12 December 2015

Why do I think I'm autistic . . .

This was actually originally a question on a survey as part of a research study (which asked me why do I consider myself to be autistic, in addition to having once been handed an on-paper diagnosis, which yes is a class privilege to be able to get), but my answer ended up being so long-winded that I'm going to put it here, just in case it's helpful to anyone who might be out there questioning and wondering whether they might be autistic.

(This is totally unscientific and unempirical, but based on anecdotal observations from conversations with hundreds/thousands of other autistic people -- both with formal diagnoses and without them, both speaking and nonspeaking, etc. -- it just seems that all of these characteristics are *more common* in autistic people than they are in nonautistic people, and that the more of these kinds of characteristics someone has, the more likely they are to be autistic. Obviously anyone who isn't autistic -- which includes neurodivergent people who aren't autistic -- could have any one or more of these characteristics too. And of course, there are characteristics of being autistic that seem to be really common in autistic people, especially as compared to nonautistic people, that I don't have.)

Like many (but of course, not all) autistic people, I ...

- Keep an erratic sleeping schedule, and am often nocturnal by both instinct and preference.

- Absolutely suck at executive functioning, which involves planning tasks, prioritizing tasks, initiating tasks, following through on tasks, meeting deadlines, organizing complex multi-step tasks, etc.

- Have very uneven skills academically, but present as conventionally "gifted." I functioned really, really well academically from K - 12, and then when I went to college, a lot of coping skills died. I developed some stuff, sure, but I know some stuff went straight out the window too, because huge changes, and also almost total lack of structure/scaffolding. ("Now you're an adult, and you must be totally independent, and if you can't do that, too bad f u.")

- Have hypersensitivities in all my senses (to noises, to smells, to tastes/textures, to touch/tactile sensation, to sights), which create both (1) sensory-seeking opportunities (I still rub a silk sleeve over my face -- the very same one I've had since I was 3 and I'm now 22; also, tassels tassels tassels -- yes I did in fact get a picture of myself inside the White House rubbing a tassel there all over my face) and (2) sensory-averse reactions (I am physically hurt by a lot of fluorescent lights; also, touching me lightly -- not firmly -- hurts).

- Tend to be more oblivious to surroundings/background information/implied knowledge. (This includes social knowledge -- everyone else picks up on updates in people's lives/doings much sooner than me; spatial knowledge -- I can't recognize the same location in the dark versus in the light and also won't realize that objects/buildings/things exist unless they're explicitly pointed out to me; etc.)

- Frequently speak in circles, because I have extreme frustration when I believe the other person/people do not understand what I'm trying to communicate, so I attempt to rephrase (and can rephrase an infinite number of times, and go on for-fucking-ever with this unless stopped).

- Take great pleasure out of intense fascination with particular topic areas in ways that non-autistic people often do not.

- Relate to other people (and show that I care about them) specifically by seeking out gifts/activities/internet memes/other tangible or observable things that relate directly to their preferred interests or activities, but am often perceived as just creepy or weird by non-autistic people for doing this.

- Absolutely hate crowds and crowded locations because they're overwhelming and drain me of energy to start, do, or finish things, or just to concentrate, or just to survive.

- Occasionally lose the ability to produce oral speech even though I usually have the ability to use oral speech, especially when under extreme stress or exhaustion.

- Stim, like by using my tongue around my mouth in specific ways, or touching specific kinds of textures, or spinning in circles for a long time, or playing with water forever, including in fountains attached to government buildings, which results in being yelled at by security. (I stim when I'm anxious, when I'm bored, when I'm upset, when I'm happy, or when I'm excited. Also when I'm trying to communicate to another autistic person that I exist and am also autistic.)

- Tend to like certain types of structure and routine in ways that are not typical for non-autistic people. For example, whether playing with toy cars, Barbie or Bratz dolls, or Star Wars action figures, I would always line up all of the figures in specific orders/formations and three-dimensional spatial locations in my play area that almost never changed, which confused the hell out of all of my non-autistic friends/playmates. In another example, I'm also totally okay with eating literally *the exact same thing* for every meal for months on end, and this does not bother me.

- Extremely detail-oriented. For example, I write novels and do collaborative writing style roleplaying, and in both, I typically develop in immense detail aspects of constructed languages, socio-economic-political systems, cultural norms/histories, etc., as well as populating worlds (both those based on the real world and those that are totally sci-fi or fantasy settings) with hundreds or thousands of characters thought out in depth.

