Ask The Aspergian


I’m LadyMage and I’m a 22 year old female student with Asperger’s syndrome. I was also diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder Not otherwise specified with Depressive features. I’ve faced more than my fair share of challenges in life but I’m pretty successful. I’ll graduate college in may, I’ve got a part time job, and I have my driver’s license. All that is way more than a lot of ‘aspies’ as we like to call ourselves, have accomplished. If you have any questions and curiosities about what it’s like to be a girl with asperger’s syndrome, ask away.

Asperger’s syndrome, in a nutshell, is a complex neurological disorder. It basically affects how we read social cues and body language. It also affects how we process things and it does lead to sensory issues.

Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?

Thanks for posting!

What kind of treatment have you received, and what treatments are available? Do you take pills? Undergo sensory training? Take coursework in social cues?

Haha, coke! I’ve always been partial to coke floats.

Are you a nerd? (pretty classic for Asperger’s people) What’s your field of study or employment?

Thanks for your question! As far as treatment, I underwent a lot of it. I was also diagnosed with ADD so for a while my parents tried medication but I’m not currently on any medications now. I’ve had talk therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. I had a lot of physical effects including issues with hand-eye coordination. My parents and I also have a sort of cue system where I can just tell them that I’ve experienced sensory overload and they let me go somewhere quiet to calm down/reduce sensory stimuli. I’m not currently enrolled in any therapies or on any medications now though. The ADD medication caused too many side effects, and my anxiety is pretty well controlled through other, more positive means like relaxing activities, prayer, meditation, and ‘mind over matter’ type techniques.

I’m a bit of a geek, yes. I’m currently studying english but I work at a living history museum. It’s great because it allows me to practice my social skills while talking about a topic that I love.

How old were you when you were diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome? If you were still under 18, did you get any special programs or treatment or Special Education in school? And if so, did it seem like you got dropped like a hot potato as soon as you turned 18 or when you finished high school?

That was a common complaint – that there were special education programs for children, but as soon as you become an adult, you were On Your Own.

How do you feel about Asperger Syndrome being dropped from DSM-V? I think there’s been a lot of feeling in the Aspie community that you’ve all been just thrown to the wolves. Do you get that impression? What is your official diagnosis now, since it can’t “officially” be Asperger’s any more (as far as I know)?

Do you participate in on-line communities or message boards for Aspies? Do you know of any? Here’s a good one (last I looked, which was some years ago): Aspie Hangout

I’m curious about this as well.

For several years, I thought the diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder I received in grade school had to do with my balance issues. I now know that this is a non-specific Autism spectrum diagnosis and suspect that if my parents had submitted me for further examination would have ultimately led to being diagnosed with Asperger’s.

I have my Bach in Education and my Masters in psych although both were before/just as AS was recognized in its current form.

I work with a young man who is/was diagnosed with Aspergers although I do have my suspicions. Most AS patients I know are more as you seem; articulate but with problems reading social cues and interacting. In his case its more than that; more like a form of Down’s with some of the social issues added into the mix. He is sort of slow to learn (when he can learn) and has terrible verbal and written communication although his reading level (he’s never without a personal book he is reading) is roughly young adult (he’s about 22).

I know you are not a doctor and have never met him or me but ---- is there something else in the range of Autism Spectrum Disorders (to use the old term) that sounds more correct than Aspergers?

And while I totally hate myself for wording it this way ---- is Aspergers more common among lower functioning/lower intelligence people than the popular reports on the disease indicate it to be?

(I didn’t pull the Aspergers out of thin air. It was the information I were given by his job coach and our managers. I’m just wondering if they cut from an accurate description to something - a name - people are more familiar with)

J.S., J.C, or C.P.E.? :slight_smile:

I’m not active in many aspie related message boards. I feel badly about it being dropped from the DSM; it’s quite different from classic autism. I was offered speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy in school. I received a regular high school education and was included in mainstream classes. I also received the services of a transition counselor when I moved on after high school. During college I had access to a disability services coordinator. I was thankful that they didn’t drop me like a hot potato but that was on account of some very good school officials and officials in the state government.

