The line between neurotypical and autistic and severity

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ToughDiamond
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09 Jul 2021, 2:48 pm

^
Not quite sure I understand your reluctance to be "the guy who gets an arbitrary diagnosis because I "think" I "might" be autistic." You're clearly sincere and you seriously suspect you have AS. I suspect the chances are they won't say you have it if you don't - ASD tends to be underdiagnosed. The worst thing that could happen is that they might incorrectly diagnose you. I can't think of much harm that would do. It's entirely up to you whether you believe them, either when you first get diagnosed or later on after you've found out more. In the UK at least you don't need to tell the driving licence people if you're happy that it isn't impacting on your ability to drive safely, and you don't have to tell a prospective employer - I was surprised but apparently you can tell them after they've given you the job and they can't harm you for it. If your DX is done privately, then it remains up to you whether you tell your NHS doctor and have it put on your medical records. So it's hard to know how anybody could find out if you didn't want them to know. But I don't know how it is in other countries, and I might have overlooked something about the UK. My doctor did warn me that once it was on my medical record there was no turning back, but like I say it hasn't been a problem.



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09 Jul 2021, 4:33 pm

BAP is also a thing


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09 Jul 2021, 5:35 pm

I don't have much to contribute, but wanted to say I'm really enjoying this conversation.

<Long rabbit trail that's just me talking about myself in case it sparks any further insights either for those reading or for myself through responses>: If this forum were "all or none" then I wouldn't have a place here. I'm probably not diagnosable as autistic, but I tend to be drawn to autistics in real life (and those with ADHD, too). I might just consider myself "neurodiverse" without fitting any particular diagnosis, because what I seem to relate to the most are secondary characteristics that people with ADHD or ASD describe, and not so much the core traits that lead to a DSM diagnosis of either. People told me I was very gifted as a young child and for as long as I was in school. (Funny how that disappeared right after I graduated college.) I was hyperlexic from age 2, and I'm pretty sure I've had lifelong auditory processing disorder (my husbands says YES I most definitely have APD, haha). I didn't behave well in a school, so my parents homeschooled me until college. While homeschooled, my parents struggled to motivate me to do any assigned work, but my own interests overlapped enough with what I needed for credits that I was able to do my own thing much of the time. I remember my mom taking me to the doctor as a teen because she was concerned about how lethargic I was, but nothing came of it. I made it through four years of college/university, but the stress was tough even though the academics were mostly easy (I developed symptoms of depression, anxiety, OCD, and struggled to eat... all of which is gone now). In college, I struggled greatly with procrastinating and would do my assignments under pressure at the last possible minute. The few part-time jobs I've had since then were very stressful and I was glad to be done with them. Thankfully, I don't have to work for pay since my husband (also considered "gifted" and with some ASD traits) earns enough, so I do stay-at-home-mom stuff and homeschool our kids. It's a fear of mine that I wouldn't be able to cope with a full-time job if I had to support myself. I wonder if I'd show more clear ASD traits from the stress if I had to work, or if I'd have traits to recall from my childhood if I'd had to stay in school. When I was married, the best man gave a speech about how my husband and I were the weirdest people he knew and therefore perfect for each other. I coined the term "hyperfocus" for something my brain does before finding out that's a word others use. I first noticed stim-like things I was doing during my college years. I have a soothing motion with a pen in my hand that I do because of anxiety in certain social settings, and there's a pattern I tap with my fingers while driving where my fingers are matching the lines that pass on either side. When I joined Wrong Planet and was very active last year, it was like my special interest for the time; I was obsessed and spent tons of time here until my brain decided to drop it for something new, which is what it does. Since then, I've done periodic check-ins, but I can't force myself to stick with that level of interest. I can be very social and greatly enjoy when I am, but I have to have the energy for it and feel very safe with the people to not shut down from nervousness. If I do wind up too anxious to be social when with others, I'm sad about it afterwards because I do love to connect with people. Sometimes people think that I am mad at them and I'm not sure why or how to fix it. Very weird fact that I can't find information about: I am way more functional when I am pregnant; I have better social skills, better emotional regulation, feel more warmth/affection for others, can handle stress better, etc. I've heard some people with ADHD say they are also more functional when pregnant and others say pregnancy made their symptoms worse; I've not heard from autistics on the topic. <end rabbit trail>

I've heard that giftedness is its own category of neurodiverse, so maybe that's me. My hunch is that there's something going on at the brain level that connects all three -- ASD, ADHD, and gifted -- with overlap so that people can fit any two or all three categories. It would be cool if someday a brain scan could just explain all of this neatly, though that's improbable given how complex people are.


