What I Wish I Had Found When I Googled Asperger's Syndrome
As a person who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome as an adult in 2014, this is the information I wish I would have found when I Googled my condition.
Asperger’s is a pervasive developmental disorder that is on the autism spectrum. While some may describe it as “mild” autism, I’ve found functioning labels are not very useful. A person with Asperger’s may not always have the same experience as others with autism, but they are both still on the same spectrum nonetheless. A person with Asperger’s may not experience a language delay, while others on the spectrum might.
A person with Asperger’s may meet their developmental milestones on time, however, they still may experience some forms of social differences. While they may have a desire for friends, there is something in the process of forming connections that may pose challenges. Others may see them as “odd,” or wrapped up in their own interests. They may not be sure how to initiate social interactions. Others on the spectrum may be able to better navigate the social world, and find it easy to make friends. Some may do well socially, but have difficult interpreting others’ messages and take things literally.
A person with Asperger’s may have sensory sensitivities, from mild to severe. It is a commonly-known characteristic of autism for one to have difficulty with eye contact, however, this is not necessarily a given. Many people on the autism spectrum do not experience any difficulty in this area.
Literal thinking is a common theme among those with Asperger’s. They may hear the phrase “missing the forest for the trees” and become puzzled. They may not always be able to pick up on double meanings or hidden agendas.
People on the autism spectrum may appear or act younger than their chronological age. This is because autism is a developmental disorder. One may have younger interests and simply be in a different stage of life than their peers. A person with Asperger’s most likely has a special interest or two; something that takes up a great deal of their focus and attention.
The most important thing is that those with Asperger’s, or anywhere on the autism spectrum, have many gifts to offer the world. Being on the spectrum gives one a unique perspective and way of looking at the world. Hyperfocus and special interests may be very useful in the working world, especially if the job is in a specialized position. Finally, despite the myth that people with autism do not have empathy, it is actually thought that most have too much empathy, and just aren’t sure how to express it. Therefore, people on the spectrum can be very compassionate.
If you think that you might have some of the characteristics of autism, don’t hesitate to let your physician or psychiatrist know. It always helps to find out the most you can about yourself. Who knows? You just may be part of one very “ausome” population!
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