Asperger's

Join the Conversation on
Asperger's
4.6K people
0 stories
485 posts
About Asperger's
Explore Our Newsletters
What's New in Asperger's
All
Stories
Posts
Videos
Latest
Trending
Post
See full photo

Asperger's and Communication (Part Two)

We are non conformist, not because we deliberately want to rebel against authority but because we don't have the social skills to fit in (we are size ten feet in size five shoes as I once put it). Our rebellions (temper tantrums) are because of sensory overload. Like a bucking bronco we kick off unwanted pressure and distractions from outside. For instance when I was a volunteer at The Dunn Nutrition Centre in Cambridge, I lost my temper because my room was beside the toilet block and I got fed up with banging doors and toilet seats. I locked the entrance into it and threw the keys in the courtyard, leaving shortly after that.

Digestive sensitivity (histamine reaction to wheat and food additives), disclosed themselves through indigestion, hay fever and twenty odd years of migraines. It may also be why I have to continually crack joints in my body (not only knuckles but knees, wrists, neck, lower back, between the shoulder blades, ankles and for some odd reason my left big toe but not my right). I also have restless leg syndrome, which is probably an offshoot of this. I also flick, tap and raise individual fingers, which I assume is my form of ticking but not like a clock.

Why is apparent deafness is one of autism's principle symptoms? Well that is because hyper visual concentration means shutting out all distractions from the other senses and that includes sound, hence the appearance of deafness. Even ordinary people need to do that because sound especially, turns our attention outwards into the world and away from visual attention aimed down and in.

The OCD component is I believe two fold but related. The first is the obvious fear of contagion (disease mostly) and the second is a fear of chaos. This is why we have our own rituals and the urge to create order around us (disease and dis-ease as objective and subjective parts of the condition). Illness creates internal chaos in our bodies and dis-order does the same thing with our minds.

Visual thinkers like me can instantly see answers to why things are the way they are. If you look at my writings (philosophical speculation), you will see that they are formulaic or even balanced equations, unless I didn't write my thoughts down instantly when they came to me, in which case they would have rambled into lengthy diatribes, no better in most cases than anyone else.

I too find talk confusing because of its speed and the efforts of verbalisers to work in depth is minimised. Temple Grandin’s point about the blind using bat echo location, falls into line with my point about sign language and forcing the deaf to talk. They have no sonic feedback ability, so cannot improve their ability to talk. They do see however and can speak with their hands as quickly and fluently as verbal speakers can with their mouths. My next door neighbour has developed motor neurone disease, so can no longer speak clearly but her handwriting is still as legible as it ever was, so this remains her principle means of communication.

Alters, valences and MPD sufferers are all attempts to take on the characteristics of those who are more successful in society than we are (adopt their persons).

At school my maths teacher at secondary level, always picked on me because he knew I couldn't answer any abstract questions he threw me. Then on the last day of the final term in his class, he produced a game for the whole of the class to solve and I was the only one to work it out because it was visual (you have two rows of three coins, arranged so that the top row is offset, sitting on the bottom row: all the coins touch two others and you have to turn the design into a circle by moving one coin at a time, so that they still touch two other coins, until the figure is complete).

When the autistic talk about their condition being a traumatic experience, they are correct. My wife broke her wrist about a month ago and since then has had an NT arm and an autistic arm. The injured hand is ultra sensitive. When she uses it to touch the sleeve of her jacket, it feels like sack cloth she says but the other hand has no such effect (hot and cold are equally contrary).

When I used to have migraines, it was the same for me but there was little discernible difference in body sides just a whole body sensitivity to touch, light, sound, smell and taste (in all cases input was too much). This makes me wonder if it's the same for epileptics and stroke victims? Is autism simply nerve damage that remains undetectable by our present medical technology, which in turn is not sensitive enough to pick up such data?

1 reaction
Post
See full photo

Asperger's and communication (part one)

When it comes to the symptoms of Aspergers disease, one area stands out above all others and that is communication. Taking things other people say literally for instance, coupled with not lying, even if it upsets others is because we give honest communication and expect it in return, even if we don't get it (mirroring). We are the little boy, who tells The Emperor that he is naked, not that he is wearing new clothes (not diplomatic).

