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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query positives. Sort by date Show all posts

ASD [Level 1]: Disability or Unique Ability?

Any increasing number of men and women with ASD Level 1 [Aspergers, High-Functioning Autism] are refusing to be classified as individuals with a disability, syndrome or disorder. They claim that ASD is not a disorder, but a “different way of thinking.” 
 
Many claim that a “cure” for the condition would destroy the original personality of the individual in a misguided attempt to replace them with a “neurotypical” (i.e., a person not on the spectrum).

The “different way of thinking” perspective supports the model of ASD that says that it is a fundamental part of who the autistic individual is – and that ASD is something that can’t be separated from the individual. As a result, some “different way of thinking” believers prefer to be referred to as “autistic people” instead of “people with autism,” because “people WITH autism” implies that it is something that can be removed from the individual.

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

ASD individuals with this perspective oppose the idea of a cure, because they see it as destroying the original personality of the individual, forcing them to imitate neurotypical people (which they believe is unnatural to the “autistic”), simply to make mainstream society feel less threatened by the presence of men and women who are unique.

“Different way of thinking” believers assert that the “quirks” of ASD individuals should be tolerated as the differences of any minority group should be tolerated. When there is discussion about visions for a future where the condition has been eliminated, “different way of thinking” believers usually see this as an attempt to end of their culture and way of being.

“Different way of thinking” believers certainly would enjoy having fewer difficulties in life, and they find some aspects of ASD painful at times (e.g., sensory issues), but they don’t want to have to sacrifice their basic identities in order to make life easier. “Different way of thinking” believers strongly desire society to become more tolerant and accommodating instead of searching for a cure. These unique individuals:
  • think that treatments should focus on giving them the means to overcome the challenges associated by ASD rather than curing it
  • support programs that respect the individuality of the autistic
  • prefer the word "education" over "treatment"
  • try to “teach” other ASD individuals rather than “change” them
  • are in favor of helping make the lives of people on the spectrum easier

 
The “different way of thinking” perspective is related to the controversy of the movement. Some moms and dads see ASD as something that gives their sons and daughters great difficulty in life, and therefore see is as a true  “disorder.” Adults with this perspective believe that a cure for ASD is in their kid’s best interest, because they see a cure as something that will alleviate suffering. This is certainly understandable, but at a different level, insulting.

Many researchers and doctors have the goal of eliminating high-functioning autism completely someday; they want there to be a future with no ASD. But, many autistic men and women see the condition as a natural human variation and not a “disorder,” thus they are opposed to attempts to eliminate it. In particular, there is opposition to prenatal genetic testing of ASD in unborn fetuses, which some believe might be possible in the future if autism is genetic. 
 
Many scientists believe there will be a prenatal test for High-Functioning Autism someday. Our culture has started to debate the ethics involved in the possible elimination of a genotype that has both unique challenges and abilities, which may be seen as messing with nature in general – and natural selection in particular.

Many individuals on the spectrum believe that society has an opinion about ASD that is highly offensive. This opinion compares it to a “disease.” Thus, one of the goals of “pro-autisitc” adults is to expose and challenge those claims they find distasteful. Similarly, Autistic rights activists reject terming the reported increase in theASD population as an “epidemic” since the word epidemic implies that it is a disease.
 

If you are an autistic man or woman, and you're tired of hearing about all the "deficits" associated with the condition – join the club! The world needs to know that there are many more positives associated with it than negatives. If it is “cured” someday – then there go all the positives out the window. These positives are well worth celebrating. Here are just a few:

1. How often do neurotypical individuals fail to notice what's in front of their eyes because they're distracted by social cues and random small talk? Individuals with High-Functioning Autism truly attend to the sensory input that surrounds them. Many have achieved the ideal of mindfulness.

2. How often do neurotypical individuals forget directions, or fail to take note of colors, names, and other details? Adults on the spectrum are usually more tuned-in to details. They may have a much better memory than their neurotypical friends for critical details.

3. If you've ever joined a group or club to “fit in,” you know how hard it is to be true to yourself. But for individuals with the condition, social expectations are often irrelevant. Interest and passion are what really matters – not meeting other’s expectations.

4. Individuals on the spectrum tend to be less concerned with outward appearance than their neurotypical friends. As a result, they worry less about brand names, hairstyles and other expensive - but unimportant - externals than most adults do.

5. We all claim to value the truth, but few of us are truly truthful. But to most ASD men and women, the truth is the truth. A good word from an autistic is the real deal.

6. Most ASD individuals don't play head games, and they assume their partners/spouses won't either. That’s a refreshing change from the emotional roller coaster that damages many neurotypical relationships.

7. Who's Richer? Smarter? More talented? Prettier? For ASD individuals, these distinctions hold much less importance than for neurotypicals. Autistics often see through such surface appearances to discover the real person underneath.
 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

 


Comments:


•    Anonymous …On a bbc documentary called living with autism (an excellent programme btw) Simon baron Cohen has a brilliant explanation for the autism spectrum and how most of the world population is on it somewhere. This explains very well why some adults who are aspergers do not get a diagnosis either becuase they are not considered to be affected badly enough or becuase their issues are assigned to something else. Why in my case my issues were put down to 'well every has this or that experience or problem'. True moreso now I have seen prof. SBCs explanation. He draws a line on a piece of paper and on one side puts zero and the other 50. He then puts 25 in the middle. He then explains most people have 'some' ASD characteristics from zero to 25. Then some have 26 and over. The ones under 25 may be considered normal whilst over 25 may be seen to be ASD. But he then added that even though someone may clearly be ASD, the professional may still decide to not diagnose IF in their view the ASD is not impacting severely enough to necessitate the label. I found it re-assuring to find that most of us have some characteristics found in someone ASD becuase of this confusion some professionals were having over diagnosing becuase other people had similar issues who were not ASD, what I did find a bit of a problem is that clinicians still get to decide who to give or not give a label to. Not becuase I label is a good or bad thing but simply becuase the clinician decides if the person with ASD is suffering enough. I do not think it should be the decision of a clinician to decide what constitutes a good or bad quality of life for someone with an ASD. The only person who knows is the person themselves and if they've gone to be assessed for an ASD then clearly there is an issue! The label is regarded by some as unhelpful. Unhelpful to whom? Why unhelpful? If someone has ASD symptoms and are ASD then the label applies. End of. It is preposterous to infer that by giving a label to it you're damning the person with ASD. How so. When you consider it is a developmental disorder the damage for the want of a better dictum is done before or at birth. So how exactly does giving a label to that damn someone? It is a label that defines what is already there you muppets. So help and support can then be sought for the symptoms by the sufferer. IMO the only reason for not giving a label is to keep numbers down and funds are then not needed for those people becuase they are not 'officially' in need becuase they are not 'officially' ASD. To suggest someone with an ASD will be harmed further with a label is rubbish. And it insults our superior intellect. Since being diagnosed with aspergers I have been able to grow. To understand better my symptoms and embrace my qualities that previously actually had been misdiagnosed as personality disordered etc. Really helpful right!? Misdaignosing me added years of torture and misery onto me and my family. Since the (correct) label was given to me I have become empowered. Sadly there is little support for me still yet I have been able to get some extra support becuase of the label so not damned but some help and I have been able vto help lyself and others have gained a better understanding of my condition too so tolerance and support all round. So again I ask, why exactly is is a problem for me to have a label exactly? The ONLY issue I see is being given the WRONG label not being given the correct accurate one. For someone with an ASD labels are brilliant! For a profession that deals with labels all the time and thinking about it we all use labels all the time to say that 'labels aren't helpful', are you kidding me?!? Take it from a 50 year old asperger's person aka sufferer, this label is definitely helpful to me and those in my life. For the help and support for my issues and for the qualities I now can finally embrace. That were mis-labelled by these same clinicians as personality disorder and character flaws. More (accurate) diagnosing and labelling please not less.