- Am highly attracted to and empathetic with animals (like cats and dogs) and fictional characters, which I feel are like real people and whom I care about in the same way I do as real people.

- Tend to take an incredibly long time to develop close friendships with people, and am constantly afraid of losing any of the friends that I have, because many of my closest friends in the past aren't my friends anymore (often but not always because they decided to not be my friend because I wasn't cool).

- Was severely bullied throughout school, both by other students and sometimes by teachers, for being an obvious weirdo. I'm usually perceived as out of touch, socially awkward, weird, abnormal, and just not with it when compared to a lot of my peers.

- Won't shut up when I really care about something, and am often perceived as arrogant, stuck-up, a know-it-all, full of myself, showing off, etc. even though I'm just trying to share information that I think the other person will care about or benefit from having.

- Don't really think in linguistic concepts/language. I think both visually and conceptually. So my thoughts happen in images (still pictures, moving videos, or four-dimensional fluid shapes/lines/fields/things-that-aren't-describable-but-I-probably-sound-like-I'm-under-the-influence-of-LSD-now) that represent concepts.

- Hate group work. With the burning passion of ten hundred thousand flaming suns gone supernova.

- Can be both hyposensitive (not that sensitive) or hypersensitive (so much sensitive) to pain. Like, I scream and cry when getting shots. But after having my wisdom teeth out, due to combination of apparent stoicism and serious sensory aversions to any pills ever and most liquid medications, didn't really take any pain meds once I went home.

- Tend to be either really good intuitively at doing a thing, or really, really suck, and I keep sucking at it in the same pattern of sucking at it.

- Think systematically or in patterns. See above. (Example: If I'm worried or anxious about something, I will repeatedly go over every possible outcome, from the best possible one to the worst most catastrophic one, and everything in between, in great detail as to how/why each could happen, and the likelihood of each outcome, but despite knowing rationally that the most catastrophic ones are usually not that likely, will still anxiously panic over the possibility they are true.)

- Rely on scripts (entire encounters, types of situations, for behavior, or for what to say, etc.) for like 95% of my interactions involving other people, including other autistic people.

- Really, really like the feeling of pressure against my body. I often sit with legs/ankles crossed so I feel the pressure, or with my hand between both knees (I've learned that people assume I'm sexually touching myself in public if it's any higher up my leg). I like to sit so that my legs/ankles/feet can press against the legs of chairs or tables. I like to fall asleep with my arms tucked under my torso. Weighted blankets are awesome.

- Have some super awesome fine/gross motor skills, and some totally sucky fine/gross motor skills. For example, I have highly calligraphic scripted handwriting, and do black and white drawings in pen only (no pencil involved ever) with highly detailed cross-hatching. But then again, I've never reliably learned how to tie my shoes or do monkey bars or jump rope or hula hoop like most other kids I grew up around did.

- See squiggly bright lines and dots of various constantly-shifting colors whenever I'm conscious, which includes as I'm falling asleep too. (I'm sighted, which means I'm neither blind nor low-vision -- not sure how/if blind or low-vision autistic people have these things.) Some people call them "the floaters."

- Always see the world in static (like the kind of "noise" that makes photos not great quality). Someone asked about this on the Facebook, and yes, I have the thing where I always have thought I was seeing molecules or something everywhere, in all lighting and wakefulness/sleepiness conditions, because the whole world is comprised of these tiny dots that make up literally everything I perceive visually.

- Have HIGHLY vivid, frequently narrative dreams, many of which I remember in incredibly detail. (Many of mine are also lucid.)

- Am synesthetic, meaning I experience many kinds of sensory input as *other* kinds of sensory input. Like, listening to music or even someone just talking, produces colors and shapes and yay.

- Will re-read or re-watch entire books or movies or tv shows -- or specific scenes in them -- that provoke deep, intense emotional reactions in me.

- Am highly empathetic to the point of over-empathizing. I may not always be able to process cognitively what I'm experiencing (see point below), but I am overwhelmed by the emotional responses of people around me -- which includes things I read on the internet, because I'm experiencing them as the other person does. (Not in the way of, I know how it is to be them when I'm not them or don't have the same experiences, but in the way of, their anger settles in me, or their sadness settles in me, and I can't get rid of it.)

