it's a parlour game created as publicity fodder for one particular media-loving researcher who does not own the copyright on Asperger's.

The OP thinks she has something worth investigating, as in, enough to join the NHS waiting list and/or seek private treatment. That isn't invalidated by the fact that any number of people have played that particular game or by how much they scored. It costs nobody anything to play a game and publicize their own self-diagnosis as if it had meaning, it does cost to pursue the truth and re-examine one's life.
posted by tel3path at 11:40 PM on September 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


My husband and son both have a clinical diagnosis of Asperger's. One of the most useful descriptors I found when my son was a child is that of "Tapestry Children" just like the different coloured threads that make up a beautiful tapestry, each of the strengths & weaknesses they have make up the unique individuals they are.

That is a fact. There are hugely positive things my husband and son bring to our family and there are some difficulties.

The vast majority of the really difficult times would have been avaoided had we had a clinical diagnosis for my husband at that time. A clinical diagnosis can you you certain protections and I would urge you to pursue this path.

Both my men are quite emotional in slightly different ways than Neurologically typical people, they are warm, caring, generous to a fault and have an overdeveloped sense of natural justice.
My husband has on more than one occassion lost his job and plunged the family into very serious problems as a result of his inability to do the "political" thing at work if it meant patients didn't get the best possible care. My Aspie husband doesn't have good social survival skills, my son on the other hand has them in spades.

I also have not found many of the Forums useful, but I would urge you to pursue a diagnosis simply because it can point you in the right direction with regard to reading more material that can help you at work and in relationships with others and can offer some modicum of protection. My husband felt it was a huge relied to finally understand what it was that made him so different (and lobely) growing up and relief in knowing there was nothing HE could have done to alter this.

But some of the earlier awful communications difficulties my husband and I had in our marraige could have been avoided if we had read anything about the spectrum at that stage.

Having said that we came through challenges mostly as a result of ASD that only made us stronger as a couple and I honestly would not change anything about either of them. There are so many positive things Asperger's bring to the table that focussing on the "dis" part of it is pretty unbalanced. They genuinely are simply differently abled than I am. Luckily for us those different abilities make for a pretty strong team and family.

Good luck with your journey
posted by Wilder at 5:01 AM on September 26, 2011


« Older Help me make my own anti-perspirant!   |   Poetry recommendations? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.