Selective mutism occurs because we are not sure how to speak to outsiders (non family members). This also ties in with avoiding looking other people directly in the eye, so we don't engage with them, if we don't want to or staring straight at them, to give the impression we are 'normal,' which usually freaks them out more.

Wanting to 'fit in' can lead to over-rehearsed speech in our heads, which sounds cold and robotic. It can also lead to complex speech patterns (long winded / abstruse), aimed at impressing others. We can also miss emotional 'in your face' responses by others because social cues are missed. We can also jump in and interrupt conversations because we think what we have to say can't wait.

The autistic don't know how to speak properly, that is use verbal tools, so fail to moderate volume, tone, rate (speed) or rhythm: Think of setting up setting up amplifiers at a rock concert as well as coordinating a full orchestra or even tuning an individual instrument, in this case the human voice.

We are generally hypersensitive to reality but not always responsive to it: loud noise, bright lights, strong tastes and smells or rough / strange feeling textures can freak us out. Strong concentration may create the illusion that we are insensitive to pain, heat or cold etc but this is not the case, just that we ignore these conditions in our pursuit of our goals, becoming trance-like in such engagements of our attention (only our goals exist, not the outside world).

This severance from reality can lead to clumsiness as in me continually breaking glasses, when washing up (King Alfred burning the cakes because his attention was elsewhere).

We hate being hugged, getting patted on the head as adults do to children or people bumping into us and generally crowding our space, however we can do the same to others when we get caught up in the moment and forget they exist in turn.

Our obsessive interests can lead to self isolation, with little or no interaction with others (home loving / indifference to socialising). Like monks we cut ourselves off from the rest of the world, so that we can concentrate whole heartedly on the task in hand, with as little interruption and disruption to our routines and pursuits as possible (stable environment).

In my case this shows up in world war two tanks, the Daleks, Welsh castles (an English man's castle is his home), filling plastic eggs as a hobby and circling things in the TV guide I want to watch the following week. All these show the urge to contain or hold in / shut out outside influences or interference (defensive barriers or control points as exist within the body, a country's borders or creatures like insects and crabs that have an external skeleton).

I also create collages (mixtures of words and images) plus take photographs with my phone camera, which shows the visual orientation Temple Grandin, the autistic personality, talks about continually in her books and lectures. I have also created a series of books, eight in total, taking English apart and reconstructing it to display its patterns, in columns, which shows my obsession with language and another of our common traits (communication again and understanding words and phrases).

As we are 'Strangers in a strange land' as The Bible puts it, we have a terror of getting things wrong and standing out as outsiders (being ostracised, when we don't choose it). We blunder anyway, so this is not entirely unexpected as a result but like 'Zelig' in Woody Allen's film of the same name, we do our best to imitate those around us and fit in.

We are not compatible with the school system because we don't know how to behave and it doesn't stretch us (I hated it but fitted in better than many in my position, except when it came to maths. A certain teacher aimed questions at me, in front of the whole class, deliberately to humiliate me as he knew I couldn't answer them).

3 reactions 2 comments
Post
See full photo

Ash-Burger's Syndrome (the story of my life)

I'm clumsy. I've always been clumsy. People are terrified of telling me to take a break because I do. I break cups, glasses, plates - you name it. They nicknamed me Zorba the Greek, one place I worked because of this. Talking of jobs - with me they've always been few and far between. nothing lasts long. I either get bored and leave or get sacked.

"Now look what you've done!" or "What happened to that order I gave you, to send out to Mr Harvey on the eighth?" (Well he didn't specify which month, did he?).

To say I was socially inept, is mildly true too. If I had a drink in my hand, I'd either drop it or spill it on someone.

"You clumsy idiot!" (Well yes, I know that - can you be more specific or add something else of interest to that point?).

I was never a great talker and got on better with kids and animals, than I ever did with adults or the human race altogether.

"Stop grimacing at me you nutter!" And other plaudits like this, would come my way. Talk? How could I? I could barely get my body to work, let alone my brain. Occasionally I'd let slip a terrible pun, to break the ice, in social situations. Every time I tried to be clever, an uncoordinated load of stumbling rubbish would come out.

"What do you mean, I-I-I, ig ag ooh?"

