Tag Archives: diagnosis

Questioning the Current Autism Spectrum Model – Guest Blog

This is not the first time I’m featuring ‘s work her on my blog. If you missed her last guest post My Meltdown (a Poem) please check it out. My dear friends has some amazing insight and describes in detail her feeling during a meltdown.

 

In this latest, thought provoking, feature  discusses the Autism Spectrum Model. Please check out the original post here. I strongly encourage you to subscribe and follow  for more great content and thought provoking works.

 

(The feature image is MY Aspie quiz result not ‘s)

Color wheel. Concept: Autism Spectrum

Can an autistic person be both high and low functioning?
Is this even the right question to ask?
I’ve heard the term “high-functioning” and “low-functioning” used for autism for nearly two decades, when I was first diagnosed.
I am not offended by the terms, but confused by them.
What is in question? IQ? EQ? verbal and social skills? How about coping with co-morbids and sensory processing disorder?
The autism spectrum is often seen as linear, with low on one end and high on the other.
This is one dimensional and I think, misleading.
I read Rebecca Burgess’ insightful article on The Mighty , illustrating the autism spectrum as a color wheel using a sweet and insightful character named Artie. I highly recommend clicking on the link and reading the link as it will better help you understand what I am about to say.
My IQ has been tested in adulthood twice. Each time, I scored 110, considered a B+ grade. Intellectually, I could say I’m high-functioning.
I can speak, though I sometimes have to stop and think about what I have to say or wind up repeating words while I try and think about what ones I want to use. I do well with writing/typing. It is premeditated. No one is waiting on my response. I can communicate on a deeper, philosophical and emotional level. I could say that I am high functioning verbally and moderately functioning with communication.
When it comes to sensory processing disorder, I don’t know. I don’t have many issues with sight, smell, or taste. I have a little trouble with spatial ability, especially in tight spaces or 90 degree angles. That means I bump into a lot of stuff.
Most of what I call “severe” comes from my auditory processing. I am hearing sounds louder than most.
In early grade school, the people that gave the hearing tests to kids remarked at how I could hear both high and low pitch sounds at very low volume. I screamed when the scratchy records were played. I have hated classical music all of my life due to the sudden changes in pitch and volume. I cannot be around small kids crying. I often played on the edges of the playground as a girl. I couldn’t handle the doorbell until I was in my tween years. Dogs barking, neighborhood fireworks, car horns all caused extreme startle (moro reflex) and automatic meltdowns.
My auditory processing worsened in my teens along with my body’s ability to regulate hot and cold. The only sound that became manageable was the doorbell.
Sensory speaking, the auditory part excludes me from so much of what life entails: socialization, employment, community service, that I would not be exaggerating to call myself severe.
I do not drive a car due to the fact my mind cannot process too much stimuli at one time.
I have always been a slow learner. Repetition was and is the only key to retaining information. Yet, I wouldn’t qualify as “intellectually disabled”, because I do eventually get the concept-unless it’s math! 😉
I think the answer isn’t the labels. It is a problem in how we perceive the one-dimensional model. It is outdated
.

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.

Recommended Reading

All of the following titles can be found either on Kindle or Audible – Yes I have read or listened to every one of the following books personally.

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

 

 

Girls & Autism: It Can Be Subtle, Or Absent For Some At Risk — CBS Chicago

Wow – finally some coverage for Autistic women and girls in the mainstream media. Yes – we exist!

The developmental disorder is at least four times more common in boys, but scientists taking a closer look are finding some gender-based surprises: Many girls with autism have social skills that can mask the condition.

via Girls & Autism: It Can Be Subtle, Or Absent For Some At Risk — CBS Chicago

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.

You’re not autistic. — bipolarunspecified.com

 

Why do people say that? I hearit all the time. Angry parents can be nasty when I say I’m Autistic. How can I say such a thing while living on my own, talking, and holding a job?

I am an invisible Autistic. We are everywhere, many of us suffer silently because people always accuse us of lying if we try to come out.

It’s impossible for me to speak to someone who thinks that I am lying. I shut down and my words evaporate, making a fool of myself.

Unable to explain or ask for help some of us stop trying. We are “too high functioning” for our opinions to matter but not “functioning” well enough to lead normal lives.

 

She said, “You have Asperger’s; you’re not autistic”.

News flash: Asperger’s is a form of autism. It’s on the spectrum.

But what she probably meant is what a lot of autism moms would mean if they said something like, “You’re not like mychild.”

So, I was autistic on the phone with my family member, I have been all of my life, and I will remain autistic until the day I die.

I find it unfortunate that these stereotypes still exist. I’m supposed to look or behave in a certain way, otherwise there’s no way I could be autistic. I wish more people would pick up a book or listen to actual autistics and not just remember the movie Rain Man.

Please check out the full post below.

via You’re not autistic. — bipolarunspecified.com

#ActuallyAutistic

A poem inspired by the #ActuallyAutistic and #SheCantBeAutistic hashtags that I keep seeing all over the place this week.

#ActuallyAutistic

You are a bit awkward aren’t you?

Actually, I am Autistic.

Autistic? You seem normal to me.

You can’t see Autism.

But you seem so intelligent.

Lots of Autistic people are smart.

You just need to practice socializing more.

I am already doing my best.

Autistic people can’t sit still.

We can, but it is hard and takes more concentration.

You must be high functioning.

Today I am, but sometimes I’m not.

Are you just looking for attention?

No, actually I prefer to be left alone.

You don’t look Autistic.

Actually I’m Autistic.