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cyberdad
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09 Jul 2021, 8:55 pm

Joe90 wrote:
If autism is just autism then everyone on the spectrum will automatically be lumped with Rain Man stereotypes. I'd rather my high-functioning label on my medical records. Yes it may mean less opportunities for support but I don't need support anyway, and if I really did in the future then having a diagnosis should let me qualify for at least some support. Otherwise, what's the point in a diagnosis?


Yes I concluded this back when I joined WP in 2011.

A lot of Aspies "wanted their cake and wanted to eat it". You can't have it both ways. I think Aspergers as a "unofficial" label was mean't to mean you require minimal support. But then back in 2011 a lot of aspies didn't want to be lumped into autism (e.g, stereotyped with rain-man archetypes) but felt they deserved the same level of support as somebody with severe autism.

My daughter is what always was classified as HFA (pre-2013) meaning needing moderate support for speech therapy early on (for her language and social delays) but having normal milestones otherwise (physical development) and being normal intelligence for other stuff (e.g. reading, writing, math and music).

She's still very naive/trusting. She has a group of aspie friends online who meet once every few weeks and in order to be friends shares private information about her which I have to explain to her later we don't share (its one of the reasons I don't let her join Wrong planet).



ASPartOfMe
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10 Jul 2021, 9:51 am

cyberdad wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
If autism is just autism then everyone on the spectrum will automatically be lumped with Rain Man stereotypes. I'd rather my high-functioning label on my medical records. Yes it may mean less opportunities for support but I don't need support anyway, and if I really did in the future then having a diagnosis should let me qualify for at least some support. Otherwise, what's the point in a diagnosis?


Yes I concluded this back when I joined WP in 2011.

A lot of Aspies "wanted their cake and wanted to eat it". You can't have it both ways. I think Aspergers as a "unofficial" label was mean't to mean you require minimal support. But then back in 2011 a lot of aspies didn't want to be lumped into autism (e.g, stereotyped with rain-man archetypes) but felt they deserved the same level of support as somebody with severe autism.

My daughter is what always was classified as HFA (pre-2013) meaning needing moderate support for speech therapy early on (for her language and social delays) but having normal milestones otherwise (physical development) and being normal intelligence for other stuff (e.g. reading, writing, math and music).

She's still very naive/trusting. She has a group of aspie friends online who meet once every few weeks and in order to be friends shares private information about her which I have to explain to her later we don't share (its one of the reasons I don't let her join Wrong planet).


That was 10 years ago what about now?

I joined here in 2013. I have no memory of people saying they want the same level of support as severely impaired autistics. While supports and accommodations would be nice then and now people are frustrated with the lack of any understanding and sympathy. It is felt we are getting it from both sides thought of as too incompetent to do anything much, too “high functioning” to warrant any supports and accommodations, and somehow both at the same time.

Aspie separatism, supremacy, and elitism existed then and it exists now. It has never been more than a minority opinion from what I have seen here and elsewhere. I would say what has changed is back then support for the Aspergers diagnosis and Aspie label was more hardcore, now it is more just a way people describe themselves. That is understandable after all 2013 was when the Aspergers diagnosis was eliminated, feelings were raw and people were under the illusion the DSM would “come to their senses” and bring the Aspergers diagnosis back. Now most either have moved on or realize this is a lost cause. But even then the idea that Aspergers was not Autism and that “we Aspies” need to separate ourselves from those people was a minority attitude.

What has remained hardcore is the concept that separatism is a feature not a bug of people in general who identify as Aspie. That was a big thing here around 2014 with people demanding other members stop using the terms. Cancel Culture before cancel culture was popular term. Then it was the DSM “proving” Aspergers was never real. That calmed down but when the revelations about Hans Aspergers Nazi complicity came out that seemed to prove what they always “knew” about Aspies. In twitterland since the revelations attempts to cancel Aspergers/Aspie have been unrelenting. Here it was never a thing.

My conclusion is that people that identify as aspie want to separate themselves from low functioning Autistics is a trope that has always been popular among people who think the diagnostic criteria is too broad and people who disagree with the neurodiversity movement. Ironically since the Asperger revelations this trope has been used by some ND supporters to argue against functioning labels.


