My 11 year old son was diagnosed as an Aspie several years ago. About two years ago I sought a diagnosis as well. (FWIW I was previously diagnosed ADHD at age 40.)
The end result was somewhat anticlimactic because neither I nor the therapist were able to say that I currently exhibit a significant number of traits thought to be associated with AS. That said, if I attempt to examine the same criteria based on my recollections from childhood, I feel that I did exhibit a significant number of those benchmark characteristics as a child and even into my early 30s.
The only way I cn explain it is that, at about age 20, I decided I would learn how to compensate for the issues that seemed to make life difficult for me and I devoted an immense amount of time and energy adapting myself to fit in and be successful.
Still I really don't know if I'm and Aspie or not, and it seems that no one else can tell either (except my wife who swears all of our communications difficties are due to me being an Aspie).
Whatever the case, I've decided to consult another local expert for a second opinion.
What I would like to know is whether it is particularly difficult to diagnose adults who have managed to adapt well over many years? Or is it more likely that I'm not an Aspie and, instead, my symptoms I were due to something else (e.g., ADHD) that presented itself very much like AS?
Thanks for listening!
P.S. I still have ADHD-like symptoms, unless I take meds or drink large amounts of coffee.
Thank you Allison!
The article was interesting. If I attempt to evaluate myself based on the suggested approach, I believe I exhibit only a very small number of symptoms and they are now quite subtle in presentation. But as I work backwards in time (by my best recollections), I believe more symptoms were present (and they were more likely to be outwardly apparent).
My gut feeling is that a practitioner following this approach would either say, "you aren't an Aspie" or "the results are inconclusive at best".
Inside, I think I'm an Aspie that has adapted well in order to act consistent with what is expected by non-Aspies.
This is just my $0.02. But I also think that this particular clinician (and many others) are viewing the AS world from naive and unscientific perspective, as implied by statements like, "Individuals with AS may enjoy associating with people but are unable to maintain more than a superficial level of relating to them and are rarely able to respond empathetically to others." Such unequivocal statements strike me as subjective and unscientific. I mention that because, from that perspective, I would imagine that a clinician is likely to make the AS diagnosis when the subject exhibits fairly extreme symptoms (and may be unable to opine on individuals that have adapted well over many years).
P.S. I hope what I said above is not perceived as offensive. I was an academic for many years and I know the academic tone/dialogue can sometimes be a little off putting to others. But, since this topic is a scientific one, I think the academic approach is best. :)
Alison Alpert said:
That was a very good link. Thanks Alison.
Alison Alpert said:
I've got the whole package when it comes to a diagnosis, ADD/Dyslexia/Clinical Depression/AS so it wouldn't suprise me that you might have a combo of things that wouldn't show up unless you went thru testing that'd confirm/deny what you think you might have or not have. For me it's informational, which is good, but it doesn't help with my struggling prior to the diagnosis. That life I now see as inevitable and a royal PITA, but it's the only one I could have had. The totality of what I got sometimes whips my ass, which I don't like but needs to be dealt with in its turn, which happens.
Don, Wow, I think you said it in a nutshell. I think the primary difference is that we know how we filter the world now both on our perceptions and interactions.
The real question is, in spite of our filters, are we still Aspies? And I feel the unquestionable response is a resounding 'yes'.
What the tests fail to test for is our filter system. The strain mentally it puts on us to do this, in spite of, in my case, my 58 years of life experience. And, to top that, when we're tired, the filters fail completely, or disappear.
"One of my other experiences is that, after being with a group for a long time, like at a work place, we get comfortable. As we get comfortable, the filters start to relax. I start thinking, "They like me."; but, who they like, is my filters. And filters also don't filter our thoughts, which can be quite intimidating and can turn into second guessing. It never becomes instinctive. This is what kills me, and why I often still to this day avoid social situations. I'm not at my best after the stresses of the day. And, with my wife as my barometer, she's had to learn when this happens with me, and come to my, and 'others' rescue.
I think it's ironic; but, I've taken the online tests, and when I answer the questions like I know and have since learned is the right answer, I can test as only having very mild AS. But, when I respond as I think, I am confirmed. Now come the ethical decisions. And from an academic point of view, how can we get a correct diagnosis? I guess many think that if we can "technically" function at "one" point in time, or when we're alert, sharp and on top of our game, then we can function in society. And, that's true a great deal of the time. But, all that's really happened is that I've learned to be a great actor.
Conversely, many of my filters have been with me for so long that I can give the appropriate answers even when I'm tired. I worked hard to learn to do this, but my life has been filled with the pitfalls of being an Aspie. At this point, I would seriously question someone's ability to diagnose me, and my fear, is what you confirm. What to do?
I don't know, I wish I did.