•    Anonymous …I have Asperger's and have a lot of work to do to improve my social skills and interaction. I find that having been a member of a nas (national autistic society) group, the other Aspie's in the group are affected very differently to myself. Unfortunately; attending the group didn't help me to make progress in any way; i felt I didn't really fit in. I was diagnosed with Asperger's at the age of 22. I'm now 34 and have an awful lot of progress to make. Any Aspie who suffers with depression; i too; understand how it feels. I have suffered with depression for many years since my Asperger's diagnosis. It can be very hard at times and I guess life is not always easy for anyone. I hope with time that things will get better and that I will move on and get back to being my usual happy self. Hopefully I can vastly improve my independent living skills too: and reach my goals in life. And get the right help to improve my mental health too.

Having a Positive Attitude with Asperger's


"I am 25 years old and have recently found out I have aspergers syndrome, although obviously I have felt different all my life. I was bullied incredibly badly at school, and there were times when I had to leave for a month or so. Besides the bullying, I had a very difficult upbringing with an alcoholic father who passed away when I was 19. Despite this, I have a good job as a teacher and have dreams and aspirations of becoming a psychologist. Aspies find life difficult, overwhelming and stressful, and my struggle with all the symptoms is daily, but that doesn't mean we can't live a long, happy, successful and fulfilling life, which I 100% plan to do."




A positive attitude is very refreshing. I wish more Aspies had a positive outlook on life. And there's no good reason they shouldn't due to the fact that there are significantly more "positives" associated with Asperger's than negatives.

Here are just a few examples:

1. They possess unique global insights. Their ability to find novel connections among multidisciplinary facts and ideas allows them to create new and coherent insight that "neurotypicals" probably would not have reached without them.

2. They have the ability to make logical decisions. Their skill at making rational decisions and sticking to their course of action without being swayed by impulse or emotional reactions allows them to navigate successfully through difficult circumstances without being pulled off course.

3. They possess an internal motivation rather than being swayed by social convention, other people's opinions, or social pressure. They can hold firm to their own purpose. And their unique ideas can flourish, despite the critics.

4. They are independent thinkers. Their willingness to consider unpopular or unusual possibilities generates new options and opportunities and can lead the way for others.

5. They can be highly focused. Their ability to concentrate on one objective over long periods of time without becoming distracted allows them to accomplish difficult tasks.

6. They have the ability to cut through the bullshit. Their ability to recognize and speak the truth that is being "conveniently" ignored by other people is crucial to the success of a project or endeavor.

7. They pay close attention to detail. Their ability to remember and process minute details without getting side-tracked or weighed down gives them a distinct advantage when solving complicated problems.

8. They tend to be 3-dimensional thinkers. Their ability to utilize 3-dimensional visioning gives them a unique perspective when creating solutions.

And this just scratches the surface. In addition to the positives listed above, people on the autism spectrum also have these attributes:
  • an ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision
  • are not tied to social expectations
  • excellent rote memory 
  • have terrific memories
  • higher fluid intelligence (i.e., the ability to find meaning in confusion and to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge) 
  • higher than average IQ in many cases
  • highly gifted in one or more areas (e.g., math, music, engineering)
  • less materialistic than the general population
  • passionate about their special interests
  • play fewer head games than most people
  • rarely judge others
  • tend to live in the moment
  • are very honest and loyal

People with Asperger's are unique individuals who carry a host of skills and attributes that have the potential to become powerful tools to self-empowerment. As with everyone of us, what they focus on will become their reality. So, if they focus on fixing their deficits, more deficits seem to show up in their life. If, on the other hand, they focus on their special skills, more of these skills begin to appear. This is why a positive attitude is so very important. A positive attitude literally drives your destiny!

From the Perspective of an Autistic Man: The Positives and Challenges of ASD

Hi. My name is Rick. I’m a 23 year old guy on the autism spectrum. These are my observations from a male perspective on how ASD affects daily life (these observations may or may not be true for you):

The Positives—

1. Attention to detail – sometimes with painstaking perfection
2. Can spend hours in the library researching, love learning and information
3. Excellent rote memory
4. Experts say that many people with ASD have a higher than average general IQ.
5. Focus and diligence – The ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive is legendary.
6. Higher fluid intelligence – Scientists have discovered that people with AS have a higher fluid
intelligence than non-autistic people. Fluid intelligence is "the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems. It is the ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge.” 
7. Highly gifted in one or more areas (e.g., math, music, etc.)
8. Honesty – the value of being able to say “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.”
9. Independent, unique thinking – People with ASD tend to spend a lot of time alone and will likely have developed their own unique thoughts as opposed to a “herd mentality.”
10. Internal motivation – as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, bills or acceptance. This ensures a job done with conscience, with personal pride.
11. Logic over emotion – Although people with ASD are very emotional at times, we spend so much time ‘computing’ in our minds that we get quite good at it. We can be very logical in our approach to problem-solving.
12. Visual, three-dimensional thinking – Many people with ASD are very visual in their thought processes, which lends itself to countless useful and creative applications.
13. We can be very loyal to one person.


