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Autistic ERA |OT| Slippin' on by on ASD

HylianSeven

Community Resetter
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,432
So I am fairly sure I have some form of autism or Asperger's, seemingly high functioning, and I haven't realized it until now. I'm 28.

A few weeks ago, I talked to someone on Twitter that had something where there were a lot of foods she couldn't eat, because things like the texture of them made it impossible, so her for palette was very limited. I have had pretty much the same thing my whole life, and no one has really believed me and dismiss me as a "picky eater". An example of this was July 4 last year, when my fiancee's friend brought apple pie (bought from a store), and my fiancee asked that maybe I should try it. I waited until get friend went to the bathroom, and took a bite of it. Immediately I gagged and had to spit it out in the sink. That was exactly the reaction I was afraid of and why I waited until her friend went to the bathroom to try it. When I go anywhere, especially to a restaurant I have never been to, my biggest fear is ordering something I can eat, or having to detail in front of people how I want it to the point where I can eat it. It's even worse are family gatherings because I'm always afraid they might have made something I can't eat.

I also have been diagnosed with ADHD and depression. I do fidget all the time. I fixate on things and only think of things one way. I have issues with social situations, I have trouble looking most people in the eyes, except for people like my fiancee and some others. The high functioning part makes sense because I do still live on my own (with my fiancee), hold a good paying job with a college degree, and manage my own finances extremely well.

I plan on calling my GP to see what to do about getting a diagnosis. I told by fiancee that I thought I had it, worried that she would freak out. To my surprise she didn't, and had apparently thought I had it for two years and didn't tell me because she didn't think it was worth troubling me with because I already deal with ADHD and depression, and I seem and smart enough and high functioning so, it wouldn't make a huge difference. I feel better knowing she figured it out. Apparently her mother did too, which is why her and my fiancee kept saying that I didn't have to come visit her family when she goes on some weekends if I didn't want to and it made me uncomfortable.

If anyone here is from DotaERA (or formerly DotaGAF?), it probably explains a lot there too.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
Get a a diagnosis if you can. Even if it's small, it can make a difference, and being high functioning doesn't mean it isn't useful to know.

Certainly, I can attest to the food issues. It's a weirder aspect of the condition, easily dismissed because of the fact that neurotypical people who are picky are often so more because of habit than due to actual issues. The matter of texture especially often makes little sense to people who don't experience it for themselves, because the idea that texture can override taste seems a bit... backwards, I guess. The idea that one doesn't like pasta because it's slimy and the way it slithers down one's throat is physically uncomfortable seems almost... cartoonish.

But it is real. Hoo boy, to my utter annoyance is it very real. Though ironically I have a mild tolerance for liver, which most people are apparently put off by.
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
561
HylianSeven

A lot of doctors who are capable of diagnosing have, in my experience, a bias against people who get diagnosed as adults. They have this attitude of "only kids have autism so adults can't get diagnosed" or some nonsense like that. I'm pro-dxed myself (age 8), but I've met multiple people who are *blatantly* autistic who have been refused diagnosis on account of either being too old or not a boy. Like... somebody can be autistic and just not get diagnosed... that doesn't mean they don't have it. And a lot of doctors are weirdly sexist about it for some reason. I don't get it. I guess doctors are humans and humans can be awful so :/

But yeah, in my opinion if you do research on autism and/or talk to people with autism and autism seems to describe you well, then I say there's nothing wrong with self-diagnosing. Welcome to AutisticERA!
 

Yunsen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,175
I get the food texture issue. I’m the same way where I can’t really eat things with different hardnesses together. Like I don’t really mind bacon on my burgers but I hate it if it’s crispy. Same thing with something like chocolate chips in ice cream.
 

HylianSeven

Community Resetter
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,432
I get the food texture issue. I’m the same way where I can’t really eat things with different hardnesses together. Like I don’t really mind bacon on my burgers but I hate it if it’s crispy. Same thing with something like chocolate chips in ice cream.
I like bacon, and I like burgers, but I can't stand bacon on burgers.
 

Yunsen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,175
I don't like vegetables at all so they're not anywhere near my burgers. One burger I've gotten to really like recently is a burger with hamburger, ham, bacon, a fried egg and their special sauce which is basically fry sauce.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,056
Ireland
I was going to post it in the graduate thread but I can't seem to find it on this site (maybe it doesn't exist?) so I'm posting it here instead as it's relevant.

At the moment, I'm in the final year of my university course, and I'm trying to decide on what I wish to do and I'm hoping I could get some advice.

Over the summer and up to Christmas I worked on a research project and it went extremely well (goal is to get it published), and as a result of that I was offered the opportunity to pursue a PhD with a supervisor in my university. The funding would be okay and I could survive on it (I'd be scraping by, however), but I have hesitances primarily over the terrible job market for individuals with a PhD in Maths (academic positions being extremely tough to acquire, and little other options) and how isolating I've heard it can be (not just for the four years doing the PhD, but also the years that follow the PhD when you are looking for a job and need to travel abroad to find positions). I really enjoy the work, and I enjoy the university environment.

