The line between neurotypical and autistic and severity

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MrsPeel
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08 Jul 2021, 8:09 pm

Yeah, it gets confusing, and may be a matter of semantics as much as anything.

Breaking down what I said, taking my personal belief that true autism is brain wiring developed as response to a neurological problem, and assuming there may be overlap with natural variations in brain wiring without that underlying neurological problem, many of us here might be neurotypical by my definition, even though we satisfy the diagnostic criteria. So now I've confused myself also, as I don't think that was what I originally intended to say.

Anyhow, I'm waiting for some decent physiological diagnostic measures to be developed that will clear everything up.



carlos55
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09 Jul 2021, 2:18 am

Well there is BAP for a start.

Also there are probably many types of autism Ellon musk and an adult with the functioning of a 2 year old are on the same page and their brain condition is called the same thing. So it is quite obviously a spectrum of severity.

Autism is just a 1940’s name given to symptoms it has no biological test as yet.

There have been cases of kids being cured of their autistic symptoms due to an allergy or some other reason. So they never had what we here class as “autism”

What this means is that the brain will display similar symptoms for multiple biological causes. Just like someone can be paralyzed by a spinal injury or disease like MS. Or blind for many reasons.



ToughDiamond
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09 Jul 2021, 3:03 am

carlos55 wrote:
.......the brain will display similar symptoms for multiple biological causes. Just like someone can be paralyzed by a spinal injury or disease like MS. Or blind for many reasons.

Yes, and I think sometimes the health professionals only think they're arriving at objective diagnoses. Different diagnosticians can arrive at different diagnoses for the same person. I've seen it happen. The brain is very complicated and I don't think they've figured it all out yet.



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09 Jul 2021, 5:34 am

MrsPeel wrote:
However, if as I believe there is always an underlying neurological issue involved, I do not believe that neurotypicals can be "a little bit autistic". Either their brain was affected by an underlying neurological issue or it was not. So even if neurotypicals have personality traits which overlap with autistic traits to some extent, that does not make them autistic. I believe the diagnostic criteria have been developed over time with intent to capture the particular pattern of traits associated with autistic brain rewiring.

I think that ASD or at least more general and more inclusive category of pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) is about childhood-onset disorders characterized by "autistic" personality traits, difficulties in life functioning and being "odd" and eccentric, not about neurology, brain wiring or other brain properties... For me PDD or even more general using of the terms like "autism" and "autistic" (which is not restricted to ASD from DSM-V) is rather about being "non-psychotypical" than "non-neurotypical". I think that someone can have neurotypical brain and have a true PDD since childhood despite it. Someone who is "neurotypical, but odd and eccentric" since childhood may function lower than someone with ASD, especially than certain part of individuals who have genuine autism spectrum disorder level 1. I think that diagnostic subcategory of PDDs which includes FOR EXAMPLE ASD is needed and has to include children, adolescents and adults with ASD-like symptoms, but not with genuine ASD. Sometimes a PDD which is not an ASD may be more severe than a PDD which is truly ASD!

PDD is different than specific developmental disorders like dyslexia and dyscalculia, it also tends to be more severe than ADHD; PDD is mainly about socio-emotional differences, being "peculiar", generally "inept" (for example in occupational area and interpersonal relations) although it is often associated with executive functioning problems, sensory issues (which may be of different type), cognitive anomalies like, for example, uneven IQ profiles.



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09 Jul 2021, 5:45 am

Joe90 wrote:
autiecat wrote:
Joe90 wrote:
Everybody's autistic. Even the most socially skilled, extroverted neurotypicals you know are autistic, they're just so brilliant at masking their autism that they come across as not autistic on the outside and can trick anybody and be the most life and soul of the party.

It might as well be like that nowadays, as everybody seems to be getting diagnosed with autism these days because it's that easy to just walk into an office, spout out a few lies about your childhood development, say you get depressed and anxious, and there you go you are automatically qualified for a diagnosis.

Autism is like a leaky pipe and the ground is the population; the leak only covers a small part of the ground at first but as time goes on more and more of the ground gets soaked until the whole area is covered in water.

That's my theory. Maybe we aren't alone after all.


I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but I don't think everyone's autistic if that's what you think I'm saying. But I do think that neurotypicals can have some autistic traits to varying degrees.

