Are you an adult with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's? Are you in a relationship with someone on the autism spectrum? Are you struggling emotionally, socially, spiritually or otherwise? Then you've come to the right place. We are here to help you in any way we can. Kick off your shoes and stay awhile...

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

The Risks Associated with an ASD "Label"

Many adults who have struggled for many years feel a sense of relief when they finally get a formal “diagnosis.” They may say something like, “It was such a weight off my shoulders to finally understand why I behaved the way he did. I thought it was a personality flaw, but now I see it was the disorder instead.”

Those who have had emotional problems and/or social difficulties since childhood find it comforting to one day discover, “Oh, I have Asperger’s! No wonder I haven’t been able to hold a job or find a girlfriend/boyfriend.”

Unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), finding comfort in having a “disorder” comes with a price – a much larger price than most realize they have paid. For example:

1. Not all undesirable diagnostic traits can be helped with therapy.

There are some difficult cognitive and behavioral characteristics associated with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) that come with the “autism-package” (e.g., insistence on routine, narrow range of interest, etc.). However, some “problems” associated with AS/HFA may not be helped with therapy (e.g., social skills training for those who lack such skills, Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for those who suffer with anxiety, etc.). 

So, when you discover that you have this disorder, do not fall into the trap of saying something such as, “Well, now that I know what I’m dealing with, I can go get the proper therapy to fix it.” However, the good news is that many troublesome traits (e.g., meltdowns, anger control issues, depression, etc.) can indeed be ameliorated.

2. A self-fulfilling prophecy may manifest itself – either positively or negatively – when it comes to labels.

When you “buy in” to a label (e.g., AS or HFA), you begin to view yourself in a distinct light. You “reframe” your character such that your “diagnosis” becomes a part of who you are. The reframe, in and of itself, doesn’t come with any major complications. However, with the new reframe comes a unique way of “thinking” about yourself and others. 
This mental shift results in a unique way of “feeling” about yourself and others, which in turn results in a unique way of “behaving” and conducting your life. In other words, you begin to “live up to” your diagnosis, displaying more and more of the traits that are in alignment with the diagnostic criteria of your “disorder.” This is a self-fulfilling prophecy working toward “dis-ability” rather than ability.

Conversely, many adults on the spectrum who have sought counseling have been advised (by therapists who have experience with the disorder) to “reframe” AS/HFA in a positive light, thus setting-up a self-fulfilling prophecy that works toward “ability” rather than disability. Everyone on the spectrum has significant areas of strength (even if this has not been translatable into tangible success yet).

In reframing, AS/HFA is thought of as a “condition” full with possibilities, strengths, and challenges that are able to be addressed adequately. In this state of mind, you will tend to view yourself as “able” (and maybe even better off than the general population). With this mindset, you may very well “set the world on fire” with your area of expertise (e.g., engineering, computer programming, etc.).

3. Labels tend to help the person abandon a level of responsibility.

If you receive the label of AS/HFA, you can say to yourself and others, “See, this is why I can’t - or don’t - do certain things. It’s not my fault – it’s my disorder.” When others are in agreement that you are “not able,” you are free from meeting certain expectations from family, friends, co-workers, employers, etc. You can safely lower your standards, settling for the “comfort zone” that comes with the assistance (or over-assistance) of others.

There are hundreds of 25-year-old adult children, for example, with AS/HFA who are still living at home playing video games all day. Why? Their parents “bought into” the “disability reframe” years ago. As a result, the adult child behaves in accordance with his label, even though - WITH THERAPY – he could likely be employed, happily married, and living on his own home.

So, are labels bad?

Does all this mean we shouldn’t have any labels? No! Without labels, you wouldn’t be able to understand “clusters of traits” (i.e., a set of symptoms that defines a particular mental, emotional and behavioral state). However, it is important to “reframe” the label as an opportunity to exploit your strong points AND address the areas that present challenges. 

