Monday, April 9, 2018

Them annual thoughts are back again!

     Hi! Yes, I’m still alive, and once again it’s /that/ time of the year. For this year’s nearly annual post, I’ll be giving my perspective on a few things that come up during Autistic and Asperger’s acceptance month frequently.
     Something I see often is the well-met question of why Asperger’s Syndrome was eliminated in favor of a merged diagnosis, often giving the reason there wasn’t significance between the three-pronged diagnoses and that diagnosis was inconsistent. As I’ve posted previously, I’m more supportive of the three-pronged model since it more defines the differences, and I think a continuum model as one diagnosis for all, then the three prongs used as clarifiers/quantifiers to describe the person in particular would be better than the system in place now.
     I also hear people say that this merger has not affected those with Asperger’s, nor those who would have been diagnosed as such before DSM 5. I read in a book titled Book of Woe that covered the behind-the-scenes process leading up to the creation of the DSM 5 that 15% of the APA’s membership objected to the removal Asperger’s Syndrome due to fear of people either losing their diagnosis or not qualifying for diagnosis after the change became official.  I’ve encountered many people who have told me that they’ve been struggling with getting a formal diagnosis because they fall more in line with Asperger’s than high-functioning or classical diagnosis, and at times the current DSM criteria don’t allow for well-adapted Autistics’ or Aspie’s true selves and difficulties to show. In my case, the mean reason I was diagnosed was because of my special interests being so strong and all-consuming. If I had not gotten that diagnosis, I may not have been on my way to graduating this coming May, nor gotten accommodations at work.  The professional who diagnosed me told me if I had been diagnosed sooner I would have had no trouble at all being diagnosed as Aspie, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and shared my hope that AS may one day be re-introduce formally and with clarity to resolve situations like these and mine.
Sometime else that weighs on me around this time of the year is how the news media and individual advocates promote the idea of pushing people like me towards STEM-involved fields without presenting alternative areas for those whose strengths do not lie within that realm.  I do understand many are suited for these jobs due to their talents, but it makes me feel bad and down about myself just because I don’t fit the mold of the stereotype that’s perpetuated. A local news report even went as far as to broadly say Autistics and Aspies often have higher than normal IQs; that cut really deep. Reports like this especially make me feel like a poser because the people they show are always so outgoing and extroverted around their peers, while here I am anxious and bashful about even approaching the majority of my coworkers. Put another way, it’s great to be me, but when the stereotypes describe people more successful and productive than you that actually exist, they hurt.
I think there really should be more of a focus on jobs in the arts and writing promoted, there’s gotta be more people out there with this as their knack! There’s so much focus on technology and science, and an ever-decreasing focus on the arts, and that’s no good in general.
With that, I slip back into the shadows once again. See you whenever I have more thoughts I need to let out!

Monday, January 22, 2018

A guide to assembling your Aspie, or: Letting myself out of the box

One goal I immediately came up with following my diagnosis and discovery of having Asperger's was to learn more about what it means to me in life. One goal that came out of this was to take time to discover what my "true" self is like.

As described in Tony Attwood's book The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome, Aspies are very skilled at appearing normal in day to day goings on, sometimes to the point we get lost in our camouflage so well our true personalities are hidden behind the masks we wear to blend in with other people.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

All entries reposted

After pulling all of my posts a year ago, I've made them all available again.

Sorry for intteruption of service.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mental Chew 3: Some thoughts on Autistic/Aspie Identity

     Quickly after my initial diagnosis I became aware of how divided the Autistic community is in terms of labeling and identity. Here's some briefs thoughts on my perspective of identity.

   The biggest issue I have trouble understanding is why people are so adament in saying Asperger's Syndrome and PDD-NOS no longer exist due to the DSM 5 removing them from diagnosis, and those that continue to use them to describe their diagnosis are trying to show their elite status. I firmly believe this not to be the case, even for me. I do not believe that just because the American Psychological Association decided to combine all autism diagnoses into Autism Spectrum Disorder it means those with Asperger's and PDD-NOS diagnoses have outdated diagnoses. On the contrary I agree with the APA's move to a spectrum model, but think it was poorly implemented. Kanner's Syndrome (or "classical" autism) and Asperger's syndrome are both on the Autistic Spectrum, but they represent different viewpoints of the spectrum in my opinion. I think the most concerning consequence of this move was research into high-functioning Autism, Asperger's Syndrome and PDD-NOS greatly declined. I admit the variety of studies and data I've seen are limited, but each of the studies I have read seem to show bias toward focusing on those on the spectrum that need the most support instead of researching a variety of needs and types of Autism.

I think the mentality of there is just one Autism instead of many viewpoints of the spectrum is detrimental to the quality of life and supports as well as the identity of Autistic people. I'm of the opinion that people can identitfy themselves as they wish along as they aren't using it as an excuse or to try and establish themselves as superior to others on the spectrum. For example I'm officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome after the DSM 5's publication, and I identify as an Aspie. I'm fairly alright with being called Autistic when Aspie isn't an appropriate identifier, but am strongly opposed to being called high functioning due to its divisive connotations. This is interesting given recent events. I recently told a close friend of mine that I'm an Aspie, and was interested to know he was Autistic as well, a diagnosis of High Function Autism to be precise. As I've stated before on my blog I'm against high and low functioning labels, but I am no longer opposed to the individual who has an HFA diagnosis using it as their identity anymore now that I realize how significant an identity can be to a person from an outside perspective. I do have a problem with a person's family or friends using it as a way of saying "He's very high functioning, he can't have this many issues!" or the like. That's no beuno.