Category Archives: diagnosis

Diagnostic Criteria for Neurotypical Spectrum Disorder

Are you or is someone you know hyper social? It could be Neurotypical Spectrum Disorder.Read below to find out more and follow #NTDiagnosis

Neurotypical Spectrum Disorder           999.00 (F97.0)

Diagnostic Criteria

A.      Persistent over-activity in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts.

1.       Insistence on social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from constant social approach and early adaptation of back-and-forth conversation; to encourage sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to a constant seeking to initiate or respond in social interactions.

2.       Over awareness of nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to eye contact and body language or overestimation in understanding and use of gestures.

3.       Early onset in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from ease adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; may engage in sharing imaginative play, easily make friends without assistance. Also may show an over interest in peers.

Specify current severity:

Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 2).

B.      Enjoys a wide range of interests, or activities, with a difficulty focusing on one task through completion, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):

1.       Lack of repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

2.       Insistence on variance and flexibility, dislike of routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., no distress at small changes, ease with transitions, lose thinking patterns, aversion to rituals, need to take new route or eat different food every day).

3.       Highly flexible, fluid interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, weak attachment to or preoccupation with others and socializing).

4.       Hyporeactivity to sensory input or lack of interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, indifferent response to nature, specific sounds or textures, lack of interest in smelling or touching of objects, shows no visual fascination with lights or movement).

Specify current severity:

Severity is based excursiveness of of social communication and fluid, overly flexible patterns of behavior (see Table 2).

C.      Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).

D.      Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.

E.       These disturbances are not better explained by other disabilities or illnesses.

Note: Individuals with a well-established DSM-VIII diagnosis of Communitive disorder, Socialem’s disorder, or other hyper-social disorder not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of Neurotypical spectrum disorder.

 

 

How would an Aspie diagnose a “Neurotypical” person if the tables were turned. Just for fun. I hope this peace bring thoughts and a smile. It is not intended to be offensive in any way.

With Love,

“Anna”

Autism or Asperger’s?

Autism or Asperger’s which is it? Well that depends on where & when you were/are diagnosed.

In 2013 the US made a switch to the DSM-5. The medical coldness and pathology in this document still makes my skin crawl. It is so negative and one-sided. I wish for every bad thing they listed they could add some of the skills that you can look for and encourage in Autistic children.

Other countries use other similar diagnostic manuals.

This switch has caused a great deal of confusion because of the way it eliminated Asperger’s, lumping it into the Autism Spectrum.

Now in the US, depending on when you were diagnosed, there is no Asperger’s – we are all Autistic. Random Aspie fact – some people diagnosed pre 2013 with Asperger’s choose to say they have Asperger’s and others choose to tell people they are Autistic.

People were starting to understand Asperger’s as nerds but the new Autism terminology carries a totally different set of stereotypes and stigmas. Before when you told someone you had Asperger’s they could almost accept it sometimes.

Now if you tell them you are Autistic they immediately doubt you (only because they do not understand what Autism really is).

Going by the old diagnostic manual I would have Asperger’s because I was practically born reading and speaking (despite not knowing what I was even saying half the time). Fairly classic, a child lost in her own world of things and thoughts.

I had a fragile appearance and a cold serious blank face. Somehow my relaxed face always prompted people to ask me if I was alright. Apparently I appeared uncomfortable. I’ve since learned to match my face better to the situation.

When asked about topics of interest I could ramble on about them endlessly. My grandparents thought I was cute and my mother thought I was a wise ass. I was a “smart kid who didn’t try hard enough”.

Nobody noticed my invisible struggles, my sensory sensitivities, my poor coordination, lack of organization, and troubles making friends. The social things always were dismissed as long as I kept everything else in line. I was “too smart” and “lazy” and a million other names.

Only a few years ago did I solve the mystery – I first learned about Autism – really learned about it and understood what it was. I’d heard about Autism before but only in a very medical way. Hearing my life like this did not set off any alarms.

What shook me awake before and after my diagnosis were the voices of other Aspies on the internet and in books. Reading things from their perspectives was like reading things from my own perspective. Things I thought were unique struggles to me are very common Aspie troubles.

