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Thread: Autism/Aspergers Disorder

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    Autism/Aspergers Disorder

    I have meant to post this thread some time ago after the Autism quiz came up.

    It's occurred to me that there are a few members on the Althing who either fall under that category themselves or know somebody close to them that are.

    This might be a touchy subject, but I post it because I am personally affected by it, and it deserves to be understood more.

    For those of you who know about the disorder, I would like to know of your views and how you and/or family etc dealt with it. I will post again soon.

    Thanking you for your interest
    Jenni
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    "And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." - Albus Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

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    Just curious, in what way are you affected by it? Aspergers is by no means common, I've seen occurance rates of around 1 in 2000-10,000 people. Autism somewhat more common.

    Anyway, while I've generally always believed psychology is a load of bullshit, it's scary looking at the symptoms being listed on wikipedia which describe the behaviour of my brother perfectly.

    Early last year, at 14, he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD, before then, everyone just believed he was just different due to poor socialisation, an excessive amount of television viewing, victim of bullying and so on. Admittedly, growing up I've always been drawn to pick on him, sometimes because he is being overly obnoxious or at other times just to get an reaction out of him for my own amusement. He's also been the victim of bullying at school, with a kid even threatening to shoot him.

    I'll describe the ways in which the symptoms posted on wikipedia are prevalent in my brother's behaviour.

    Unlike those with autism, people with AS are not usually withdrawn around others; they approach others, even if awkwardly, for example by engaging in a one-sided, long-winded speech about a favorite topic while being oblivious to the listener's feelings or reactions, such as signs of boredom or haste to leave[....] The cognitive ability of children with AS often lets them articulate social norms in a laboratory context,[1] where they may be able to show a theoretical understanding of other people’s emotions; however, they typically have difficulty acting on this knowledge in fluid, real-life situations...
    [...]the conversational style often includes monologues about topics that bore the listener, fails to provide context for comments, or fails to suppress internal thoughts. Individuals with AS may fail to monitor whether the listener is interested or engaged in the conversation. The speaker's conclusion or point may never be made, and attempts by the listener to elaborate on the speech's content or logic, or to shift to related topics, are often unsuccessful
    Even in front of strangers, my brother engages in long stories, often anecdotal which bore or disinterest people (even if they try to be polite and not show it). Any story will usually include unnecessary details and won't reach any point or conclusion. Sometimes he talks about things which are inappropriate for the situation, for example, when we were trying to sell a puppy which had come from a litter which had been plagued by worms, he blurted out to the buyer that three of the other puppies in the litter had died.

    Pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking features of AS.[1] Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as dinosaurs or deep fat fryers, without necessarily having genuine understanding of the broader topic.[1][3] For example, a child might memorize camera model numbers while caring little about photography.
    Often my brother will become obsessed with hobbies, very rarely physical, rather, things like television shows, video games or reading on a specific interest. For the past year it's been the show Scrubs. While previously I enjoyed the show, his obsession with it has turned me off from even watching it. He owns all the DVDs, listens only to music featured on the show, has listened to all the audio commentary and whenever he can he will cite uninteresting facts that have usually been extracted from the commentary. Before this I believe his obsession was reading about Sharks.

    Abnormalities include verbosity; abrupt transitions; literal interpretations and miscomprehension of nuance; use of metaphor meaningful only to the speaker; auditory perception deficits; unusually pedantic, formal or idiosyncratic speech; and oddities in loudness, pitch, intonation, prosody, and rhythm
    Although inflection and intonation may be less rigid or monotonic than in autism, people with AS often have a limited range of intonation; speech may be overly fast, jerky or loud.
    While I don't think his delivery of speech is bad, it is often in a boring monotone voice, and when he even gets slightly upset, he speaks so fast that he is almost miscomprehensible and his voice will raise almost to the point of yelling. If he is told to lower his voice, he will do it, but almost immediately start raising his voice again.

    Asperger’s initial accounts[1] and other diagnostic schemes[21] include descriptions of motor clumsiness. Children with AS may be delayed in acquiring motor skills that require motor dexterity, such as bicycle riding or opening a jar, and may appear awkward or "uncomfortable in their own skin". They may be poorly coordinated, or have an odd or bouncy gait or posture, poor handwriting, or problems with visual-motor integration, visual-perceptual skills, and conceptual learning.
    His movement is incredibly awkward and has a delayed reaction time. He very rarely does any physical activity, and with his love of food has made him overweight. His poor motor skills have also had an impact on his education, his handwriting is scribbled and has trouble focusing and writing.