The Areas of Challenge—

1. Being "in our own world"
2. Can obsess about having friends to prove we’re “normal”
3. Clumsiness / Uncoordinated motor movements
4. Collect things (in excess)
5. Desire for friendships and social contact, but difficulty acquiring and maintaining them
6. Difficulty understanding others’ feelings
7. Don't always recognize faces right away (even close loved ones)
8. Eccentric personality
9. Flat, or blank expression much of the time
10. Great difficulty with small-talk and chatter  
11. Have an urge to inform that can result in being blunt / insulting
12. Idiosyncratic attachment to inanimate objects
13. Lack of empathy at times
14. Lack of interest in other people
15. Likes and dislikes can be very rigid
16. Limited interests / Intense focus on one or two subjects
17. May have a hard time saying I love you, showing physical affection
18. May have difficulty staying in college despite a high level of intelligence
19. Non-verbal communication problems: difficulty reading body language, facial expression and tone
20. Often are attracted to a woman purely because she is attracted to us
21. Often times, we will make no motions to keep a friendship going.
22. Our attention is narrowly focused on our own interests.
23. Preoccupied with our own agenda
24. Rigid social behavior due to an inability to spontaneously adapt to variations in social situations
25. Shut down in social situations
26. Single-mindedness
27. Social withdrawal / may avoid social gatherings
28. Speech and language peculiarities / early in life, may have a speech impediment
29. Strong sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell (e.g. fabrics—won’t wear certain things, fluorescent lights)
30. Unusual preoccupations
31. We can be distant physically and/or emotionally.
32. We can be obsessive.
33. We can be very critical.
34. We can become quite defensive when our lady asks for clarification or a little sympathy. The defensiveness can turn into verbal abuse (usually not physical abuse) as we attempt to control the communication to suit our view of the world.
35. We find emotions messy and unquantifiable. If our partner tries to share her love for us, we may find her need to “connect” smothering.
36. We need to withdraw and have solitude.
37. We often feel as if our partner is being ungrateful or “bitchy” when she complains about how we are uncaring or “never listen.”
38. We take life too seriously.
39. We takes things too personally.


NOTE: I'm comfortable being who I am. This is why I used the term "challenges" rather than "deficits." I don't look at the 39 observations above as "bad" traits. Rather, they are areas that I will be working on to improve. And we all can improve ...we all have challenges. That's life! I'm going to meet these challenges head-on!! Won't you join me?
 
P.S. You should join Mark's ASD Men's group. It will change your perspective of yourself, I promise!

 
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I was wondering last night how I could get into my son's head so I can get even a glimpse of how he thinks. Rationally I know I have to change my approach but sometimes I feel I have no way to relate. Even though you are a different person I see some of the things you are talking about in my son. I really appreciate you sharing this.
•    Anonymous said... My daughter is the same way.
•    Anonymous said... My son is 16 and has his first girlfriend first friend period and I see a lot of what you’re saying in him I think he likes her because she showed interest but it's been like 2 months and I can see he is not interested in keeping the relationship going like he can't be bothered anymore I'm not sure how to go out talking with him about it and all he says is he doesn't want to talk about it it's frustrating!!
•    Anonymous said... Rick, I love this post. My 15 year old accepted this designation when he was younger but now that he's in his teen years, he's denying it. He has many of the characteristics you name and though at times difficult, I love all the idiosyncrasies. Our "challenge" (a word I use regularly instead of "problem") is getting him to accept himself just the way he is.
•    Anonymous said... Wow I feel better for reading this and all your comments I thought I was a parental alien until now. Others who have no idea don't see what we experience as parents. Sadly I have had to endure so called professionals who cite horrid theories as to why a teen with HFA behaves in the ways stated in the article. That impacts vastly on relationships when you are not believed. My son is amazing being a teen is difficult for any child but for those with HAD it’s a minefield for them and their parents who generally are on the end of their frustrations. Brilliant article am very grateful.

*    Wifie said... Do aspies tend to lye even for the small insignificant stuff?
*    lgspence said... Thank you for this. Love how you see it as challenge and will work on improving. Yes, we all have room to improve. My son is now in college but still working to improve. I am so proud of him! I think these tips will help him clarify his progress and needs.
*    Matt Gardner said... I would add takes high risks other would advoid financial or spiritual. Or Even risk tolerance to high.

Post your comment below…

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder Have More Strengths Than Weaknesses?

“Mark, I hear so many negatives about people with autism spectrum disorder [level 1]. You say there are many more strengths than weaknesses! What are they?”

Even though there are a number of deficits associated with ASD, there are numerous positives as well. For example, most people of the autism spectrum have the following strengths:


1.    are independent and unique thinkers
 

2.    are internally motivated (as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, acceptance, etc.)
 

3.    have the ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive
 
4.    are more logical than emotional, spending a lot of time “computing” in their minds
 

5.    are often passionately devoted to -and eager to expound on- topics of particular interest to them
 

6.    are visual, 3-dimensional thinkers, which lends itself to countless creative applications
 

7.    have a higher “fluid intelligence” than “typical” people (i.e., the ability to find meaning in confusion, solve new problems, and draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge)
 

8.    have strong rote skills
 

9.    have terrific memories and are able to memorize large amounts of information
 

10.    pay attention to detail, sometimes with painstaking perfection
 

11.    are not restricted to any social expectations that they have to meet
 

12.    are not as concerned about their external appearance in comparison to “typical” people
 

13.    rarely judge other people based on who is smarter, richer or faster
 

14.    usually have a higher than average general IQ
 

15.    are often precocious in speaking and reading and tend to use sophisticated or formal language

…and this is my short list!

Mark Hutten, M.A.


More resources:

 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

"Aspie-Pride" - Walter's Story

Unconventional people have always existed, but I have taken unconventionality to a whole new level, and maybe you have to. It's called "Asperger's," and this is my story. I am proud of many of my traits associated with the condition (others, not so much). I call this "Aspie-Pride."

Asperger's isn't always recognized as a possible cause of strange behavior. It can be mild (causing only somewhat unusual behavior) or severe, causing almost complete inability to function in society without assistance. Personally, I have always had trouble deciphering the normal rules of social behavior. These rules have no rhythm or reason in my opinion. I prefer a structured life with well-defined rules and routines.

I do seem to process information more slowly than normal, making it difficult to participate in discussions or activities that require quick thinking. I also have trouble with organization and seeing the "big picture," often focusing on one aspect of a task. 

