Anna Belmont (angelari) wrote in here_within,
Anna Belmont
angelari
here_within

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Thoghts about thinking (crossposted from my journal, because we couldn't decide where it belonged)

So reunion posted a link for shadow_dancing to read, to a site that contained some good information on Asperger's Syndrome. Rene has Asperger's, and all of us struggle to deal with it, simply because the way someone with AS interacts with the rest of the world is often so very different than the way that most people think. So I was perusing the site, and reading various things, and I followed a link to another site that had an article on diagnostic criteria for AS. I read the DSM definition of the syndrome, and on down the page.

Then I got to the part that had the list of characteristics. And I started going, "Wait, I do that. And that. And that, too." There are sections that I only hit one or two characteristics, but then there are sections where I hit *most* of them. We think... we think that someone, one of our "front runners," to borrow a phrase, has AS.



Social Characteristics


  • Difficulty in accepting criticism or correction

  • Difficulty in offering correction or criticism without appearing harsh, pedantic or insensitive

  • Difficulty in perceiving and applying unwritten social rules or protocols Sporadically. Which makes sense if only one of us has it.

  • "Immature" manners

  • Failure to distinguish between private and public personal care habits: i.e., brushing, public attention to skin problems, nose picking, teeth picking, ear canal cleaning, clothing arrangement

  • Naïve trust in others Also sporadically. I tend to think people will do what they tell me that they'll do, however.

  • Shyness

  • Low or no conversational participation in group meetings or conferences I'm fine in meetings. Where I have problems is in conversational groups of people I don't know well. Outside the family, I tend not to talk at all if there's more than two people present.

  • Constant anxiety about performance and acceptance, despite recognition and commendation

  • Scrupulous honesty, often expressed in an apparently disarming or inappropriate manner or setting

  • Bluntness in emotional expression

  • "Flat affect"

  • Discomfort manipulating or "playing games" with others

  • Unmodulated reaction in being manipulated, patronized, or "handled" by others 'Unmodulated' is kind of a vague term. But I hate being patronized, and I hate being touched.

  • Low to medium level of paranoia

  • Low to no apparent sense of humor; bizarre sense of humor (often stemming from a "private" internal thread of humor being inserted in public conversation without preparation or warming others up to the reason for the "punchline")

  • Difficulty with reciprocal displays of pleasantries and greetings

  • Problems expressing empathy or comfort to/with others: sadness, condolence, congratulations, etc.

  • Pouting,, ruminating, fixating on bad experiences with people or events for an inordinate length of time Again sporadically, but I still worry about things I did wrong when I was in high school. On the other hand, most things I let go of very quickly - perhaps too quickly.

  • Difficulty with adopting a social mask to obscure real feelings, moods, reactions

  • Using social masks inappropriately (you are "xv" while everyone else is ????)

  • Abrupt and strong expression of likes and dislikes So, Jen, how do I feel about LA again? ;)

  • Rigid adherence to rules and social conventions where flexibility is desirable

  • Apparent absence of relaxation, recreational, or "time out" activities

  • "Serious" all the time Sporadically, and I KNOW this varies depending on who's front. Sometimes I have absolutely NO patience for silliness.

  • Known for single-mindedness

  • Flash temper

  • Tantrums

  • Excessive talk

  • Difficulty in forming friendships and intimate relationships; difficulty in distinguishing between acquaintance and friendship

  • Social isolation and intense concern for privacy

  • Limited clothing preference; discomfort with formal attire or uniforms

  • Preference for bland or bare environments in living arrangements

  • Difficulty judging others’ personal space

  • Limited by intensely pursued interests

  • Often perceived as "being in their own world"



Physical Manifestations


  • Strong sensory sensitivities: touch and tactile sensations, sounds, lighting and colors, odors, taste Odors, definitely. My ability to distinguish tastes is blunted - I can't, for example, tell you which is Dr. Pepper and which is Coke, though I can recognize that they taste different.

  • Clumsiness Sporadically, though it tends to manifest more as unawareness of surroundings - like, last night I bumped into a notebook that was sticking out and rattled a bunch of glassware because I did not see the notebook at all.

  • Balance difficulties

  • Difficulty in judging distances, height, depth I'm still not quite sure how far a mile is. Or six inches, for that matter. Though I'm pretty good at judging what will fit in a space.

  • Difficulty in recognizing others’ faces (prosopagnosia) I have the worst time watching movies where people change clothes a lot, because I can't remember who is who.

  • Stims (self-stimulatory behavior serving to reduce anxiety, stress, or to express pleasure)

  • Self-injurious or disfiguring behaviors

  • Nail-biting Though not any more. I managed to break that particular bad habit.

  • Unusual gait, stance, posture

  • Gross or fine motor coordination problems

  • Low apparent sexual interest

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Verbosity

  • Difficulty expressing anger (excessive or "bottled up")

  • Flat or monotone vocal expression; limited range of inflection

  • Difficulty with initiating or maintaining eye contact I have this one BAD. Looking people in the eyes makes me extremely uncomfortable. Having people look at me also makes me uncomfortable.

  • Elevated voice volume during periods of stress and frustration

  • Strong food preferences and aversions Things I don't like, I REALLY don't like. Though it's a small group of things.

  • Unusual and rigidly adhered to eating behaviors

  • Bad or unusual personal hygiene



Morbid (shared, dual, multiple) Diagnostic Conditions


  • Learning Disability I have significant problems with numbers.