I don't actually know many autistic people outside of the online autistic communities. I still think it's being underdiagnosed rather than overdiagnosed.


It's sort of sarcastic but not aimed at you at all.


I'm actually beginning to enjoy your sarcasm Joe! :lol:



cyberdad
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09 Jul 2021, 5:47 am

autiecat wrote:
I keep hearing this narrative in certain autistic communities, and it's driving me nuts.

According to this narrative, people are either 100% allistic or 100% autistic and there is nothing in between.
Among autistic people, there's no such thing as more or less autistic. No one can be "a little bit autistic".


Where do you hear this narrative?



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09 Jul 2021, 6:05 am

Quote:
I'm actually beginning to enjoy your sarcasm Joe!

Yeah, it's the best way of putting my point across.


I think the ''little bit autistic'' thing is more of a matter of opinion. A bit like pregnancy. The fact is you're either pregnant or you're not, but some people say ''I'm very pregnant'' when they're eight or nine months gone. It doesn't always have to make logical sense.


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cyberdad
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09 Jul 2021, 6:15 am

Joe90 wrote:
Quote:
I'm actually beginning to enjoy your sarcasm Joe!

Yeah, it's the best way of putting my point across.


I think the ''little bit autistic'' thing is more of a matter of opinion. A bit like pregnancy. The fact is you're either pregnant or you're not, but some people say ''I'm very pregnant'' when they're eight or nine months gone. It doesn't always have to make logical sense.


Maybe they mean a "mild case of autism"?



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09 Jul 2021, 12:33 pm

Until recently I didn't have any known indications that I *might* be on the spectrum, but an off comment had me seriously re-evaluating things. And to be clear I honestly do not know if I am on the spectrum or not, and diagnosis for me seems to be pushed further and further back (I got a letter the other day saying that instead of a one year waiting list, it is a two year waiting list...). But this question hits a bit close to home. I exhibit a lot of the behaviors and qualifications for ASD, and have for pretty much all of my life, but because many of them were "mild," and those that were not mild I had beaten out of me, I didn't have any cognitive recognition that I might be autistic.

And that makes me angry to a certain degree because I look back and see all the opportunities for diagnosis that were missed for me, I am frustrated that no one caught on sooner. Would it have been better for me? Would I have had access to better tools to help me out? Maybe, but I do not know, won't ever know.

Getting back to the point, I have spent most of my life functioning under the assumption I am NT, and now that I am seeking diagnosis and of the view that I may be on the spectrum, I am in the uncomfortable zone of questioning whether or not I am "autistic enough." That is, do I have enough of the qualifiers, are they severe enough, or am I just making a big deal over this stuff for nothing, and assuming that my weird behavior is autism and not just being weird.

If the line falls somewhere, I am certainly a person for which it makes a big difference. Either I have enough traits and qualities to qualify for diagnosis, or I do not. And if I do, it doesn't materially change much for me because I have enough functioning to get by, as I have for the past 38 years. If I don't, then it is information that is settled...

As far as Diagnosis goes. Yet if I don't qualify for an ASD diagnosis, then what about these other traits that I have in common with an ASD diagnosis? Is it Broader Austistic Phenotype then? Or maybe a myriad of other things that are lifelong traits and diagnosises that mimic ASD...

To that end, perhaps there is something to be said for those who, as it was suggested, qualify as a 49 on the scale, but not a 50. 49 is awful close to the threshold, but it is the cut off point (so to speak).

Ultimately I do not know the answer to this question or line of thought. I am honestly just trying to figure out what all this means for me. And that is pretty hard when you are in this limbo I am in...



autiecat
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09 Jul 2021, 1:09 pm

Joe90 wrote:
I think the ''little bit autistic'' thing is more of a matter of opinion. A bit like pregnancy. The fact is you're either pregnant or you're not, but some people say ''I'm very pregnant'' when they're eight or nine months gone. It doesn't always have to make logical sense.


The difference is that autism is known to be a spectrum with a wide variety of presentations unlike pregnancy. So that's why I think the golden retriever vs poodle is a better analogy.