In any event, I have been able to live a relatively normal life. I'm often regarded as shy, reserved or even snobbish by others. But, that's not my intent at any level. Because I am misunderstood on many occasions, I sometimes feel disconnected and distant from the rest of the world, a feeling called "wrong planet" syndrome. So, I have learned to enjoy my own company.

I do struggle to understand emotions in others, and I miss subtle cues such as facial expression, eye contact and body language. As a result, I may appear aloof, selfish or uncaring to others. Again, this is not me. I believe I am a very caring person, especially when it comes to animals. Also, I am usually surprised when informed of the "supposed" hurtful or inappropriate effect of my actions toward someone, because hurting that person was the furthest thing from my mind.

I find making small talk difficult and even annoying. If you want to talk about Hollywood, politics, or the weather, I'm not interested. And if I don't look at you while you're talking, that doesn't mean I'm not listening or uninterested.

Those of us with Asperger's are often preoccupied with something to the extreme level. At times, we may only talk about our special interest. But that's what makes us special. We have a lot of traits that work to our benefit. For example, we are...
  • able to adhere unvaryingly to routines and stay on task for extended periods of time
  • perfectly capable of entertaining ourselves
  • not likely to discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, age, etc.
  • not likely to launch unprovoked attacks, verbal or otherwise
  • able to avoid playing head games
  • not interested in taking advantage of other’s weaknesses
  • equipped with exceptional memories
  • able to notice fine details that others miss
  • more likely to talk about significant things that will enhance our knowledge-base rather than “shooting the bullshit”

Too often, we are told, “Something is wrong with you.” And sooner than later, we may unconsciously absorbs this negative statement and begin to believe it. We are vulnerable people who will face certain difficulties, and these are often highlighted by people who see only the negatives rather than the positives such differences can represent. This lack of positive awareness, combined with an inconsistency of knowledge, leads to inaccurate stereotyping.

Maybe we need to take another look and see what kind of positive traits are found. I believe there are a lot of traits in the Asperger's personality that the non-Asperger's person can afford to implement into his or her own life. Like everyone on the face of the earth, we are people with a mix of strengths and weaknesses. We are different, but not defective. The world needs all different kinds of minds, including the Asperger's minds.

Thanks for reading,

Walter C.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Adults with Asperger's: Enough with the Negativity!

“I’m so tired of hearing all the negatives about Asperger’s. Those of us with the disorder are often on the receiving end of prejudice – and often misunderstood. It would be nice to hear something positive for a change!”

I agree wholeheartedly. There are significantly more positives associated with Asperger’s (high-functioning autism) than negatives. And the general public does seem to focus on the negative stuff.

For example, people on the spectrum allegedly (a) talk forever without pause about their favorite topic; (b) say things in conversation that are inappropriate, divergent or tactless; (c) respond violently to frustrating situations; (d) fail to read others’ standard body language; (e) are not good at small talk, especially intimate bantering; (f) dislike establishing eye contact; and (g) can’t do things that require social interaction …just to name a few.

The truth is that SOME Aspies have SOME of these traits. To say that ALL Aspies have ALL these traits is just plain stereotyping.



Indeed, there are certain features of Asperger’s that people with the disorder can use to their advantage. Here are just a few (and there are many more that I could add to the list):

1. Exceptional Global Insights: Many people with Asperger’s possess the knack for finding unique connections among multidisciplinary facts/ideas that allows them to create novel, rational, and important insights that other people would not have reached without them.

2. Rational Decision Making: Their ability to make logical decisions and stick to their course of action without being influenced by impulse or emotional responses enables them to navigate effectively through tough situations without being yanked off-course.

3. Internal Drive: Rather than being swayed by social pressure or fears, social convention, or the opinions of others, they can hold firm to their own purpose. Their exceptional ideas often thrive – despite the pessimism of others.

4. Self-Governing Thinking: Their willingness to consider unpopular or strange possibilities creates new options and opportunities that can pave the way for others.

5. Ability to Live in the Moment: The “typical” individual often fails to notice what's in front of his eyes because he’s distracted by social cues or random chitchat. However, the Aspie tends to truly focus on the sensory input that surrounds him (e.g., he may see the beauty that others miss). In other words, he has achieved the ideal of mindfulness.

6. Intense Focus: Many people with Asperger’s have the ability to focus on one objective over long periods of time without getting sidetracked, which enables them to accomplish large and demanding tasks.

7. Seeing Past the Bullshit: Their ability to recognize and speak the truth that is being "conveniently" ignored by other people is often crucial to the success of a project or business venture.

8. Passion: Many Aspies are truly enthusiastic about the things and ideas in their lives. They often take the time, imagination, and energy necessary to master their area of interest – and they persevere even when the going gets tough.

9. Attention to Detail: Their ability to remember and process small details without getting lost or overwhelmed gives them a unique advantage when solving multifaceted problems.

10. 3-Dimensional Visioning: Their ability to employ 3-dimensional thinking gives them a distinctive perspective when designing and creating solutions.