Thinking in terms of being “ability-based” rather than “disability-based” is empowering and helps the labeled person to be all that he/she can be rather than settling for a life of mediocrity.

As one adult with Asperger’s stated:

“I think it's only a ‘disability’ because the world is not well-matched for those of us on the spectrum. I can't think of any of my issues that couldn't be solved by simply being in a more autism-friendly world. I am high functioning in spite of my issues and am not "disabled" in any part of my life that matters to me. I can do what other people do, just with a bit more effort sometimes. But most NT’s can't do what I do, so I win. I think that Asperger’s is a ‘difference’, and what can be different can be beautiful.”

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

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

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

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

How to Improve Relationships with Women: Help for Men with Asperger Syndrome

Hey guys,

My name is Rich. I'm 49 years old and have Asperger's.

Are you a man with Asperger's who would really like to date a member of the opposite sex, but simply cannot get even one lady to go out with you? Or perhaps you have been on a few dates, but they never resulted in a quality boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Maybe you are in a relationship with a lady, but for multiple reasons, it's just not working out the way you had hoped. Or possibly you are a married, but your wife frequently complains about your attitude and behavior (some of which is purely the result of your disorder). Maybe your wife has become so unhappy that she is now considering divorce.

In any event, if you are frustrated with relationships because you can't seem to do anything right (at least according to your partner), then why go another day in this chronic misery. There are a lot of things that can be done to help your situation.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about my disorder. But when I read an e-book on the subject, I realized I only knew a fraction of what was really going on with me. I'm referring to the e-book entitled "Living with an Asperger's Partner." As I read through the material, it was as if the author had been following me around my entire life. There was so much of me described in the content. I finally realized why my life had taken so many odd twists and turns. I also realized why my wife of 15 years was so frustrated with me, to the point of threatening divorce (which was a wake-up call for me to do something about her complaints).

Of course, there are many traits associated with Asperger's that simply cannot be fixed (so to speak). But I learned that there are a lot of traits -- the negative ones that cause so many problems in relationships -- that I can do something about. I'm not a victim of my disorder. But I was one of those individuals that had to learn the needed changes. They never would have come naturally to me.

I was in denial for many years that I even had the disorder. And even when it was revealed that I indeed do have Asperger's, I still blamed my wife for many of the problems we had. This blaming part alone was perhaps the number one obstacle to a quality relationship with my wife. 

She has always been willing to work with me, but only up to a point. I would often cross the line (so to speak) and end up hurting her feelings (unintentionally) and making her feel like she was unloved and unappreciated. This is where some education about my disorder as it relates to relationships came in very handy. Because as you may know, one of the traits associated with Asperger's is "difficulty with empathy." I say "difficulty" not "inability." I've always had empathy, I just didn't show it, nor did I realize how important it was to show it. This is something that I had to learn, and that's okay.

My wife doesn't expect me to be perfect. She knows about the disorder and understands I have my limitations. But she does expect me to work harder than I did originally (on those areas where some improvements can be made). One of my online friends who also has Asperger's once stated, "The big problem for me is that I would have to work twice as hard as everybody else just to be 'average'." My reply: "Then work twice as hard!"

There are a lot of issues that we as men on the autism spectrum have to deal with. But if we do not educate ourselves about these issues, we are doomed to repeatedly make relationship mistakes, and thus experience relationship headaches.

Are you familiar with the "theory of mind" concept and how it affects relationships? Did you know that we, as men with Asperger's, have problems with executive functioning? Have you figured out that our issues with anxiety and depression also play a role in relationship problems? Do you understand "mind blindness" and how it can destroy a marriage? 

You can think of Asperger's as "a disorder that negatively affects relationships." Where do we have most of our problems? It's not with our special areas of interest. We are experts in those areas. It's not with our employment. Most of us are excellent employees and breadwinners. It's not with academics. Many people with Asperger's are the smartest students in the classroom. If we want to be honest with ourselves, the major problems have always been in social functioning. 