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09 Jul 2021, 1:13 pm

Something Profound wrote:
Getting back to the point, I have spent most of my life functioning under the assumption I am NT, and now that I am seeking diagnosis and of the view that I may be on the spectrum, I am in the uncomfortable zone of questioning whether or not I am "autistic enough." That is, do I have enough of the qualifiers, are they severe enough, or am I just making a big deal over this stuff for nothing, and assuming that my weird behavior is autism and not just being weird.

If the line falls somewhere, I am certainly a person for which it makes a big difference. Either I have enough traits and qualities to qualify for diagnosis, or I do not. And if I do, it doesn't materially change much for me because I have enough functioning to get by, as I have for the past 38 years. If I don't, then it is information that is settled...

As far as Diagnosis goes. Yet if I don't qualify for an ASD diagnosis, then what about these other traits that I have in common with an ASD diagnosis? Is it Broader Austistic Phenotype then? Or maybe a myriad of other things that are lifelong traits and diagnosises that mimic ASD...

To that end, perhaps there is something to be said for those who, as it was suggested, qualify as a 49 on the scale, but not a 50. 49 is awful close to the threshold, but it is the cut off point (so to speak).


Yeah, presentations like yours is what I mean by some people may fall somewhere in the middle. If autistic and neurotypical people have different types of brain wiring, then I think it's possible that there are types of brain wiring that look something in between. But I don't think autism and the brain is studied enough for us to know for sure.



autiecat
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09 Jul 2021, 1:15 pm

cyberdad wrote:
autiecat wrote:
I keep hearing this narrative in certain autistic communities, and it's driving me nuts.

According to this narrative, people are either 100% allistic or 100% autistic and there is nothing in between.
Among autistic people, there's no such thing as more or less autistic. No one can be "a little bit autistic".


Where do you hear this narrative?


Instagram autism community. Different demographics, different popular opinions I suppose.



kraftiekortie
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09 Jul 2021, 1:22 pm

Autism comes in many shapes and sizes; why do you think it's called a "spectrum"?

The functioning of individual autistic people totally runs the gamut. Just like it does for non-autistic people.



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09 Jul 2021, 1:23 pm

Well I know for definite that I am high-functioning. It seems that these people who want autism to be a blanket diagnosis want to have their cake and eat it. I mean some high-functioning Aspies whine if they're automatically exempt from certain societal things they are capable of doing but still want autism to be a blanket diagnosis. 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?


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09 Jul 2021, 1:31 pm

Something Profound wrote:
Until recently I didn't have any known indications that I *might* be on the spectrum, but an off comment had me seriously re-evaluating things. And to be clear I honestly do not know if I am on the spectrum or not, and diagnosis for me seems to be pushed further and further back (I got a letter the other day saying that instead of a one year waiting list, it is a two year waiting list...). But this question hits a bit close to home. I exhibit a lot of the behaviors and qualifications for ASD, and have for pretty much all of my life, but because many of them were "mild," and those that were not mild I had beaten out of me, I didn't have any cognitive recognition that I might be autistic.

And that makes me angry to a certain degree because I look back and see all the opportunities for diagnosis that were missed for me, I am frustrated that no one caught on sooner. Would it have been better for me? Would I have had access to better tools to help me out? Maybe, but I do not know, won't ever know.

Getting back to the point, I have spent most of my life functioning under the assumption I am NT, and now that I am seeking diagnosis and of the view that I may be on the spectrum, I am in the uncomfortable zone of questioning whether or not I am "autistic enough." That is, do I have enough of the qualifiers, are they severe enough, or am I just making a big deal over this stuff for nothing, and assuming that my weird behavior is autism and not just being weird.

If the line falls somewhere, I am certainly a person for which it makes a big difference. Either I have enough traits and qualities to qualify for diagnosis, or I do not. And if I do, it doesn't materially change much for me because I have enough functioning to get by, as I have for the past 38 years. If I don't, then it is information that is settled...

As far as Diagnosis goes. Yet if I don't qualify for an ASD diagnosis, then what about these other traits that I have in common with an ASD diagnosis? Is it Broader Austistic Phenotype then? Or maybe a myriad of other things that are lifelong traits and diagnosises that mimic ASD...

To that end, perhaps there is something to be said for those who, as it was suggested, qualify as a 49 on the scale, but not a 50. 49 is awful close to the threshold, but it is the cut off point (so to speak).