- Have trouble identifying/naming and separating/distinguishing all of my emotions or even bodily sensations.

- Am not antisocial. I'm an introvert, but I display a lot of outwardly extroverted-seeming traits, like talking to lots of people, going to events with lots of people, and having people over my place. Social interaction can be fun (or can suck massively, depending on who is involved and what they do to/around me), but it's draining. I need lots of extra time to recover. This is true even if the other people involved are also autistic.

- Desire to have some amount of environmental control that it seems like nonautistics tend not to have (either in general, or as intensely). Like, I get really anxious if other people touch or move my belongings/possessions, even if they're people I know really well and trust in general.

- Show that I trust others by opening up to them, emotionally and about my experiences.

- Often feel marginal and like an outsider (not just because of various marginalized experiences/identities that I have) even when I theoretically should be able to belong to a particular group.

- Typically have gravitated to be friends with people who were significantly older or significantly younger than me, and not my age-peers.

- Tend to do activities the exact same way all the time (like how I make pasta sauce or mint hot chocolate) even when I learn a better/easier way to do them. This extends to what I order in restaurants. (I love trying new foods, actually, but if I know I have a favorite thing, why wouldn't I order my favorite thing? Why would I order a second or third favorite thing?)

- Experience distinct auditory processing disability stuff. I hate conference calls maybe almost as much as ISIS hates the existence of everyone-who-isn't-ISIS. I will almost never understand your name the first time you tell it to me unless it's also on the business card you're handing me or the name tag stuck to your shirt / hanging from your neck or the placard in front of your face. You have to repeat it.

- Can't recognize faces. (It's called prosopagnosia or faceblindness.) As a sighted person, yes, I do see your face. I am capable of seeing people next to each other and realizing they do not look identical, even if they present their gender very similarly, are close in age, have similarly sized/shaped bodies, and are from the same racial group. But I can't reliably tell people apart in sequence, or out of context from when/where/how I usually encounter them, or after a few days or weeks or months since regular contact. I can sometimes, to varying degrees of reliability, recognize people on other characteristics, like voice, manner of speaking, posture, body movement, other distinctive physical features, or hairstyle (including facial hair when someone has it), but not by face. I can also figure out if someone else knows me often by their body language (like prolonged eye contact, suddenly smiling, or referring/addressing me by name when I'm not wearing a nametag or ID), but I have no clue who they are and will *never* have the experience of feeling like I recognize someone but not remembering their name. Half the time I'm faking that I know who you are. Just tell me your name up front next time.

- Have significant trouble in group settings including purely social, unstructured ones. I can never tell if it's my turn to talk, or if there's an opening where it's okay to jump in with a comment/question/story in the convo, and frequently, by the time I figure it out, it's too late and suddenly I'm interrupting someone and have just become an accidental asshole.

- Collect random shit I don't actually need but am somehow convinced I will need later. Like receipts. Dating back to 2004. And fortunes from fortune cookies. And tags from clothes. Literally everything. All this totally useless stuff that it pains me to toss out because what if I need it one day.

- Have vastly varying periods of total distractibility where absolutely nothing happens even things that really should (like eating food) and periods of doing ALL the things!!!!!!!!!!1eleventyone where way too many things somehow happen. I don't reliably have the same abilities, skills, or energy/capacity to do the same things from one point in time to another.

- Can hyperfocus for hours at a time on ironing out the tiniest of details necessary to complete one activity/task, to the point where I forget that things like pissing/shitting/eating/drinking liquids are things that a body generally needs to do. For over 18 hours sometimes.

- Hate tags. Yes, tags. They are horrible. Why do people insist on putting them on clothes? Anywhere? Ever? But seriously, especially the really large, stiff ones in some shirts right where the neck is.

- Suffered for having my extremely thick, easily tangled hair (which used to be very long, especially as a kid), which meant I went through what both my partner and I call the Daily Torture Session. It was worse than just frustrating or annoying. It was actually painful and it sucked. And no one would believe me most of the time, because they assumed I was just exaggerating or being overly dramatic. But it's true.

- Often begin to talk louder and louder, especially when I'm excited about something (which can include being excited about knowing about something), without realizing it, or being aware of exactly how loud others perceive me as.