I was also offered a job in a technology company's data analytics department. While the salary isn't amazing (but higher than average in my area for a graduate position), it's many times higher than I'd get in funding. Although the job isn't something I'm really that interested in, it's a decent job with a lot of security, great perks, and a clear way to 'move up'. There's a well-structured graduate program and lots of opportunities to socialise with others and form friendships. It also provides many options moving forward in my career.

One of my main concerns is that during university I worked considerably with an occupational therapist to form friendships with people in my course and in university clubs. If I were to do a PhD, within two years most of my friends will have moved abroad for their career and I will have relatively few friends remaining in my area, so it will become important for me to develop a social network in whatever I do going forward, but I'm very concerned as to whether this is really possible in doing a PhD or if the time will even be available to do so. In addition, I worry that I will become quite obsessive over the work I'd be doing in the PhD (because I highly enjoy it) to the considerable detriment of every other aspect of my life (socially, and mental health related) and it would have a negative impact on me, as I noticed during previous research experience that I did this and forgot to eat and sleep many days. I'm quite bad at organising myself (despite the work with the occupational therapist) and I worry in a PhD this will become a large barrier to overcome. If a graduate program can be isolating to most people, I can certainly imagine the possibility it could be considerably more isolating to somebody with autism.

On the other hand, I deal with stress very poorly, and I worry this could pose to be a problem with the job.
I'm also worried that without some of the supports which are available in university to me as a student with autism, socialising in the work environment of the job may be challenging anyway.


I'm just wondering if anybody here (with autism) has done a PhD and, if so, how they found the experience and if they could offer any insight that may be of assistance in helping me to decide which offer to accept.
 

HylianSeven

Community Resetter
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Oct 25, 2017
4,432
Okay I'm really frustrated trying to find a diagnosis. I messaged my GP on their messaging system about a diagnosis and they recommended me a neuropsych facility nearby that they work with. I called them and they said it would cost me $1600 because they're out of network on my insurance. Fuck that. I went to my insurance's website and used their search to try to find a different one, and so far all the ones I have called either don't answer, aren't accepting patients, or don't do evaluations in adults. I called my GP's office back and left a message asking for other recommendations in hopes of getting one that won't cost me an arm and a leg.

Any other ideas here? I'm really frustrated with it.
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
561
Not looking forward to the Super Bowl tomorrow (technically today at this point?). Too loud. Everywhere is too loud. Gonna find some ear plugs and go hide somewhere until it's over. There's a meetup for autistic people in my city tomorrow so I'm probably gonna go there to hang out.
 

Yunsen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,175
I’ve never gone to a party for the Super Bowl. I always just watch it at home. I have been at a bar gambling during football games so I know how loud it can get. I was there during the Packers-Seahawks NFC Championship game in 2014. The place was crazy. I was hyped that we made the Super Bowl but I was also really uncomfortable with how loud it was.
 

More_Badass

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,185
Okay I'm really frustrated trying to find a diagnosis. I messaged my GP on their messaging system about a diagnosis and they recommended me a neuropsych facility nearby that they work with. I called them and they said it would cost me $1600 because they're out of network on my insurance. Fuck that. I went to my insurance's website and used their search to try to find a different one, and so far all the ones I have called either don't answer, aren't accepting patients, or don't do evaluations in adults. I called my GP's office back and left a message asking for other recommendations in hopes of getting one that won't cost me an arm and a leg.

Any other ideas here? I'm really frustrated with it.
What about a therapist or a private practice? That's how I go my diagnosis. To be fair, she was recommended to us by another therapist, but it certainly wasnt $1,600

Was around $150-200 a session. Not sure if that's a low figure or not, though
 

HylianSeven

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Oct 25, 2017
4,432
What about a therapist or a private practice? That's how I go my diagnosis. To be fair, she was recommended to us by another therapist, but it certainly wasnt $1,600

Was around $150-200 a session. Not sure if that's a low figure or not, though
I think the conclusion I've come to as this point after talking with my fiancee about it (after calling more places, including one that said they aren't in any insurance networks and would cost $3200) is to assume I have HFA/Asperger's, and possibly do therapy for it.

I clearly have the symptoms, but based on research it's a thing that goes undiagnosed for many people. I'm 28, clearly functioning, have a job and getting married in 2 months. It's certainly caused situations and strife throughout my life, and still does to this day (food is the biggest one), but I don't think paying a few thousand dollars for someone to likely tell me what I already know is worth it when if I need to, I could just go straight to therapy, or continue living with it now that I recognize it.

This is another rant for another day, but I think our healthcare is quite fucked that I have to make that decision.
 

More_Badass

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,185
I think the conclusion I've come to as this point after talking with my fiancee about it (after calling more places, including one that said they aren't in any insurance networks and would cost $3200) is to assume I have HFA/Asperger's, and possibly do therapy for it.

