Autism/Asperger's?

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Question
I am a nineteen year old college student and I suspect that I may have Asperger's Syndrome. Like many Aspies, I have always struggled with recollection of short-term memories whilst having the ability to recall long-term memories in incredible detail, remembering them long after they have been forgotten by others.

I also possess many other Asperger traits; repetitive habits, I can sit working on the same task for hours, my expression is often blank (has led to people asking why I look at them “like an idiot”), and I am incredibly sensitive to light (I have to wear sunglasses to be comfortable outside), sound (I have acute hearing), and touch (I am very ticklish). I have few interests. These are limited to film, investigative work (putting together clues and information to conclusion), and video games (all things I seem to have a  natural knack for). When I was young I obsessed over animals; more specifically horses and dogs. As a young child I would watch Animal Planet for hours, soaking in the facts. I became knowledgable in regard to dog breeds and many other random facts about various species. At the age of seven I amused my aunt when I informed her that the writers of “Dr. Dolittle” were incorrect when they referred to a possum as a rat, explaining to her that possums are not rodents, but marsupials like kangaroos.

I am also incredibly clumsy despite being athletic. I can play sports but due to my poor coordination, acquiring the ability to perform complex physical moves (soccer footwork) takes longer for me than most.

My parents often ask me “where my head is at” because I am off in my own world, most often distracted by my obsession for filmmaking as my mind races through possible ideas and concepts. Also when they tell me to complete a task I complete it in a way that makes sense to me, often being told later that there is an error in my logic. Then, when they try to explain their logic to me, I simply do not understand; becoming frustrated that I cannot make sense of the situation. This can also apply to the tiniest of details. The other day I was obsessing over which direction a movable stirrup on a bronze statuette of a horse and rider would be facing according to the direction and speed the horse was “moving”. My mother told me that she prefer it go one direction. Then I explained to her that based on how the force of the horse’s movement would move the stirrup in reality, the stirrup would swing the opposite direction. This conversation went on for thirty minutes.

My communication with others is faulty as well. I rarely make eye contact, I don’t pick up on body language, and other nonverbal social cues go unnoticed (especially those of a flirtatious nature). Also, I have an extremely difficult time relating to my peers. My concerns, interests, and focuses are not at all like theirs and I feel severely abnormal. I often times cannot begin a conversation, and find it difficult to participate in small talk rather than an intelligent conversation, and I find it easiest to talk to people either younger or older than myself. This inhibits my forming friendships. However, when I meet someone I get along with I am a loyal friend and when someone is talking about an interest of mine, I suddenly come to life; wanting to share my intimate knowledge on that topic. Much like this question, I tend to go into deep detail when answering a question or given information; especially when I am able to communicate via writing. I often worry that my thoroughness exhausts people and bores them.

I have spoken to my mother about these issues and asked about having a diagnostic test done but she doesn’t believe that there’s any chance I have AS. She says that this is because I lacked a speech impediment as a child. However, I’ve noticed that many Aspies may not necessarily have an impediment, but they may be hyperlexic. I was hyperlexic as a child. Through testing in the second grade, it was determined that at the age of about six, I had the highest comprehension level in my elementary school. This occurred again in fourth grade. Also later on in junior high where they restricted what you were allowed to borrow from the library according to your reading comprehension level, I was given permission to read anything.

While I could go on and on, I would like to know if, based on your knowledge of Asperger’s Syndrome and the information I have given you, do you think it worth the effort to have a diagnostic test performed?

J.R.

Answer
Hey JR,

Thank you for your thoughtful question.

As you might guess long drawn out and detailed questions and messages are an Aspie trait. My Aspie friends are the only ones that go to great length to say simple things. It is a part of who we are.

I do recognize a great many ASD traits in what you describe about your self. As to your mother's statement, you meet one Aspie, you meet one Aspie. We have our unique way of combining all of the numerous components of the condition. So you do not have a speech impediment, others do. I don't, my son does. Neither of us are more ASD than the other, it is a matter of coping to our life's conditions.

I think You already know what I am going to say because you have done some research into your condition,( A huge ASD trait), I agree it is worth your while to pursue getting an Autism diagnoses.

We need more insightful and compassionate,(lover of animals), individuals in our ranks.

Autism

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Paul Johnson

Expertise

All questions regarding late diagnosis (Adults with Asperger's Or othe ASD's). Spirituality and ASD, Relationships, How our minds work, Adolescent development with AS and Self Definition as an Autistic culture.

Experience

Diagnosed with AS at age of 47, countless expereinces related to AS. Journalist and highly self reflective. Two degrees in Psychology. Conducting two Adult with Asperger's groups. Writer and lecturer in the area.

Organizations
Toastmasters Autism Society of Minnesota Loft center for writers

Publications
Double Dutch in the Nile Garden-Collection of poetry book 1996 Numerous articles The Love Book-Unpublished No Woman No Cry book regarding cultural aspects of grief-Unpublished

Education/Credentials
High school diploma-Abraham Lincoln Brooklyn New York Undergraduate City College of New York B.A. PSYCHOLOGY Graduate school University of Minnesota M.A. Counseling Psychology

Awards and Honors
Volunteer of the years-Mayors Award New York City 1980 Unsung hero in community-Minneapolis 2000 Community service award 2006.

Past/Present Clients
Many

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