What is Aspergers?

So what exactly is Asperger’s?

According to NIH.gov which classifies Asperger’s as a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD occurs in every racial and ethnic group, and across all socioeconomic levels. However, it seems boys are significantly more likely to develop ASD than girls. According to the Center of Disease Control  (CDC) “ASD is about 4.5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189.)

Now,  I can appreciate the estimate, but it could very well be that ASD us being under reported as girls, as stated by Dr. Tony Attwood, who specializes in the study and assistance for those with ASD.

 Also, it seems that ASD, as well as ADHD can run in families, like mine. I won’t go into details, but let us just say that we’all see things rather differently than most… in a good way.


So, what does this all mean? It means that there very well could be alot of children/teens/adults who are part of the autism spectrum and yet are misdiagnosed – but I digress.

Some of the symptoms of ASD as per the CDC are:

  • Not respond to their name by 12 months of age
  • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
  • Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
  • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
  • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
  • Have delayed speech and language skills
  • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
  • Give unrelated answers to questions
  • Get upset by minor changes
  • Have obsessive interests
  • Flap their hands, rock their body, or spin in circles
  • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel(However, social issues are one of the most common symptoms in all of the types of ASD. People with an ASD do not have just social “difficulties” like shyness. The social issues they have cause serious problems in everyday life.

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Aspergers? Is it in fact having been gifted with it is the diagnosis a blessing or a curse. It is neither and and yet both. As in life, there is a ying and a yang (a good and a not so good) in everything. Therefore, it is up to all of us to live life the best we can. Knowledge is power and the more we know about ourselves, the happier we can live our lives – at least, that is the way I see it.

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Asperger’s and ADHD – What’s the difference?

If one has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, does that mean one has ADHD as well? Or is it either or? Curious, I decided to find out.  Let us start with ADHD aka Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I had thought that people with ADHD were just hyper and talked really quickly. As was diagnosed with ADHD and am rather hyper at times. Which I do believe I keep under control (contrary to what my family may say). However, if I become nervous in front of people or am feeling stressed, or feel the person I am talking to is feeling stressed, then I become a stand-up comic. This can be a benefit if one doing this in front of a paying audience, but can become really awkward when you wanted to chat with a you don’t know, especially a university instructor. Trust me on this.

So…. my first stop on my casual online investigating was to the United States government’s National Institute of Mental Health (aka nimh.nih.gov) in which it is written: ADHD is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.


I think a lot of us have felt inattentive at times at work, school or perhaps even while listening to one’s loved one recount their day. But, this type of inattentiveness is more intense and interferes with one’s daily tasks in life to such a degree that one’s good intentions to do something, or listen to a lecture become, just that – an intention. Also, according Empowering Parents, there is a pattern to where ADHD occurs. Check out the numbers in the “poster” below.

Upon looking at the above chart, I have to wonder if diagnosis’ of ADHD are being over-reported in some of the regions of high incidence or  under-reported in other regions; or is there an error in individuals being diagnosed?

Dr. Daniel Rosenn wrote in an article about this same question entitled, “Is it Asperger’s or ADHD” in which he states: “It would be much easier for all of us if psychiatric diagnoses fell neatly into one category. (If it was possible)… one of the first places we would direct our attention would be at the muddy territory shared by Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

He continues – “It is not too surprising that so many children are first diagnosed with ADHD, (occasionally preceded by the apologetic “atypical”) several years before they circle and land on the Asperger’s tarmac.”

(To be continued.)

 

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and L O V E

The other day I overheard a girl, probably around 10-yrs-old ask her mother a question about love. Her question was in essence –  since she was diagnosed with Asperger’s and has a difficult time understanding people’s facial or word intonations; how, when she grows up, will she know if a man truly loves her when he asks her to marry him?

This is a question that many of us both ASP and NT wonder, and there is no simple answer to her question. So, I did a little research regarding love and relationships. What I discovered was that in order to give or receive love (not surprisingly , one must love oneself. For if one cannot love oneself, how can love others or see love in others?

