Well I'm not a doctor, of course, but I've done more research than you can imagine on the subject. So much that I've exasperated myself on the topic
and moved on to other things, but one of my goals is to spread accurate information to people on the subject. There is so much ignorance surrounding
it, even from people I know personally. Anyway, that's the point of this site right, deny ignorance.
I would definitely say those are all things that I experience in relation to AS. It is statistically true that those who go undiagnosed may have a
higher rate of depression and anxiety disorders as a result. Also, a lot of other things can coexist with the AS, such as learning disabilities like
dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia (which I have, it's basically being clinically clumsy, it's common for the whole spectrum).
There is also something called auditory processing disorder which can be a major component of AS, the simplest way I can put it is that it's a problem
processing spoken words and speech in your brain. It is not a "hearing" problem, or anything to do with the ears. It is how your brain transfers the
speech into sense in your head. I have it, and it's basically the worst part of the whole thing, or what gives me the most difficulties. It could be a
lot easier to hold conversations with unfamiliar people if it weren't for the auditory processing issue. It is like I hear the words but they come
into my brain in a mixed up order, not allowing me to make sense of it and respond appropriately. You could call it "auditory dyslexia" even. Not
everyone has this part of AS though, just as not everyone will have the added learning disabilities above. Each case is so unique. There is a saying,
"If you've met one person with autism, then you've met one person with autism."
Other common things that go hand in hand with AS are ADHD and OCD. You can have either and also have AS. AS also can mock OCD or ADHD in many ways so
it can be hard to differentiate. In girls mostly, eating disorders like anorexia and such can be a common co-morbid disorder.
A lot of people, especially adults since AS is a rather new diagnosis, go undiagnosed for a long time or get misdiagnosed as social anxiety, OCD,
ADHD, etc, as a child, until someone realizes the problem goes deeper than that.
YouCanCallMeKM, it's funny you mention all the stuff you did, I am interested in the same things and the people I know don't really care about the
topics, at all.
So I try not to talk about the topics with people, don't want to seem annoying with it or anything. But, I love theoretical physics
and cosmology and especially string theory, it could definitely qualify as one of my typical AS obsessions. I was obsessed with astronomy, dinosaurs,
fossils, Einstein, physics, the weather, Egyptology, and other seemingly odd things for a small child to care about. I'm also hyperlexic (think
reverse dyslexia, I read too fast for my own good, I read very early but gained little meaning from the reading, but it stopped being a problem with
age), so I read nonstop as a child, and now as an adult. If you guys have AS, then you will probably have had some unique interests and tendancies as
As for now though, I'm also into philosophy even if it might be dead, and in my professional life I'm an artist and photographer. I've always been
very into anthropology and archaeology, so I minored in cultural studies. I would say my education/career choices are directly linked to my AS,
because I couldn't ever be successful at something if I didn't absolutely love it and have a passion for it. I can't concentrate on anything I'm not
passionate about. Call it selective learning if you will, but it's just like my brain will open for some things, and not others, and I don't have much
of a choice in the matter.
People with AS are known for their need for ritual, like daily patterns of things, they can be rigorous in their ways. As children people with AS can
be upset by sudden changes in routine, needing to meet new people, or go to an unfamiliar place. As adults, you might have a certain daily pattern you
need to follow. I think I'm kind of lax in that area though, I'm pretty flexible unless it comes to social situations with strangers. My
ritualistic-ness basically extends to the fact that I'm either always reading (learning), creating something, or listening to music on my free time.
I also smoke though, which can be bad in AS, lol, because you become so psychologically addicted to it, even if you aren't physically addicted. I
could stop smoking anytime, honestly, but I just can't give up that part of my daily routine. It keeps me grounded, it's probably going to kill me,
but in the meantime it keeps me grounded and keeps anxiety at bay.
When I'm thinking too hard, or when I'm on the phone or something, I pace. I pace way too much. But it calms me, so who cares? It just sucks because
it's too easy to chain smoke when you are so deep in thought, or pacing, or whatever. I need to start like a quit smoking group specifically for
people with AS or something, it's a much harder obstacle than it would be for someone without AS I think, because of the routine thing.