Having a person with Asperger’s in your life can have a profound and positive impact on your beliefs, perceptions and expectations. The Aspie’s unique way of thinking is often both refreshing and enlightening.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…  My 20 yr old son is the MOST amazing person I've ever known. It has been my greatest pleasure, guiding him through life. He makes me laugh, teaches me so many things (ridiculously intelligent) and is always there for me, when I need help (very kind) He's the best guy to hang out with (witty & cool) I wish life was easier for him, and that he could see himself through my eyes, and know how utterly incredible he is.  I adore him, just the way he is...  :)
•    Anonymous said…  My grand girl is amazing ,I love having conversations with her  ❤she always tells me exactly how she feels . and loves a joke or a laugh
•    Anonymous said… Aspergers is not a disability, it's a gift.. Everyone with Aspergers is CONNECTED... Autism was discovered in 1944, around the same time 6 million Jews were slaughtered... Aspergers was discovered in 1981, the same year I was born.
•    Anonymous said… Being married only half a year, you might want to save your post and read it again 40 years from now. Then I think you might have greater understanding of what others have shared. Just a thought...
•    Anonymous said… Boy get this a lot. I'm a mum and drive and been a carer for mum but still get negativities back at me. My children grown fine 2 are autisic and my daughter not. I no I done my self proud but only my kids seen that. I'm aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Having an Aspie in your life may be positive IF they aren’t your spouse or child. The traits that make them special also destroy the soul of the people closest to them. 28 years married to one.
•    Anonymous said… I agree! My 11 yr old is fine his diagnosis Also! But when it's meeting time at school I hear nothing but negativity... 😠
•    Anonymous said… I agree, my 12 year old daughter is fine with her diagnosis!! It does always seem to be the negatives people focus on in life in general. It’s sad.
•    Anonymous said… I am so proud of my daughter. She worked really hard to overcome the obstacles that were preventing her from being able to read and when it finally clicked with her she took off running. Her teachers all brag on her and tell me what an amazing influence she is on the other kids because she actively participates and shows a true joy of learning. She is a natural artist and when given free reign to express herself on her chosen medium (her skin) she makes the most beautiful drawings! She sings, draws, computes, writes stories, wants to be a leader and an activist. She may have some obstacles, but she has many more strengths.
•    Anonymous said… I feel them, especially with all this streotype culture going around while most being so busy therefore not having enough time even for a second subsequently which gets worse there are people poorly educated about people with Autism because they fail to understand that people with Autism have a mind of their own!
•    Anonymous said… I know that my boyfriend is the first man I’ve dated that can communicate with me in a way that really registers with me more than anyone else. When there is an issue, he is direct, spells it out in no uncertain terms and makes sure that I understand what is going on. As I sometimes have difficulties with relationships and communication due to my own psychological issues, I am grateful to him for this blunt honesty each and every time.
•    Anonymous said… I see Aspergers as a blessing and a gift that I wouldn't trade for anything. I love that I'm a Aspie and glad to finally have been diagnosed (at age 53). I have only one purpose in calling my Aspergers a disability and that is to get the medical, mental, and financial, help I need (which I can't get if there is "nothing wrong with me"). The only reason for that is having finally fallen apart (long long term Autism burnout) from having been forced into the life of a neurotypical since my birth.
•    Anonymous said… I see patterns where others see only chaos.
•    Anonymous said… I️ tell no one, and nobody even notices, yet everyone loves my personality and says how funny I️ am to be around. I️ excel at work and have never been reprimanded, The sad truth of it is that had they seen the label instead of the person their opinions would have changed
•    Anonymous said… I truly feel you. I hope in the future there is a dating site strictly for aspies. I think my wasband would sign up.
•    Anonymous said… I'm the same. I struggle in the social side of life (and therefore to get jobs) but once there I ignore all the banter in the staffroom and just get on with the job.
•    Anonymous said… IMO, our world needs people with aspergers. My son is so smart and pragmatic. He's a natural problem solver. Thank God for people like him, because we surely have plenty of problems that need solved.
•    Anonymous said… January 26, 2016. I met the man of my dreams. He definitely has aspergers and was diagnosed at a young age. In his heart he cares about people, wants to be a wonderful, providing husband/stepfather, and he is doing just that. We were married June 4th of this year, he is amazing. I really hate when people stereo type and categorize based on a diagnosis. Everyone is different, just because you had a shitty experience doesn't mean everyone else will and that you should preach that no one should date an aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Like most things in life, I find it's a very mixed thing. On one hand I have frequent nightmares and can get overwhelmed by too much perception coming in all at once.
•    Anonymous said… lol my son is so unique and interesting!
•    Anonymous said… Memory stronger than an elephant
•    Anonymous said… My 12 yr old often astounds me with his knowledge of odd facts and trivia he's absorbed goodness knows where. He also loves the cats and is so loving with them. He has fantastic hand/eye co-ordination. I'm always learning something about their view and take on the world, and their quirks. I feel like I've just scratched the surface and yet I know them the best.
•    Anonymous said… My 17 year old son is amazing! He's our gentle giant!
•    Anonymous said… My 23 yr old is funny, and loves her cats like they were her children. She's really good at ordering bookcases full of books. She can be blunt but very perceptive. Her problem solving often comes in totally from left field, I love that about her.
•    Anonymous said… My DS 12 has an excellent eye for detail. And different ways of solving problems.
•    Anonymous said… My husband has the benefits and I wish I were more like him in some ways. His Aspie traits are minimal but just enough to cause me occasional frustration and loneliness. I only wish he had as much interest in understanding me as I do him.
•    Anonymous said… My husband is amazing! I love him to pieces and think he and my daughter are the greatest things since sliced bread. There are times when it isn't perfect, but what the heck is? Contrast is what makes it all worth it in the end. So many people questioned how I could be with him, given I'm super spiritual and he's a progressive humanist, I tell them plain and simple, "He's the greatest man I've ever met." My aspie has all the traits listed in the second half of the article. I just wish he could apply that single-minded focus to cleaning the house. Lol
•    Anonymous said… My partner displays only 1 out of 10 of your positive traits but displays all of the stereotypical negative traits.
•    Anonymous said… My partner has Asperger's and yes it can be frustrating at times as I'm sure I can be. I wouldn't change a thing about him. To me, he's perfect. I've read some really awful things about how people treat their Aspie partners. My partner doesn't like being bought presents and I was originally offended but why should I or others try to impose their cultural values on him? I think people need to be kinder. 12 years and still going strong!
•    Anonymous said… Negativity comes mostly from people who are in relationship with some one with Asperger...We are on receiving end of it. Maybe it's a gift to the person that has it, but for those around them , I would say that 70-80% of the experience is negative.
•    Anonymous said… People on the outside are quick to notice what is perceived as a difficulty. Try living on the inside.
•    Anonymous said… Same. Mine is 14 and he's determined, clever, thoughtful, pragmatic, money-concious and polite.
•    Anonymous said… Similar for me - once I realised I didn't have to follow the social norms with my partner, I found I liked being free of them myself! We buy each othrr gifts when we want to, we never have to. And the gifts have more meaning now. It's just one positive example.
•    Anonymous said… This is similar to what I said recently, if I had the choice I would choose to be an aspie every time
•    Anonymous said… This proud Aspie can understand my students because I've been therre! And I'm therre every day!
•    Anonymous said… Um, I’m 24 years in, 5 children and yes, some of that has been really hard. But, a definitive diagnosis a few years ago, the right type of counseling and I have come to see that my husbands traits both positive and negative have changed me for the better.
•    Anonymous said… Ummm....There's many wonderful things i can and do say in regard to my friend but nothing positive comes to mind re the moments i understand as Aspergers...but will stay tuned to this post in hope that there is something.

