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17 April 2010


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My sister is very likely somewhere on the Asperger's spectrum. Never officially diagnosed; but unofficially a doc who did a neuropsych evalution on her said yeah she's got enough of the markers. We've both found that the label helps quite a bit. It helps me be patient and understanding about many of those things she can't change. It helps her develop some coping mechanisms. It often helps to contextualize problems she has with coworkers and friends.


You know, I've been reading your blog for a few years now, and I think if someone asked I would have assumed you did have Aspergers...your writing is very analytical in a way I associate with Asperger's adults. So for me it definitely doesn't carry a negative association.

I know several adults with Aspergers online who call the rest of us "NTs" as in 'neuro-typicals'. It makes me chuckle, because the term itself is so analytical and technically correct, which are traits I expect from adult Aspies. :-D


Hmmm, I am going to encourage you not to apply that label, or at least not yet. I just read Born on a Blue Day -- a good read, written by a man with Asperger's, that describes a very different kind of life.

The traits you're describing all exist on a continuum. I also have a hard time with change. My husband and I were just talking about my automatic "no" response to new ideas on Friday, when he asked me if I'd like to take the older boys to see Macbeth and leave him home with the littles. (I wound up going, because I have learned to think twice about that automatic response.) Likewise with social interaction difficulties -- there are many, many people in the world who hate parties and find them exhausting or overwhelming.

I think there are a lot of us out there who struggled as smart, reserved kids with not knowing exactly how to talk to peers. Would they be interested in the difference between the bicuspid and the tricuspid valves of the heart? [Note to 10yo self: No.] Was the thing I wanted to bring up in conversation common knowledge, or did I need to offer some background?

I am thinking back to our one face-to-face conversation, while recognizing that it's unwise to base too much on a single encounter. In my experience, people with Asperger's have a lot more trouble with things like eye contact, conversational reciprocity, picking up on jokes. You offered us a ride back to our B&B, recognizing that that it was a chilly night and a longish walk. That kind of empathy would elude many people with Asperger's.


I got the impression that Daniel Tammet (writer of Born on a Blue Day) was more autistic than Aspergers?

As for me, I *have* developed *some* social skills as an adult... and this isn't unusual, which is why, I believe, the diagnosis of Aspergers in an adult requires (if possible) an interview with a parent or caregiver who can describe the subject's behavior as a child.

Barbara C.

I think I would be hesitant about labeling such a thing as well. I think there is a difference between natural temperament and a neurological disorder. (I thought that Aspergers is on the autism spectrum, which I think is classified as a disorder.)

And not that I am accusing you of this, because I don't know you in real life at all, but it almost seems like Asperger's is the "favorite self-diagnosis of the day" to explain away any seeming eccentricity whereas ten years ago it may have been OCD.


I agree with Barbara about Asperger's being viewed as an autistic spectrum disorder.

Certainly there's a range of severity for people with Asperger's, and in more ways than one Daniel Tammet isn't representative.


Fair enough -- like I said, grain of salt in the absence of professional diagnosis... but I do feel a strong connection to the descriptions I have been reading.


One of my boys is on the spectrum (educational diagnosis) and I haven't told him yet--because of fear of labels and how that might box him in at a young age (he's 8). He's so smart, and I already see him using his IEP to his advantage, in that I can write his dictations because he has difficulty with handwriting, so sometimes he just doesn't do any work at school knowing that I'll write it for him at home. Which I guess is beside the point. Assuming you do get a diagnosis of Aspergers, or at least having a self-diagnosis somehow seems to help you, according to this post, which would suggest that it might be some comfort to my son if I actually told him of his diagnosis. I do not want to be the mother that follows him around whispering to any onlookers, "He's got Aspergers" in order to excuse any idiosyncratic behavior, even though it's tempting at times. But I wish you would go ahead and get the evaluation and then let us know if it benefits you to have a label, should you have one. I can't decide when or if to let him know, because he's high functioning enough, he could go through life just assuming, as you say, he has a difference, but not a disorder.


Our eldest son was a very difficult child and when we found out he fit the Asperger's profile it explained a lot of things. He is very bright - "genius" has been applied to him many times, but he is so inept socially and in dealing with change. Knowing he has Asp. helped us to help him. We had to guide him through situations that other children learned naturally. We could not just assume that he would "get" certain behaviors or adapt easily. It also helped my family see that he wasn't this way because we were bad parents (my father stepped in once and physically punished my child because he thought the problem was I didn't use corporal punishment. It didn't help at all, naturally.) I think that is the benefit of diagnosis. I wish we had known sooner - it would have saved a lot of battles when we assumed he was being "bad" or willful.


I just took that test you linked to and scored a 36. Fascinating. I think my husband would score pretty high on the test too. Really, I'm not sure what to make of it, and I think Barbara C has a definite point.

I prefer to think of myself as a strong INTJ rather than having some sort of neurological diagnosis. I'd love to see some research/discussion of Myers-Briggs personality types and the whole autism spectrum disorder world. I think I prefer the Myers-Briggs perspective that says there are many different general personality types, rather than the typical clinical approach that seems to say there is one normal set of behaviors and lots of abnormal sets of behaviors.

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