- Constantly grind my teeth or chew on my own tongue (to the side of my mouth). I'm not sure if it's a pressure-seeking thing, or another kind of sensory-seeking, or a specific kind of stimming, but it's been a thing my whole life, and was the reason I had to get a retainer when I was a kid. I know a lot of other autistic folks who bite or chew on their fingers, hands, or arms as well as or instead of doing the teeth grinding thing.

- Have a very powerful and strong, intuitive sense of justice and fairness. It hurts when something seems wrong, when someone seems like they're being fucked over. I usually immediately relate to and identify with the underdog or the outsider.

- Don't care much about certain types of reputation/outward perceptions of me (like, buck the system; think whatever you want to think; fly that freak flag high; I'm here and queer get used to it; I once showed up to a White House event in a t-shirt while everyone else was in Western Business Attire; etc.) but am also extremely anxious about what others think of me vis a vis my character, my integrity, whether I'm worth being/having around.

I'm sure there are many more, but another thing I have is anxiety around lists because I'm always wondering if I left something off the list (and usually do/did). (Bonus! If you keep coming to this page enough, you might notice I keep adding to this list, for the reason stated earlier in this paragraph!)

No really, I wasn't kidding about the White House tassel thing: 



From December 2013, inside the White House. Clearly the thing to do is to find the nearest large fluffy tassel and rub your face all over it in stim-heaven.

My original description:

The tassels on the drapes were SO STIMMY YAY. (Pretty sure this is not the normal way to act in the White House. OH WELL.)

A total stranger took this picture because I apparently was hilarious? So I got them to email it to me, for your viewing pleasure.

Photo by Nicole Shambourger.

Image: Me dressed in a dark pantsuit and patterned, embroidered red scarf, very happy, sticking my face into a giant tassel decoration on drapes in the Green Room of the White House.

***

If you are wondering or questioning whether you or someone you know might be autistic after reading this post, here are some resources that could be helpful:

40 comments:

  1. Each one fits me. I'm autistic??! THIS is autism? Whoa.

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    1. Yes! This and so much more lol. Welcome to the club. I'm an autism mama×2....

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    2. Welcome to the club!

      I still don't believe that NTs don't have dreams like us though. It's so weird.

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  2. This is great! :) thanks for writing.

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  3. Good list. A bit if redundancy, but not really. I completely identify with most of the items.

    This fits in nicely with one thing I am collecting my thoughts about for an essay on the autistic personality. I have recently (re)rear Hans Asperger's original paper, and he discusses this. Not just in the children he encountered in his clinic, but in their parents and in public figures he identified (though not by name) as autistic, based on these kind of personality traits. His conclusion: autism is not rare.

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  4. Yes, this, all of it!! Thank you for writing this....so much of this is me, Lydia. I wish my family and all of those in my life who haven't understood me, would all read this. All of my past caregivers. All of the doctors, and past friends who have walked away from me and shut the door on me, people at agencies who have refused to help me or even listen to and believe me when i try to tell them and explain that i am Autistic and why i can and can't handle certain things, etc. Everyone needs to read this!!

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  5. Beautiful piece and so many of the same experiences I have – even loving to rub ��silk�� on my face~!!! — though I don't know what it's like to go to the White House. ��

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  6. Bummer. My first comment didn't make it ... I'm confused. Anyway, thank you for your insights.

    I am trying to get my doc to refer me to be assessed for ASD. Wish me luck, please?

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  7. Thank you for sharing this Lydia. I really appreciate your blog and think it should be required reading for non-autistic folks.

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  8. You should hope for an autism diagnosis. "ASD" is an offensive term. Autism is not a disorder.

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    1. ASD is the current term in use. Disorder is only offensive if you consider it to be.

      Disorder is one of the most benign possibilities and to take offensive to it would be to insist nothing about having autism is ever disabling or a problem which is not a few presented here.

      ASD is in my opinion less damaging than carving it up was. When I was taking my degree in psych and the DSM IV was still an anticipated future event my professors fairly accurately, in my opinion, predicted a problem they said would make it a very bad idea beyond it being redundant to throw Asperger's syndrome into the mix.

      They stated that it was difficult for even the most diligent clinician to keep speech and intelligence from winding up conflated. They felt that as the possibility of being diagnosed without a speech delay existed and could be coded for that a real risk of those with a speech delay being seen as more broadly delayed and having less access to quality education based on assumptions that could go with that existed.