Many of us, when we were younger, had great difficulty finding and keeping friends. Some of us were a bit quirky as teenagers and got ostracized from the peer group. We may have been teased, bullied, and emotionally abused. And many of us have carried those scars into adulthood and into adult relationships. It's not fair, it's not right, but unfortunately those were the cards we were dealt. We have the regrettable task of trying to "fit in" and adjust to people who simply do not think the same way we do. 

If everyone on planet earth had Asperger's syndrome, then there wouldn't be much of a problem. Unfortunately, we are a minority. And we can either choose to (a) isolate as much as possible to avoid interaction with neurotypical people, (b) learn ways to interact with them that they view as mostly appropriate, or (c) continue to interact -- but in our own rather odd ways (the latter being the most stressful approach to existence). 

Some men with Asperger's tend to be closed-minded in that they believe they should not have to make any attitudinal or behavioral changes. They say something like: "The rest of the world can learn to deal with me as I am, or they can go f*** themselves." These are the men that are living alone. These are the men that have burned too many bridges. These are the men that struggle maintaining regular employment and quality relationships. Many spend most of their time on the computer (social media, online gaming, etc.)  in an artificial approach to human interaction. That's not the lifestyle I choose for myself.

My purpose here is to reach out to those precious few men with Asperger's who truly are desiring to improve their relationships. Some of you have no interest in doing that, and that is understandable. However, there are a few of us that need to have a "significant other" in our life. And the only way to keep this person in our life is to keep them happy. As the old saying goes, "happy wife, happy life." I have found this to be so true.

So what should our goal be? I believe we need to (a) change the things in ourselves that we can, (b) accept the things that we cannot change, and (c) learn to distinguish between the two. If you can do that, you are well on your way to repairing any damage to relationships. 

If you prefer not to live alone, then you will hopefully take my advice: learn about yourself, change the negative traits when possible, and definitely capitalize on your strengths.


==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

The Truth About Asperger’s and HFA in Adults

Most individuals with Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism (HFA) are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although frequently far below their actual level of skills and qualification. They are most successful in careers that require focus on details, but have limited social interaction with colleagues (e.g., engineering, computer sciences). 
They also do remarkably well in “supported employment,” which is a system of support that allows people to have paid employment within the community, sometimes as part of a mobile crew, or in a job specifically developed for the person on the autism spectrum.

Compared to the general population, fewer individuals with Asperger’s or HFA marry or have children or live in a metropolitan area. This trend is changing as more diagnosed men and women are forming relationships with others on the autism spectrum. 
This “autistic culture” is based on an accepting belief that autism is a “unique way of thinking” and not a disorder that needs to be “fixed.” People with Asperger’s and HFA are often attracted to others with the disorder because they share interests or obsessions and the compatibility of personality types. 

Diagnosis as an adult can lead to a variety of benefits. One can gain a better understanding of himself or herself. Many people on the spectrum have suffered from mental health problems or have been misdiagnosed as having mental health problems (e.g., schizophrenia). A firm diagnosis can be a relief, because it allows these individuals to learn about their disorder and to understand where and why they have difficulties for the first time. 
It is also helpful to meet others within the autism community by learning about their experiences and sharing your own. Support is a good step in seeking treatment and relieving anxieties, helping to maintain a healthier lifestyle while dealing with the disorder.

Most individuals with Asperger’s and HFA are capable of independent living, either entirely on their own, or semi-independently in their own home or apartment with assistance in solving major problems. This assistance can be provided by parents, a professional agency, or another type of provider. 
For parents who choose to have their adult child live at home, government funds are available (e.g., Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid waivers). Information about these programs can be found through the Social Security Administration.

