Ask the autistic person

I can “cure” “autism” in “60 seconds” and put “words” in quotation marks and quote “Nietzsche”.

Yeah, so ask me anything you’re curious about.

Why do you think you are autistic?

What **astro ** asked.

I thought I had seen you say that you have Asperger’s Syndrome. Am I wrong? I am under the impression that Asperger’s is a sort of “lighter” version of austism; is it correct to say that someone with Asperger’s is “autistic”?

Asperger’s Syndrome is part of the Autistic Spectrum Disoder. You can refer to someone as autistic if they fall under it, but it’s better to qualify it with things like “high functioning autism”, which can be Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism(which is similar to classical Autism, but without the mental retardation that occurs in 75% of classical autistics) or “classical autism”, the most severe one.

I was diagnosed a few years back. I’ve read definitions and descriptions and I feel they accurately define the way I act.

I must admit I am intrigued by your assertion. Being able to flawlessly communicate your thoughts via this message board (as you are doing) would seem to indicate your level and style of cognitive functioning makes the notion that you are “autistic” something of a bad joke. Aspergers/high functioning autism are currently very fashionable diagnoses. The characterization of people as being “autistic” is IMO being wildly over applied by well meaning psychologists, psychiatrists and oher mental health workers.

I’ll ask again why (specifically) do you think you are autistic? What specific behaviors do you manifest that fit the “autistic” definitional profile.

Just for the record, did a doctor diagnose you or did you diagnose yourself? That’s a pretty important question to lay out, IMHO.

astro it’s fairly common for people with Aspergers or HFA who have normal or higher intelligence to be able to communicate well on a computer and less well face to face.

I’d tend to agree with you that there is a tendency to overdiagnose autism spectrum disorders but it’s not as simple as declaring that if someone isn’t a classic rainman type then they are not autistic. Autism is a spectrum disorder which is subjectively diagnosed. I’ve got two kids who are both diagnosed on the spectrum. Some days I really wonder about my older boy and the accuracy of the diagnosis and other days I can see why he got the label.

Aspergers is sometimes considered to be autism lite. It’s not necessarily and not all people diagnosed with Aspergers have normal or high intelligence. You can be very impaired with an Aspergers diagnosis and someone else can be less impaired with an HFA diagnosis.

And Shadez that is a HUGELY important point. I am so freaking sick of self diagnosed people with Aspergers who carry on as if they are the new Master Race. There’s some hugely damaging stuff happening in the autism community where parents are being told that the only people who can relate to or communicate with their kids are other people with autism. It’s heartbreaking – if your child is non-verbal and stimming all the time, then the ethical thing to do is build bridges, not drive wedges.

astro I’ll ask you this, why do you think you know better than the OP? Why do you think you know and understand more about his mental condition than he does? Are you a medical professional who diagnoses people in this area?

I bet you go around asserting how others think and feel all the time, whether the person you are speaking of agrees with your assertations or not. You’re being pretty rude and obnoxious IMO. Why not simply ask him what kind of medical professionals diagnosed him? It would be much more tactful. As it is, you’ve pretty much called him a liar, and that’s just not nice.

Diagnostic Criteria For 299.80 Asperger’s Disorder

> marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction

Fits me. Especially eye contact.

> failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

Fits me.

> encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

This is one of my biggest problems.

> apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

Fits me.

> The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

Yes, I don’t have very many friends, hate most social interaction, etc.

Going by the DSM-IV I would be classified as having Asperger’s Disorder/Syndrome.

Also, most people with HFA/AS are able to communicate online much better than face to face.

I was diagnosed by a doctor.

Just in case there was any doubt:

Ask the Aspie, where Aslan stated that he was tested in grade 3.

In any case, I agree that over diagnosis is devaluing the system, but IMO, to assume that all people that communicate well over the internet are not autistic, and questioning them about it, is highly uncalled for.

Oh yeah, that’s defintely a big problem.

They say stuff like this:

"I hate neurotypicals. <- [was a link to the torture pictures] This, along with my life-experience, proves that they are hard-wired for torture, sadism, cruelty and general “inhumanity.”

(Neurotypicals is the word they use to describe non-autistics)

When I asked if autistic people are completely virtous, he replied with “Oops, I made a spelling error, replace neurotypicals with [my name]”.

Have you read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, and if so what did you think of it?