I clearly have the symptoms, but based on research it's a thing that goes undiagnosed for many people. I'm 28, clearly functioning, have a job and getting married in 2 months. It's certainly caused situations and strife throughout my life, and still does to this day (food is the biggest one), but I don't think paying a few thousand dollars for someone to likely tell me what I already know is worth it when if I need to, I could just go straight to therapy, or continue living with it now that I recognize it.

This is another rant for another day, but I think our healthcare is quite fucked that I have to make that decision.
The reasons having a diagnosis is helpful is because 1) it’s like getting a concrete definition, a puzzle piece falling into place, that can you better understand yourself and 2) it opens the door to a lot of resources. Maybe less useful if you already have a job and are married, but stuff like Acces VR, different groups that provide help and assistance to people on the spectrum, etc.
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
561
There's apparently a monthly meetup for autistic adults in my city. First sunday of each month. I went and it was really relaxed. Everybody sat around a table and did their own thing, indulging in special interests, while also having quiet, calm conversation. They also had dim LEDs so the lighting would be sufficient but not overwhelming. It was the nicest thing I've ever been to. Only like 4 or 5 people but it was definitely worthwhile.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
Reminds me, my local bus service is doing a campaign for a similarly local autism charity this year. Was surprisingly pleasant to see, and I'm hopeful for the impact it might have.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
Double posting, but only came across this news today and it could be kind of a big deal:
New test can detect autism in children, scientists say

Researchers at the University of Warwick said the test, believed to be the first of its kind, could lead to earlier diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children who could then be given appropriate treatment much earlier in their lives.
Scientists said their research found a link between ASD and damage to proteins in blood plasma. They found the most reliable of the tests they developed was examining protein in blood plasma, which found children with ASD had higher levels of the oxidation marker dityrosine (DT) and certain sugar-modified compounds called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).

Genetic causes are thought to be responsible for about a third of cases of ASD, while the rest are believed to be caused by a combination of environmental factors, mutations, and rare genetic variants. However, researchers believe their new tests could reveal yet-to-be-identified causes of ASD.
The Warwick team worked with collaborators at the University of Bologna in Italy, who recruited 38 children who had been diagnosed with ASD along with a control group of 31 other children between the ages of five and 12. Blood and urine samples were taken from the children for analysis.

The Warwick team discovered there were chemical differences between the two groups. Working with a further collaborator at the University of Birmingham, the changes in multiple compounds were combined using artificial intelligence algorithm techniques to develop a mathematical equation to distinguish between ASD and healthy controls. The outcome was a diagnostic test better than any existing method.

They said the next steps were to repeat the study with further groups of children to confirm the good diagnostic performance and to assess if the test could identify ASD at very early stages, indicate how the ASD is likely to develop further to more severe disease, and assess if treatments were working.

The research was led by Naila Rabbani, reader of experimental systems biology at the University of Warwick, who said: “Our discovery could lead to earlier diagnosis and intervention. We hope the tests will also reveal new causative factors.
Worth stressing a few things here: Firstly, there will of course need to be more tests done with larger sample sizes to ensure this is consistently accurate, and also specific to ASD rather than a wider array of potential conditions. Secondly, what these people are not advocating for is a 'cure' in any sense; rather they are seeking to give a firmer ability to accurately diagnose people earlier in life, given that's so damned critical to ensuring we get support. I do fear this is what many would twist the results of such tests for, but that's not the scientists themselves intend.

Article itself is here:
https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13229-017-0183-3
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
561
I'm definitely skeptical of tests that can contribute to pinning down biological causes of autism. (I know that is not what this test looks for but it could be progress en route to such an identification) Very easy to abuse and use for eugenics. Hopefully we can get more people on our side and away from the messed up idea of "let's cure the autisms!" so that's less of a worry.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
It's at least less of a worry here in the UK (though not completely absent), because every major body I can think of emphasizes support and therapy for adjustment, rather than to cure; even my local cinema hosts autistic friendly screenings, which while being a good business practise, at least shows some consideration as well. It's in places like the US where I'd get worried about this - the Chris Packham documentary was eye opening for me on this - especially if the usual habit of chinese whispers in reporting occurs.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,483
I'm definitely skeptical of tests that can contribute to pinning down biological causes of autism. (I know that is not what this test looks for but it could be progress en route to such an identification) Very easy to abuse and use for eugenics. Hopefully we can get more people on our side and away from the messed up idea of "let's cure the autisms!" so that's less of a worry.
If it means more effective therapies for the physical symptoms and mitigation of some of the more severe sensory symptoms, I’m all for it. I’m not talking about changing who a person is, but rather helping people become more functional.

If there’s a chemical means of treating underlying causes directly so that people aren’t forced to muck around with antidepressants or stimulants to take the edge off symptoms, I’m all for it.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
If it means more effective therapies for the physical symptoms and mitigation of some of the more severe sensory symptoms, I’m all for it. I’m not talking about changing who a person is, but rather helping people become more functional.