Getting a diagnosis for Asperger’s or HFA as a grown-up is not easy. It can be hard to convince a physician that a diagnosis is relevant or even necessary. The typical route for seeking a diagnosis is to visit a physician and ask for a referral to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. 
When bringing up the topic with a primary care physician, make sure that the appointment is set only for this specific reason, because this is an issue that needs everyone’s full attention. Begin by explaining why Asperger’s or HFA is a concern.

The spectrum is broad, and no two people with the disorder exhibit the same traits or challenges. Also, no one individual will have ALL the traits – but will be affected in some way within three areas: (1) social communication, (2) social understanding, and (3) flexibility of thought. Specific traits may include the following:
  • An obsession with rigid routines
  • Difficulty in group situations
  • Difficulty understanding gestures, body language and facial expressions
  • Finding small talk and chatting very difficult
  • Having difficulties organizing their life
  • Having difficulty choosing topics to talk about
  • May choose not to socialize very much
  • May not be socially motivated because they find communication difficult
  • May not have many friends
  • Not choosing appropriate topic to talk about
  • Problems making plans for the future
  • Problems understanding double meanings
  • Problems with sequencing tasks
  • Severe distress if routines are disrupted
  • Taking what people say very literally
  • Unaware of what is socially appropriate

In spite of these challenges, many individuals with Asperger’s and HFA work effectively in mainstream jobs, live independently, and enjoy successful marriages while raising their children.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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

If You Have ASD [level 1], You May Be Smarter Than The Average Neurotypical

There are several signs that could mean you’re smarter, as proven by science. What’s even more amazing is that many of these signs seem like some of the traits of ASD-Level 1 and Aspergers.

There are 9 different types of intelligence:
  1. Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)
  2. Existential (life smart)
  3. Interpersonal (people smart)
  4. Intra-personal (self-smart)
  5. Linguistic (word smart)
  6. Logical-mathematical (number/reasoning smart)
  7. Musical (sound smart)
  8. Naturalist (nature smart)
  9. Spatial (picture smart)

Believe it or not (do your own research if you’re skeptical), very smart people have the following traits. They are:

•    Messy
•    Lazy
•    Cat lovers
•    Chocolate lovers
•    Shy
•    Likely to talk to themselves
•    Worriers and over-thinkers
•    Very inquisitive
•    Sarcastic
•    Not interested in fashion
•    Cognitively hyperactive
•    Night owls
•    Forgetful
•    Avid readers

Let’s look at each of these traits further. If this sounds like you, you may just be smarter than you’re giving yourself credit for:

1. Are you a slob? Were you taught to feel bad about yourself for being messy, disorganized or unkempt? Studies suggest that the messy desk (for example) of geniuses is linked to their intelligence. Smart people don’t spend much time cleaning and organizing everything; thus, their mind is occupied with more important stuff.

2. Are you lazy? People with high IQ are less active than average people. Do you often get bored if not given a challenging task? Then you just might be a genius. Some of the greatest invention were made out of laziness (e.g., a remote control).

3. Do you favor cats over dogs? Cat lovers are more introverted, open-minded, and more likely to be non-conformists.

4. Do you crave chocolate? People who eat chocolate at least once a week perform better in a range of mental tests involving memory and abstract thinking as compared to the general population.

5. Do you have social anxiety? People who have anxiety are constantly analyzing their environment. Do you often reflect on what is happening, formulate ideas, and process a lot of information at once? This requires a lot of intelligence. Studies support the idea that socially anxious people are generally more intelligent.

6. Do you talk to yourself? Then you might be a genius, or at least you’re an intelligent human being, studies have found.

7. Do you over-think shit? People who over-think a lot are more creative. Worrying comes from an innate ability to imagine vividly. When you catch yourself over-thinking, utilize your creative imagination to discover solutions.

8. Are you highly inquisitive? Smart people are always interested in the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ behind everything. They find themselves asking a lot of questions, reading a lot, and observing everything with curiosity.  Do you have a childlike zeal to learn and consume new information? Then you just might be a genius.