    Since finding out, he's been prescribed with Ritalin. While I can't really tell if this has made his behaviour any better, you are definitely able to tell when he hasn't taken his medication that day. To help his bullying and learning problems, he's been given a laptop to type work up with instead of writing by hand, and the school has been informed on his condition. He has "friends", but I suspect their relationship with him is fairly loose and not very loyal, and he is still a victim of bullying due to his erratic behaviour and weight problem.

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    My older brother has Aspergers. This wasn't diagnosed until quite late in life, so no compensations were ever made for him in our family. The worst thing to come of the condition I suppose was the bullying at school and what this did to his self-esteem and confidence (since he was always seen as being "odd", having very poor social skills and not able to emotionally "connect" with others to the point of developing real friendships whereby his friends would help to stand up for him against any bullies). Actually, maybe worse than anything else was the fact that this condition has taken away his ability to form close, meaningful relationships with others - so essentially he has always been very alone, and probably always will be.

    If I had ever found out that a child of mine was afflicted with the condition, (thankfully, none of them are) I would work very closely with professionals to help control and hopefully negate the negative affects of Aspergers. Much can be done these days to help, as with Autism.

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    This is a rather personal post, and I have had second thought about posting it, but, here it is:

    I think that the main problem is low self-esteem and lack of companionship for people with ASD. The condition can never be cured, and the symptoms, and the misunderstandings that they create can leave the individual with a gnawing sense of social inadequacy.

    There is something else however. Human being are not just social creatures. Often we do not appreciate the majesty of our aloneness, and if we can turn our loneliness into aloneness, then we can do good service to ourselves and others.

    I was diagnosed with ASD sometime ago, and it answered a lot of questions for me, and I have had to consider myself to be very much alone. When I forget this, I make mistakes.

    Essentially, I am forced to take a more logical view of my situation, because to be emotional without good empathy, and an underdeveloped theory of mind is simply useless.

    In use of language, as a sounding board for others, in using my talents and skills, I can find satisfaction. Social situations are generally unsatisfying, but I have been instinctively drawn towards others like myself for most of my life.

    My main difficulty is in organising myself and really appreciating that what I do today, creates my tomorrow. Grasping the moment, and understanding that what I am doing really does matter is a challenge, but the key to my success.

    There will be no time in my life when I will really bond with other people, or feel part of a group to the extent that 'neurotypicals' might, so I have to look elsewhere.

    The sow's ear can be turned into a silk purse.

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    Senior Member Brynhild's Avatar
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    I do appreciate that it is indeed personal. But that's the beauty of vulnerability, and the strength each person has to understand that in themselves.

    I was kicked out of a mainstream school on my first day in kindergarten. I had no social skills, laid eyes on a telephone only for the first time that day, and threw sand at the kids (call me antisocial! LOL)

    The psychologist I was seeing at the time wanted to diagnose me as Autistic but my mother wouldn't have it. I don't know if they still institutionalised people at the time for the slightest malfunction to the brain, but maybe my mum feared that to be so. I had lots of problems growing up with the social mores that other people take for granted, and that made me a target for bullying.

    My youngest son was diagnosed before he started kindy, after doing the rounds with hearing tests (he didn't talk), occupational therapy and visits to two paediatricians later (the first one didn't want to know about it). He used to leave the house all the time, and he would be found in some scary places - one time he was near a creek and we had to look in darkness for him, another time he climbed over a neighbour's pool fence and went in for a swim (and before anyone bothers to suggest that I should've been able to control him better, well, I already had 2 kids whom I already knew how to discipline! Some kids are just challenging and more stressful that way) he wouldn't maintain eye contact, he would talk in a way that was inappropriate to the subject at hand, he doesn't interact all that well with other kids his own age - yet he likes the company of those older or younger. We also have to watch what we say because he can take things in a very literal sense that is different to our way of thinking. He needs to be told a hundred times more to do and not to do something, his reaction time with his gross motor skills are slower, he loves to eat only certain food types and there are things he likes to do that always have a repetitive motion about them.