      When I was a child being late to speak had some people inclined to think there were other things that were issues and others toeing the we don't have enough data yet line for long enough for you to at least have a shot at a mainstream education.

      Europe had moved to the use of ASD some time previously and it was preferred for a variety of subjective reasons. It is worth pointing out that that disorder often followed autistic depending on the syntax of the clinician.

      I have no problem with disorder. There are many things about my autism which are at the very least a disorder. Some of them can be both. Hyper-focus can make you good at your job sometimes but lead to your not putting your computer down until you pee yourself or have days run into each other.

      What's offensive is not accepting the fullness of autism as they occur in a person. Over and over people have trouble reconciling what I can do with what I cannot do. Some will then assume some of what I cannot do however many years it has been a documented issue has to be made up and so on.

      In reality there is a blend of weaknesses and strengths and sometimes even the strong things about you will be bound up in too much stress but getting people to recognize that this is very much the nature of autism versus being too concerned about are they calling it a disorder, a syndrome or what right now?

      I couldn't make a case for not having any disorders with a straight face. People consider disability even worse sometimes which is ridiculous to me. It is what it is. You accept the person you are or a friend, a relative or whatever and that's the key bit not the words currently in fashion to label them..

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  9. Not all of this is me, but enough of it is that it all makes sense. And some of them are things I didn't know how to put into words but now I do. Thank you.

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  10. Great article, helps me to look for these traits in my autistic sons and make sure I am not doing things that would cause them pain or distress.

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  11. Me me me me me!!! I spent my entire life thinking I was some sort of weirdo destined to be either alone or stuck in bad relationships. I thought it was all my fault, and I should be able to control these things. It wasn't until I had my son evaluated and starting doing research that I realized I, too, am on the Spectrum. It was such a mixture of relief, frustration, and anger. Relief because U finally discovered I'm not just some freak with mental problems. Then anger because of all of the abuse I suffered over the years as no one understood me, and tried to punish and force me into "the box". Then frustration, since I do all the research and pass info along, yet other's behavior towards me does not change...

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  12. Thanks for writing this. I see so much of me in there. Your descriptions are spot on.

    This: "Always see the world in static (like the kind of "noise" that makes photos not great quality)." I thought I was the only one who saw things this way!!!

    And this: "Really, really like the feeling of pressure against my body." Oh gosh, I love sleeping on my hands, or sitting on them, and tucking them between/under my legs.

    I could go on and on about all this, but I won't (exercising self control here)…

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  13. The idea of loving pressure is a new one for me, although much of your list strikes a chord with my life. I have been a babywearer for almost three years now, and could not quite understand exactly what about using wraps made them so preferential over other types of carriers (such as an Ergo). Recently I realized that I felt calmer when I had my son wrapped. Wrapping requires a very fitted, tight fit so that everything is supported correctly. I love it.
    Alao, I'm glad you mentioned hyperfocus to the point of peeing yourself. I did this until I was 9 years old, completely oblivious to the fact until someone pointed this out to me. My mom still tells how embarrassing it was being out with me at the mall, and I get enthralled in a display piano, and pee all over the bench. My two younger (toilet trained) sisters didn't, at only 4 and 2, but I, 9 years old, still did.
    Thank you for including this in your list.

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  14. Thank you Lydia for this!!! I can't put into words how insightful this is. I wish I could print these all on cards and just hand them to people. My son does not have the words to describe what he is feeling, or why he does things, but now I have the words. I am amazed by how difficult it must be to navigate the world and function on a day to day basis for even the most "high functioning" (not a fan of that term) ASD people. Thank you so much!!! PS I love the picture of you with the tassel :)

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  15. About 80% similar here. A few things I flipped around for survival. I am a bully's bully. I can't stand to see people get messed with. I've been in more fights than anyone I know. ( As a resquer.)
    Top clue, I have bounced my head since birth and have channeled it into a leg swing / wrestlers leg with cramps if stressed. I've been caught in a movie theatre as two rows upfront are all staring back at me to stop. Oops! Redundancies annoy me. Like steps in Algebra. I get correct answers but not by their steps. So I have failed college algebra 3 times, yet pass logarithms without a thought.
    I have dealt with anger issues being wrongly accused and insane laughter when called on my shit. I am not in the system as anything aside from ptsd and I know better. I haven't heard of another head bouncing since birth explained. I have adjusted socially thru observation. Got practice dealing with people at clubs and bars working EVERY job. I can hang with people and be the party but I choose not to often. Yes, it's exhausting!
    Thanks so much for sharing yourself!