9. Are you a smart-ass? Smart people are sarcastic. Smart-ass individuals have a certain wit that implies intelligence. Studies suggest a link between sarcasm and creativity. People who use sarcastic humor are more likely to be intelligent, because it requires more thought.

10. Could you give a shit less about fashion? Smart people don’t care much about fashion. Do you want to spend your time and thinking abilities on bigger issues than fashion? Then you just might be a genius.

11. Are you hyperactive? Smart people have very hyperactive brains. Are you often “stuck” in your own ideas and philosophies? It’s just a sign that you are smarter than the average bear.

12. Are you a night owl? Smart people like to stay up late.  Studies show that people who are more intelligent are more nocturnal than their less intelligent counterparts. Recent technological advances make your brain reach for expertise in areas of special interest, and to search for stimulation at night, ignoring the impulse to rise and fall with the sun like your ancestors.

13. Are you scatterbrained? Is your mind preoccupied with thinking about several things at a time? Do you often forget about basic things (e.g., where you put your phone or keys)? Then you just might be a genius. You’re spending your mental energy on the larger things in life.

14. Are you obsessed with reading? Smart people read a lot.  Do you love learning about how things work and expanding your horizons? Then you just might be a genius.

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

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

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

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

Does My New "Friend" Have Asperger’s?

"I have a male friend (wouldn't go so far as to say 'steady boyfriend' just yet) that is somewhat awkward in the social sense. As I describe some of his behavior to my other friends, they have suggested he may have asperger syndrome. So I Googled it and many of the traits do seem to fit him. That's ok with me (I think). But I would like to know for sure so I can adjust my expectations and responses accordingly."

So you’ve met this guy that seems a bit quirky. The idea that he may have Asperger’s has entered your mind (because you did a bit of research online, and he appears to have many of the traits of the disorder).

So, how might you know whether or not your new friend has some of the Asperger’s traits? 


If he seems cut off from his feelings…

If he seems to focus only on reasoning and intellect...

If he comes off as self-centered or insensitive...

If he seems to have difficulty reading body language and facial expressions...

If he has trouble picking up the rules of conversation...

If he rarely looks you in the eyes...

If he has difficulty participating in general conversations, including ‘small talk’...

If he has difficulty comprehending or communicating his feelings...

If he has trouble distinguishing feelings from thoughts...

If he asks very few questions about you and you get the sense he's not listening when you do talk about your life...

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

If he appears cold or unresponsive to your text messages...

If he has difficulty seeing and understanding your point of view...

If he has difficulty empathizing with you or understanding your emotions...

If he isn't interested in creating a bond with you – and is more interested in having fun and leaving the mushy stuff out of it...

If he only seems to liven up when there's a possibility of sex on the table...

If he’s not genuinely emotionally invested in what goes on in your life...

If he always seems too busy to spend time with you...

If he has an intense interest in one or two narrow topics, bordering on obsession (e.g., stamp collecting, song lyrics, computer games, collecting and organizing facts, etc.)…

If he seems very smart, yet has little “social intelligence”…

If he never wants to discuss "where is this relationship going" questions...

If he appears to focus on his own personal interests, without seeing your needs and wishes...

If he seems to “need” to spend A LOT of time alone...

If he appears to have quite a few sensory sensitivities (e.g., sounds, smells, bright lights, the sensation of clothing against his skin, etc.)...

If he tends to become stressed when his routines are altered...

If he appears very detail-oriented, often missing the overall picture (applying the same level of detail to every situation whether appropriate or not)...

If your gut is telling you this guy isn't in it for the right reasons...

… then he might have Asperger’s (now referred to as ASD Level 1, or high-functioning autism).