We’ve never bothered to formally change my diagnosis but I suppose it would be high-functioning autism.

Most of the AS people I know are on the average, above average, or genius side of the spectrum. For a while, I dated a gentleman who was a physicist.

He might have sensory processing disorder along with AS and down’s syndrome. Often times, we have difficulty processing and learning things if there are sensory stimuli that prevent us from doing so. A lot of people tend to overlook the sensory processing issues but the sensory processing issues are often a root of a lot of issues we have. We also have trouble organizing our thoughts, using ‘executive function’, because sometimes the ‘command center’, is, as we put, very disorganized.

You say you received speech therapy, it’s my understanding that people with Asperger’s have no verbal delay but may speak oddly with bizarre phrasing or syntax, what was the speech therapy for?

Do you have trouble making eye contact, and trouble with theory of mind, trying to figure out what others are thinking? Do you have trouble with empathizing with others? Have you found ways to adapt to social situations?

Is it all your senses that are subject to overload or just certain ones? I’ve know some people with Asperger’s avoid being touched by others but at the same time benefit from some kind of therapy that involves pressure on their body, do you or have you used anything like this?

Did your mother or any female relatives have any kind of autoimmune disorders like lupus. Rheumatoid Arthritis, and history of asthma or do you have any of these issues?

Do you have trouble with metaphorical speech or writing and taking things literally that aren’t meant to be taken that way?

Hi LM: thanks for posting!

I regularly have Aspies in the college classroom. Some are very high-functioning, others are not.

One of my frustrations is with how to do is give effective directives. I’ve done some intensive research and worked with our DA office, but I still encounter problems with explaining and keeping Autism-spectrum students on track.

My approach has been:

-Course schedule is very clear and very organized
-Same with assignments: clear and detailed
-I give notes/PPT handouts of lectures
-Encourage students to record (audio and visual) lectures
-I impose (semi) mandatory office hours, tutoring, DA counseling visits for struggling Spectrum students
-I contact students in email, LMS, texts, and phone so they have info in succinct writing

Is there another method(s) you would suggest? I get frustrated when I have to go over and over (and over) requirements/schedule/same questions.

Thank you! You give me a couple good places to catch up and do some reading.

I would also check to make sure that your entire classroom is sensory friendly. Don’t use microphones unless they’re absolutely necessary. Make sure the lighting is as natural as and as ample as possible. Don’t wear any strong scents and discourage other students from doing the same. It’s very hard for us to process information when our sensory issues are plaguing us. A lot of us have sensory issues that distract us from what is being taught.

I do have trouble making eye contact sometimes. It’s like it’s overwhelming to my senses. I adapt to social situations pretty well; most people don’t even realize that I’m autistic. Empathy is normal for me. It’s actually also pretty normal for most people to feel too much empathy or not know how to process it at all. I was always the person who cried at the sad puppy aspca commercials. It’s mostly hearing that gets overloaded. Too many people talking at one time can cause what I like to call an overload.

I sometimes take metaphorical speech literally. I can usually see through the lines when it comes to writing.

My father has asthma. My mother doesn’t have asthma or RA, but my mother’s joints get inflamed if she eats too much wheat and bread for long periods of time. I have gluten sensitivity but I’m not sure whether or not I was tested for celiac disease.

EDIT: I also had no real speech delay, but I talked like a parrot a lot and would parrot everything my older brother said. Definitely had echolalia to some extent. I also had difficulties pronouncing some letters. The speech therapist also tried to take on some of my social interaction skills as well.

Do you think many Asperger-type people use some sort of inebriant to soften all the stimuli around them, or would that just totally backfire?

Probably would backfire, lol. Inebriants tend to make me more unpredictable and more susceptible to sensory overload. :stuck_out_tongue: