Others' Mentioning AS In Your Company

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awakening
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29 Nov 2009, 10:14 pm

This is a specific sort of question, and I apologize if it has been addressed, but do you ever find, with people to whom you haven't mentioned you are an aspie (most people for many here, I imagine), and given that your Asperger's isn't immediately noticeable or glaring, that Asperger's or Autism is introduced by another person in conversation? I generally have a very literal interpretation of what others are telling me, but sometimes I wonder if Autism comes up in relation to me, as if others are trying to feel out whether I have it or not by gauging my reaction to their bringing up the topic (e.g. "say, my friend has a nephew with Asperger's...").



Aietra
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29 Nov 2009, 10:47 pm

Yeah, I started to find that a couple of years ago. And this year, I was living in a hall on campus and I think just about every person in the hall asked me at some point something about it! Never said I had it, and just continued to be evasive, but no-one asked directly. Even got one girl trying to play matchmaker, I think! 'Hey, I know a guy with Asperger's. He's really cool...you should meet him sometime, Aietra! I think he likes Pink Floyd!'



chaotik_lord
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30 Nov 2009, 1:05 am

Only had it happen once (see: "Like Asperger's Creepy?) thread. I said nothing.



awakening
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30 Nov 2009, 8:24 am

I've had it happen to me a few times recently that I can remember. Once when I first spent extensive time with my girlfriend's mom, and she told a story of how in a fencing club she is a member of there was a boy with Asperger's who threw a tantrum when he failed a match. The moral of the story was to emphasize how important it is to let someone know if you have such a condition in a situation along those lines. I wasn't sure whether she said it with any intended reaction in me or not; I sort of figured not, but I might have reminded her of the situation. Another time was during a faculty orientation for graduate students teaching Freshman English, where we were discussing medical and health conditions in the classroom, and a morally upright faculty member pointed out how it is important to let the students know that they should come to the teacher if they have Asperger's or something similar in order to not be made fun of my other students. Again, I wasn't sure if it had any vague connection with me, or a mere coincidence. I usually figure coincidence since any Asperger traits I can identify in myself are less obvious to others. There were yet two other times recently, once with my girlfriend's roommate (upon first meeting her) who shared a story about her brother's friend or cousin who has Asperger's, and another time, my mother shared with me a story about her boyfriend whose nephew had Asperger's. These all seem long tenuous and far-fetched connections, but people can be pretty indirect sometimes, and I actually don't interact with very many in a non-business, non-school oriented way, so I sometimes wonder what people might be hinting at. I brought the issue up with my Mom a while back and she said that I never seemed all that strange until I was compared to other children. I did twirl my hair for years and years habitually (a stimming habit), and waved my hands about while indulging in mental fantasies (my mother would say I was "conducting"), plus special/narrow interests as a child, et cetera, and can relate to a lot of the descriptions about higher functioning adults with Autism and Asperger's (i.e. those who can "take care of themselves," hold jobs, and so forth). Some days I don't feel all that different but other days I feel distressingly odd, like I'm speaking another language. Like a lot of others, I haven't genuinely sought out a diagnosis for a variety of reasons; on the one hand I'm dubious about psychology in general and wary of what labels can do. I am still not convinced about the science of Autism and also don't know who would be qualified to diagnose. I spoke with a counselor some time ago about the issue and he brushed it off; he was clearly a psychologist not so interested in brain jargon, but more of a personal coach who used logic and "here, try this" approaches for solving a problem. He said that ear plugs and sunglasses might help with sensory sensitivity issues...which is good advice. Sorry if this post overlaps with other thread topics.



30 Nov 2009, 9:57 am

I have seen it being mentioned on forums I go to and at Yahoo Answers. Never been mentioned in my school or at work about someone else. Oh wait I remember being 16 and I heard there were these twins that were new to the elementary school across the street from my school and they both have AS. One was very mild and the other had it worse.



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30 Nov 2009, 4:20 pm

Even though I'm not obvious or anything if people around me mention ASDS's I get really paranoid and self concious incase I'm doing anything noticable like avoiding eye contact, that draws more attention to myself because I'm clearly uncomfortable and fidgeting like a mad woman. In psychology a few weeks ago we learned about the baron-cohen study and the whole class were having group discussions about autism, the first of those lessons was absolute agony and my hands were shaking by the end of it because of the consant utterences of the word "aspergers". What made it worse was the fact that a girl from my infants/junior schools is in my class and I was more noticable then, and also she said a family member of hers has it. The next few lessons I enjoyed though because I imagined myself as a secret spy going undercover and the teacher was in on it because she knows.


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zeichner
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30 Nov 2009, 4:22 pm

I was caught off guard at Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's (who knows I have AS), by a comment she made. She was talking about why her brother- & sister-in-law always host family gatherings at their place, rather than going to other relatives' homes. It turns out that their 8-year-old son has Asperger's Syndrome - has food issues, doesn't do well in strange surroundings, is quite hyperactive, etc. I was nodding my head, like "yeah - I can totally understand that."

I thought she was trying to bring up the subject of AS to maybe clear up some misconceptions about it. (My mother, who was also there, doesn't agree with my Dx - but my sister & I have talked about it & think Mom might just have some outdated ideas of what it means to be on the autistic spectrum & have AS - she's 83.)

That's why what my sister said next really floored me. She said that her nephew would probably never be able to live by himself.

There was no way that I wanted to get into a big discussion about how insensitive I thought that comment was - not at the dinner table in the middle of the Thanksgiving meal. It hurt, because I was hoping that my sister would advocate for me with the family - not make predictions that an 8-year-old with AS would be incapable of developing to the point of independence (since she also knows that I've been living independently my entire adult life - despite having grown up with AS.)

Now, I've never met the kid in question (it's her husband's sister's son & we aren't a close extended family), but I really thought that my sister, who also has a number of spectrum characteristics - which she acknowledges - would realize that it doesn't help to depict AS (or any autistic spectrum disorder) as a hopeless situation. Especially not for a kid so young - who knows how he will develop in the years to come?


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01 Dec 2009, 12:36 am

I usually just change the subject as quickly as possible.