Asperger's Syndrome


by zoobyshoe
Tags: asperger, syndrome
Kurdt
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#55
Jan29-09, 03:38 AM
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Language an vocabulary aren't all that is required for good social skills. Non-verbal cues such as facial expression and body language are difficult for people with AS to pick up on. There is also a considerable lack of knowledge about how to lead or direct a conversation and so in many cases it tails off or gets mired in the person with AS talking excessively about what they're interested in. The way language is used is also different. People with AS tend to be very literal and can't recognise some of the nuances of social speech which can often lead to confusion over what the other person actually means.
355113
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#56
Jan29-09, 06:05 AM
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Quote Quote by tgt View Post
So you have AS. Language development in people with HFA is slow and so speech and vocab are not as good as others which results in them being a bad communicator especially in social situations.
In HFA, language skills often develop to the same level as in AS, just at a later age.

How is it that AS people develop speech normally and can even have a good vocab and language skills be so bad in social situations and in communicating with people? It doesn't make much sense.
Because social interaction is not based purely on verbal comprehension. There is nonverbal communication as well, in addition to a whole slew of arcane social nuances that most with AS don't understand. In addition, language tends to be used idiosyncratically, and often in a more formal manner that would impede social communication which of its nature tends to be more informal.
zoobyshoe
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#57
Jan29-09, 02:59 PM
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Quote Quote by 355113 View Post
This is simply not true. I know at least a couple Kanner's autistics who have been academically successful. It may be that Kanner's autists less commonly succeed academically, but saying that none do is wrong. Remember, all absolute statements are false. And that's why I never make absolute statements.
Hehe. OK.


That's actually a pretty good question. I suppose I don't, or at least I don't know what would conventionally be considered a good sense of humor as I find different things funny than others seem to.


Hm... I disagree, not all Asperger's humor seems to make sense to the general population. What other explanation could there possibly be for people not laughing at my jokes?


But basing such perceptions on whether someone finds a joke funny isn't necessarily accurate... there are plenty of jokes that I intellectually understand but just don't consider to be amusing. I know why they are supposed to be funny, I just don't think they've succeeded. Most people on seeing such a reaction will tend to assume that I just didn't get the joke.
Humor is context dependent. There is no such thing as an inherently funny joke or utterance. The success or failure of a remark intended to be funny depends on the humorist's ability to size his audience up then and there; take their pulse, so to speak, and pitch something to their taste, level of perceptiveness, all in the context of the situation at hand. To the extent that what you laugh at, and what you pitch to others to amuse them, is an indicator of how sensitive you are to who you're with and the immediate situation, it has potential as a diagnostic tool.


And I think they are fundamentally the same thing, or at least on the same spectrum, that are artificially separated by arbitrary markers such as verbal intelligence when in fact they should not be regarded as separate. Indeed, some new evidence seems to indicate that autism itself is not a discrete condition, but merely a collection of certain traits at a certain intensity. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7841808.stm

Well, yes, and that is the nature of psychology. The disease model really does not apply too terribly well to the autistic spectrum. Physiological problems would be difficult or impossible to identify, and then the practice of labeling all autistic traits as "problem" has been vocally opposed by a number of prominent researchers, as well as most people who are themselves autistic.


It will be interesting to see neurology advance that far someday, but for now that field is still in its infancy and we have to go with the best we currently know.



Not quite as good as any, since you have to take into account whether the diagnosis makes sense and is consistent. I mean, no psychologist or psychiatrist could realistically diagnose me as schizophrenic, bipolar, or depressed. A crappy psychiatrist might be capable of misdiagnosing me with ADD or even possibly OCD, but it should be readily apparent that neither of those diagnoses would account for all my idiosyncratic behavior or markedly unusual profile of IQ subscores, whereas some variant of autism does.
All the same problem again: without physiological data to point to, any diagnosis in the DSM is an arbitrary agreement of experts on what apparent symptom constellations are going to be called what. There is a never ending series of papers proposing causes and mechanisms for the constellation of symptoms called schizophrenia with no conclusions to be drawn. Therefore, it is also often suggested that a large number of rather different neurological problems can manifest with these symptoms.

Contrast this with seizures. Because seizures have long been accepted as purely physiological in origin it was long ago recognized that there is no disease, Epilepsy. Seizures are always a symptom. They always indicate either tissue damage, or any of the myriad "chemical" problems that can trigger neurons to fire this way. "Epilepsy" is a label that simply means the seizures are likely to be chronic, to continue happening unless there is intervention.

In the absence of physiological data what makes sense and seems consistent to a given doctor in arriving at a psychiatric diagnosis is much more open ended. The differences I perceive between Asperger's and Autism that strike me as important are not persuasive to you, and the similarities which strike you as important are not persuasive to me. At this point it has to be considered a difference in value judgement. My "delusional disorder" example was meant to be one you would agree was absurd, simply to mock the fact that all diagnoses are unchecked by "objective" data: lab results, EEG's, brain scans, etc. (They go some distance in ruling out gross physiological problems like brain tumors, thyroid, drug abuse, and so on, but there is no provision for the fine parsing of neurological cause and effect in the absence of know gross causes of psychiatric symptoms.) You are confident that psychiatrists will be guided by good reasoning skills in coming to a diagnosis. I, however, don't think that anyone with good reasoning skills would end up in psychiatry ;) . Of all the medical sciences it is the least scientific. It's a kind of impressionistic medicine, in the way Aristotle's physics was a kind of impressionistic physics. I think both autism and Asperger's are clear neurological conditions and shouldn't be in the DSM at all.