This is why I encourage every one of you to write and share your stories – because people NEED to hear them. If the Aspies before me had not done the work to share their Autism stories I would still be lost and this blog would not exist.

These little ripples can turn into big waves. Make waves. You are not alone.

It doesn’t matter to me if I’m Autistic or Asperger’s. We’re all in this together and regardless of our labels do share many of the same experiences.

Our Physicians Don’t Know Autism

I can hardly believe the ignorance that is out there. In the world in the medical field. You would think that people who practice medicine and see people every day would know more than the stereotypes of Autism.

When you go to a medical professional you hope they will understand your medical conditions not doubt them.

I’m seeing a new physician – for me this is a very stressful change. It is a new person, I am driving to a new place, they have new procedures. Being in that office with that florescent white light burning my brain is hard.

My heart is pounding and I want to run out, so I close my eyes and count my breaths. I focus on the feelings in my lungs and the darkness until I am calm. There are several moments where I must do this through the examination.

At the end I mention my Autism, expecting for her to simply add it to the chart.

I handed over the wrinkled and folded diagnosis paper that I keep on hand for emergencies if I cannot talk. Already I could tell she was questioning it’s validity. “I’m surprised she put you on the spectrum” her overly friendly and patronizing tone was something that even I could pick up on.

There was so much I wanted to tell her. Desperately wishing to educate her – I was paralyzed by her doubt. This is a medical professional before me – if SHE doesn’t know we are all in trouble.

I wish I had said more but I was now trying not to cry.

I told her that I keep most things to myself and that growing up feeling different on the inside (but not knowing why) teaches you to hide everything that is strange about you. You begin to fear your own uniqueness. So you learn to hide everything that is different about you.

You learn to blend in as a survival tool.  All my mess is on the inside.

We need more education. If our medical professionals are still stuck on the stereotypes no wonder there are so many misdiagnoses out there and so many Autistic girls being missed.

Autistic women do not follow the male Autistic stereotype – and honestly not all autistic men follow it either.

This is a big problem. Where do we even start?

#SheCantBeAutistic #AcutallyAutistic #AutismAwareness #AutismAcceptance #AnonymouslyAutistic

“You’re Obsessed with Autism”

“You’re obsessed with your Autism. Ever since your diagnosis you talk about it all the time. You never spoke about these problems before.”

Keep in mind NONE of these people know about my blog. Imagine how obsessed they would think I was if they knew I had an Autism blog and contributed to a popular disability website. These are things that certain people will never understand.

I want to help. People should not have to suffer in silence.

I never know what to say in face to face conversations with friends and loved ones who doubt.

Finally after years of suffering in silence I am talking, speaking up and trying to speak out. Face to face the words never come.

My entire life I was “sick”. Doctors could not find anything physically wrong with me. They told my mother it was all in my head and that I needed to toughen up.

Finally I have an answer. The truth – and it feels liberating.

As a child I was tired of being looked at like I was crazy and told that I complained too much so I stopped complaining.  Nobody believed me anyway.

Just because I stopped talking about my discomfort does not mean it went away.

I still lived with constant headaches, nausea, and even physical pain – the more severe symptoms of my Sensory Processing Disorder. Before I would suffer, pretending everything was alright, smiling through the pain.

“You used to be such a positive person.”

Now that I advocate for myself and speak up with I am uncomfortable or not feeling well I am a “negative person”.

Why does this stigma still exist? I’m not trying to be negative, I’m sharing my world with you or asking for help.

Nobody wants to know how you are really feeling.

People have accused me of using my diagnosis to get out of things, but really the things I try to get away from now are things that have caused me pain my entire life.

People can be down right nasty when you try to paint Autism in a positive light. They feel as if you are dismissing their struggle, but I feel like there is already enough information on the internet talking about all the hardships and problems. If you don’t know where to look that is all you’ll find.

My diagnosis is a little paper that says “You’re not crazy – yes your body does have a mind of it’s own. Love yourself.” I chose not to get hung up on the negative and try to always focus on the positive.

“Anna is an exceptionally bright woman on the Autism Spectrum she suffers from [. . .] ” Let’s not worry about the list that comes next. I can’t live my life drowning in negativity.