If there’s a chemical means of treating underlying causes directly so that people aren’t forced to muck around with antidepressants or stimulants to take the edge off symptoms, I’m all for it.
You'll be wanting to keep an eye out on those suramin tests then. If it truly works, then while it's still not a cure, in the sense it does not seem to permanently alter a person's autistic nature (IIRC, test subjects reverted afterwards), it did appear to restore functionality to a degree mere stimulants would not. Of course, that also still needs to be recreated and further studied, and even the people making the report stressed that you shouldn't go out buying suramin as a treatment yet because holy shit you could easily overdose and die. But there are certainly some interesting developments to watch out for.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
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Ah, okay. Well, I very much try to be careful in my interactions with others, sometimes stumbling over myself in doing so. Some of it is learned from general parenting and picking up certain social habits by osmosis - my family shifted more and more firmly into the middle class as I grew up - but I also had support from CAMHS, and in particular, social skills lessons at my secondary school. See, they had a dedicated Asperger's Resource Centre, and so they used a slot in my timetable that would normally be a PSHE lesson to instead provide social skills studies, working through stuff like passive and aggressive tones, learning how to show interest, suff like that. It's hard to clearly say what the balance was in terms of influencing how I came out, but I think most of it had at least some impact.
 

Yunsen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,175
Whenever I’m about to do something I always go into deep thought about all the different scenarios and try to pick the one that will work out best. Like on here I start to type a reply to something and try working out the scenarios on how people would reply back. Most of the time I end up not posting at all because I realize it’ll lead to negative responses.
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
561
Yo I just got hired :o

Starting April 2nd I will be a Special Education Assistant at my old elementary school. Was able to successfully sell the idea that my being autistic/special needs makes me particularly qualified to work with and understand the needs of other special needs kids. So that's something to look forward to!
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
Okay, so, interesting experience I've gone through over the last few weeks.

I've gotten a job offer to work at Stonehenge - yay - but what I want to discuss is the application process itself. Turns out English Heritage is part of the Guaranteed Interview Scheme, which basically allows you to opt for a guaranteed interview if you should have a disability. Being autistic does qualify, but I had decided against opting for it when previously available, because I worried it would feel somehow... dishonest, given my disadvantages aren't physically limiting, or 'severe' in general. True enough, in the days that followed after it was confirmed I would have the interview, I was wracked with what I think was a bout of imposter syndrome - that I might not really 'deserve' the interview. Ended up asking the interviewer outright if they'd have given it to me, were it not for ticking that box. They said yes they would have, as my application was good, and that was reassuring to hear... But it does make me realise what a strange, double edged sword that can be. On the one hand it ensures we actually get a chance to best express ourselves, where an application online might be too tricky, but on the other... well, just laid out the whole issue there, I hope.

Edit: And congrats yourself Oni! I start April 3rd myself.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
Double posting because I am stupidly proud about this and need to cheer myself up after a moment:
 

Loona

Member
Oct 29, 2017
606
I've been paying a bit more attention to the topic recently, especially after listening through these and finding a lot of relatable stuff and practical advice I wish had been around in my school days:



That being said, no diagnosis here, and being at my upper 30s, it's hard to see much of a benefit to one since my formative years are mostly behind me - I do recall getting an EEG while I has in primary school (and to this day I wonder if thinking about Voltron to keep myself entertained while I had that thing on my head distorted any results), but apparently that doesn't make for much of a diagnostic tool on this matter,even if it was the 80s in Portugal, before a term like "Asperger's" had really caught on.

The more I read and hear about the topic the more the variety of individual issues come up, and at some point I wonder if perfectly normal variations in mindsets and intensity of perceptions are getting pathologized under an umbrella term that might fail to be of use to the variety of people under it and strain relations with those who aren't.
I mean, presentations like this one are interesting, but by the end it starts to sound kinda separatist - IIRC earlier in the presentation the presenter (who mentions being autistic) mentions the Wrong Planet forums, and I find myself wondering if that's a lingering ambition in places like that.
I don't know, I guess this brings up a lingering worry that getting enough people to feel like mutants and indirectly encouraging them to cluster together as a separate human variant, at some point might some might feel a drive to go Magneto... but perhaps this is catastrophizing a bit, but there are incidents like shootings and whatnot...

I mean, I certainly have trouble with the eye contact factor (it's like my mind basically locks up and/or something between my mind and ability to speak gets somewhat impaired at times), but if i were to mention another major issue I've had over the years is that of memory, which I have only very few times seen associated with the spectrum... well, and the term "executive function" keeps coming up, and that might be a thing... Out of my parents I'm the most similar to my dad, who's mostly on the side of introversion and sticking to his routine, but then again, even the years he has mentioned a dislike for places like shopping malls for being too bright and noisy, which comes to mind when the topic of sensory sensitivities come up in my recent research - and I can't help but wonder if that came from his mother, since she refused to go to the weddings of two of her grandsons, seeing how that kind of event can be kind of noisy and messy...