I've heard rumors of people "outgrowing" AS but that does not actually occur; rather, people develop effective coping mechanisms. I'm not quite sure what to make of Ackroyd- I've heard claims that he was kidding when he said he was diagnosed with AS, though that wouldn't make much sense. Anyways, yes, AS does tend to allow for more self-awareness and ability to analyze one's own strengths and weaknesses, and this is helpful in figuring out how to compensate for the weaknesses.
That's what I figure as well: the apparent "outgrowing" actually probably results from successful coping mechanisms.
355113
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#58
Jan29-09, 03:13 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
The differences I perceive between Asperger's and Autism that strike me as important are not persuasive to you, and the similarities which strike you as important are not persuasive to me. At this point it has to be considered a difference in value judgement.
Well, not only that, but as it currently stands we have no significant means of differentiating the two even if they are separate conditions. As the two are currently defined, there isn't much relevant difference between them. I suppose you could argue that there is something wrong with the classification scheme and there actually are two separate conditions being referred to here, but those two conditions aren't going to neatly and exactly follow the current AS/HFA split. For what it's worth, I would disagree with such an assessment, but then I don't have all the answers on autism.

You are confident that psychiatrists will be guided by good reasoning skills in coming to a diagnosis. I, however, don't think that anyone with good reasoning skills would end up in psychiatry ;) .
Not psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are idiots, more or less universally. Psychologists tend to be better, though that field still has its fair share of quacks.
tgt
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Jan29-09, 06:38 PM
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Quote Quote by 355113 View Post
In HFA, language skills often develop to the same level as in AS, just at a later age.


Because social interaction is not based purely on verbal comprehension. There is nonverbal communication as well, in addition to a whole slew of arcane social nuances that most with AS don't understand. In addition, language tends to be used idiosyncratically, and often in a more formal manner that would impede social communication which of its nature tends to be more informal.
But people with HFA won't develop their language skills to as well as a skillful neurotypical. Those years missing will show up in some way.

But you are able to use emotional language well? Good at writing essays and even novels?

So it's the informal nature that you can't stand. Like parties? Do you go to them? What happens? Do you have a gf or bf?

What defense mechanisms have you developed over the years?
mgb_phys
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Jan29-09, 06:47 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
the apparent "outgrowing" actually probably results from successful coping mechanisms.
Or training - men get a lot more 'normal' once married.
355113
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Jan29-09, 06:50 PM
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Quote Quote by tgt View Post
But people with HFA won't develop their language skills to as well as a skillful neurotypical. Those years missing will show up in some way.
Not necessarily true, some people just develop later. I was a late talker, but if you compare that to my current level, I tested at a verbal IQ of 150 a few weeks ago. (WAIS-IV)

But you are able to use emotional language well? Good at writing essays and even novels?
I'm not sure what you are referring to by "emotional language." I'm good with essays, but have never attempted a novel, nor do I intend to.

So it's the informal nature that you can't stand. Like parties? Do you go to them? What happens? Do you have a gf or bf?
Parties are a problem more because of sensory overload- too many people, too much noise, too much going on at once for me. Crowds are my greatest fear. What happens when I go to parties? I am generally uncomfortable, and usually leave at the earliest opportunity. No, I do not have a gf, and would not have a bf given that I am heterosexual.

What defense mechanisms have you developed over the years?
Avoidance of situations that are likely to involve large crowds. Also, to deal with bullying, I've developed a remarkably thick skin- it is close to impossible to actually offend me now. Most of my own issues are either related to sensory or social problems, and I've found that people in college seem to be more accepting than people in high school were. I can easily enough ignore those who aren't accepting, though. The sensory issues are harder to get around.
zoobyshoe
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#62
Jan29-09, 09:38 PM
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Quote Quote by 355113 View Post
Well, not only that, but as it currently stands we have no significant means of differentiating the two even if they are separate conditions. As the two are currently defined, there isn't much relevant difference between them. I suppose you could argue that there is something wrong with the classification scheme and there actually are two separate conditions being referred to here, but those two conditions aren't going to neatly and exactly follow the current AS/HFA split. For what it's worth, I would disagree with such an assessment, but then I don't have all the answers on autism.
If I were interested in sharpening up my case for two distinct conditions I think I'd start by going back and reading all the original literature by Kanner and Asperger then see where that lead. At this point I'm just observing that the difference seems clear to me, and that I think the water has been muddied by years of inexperienced shrinks mistaking one for the other.
Not psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are idiots, more or less universally. Psychologists tend to be better, though that field still has its fair share of quacks.
My brother-in-law is an ER Doc. He said that in med school the meme is that the students with the highest grades are shunted into Neurology and those with the lowest grades are shunted into Psychiatry.

----------------------------------------------

I am curious to know if you feel ill at ease looking into people's eyes. If so, have you tried to figure out how to force yourself to do it so that you'll not stand out?
355113
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#63
Jan30-09, 06:08 AM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
I am curious to know if you feel ill at ease looking into people's eyes. If so, have you tried to figure out how to force yourself to do it so that you'll not stand out?
Yes, I do. I do so anyways when I want to avoid standing out; many people have to do things they do not enjoy.
zoobyshoe
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#64
Jan30-09, 03:19 PM
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Quote Quote by 355113 View Post
Yes, I do. I do so anyways when I want to avoid standing out; many people have to do things they do not enjoy.
Indeed they do. The reason I ask is because, under a lot of circumstances for various reasons, anyone might feel ill at ease looking into someones eyes. However, I have a theory that the reason Asperger's people do not like it is very different than the reasons other people sometimes don't like it.
Kurdt
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#65
Jan30-09, 03:38 PM
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What is your theory?
zoobyshoe
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Jan30-09, 04:38 PM
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Quote Quote by Kurdt View Post
What is your theory?
A statement of the theory might constitute a "leading" influence. It's a good theory: it can be disproved. However, since we're dealing with reported experience, I can only test the theory against descriptions of why this is unpleasant from people with AS who do not know what theory they might be supporting or disproving.

Whether or not someone might be willing to describe something unpleasant depends. They might not mind, or, it might be an imposition to ask them to examine and analyze something they don't want to think about. I'm in kind of a quandary.
355113
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Jan30-09, 06:13 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
Indeed they do. The reason I ask is because, under a lot of circumstances for various reasons, anyone might feel ill at ease looking into someones eyes. However, I have a theory that the reason Asperger's people do not like it is very different than the reasons other people sometimes don't like it.
Hm. I don't know if I can help you there, in terms of why eye contact makes me feel uneasy. But I would note that not all AS people necessarily are more averse to eye contact. Rather, it is simply another aspect of nonverbal communication that is not understood by AS people. A friend of mine (who is also AS) makes eye contact, but does so idiosyncratically and somewhat inappropriately. (And yes, even though I'm not generally able to make "appropriate" eye contact, I am at least analytical enough to notice when others are or are not making normal eye contact)
tgt
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Jan30-09, 06:18 PM
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Quote Quote by mgb_phys View Post
Or training - men get a lot more 'normal' once married.
what do you mean?

The HFA and AS typically don't get married as their lack of social knowledge makes relationships hard. Its the normal people who usually get married and it isn't surprising that they get more normal after marriage.
tgt
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#69
Jan30-09, 06:21 PM
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Quote Quote by 355113 View Post
Crowds are my greatest fear.
Have you ever gone to New Year Eve's fireworks?

Just say you went alone. Would it still bother you if you did not need to do anything social and people may not even notice you since its in the mid of the night?
355113
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Jan30-09, 10:01 PM
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Quote Quote by tgt View Post
Have you ever gone to New Year Eve's fireworks?

Just say you went alone. Would it still bother you if you did not need to do anything social and people may not even notice you since its in the mid of the night?
I've been to fireworks displays before, but I don't think I have specifically for New Year's. Yes, I would still dislike it because of the noise and chaos that comes with a crowd. It's sensory overload in a bad way. Besides that, I don't like fireworks.
zoobyshoe
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Jan30-09, 10:07 PM
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Quote Quote by 355113 View Post
Hm. I don't know if I can help you there, in terms of why eye contact makes me feel uneasy. But I would note that not all AS people necessarily are more averse to eye contact. Rather, it is simply another aspect of nonverbal communication that is not understood by AS people. A friend of mine (who is also AS) makes eye contact, but does so idiosyncratically and somewhat inappropriately. (And yes, even though I'm not generally able to make "appropriate" eye contact, I am at least analytical enough to notice when others are or are not making normal eye contact)
That is interesting and true: you don't always need to know how to do something right to know that someone else is doing it wrong.
355113
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#72
Jan30-09, 10:19 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
That is interesting and true: you don't always need to know how to do something right to know that someone else is doing it wrong.
In the case of my friend, he tends to make a bit too much eye contact; he holds eye contact a second or two too long and too rigidly. It is readily apparent, though some people probably wouldn't notice that specifically and just get a general "socially-incompetent" vibe.

I've also noticed kindergarten/elementary school teachers, or really anyone trying to talk to someone they regard as an inferior or immature/incompetent, will tend to make excessive eye contact, and in a somewhat unnatural and forced manner. Presumably this is to attempt to command the other person's full attention (I guess a mental "lesser" is assumed to be unable to pay attention to multiple things at once), but it is exceedingly frustrating to deal with such people because with them I am unable to maintain any eye contact- it's simply too painful at that point. I've noticed this most frequently at my uni's disability office. This is typically combined with a slower, slightly higher-pitched voice than is typical for normal interaction, again signaling condescension towards the person being addressed.

Grr. So frustrating being able intellectually to analyze human interaction but not being able to usefully apply that knowledge.


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