Let us start with loving ourselves. Here is a self-affirmation pledge written especially for individuals with Asperger’s, by Liane Holliday Willey, EdD from her book, Asperger’s Syndrome in the Family, Redefining Normal:

Asperger Self-Affirmation Pledge

  1. I am not defective. I am different.
  2. I will not sacrifice my self-word for peer acceptance.
  3. I am a good and interesting person.
  4. I will take pride in myself.
  5. I am capable of getting along with society.
  6. I will ask for help when I need it.
  7. I am a person who is worthy of another’s respect and acceptance.
  8. I will find a career interest that is well suited to my abilities and interests.
  9. I will be patient with those who need time to understand me.
  10. I am never going to give up on myself.
  11. I will accept myself for who I am

Okay, so once you accept yourself, what about love interests? How can we know if they love us? An article written by Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D gives clues:

  1. Wants to spend time with you.
  2. Asks about your day.
  3. Trusts you.
  4. Helps you when you need it.
  5. Shows respect for your views.
  6. Includes you in decisions.
  7. Shows affection.
  8. Looks at you.
  9. Likes to talk about the pas
  10. Is willing to go to bat for you and your relationship.
  11. Makes you feel good about yourself.

So, here you go. A basic primer regarding love. Good luck!

 

 

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Be Like Bear Grylls

 

I cannot resist books about people who have survived life-threatening situations. Perhaps it is because I can relate to the idea of proceeding onward, against all odds, that kind of thing…which I will not go into, but what this blog is about is regarding a book written by Bear Grylls wrote in 2012 entitled:  A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR LIFE, How to Achieve Your Goals, Thrive in Adversity, and grow in Character.  For the record, Bear’s book has been updated/reprinted in 2014, but the library seemed to have the original First Edition so that is what I am going to blog about.

MAN VS WILD aka RUN TURTLE/SNAKE/GRUB RUN!

In all honesty, when Bear’s first TV series, Man vs. Wild came out, my daughters and I watched Bear’s survival skills in amazement. But after what seemed like in each episode Bear would bite the head off a snake and then cook it, my daughters and I began rooting for the snakes. I won’t go into what happened to a poor innocent water turtle.  Let’s just say…turtle meat may well taste like chicken. It was after this particular episode I decided that we were watching way too much TV and began to teach the girls chess. But, I digress.

The thing is if you accidentally run into a black bear, you’re ...

BEAR NECESSITIES OF LIFE

Besides Bear Grylls’ warrior spirit, he has a strong spiritual side as well.  This brings us back to his book, Survival Guide For Life.

New Survival Guide for Life by Bear Grylls Free Shipping 0552168629 ...

Spiritually, and emotionally, I really enjoyed reading this book. Though I am a hopeless perfectionist, I can never seem to get totally organized or thoroughly goal orientated so I thought I could definite use help in that regard. And what better guide than Bear Grylls, a man who has faced his fears and perceived limitations and surmounted all of them. Then there is I, a humble woman who all too well knows her “perceived” limitations and is more than ready to break her inner perception barriers.

Bear Grylls, "A Survival Guide for Life" | BE BRAVE...BE INSPIRED ...

Opening the book and flipping through the pages I am immediately struck by how the title of each chapter printed in very, very large bold caps so as to impress upon the reader the importance of the concept that Bear is encouraging the reader to follow; and frankly, it works. For example chapter two reads “2. DON’T LISTEN TO THE DREAM-STEALERS.” Reading this simple chapter title with no other writing above or below it seems to resonate within me that this is really an important concept, and it is. How many of us have dreams, ideas that you know would work, but let others talk you out of accomplishing your idea. Or even worse, there are those (and I am among them) who let sometimes let their fears of the unknown stop them from achieving their goals.

That is why I really like Bear’s Survival Guide For Life. The book encourages us to go beyond what we believe our limitations could very well be. And it does so without a lot of extra words, or pomposity of attitude. Bear tells us, encourages us with hard learned wisdom. And yet he also encourages us to  STAY GROUNDED, KEEP GOOD COMPANY, DO NOT JUDGE SOMEONE BY THEIR STATUS, and LET OTHER’S SHINE.

How To Be Positive

Scattered thoughout A Survival Guide For Life, Bear’s strong Christian positive faith shines and encourages us all to believe in ourselves, work hard to achieve our goals and help others. This is a concept I can certainly appreciate and will be reading this book again and again.

