Monday, March 4, 2013

My Asperger's Identity

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
* Honesty and bluntness
*Abnormal fascination with special interests
*Sensitivity to sensory input

One of the fun things about discovering my identity as a person with Asperger's syndrome has been not just working to improve my weak points, but thinking back over my life and seeing how "what makes me tick" can often be tied back to Asperger's syndrome. Each person with Asperger's syndrome will fit some of the descriptions - but not all of them, which may simply be because people are individuals. There is overlap in similar descriptions and symptoms, but I doubt if any one autistic person fits every description the experts name.

When I was a child, my parents had never heard of Asperger's syndrome, and yet when they did begin to learn about it, when I was 18, they pegged me for an Aspie more based on my childhood idiosyncrasies than on my current personality. Children are less inhibited; they don't know when they're being socially awkward or strange until it is reinforced by the reactions of their peers and authority figures. That may be why many undiagnosed Asperger's kids simply grow out of their most revealing symptoms. Remember, I firmly believe that Aspies can change, grow, and adapt, whether we go to therapy or not.

So what are some of the characteristics of my childhood that could have tipped off someone who was educated about Asperger's syndrome? Let me count the ways . . .

1. I loved to pace in circles, usually talking to myself at the same time.
2. I liked watching ants on the ground, even during recess with other kids playing tag nearby.
3. I did not tell lies.
4. One of my favorite things to do was to cut the white borders off of stickers - detail, detail!
5. I was a stubbornly picky eater. Oddly enough, I enjoyed broccoli, lima beans, and mushrooms, but refused lettuce, salad dressing, lunchmeat, and mayonnaise.
6. I had to be taught to smile for my picture and to look a person in the eye when he or she was speaking to me.
7. I was quiet, and never liked approaching another person to begin a conversation, except for my family and closest friends.
8. In talking and writing, I used words from vocabulary lists and idioms from British children's books.
9. Between ages 5 and 9, I had anxiety that would cause me to cry or tremble when separated from my parents at a time when it was unplanned or when asked to participate in sports games that I did not understand.
10. I had an obsession with children's literature, particularly fantasy, and even more particularly, the story of Peter Pan.
11. I thought 100% was an average grade.

If you don't understand how these personality traits can be connected to Asperger's syndrome, please take a look at My Top Twenty List of Asperger's Traits

Please feel free to comment with your interpretation of how my specific characteristics in childhood are examples of the general Asperger's traits. Thank you for reading!

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Isaiah 44:24
Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.