Post your comment below…

Denying the Diagnosis of ASD [level 1]

"My husband has an ASD diagnosis, but he still denies he has the disorder. The diagnosis came a year after we separated - following my son’s diagnosis. My husband no longer wants to work on our marriage and has given up. The divorce paperwork has been initiated. Is it common for a person with autism to refuse to accept the diagnosis and its impact in the relationship?"

No one wants to accept the idea of a lifelong disorder that makes him or her "different." When a spouse (or girlfriend) suggests to her partner that he "may" have ASD, it is not uncommon for the man to deny the possibility - and to refuse to seek a formal diagnosis. Instead, he may blame his partner for the problems in the relationship.

Some men go through divorce, job loss, and years of anxiety and depression before they accept the possibility that there may be an underlying issue which explains why their life has taken the odd twists and turns it has. Then - and only then - will these "on the fence" individuals consider seeking a diagnosis. And even then, they may refuse treatment (e.g., counseling), assuming they can "wing it" on their own without any outside assistance.






The "autistic" can have several reactions to the diagnosis:
  • He may react by minimizing it. In this case, he doesn't view ASD as something to be taken very seriously, and views himself as someone who  simply "thinks differently." 
  • He may react by emphasizing the diagnosis. Now, his disorder defines him as a person and becomes an uncontrollable force that dominates his entire life. He may even come to believe that his spouse or girlfriend must become his caretaker since he has a "disability." Rather than recognizing the many "positives" associated with the disorder, he instead focuses on the worst aspects.
  • He may respond positively, identifying the many constructive features of the disorder. Here, the individual embraces the diagnosis, is happy to finally find an explanation for the troubles he has endured, and attempts to take control of the challenges that arise along the way. Now that he has identified "the problem," he can work on his deficits AND capitalize on his strengths.

Many newly diagnosed individuals go through a wide range of emotions (e.g., disappointment, anger, fear, etc.). Some feel isolated, as if they are the only ones with the disorder. Still others are outraged that they have been singled out from the rest of the population.



The most common reaction to the diagnosis for the "neurotypical" partner is relief, because she finally and gratefully understands that she is not to blame for the relationship problems that have occurred. Also, she now has an explanation (not an excuse) for why her partner has said and done so many "hurtful" things in the past. She is grateful that it's "just" ASD, because she had come to believe that she was insane.

In any event, you really only have three choices: (1) continue to try to change your husband (good luck with that one), (2) take on more responsibility for the relationship than he does (not recommended), or (3) take care of your sanity in any way that seems appropriate to you.

Men With Asperger's: What Potential Partners Need To Know

Should you date a guy with Asperger syndrome?

In no way am I suggesting that one should avoid having a relationship with an Asperger's man. However, if you are in the early stages of a relationship with one (or are contemplating getting into one), then you need to know a few things ahead of time.

Unconventional people have always existed, but Asperger's isn't always recognized as a possible cause of odd behavior in adults. Even though Asperger's is on the high end of the autism spectrum, it can be mild (causing only somewhat curious behavior) or severe (causing almost complete inability to function in society without some assistance). 

Adult "Aspies" (similar to children with the disorder) have trouble deciphering the normal rules of society, which impacts their home, work and social lives. They often have high intellectual functioning – but diminished social abilities (e.g., they may use peculiar speech and language, seem egocentric, lack the ability to read non-verbal cues, lack social skills, have limited or unusual interests, follow repetitive routines, appear clumsy, etc.).



Some of the things you can expect to see from a man with Asperger's may include the following:

1. He usually prefers a structured life with well-defined routines. He may become agitated or upset when these routines are broken. For example, if he normally eats breakfast at 8 a.m., he may become agitated when asked to eat at an earlier time. However, unlike a person with classic autism, the Aspie will probably be able to keep his frustration in check. 

2. The Asperger's individual may be reluctant to initiate conversation and require prodding to talk to you at all, especially if he is already engaged in a favored activity when you try to initiate conversation. 

3. Because a man with Asperger's typically struggles to understand emotions in others, he misses subtle cues (e.g., facial expression, eye contact, body language, etc.). As a result, he may appear aloof, selfish or uncaring. He may simply lack the social or empathetic skills to effectively manage romantic relationships.

 ==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

4. Because he tends to be a literal thinker, the Aspie may have trouble understanding social metaphors, teasing or irony. 

5. He may be unable to think in abstract ways. He may be inflexible in his thinking, unable to imagine a different outcome to a given situation than the one he perceives. This rigid thinking pattern makes predicting outcomes of situations difficult. He may develop strict lifestyle routines - and experience anxiety and distress if that routine is disrupted. To avoid such disruption, he may keep extensive written to-do lists or keep a mental checklist of his plans.

6. The Aspie may have difficulty interacting in social groups (e.g.,  he may choose inappropriate topics to discuss in a group setting or find making small talk difficult or even annoying).

7. The individual may demonstrate unusual non-verbal communication (e.g., lack of eye contact, limited facial expressions, awkward body posturing, etc.). He may speak in a voice that is monotonous or flat, and may engage in one-sided conversations without regard to whether anyone is actually listening.



8. He may have obsessive tendencies that manifest in many different ways (e.g., insisting all of his books be lined up in a certain order on the shelf, or that the clothes in his closet are categorized by color, style or season). Obsession with categories and patterns is a common symptom of the disorder.

9. The man's focus on just one or two areas of special interest often leads to a lack of interest in alternate topics and the unwillingness to listen when his partner is speaking. Such poor communication skills can lead to problems in relationships. The Aspie may talk incessantly about topics that others have no interest in. His thought patterns may be scattered and difficult to follow and never come to a point. Speech patterns may have a strange cadence or lack the proper inflections. And, he may have difficulty understanding humor and may take what's said too literally.

10. Unlike an adult with classic autism, a person with Asperger's wants to fit in with others. However, social and work-related difficulties can cause anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, obsessive compulsive behaviors, and depression. He may feel disconnected and distant from the rest of the world.

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

11. While an Asperger's man often has above-average intelligence, he may process information more slowly than normal, making it difficult to participate in discussions or activities that require quick thinking. He may have trouble with organization and seeing the "big picture," often focusing on one aspect of a project or task. Also, he may be rigid and inflexible, making transitions of any type highly difficult.