Given some of my traits, I can't help but wonder if if someone had given me a diagnosis in my earlier year s how different things would have been, mostly in my attitude toward things - I might feel more justified in refusing a few things and not trying some over the years, which might have been limiting. While I've have a lingering feeling over my younger years that people my age felt older, for example, constant exposure to regular society over the years kinda changes you and helps you to adapt, even if on some level you might feel like you're lagging behind.

It's been a lingering though in my mind for years that you can't overcome limits that you don't even touch, but touching your limits is almost invariably an uncomfortable, painful or sometimes humiliating experience - and I guess on that matter, a diagnosis of ASD might feel like a more solid, impassable wall, while growing up without such a diagnosis, even if some ASD factors are there, might be like more of a glass ceiling you don't see until you bump into it, and then decide if you want to keep trying to move past and how often (possibly based on how painful or embarrassing it was to bump into it the last few times).

I don't know... if I look at my life nowadays, it's still pretty weird that a few years ago I moved to another country (Netherlands - my Dutch still feels insufficient to say the least, and it doesn't help where every instance of the letter "g" sounds like a use of "h", makes it really hard to parse for me) for work, and in the same day was moving to a new job and house, a process I repeated in a smaller scale some months ago to a different city (Eindhoven, which curiously seems to have a Silicon-Valley-like reputation for ASD density in the country...).
Part of the reason of moving was that the job market wasn't in great shape in Portugal and a Dutch company got in touch with me (it is nice to feel wanted...), but part of it was that both my parents moved from their own towns from a place closer to the capital, where they eventually met, and I guess on some level I felt my own life was missing some big transition like that.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that considering how much I tend to internalize my perceived flaws, a diagnosis might have felt like something I would have used as a reason/excuse not to do things I expect to be hard for me. And I guess another reason would be pride, since on some level my parents' tendency to want to help when I was between jobs felt perhaps a bit more infantilizing than they actually were.

Still, the whole topic of ASD is interesting to me even if I question the reasons for a diagnosis (at least for my age or mindset I could imagine myself adopting from an earlier age) or even the methods (nothing reliably measurably on a physiological level, apparently, and the variety of possible issues makes me wonder how much of the diagnosis procedure falls into an "I know it when I see it" thing).
If nothing else, every once in a while one can find some interesting practical tips for dealing with stuff (assuming one can remember to put them in practice when it matters, that tends to be a bit of an issue with me).

I guess I'll keep an eye on this topic.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
4,113
The value of a diagnosis is that it gives you a framework. Part of the problem with something like ASD is that you can grow up so similar to those around you, but are just... off, in a few ways that proves isolating, and often disheartening. A diagnosis lets you make sense of yourself. The sort of self-imposed glass ceiling you refer to can occur, but then, internally it tends to occur anyway - indeed, autistic people are liable towards depression because they can get caught in a loop about their failures and inability to succeed - while more broadly a lot is dependent upon how a child is supported and raised. I am very fortunate in that I grew up in a community, from my parents to my schools, that worked very much on the basis of my autism being something to be accounted for, but not something to stop me. Meanwhile, my mother has horror stories of parents she's met and schools she's visited where they refused in any way to push an autistic child's boundaries - not even letting them go on field trips - because they didn't want the extra hassle. I am almost certain such children are going to struggle in future when it comes to things like getting a job, finding a place to live, and moving away from home.

With regards to your allusion to Magneto, I'm going to guess how you're referring to how many autistic people's rhetoric often veers into talk of 'being left alone' and 'not having non-autistic people make decisions for me'. This rhetoric almost certainly reflects a bad experience of growing up with autism; being belittled and abused for being out of place, and likely not even knowing why until adulthood, at which they can look back on all they shit they endured and pool it together in collective rage. Even if they do know from a young age, they may - especially in the US - proceed to have to dodge and endure attempts to 'cure' them of the condition, which as you might guess, can be quite traumatising, especially when it doesn't take. As a result, people develop such heavy rhetoric because when 'non-autistic people make decisions for them', it's not in the sense of whether or not they'll need a chaperone to their first big event, but whether or not they'll be subjected to harmful conditioning. At least here in the UK, the biggest organisation representing autistic people doesn't operate under the presumption that it's a disease where the big tragedy is apparently that of the parents who have to put up with us; the same cannot be said of the US.
 

Loona

Member
Oct 29, 2017
606
The value of a diagnosis is that it gives you a framework. Part of the problem with something like ASD is that you can grow up so similar to those around you, but are just... off, in a few ways that proves isolating, and often disheartening.
The feeling of acting somewhere in the uncanny valley of human interaction does come up at times, and can help feed into an unhealthy feedback loop of avoid such situations and the "verbal rustiness" that may follow not making things any better.