    His life has turned around in a great many ways, and I can attribute a lot of that to us going to the Chiropractor regularly. Why? Well, the art of back manipulation also deals with the central nervous system - it opens everything up in a way to get everything working as it should be.

    He will still have to live with this for the rest of his life, but I have gotten by with all my learning and experiences and he will too. He will have me to teach him, because I have learned to live with it myself.

    Edit: I've had to tackle my own areas of vulnerability in order to post this thread in the first place, and I wanted to find the right words to express how I feel. It's taken a lot of gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-searching moments in my life and there are still times when I feel disconnected from others. I've come to the conclusion that people like us are some of the most delightfully gifted, talented and unique individuals, and I'm proud of that uniqueness. If other people don't have the ability (or are too ignorant to care) to know where we come from with our way of thinking, that's their problem, not ours!
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    Muttley: "Hehehehehehehehehe"

    "And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." - Albus Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

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    Yup, I've got it. I'll post more of my experiences and feelings about the whole matter a little later on, though.

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    I recognize a few of those symptoms in myself, though I think they are mild. I have mild cerebral palsy and that made it such that I wasn't out with other boys skateboarding or climbing trees. I did however play basketball a lot when I was younger, and really enjoyed backyard football. I guess I tend to have long-winded one-sided conversations, but I chalk that up to other people's general ignorance. I don't tend to apologize either unless I've really hurt someone I care about.

    Growing up in Florida where most of the people are retarded themselves, they are not able to differentiate between a physical and mental handicap, and so I had to deal with my share of bullying.

    I've had 2 intimate relationships, but I've never felt as if I've had a true "solid" relationship like others have had.. I sometimes find myself profoundly angered at these people laughing at stupid things, running around being playful and giving affection to one another.. I've always compared it to being a homeless man watching others having a marvellous feast (there's the use of metaphor).

    Here in college where I drink and get loud like many others, I still feel deeply isolated. I feel like a monk in a cell or something, and was actually thinking of getting a cilice belt ( (barbed belt used around the thigh in Catholic corporal mortification) tattoo as a symbol of my austere, mortified, mendicant curse.

    I don't think my sense of humour functions like other people, because it seems as if many people laugh at the stupidest things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brynhild View Post
    It's occurred to me that there are a few members on the Althing who either fall under that category themselves or know somebody close to them that are.
    I was wondering what made you think that.

    Most of the tests I take rank me between normal and AS on the AS side, or meager AS. But most of the ADD vs AS tests give me ADD. I have only one thing to say: people with these conditions are 10x more normal than I am. ee20:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brynhild View Post
    I have meant to post this thread some time ago after the Autism quiz came up.

    It's occurred to me that there are a few members on the Althing who either fall under that category themselves or know somebody close to them that are.

    This might be a touchy subject, but I post it because I am personally affected by it, and it deserves to be understood more.

    For those of you who know about the disorder, I would like to know of your views and how you and/or family etc dealt with it. I will post again soon.

    Thanking you for your interest
    Jenni
    My opening line to this thread ^

    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky Roma View Post
    I was wondering what made you think that.

    Most of the tests I take rank me between normal and AS on the AS side, or meager AS. But most of the ADD vs AS tests give me ADD. I have only one thing to say: people with these conditions are 10x more normal than I am. ee20:
    As I had already stated, the autism quiz was posted. I, too, looked at it and did the test, and observed what others had written about themselves and others. That's how it occurred to me, and why I posted this thread. So would you mind not taking me out of context like you did? Thanks.
    Dick Dastardly: "MUTTLEY, DO SOMETHING!!!!"
    Muttley: "Hehehehehehehehehe"

    "And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure." - Albus Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

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    I don't have autism but when I was 6 the doctors (drug dealers) diagnosed me with ADHD. My mother allowed them to give me experimental drugs like cylert? When I was seven and they gave me the standard-high dosage of ritalin.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ritalin

    I was basically tweaking outta my mind from 7 to 15 which the doctors said was just my ADHD. In high school I realized what ritalin was doing to me, stunting my growth, killing my appetite, making my skin complexion terrible, insomnia etc and I quit.

    Back on topic, I've heard that immunizations might be linked to autism etc....

    I've also heard that this helps cure/treat autism:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrobiotic_diet

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