View Full Version : Are any other autistics like this?


BellaVita
03-28-16, 07:46 PM
I didn't want to derail another thread, so thought I'd bring this here.

I'm wondering if what happened to me has happened with other autistics.

I was told by my mom that I only talked to her for the first few years of my life and that I didn't speak to others.

I know that I didn't speak to others for sure, that was confirmed by several people when they were surprised when I did talk. "She can talk!?!?!" was often the response when they found out I could.

And I only chose a select few people to talk to, and I would often monologue for hours on end about one topic. Very happy and enthusiastic about that topic, I might add. It wasn't a two-way conversation. (I still struggle with this today, it feels way more natural to monologue than to have a two-way discussion IRL)

Is this something that happens? Can an autistic person only speak to one person but no one else? Perhaps I didn't actually talk to her but she didn't want to admit it? And does it ever happen that when the autistic does speak, it is only to a select few people?

Delphine
03-28-16, 08:27 PM
BellaVita, one of my brothers apparently only talked to my mother when he was very little too. He became known as a placid, easygoing child. He only talked to her (mum), and was reserved around everyone else. There was an understanding of him being the "shy" one, the kid that had his own way of going about things. Sweet, loveable, but 'shy'.

Roll forward to today.... He became an actor and these days is quite his own person!

He was/is autistic.. even though back then nobody got what that was about. (His children are too, but thankfully these days there is a lot more understanding and support for all of that.)

Yes..... an autistic person can speak to one person and no one else. That's comfortable for them. It's like they instinctually know who they can talk to, who will 'get' them...
....(isn't that pure inner Intelligence in action? "only bother to speak to people who get you?")

My brother is still a bit like that today, even though he is very successful at what he does. Even these days, he only 'speaks' with people he feels in tune with. People find him 'reserved' and some people find issue with that.

It might look from the outside like he only hangs out with like minded people. But I know (because I am his sister) that he still only speaks with people that really "get" him. (like his mum, or close ones, or beloved ones). A select, few people.....

Might look from the outside like 'snobbery' if you didn't get it, or know him.....

All of us ordinary human beings like to hang out with people who 'get' us. But for autistic people, this is all the more important and necessary. It is imperative.

A few select people you can talk to (and monologue for hours with) is exactly the right kind of people to hang out with for you.

namazu
03-28-16, 08:30 PM
I don't have numbers or personal experience to offer here, and there's always a question of whether or not your informant is trustworthy. But if it were an accurate accounting of events, it wouldn't be unprecedented.

You might want to look up "selective mutism". It (or at least forms of it) sound very much like what you described, being able to talk to some people or in some circumstances (so that it's clear that vocabulary development, mouth muscles, articulation, etc. aren't impeding speech), but not speaking in others (for reasons that may be unclear).

I wouldn't be surprised if "selective mutism" had been subsumed under another header (like social communication disorder or even social anxiety disorder) in DSM-5, but there might be some stuff out there of interest under that particular phrase, if this is a phenomenon/condition you want to learn more about.

Here's one page, from the American Speech Pathology Association (http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/SelectiveMutism.htm). The criteria for it exclude those with an ASD diagnosis (which may suggest similar patterns may be more common in autistics?), but at least the description of the behavior seems (at least superficially) similar.

Fortune
03-28-16, 09:23 PM
Namazu beat me to mentioning selective mutism. It's totally worth checking out.

BellaVita
03-28-16, 09:41 PM
BellaVita, one of my brothers apparently only talked to my mother when he was very little too. He became known as a placid, easygoing child. He only talked to her (mum), and was reserved around everyone else. There was an understanding of him being the "shy" one, the kid that had his own way of going about things. Sweet, loveable, but 'shy'.

Roll forward to today.... He became an actor and these days is quite his own person!

He was/is autistic.. even though back then nobody got what that was about. (His children are too, but thankfully these days there is a lot more understanding and support for all of that.)

Yes..... an autistic person can speak to one person and no one else. That's comfortable for them. It's like they instinctually know who they can talk to, who will 'get' them...
....(isn't that pure inner Intelligence in action? "only bother to speak to people who get you?")

My brother is still a bit like that today, even though he is very successful at what he does. Even these days, he only 'speaks' with people he feels in tune with. People find him 'reserved' and some people find issue with that.

It might look from the outside like he only hangs out with like minded people. But I know (because I am his sister) that he still only speaks with people that really "get" him. (like his mum, or close ones, or beloved ones). A select, few people.....

Might look from the outside like 'snobbery' if you didn't get it, or know him.....

All of us ordinary human beings like to hang out with people who 'get' us. But for autistic people, this is all the more important and necessary. It is imperative.

A few select people you can talk to (and monologue for hours with) is exactly the right kind of people to hang out with for you.

Thank you so much for sharing this! That's very interesting about your brother. Pretty cool that he became an actor. :)

People have called me so many things throughout the years "shy" and "girl who doesn't talk" are two common ones.

BellaVita
03-28-16, 09:55 PM
I don't have numbers or personal experience to offer here, and there's always a question of whether or not your informant is trustworthy. But if it were an accurate accounting of events, it wouldn't be unprecedented.

You might want to look up "selective mutism". It (or at least forms of it) sound very much like what you described, being able to talk to some people or in some circumstances (so that it's clear that vocabulary development, mouth muscles, articulation, etc. aren't impeding speech), but not speaking in others (for reasons that may be unclear).

I wouldn't be surprised if "selective mutism" had been subsumed under another header (like social communication disorder or even social anxiety disorder) in DSM-5, but there might be some stuff out there of interest under that particular phrase, if this is a phenomenon/condition you want to learn more about.

Here's one page, from the American Speech Pathology Association (http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/SelectiveMutism.htm). The criteria for it exclude those with an ASD diagnosis (which may suggest similar patterns may be more common in autistics?), but at least the description of the behavior seems (at least superficially) similar.

Thanks! I'll check it out for sure. :)

Now that I'm more self-aware, I do know some of the reasons why I don't speak at times. It does still happen, btw.

It feels so complicated to know what to say, how to say it, how to put myself into a conversation. How far away to stand to someone, it's also hard to process their tone and facial expressions and to know what they mean. Plus having to worry about my own tone and facial expressions. I've been in trouble/criticized by teachers for having the wrong facial expressions, like when getting yelled at I guess it looked like I was smiling. (When really I was scared) It's so draining to me.

I have a memorized set of scripts in my brain, and formulas for those scripts to determine the correct one, and when I encounter a situation that I don't know the script to, I go blank. Others have noticed that when I respond to them, I speak with a slight delay. Probably due to trying to search for the correct script in my brain, is my guess. And often when I'm in groups of people, I just can't speak. As if I lose the ability.

Also there are times when it feels too physically and mentally painful to speak, like when I'm in a meltdown.

So I have a hand signal that I created, that I use when I cannot speak. Sometimes even doing the hand signal is too much for me, though.

My roommates know I have issues with communication, so they are kind to me and communicate using written notes.

Also, I'm confused about one part, so is it saying that one can't have selective mutism and autism at the same time?

BellaVita
03-28-16, 10:14 PM
I read a quote once, about not being able to understand what the other might be thinking/feeling in real-time, and also unable to do "mental tracking." (Keeping track of the other person's emotional state during conversation)

That describes me to a T.

I also feel like I'm guessing what they might feel, often I don't even think to guess that they might be feeling something, I feel like I never know how they might be feeling emotionally in response to the words I'm saying, and it's exhausting trying to figure it out, and embarrassing when I respond the wrong way.

namazu
03-28-16, 10:22 PM
Also, I'm confused about one part, so is it saying that one can't have selective mutism and autism at the same time?
It's not that you couldn't have the symptoms and have autism at the same time, it's just that -- at least until recently -- you couldn't technically qualify for a formal diagnosis (by the letter of the DSM) of selective mutism (or ADHD!) if you had a diagnosis of autism.

The autism diagnosis was considered to take precedence, and I guess to explain everything else.

On the one hand, it kind of makes sense to stick with a "primary" label. As you and daveddd were discussing in another thread (and another context), people can rack up a laundry list of narrow diagnoses even though the causes may be related or shared for several of them.

On the other hand, there's been research suggesting that the different symptoms may reflect slightly different underlying processes, and/or that they contribute to additional impairment beyond what's typical for the "primary" diagnosis, and/or that treatments for the other disorders (like ADHD) may be useful even when the symptoms occur in the presence of another diagnosis (like autism).

Autism was removed from the exclusion criteria for ADHD in the last edition of the DSM [reference (http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/ADHD%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf)], so now people can officially be diagnosed with both an autism spectrum disorder and also ADHD.

EDIT: Selective mutism is now classified as an anxiety disorder instead of a "disorder of childhood" in DSM-5 [reference (http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf)], but the diagnosis of selective mutism is still only given to people who don't also have ASD diagnoses (at least if you go strictly "by the book") [see page from ASLHA above -- I guess those were DSM-5 criteria]. I don't know the reasoning behind the exclusion.

Basically -- the description of the condition could still fit, it's just a matter of whether or not a clinician would give it a separate label or billing code.

TheGreatKing
03-28-16, 10:24 PM
i didnt speak until i was 3 years of age and couldnt read until i was in grade 3.
I was quiet toddler but i am not autistic. never spoke one word tho just grunts.
i have a LD and ADHD.

BellaVita
03-28-16, 10:39 PM
It's not that you couldn't have the symptoms and have autism at the same time, it's just that -- at least until recently -- you couldn't technically qualify for a formal diagnosis (by the letter of the DSM) of selective mutism (or ADHD!) if you had a diagnosis of autism.

The autism diagnosis was considered to take precedence, and I guess to explain everything else.

On the one hand, it kind of makes sense to stick with a "primary" label. As you and daveddd were discussing in another thread (and another context), people can rack up a laundry list of narrow diagnoses even though the causes may be related or shared for several of them.

On the other hand, there's been research suggesting that the different symptoms may reflect slightly different underlying processes, and/or that they contribute to additional impairment beyond what's typical for the "primary" diagnosis, and/or that treatments for the other disorders (like ADHD) may be useful even when the symptoms occur in the presence of another diagnosis (like autism).

Autism was removed from the exclusion criteria for ADHD in the last edition of the DSM [reference (http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/ADHD%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf)], so now people can officially be diagnosed with both an autism spectrum disorder and also ADHD. I don't know how selective mutism has been handled with regard to ASD diagnoses (or how they classify it now) in DSM-5, but that could be looked up.

Basically -- the description of the condition could still fit, it's just a matter of whether or not a clinician would give it a separate label or billing code.

Thank you for taking the time to give a detailed explanation. I've begun reading the information on the website you posted.

I feel like out of everything I've been diagnosed with, the one thing I haven't been - autism - is the main thing that fits me best.

Then again, I'm kinda glad I didn't get diagnosed. I think back, and definitely think that if they knew I was an autistic child I would have been held back to never leave my parents, the grip on me would've been tighter. And probably would have had some ABA therapy which I'm not a fan of. (I got teased enough for my autism symptoms, I wouldn't have wanted a professional bully.) I'm a bit grateful that it was missed back then, and that now I have found out about why I am the way I am, why I have always been this way.

BellaVita
03-28-16, 11:11 PM
PS - You all are amazing, thanks for putting up with me talking about this so much. <3

Fortune
03-29-16, 03:31 AM
PS - You all are amazing, thanks for putting up with me talking about this so much. <3

I'm sure most of us have gone through some heavy processing at times. Paying it forward is a good thing. :)

Lunacie
03-29-16, 12:59 PM
When my autistic granddaughter started talking at age 4, she would only talk if she initiated it.

If someone spoke to her first, she clammed up and wouldn't talk at all.

I don't know how old I was when I began talking and there's really no one left to tell me.

But I also have times when I can't seem to get a word out, times when I feel that anything I said would just sound stupid, and subjects I really like to talk about.

The difference seems to be that I like a discussion where everyone has a chance to talk, ask and answer questions.

I understand with diagnosible autism that it's often more like a lecture than a discussion. Especially with the Asperger's type.

Fortune
03-29-16, 06:36 PM
Incidentally, Asperger's is no longer a diagnosis, nor is PDD-NOS. It's just autism spectrum disorder. One of the reasons for this is that after somewhat extensive research it was found that which diagnosis you received depended more on where you were diagnosed than on which symptoms you presented with. Also, most people diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome met the criteria for autism.

Plus believe me, any autistic person can lecture, regardless of "type."

Fortune
03-29-16, 06:38 PM
Regarding losing speech I have both had periods where I couldn't speak at all (the longest I remember is a full week) and periods where I couldn't speak to specific people, or could only speak to specific people. All of these usually involved stress and sensory overload more than anxiety.

BellaVita
03-29-16, 07:11 PM
Does anyone else feel weird when you force yourself to have a two-way discussion with anyone IRL? Especially if it is longer than 5-10 minutes? I know it is what I'm supposed to do, but for some reason just talking about my own topics for hours feels "natural." It's like my brain doesn't even want me to have a two-way discussion. And also - my "socialization points" feel like they go up at a faster level when I monologue. (I feel like I've socialized more in a rewarding way)

I know this comes across as selfish to others, it's almost like an unstoppable force that I can't help. I always revert to what feels natural to me.

daveddd
03-29-16, 07:14 PM
Does anyone else feel weird when you force yourself to have a two-way discussion with anyone IRL? I know it is what I'm supposed to do, but for some reason just talking about my own topics for hours feels "natural." It's like my brain doesn't even want me to have a two-way discussion. And also - my "socialization points" feel like they go up at a faster level when I monologue. (I feel like I've socialized more in a rewarding way)

can i say yes without being autistic?

normal ones are bad enough, but my boss is constantly making terrible jokes and banter and i can't fake my way through it

BellaVita
03-29-16, 07:31 PM
can i say yes without being autistic?

normal ones are bad enough, but my boss is constantly making terrible jokes and banter and i can't fake my way through it

Of course you can say yes :)

Ugh, that does sound dreadful.

Lunacie
03-29-16, 07:51 PM
Does anyone else feel weird when you force yourself to have a two-way discussion with anyone IRL? Especially if it is longer than 5-10 minutes? I know it is what I'm supposed to do, but for some reason just talking about my own topics for hours feels "natural." It's like my brain doesn't even want me to have a two-way discussion. And also - my "socialization points" feel like they go up at a faster level when I monologue. (I feel like I've socialized more in a rewarding way)

I know this comes across as selfish to others, it's almost like an unstoppable force that I can't help. I always revert to what feels natural to me.

My granddaughter used to be very much like this. She's had a lot of practice with therapy and at home and school and is doing pretty well most of the time.

There are still days when she doesn't want to talk about anything, and days when she only wants to talk about her own topics. Just not as often.