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Last edited by ASPartOfMe on 10 Jul 2021, 11:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

Edna3362
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10 Jul 2021, 11:00 am

There are certain divisions I observed;

The real line between autism severity, I think, isn't the severity of autism itself or as a whole per se.

But more like how many traits, including comorbidities, including the undiagnosable, dismissed or unnamed, even circumstances that are "severe", diagnosable or relatable.

Which of those individual traits and behaviors can be an advantage, can afforded or be acceptable, can be managed or treated, cannot be avoided and cope with, can wreck havoc and become a danger.


It doesn't matter if one has a hundred matching relatable traits -- if they're all advantages and can be afforded -- acceptable, endearing, unique, etc...

Yet anyone can only have that one notable yet undiagnosable, severe yet unmanageable trait, and gave them a lot of trouble in life and living.



Diagnosis is only good if it serves the individual.
The same can be said with identification and resonance.


If an NT declares themselves as self diagnosed -- BAP, perhaps -- why?

Did they do this out of loneliness? Out of shame? Out of genuine relatability towards autistics?
Out of confusion? Or some petty bandwagon to make themselves feel special? Or something sinister?

And which trait do they connect themselves with this? One? Tens? Hundreds?

Does it matter in support that it needs accomodations? Solutions from NDs?
Does it matter with the people around them? Or does it matter to them emotionally?



I simply see that labels, official or otherwise is a theory drawn by science.
Unofficially, a widely accepted hearsay backed by evidence and how humans wanted to categorize stuff.



Yet in the end...
Does all the autism trait makes someone autistic or have autism? Or just relatable and similar to autistics?

I'm waiting for science to discover further evidence -- likely evidence beyond of traits and behaviors that professionals currently relies on diagnosing individuals with. :lol:


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autiecat
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10 Jul 2021, 5:04 pm

Carpeta wrote:
I don't have much to contribute, but wanted to say I'm really enjoying this conversation.

<Long rabbit trail that's just me talking about myself in case it sparks any further insights either for those reading or for myself through responses>: If this forum were "all or none" then I wouldn't have a place here. I'm probably not diagnosable as autistic, but I tend to be drawn to autistics in real life (and those with ADHD, too). I might just consider myself "neurodiverse" without fitting any particular diagnosis, because what I seem to relate to the most are secondary characteristics that people with ADHD or ASD describe, and not so much the core traits that lead to a DSM diagnosis of either. People told me I was very gifted as a young child and for as long as I was in school. (Funny how that disappeared right after I graduated college.) I was hyperlexic from age 2, and I'm pretty sure I've had lifelong auditory processing disorder (my husbands says YES I most definitely have APD, haha). I didn't behave well in a school, so my parents homeschooled me until college. While homeschooled, my parents struggled to motivate me to do any assigned work, but my own interests overlapped enough with what I needed for credits that I was able to do my own thing much of the time. I remember my mom taking me to the doctor as a teen because she was concerned about how lethargic I was, but nothing came of it. I made it through four years of college/university, but the stress was tough even though the academics were mostly easy (I developed symptoms of depression, anxiety, OCD, and struggled to eat... all of which is gone now). In college, I struggled greatly with procrastinating and would do my assignments under pressure at the last possible minute. The few part-time jobs I've had since then were very stressful and I was glad to be done with them. Thankfully, I don't have to work for pay since my husband (also considered "gifted" and with some ASD traits) earns enough, so I do stay-at-home-mom stuff and homeschool our kids. It's a fear of mine that I wouldn't be able to cope with a full-time job if I had to support myself. I wonder if I'd show more clear ASD traits from the stress if I had to work, or if I'd have traits to recall from my childhood if I'd had to stay in school. When I was married, the best man gave a speech about how my husband and I were the weirdest people he knew and therefore perfect for each other. I coined the term "hyperfocus" for something my brain does before finding out that's a word others use. I first noticed stim-like things I was doing during my college years. I have a soothing motion with a pen in my hand that I do because of anxiety in certain social settings, and there's a pattern I tap with my fingers while driving where my fingers are matching the lines that pass on either side. When I joined Wrong Planet and was very active last year, it was like my special interest for the time; I was obsessed and spent tons of time here until my brain decided to drop it for something new, which is what it does. Since then, I've done periodic check-ins, but I can't force myself to stick with that level of interest. I can be very social and greatly enjoy when I am, but I have to have the energy for it and feel very safe with the people to not shut down from nervousness. If I do wind up too anxious to be social when with others, I'm sad about it afterwards because I do love to connect with people. Sometimes people think that I am mad at them and I'm not sure why or how to fix it. Very weird fact that I can't find information about: I am way more functional when I am pregnant; I have better social skills, better emotional regulation, feel more warmth/affection for others, can handle stress better, etc. I've heard some people with ADHD say they are also more functional when pregnant and others say pregnancy made their symptoms worse; I've not heard from autistics on the topic. <end rabbit trail>