Ultimately I do not know the answer to this question or line of thought. I am honestly just trying to figure out what all this means for me. And that is pretty hard when you are in this limbo I am in...


When I asked my doctor for a referral she asked me if I thought my life had been rather a failure due to these ASD-like symptoms I was telling her about. I got the feeling that if I'd said no, she'd not have given me a referral, so as the true answer would have been yes and no, I said yes. I think it's quite a key thing for a positive DX, if the ASD traits have impacted seriously on your life then you get it, if not, if they think you're "getting by" as you put it, then they may take the view that you don't need help so you don't get the DX. I've always seen that as weird in a way - if somebody who can't walk happens to own a good wheelchair it doesn't make them any more able to walk. And the same traits at the same severity can impact the person very differently in different environments, and environments can change. So I don't think they're measuring absolute, pure biological ASD, they're meshing it with other considerations.

Yes it's uncomfortable not knowing, but as the label is somewhat arbitrary and you don't think it would make much material difference to you, maybe it would be more comfortable to be mindful that whatever a diagnostician says, you still have the same traits as you had before, your strengths and weaknesses will be exactly the same. I think it's more important to understand my strengths and weaknesses and to learn how to make the best of that, than it is to try to figure out how severe my ASD is or whether or not I've got a touch of ADHD or whatever. Confirmation of ASD through my DX did help me to feel more confident that it would be worth my while to look into the ASD traits, and they proved to be a goldmine for self-knowledge because I kept recognising myself in the things other Aspies said about themselves, but equally there were things I didn't see in myself, because we all have different degrees of the different traits, and of course we each have our own personality and different environmental pressures on us.

So for me it's all about finding out my strengths and weaknesses. Currently I'm looking into executive function and hoping to deepen my understanding of what kind of tasks I'm good and bad at, what coping strategies I might be able to develop and use so I'm not giving myself pain through pushing myself to do things that aren't a good fit for my nature. You can't have too much self-knowledge.



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09 Jul 2021, 1:55 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:
Yes it's uncomfortable not knowing, but as the label is somewhat arbitrary and you don't think it would make much material difference to you, maybe it would be more comfortable to be mindful that whatever a diagnostician says, you still have the same traits as you had before, your strengths and weaknesses will be exactly the same. I think it's more important to understand my strengths and weaknesses and to learn how to make the best of that, than it is to try to figure out how severe my ASD is or whether or not I've got a touch of ADHD or whatever. Confirmation of ASD through my DX did help me to feel more confident that it would be worth my while to look into the ASD traits, and they proved to be a goldmine for self-knowledge because I kept recognising myself in the things other Aspies said about themselves, but equally there were things I didn't see in myself, because we all have different degrees of the different traits, and of course we each have our own personality and different environmental pressures on us.


The only material thing that a DX would do for me is qualify me for a job I happen to have experience and competence in (Peer Support. Currently I do something similar, but Peer Support services is a certification I could qualify for if I had the DX).

Aside from that and having this infuriating determination to satisfy my curiosity about my own neurological profile, I would be satisfied with self diagnosis, which doesn't do anything except give me the self identification tab (And that has pros and cons, notably that not everyone acknowledges self diagnosed adults with ASD, even though it is a thing). Of course there are pros and cons to the DX as well, as anyone who has the diagnosis knows I'm sure.

It is a lot to consider, and again, being in a 24 month limbo makes it rather uncomfortable. That is 24 months of ups and downs and uncertainty in either way. Some days I kinda wish the offhanded comment that I exhibit a lot of ASD traits hadn't put me here in this state of uncertainty and left me oblivious, and other days I am glad I am on the path to finding out because it all makes so much sense and everything I read and find out is like a understanding more about why I have always been odd. But then I am back to the wondering if I check enough of the boxes to actually fit...and well, the cycle continues.

Not to minimize the circumstances of others. I am not the only one who has gone through this, and I also know that for many the diagnosis is not something that was easy to go through with, or have on their record. Trying to be sensitive to that while figuring out my own journey is tricky...I don't want to be the guy who gets an arbitrary diagnosis because I "think" I "might" be autistic when it is in fact a serious deal. But here I am...kinda being that guy seeking exactly that.