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living with ASD: eBook and Audio Instruction for Neurodiverse Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by ASD

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

==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> ASD Men's MasterClass: Social-Skills Training and Emotional-Literacy Development

The 3 Anger Styles of Adults with ASD

“I never know what to expect from my Asperger's partner. Sometimes she's as cool as a cucumber. Other times, she’s the devil incarnate. Her anger button is either full tilt boogie – or virtually non-existent. It’s one hell of an ‘on-again off-again’ emotional rollercoaster ride at times (she either launches into a rage, or is totally silent - and even somewhat submissive/apologetic).”

Many adults with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism have reported anger-control problems. They may become hostile, or may withdraw into themselves and become very quiet, silently stubborn, and depressed. Others fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

The anger styles for these individuals tend to fall into three main categories: aggressive, passive, and passive-aggressive.

Anger Turned to Aggression—

The “aggressors” are easy to recognize. They can be hostile and antagonistic. Common signs of anger-control problems for “Aspies” that are aggressors include:
  • Destroys property
  • Frequently vocalizes anger
  • Furious temper
  • Loud voice and yelling
  • Blames others for the relationship difficulties
  • Makes threats
  • Verbally abusive
  • Often demeans or swears directly to others
  • Excessive complaining
  • Uncontrollable fits of rage 
  • Meltdowns

The aggressors create an unsafe situation for themselves, for others, or for property around them. If spouses or partners are the focus of physical aggression, the problem is extremely crucial to address.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Anger Turned to Passivity—

The passive individual can also be fairly simple to recognize. They are somewhat submissive. They do not argue or fight back when confronted – rather, they “shutdown.” This person’s traits may coincide with the diagnosis of depression. Some of the warning signs below are taken from the diagnosis for depression, and others are additional common signs of shutdowns:
  • Deals with difficult emotions by “cutting” them off
  • Isolates when upset
  • May be extremely passive to the point of getting “walked on” by others
  • Has difficulty expressing emotions
  • Holds anger in, then “blows up” suddenly
  • May be seen as a “loner”
  • May blame self unnecessarily
  • May have few friends
  • May simply “go along” with whatever - even when it is a poor decision
  • Often has an upset stomach, muscle aches, backaches, headaches, or other physical symptoms from “holding it in”
  • Appears depressed
  • Seems to have very little emotion
  • Appears withdrawn

Passive individuals are in danger of destroying themselves emotionally from within. They have no emotional release valve. When they blow up, they can become violent, which can result in harm to themselves, others, or property. Internalized anger is as destructive to the passive person as aggression is to the aggressor.

Anger Silently Planning Revenge—

Perhaps the most difficult to detect, passive-aggressive individuals engage in an anger style that appears calm on the surface, but is fuming, scheming, and plotting underneath. They give the appearance of a passive person, and do not directly confront the anger as an aggressor would do. They are docile and appear to accept what is said, but then will ignore what is said to do their own thing. They can be devious, and oftentimes go unnoticed by others.

Unlike the aggressors, they lack the courage to be direct, and instead perfect the skills to be sneaky. They seem to know where the “back door” to revenge is – and use it often. The list of passive traits also applies to them, but here are a few additional traits to look for with passive-aggressive Aspies:
  • Inconsistency between what is said and what is done
  • May be very good at blaming others
  • May not admit mistakes
  • Often gets caught in a lie
  • Sneaky behaviors
  • Tries to avoid direct conflict while creating problems in other areas
  • Tends to sabotage

People with Asperger’s who try to manage their anger through the passive-aggressive style are as potentially dangerous to others and themselves as the other styles. Spouses and partners tend to underestimate this anger style, because the danger does not seem to be as bad as the aggressive style.

Lastly, it is not uncommon for some adults on the autism spectrum to vacillate between two - or even all three - of the anger styles depending on the situation.

Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

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

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

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives

==> Click here for more information on anger and mood swings in adults on the autism spectrum...

Help for Adults with Asperger's (high-functioning autism) and Their Partners/Spouses

Help for Adults with Asperger's (high-functioning autism) and Their Partners/Spouses:

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