A Conversation for Asperger's Syndrome

A spectrum

Post 1


Aspergers syndrome is used to describe a selection of language and social interaction capabilities, across a spectrum of expressions, that make the person appear to others to have one or several “out-of-phase” characteristics.

My contention is that the categorization of people into such a wide-ranging, sometimes-this-and-sometimes-that classification doesn’t always serve a beneficial purpose. Since there is no “cure” - only the possibility of a rising self-awareness - what's the point?

One can stop chewing one’s fingernails, or stop eating meat, or develop coping strategies when meeting people. But, for the "mild cases", we should be directing our attention to the characteristics that are causing social dysfunction. This is what we all can do, once a specific problem is brought to our consciousness. So why put a grand label on people’s forehead? If continuing social intervention is required, a label will help to maintain focus on that person’s requirements. Otherwise, why extend the scope out to capture every possible nuance?

Characteristics shown by each person arise out of a flowing, multi-dimensional matrix. Hard-wired genetic factors set the stage. Environmental inputs then either harden further predispositions, or deal various degrees of glancing blows to established tendencies. Then language comes into play like a whirlwind on the Sahara, pushing this way and that; re-forming, covering, baring, choking, and bringing occasional rain.

A person’s “personality” is a snapshot at some point in that on-going process.
To artificially pull out a few characteristics at one point and label a person “bi-polar” or “aspergers” or “autistic” or “attention-deficit” is to fall into the trap that language (that separate, sentient life form) has laid for us: Categorization.

Everything has to be Named. Otherwise, how does one refer to something unnamed? If it doesn’t have a noun, it is to be Feared (the default Name).

Imagine not “thinking” in Words. We call that dreaming.

Dreams may or may not be in colour – sometimes.
Dreams flow. And happen. And just “are”. To describe them is to throw them into the rock-solid confinement of not-dreams – Language.
Dreams may or may not follow “logic” (a reproducible series of [named] steps, one following the step of the previous one).
Dreams may be not applicable to conscious actions, or they may provide the “leap in logic” [leap over logic] that would not have been possible by following the currently known series of plodding steps in a process.
Nikola Tesla dreamed. In his dreams he SAW AC dynamos at work, powering AC multiphase motors.
But he was out of phase. The original “Mad Scientist” and Wizard of Oz with soirees attended by Mark Twain and JP Morgan and other lucky folk who sat in his residence in the Waldorf Astoria with Tesla coils sparking and motors whirring and Tesla holding one of his fluorescent tubes in his hands, all lit up and not connected to anything. Great matters were discussed at these soirees. But like a dream (although all these things happened) there was little or no translation into the life of real Words. So the soirees, like dreams, evaporated out of the historical stream of events. As did Tesla.
As may I.

Is this rambling a description of someone with a mild version of Aspergers? Does that make it invalid to the lives of those outside of that classification?

A spectrum

Post 2


I have heard the argument "Is it really helpful to label the condition?" before. It is a valid one. However, going on my own experience, the label can be helpful as well as harmful.

I have mild Asperger's Syndrome (AS) myself. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 18 years old, by which age I had mostly worked out how to play down my "eccentricities" and pass for normal. I hadn't had too bad a time at school and was about to take up a good university place. On the other hand, I was still very uncertain in complex social situations, often lonely, and found it difficult to make friends. I was often conscious of not knowing how to react to people and saying the wrong things. It seemed that everyone else had a secret code which I couldn't understand.

One day I was particularly depressed by this, and said to my mother that I felt like a Martian. She asked me if it would make me feel any better if there were other people like me and a name for the way I was feeling. I said yes, and she told me about AS.

She's a teacher, and had been told she was going to have a boy with AS in her class. She went away and read up on it, and quickly recognised my behaviour as symptomatic of AS - but she hadn't wanted to tell me before in case I felt "labelled".

Mum's diagnosis was confirmed by the Scottish Autism Society, and I have found it liberating. For a start, it's no longer "my fault" that I don't readily understand body language and facial expressions. You may call it an excuse - but I don't stop making an effort to react appropriately in social situations because I know I'm not very good at it. In fact, I try harder, because I know I'm not imagining the problem any more. I know what to watch out for, and I've got a lot better at certain things, such as eye contact.

Knowing I have AS has not changed my life for the worse in any way. It's been 7 years since I was diagnosed, and since then I've acquired two degrees, a job and a boyfriend to whom I'm getting married next year. I told him about the AS the day after we met six years ago, and it has never been a problem as far as he's concerned. Most days I don't even think about AS any more, because I have to a great extent been able to deal with it and coping has become automatic - but in order for that to happen, I had to know what I was dealing with.

A spectrum

Post 3

Beer Elf

smiley - smileysmiley - smiley It's lovely to hear how you're getting on, and makes me happy for my daughter's prospects. She's 17, we've been arguing for a diagnosis since she was 11. I went over (14 miles on public transport) to see the psychologist for what I thought was the last time, and he had forgotten all about the appointment!!smiley - sadface.. Still it's been this long one more week wouldnt hurt.
I worried about getting her diagnosed before, as I didn't want her to feel "labelled" or too different. However, she was bullied quite badly at Secondary School, which led to the School suggesting that she may have an AS disorder. We have all noticed that she has become less "different" as she gets older, as you mention, you now know thata you have to try that much harder than the rest of us..
Thanks for posting the message

A spectrum

Post 4

gobiefishy ... Stuck between the bookshelves at the library of (Hey kid get off of there!!) DOOOOOOOM!!!!!

Sparky, what lengths mothers go to to get answers for thier children! My son was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (no hyperactivity) in first grade but to me that diagnosis didn't seem to fit. Especially since he was never tested. My dh went into the Dr. and described his in-school behavior and that Dr prescribed a low dose ADD med. I pushed (I guess you would call it nagging-I don't argue very well) until 2 years later he saw a peds. neurologist and was diagnosed with Aspergers. However getting help for him at school has been a whole different set of problems. He is the child who would rather read a book on the playground than play ball and that is a BIG problem. In the school he was going to he was getting bullied incessantly. This year he is in a smaller school but is is closing in June. So back to the big, mean school again. He is 10 years old, I can't hold his hand and teach him how to say, "Can I play with you", "Did you watch the game last night?" These things just don't come naturally to him.
I am using the label presently to "push" the school he is going to in the fall to obtain him some counseling. No label=no help. So for me the label is useful. His old school told me, I don't see what you are worried about, his grades are the best in the school, he's probably the smartest kid in the district. But to me who cares if you are so smart but have no friends because you can't interact with anyone?

A spectrum

Post 5

Beer Elf

smiley - smiley What lengths wouldn't we go to? Sorry to hear about you and your son's dilemma, are there any other schools nearby? ( I'm not sure if you're in the UK!)

Isn't it disturbing how quickly Doctors medicate children?

A spectrum

Post 6

gobiefishy ... Stuck between the bookshelves at the library of (Hey kid get off of there!!) DOOOOOOOM!!!!!

My dh took him to the dr. (this looks funny now that I read it). I was more than annoyed, but my dh has the final word and this did seem to help the situation.
I live in the US and the dr. was like 80 years old. He was really great when our son (same one) had some bleeding problems (turns out he has a clotting problem called von Willibrands (sp)) but for this he was not hitting the mark.

We are having the meeting with the school in two days. Now my dh thinks "Oh just let him skip a grade, the kids will be more mature and he will be too buzy trying to keep up with the work to have any trouble with anyone." I'm so against this I'm having headaches and hoping he (dh) won't make it to the meeting. (HA HA)

A spectrum

Post 7

Galaxy Babe - eclectic editor

smiley - book

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