I’m not a special snowflake. I am just a girl trying to live an authentic life while loving and accepting herself – Autism and all.

 

Dear Beautiful – A Letter to the Newly Diagnosed (Autistic)

Dear Beautiful,

Congratulations on finally discovering the truth. I just want to remind you that you are amazing.

I hope your doctor sat you down and told you that this diagnosis does not make you broken. Mine pointed out that a lot of my skills come from being Autistic.

May this information bring you more self compassion, as you learn to respect your limits. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to do things for yourself. Make your own miracles.

Autism is forever. Accepting this fact will bring you peace of mind. Be empowered by this information. Don’t let it break you.

You can let the finality of this diagnosis knock you down. You can get torn up over why it took so long o find the truth OR you can get up and own it.

Focus on and grow your strengths. Do what you love with all your heart even if it doesn’t make you money. If you can turn something you love into a career – even better.

Learn your weaknesses but don’t fixate on what you can’t do. Have self compassion, be kind to yourself and respect your limits.

Read articles by other positive and encouraging Aspies online. The  online Autistic community is amazing and supportive. If you have a question, somebody out there has your answer.

The world needs all kinds of minds. We are unique, but not unlike Einstein, Tesla, Mozart, and many other artists and thinkers who came before us.

Most of all – don’t be ashamed of who you are. Think different – it is your greatest strength.

With Love,

“Anna”

Anonymously Autistic

 

 

Gender stereotypes have made us horrible at recognizing autism in women and girls — Quartz

Just reshaping something from my news feed because the following is a statement that I could not possibly agree more with. Please see the full article using the link below. 🙂

I would LOVE to know what my wonderful readers have to say on this topic. Let’s chat in the comments section.

via Gender stereotypes have made us horrible at recognizing autism in women and girls — Quartz

In August, the National Autistic Society called on medical professionals to change the way they diagnose women and girls with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Ever since the term autism was first coined by Hans Asperger in 1944, it has remained predominantly, if anecdotally, associated with men and boys. As a result, women with the condition may be being overlooked, even […]

via Gender stereotypes have made us horrible at recognizing autism in women and girls — Quartz

Journey to Adult Autism Diagnosis – Baby Robot

I discovered another YouTube Aspie today. I can NOT tell you how excited I get every time I find a video of an Autistic person sharing their own stories and point of view.

Baby Robot talks about what lead her to eventually being diagnosed at the age of 29.

I searched and searched and was unable to find a reasonable number to represent the average age that women and girls are diagnosed with Autism, but most of the stories online that come FROM other Autistic women seem to be in the middle of a life transition.

Some Autistic women may not be diagnosed until MUCH later in life while others are diagnosed in their mid to late twenties. When our struggles can no longer be hidden from the world we are forced out, labeled and identified.

Finally after years of wondering, we are diagnosed.

I can take NO credit for Baby Robot‘s video. Please check her out on YouTube and subscribe to her channel for more great content. She is a rock star and I will be following along with her adventures.

Social Anxiety & Late Diagnosis – Mental Health Week

How being diagnosed later in life can lead to mental illness.

In honor of mental health week I am going to talk about some of the darker corners of my mind.

My social anxiety grew out of repeated failures, confusing social interactions, and a life time of feeling out of sync with the rest of the world. It is the words of doubt – self questioning every interaction.

Did I say something offensive? Is she making a face? I can’t tell. (I have face blindness.) Shit! – Round and round in my head. So much work navigating interactions that others find pleasurable. I’m happiest at home with my husband and a good book.

In my teen years I learned to blend in with others around me by mimicking their behavior. I didn’t fit in naturally, but shallow teenagers were easy to copy.

Unfortunately adult humans are much more complicated and subtle. Non verbal communication skills are valued in society and employers want fast talkers who can read between the lines. I can’t do either of those things without great effort.

I don’t come off as smooth and slick in casual conversation. Often I play the fly on the wall in large group settings. It’s easier than talking and lets me pay more attention to the people around me (assuming the room is not too loud for me to focus).

Being put on the spot in an office meeting will cause me more stress than most people because words stop flowing ineligibly any time I am put under pressure or asked to speak spontaneously.