Ruthless Mickey takers at work or down the pub, would plough right into me as soon as I opened my mouth, so I shut up again or I'd burst into hysterical laughter as I found the joke funnier than anyone else.

"For Christ's sake shut up! The joke's over!"

Then there were the times I couldn't understand what anybody else said. It was like that Far Side cartoon - What you say and what a dog hears:-

"Blah, blah Rover. Rover blah, blah."

It was like I was hearing a foreign language or none at all.

"Cat got your tongue? Well it bloody should have - you don't use it enough, to need it!" (Ha-ha - very funny I thought but couldn't stand the humiliation of trying to actually say it).

Hugh and Milly Asian? Now that's a couple I know well! Yes, my literal sense of humour categorised me as autistic, even if nothing else did. Then there was phonetic spelling.

"That's not how you spell it Wright - get a dictionary!" ( Wright, wrong again! School, who needs it? If they want to spell it that way, why can't they say it that way too? It's all so jumbled up and illogical!).

There's some legend that says having Asperger's makes you a mathematical genius - not me. On the way to school I obsessively count the telephone poles, yes but I couldn't add up to save my life or yours, when in the classroom. Oh yes, the stories of us being selfish and self centred are true. We live in our own little world and you can't enter, even with a valid passport. Our borders are closed Mr Schickelgruber and nobody can come through without our express permission, so turn your tanks round and go home.

We are a strange mix of contradictions - egotistical, blunt in our speech, when we do open our mouths. Bloody minded and stubborn, yet fearing confrontation because in a fight, we wouldn't know when to stop - at least that is what we believe. It takes a hell of a lot to get us going and just as much to put the brakes on: Quick to anger, slow to cool down and come back into Earth orbit, if we don't miss it altogether. Innocent, vulnerable, trusting and blundering. It is this openness and honesty that turns us into the brainy creature we so often are. While others play about in the classroom or outside it in the playground, developing their social skills through interaction, we shut up, sit still and, look and learn. We shut them out and let the light of understanding in. Ordinary people connect with the outside world, through talk and physical contact - not us. We are geeky, clumsy and inappropriate in our comments and movements but we connect internally with ideas. They can dance, play football, cake on make up or make cup cakes but not us. Books are our only friends - failing that our computer screens are. We'd rather text than talk, write and read rather than speak - even to each other. We want to know how the universe works and maybe even one day, we'll find out how we work but not today, oh no, not today...

We know we are not liked - even feared and despised by some people or why attack us? (You only bully what you're afraid of - what challenges you to be what you are not or at least makes you think about it as a subject). Limited intelligence, criminality and defensiveness go together - leading to ignorance and suppression, by those wanting to shut out the light. Perpetual motion and emotion, keeps them on the move but not us. We don't want to leave home or even go out. We just want to collect our train numbers or plonk about on our computers in peace. Failing that we want to vegetate in front of the goggle box. We are not active participants in life. We are just passive viewers, along for the ride (Don't ask us to drive -we're not up to it or up for it either). We understand sound and motion go together (as with music and dance) but we are detached because we are observers of life, not activists (We don't move with the times because we are lumps of rock - orderly and controlled, not relaxed). We see only chaos and confusion in the world - danger we are not ready to face. Go for a swim? No thanks! You could drown and then there's all the pollution in the sea and God knows what in the rivers and swimming pools! We don't enjoy our lives, we study them for that great examination in the sky, when we all kick the bucket (Did we do well?). Live our lives? Maybe next time. Spontaneity is for wimps - we love routine. Order and discipline, that's us.

We're not in our bodies but always outside, looking in. This explains our odd gait as we're not in contact with life or society's natural rhythms.

We feel continually under stress because we are. Our twitching, tics and odd mannerisms show this. I need to crack my joints continually because of this (neck, between the shoulders, lower back (especially this point), ankles, knee caps, wrists, fingers and toes - by the way did I mention we're obsessive list makers?). This is why you'll see me and others like me, suddenly tilt their heads to one side or move our hands and feet into strange positions, for no apparent reason - we need to relieve our spasticity (Perhaps this is where 'Jerk' comes from as an insult?). It could explain the difficulty swallowing, indigestion, sensory sensitivity and allergies as well. Maybe too, it explains the dietary fads of eating nothing but a particular food - like crisps, beans, bread or biscuits, for months, even years on end (I've heard that we're carb eaters, avoiding protein and choking on fats).