12. Other symptoms of Asperger's include:
  • outstanding memory
  • inability to understand other perspectives
  • inability to empathize
  • highly focused in specific fields of interest often to the exclusion of other pursuits
  • great musical ability
  • follows strict routines
  • difficulty regulating emotions
  • difficulty managing appropriate social conduct
  • black and white thinking
  • appears overly concerned with his own agenda
  • a tendency to be "in his own little world"

Again, this is not an attempt to discourage anyone from developing a relationship with an Asperger's man. And it should be noted that, while this article focuses on the areas of potential problems for man-woman relationships, there are many more positives associated with the disorder than negative. Below are just a few examples.

Many men with Asperger's also demonstrate the following characteristics:
  • work hard
  • will not go along with the crowd if they know that something is wrong
  • talented 
  • smart
  • respect authority 
  • prefer talking about significant things that will enhance their knowledge-base rather than “shooting the bullshit”
  • perfectly capable of entertaining themselves
  • notice fine details that others miss
  • not inclined to steal
  • not bullies, con artists, or social manipulators
  • honest
  • have no interest in harming others
  • gentle and somewhat passive
  • exceptional memories
  • enjoy their own company and can spend time alone
  • don’t take advantage of other’s weaknesses
  • don’t play head games
  • don’t discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, age, etc.
  • child-like innocence 
  • amazingly loyal friends 
  • adhere unvaryingly to routines
  • accepting of others
  • able forgive others

Unfortunately, in counseling couples affected by Asperger's, I've discovered that in some cases, all the positive traits in the world do not make up for the Asperger's man's (a) difficulty in understanding his lady's emotions and (b) lack of displayed affection. If those two things are missing, it's usually a huge disappointment (and sometimes a deal-breaker) for his lady, regardless of all the assets associated with the disorder.

==> More information on relationship problems with your Asperger's (or high-functioning autistic) partner... 


 

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

How to Deal with Me: An Aspergers Man’s Note to His New Girlfriend

I understand that you are frustrated with me right now, and that I can ‘drive you crazy’ (as you say).  But I’m not a bad guy who is intentionally trying to be an asshole. Below are 10 things I would like for you to know about me. Maybe this will help you understand that I really am not a selfish or insensitive person.

1. Please don’t assume that I’m uninterested just because I’m not telling you on a daily basis that ‘I like you’ or ‘find you attractive’. Decide what you think of me and let me know. After I become aware of your attraction and am not confused about your nonverbal gestures and flirtation, it will be easier for me to decide if I feel the same way.

2. It would be helpful if you would ease me into large social situations (e.g., parties or group outings). Please understand if I am overwhelmed or decide not to go with you. There will be times when I prefer being alone or with less people.

3. If I talk in a confusing manner (e.g., use complex vocabulary or don’t answer your questions directly), please ask me for more clarification.



4. If I appear to have certain quirks (e.g., not wanting to talk on the phone), please understand that it is related to the disorder. But do feel free to confront me about any issues that bother you, and explain why it bothers you. I will try to understand.

5. Because my brain is wired differently, I have difficulty initiating interactions, maintaining eye contact, reading the non-verbal cues of others, responding to the initiations of others, sharing enjoyment, and taking another person’s perspective. These are the social skills that come naturally to most people. Not me. But feel free to help me in these areas. I consider myself to be a life-long learner and will always need to keep pushing myself to new levels.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

6. It would be great if you would learn what my interests are, and try to engage in a few activities that focus on those interests. If we could go on a few dates where social interaction isn’t necessarily the focus, that will help me be more engaged and conversational.

7. You can always tell me how you are feeling, especially if you are angry, and why. I may not understand your emotions and why you are reacting a certain way, but I promise I will listen.

8. The long-held notion that people with Aspergers lack an interest in social interactions is inaccurate. I do indeed desire social involvement, But I lack some of the skills to interact effectively. This lack of “know-how” often leads to feelings of social anxiety for me. Social situations can evoke a great deal of stress, and I may need to take a time-out from whatever we are doing at the time to collect myself. When I do, please do not perceive it as me being antisocial.



9. As juvenile as it may sound, romance can be puzzling to me sometimes, but again, you will probably see improvement after explaining the meaning behind it, why it’s necessary, and that it makes you feel good.

10. Lastly, please don’t use riddles or sarcasm in the same way you would with someone who doesn’t have Aspergers. If you do, ask me if I understood and then explain what you meant. Otherwise, I may just be confused.

Like everyone on planet earth, we are people with a mix of strengths and weaknesses. I am different – but not defective. The world needs all different kinds of minds – including the Aspergers mind. The way I think should be regarded as a positive attribute, not a shortcoming. I speak for all people with Aspergers when I say this: When our differences are embraced, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

Positive Traits of Asperger’s Men as Reported by Their Partners/Spouses

We polled 35 women who are in relationships with Asperger’s men. The question was: "What would be the #1 thing that your Asperger's partner or spouse does/says that you find helpful to the relationship?" Here are their responses:

  1. Every month he remembers my cell phone needs a new straight talk card, he buys and puts the refill on my phone, I never have to worry I won't have a phone.
  2. Hard worker--110% into supporting us--and into loving our family. Loves, understands and cares for animals. Takes care of our cars. Takes kids fishing and to museums so I can recharge; also supports my women tribe relationships, acknowledging I really need them. Cares in that child-like, unconditional way.
  3. He does his best for our family. (It may not be *The* best, but it's always *His* best!)
  4. He found out things I liked (such as backrubs) and used every opportunity to give me one, even if we were just hugging. Oh, and he was ALWAYS there for me when I needed to vent about something or needed help with a project. And he supported me in my hobby by going to jewelry making classes or bead shows with me on occasion.
  5. He is always honest and he has a very strong work ethic both at work and when I need help at home.
  6. He is always honest, he would never hurt me on purpose, he has a huge heart and always tries to help with logical explanation, he wants fairness for everyone.
  7. He is completely genuine. He never has an ulterior motive, I am never guessing why he is doing something. He doesn't play games with anyone and is never intentionally mean to anyone. People he doesn't care for he just avoids. He is always sincere in what he says and does.
  8. He is loyal and is very helpful in fixing our cars and fixing things around the house.
  9. He is stable, faithful, and predictable.