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)

  • Hyperlexia

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NVLD)

  • Hypertension

  • Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder

  • Tourette’s Syndrome

  • Dysthymia



Cognitive Characteristics


  • Susceptibility to distraction

  • Difficulty in expressing emotions

  • Resistance to or failure to respond to talk therapy

  • Mental shutdown response to conflicting demands and multi-tasking

  • Generalized confusion during periods of stress

  • Low understanding of the reciprocal rules of conversation: interrupting, dominating, minimum participation, difficult in shifting topics, problem with initiating or terminating conversation, subject perseveration

  • Insensitivity to the non-verbal cues of others (stance, posture, facial expressions)

  • Perseveration best characterized by the term "bulldog tenacity"

  • Literal interpretation of instructions (failure to read between the lines)

  • Interpreting words and phrases literally (problem with colloquialisms, cliches, neologism, turns of phrase, common humorous expressions) Though this doesn't express as a problem, because someone in my head DOES process them correctly; it's just that someone else ALSO interprets it quite literally. More amusing than anything.

  • Preference for visually oriented instruction and training

  • Dependence on step-by-step learning procedures (disorientation occurs when a step is assumed, deleted, or otherwise overlooked in instruction)

  • Difficulty in generalizing

  • Preference for repetitive, often simple routines

  • Difficulty in understanding rules for games of social entertainment I also can't remember rules. Which is why I don't tend to play games.

  • Missing or misconstruing others’ agendas, priorities, preferences

  • Impulsiveness

  • Compelling need to finish one task completely before starting another

  • Rigid adherence to rules and routines

  • Difficulty in interpreting meaning to others’ activities; difficulty in drawing relationships between an activity or event and ideas

  • Exquisite attention to detail, principally visual, or details which can be visualized ("Thinking in Pictures") or cognitive details (often those learned by rote)

  • Concrete thinking

  • Distractibility due to focus on external or internal sensations, thoughts, and/or sensory input (appearing to be in a world of one’s own or day-dreaming)

  • Difficulty in assessing relative importance of details (an aspect o the trees/forest problem)

  • Poor judgment of when a task is finished (often attributable to perfectionism or an apparent unwillingness to follow differential standards for quality)

  • Difficulty in imagining others’ thoughts in a similar or identical event or circumstance that are different from one’s own ("Theory of Mind" issues)

  • Difficulty with organizing and sequencing (planning and execution; successful performance of tasks in a logical, functional order)

  • Difficulty in assessing cause and effect relationships (behaviors and consequences)

  • An apparent lack of "common sense"

  • Relaxation techniques and developing recreational "release" interest may require formal instruction

  • Rage, tantrum, shutdown, self-isolating reactions appearing "out of nowhere"

  • Substantial hidden self-anger, anger towards others, and resentment

  • Difficulty in estimating time to complete tasks

  • Difficulty in learning self-monitoring techniques

  • Disinclination to produce expected results in an orthodox manner

  • Psychometric testing shows great deviance between verbal and performance results

  • Extreme reaction to changes in routine, surroundings, people

  • Stilted, pedantic conversational style ("The Professor") I do tend to lecture. Often. And with great enthusiasm.




Work Characteristics
Many of the manifestations found in the categories above can immediately translate into work behaviors or preferences. Here are some additional ones:


  • Difficulty with "teamwork"

  • Deliberate withholding of peak performance due to belief that one’s best efforts may remain unrecognized, unrewarded, or appropriated by others

  • Intense pride in expertise or performance, often perceived by others as "flouting behavior"

  • Sarcasm, negativism, criticism

  • Difficulty in accepting compliments, often responding with quizzical or self-deprecatory language

  • Tendency to "lose it" during sensory overload, multitask demands, or when contradictory and confusing priorities have been set

  • Difficult in starting project

  • Discomfort with competition, out of scale reactions to losing

  • Low motivation to perform tasks of no immediate personal interest

  • Oversight or forgetting of tasks without formal reminders such as lists or schedules

  • Great concern about order and appearance of personal work area

  • Slow performance

  • Perfectionism

  • Difficulty with unstructured time

  • Reluctance to ask for help or seek comfort

  • Excessive questions Not enough, actually, because it doesn't occur to me to ask things, Not sure if that counts.

  • Low sensitivity to risks in the environment to self and/or others

  • Difficulty with writing and reports

  • Reliance on internal speech process to "talk" oneself through a task or procedure

  • Stress, frustration and anger reaction to interruptions

  • Difficulty in negotiating either in conflict situations or as a self-advocate

  • Very low level of assertiveness In situations where I'm not comfortable. I'm extremely assertive when I'm comfortable. Also talkative.

  • Reluctance to accept positions of authority or supervision

  • Strong desire to coach or mentor newcomers

  • Difficulty in handling relationships with authority figures

  • Often viewed as vulnerable or less able to resist harassment and badgering by others

  • Punctual and conscientious And I hate to be late.

  • Avoids socializing, "hanging out," or small talk on and off the job I've never actually made a friend at work.



Here's the DSM-IV definition of it, though:

Diagnostic Criteria FOR 299.80 Asperger's Disorder
A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- 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
- failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
- a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
- lack of social or emotional reciprocity

B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
- encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
- apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
- stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
- persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia

Opinions? Do I have AS? Does someone in my system? What should I DO about it?
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Anonymous

May 17 2005, 16:07:54 UTC 12 years ago

I fit as many, if not a few more, of those criteria listed, yet I am positive I do not have AS. If you are absolutely serious, talk to a doctor or a specialist. Guides online only offer the very broadest symptoms, they are not an accurate diagnostic tool.