A Touch of Austism…

I have previously discovered that I have some characteristics that are identified with Asperger’s Syndrome which is part of the Autism spectrum. As a result, I have been more deeply studying the topic. I don’t call myself an Aspie as I have not been formally diagnosed with that condition but, I am certain  I have common traits with it.

I have recently discovered that there is a LOT of variation in what people say is the definition of autism. Here is a little more about that:

2016-07-18_17-22-29.pngPerhaps we could detach Asperger’s from autism and say that Aspies are different from other autists the way zoologists say that cheetahs are different from leopards. Let us stipulate the obvious: they are different species.

But in my analogy, naming them as different species does not erase the fact that they belong to a broader category called “big cats” or “predatory felines,” and giving Asperger’s a separate name does not erase the fact that there are large areas of overlap with what I call “deeper autism.”

The above was (I repeat) only an analogy. The point intended is to say: we can change our labels and create a more exclusive definition for autism. But the fact remains: the spectrum is broad because it is describing a fundamental reality.

Autism (broadly defined) is much more common than we thought.

Source:  Why is the autistic spectrum so broad and diverse? – Quora

To me, the classifying of autism is in a funk right now. No one knows just how to classify it. There is now a term labeled “Broader Autism Phenotype” (BAP) that describes people who are “sort of ” autistic but still highly functioning. I think that kinda describes me.

I know there are probably some people who have children with severe forms of autism that resent someone who is, for the most part, a fully functioning member of society using the label.  I can relate to that because when I hear that someone is “deaf” I immediately question if they can hear but not fully understand the spoken word. Many with that condition are labeled as “deaf.” when they are really just hearing impaired. There is a world of difference between the two and so I kinda, but really not too much,  resent them saying they are deaf.

Another example might be that someone proclaims they are a cancer survivor when all that entailed was to have a mole removed. To someone who is struggling with lung cancer that is demeaning of their condition.

I don’t know how this will all eventually work out. We can change our labels but as it presently stands autism is a very broad spectrum because it describes a fundamental reality that there are many of us who struggle with life’s social situations.

I will continue to proclaim that I have some Aspie type characteristics but will not call myself an Aspie. I hope I don’t offend those who struggle with this condition much more than I do.

7 thoughts on “A Touch of Austism…

  • RJ-

    Why label ourselves at all? Especially if the label is not very specific and may have a broad meaning in the culture.

    Labels put us in a “box” and maybe not the box we would put ourselves. It lets others put us in their idea of what the box is.

    For example I can see where saying you are deaf can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. Deaf from birth can be different from total hearing loss later in life. So perhaps more specifically you might say “I have total hearing loss” which is a different box than “I’m deaf”. I’d guess that many assume deaf = deaf from birth so if you simply say deaf they will assume you were deaf from birth.

    I just got my first hearing aids due to “age related hearing loss”. Which is different from hearing loss due to a medical condition or trauma as it describes a specific type of hearing loss.

    I’ll bet when you say you are deaf some people are surprised since your speech does not necessarily indicate it as people who are deaf from birth often (always?) have unusual speech patterns. (My SIL’s parents are deaf from birth so I have some limited experience with that form of hearing loss)

    I apologize if my example is too personal but it is the one that came to mind.

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  • RJ, I just found your blog (thru Bob of A Satisfying Retirement) . As the mother of a grown son, who I have become convinced—though like you he has never been diagnosed—is an Aspie, I look forward to following your blog. My son is now in his late 30’s. He is VERY intelligent, and high functioning but but due to his aspie traits has great difficulty with personal relationships, to the extent that since graduating from college and moving far away for work, he has very little to do with family.

    As I said, he was never diagnosed, having gotten thru school slightly before autism became so ‘prevelant’, or at least more understood. I only came to recognize that he has Asperger, or is somewhere on the autism range, after reading several books by men who have discovered their ‘condition’ later in life. It had made it somewhat easier for me to accept his behavior and to not give up on him or take some things personally, although as a mother, one always feels responsible.

    Interestingly, one comment that I just read in one of your posts even gave me pause and made we wonder if in fact I might have some aspie traits myself. It is all really very complex and requires continued study and understanding. I will definitely be reading more and hope it can help me and my son.

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    • Hi Jackie and welcome to RJsCorner. Yes, I get a lot of referrals from Bob over at Satisfying Retirement. We have known each other for a good number of years now.

      As I said in several of my posts in the last year or so, I was blown away by how many Aspie traits I have had all my life but just discovered it had a name. In some ways it is good to know that it has a name but I kinda wished I had discovered it much earlier in life. It probably would have made things much less difficult than they were.

      After all the studying I have done on the topic I know that autism has been around for at least centuries if not longer. But, as you say it was not really addressed until about 20 years ago.

      If you want to see if my life is similar to your son’s click on the “Special Reports” button at the top of each blog page and select “Aspie Syndrome” This is a composite of about 8 initial posts on the subject. To see more just go to the Tag Cloud at the right of the home page and click on “Aspie”. There are at least 3 dozen posts there.

      I would very much appreciate any comments you have on this topic and am looking forward to some good discussions.

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