  10. He is the most honest person I know. I never have to guess what he is feeling, thinking, wants, or needs. He does not play games or have a secret hidden agenda. I find this incredibly refreshing.
  11. He is very devoted!
  12. He makes sure my car is always safe for me. From keeping up with oil changes to tire pressure, I never have to worry that I'm in an unsafe vehicle.
  13. He tries. Never had a man that has actively tried to make me so happy.
  14. He went back to his ex after they ended things and asked her to tell it to him straight. She gave him a lot of good tips and he is a great partner now. I thank her for that.
  15. He will do house chores and help me with taking the girls out so I can have stress free alone time.
  16. He works so hard to keep me happy and let me know I'm loved.
  17. He's always willing to help if I ask him. He has a great sense of humour.
  18. He's honest, loyal and he makes me laugh with his silliness. He has a lovely innocence to him which makes him so refreshing and when he 'shows' me love I know it's because he wants to and not because he feels he has too. Means so much more x
  19. He's loyal and always tries to give me what I need emotionally whenever I ask. He wants our kid’s childhoods to be better than his was.
  20. His good intentions, if he knows the right thing to do he will do it, very high principles
  21. I'm an Asperger Female Married to an Aspie Male.  I think he's my half. He's the most altruistic and kind person and I he doesn't harbor ulterior motives like most people do. The most patient, sensitive, loyal man I've ever met. He thinks I'm Paradox the same ways I do. 
  22. Loyal and gentle 
  23. Loyal, has good intentions, stable, good provider
  24. Loyalty
  25. My husband is very good at problem-solving and finding things.
  26. My husband is very very funny, and super fun to talk to because he is super intelligent. He reads a lot especially on internet. He is a good person and means well, BUT HAS NO IDEA how his behavior affects others, which is where the problems lie.
  27. Once he understands what's needed he does it to the nth degree, but it can take years (literally) for him to get it e.g. Turfing the garden.
  28. Predictable, good work ethic and excellent provider, loves his kids and is always gentle with them, never raises his voice.
  29. Problem solving and being a font of knowledge!
  30. Stable, loyal, predictable.
  31. Successful career so I only have to work part time. Financial stability.
  32. The most helpful thing he does for the relationship is everything, Thing is the operative word there. He is a great task doer! Loyal Laborer!
  33. Very clever. Strong man who has always provided for us well. Very practical. What he doesn't understand, he will teach himself and then do it to perfection. He has a deep love for our dogs. He adores them. .and shows it!!! He can't do that with humans so it's nice to see how much they mean to him.
  34. What really attracted me to him was he was THE smartest guy in the class or anywhere, still is. I love nerds; always wanted to marry the smartest guy I could find, and I did.
  35. Wonderful caretaker of our 3 cats and 2 dogs. 

As one NT wife states: “This is beautiful to read. There is so much negativity out there, it's lovely to hear how the positives are observed and appreciated by partners and spouses. My Aspie was the most amazing person I ever met. He would remember everything - and but the most amazing birthday cards for everyone, so special. He was the most amazing father - bringing home small gifts or chocolates for our boys every payday. I never needed to forget anything because he had it all under control. He would look at the TV guide, and highlight all of the things he thought we would like to watch together. He was hopeless at banking!!! I lost him 13 years ago to cancer, and miss his amazing knowledge, compassion and humour every day. Our boys do as well xxx” 


==> As an NT partner, are you tired of all the negativity around AS and high-functioning autism? Here are a lot of positives that can be associated with the disorder, in case you were wondering...


==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

=> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA 

Understanding the Mind of Your ASD Mate

"My 29-year-old wife was recently diagnosed with autism [level 1]. This is all relatively new to me (although I have recognized some behavior that seemed rather odd to me over the 2 years we have been married). They say that autism is just 'a different way of thinking'. How can I understand the way she thinks? I love her dearly, but we are definitely not on the same page much of the time!"

People with ASD [High-Functioning Autism] have some deficits in the brain that cause problems in certain areas. For example, communication, focusing on “the real world” as opposed to becoming absorbed in their own thoughts and obsessions, learning appropriate social skills and responses, and understanding the thoughts and feelings of others. In addition, they are very literal in their interpretation of others’ conversations, and have difficulty recognizing differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of what others’ say.



Non-verbal communication is particularly problematic in that these individuals have difficulty understanding the appropriate distance to stand from another person when talking, how to tell when someone does not want to listen any longer, and how to interpret facial expressions. Also, they tend to be highly aware of right and wrong – and will bluntly announce what is wrong. They often recognize the shortcomings of others, but not their own. Thus, some of their behavior seems rude or inappropriate (through no fault of their own, in most cases).

Most people on the autism spectrum need routine and predictability, which gives them a sense of safety. Change often causes anxiety, and too much change can lead to a meltdown or shutdown. Routines and predictability help these individuals remain calm.

Other interesting (and sometimes problematic) features of ASD include the following:
  • They notice details, rather than the “whole” picture. The importance of the detail prevents them from understanding the bigger picture, so instructions may get lost in their focus on a single detail.
  • They are not able to access their frontal cortex or prefrontal lobe efficiently, so they must call on social skills from their memories. If a particular social skill was not taught when they were younger, they won’t have it. Thus, imagination, conversation, and other people’s points of view cause great difficulty. 
  • Anger often occurs due to over-stimulation of the senses or a change in routine. It is often the only response they know. Anger-control presents problems, because these individuals only see things in black and white, which can result in offensive behavior when they don’t get their own way or when they feel threatened or overwhelmed. Some bottle-up anger and turn it inward, never revealing where the trouble is. 
  • One of the most difficult thinking patterns for people with Asperger’s is mind-blindness, which is the lack of ability to understand the emotions, feelings, motivations, and logic of others – and not care that they don’t understand! Therefore, they sometimes behave without regard to the welfare of others. The only way some will ever change their thinking or behavior is if it is in their own interest to do so. Even then, convincing them to change their mind may turn out to be an uphill battle.

But, so much for the “bad” news. People on the spectrum also have many positive qualities, for example, most are:
  • smart
  • respect authority 
  • gentle and somewhat passive
  • especially talented in a particular area 
  • amazingly loyal friends 
  • able to adhere unvaryingly to routines
  • honest
  • perfectly capable of entertaining themselves
  • able to remember a lot of information and facts
  • able to notice fine details that others miss

…just to name a few.

Everyone has a mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses. People with ASD are different – but they are not flawed. We need all different kinds of minds – including the autistic mind. The way a person on the autism spectrum thinks should be viewed as a positive trait, which the rest of us can learn from. When our differences are embraced, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

One NT husband states, "All Aspies are different. If you want to understand the real person you are married to you must work together to identify the way you both interact and communicate the specifics of your mental functioning and hers. It is not a one way street. Her Aspie traits are highly individual as your non-Aspie traits. Lots of reading and help from counsellors can help both of you work this out."

 

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