Which reminds me, something that may have helped a lot with the interview for the job I'm in right now was that before the interview proper, since the whole thing was set up by a recruitment agency, I spent some time talking with the recruiter before the interview with the actual people I'd be working under - that may have helped quite a bit to break the usual "verbal inertia" I can slip into (I don't think about it much, but I can end up several hours at a time during the day without saying a word if there's no real reason to), which normally might complicate this kind of situation.

A diagnosis lets you make sense of yourself. The sort of self-imposed glass ceiling you refer to can occur, but then, internally it tends to occur anyway - indeed, autistic people are liable towards depression because they can get caught in a loop about their failures and inability to succeed - while more broadly a lot is dependent upon how a child is supported and raised.
I guess in that sense a diagnosis might be handier in the younger years - after being out in the world for long enough, one eventually might get to notice a few recurring patterns and try to act on them, if only through choosing not to do certain things when possible.

Maybe it's my relative ignorance of procedures in psychology, but I tend to worry that the limited time of an appointment might not be enough to draw out all relevant elements from a person's life to make an accurate assessment of the situation, but maybe that's just me - over the years my memory has proved unreliable in bringing up all relevant elements on demand, kind of like how you may remember the answer to a test after you've actually turned it in, not during, and on some level I worry about the implication of something like that in a relatively consequent process like a diagnosis.

Meanwhile, my mother has horror stories of parents she's met and schools she's visited where they refused in any way to push an autistic child's boundaries - not even letting them go on field trips - because they didn't want the extra hassle. I am almost certain such children are going to struggle in future when it comes to things like getting a job, finding a place to live, and moving away from home.
Geez, and I worried about my mother not accepting help in the kitchen when making meals so I could try and learn something along the way...

With regards to your allusion to Magneto, I'm going to guess how you're referring to how many autistic people's rhetoric often veers into talk of 'being left alone' and 'not having non-autistic people make decisions for me'.
The reference was more akin to occasional references one sees to the spectrum as a sort of next stage in human evolution, distinction in the X-Men comics between homo sapiens and homo superior, and the occasional fondness for declaring deceased famous scientists as being on the spectrum.

I have this pet suspicion that's not so much a "next evolution" thing as it may be more of a general variant in mindset, not unlike how apparent the proportion of left-handed and gay people is supposed to be at around 10% - it's pretty common to see statistics mention about 1 out of about 68 people being on the spectrum, but it's so common to see people being described as shy or introverted that I can't help but wonder if that's basically the layman accepted take on it and if the percentages may be a bit higher...

And the "superior/scientist" thing might be overblowing the tendency for diving into certain kinds of "mental rabbit holes" - while for some it might indeed be the sciences, for several it might be something both complex and usually lacking practical use like minutia about sports history or 70 years of comic book lore.

That being said the more "algorithmic" side of the mindset can be handy at times even outside a topic of interest, although I'm sure it can be a great source of disappointment with how some things play out (say, certain election results that benefit someone better at acting like they know what they're talking about than at understanding the issues).
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
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I've... honestly never heard of anyone referring to it as the next stage in evolution. That's just... bizarre, especially given the indications that certain aspects of the condition may basically be the equivalent being stuck with the functions of a child (albeit stretching such to their absolute limits at times).
 

Loona

Member
Oct 29, 2017
606
I've... honestly never heard of anyone referring to it as the next stage in evolution. That's just... bizarre, especially given the indications that certain aspects of the condition may basically be the equivalent being stuck with the functions of a child (albeit stretching such to their absolute limits at times).
Maybe it's a fringe belief, but these sorts of things keep making their way to my YouTube suggestions: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=autism+evolution

The odd impression I keep getting is that the spectrum seems to have this double tendency of pulling the mind towards both a more "animal", pre/sub-verbal state, and an almost "machine-like" tendency toward algorithmic/analytical thinking - both of which create a bit of a distance from the more typical human mindset, so "divergence", if anything, might be a more appropriate term than "evolution", but who am I to say...
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Maybe it's a fringe belief, but these sorts of things keep making their way to my YouTube suggestions: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=autism+evolution

The odd impression I keep getting is that the spectrum seems to have this double tendency of pulling the mind towards both a more "animal", pre/sub-verbal state, and an almost "machine-like" tendency toward algorithmic/analytical thinking - both of which create a bit of a distance from the more typical human mindset, so "divergence", if anything, might be a more appropriate term than "evolution", but who am I to say...
Oh, it's divergence. Evolution would require it to become a consistent, hereditary state that would be passed from one generation to the next, but just because you're autistic does not mean your child will be. Moreover, 'evolution' does not mean superior - despite what fiction often implies - but just means a change, typically such that better enables survival, but as a tool building species, we've kinda kicked evolution in the balls for the last ten thousand years or so.