Naturally I am unfiltered, however, I have learned to cautiously monitor everything I say in certain environments (mostly at work). My opinions and humor tend to be a bit beyond what is culturally acceptable / office appropriate. Starting controversy in the office is not my goal.

Social Filter V1.0

When I was a young undiagnosed Autistic woman, who did not care what other people thought of her, I was happy. I offended people constantly and often had no idea. If I ticked someone off bad enough they would blow up at me and I would dismiss them as being an ass or too sensitive. People who could not handle me were kicked out of my life.

Burning bridges does not work in the adult world. If you want to get a good job you have to learn to play nice and “have good manners”.

Social Filter V2.0

When I was young and learning to hide behind a social filter it was easy to copy my peers. All I had to do was “hold all my weird in”. Social Filter V1.0 was fairly basic.

As an adult, developing new social coping strategies, more and more rules were added to my social program. Every time I have a social blunder I make a rule. There are so many rules in my head about socializing that it is difficult to filter through all of them in every social situation.

It’s a workaround, a patch designed to help my computer keep up with computers that were built for socializing. My brain was not meant to work this way, so it is running hot and fatigued, but somehow I am getting by.

Running Social Filter V2.0 on my computer is like trying to run Windows 10 on a computer built for Windows 95. The hardware was not made to handle so much data so quickly. I’m working overtime and still not keeping up with the expectations that society has for me as an “exceptionally bright young woman”.

Why can’t I just be normal? Why can’t I hold a conversation? What’s wrong with me? Am I antisocial? Why doesn’t my memory work? – Questions in my head before my late Autism Diagnosis.

The constant failures caused my self esteem to fall. I began to hide myself from the outside world. So bright but so rude. You should know better. – people would say. My best never seemed good enough.

Eventually a computer that was running happily with Social Filter V1.0 became overloaded and crashed due to the more complex Social Filter V2.0 software.

Suffering from Autistic Burnout, tired from constant unexplained social blunders, and feeling completely insecure, defective, and sick –  fearing the worst, and afraid of my own mind, finally I ended up speaking to a Psychologist.

What happened?

I ended up with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, started reading blogs and watching videos by other Autistic people online and eventually started my own blog and began virtually networking with other Autistic people.

Knowledge is power. Now that I know I am Autistic I don’t have to try and hide my little quirks. I do keep things to a minimum at the office, mostly for my own privacy.

Social Filter V3.0 is working well. I’ve designed to work in harmony with my brain. I keep stim toys in my hands and don’t try as hard to talk unless I feel like it. I wear hats and shades indoors. Sometimes I use ear plugs if I need a sound break.

I am kind to myself and explain Sensory Processing Disorder when appropriate. I speak up if I am confused and laugh at myself if I make a mistake. I forgive myself and accept myself. Other than trying to be kind to others, I try not to have a filter. That is Social Filter V3.0.

This filter, made out of self love and knowledge, will allow me to defeat my social anxiety. Now that I know I have nothing to be ashamed of. If only I had found this information years earlier – perhaps I never would have developed social anxiety.

This is why we need awareness – but not just awareness. We need understanding and acceptance. Being aware of something and having compassion for someone are two different things.

Remember that this week as we write about Mental Health Awareness.

#WorldMentalHealthDay #invisibledisability #Glitch #mentalhealth #iamwhole#WMHD

 

This post also can be found on The Mighty here.

Anonymously Autistic on The Mighty!

There are still moments where I am in disbelief every time my writing reaches more people. When I started this blog I had no idea how many people I would touch. Every day more people reach out and I make more connections in our online Autism community. I am truly humbled over and over again.

Yesterday two of my most popular blog posts were featured on the popular website The Mighty. I am excited that I might be able to help more people understand and live happier lives with Autism.

Always greet the little things with gratitude. Today I am grateful to have been published on one of my favorite websites. I am looking forward to growing with this new community.

 

Anonymously Autistic on The Mighty 

What Does Autism and Sensory Overload Feel Like? on The Mighty

 Am I Ready for an Autism Diagnosis? on The Mighty

 

Original posts on Anonymously Autistic

What Does Autism Feel Like? 

Am I Ready for An Autism Diagnosis?