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  16. About 80% similar here. A few things I flipped around for survival. I am a bully's bully. I can't stand to see people get messed with. I've been in more fights than anyone I know. ( As a resquer.)
    Top clue, I have bounced my head since birth and have channeled it into a leg swing / wrestlers leg with cramps if stressed. I've been caught in a movie theatre as two rows upfront are all staring back at me to stop. Oops! Redundancies annoy me. Like steps in Algebra. I get correct answers but not by their steps. So I have failed college algebra 3 times, yet pass logarithms without a thought.
    I have dealt with anger issues being wrongly accused and insane laughter when called on my shit. I am not in the system as anything aside from ptsd and I know better. I haven't heard of another head bouncing since birth explained. I have adjusted socially thru observation. Got practice dealing with people at clubs and bars working EVERY job. I can hang with people and be the party but I choose not to often. Yes, it's exhausting!
    Thanks so much for sharing yourself!

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  17. Many of the traits you mention I share with you. When you mentioned propagnosia, though, I actually choked on my coffee as I laughed because it reminded me of a story.

    I have had a relationship with the same man for well over 20 years. I adore Bobby and I LOVE HIS FACE TOO!

    About 12 years ago, middle son,Casey, said 'Mom, can I ask you a question?" "Sure," I said. Casey scratched his chin and says " I was just wondering. how do you think Bobby would look with a mustache. I think he'd look pretty good, don't you'? And I said Probably. Bobby always looks good." "But Mom," my son said. "just picture him with a mustache.' I thought about it for a minute and then said, "I'm not sure, but it seems to me that I remember him having a mustache at one time, or at least saw a picture of him with a mustache, and he looked quite handsome".

    That is when Casey busted a gut laughing. "Mom," he said. "Neither of us have ever sen Bobby WITHOUT a mustache!"

    I swear I dearly love my husbands' face.

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  18. So, a lot of these fit me (almost all of them, actually), but I've never been diagnosed(?) with anything b/c no one has ever taken me to get assessed, so i'm not sure what to do.

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    1. You can do whatever you want to do! If you are interested in learning more, we can definitely point you to some resources from autistic people and autistic-led groups about autistic experiences, identity, community, and culture. If you are interested in pursuing a paper-diagnosis, then that's a separate matter, and probably specific to the area where you live as far as finding someone to talk to. But you can also choose to do nothing formal, and just keep exploring, and that's okay too!

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  19. You left out:
    Feelings of alienation and/or being different.
    Feelings of confusion about the world and/or people etc
    ... combined with high intelligence and/or detailed encyclopedical knowledge.
    Penchant for philosophy and/or science .

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  20. PS.
    I don't stim, I dislike animals, I don't see dots neither am I synesthetic …

    OK, the seeing dots, not seeing buildings and synesthesia thing is your thing (others have others - I can't follow two ppl speaking simultaneously like in a party or when radio is on - in fact, I can't bear radio/ human voices at home at all!)

    Now but the stim thing concerns me. It seems to be most common denominator for autism and yet I have most of the other things but I do not stim. Never have.

    Does it makes me just having autistic traits and not being autistic?
    Are there other aspiens who don't stim?

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    1. The radio thing, I totally have that too. I love when transcripts or live captions exist because they solve so many problems. Occasionally in public I am literally lip-reading people, because I can't actually process the auditory version of what they're trying to communicate.

      The stimming -- you may in fact stim in ways that are just not common in autistic people, or that are treated as "normal" by non-autistic people -- or you may not stim in any recognizable way at all, or you may not stim at all. It doesn't necessarily mean you are or are not autistic. It just is what it is.

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  21. GET OUT OF MY HEAD ;)

    Seriously though, this is basically me. I was never diagnosed with autsim, but was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. My 10 year old son is autistic though, and I suddenly put 2 and 2 together that all of these *gasp horror* autistic traits he has are just things that my husband and I also do.

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  22. You look so happy in that picture. If that tassel was silk or a similar soft material, I can see that as feeling VERY good.