As for the static in your head, or losing ideas and "aha" moments, I know what you guys mean. Like I said before, AS can cause organizational
problems, even in your thinking. It can also effect short term memory. That is one of the reasons it mocks ADHD. When your mind is working so hard
like that, thinking of so many things at once, your ideas can get jumbled. People often say those with AS are in "their own little world." It is very
Another aspect of AS that can effect thought clarity though, is sensory problems. People with AS and all autism spectrum disorders have sensory
integration issues. This can vary so, so widely between people, but no matter what the sensory issue will affect your ability to pay attention. That
is the difference between ADHD and AS, ADHD people get distracted for different reason, people with AS often get distracted by their senses alone.
Some examples would be hearing everything too loudly, not having any sort of hearing filter meaning that every sound around you sounds equally loud.
Or having under sensitive hearing. (Personally, I have hypersensitive hearing, I can hear electronics and lights buzzing, the TV turning off and on or
changing channels across the house, I know when a phone is going to ring by hearing the phone make a sound beforehand, superstores and malls give me
major sensory overload from all the noise and fluorescent lights, gives me migraines, panic attacks, makes me sick even, etc) Other sensory things are
with clothing or textures, you may not be able to stand certain fabrics, it may even feel like it hurts or shocks you. People have sensitivity to
light, where bright light hurts them. There is taste issues where you can feel sick from certain tastes or even gag or throw up. There is also touch
sensitivities, and in a child they might seem to always touch their face or chew on things, etc.
Another common thing would be "stimming", which is basically fidgeting or stereotypical movement, but kids with AS will do it a lot more than adults.
More severe autism might include more rocking, spinning, hand flapping, walking on your toes, in kids. Some kids will line up all their toys or
organize them a certain way but not play with them. Kids with AS, especially boys, like to order things in categories, like by shape or color or
texture. It can seem to an outsider that there is no order or point, but to the child there is a huge point. It can even extend to watching the same
movie or show over and over, listening to the same song repeatedly, stuff like that. It can be as simple as carrying around a small toy just to touch
or fidget with it, not to play with it. As a kid I'd always pick up rocks and have rocks in my pocket because I liked the way they felt, for example.
It seems silly but it is an autistic persons way of calming their brain down from over stimulation, calming their senses from an overload, or just
trying to focus. Like how a person taps their pen or shakes their foot when sitting. It's kind of something you grow out of a bit, though I'd argue to
say my smoking and pacing are somewhat my adult version of "stimming".
One word of advice if you want to try to remember the things you think about, always try to write them down. Writing and lists can be AS's best
friend. I make so many lists it isn't even funny. I would be so disorganized without these lists. I have a notebook set aside just to write down any
possible good ideas I have whether it be random, or having to do with work, etc.
So I guess my point here after writing this novel for you guys, is that people can certainly unknowingly have AS. It is easy to hide the deficits of
having it, it's very possible to learn how to act and blend in with society so as to not stand out. I'd say 90% of my social interactions are
pre-scripted or acted. Girls (boys have a harder time blending in, the experts say, which is why it's more prevalent in boys, girls go undiagnosed and
unnoticed more often) with AS make the best actors, lol. Girls and boys both with AS can go unnoticed simply because they appear too intelligent or
gifted. Even some misinformed doctors have the misconception that people with autism have to lack intelligence, it's ridiculous. I was put in a gifted
program early on and everyone ignored my oddities because of it, I often wonder if things wouldn't have been better if I wasn't pegged gifted so early
on. It fostered my interests, being in the gifted program, but it also led people to discount my shortcomings which led to my developing an anxiety
disorder at a very young age.
It can be hard to diagnose because of all the similar disorders, especially in adults, but if you think if would benefit you in any way then I would
look into it for sure. They are actually revising the new DSM book that is coming out in 2013, to make autism spectrum disorders more organized, and
AS won't be a separate diagnosis anymore, it will be a subtype of autism. But, just don't let anyone deter you from your interests and it's all good.
I think the world needs a few people who think too hard about what "normal" people deem nonsense. If we all thought exactly the same the world would
be pretty boring.
edit on 11/27/2010 by SpaceJ because: (no reason given)