Is it any wonder that we're stressed? Our attention to detail driven characters, fear of making mistakes, rigid personalities (love of tight clothing), passion for order, discipline and routine - all contribute to the pressure we feel under and put ourselves under. If we weren't so visually orientated, we probably wouldn't be so language impaired, continually swallowing nervously in social situations. This passivity and receptivity is probably what allows us to be so logical but it also leads to the need for space and the temper tantrums that follow, should we not get it and find we cannot cope: The sensory influx that drives us insane - the obsessive compulsion to wash our hands and protect ourselves from every other potential danger , turns us into an explosive powder keg of emotions, which blows up like a volcano every so often.

They say it is a male thing - this turning down and in, in curiosity, then up and out with answers and insights. This mental pressure is the same as physical pressure as in sex and other expressions, I believe. The physics of it is male concentration versus female dispersal of attention and energy. This is why males are more volatile and suspicious because of it (wound up and easily triggered into

Post

Thank you

Thank you everyone for your encouraging words. I just wanted to let you all know that I changed my name on here. It's now starbucksjunkee. Please refer to me by that screen name. I hope everyone is doing great. I have to go to bed now.

#Bipolar1 #Aspergers #social Anxiety and Driving Anxiety #OCD Pure Obsessive only

2 reactions
Post

I'm new here!

Hi, my name is TraceB62. I'm here because I'm 61 and still struggling with the mental anguish I lived through as a child. My father was very verbally abusive. I also have a 23 year old son with Asperger's. He's highly functional and is extremely intelligent. But, I see so much of me in him and I worry that my awful upbringing and my anxieties have complicated his already difficult life. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful husband of 32 years and he's extremely supportive for both of us. I know it's hard on him too.

I was fortunate that my father passed away when I was 15. That changed my life and the lives of my whole family. But, I still suffer from NO self esteem, anxiety and self doubt. No matter how much my husband and I try to be a positive support for our son, he lacks the same self esteem and self doubt as I do. I was hoping to break the chain and raise a 'normally adjusted', person. He has such a mountain to climb...

#MightyTogether #Anxiety #Depression #Migraine

7 reactions 1 comment
Post

I'm new here!

Hi, my name is LizzieBee1964. I've been diagnosed with POTS ADYSFUNCTION/RENAUDS/HEDS/ CYSTIC BLADDER/EDS BOWEL/ MIGRAINES/ ADHD/ HIGH FUNCTIONING ASPERGERS /PTSD/GAD/OCD/DEPRESSION/AF/FYBRO/

#MightyTogether #Migraine #AutismSpectrumDisorder #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #ADHD #OCD #Grief #Fibromyalgia

3 reactions 1 comment
Post

I'm new here!

Hi, my name is DitzyBarbieGenius1. I've been diagnosed with
Female AuDHD (Autism (Level 1 - Aspergers) and ADHD (predominantly ADD) together with severe Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) which kind of sucks.
#MightyTogether #AutismSpectrumDisorder #Migraine #Anxiety #PTSD #ADHD #EatingDisorder

3 reactions
Post
See full photo

#Depression #Anxiety #Fibromyalgia

Good afternoon
I'm in a toxic friendship. We're both Christians. This "friend* was fine at first but has since become very controlling!! She has Aspergers and says I'm autistic too. It's got so bad that I've been advised to go no contact which is difficult for me. But whenever I meet her I feel suicidal afterwards. I've tried talking to her about things but it doesn't work. Today someone was singing her praises to me and immediately my hackles rose , my stomach went into knots and I felt resentful. Is this a normal reaction? I pray to God about it. She's completely nice and normal with other peope but not with me. She's horrible. She called me the most selfish and cruel person ever for keeping my elderly cat alive, even though she's still eating, purring etc.
Thanks for being here. The photo is the view from my kitchen window.

28 reactions 6 comments
Post

I'm new here!

Hi, my name is July62013. I'm here seeking guidance for others who live with or care for a young adult with high-functioning ASD or Asperger's

#MightyTogether

1 reaction 2 comments