And well, the big thing for many autistic people that lends itself towards that supposed 'analytical thinking' is a tendency towards pattern recognition. This is why I was both great at maths for the first odd sixteen years of my life, but then fell apart around my A-Levels - because while I could handle the patterns for general algorithms just fine, special functions and equation as are needed in trigonometry never properly sank in for me. Meanwhile, I derive simple pleasure from how smoothly the outside of clothing labels glides over itself. This is part of why I am growing a bit fond of the comparison with child behaviours, because I find young children, as part of their development, are similarly geared towards a 'simplistic' understanding, but also towards pattern recognition, as such helps them in their development towards becoming more complex entities. A toddler so often does things just to prove they can be done, because they recognise there is something to be done.

Edit: Alternatively, because I find it very easy to explain neurodiversity in terms of Operating Systems, autism, if it isn't like linux, could be seen as being like Windows Safe Mode. Yeah, it functions broadly similar, but it's also much more focused on key essentials.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,056
Ireland
've been paying a bit more attention to the topic recently, especially after
The more I read and hear about the topic the more the variety of individual issues come up, and at some point I wonder if perfectly normal variations in mindsets and intensity of perceptions are getting pathologized under an umbrella term that might fail to be of use to the variety of people under it and strain relations with those who aren't.
I mean, presentations like this one are interesting, but by the end it starts to sound kinda separatist - IIRC earlier in the presentation the presenter (who mentions being autistic) mentions the Wrong Planet forums, and I find myself wondering if that's a lingering ambition in places like that.
I don't know, I guess this brings up a lingering worry that getting enough people to feel like mutants and indirectly encouraging them to cluster together as a separate human variant, at some point might some might feel a drive to go Magneto... but perhaps this is catastrophizing a bit, but there are incidents like shootings and whatnot...
You'll have to forgive me for not watching the linked presentation ("presentations like this one") due to time constraints, and there's a lot in the post so I'm only going to respond to a limited amount on my own view towards some of it.

Regarding the bolded, I think it's a legitimate question as to whether "perfectly normal variations in mindsets and intensity of perceptions are getting pathologized", but I certainly do not agree that it's likely to "fail to be of use to the variety of people under it and strain relations with those who aren't". The same question can also be asked of a lot of 'psychological disorders' which lack a biological test. For autism in particular, while a lot of the diagnostic criteria are things which most people will experience to some degree, what makes it diagnosable is the intensity of the 'symptoms' and the impact this has on somebody's quality of life (and their ability to live independently). In particular, a trait only becomes diagnostically relevant once it is causing (for the lowest severity level, without supports in place) "noticeable impairments" in social communication and behavioural traits cause "significant interference with functioning" in different contexts. The criteria necessitating the traits causing impairment in different contexts is what 'justifies' the pathologizing (to borrow the phrase), as it provides a recognition of impairments in multiple domains, just as other individuals who are impaired in certain areas are recognised, and people having impairments in the same areas with many of the same presenting 'symptoms' is what leads to the use of pathologizing it under one umbrella. If the need for an impact on one's life was not present, I would certainly be able to more strongly consider it perhaps being unnecessary (in the same way diagnosing 'those who enjoy football' with 'Football Mania' would be unnecessary) but the need for a certain level of severity in those traits is what makes me very much disagree. Similarly, these issues need to have presented themselves very early in childhood and been present throughout ones life.

If diagnosed young (or even while middle-aged), an individual with these impairments can receive access to services (therapy, speech therapy, ABA, occupational therapy) and supports (work accommodations [more relevant to older individuals], and education and exam accommodations) designed to increase functioning. These ensure that somebody who is impaired in certain areas can diminish the impact of this impairment (through assistance from trained professionals) as they move forward to increase the ability for one to live independently (with, or without, supports). Far from just being something that fails to be of use and puts strain on oneself and relationships, this can provide invaluable support in allowing one to work on difficulties (with professionals) and achieve their potential. I've never heard of one 'feeling like mutants' but people with a shared experience clustering together is hardly abnormal; people 'cluster together' all the time over shared experiences, whether it's individuals with cancer looking to reach out to others with the same type of cancer to share stories, or people with a common interest grouping together to talk about that interest (e.g. people predominantly interested in video games on a certain messaging board online), it doesn't need to be seen as something malicious or wrong for people with autism to want to interact with others with autism with whom they may be able to relate. I certainly don't think 'shootings and whatnot' is anywhere near a product of this.

Given some of my traits, I can't help but wonder if if someone had given me a diagnosis in my earlier year s how different things would have been, mostly in my attitude toward things - I might feel more justified in refusing a few things and not trying some over the years, which might have been limiting. While I've have a lingering feeling over my younger years that people my age felt older, for example, constant exposure to regular society over the years kinda changes you and helps you to adapt, even if on some level you might feel like you're lagging behind.

