So… You’ve gone through all the steps… You’ve started with the self assessment tests… You’ve talked to your friends and family… and gone to a mental health professional… NOW – you have a diagnosis. An official diagnosis…
I’ve talked about where to go from here… I’ve talked about the pitfalls of excessive self esteem and denial of the basics of Autistic spectrum disorders… I’ve talked about Aspie/NT relations and some of the mechanisms that run in the background of the Aspie psyche… And I’ve talked about co-morbid conditions…
What I have only touched on is the the way some of the traits of Autistic spectrum disorders interact.
Human beings are, at their core, pattern seeking machines… This is why we see images in clouds and pictures in the stars… It is why we see the Virgin Mary in our toast and Jesus in our soup. In a Scientific American article (located HERE), researchers crafted studies to test human pattern seeking and recognition in college students… through 6 studies, the results were consistent…
“One experiment mimicked the stock market, while another asked students to search for images in television static. Time and again, students saw images where there were none and found stock patterns that didn’t exist.”
These experiments show that, on a basic level, the human mind is a pattern seeking machine. Autists and Aspies, (as much as some of us hate to admit it) are human… The way we process input in a different way than NTs. Studies have shown that Autistic Spectrum Individuals have a higher level of attention to detail than most NTs. Add to that, the tendency of Aspies to hyperfocus and obsess over things that affect them personally… and we can draw some interesting conclusions…
As much as I am opposed to the DSM-V… the diagnostic criteria for an Autistic Spectrum Disorder is as follows:
A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):
- Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.
- Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.
- Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative paly or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.
Specify current severity:
Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 2).
B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
- Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypes, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).
- Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day).
- Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).
Specify current severity:
Severity is based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior (see Table 2).
C. Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).
D. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level.
I have started writing this paragraph over and over again for well over an hour… I cannot find the specific wording that would be both accurate and politically correct… or even nice… So… Brutal honesty time…
I will break id down for you. Everyone has some of these traits. EVERYONE has some of these at times… especially in times of stress. This fact is the source of one of my least favorite sayings ever… “Isn’t everyone just a little autistic?”
So… since Autists and Aspies take the pattern seeking thing to the extreme – we are going to notice this stuff a lot more than anyone else…
The main issue is that we are hyper-focused, hyper-vigilant (a trait often noted in Autists, and definitely in those with a co-morbid diagnosis of bipolar disorder), possessed of obsessive tendencies… All of these things lead to noticing the earmarks of Autism in others… Even if they are extremely NT…
What’s worse is, for most of us, that we have been lonely our entire lives, and it is a relief to see that there is a reason for all of the oddities that make up the Autistic/Aspie personality. There is a sudden feeling that we belong to something, no matter how odd that group might be…
So, we are hoping against hope to find others. This leads us to search for others… Sometimes, we don’t even know why we are searching… or even that we are…
What’s worse… Is that this pattern seeking just happens. It’s a basic function of the human brain and we do it all the time… We will try to find that diagnosis everywhere… Cartoon characters, tv characters, actors or actresses, sitcom characters, scientists and dead people… None of them are safe…
If you’re an NT and you are “classified” as an Aspie by one of your friends or relatives… Take it for what it is… a compliment… we want you to belong to our circle…
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources:
7 thoughts on “Care and Feeding of Your Aspie: Part 51 – I have a diagnosis… and now the world seems to be filled with Autistics”
‘I’ve talked about the pitfalls of excessive self esteem’
That sounds interesting, can you point me to which episode that is in? I’ve read most of them but with 50 entries in the series it is hard to find one when you want to!
With pleasure… here is the URL: http://wayoutonthecorner.blogspot.com/2013/08/care-and-feeding-of-your-aspie-part-29.html
However… I may talk about it soon in a more extensive post
Seeing as you know about Aspie sensory perception sensitivity, I am amazed and shocked that you would blog in orange print on green screen.
My eyes are bleeding. -_-
Ordinarily your green background with black font soothes my eyes after a morning of screen fatigue from looking at the white-blue-black of the practice management database I work with all day.
Not this. It burns, precious.
You know I love your blog so please don’t take this as anything but nit-picking. I nit-pick my favorite things because I want them to be perfect. 🙂
Ummm… This has me confused… My Text is black on a gentle teal background.
Can you tell me what browser and OS you are using so that I can research it. Can’t fix what I can’t see.
Same here – orange dsm-text. Using latest versions of firefox and IE 11
This should be corrected now.