 

Autistic People Pretending to be Normal – Anonymously Autistic

There is something that is known among adults in the online Autism communities – society expects Autistic people to blend in. We live in a world where being different is not always welcomed.

People don’t understand Autism and naturally fear what they do not understand. I can not blame or grudge these people. They are acting on instinct by excluding what is not the same.

Many introverts can relate to this struggle as society tends to dote on extroverted and social people.

If you read definitions of the words introvert online and in books you will find the qualities described in a negative and often pathological way most of the time. “Reclusive, self-centered, loner.”

The definitions of the word extrovert are almost always more positive.  “Social butterfly, energetic, group-minded.”

What is an introverted, socially awkward Aspie to do?

Passing – an Autistic person who is trying to blend in and pass off as neurotypical.

Many Autistic adults, especially those who are not diagnosed until later in life, have grown up with a sense of shame for their “autistic-ness”. Early on we learn that kids will be mean and tease us if we flap our hands or act too strange.

Fear of bullies is often the first thing that causes us to turn inward. Autistic children are often bullied, mental and physical abuse from our peers is common and due to our language and communication difficulties we often do not tell adults.

We may not really understand what is being done to us and feel as if our peers are unpredictable, irrational, and dangerous.

We learn to blend in – blend in or be beat down. Our vicious peers teach us that our quirks will not be tolerated. Teachers tell us “quiet hands, sit still, you cannot wear sunglasses, or hats in the classroom”.

As children many of us are sick or uncomfortable but learn to suffer in silence.

It is hard for us to explain the unpleasant sensations in our bodies. My eyes burned from light so I told my mother I had a head ache. I took a lot of baby aspirin for no reason when I was little.

Once I remember telling a school nurse that I feel like I will throw up in the next hour if I don’t go home. She looked at me like I was crazy and told me that it was impossible for me to know that. She made me go back to class where I later threw up.

She did not understand that I was trying to tell her that I was getting close to the point of sensory overload and when I get to that overload I start throwing up. I was undiagnosed.

To her I was a child trying to get out of class. This happened to me several times a week and the school nurse insisted to my mother that I was somehow making myself sick to miss school.

People told me and my family that I was lying or making things up. Nobody understood, believed, or wanted to help me. I was dismissed.

Speaking up was not helpful and sometimes when I did people looked at me like I was crazy, so eventually I stopped.

With no other options I began to pretend to be normal but blending in has it’s dangers. If people spend enough time with me, they figure out that I am “unique”. In professional settings it takes all of my concentration to hold my “autistic-ness” in.

The offensive “compliment” – “You hide your Autism well” has been given to me in the past and ever since I have been greatly disturbed.

Why should I have to hide my Autism? Is it something that I should be ashamed of? I love who I am and would never want to change that even if I could. Hiding… in the closet as if there is something wrong with the way I was born.

Passing is not even good for your mental health. It teaches us to have shame in who we are. It gives a message that we are not good enough.

Passing takes up so much of an Autistic person’s limited social energy that we go home and have sensory meltdowns the minute we can be alone. When I was a child – and even now with work – I could hold things together through the school day but would come home and fall apart.

If an Autistic person is focusing on passing they are tense, working brain muscles that are not very strong, and are not relaxed. Imagine if you were tense and wound up for 8 to 10 hours straight. How would you feel when you got home?

Eventually this can lead to a total implosion, breakdown, or possibly – when we are having extreme difficulties keeping up with everyone’s expectations of us – a diagnosis.

I have to write everything down because my working memory is not great – but my long term memory is forever. I need to be alone. I need to stim. I need to wear hats and sunglasses indoors.

I need to avoid bright lights like Gizmo from Gremlins (and sometimes may exclaim “Bright lights!” in a Gizmo voice the instant a bright light stings my eyes and brain).

Even my humor is not understood or appreciated by most people. Not wanting to be thought of as a “childish” I often keep my fun comments to myself so people never get to know the real fun and silly me.

The modern social world is not built for us – but we are expected to fit into it like a puzzle piece. I am not a puzzle. I am a human, an Aspie. I’m not like you and shouldn’t have to be.

Trying to fake it is detrimental to my health and I can’t do it anymore.

#anonymouslyautistic #shecantbeautistic #actuallyautistic