View Full Version : ASD I think but with an anomaly


roseblood
08-22-10, 06:28 AM
I've come to the conclusion that I probably do have enough symptoms and impairment to warrant a PDD-NOS diagnosis, or possibly Asperger's Disorder (I think I meet Gillbert's criteria but I'm not sure about the DSM-IV ones, so I'd be happier with PDD-NOS really).

Until I'm able to speak to a specialist, which probably won't be for a few months, I'd like to know your opinions and experience because I'm a little anxious that they'll dismiss my case because of a few atypical characteristics I have.

Does anyone know whether most adult ASD specialists will consider diagnosing someone who not only

a) has never lacked eye contact, but
b) considers themselves to be better at reading non-verbal language than even most neurotypicals are, in specific situations?

I do very well in that university-designed test of people's ability to read facial expressions that is often posted on Internet fora, called Mind In The Eyes. When I took it I got them all right except one, and that mistake happened when I changed my mind from the right answer to the wrong one. It's completely instinctive, I'm not aware of using my memory or analysing it in any way. I just look at them and instantly feel a hint of which emotion would make a face contort in that particular way. If I try to think about it I get it wrong, just like neurotypicals. When I watch footage of someone and the task is to know whether they're lying, I'm also better than average because I pick up on subtle clues like whether they felt comfortable enough to risk lightly laughing (not a nervous laugh) at which point micro-expressions would be likely to creep in if they were lying and they could give themselves away. Everyone else looks for gaze aversion and fidgeting but didn't look for things that people only like to do when they're NOT nervous about being found out, and I knew I wouldn't risk even a tiny joke if I were trying to lie.

But that's only one factor in non-verbal communication, isn't it. I can read facial expressions accurately only when there is no attempt by the person to suppress or disguise them, as there isn't in the MITE test, so other people often tell me someone looked this way or that (e.g. bored or angry) and I hadn't noticed at all, or I noticed something might be up but I wasn't sure what I was looking at. Also, in everyday life there is a lot more to be taken into account when reading social situations than just a static image of eyes, or how a single person behaves as they talk at a camera, and that's when I struggle. I can't put complex social information together into one big picture accurately, especially when I'm in the midst of it. I'm easily tricked and conned in person because I'm very trusting of people to be telling me the truth and don't often consider ulterior motives until it's too late. Humour and banter frequently go over my head if the person deadpans it. I have to pause to work out whether they're serious or not, even if they intended me to know they were joking from the beginning.

The other aspect I'm poor with is knowing how to respond with my own verbal and non-verbal messages, especially in situations I haven't had a lot of practice with. My own timing is often off and I'm told my body language often looks excessive or too ambiguous, and I do sometimes feel I'm not sure what my face is doing or what it should be doing. I have very little idea how I'm perceived by others except for what I've gleaned from footage of myself (I look pretty weird and in my own world) and what my sister, who is only too happy to be brutally honest, tells me. But I can't visualise how I'm coming across otherwise.

This all just information relevant to the issue of non-verbal communication. Other symptoms and associated traits are troubling me a lot, including other social skills problems, but I've never heard of anyone being diagnosed with ASD who didn't have problems with eye contact and who wasn't very poor at reading body language in all situations, and that concerns me. I am good at interpreting non-verbal cues, but only given laboratory conditions, not in everyday life where it matters.

Does anyone know if I'm over-estimating how important specialists consider those two things to be? Do you think they'll tell me it's something else because of that?

Lunacie
08-22-10, 09:58 AM
My 8 year old granddaughter finally got a definitive diagnoses in May (3 months ago) of high-functioning Atypical Autism. There were a couple of reasons why she was given the lable "atypical" and one was that she can make sye contact in most cases.

roseblood
08-24-10, 04:45 AM
Thanks Lunacie. None of the diagnostic guidelines I know of make those specific problems essential for an ASD diagnosis but a lot of descriptions of ASDs make them sound like the univeral symptoms.

Reading the DSM-IV criteria for Asperger's more carefully, I think I possibly do meet them actually. It's hard to know exactly what some of them mean though, and I don't know what is classed as developmentally appropriate relationship formation by professionals. My mum was concerned that I was very unfriendly when very young, and I wasn't friends with any other girls until I was seven, before that just one male friend and a few people I played with or spoke to occasionally but that's all I know. I remember being uneasy around most children for one reason or another. I'm in contact with someone from a local charity for autistic people and he's going to be giving me advice, and if I get diagnosed they can give me other kinds of support as well, which I still need badly in terms of employment, employability and general independence. AD/HD treatments have removed most of the disorganisation and wastefulness of my days but there are some problems that I now think that aren't related to AD/HD.

Lunacie
08-24-10, 07:58 AM
I hope you find your answers, Roseblood, and some support and treatment options. I've wondered myself whether my issues aren't related as much to ASD as to ADHD, especially when I see that so many of my issues and behaviors are so similar to my Autistic granddaughter's.

ZiggyFry
08-26-10, 11:54 PM
I'm pretty sure I have aspergers, and I know exactly what you mean by being able to read nonverbal language in SOME situations. This is the reason that I wasn't sure I would fit the criteria in the past.

There are a lot of situations, though, where I am completely clueless while others react as if they've seen it a million times.

" I can't put complex social information together into one big picture accurately, especially when I'm in the midst of it. I'm easily tricked and conned in person because I'm very trusting of people to be telling me the truth and don't often consider ulterior motives until it's too late. "

I literally laughed out loud when I read this. That's the story of my social life.

"I have to pause to work out whether they're serious or not, even if they intended me to know they were joking from the beginning. "

I use the phrase "Ok, I can't tell if you're joking" very often. However, when I know the people well, I get pretty good at knowing what's a joke.

Haha I'm not going to go on quoting, but the next paragraph is dead on for me too.

I don't know what kind of importance a specialist would put on that, but I do know that my relationships suffer horribly because a lot of these things. Relationships along with a lot of other emotional moments. I've been called a moment-ruiner (I actually started describing myself that way since) because when things get emotional and theres a "moment" I get lost, and as if I can't analyze it all fast enough, I make a wrong move and kill the moment. Yeah. I'm cool like that. :cool:

My friends take it like it's all in good fun, because we're all weird.

Sin.Ziggy.

mimi'sdreaming
08-27-10, 07:46 PM
I've received a very surprisng education on Asperger's (compared to what I thought it was).

As my son's therapist told me, "If you've met one person with AS, you've met one person with AS!" :cool:

Lunacie
08-28-10, 11:05 AM
I've received a very surprisng education on Asperger's (compared to what I thought it was).

As my son's therapist told me, "If you've met one person with AS, you've met one person with AS!" :cool:

Exactly. And that's true of all Autism Disorders on the Spectrum.

Which is why I was so flummoxed when the special ed teacher last year said she didn't think our little one is Autistic. Sure she's been teaching kids with Autism for years, but each one is different in some way, eh? I tried not to gloat at "meet the teacher" night just before school started this year when I told her that we'd been to see the specialist in Kansas City and he had diagnosed Atypical Autism. So..... different, but still Autism, eh?