... kermode bears and from other white black bears her whiteness is due

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fitting In

Fitting In, NOT!

I believe there is nothing harder than to try and be something you are not. For example, the above photo shows a black and white kitty pretending to be an Emperor Penguin. Now the first question which comes into my admittedly not exactly standard mind is, what is a wee kitty doing in Antarctica?  Was he a pet or mascot for a team of scientists and wandered off, or worse…did they leave this wee kitty behind?

Or, did the scientists decide to make this kitty part of a diabolic scientific-kittycat-hating experiment in which he is embedded with a computer-chip that enables him to adapt to new and extreme environments? To “FIT IN” to a group in which he really has no chance of surviving within let alone, fooling the master penguin.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is not computer chip which will transform those of us with Autism Spectrum Disorder into “norms” and that is a good. If it were available, we would be lesser for allowing ourselves to be forced into a situation that we were not meant to be in; or a work environment that would not allow our wonderfully unique abilities flourish. Below are two quotes, one from Paul Collins, author of “Not Even Wrong: A Father’s Journey into the Lost History of Autism;” and Temple Grandin, American professor of animal science at CSU who was blessed with autism, and world-renowned autism spokesperson; which pretty much sums what I am trying to get across to my readers.

“(Those with Autism) are the ultimate square pegs, and the problem with pounding a square peg into a round hole is not that the hammering is hard work. It’s that you’re destroying the peg.”- Paul Collins

“Who do you think made the first spears? The Asperger Guy. If you were to get rid of all the autism genetics, there would be no more Silicon Valley.” – Temple Grandin

Autism, Aspergers

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Autism, a blessing and a curse

I just read a blog post from Kelly Kmelerine (who writes the blog, Squeeze the Spaceman’s Taco, a journey into Cade’s World) which he posted in March of this year where he writes about Forgiveness. It touched my heart as I, too, have been in the position of having my daughter who was blessed with Aspergers injure herself, but due to extreme anxiety, rather than an allergic reaction as Kelly writes about in the above referenced blog.

There is nothing funny about the extremes children with Autism go through. As a parent with Aspergers who has a daughter with Aspergers, it makes being a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, tougher. You may doubt yourself less, but you are also much more vulnerable to extreme negative words from your child when they are in emotional distress.

The experience has changed me. I am now more “on stage, mom the comedian,” when I see that my daughter is headed for a meltdown or an anxiety attack. Unfortunately, this also has affected my interactions with adults as well. And no, employment agencies (this is another story) and those who interview you for a job, do not really appreciate off the wall humor that you have used many times with your daughter. (As I wrote about in a previous post.)

And yet, having a child with Aspergers or as it is officially known now as “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” has opened my eyes and soul to the simple wonder and beauty my daughter’s world. It has also opened my eyes to the turmoil and hell, she goes through when she doubts herself and keeps beating herself up inside for not being perfect. In any case, I love her with all my heart for she is my child, part of me, part of my heart.

Autism, the world in a different perspective

 

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If it is not written down, it didn’t happen

As my readers already have surmised, I am a proud member of the marvelous individual’s who were born/blessed with Autism Spectrum Disorder aka Aspergers. So, what’s new about that?  No much, but as such I have discovered the necessity of writing myself notes to remember things.

No, I am not old and forgetful, I am an Aspie and as such has so many thoughts and ideas swirling around in my brain, as well as all sorts of distractions (squirrel!) that, for myself it is necessary to write myself notes. However, there is a problem with my note taking as I am rather scattered with my notes and place them everywhere, whereas the smart and practical thing to do is to put all my notes in one place or on the wall. Unfortunately, design-wise, this does not happen as I will write on anything – post-its, index cards, or scraps of paper and stick them anywhere (on the wall near my desk, in books, in various notebooks. All in which is not good thing to do.

Now this person has the perfect way of using post-its:

Organized with an easy school planning wall.

Organized with an easy school planning wall.

Of course, she is a child and has been instructed by her teacher to be this organized. I was never instructed to do so and I fully realized that I will never, ever be this organized. It is way too practical and way to boring. However, I have discovered that using a legal-size notepad, binder and creative ways to post notes using scotch tape works for me.

A MARIO SITUATION

A MARIO SITUATION

 

 

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