[For those unfamiliar with the book, it’s a fictional tale written from the POV of a teenaged boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, and has won awards and critical praise in the UK.]

I liked it overall. I did find the last half or so was kind of cheesy and just a little hard to swallow. What, she only contacted him for a few months and only by mail? Why?

As for accuracy… Somethings are accurate, for example, not liking things that are brown(For me, it’s different things, I don’t hate brown. I don’t usually hate things as abstract as a color), but others don’t seem to really apply to high functioning autism(I could be mistaken. There’s a whole subset of problems that arise from autism that aren’t required for you to be diagnosed). I don’t have any problems that are even similar to “such color of cars pass me by, it’s going to be a bad day and I’m not going to try at all”.

I totally disagree that astro was being rude or obnoxious. astro asked questions, which is what the OP invited us to do. Although s/he expressed some suspicion, there was no implication that s/he had the answers. Assuming it’s true that there are a lot of people self-diagnosing themselves as autistic, then it’s understandable. I can imagine that if I had someone close to me who suffered from severe autism, I would be put off by highly functioning people using the same label, especially if they had never been diagnosed.

My younger child was diagnosed with moderate autism. One of the things about autism is that it manifests itself differently in differing individuals. It is rude, to express such a large degree of suspicion, first, without asking for clarification as a poster following him did. If he had questions about how the OP was diagnosed, it would have been more productive, and polite, to ask them directly instead of directing suspicion towards the OP.

chula autism isn’t a pissing competition ;). It’s not OK for someone with a relative with severe autism to cast doubt on those of us with relatives with HFA. I just spent the weekend at an autism conference and I got a bit sick of being told that my kids are very high functioning and basically what was my problem? Granted those parents who are coping with non-verbal children with autism have greater problems but it doesn’t mean we don’t have problems at all. We just have different problems.

Zabali are you aware of the movement towards adult self-diagnosis of autism and just how bad it is getting on the adult and parenting lists? I had a totally different reaction to astro’s question because it’s usually the first one which comes out of my mouth as well. If the adult in question was diagnosed by Tony Attwood then I’ve got a great pinch of salt at hand as well.

Primaflora, you mentioned Tony Attwood being near you and that he’s very quick to diagnose people and he’s trained others who also quick to diagnose too. Why do you suppose he does that?

Attwood was one of the pioneers of Aspergers diagnosis. Over the last decade he has built a career out of Aspergers and he’s internationally renowned in the field.

I don’t know how lightly he diagnoses when he’s elsewhere. The Queensland education system is set up in such a way that services are readily available with particular labels – ASD is one of those labels. I was told that if I didn’t accept the label (and at the time I didn’t) I would get nothing for my kid. I think there is a general belief that with early intervention, a kid with Aspergers will turn out mildly eccentric while if they are left alone in the school system they will turn out severely impaired as adults.

I dunno though. I’d feel a lot more warm and fuzzy and accepting if the psychs followed the DSM criteria really closely but here at least, they don’t. Autism Queensland is claiming that we have a rate of 1 in 250 kids with autism. That’s really high… but the flipside is that if you narrow the diagnostic criteria then kids miss out. Gah. In my ideal world, every kid would get what they needed regardless of labels

Ramble, ramble. I honestly don’t know the motivation of people who diagnose lightly. I suspect that they do have good intentions for the most part although the person who diagnosed my kid as autistic-schizophrenic over the phone should be taken out and shot :wink:

Primaflora, this might be of interest to you (and others) re the reasons for overdiagnosis
ABC radio interview transcript

Also I could not agree more with your comments on the self diagnosis of ASDs, particularly Asperger’s syndrome, by adults who read the proliferation of “aspie” and “autie” sites on the internet and say “oh gee that’s just like me”.

Combined with this is the worrying escalation of late diagnosed adults setting themselves up as “international experts on autism” and charging like wounded bulls for their home grown services. I know of one such person who is charging $1500 plus expenses to speak to regional support groups in Australia, and this person has NO training other than being a parent of an ASD diagnosed child and having an adult diagnosis themsleves. They also are selling themselves to schools as an expert, and frighteningly some schools are taking up training offered by this person.

Someone should write a piece on this and call it “The Business of Being Autistic”

Oh and btw, the first time my kid calls himself an “aspie” I will be tempted to resort to corporal punishment I think :frowning: