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Asperger's Syndrome

by zoobyshoe
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tgt
#109
May16-09, 01:17 AM
P: 468
Quote Quote by Marcus3141 View Post
Hi there everyone.

I'm new to this forum and I thought Id join seen as I like physics and am planning on going to university to study it eventually.

I stumbled across it after searching for information regarding Asperger's Syndrome. I thought it would be a good idea to start on this thread because I have aspergers syndrome myself and was wondering if there is anyone else on this forum who has it because it would be interesting to talk somebody who is in the same boat as me.
I've got HFA. Is that close enough?
355113
#110
May16-09, 07:19 AM
P: 39
Quote Quote by tgt View Post
I've got HFA. Is that close enough?
I normally consider HFA and Asperger's to be the same thing, for all intents and purposes.
My diagnosis is Asperger's.
DarthPickley
#111
Apr13-11, 07:48 PM
P: 17
In social interaction, many people with Asperger's syndrome demonstrate gaze avoidance and may actually turn away at the same moment as greeting another...
when I look into other people's eyes while they are talking to me, I become 'entranced' and highly distracted and cannot pay any attention to what the person is saying. Additionally, sometimes it causes me to spontaneously have a spasm or something, like I'll pass by a mirror and see my reflection and then I'll freak out and fall on the floor...
it has happened. I only glance at people's eyes while talking to them, for less than half a second, if at all. it is easier to listen if there is no unrelated imagery in my view. so I stare at a wall or something to listen the best and be undistracted while listening.

but the eyes thing... it just feels weird to know that someone else is looking at you. I mean, if I looked at someone else's eyes and they weren't looking at mine, it would be easier actually. but when they are locked... its like a hole of blackness...

thank goodness none of that stuff is there in online communications! complete focus on the text that you are writing.
Gerder10
#112
Nov5-11, 05:30 PM
P: 3
Welcome to WrongPlanet , fellow Aspie here!
bohm2
#113
Nov8-11, 03:22 PM
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I have major performance anxiety and GAD and there was a suspicion I might have Asperger's primarily because of my intense interests/obsessions (?), sensory issues (misophonia) and inward focus. I don't think my social skills are particularly lacking but I do have trouble understanding what purpose a lot of social activities have (e.g. unecessary social interaction, weddings, funerals, graduations, ceremonies, handshakes, greeting cards, calling people by names, clapping, obsessions with celebreties, friends beyond mates and family, etc.). In my research in this area I do think there is some overlap in symptoms between Social (Performance) Anxiety Disorder, Introversion and Asperger's (AS). Here are some of the most interesting stuff that I found:

A grand unified theory of autism?

A physicist famously wanted to find the grand unifying equation behind the laws of nature, in a form that you could put on a t-shirt. Neuroscientists Kamilla and Henry Markram have proposed a grand unifying theory of autism, and the key to it is in this picture. I wouldn't want to be seen wearing it quite yet, but if the theory pans out, I'm sure we could come up with a more torso-friendly diagram. So what does this mean? The Markrams call their idea the Intense World Theory. Essentially, they propose that all of the diverse symptoms of autism are direct or indirect consequences of the autistic brain's being hyper-responsive to stimuli.
http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/201...of-autism.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...m-04-00224.pdf (full article link-very interesting)

Is There an Up Side to Autism?

In certain settings, autistic individuals can fare extremely well. One such setting is scientific research. For the past seven years, I have been a close collaborator of an autistic woman, Michelle Dawson. She has shown me that autism, when combined with extreme intelligence and an interest in science, can be an incredible boon to a research lab.
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...l/479033a.html

And then the more speculative, but interesting thesis paper:

Introversion and Autism: A conceptual exploration of the placement of introversion on the Autism Spectrum

To advance the understanding of introversion, I propose that it is a continuous segment of the non-clinical part of the autism spectrum, and that it is not the same as the inverse of extraversion. When introversion and autism are placed on the same continuum, the nature of the relationship of the traits becomes more apparent, and new possibilities are available for exploration of both autism and introversion.
http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFE0003090/Gr..._201005_MA.pdf

And then the much more speculative (read: highly questionable) but interesting article proposing an advantage for ASD in our past evolutionary history:

Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis

Solitary animals are thought to eschew unnecessary social contact as part of a foraging strategy often due to scarcity and wide dispersal of food in their native environments. It is thought that the human ancestral environment was often nutritionally sparse as well, and this may have driven human parties to periodically disband. Inconsistencies in group size must have led to inconsistencies in the manner in which natural selection fashioned the social minds of humans, which in turn may well be responsible for the large variation in social abilities seen in human populations. This article emphasizes that individuals on the autism spectrum may have only been partially solitary, that natural selection may have only favored subclinical autistic traits and that the most severe cases of autism may be due to assortative mating.
http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP09207238.pdf
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0603122849.htm
zoobyshoe
#114
Nov8-11, 04:37 PM
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Thanks for posting all that. I read the first article but it could be some time before I can read all the links.

In response to the "unified theory" take a look at this short article:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...les-have-fewer

which focuses on the amygdala, alone.

I suppose if someone could demonstrate how having fewer neurons in the amygdala would lead to it becoming hyperactive, then this study would support the "unified theory".
bohm2
#115
Nov8-11, 06:08 PM
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Quote Quote by zoobyshoe View Post
In response to the "unified theory" take a look at this short article:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...les-have-fewer

which focuses on the amygdala, alone. I suppose if someone could demonstrate how having fewer neurons in the amygdala would lead to it becoming hyperactive, then this study would support the "unified theory".
That in itself would probably argue against their "Intense World Hypothesis" but the authors do discuss that study and pretty well every study on the relationship betweem amygdala and autism but they arrive at some seemingly surprising conclusions:

The proposed deficits in reading other people’s feelings and thoughts and the lack in empathizing with other people have been commonly used to explain the impairments in social interactions and communication as well as inappropriate responses in social encounters even in high-functioning forms of autism such as in an Asperger. It was suggested that these deficits are mediated by a not sufficiently activated amygdala. These and other data, such as post-mortem examinations of amygdaloid morphology , amygdala lesion studies in non-human primates , as well as comparison between amygdala- lesioned patients and autistics have led to the Amygdala Theory of autism . In its current version it implies that the amygdala is hypo-functioning, thus the autistic person does not “feel” enough or does not process socio-emotional cues sufficiently .

On the other hand there is evidence that the amygdala may be overly activated in autism. First, structurally the amygdala is enlarged in autism as early as 18 months of age and this enlargement persists throughout childhood until about 12 years of age. In adolescence the enlargement disappears and by early adulthood the amygdala may even end up smaller than in control subjects . These changes may reflect an over-activation of the amygdala in early childhood. Second, functional hyper-reactivity was demonstrated when autistic subjects are confronted with socially relevant stimuli, such as faces and eyes . For example, Kleinhans et al. (2009) showed that compared to controls the amygdala of autistic subjects exhibits attenuated habitation to facial stimuli and that increased amygdala- arousal in autistics was associated with increased social impairment. Monk et al. (2010) recently showed that right amygdala activation is enhanced in autistic subjects during face processing when controlling for attention, that is when the autistic subjects pay attention to the stimuli. Dalton et al. (2005) revealed that high-functioning autistics showed greater activation in the right amygdala when viewing familiar and unfamiliar faces and greater activation in the left amygdala and also in the left orbito-frontal cortex when viewing emotional faces. Both areas form part of the emotion circuit of the brain and increased reactivity to faces in these areas means a heightened emotional response to these stimuli.

Moreover, in autistics, but not in controls, the amount of eye gaze fixation was strongly correlated with amygdala activation when viewing both, inexpressive or emotional faces (Dalton et al., 2005). This suggests that that eye gaze fixation is associated with emotional and possibly negative arousal in autistics and this could explain why autistics have “trouble looking other people in the eye.” Eye contact and watching the facial expressions are one of the first signs of cognitively healthy infants, are natural to people, and serve to build the basis for successful navigation through a social environment. For an autistic person however, these stimuli may be just too intense or even aversive to cope with and hence they are avoided. The Intense World Theory proposes that amygdaloid hyper-reactivity and hyper-plasticity may in particular provoke a dis-proportional level of negative emotions and affect in autism, such as elevated stress responses and anxiety as well as enhanced fear memory formation. Enhanced phobias and anxiety levels were first noted by Kanner himself in his original case studies and later confirmed by population studies on children with autism. However, contrary to the deficit-oriented or disconnected Amygdala Theory and Theory of Mind of autism, we propose that the amygdala may be overtly active in autism, and hence autistic individuals may in principle be very well able to attend to social cues, feel emotions and even empathize with others or read their minds, but they avoid doing so, because it is emotionally too overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, and stressful.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...m-04-00224.pdf

Also, note, it has been suggested that there are 2 types of empathy (cognitive and emotional empathy). I think they are receptive to the idea that there is imbalance between the 2 types in empathy in autism (high emotional empathy combined with low cognitive empathy) as suggested here:

The Empathy Imbalance Hypothesis of Autism: A Theoreti cal Approach to Cognitive and Emotional Empathy in Autistic Development

http://cogprints.org/6799/1/TPRVol59No3-SMITH.pdf

I don't understand this stuff very well but this "intense world hypothesis" is interesting and arguably counter-intuitive but it is consistent with some of the phenomena including some of the major sensory issues which is being considered in the new DSM-V guidelines as 1 of the criteria of ASD:

Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).
http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevision...on.aspx?rid=94
Soaring Crane
#116
Nov10-11, 01:36 PM
P: 484
I apologize in advance for just skimming all of the posts in this thread and for just clicking on some of the links. By doing so, I hope that I am not repeating any thoughts expressed in this thread.

However, have there been recent research developments in identifying genes or chromosomal regions that may potentially aid in the diagnosis/treatment of Aspergerís syndrome?
bohm2
#117
Nov11-11, 10:07 AM
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Quote Quote by Soaring Crane View Post
I apologize in advance for just skimming all of the posts in this thread and for just clicking on some of the links. By doing so, I hope that I am not repeating any thoughts expressed in this thread.

However, have there been recent research developments in identifying genes or chromosomal regions that may potentially aid in the diagnosis/treatment of Asperger’s syndrome?

Given that there are proposals to eliminate Asperger's syndrome as a separate disorder, and instead merge it under autism spectrum disorders (ASD), I'm not sure what that will mean? Here is their justification for eliminating Asperger's from DSM-V:

http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevision...n.aspx?rid=97# (click the link "Rationale")

Many genes have been implicated with respect to ASD/Autism. I'm not sure about how that relates to Asperger's because the latter is seen as a "milder" form of autism/ASD. See 2 links below. The problem though is that even ASD may be a heterogeneous condition and maybe researchers/psychiatrists don't have the right categories? It would be the equivalent of trying to find the link between neurosis and genes? Neurosis may have had some usefulness at one time but it was too broad of a category to be particularly useful. I'm not sure if the same can be said for ASD?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heritability_of_autism
http://www.intechopen.com/source/pdf..._disorders.pdf
Evo
#118
Nov11-11, 01:30 PM
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Quote Quote by bohm2 View Post
Given that there are proposals to eliminate Asperger's syndrome as a separate disorder, and instead merge it under autism spectrum disorders (ASD), I'm not sure what that will mean? Here is their justification for eliminating Asperger's from DSM-V:
That was done almost 2 years ago. (Feb 2010)

February 10, 2010
Asperger's Officially Placed Inside Autism Spectrum

Asperger's syndrome is really just a form of autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis, according to a panel of researchers assembled by the American Psychiatric Association.

Even though many researchers already refer to Asperger's as high-functioning autism, it hasn't been listed under the autism category in the official diagnostic guide of mental disorders, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM. The DSM serves as a guide for mental health professionals and government agencies.

But a new draft fifth edition released Wednesday moves Asperger's officially into the autism category, provoking a wide range of responses among people with Asperger's — some of whom say they do not want to be labeled as autistic.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=123527833
bohm2
#119
Nov11-11, 02:02 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
That was done almost 2 years ago. (Feb 2010)

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=123527833
No. It's not yet official (in draft, yes). But I'm guessing there aren't likely to be many changes before release in 2013?

The DSM-5 Task Force and Work Group members have spent much of 2008-2010 formulating their proposed draft criteria. This includes conducting extensive literature reviews, performing secondary data analyses, and soliciting feedback from colleagues and professionals. Although DSM-5 will not be published until 2013, the revision experts have several important tasks ahead of them in finalizing the development of this volume. Below is a detailed summary of the DSM-5 timeline leading up to the May 2013 deadline.
http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Timeline.aspx
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
Evo
#120
Nov11-11, 02:44 PM
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Quote Quote by bohm2 View Post
No. It's not yet official (in draft, yes). But I'm guessing there aren't likely to be many changes before release in 2013?



http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Timeline.aspx
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
Do you have anything that particularly states that the decision that was made to include aspergers under autism will be changed? I have found nothing that says they are considering reversing that decision?
bohm2
#121
Nov11-11, 04:53 PM
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Quote Quote by Evo View Post
Do you have anything that particularly states that the decision that was made to include aspergers under autism will be changed? I have found nothing that says they are considering reversing that decision?
No, nothing major except for the one noted below. I doubt they will make any major changes by 2013 despite some opposition by researchers like Tony Attwood and Simon Baron-Cohen and opposition groups like "Keep Asperger's Syndrome in the DSM-V".

Recent Updates to Proposed Revisions for DSM-5

Below is a list of updates made to this Web site, including changes in draft criteria and other proposed revisions, since its initial launch in February 2010. Between now and June 15, 2011, we welcome your comments and questions on these changes. Work group members will review all comments, and after completion of the DSM-5 Field Trials later this year, a third round of revisions will be made, followed by a third opportunity to submit feedback. At that time, this page will be updated to orient visitors to areas of the Web site that have changed.
With respect to ASD the only change since Feb. 2010 is the following:

Autism Spectrum Disorder Ė reinstated examples in criteria to add clarity and changed wording in most criteria to add clarity; added severity
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/RecentUpdates.aspx

Surprisingly, some psychiatrists aren't even aware of the proposed changes. Mine wasn't.
tmgrl2
#122
Jan18-12, 06:02 PM
P: 6
Ok...so now I'll drive everyone nuts. I am a speech/language pathologist. I have worked with children and adults who have been diagnosed with some degree of autism ....it is a spectrum of disorders.

This is an open-to-the-public page I got while searching on my ASHA site (American Speech Language and Hearing Association).

http://search.asha.org/default.aspx?q=asperger

At the end of the day, in over thirty years of work often involving people with some form of autism, I have never found two children or adults alike in terms of their "symptoms." The key is to simply work on those aspects that present difficulty to the person in terms of day-to-day functioning. Simply put. Don't really need to pinpoint where on the spectrum, but does help to understand all of the characteristics a person might manifest. In my experience, areas of metacognition, involving the person's understanding and/or use of figurative language, can often present a difficulty. Emotional needs and responses, especially in social setting outside the famliar safe day-to-day setting offers a challenge to a team working with a child. Adults pretty much know where their difficulties lie. Intelligence measurements, as we now know, are really a composity of measurements of a variety of abilities and skills, many of which are not tested by traditional I.Q. batteries.

I just started a marathon-watch of the Big Bang Theory, since I have always found the study of physics fascinating, and since I love the characters that have been created so fondly for this show. Sheldon, in my books, would be classic as a person with Asperger. Yet, the producers and writers, when asked that question, just blew it aside, and said, what does it matter? He is who he is and he has these idiosyncracies, and the wonder of the show is how the main characters interact and develop relationships, with Sheldon being the extreme on one end, and Penny, their neighbor, being the clueless, yet lovely and loving neighbor who becomes part of the "gang." I guess after all of my years of work, I find it wonderful that this show is such a big hit!!

Hey, we can all see some of the traits in ourselves for just about anything. I have been accused of being obsessive when I "get into" something. I admit it. I am. I am less rigid and have many fewer rules about the minutiae of day-to-day living.

Glad to see this discussion here. I have to back up, since I read a good portion of the posts, but not all, so forgive me if I repeat what has been said, but I wanted to weigh in on Asperger!! I love it that the thread started out defining it as Asperger Syndrome, Not as Asperger's, although, I may be telling on myself by making that distinction public.

This forum is fabulous!!! I am finally, at almost 70 years of age, reading books on physics, learning about special vs. general relativity, quantum physics, string theory.

Everyone here is AMAZING!! I so admire the minds that can do all of this, especially the MATH. I may have graduated Magna Cum from Northwestern Grad school. Language and linguistics have always been my forte, but math? physics? Wow! Thanks everyone, for all of your sharing here. terri
tmgrl2
#123
Jan18-12, 06:14 PM
P: 6
BTW, when it comes to working with people who have had strokes, while we have to find a DX for medical billing, we learned years ago, as SLPs, to do functional testing right in the hospital. Easy then, to know what the person can and can't do, compare it to pre-stroke behaviors and Voila! we have a treatment plan. As years have gone on, SLPs chuckle because before MRIs and PETs and CTs, we could say...oh ...yes...S(he) has primarily Wernicke's Aphasia, with all of the classic symptions, except.... Then when scans came in, we could tell the doctors exactly what areas of the brain were affected, just from our functional and or formal bedside testing. So...while diagnoses are necessary when people need treatment or special considerations, for me, for us, they are what we have to do to be able to work with our client. Very hard to find the person who fits almost any profile "classicly" and in all areas listed as "required" for a diagnosis.

That being said, Sheldon presents as a person with Asperger. I don't see real motor issues, although I haven't focused on that aspect of the show that much. Isn't it great that none of us fit a real mold that someone tries to create in order to give designations so that people can get the help that want or need??

I have loved my work all these years! This particular area of discussion is only one small part of what I do, but what a journey and what wonderful children, adults and families I have had the good fortune to get to know over a period of time, sometimes years.

Since there were SO many pages when I did the Asperger search at ASHA, I plugged in 2011 and came up with more recent articles and topics.

http://search.asha.org/default.aspx?...pBppApqwpspqrq!

Thanks again, everyone!
zoobyshoe
#124
Jan19-12, 05:51 AM
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Happy you are enjoying your venture into physics!

DaveCp30 and I had a debate about Sheldon. I don't think he is a good example of someone with Asperger's. Although he is socially inept in a plethora of ways, he converses with appropriate give and take, he makes significant eye contact with no difficulty, and he deliberately communicates subtext by facial expression. The character is additionally perplexing to me because, while he's not supposed to be gay, he has a very noticeable effeminate edge to his manner of speech that has nothing in particular to do with Autism or Asperger's. Dave's contention was that, for comedic purposes, it was necessary to make the character a caricature of Asperger's, which explains the inaccuracies in his mind. To me, Sheldon's a thing unto himself that doesn't bear any diagnostically useful resemblance to anything found in nature.

I find the character of "Bones" in the TV show of the same name to be a much better depiction of Asperger's, (although, she, too, has no apparent trouble with eye contact). While Sheldon says what he has to say and then stops, "Bones" is always prone to launching into lectures that have to diverted back to the point by the other characters. Sheldon is prone to throw out funny remarks that demonstrate he's vastly more tuned in to things than he lets on. "Bones" insists she's got everything sized up, while doing or saying things that demonstrate she's missing something. Bones shamelessly toots her own horn, announcing her accomplishments as bald facts, with no sense that might seem in bad taste. Sheldon is more apt to know and acknowledge his limits. "Bones" is single and talks about dating and relationships a lot, but always in incredibly clinical, Darwinian terms.

The earlier you go back in the series, the more Asperger-y she is. She has warmed up and become more human with each progressive season from contact with her co-workers.

Bones lacks social skills and has trouble understanding jokes and sarcasm. Her portrayer in the television series, Emily Deschanel, commented that Bones' Brennan "is a lot younger and different" from the Brennan in Kathy Reichs' books. Deschanel remarked, "Not that there aren't certain similarities, but it's a kind of a mesh." According to Deschanel, she and the show's creator Hart Hanson discussed that her character "almost has Asperger's Syndrome".
zoobyshoe
#125
Jan19-12, 05:52 AM
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Speaking of TV, and also of the differences between Aspies, there's a whole other world of Aspies that has never been discussed here at PF, for obvious reasons, and that is the faction of them that are attracted, not to math and science, but to theater, radio, performing. Tony Atwood talks about these Aspies on his site, and I ran into a few myself when I was a theater major in college. Memorizing lines and performing in scripted situations where everything is planned and rehearsed is very appealing to a lot of Aspies. It's "safe": no surprises usually, and the same each time.
Adrian Bye: Do you have many people that end up in acting?

Tony Attwood: A lot, yes. It is a coping mechanism; if you are not very good at socializing just watch them as another species in a way. Those with ASD can be very good at detail, observing and absorbing the persona and movements and actions of someone.

There is a gentleman that I know in his 70s with Aspergerís who is a successful theatre actor, and people used to say to him how do you cope on stage? He said it is relaxing because I know what Iím going to say, I know what is going to occur, I can relax in that situation.
http://meetinnovators.com/2011/10/14...gers-syndrome/

One guy I know had memorized hours and hours worth of jokes out of joke books, and it was impossible to stop him once he got started. His life is playing a pirate character in some sort of Renaissance Fair. A lot of Aspies have a marked penchant for mimicry and have a repertoire of impressions they'll do for you. Some concentrate on developing announcer voices, just by imitating radio and TV commercial announcers.

This blog is enlightening, and the comments at the bottom from Aspies who have gotten into some form of acting/performing are also worth a look:

http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot....nd-acting.html
tmgrl2
#126
Jan19-12, 03:16 PM
P: 6
Thanks, zoobyshoe! about my foray into physics. I think you made my point about Aspeger, though, with your examples. The codes for DX are so specifically set out, yet, many of those I have met with the DX don't really have traits in all the areas. The characters on TV we are discussing, too, have enough that many of us would consider them as having Asperger. Years ago, Temple Grandin, as HFA, would probably be Asperger now. Anyhow, yes. Sheldon has some qualities that don't fit that show his ability to interact and respond more in a socially appropriate way. Jim Parsons, the actor, is gay. Maybe some of that is just coming through???

HAHAHA....I started out as a Drama major...on scholarship, for acting. Yes....I could be anything on stage. I am much more outgoing now all the way around, but....When Speech/Language Pathologists get together and chat, conventions, e.g., surprising, (or not) how many of us, had roots in theater work and drama.


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