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  23. I identify with absolutely all of these traits, but have never been given an autism diagnosis nor have my parents sought one but people do joke with me that I am autistic and then laugh it off but I identify with these traits so intensely and they are things that really anger people about me, like not recognising faces or rephrasing things incessantly or the over empathising with event/people, that i have never even considered may be to do with autism.
    I felt like I was reading about myself and now I dont know how to feel.

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  24. This isn't wordy or verbose at all. Last year, I decided to write something analyzing my own autism (I'm a late-comer to the whole diagnosis thing, having found out about my very obvious autism in my forties as a result of having kids diagnosed with it). My writeup came to SEVENTY-FIVE double-spaced pages. Much of what I wrote connects very neatly with what you wrote here. :)

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  25. PREACH IT, SISTAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    (Autistic man himself)

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  26. I still wonder what in the heck those dot-floaty things are. XD This is Kelly Israel, by the way. :}

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  27. Oh my gosh! I connect so much with this post that it's overwhelming me and I need to happy stim. I almost want to cry, because I identify with so much of this and you sound so awesome from this and the rest of your blog. Reading this post made me want to reach through the computer screen so I could talk with you and shout "ME TOO!!!" to most of these. I'm also asexual and queer and a POC (mestiza Mexican-American). It's so incredibly rare for me to find people with this much in common with me, which is what I look for in friends, and usually only find in other autistic people. I grew up in a small town with no autistic friends so I thought I was (literally) an alien. I immersed myself in my own detailed imaginary worlds, which kept me going. I didn't suspect I was autistic until I was 13 and didn't get a diagnosis until I was 20. I'm 24 now. Now I'm starting to make autistic friends in school and things are looking good. If you ever are around Stanford University, where I go to school, I'd definitely love to say hi!

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    1. Yay, SQUEEEEEEE!

      My speaking schedule is at http://autistichoya.net/speaking but no Stanford visit there yet.

      If you use Facebook, and are interested in a private support and discussion group for autistic PoC, shoot me an email and I can send an invite.

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  28. I can (almost) *feel* that tassel on my own face just by looking at the picture! :D

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  29. wow, so much of this is me :) I am diagnosed with autism. Before I knew, I spent so much time telling myself to "stop it, stop it", when I couldn't speak or was "weird". I also have an inability to recognise people that I know if they are in a place where I don't expect them to be which can lead to very embarrassing situations :)

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  30. I thought I might have Asperger,but the sensitivity thing doesn't really apply to me. yeah,i might be sensitive to some labels on the clothes or to some fabric,but I don't think it's a sign of being hypersensitive. I'm introvert and I was a really shy person back to two years ago. I used to be really awkward. I'm still really awkward. I can't learn how to make someone happy when is sad. I act in a really weird way and I start laughing hoping that this person starts laughing too. When it comes to social interaction i tend to ask a lot of questions,because that's the way I can relate the most. I used to read a lot of artciles on how to make friends and how to act in social contexts,but I hate doing this,so I don't care anymore. I do also think in images. I make links better when I think in pictures. I don't have troubles to speak a language,because of the links I create. I find the speaking part easier because there are no rules and I can link words easily. I can't follow any course. they just drain my energies.I like to mess things up. I feel I can make easily links when information are ''messed up''.i can't talk on the phone because I never know what to say and i can't get any information if told me orally. I do have a lot of problems with focusing on one thing for a long time. I do start thinking about the future things,fantasizing on things i would like to happen or just analyzing everything in a rationally. I'm also an introvert (as I said before)and prefer staying alone. But I do also enjoy meeting new people.
    When i'm excited i flick my fingers and move my hands in a weird way. My tone of voice is really monotone,but when I'm excited i start talking loudly. Might I have asperger syndrome? it's something I was wondering after reading some articles on autism.
    Sorry for this messed-up comment lol.

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  31. I feel like I'm way too excited over this
    I relate to this little list WAY more than I do the stiff clinical symptoms.
    I'm scrolling through this list practically spazzing out at each point. My mind is shouting YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES!!! at everything I read here, and my hands are freaking vibrating from flapping around crazily.
    Yep, way too excited about this.

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  32. I have a question: Are all Aspies attached to the truth in teh way they always tell it? I've searched through books and everywhere online, but can't find an answer.

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