I've heard that giftedness is its own category of neurodiverse, so maybe that's me. My hunch is that there's something going on at the brain level that connects all three -- ASD, ADHD, and gifted -- with overlap so that people can fit any two or all three categories. It would be cool if someday a brain scan could just explain all of this neatly, though that's improbable given how complex people are.


If it helps, just reading your experience doesn't sound very neurotypical to me. I relate to a lot of aspects of your experience and I have ADHD and self-identify as autistic.



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10 Jul 2021, 5:14 pm

Edna3362 wrote:
Yet in the end...
Does all the autism trait makes someone autistic or have autism? Or just relatable and similar to autistics?

I'm waiting for science to discover further evidence -- likely evidence beyond of traits and behaviors that professionals currently relies on diagnosing individuals with. :lol:


By evidence, do you mean genetic or brain MRI type evidence? I suppose studies may one day find a correlation between certain genes or brain structures with autism traits. But if this correlation isn't perfect, I'm not sure how helpful it would be to use genetic testing or MRI scans to diagnose individuals. Though, if someone did find a perfect correlation between a biological basis and visible autistic traits, I'm sure it would be all over science news and autism literature by now.



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10 Jul 2021, 6:50 pm

Seems part of the drive is to neatly categorize in order to make sense of the world.
But categories are artificial. They're like lines of latitude and longitude, which are useful for navigation, but don't actually exist on the surface of the earth.

There are many distinct advantages to "owning" this kind of brain, actually. But we may doubt ourselves because we dislike "playing in their reindeer games" - as if natural competency there is critical to a fulfilling life. (It is not.)

Seems it is somewhat like a dimmer switch: a little, more, much.
Even so, the task it seems is to craft a fulfilling life with the (often very fine) brain one has, seeing and avoiding toxins along the way as is possible.



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10 Jul 2021, 8:13 pm

autiecat wrote:
If it helps, just reading your experience doesn't sound very neurotypical to me. I relate to a lot of aspects of your experience and I have ADHD and self-identify as autistic.


That does help. Thank you for reading all of that. :)


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cyberdad
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10 Jul 2021, 8:28 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
My conclusion is that people that identify as aspie want to separate themselves from low functioning Autistics is a trope that has always been popular among people who think the diagnostic criteria is too broad and people who disagree with the neurodiversity movement. Ironically since the Asperger revelations this trope has been used by some ND supporters to argue against functioning labels.


I think the underlying stigma of being lumped with "LFA" remains (just read some of the posts on this thread).

WP members have certainly become less antagonistic (at least from what I can gauge on WP) and more flexible about self-identifying as "autistic" compared to 2011 (go back and have a look at the number of threads created back then complaining about proposed changes to DSMV).

Yes its not the same. However its interesting how the old HFA label has been absorbed into the old Asperger label/diagnosis. Watch youtube videos created around 2009-2011 about HFA and you'll see kids who were non-verbal but really smart/clever with words and numbers (theese kids were called hyperlexic). My daughter was one of those. Today she's probably on the lower end of the Aspie spectrum, mostly because her language/social skills are inconsistent. For example she could quite easily do a academic level power point presentation on COVID-19 (one of her special interests) but struggles to maintain a conversation with an NT.



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12 Jul 2021, 6:36 am

Unfortunately it’s the failure of science to correctly explain what causes and drives these different brain conditions.

As I mentioned earlier the brain can have many different faults but only a limited means of expressing those. So it’s likely there are many autism’s but symptoms are funneled into a narrow output of how they are expressed.

The new DSM was a surrender to this, it was acknowledging its all too complicated so why not just lump it all together and call it a spectrum until more is known.

One day we will know but until then you’ll have people filling the vacuum with their own beliefs about what autism is and demanding everyone follow them or else.

Some will be worth listening to others will be just deluded

A bit like religion really.