It's been a lingering though in my mind for years that you can't overcome limits that you don't even touch, but touching your limits is almost invariably an uncomfortable, painful or sometimes humiliating experience - and I guess on that matter, a diagnosis of ASD might feel like a more solid, impassable wall, while growing up without such a diagnosis, even if some ASD factors are there, might be like more of a glass ceiling you don't see until you bump into it, and then decide if you want to keep trying to move past and how often (possibly based on how painful or embarrassing it was to bump into it the last few times).

I don't know... if I look at my life nowadays, it's still pretty weird that a few years ago I moved to another country (Netherlands - my Dutch still feels insufficient to say the least, and it doesn't help where every instance of the letter "g" sounds like a use of "h", makes it really hard to parse for me) for work, and in the same day was moving to a new job and house, a process I repeated in a smaller scale some months ago to a different city (Eindhoven, which curiously seems to have a Silicon-Valley-like reputation for ASD density in the country...).
Part of the reason of moving was that the job market wasn't in great shape in Portugal and a Dutch company got in touch with me (it is nice to feel wanted...), but part of it was that both my parents moved from their own towns from a place closer to the capital, where they eventually met, and I guess on some level I felt my own life was missing some big transition like that.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that considering how much I tend to internalize my perceived flaws, a diagnosis might have felt like something I would have used as a reason/excuse not to do things I expect to be hard for me. And I guess another reason would be pride, since on some level my parents' tendency to want to help when I was between jobs felt perhaps a bit more infantilizing than they actually were.

Still, the whole topic of ASD is interesting to me even if I question the reasons for a diagnosis (at least for my age or mindset I could imagine myself adopting from an earlier age) or even the methods (nothing reliably measurably on a physiological level, apparently, and the variety of possible issues makes me wonder how much of the diagnosis procedure falls into an "I know it when I see it" thing).
If nothing else, every once in a while one can find some interesting practical tips for dealing with stuff (assuming one can remember to put them in practice when it matters, that tends to be a bit of an issue with me).

I guess I'll keep an eye on this topic.
It's possible with a diagnosis one might feel more justified in refusing a few things, but this isn't a product of just receiving a diagnosis, it's a product of attitudes. Receiving a diagnosis enables one to receive supports for impairments they may have in certain areas. This doesn't mean that one should simply 'give up'; they should should be worked on to reach a 'functional level' but also one must acknowledge them as obstacles that one may face, and that it is possible one will not be able to reach a 'competent level'. The reverse worry can also be had, that without a diagnosis repeated failure to deal with impairments (due to lack of support in place) can be discouraging to the extent that one simply 'gives up' and refuses to tackle them out of frustration. In the exact same way somebody (without a diagnosis) may encounter failure and simply 'give up' or accept it 'isn't for them' (e.g. people who simply state they 'aren't a maths person' and give up), some people may also see a diagnosis and accept obstacles are insurmountable; I don't think it's a diagnosis issue, it's n issue pertaining to social attitudes and ones upbringing as these will shape how one responds to having a diagnosis and views the difficulties they may face (in light of having one). Either way though, at least with a diagnosis, and with supports, there is a system in place so that one can function while working on difficulties, and there is an understanding of why these difficulties may seem more pronounced to the individual than the difficulties are to others.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
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Had a meeting with the site manager (as in, at Stonehenge) regarding occupational health. Ie, how I felt I was handling things with the new job, if I needed help, etc.

Would definitely say my issues lie less with the job itself, and the move I've had to make for the job. Always figured a shift away from my hometown to live by myself would be hard, but it's not even the concerns of making sure I have all I need that's getting to me - though they do add a little stress.

It's the quiet moments, really. Getting way too self-critical for my own good.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,491
Pulling a 10 hour shift at the pasta house on mother's day caused a day and half long anxiety attack. Hopefully I'm over it. But damn not being able to sleep sucked.
 
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JonnyDBrit

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Maybe. It would update more frequently I imagine, but at the same time I don't know exactly feel like I'd be readily able to moderate it, plus the thread here allows people to stumble across it if need be.
 

OniLinkPlus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
561
I'm doing well. Settled into my job nicely, got myself a bike recently. It's... weird being on the other side of at-school meltdowns. I had them as a kid, but now I'm a teacher trying to help out small autistic children going through the same thing.
 
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JonnyDBrit

JonnyDBrit

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Oct 25, 2017
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That's cropped up a few times where I am. Kids who are clearly eager to be there but also embarrassed, shy, and reluctant about engaging with things, with at least one being definitely confirmed on the spectrum. Fortunately, talking to them about the stones, answering their questions, etc, and simply feel rewarded for being there does seem to go a long way in bolstering their confidence and willingness to take part with family and classmates. Which in a weird way saddens me because people don't even realise how even that much can have an impact.
 

Yunsen

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,175
I'm not sure what's going on but I've been having trouble sitting still for a long time lately. I have a class 2 days a week that's 3 hours long and every time for like the last 3 weeks I've either left early or just not gone. Attendance isn't graded so it's not the worst thing but I feel bad leaving early so often.