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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Diagnosed vs. undiagnosed Aspies

On August 6th "Alicia W." made the following comment on the Asperger Syndrome post:

Even though I have Asperger's, I did still find myself agreeing with a lot of this. I've noticed I tend to do some of this stuff over the years, either by analyzing my own behavior from when I was younger or by having it pointed out to me. My symptoms have seemingly improved, or become more manageable over the years, I think in large part because I had a pretty good level of support in school. Either way, it's actually rather embarrassing to look back on. None of it was really my fault, as I couldn't help it, but I definitely [get] why people found me a massive pain while I was growing up. I also definitely understand why people would still find me annoying. I've improved a lot over the years, but I [make] no effort to pretend I'm anything close to normal. I'm just slightly less insufferable.

Alicia W. actually doesn't sound insufferable at all. It's always the people -- with Asperger Syndrome or otherwise -- who have no clue that they're insufferable who are in fact that way. And we all have embarrassing behavior to look back on over the years.

Alicia brought up an interesting point, though, about the difference between people who've been officially diagnosed with ASD -- and therefore are at least somewhat self-aware -- and those who haven't. Undiagnosed Aspies are far less likely to be aware of their own idiosyncrasies, and hypocrisies.

And older people who grew up before Aspergers was generally recognized are far less likely to have been diagnosed.

The two Aspies I know best were never officially diagnosed, and therefore make no attempt to rein in their own behavior. Both frequently think they're right even when they're obviously not, and neither seems to feel the least embarrassment about the incredibly lame excuses they make when they're proven wrong.

I suspect that if they had been diagnosed when young, each would make some effort to be less Aspergery.

An initial diagnosis of Aspergers must come as a body blow to those who receive it. But going through life with a little self-awareness does make things easier on those around you.


Anonymous said...

Diagnosis when young can have the opposite effect. I remember this stupid kid who was proud, he didn't even know aspergers (or now just ASD level 1) was autism, he thought it was something else. I must have been in middle school.

Had I been let known when young of my asd, I wonder if it would have been easier, more intervention, etc. but maybe I had to really know about it when I turned 18 after years of unawareness to just be able to look back with hindsight and see how much having it sucks. I still feel suicidal waking up because that damn thing won't go away and let me live a happier life.

If I knew too early on, I may have gotten sucked into the neurodiversity or pride movements, being much younger and susceptible. I am glad I didn't drink the kool-aid.
Even thinking about that little sh*t... (okay, he was a nice kid, very decent and all, but his beliefs were so stupid it would make me angry to hear them again) *sh*tty ideas that person would have makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with the world. As if it weren't bad enough, these stupid ideas exist and are actually treated with credibility (when all science flies in the face of it, ASD is not evolutionarily advantageous, there are enviromental provokers, it is associated with genes also found to be vulnerable to cancer and from mutations, and more).

Of course I brought this up with a little scholar on that damn forum, he then said evolutionary advantage doesn't matter as the "social view" means we should still celebrate it as it has a lot to contribute to a person's life and bring richness to the world...uhhhh no, evolutionary disadvantage is still evolutionary disadvantage. Their postmodernist crap!
They are not only not right, they are not even wrong.

John Craig said...

Ga --
Neurodiversity is a recent, silly movement that's an offshoot of the current political correctness. It doesn't have to necessarily go hand in hand with being aware of one's own idiosyncrasies.

Jean-Luc Cougar said...

Agree with Ga.

is basically saying
you don't have to change your behavior
to fit in with
society at large,
which is dangerous,
something we all have to do
to some degree or another.

Anonymous said...

It's worse, it's anti-psychiatry and scientific denial. The ramifications are not merely ideological or social. It's saying an organic condition is not a disorder but healthy. Autistic people on the severe end can die of seizures, and many have!

It's not the autistic people who started it that I only resent, it's the masses attending Tedx Talks, reading books by Temple Grandin, newsweek articles, the people who stand by and accept it or do nothing! Why is it even accepted or given credibility? Borat's cousin Simon Baron Cohen has made tons selling his pro-neurodiversity books.

The non-autistic people who keep fueling this are even more culpable for causing such harm to society and human progress. They have fewer excuses! I have never met a single western professional who has given any sympathy or treated my condition as something to work on. They keep insisting I must be gifted somehow, no matter how much I pleaded for help, they never took it seriously.

If you think it's a passing fad, take a good damn look at how psychiatrists and psychologists approach autistic people in the west. They are enablers for pridesters and offer no help or validation to autistic people who hate having the condition. Calling them lazy. I have never been given a single ounce of pity even when most suicidal, or they give me indirect pity by saying "oh society won't accept your amazing gift of autism like Einstein blah blah, i feel for you"! I felt and still feel quite suicidal because each day is hell.


John Craig said...

Ga --
The parallel with transgenderism is striking. That has always been classified as a mental illness by the DSM, but recently, in tune with the spirit of our politically correct times, it has become something to be celebrated. I know there's a certain fraction of people who basically feel that they were born into the wrong bodies, and they deserve sympathy. And if they want to change their gender as best they can, I say let them. But it's not something to be celebrated.

I've heard from someone who's in the business that clinical psychology is now a field which is suffused with political correctness, and any psychologist who tries to buck the current trends does so at the risk of losing his job.

Fled The Undertow said...

This is largely true of anyone with any kind of personality disorder, especially Cluster B disorders. Many therapists, for instance, will only allow one borderline patient on their lists at a time, because they're notoriously difficult to treat. But at least they're trying. Undiagnosed BPDs are the apex of insufferability (mainly because "nothing's wrong with them").

With Aspies, I think I said once before, it isn't so much the presence or absence of formal diagnosis that makes the difference, it's whether or not they are the "introverted", high-anxiety kind (who we teachers can tolerate better), or the "extroverted", outward-acting kind who comes across as hopelessly narcissistic. That second type creates all kinds of classroom drama with his peers, especially if his peers don't yet have the maturity to be able to brush off his behavior.

It certainly doesn't help matters that teachers are forbidden to even suggest to the parent that her little darling might need to be evaluated. I've had to bite my tongue on many occasions when a well-meaning parent is asking me for my professional opinion ("What do you think might be the cause of Billy's behavior?"), and I have to flat-out lie and say I don't know, when in fact ALL of Billy's teachers know.

John Craig said...

Fled the Undertow --
That's interesting about students. That teachers aren't allowed to make any suggestions along those lines to parents seems to be very much a function of the power lawyers have these days. Any suggestion which might be disputed could be grounds for a lawsuit, and a school board's first job these days -- like a doctor's -- seems to be to avoid lawsuits.

Must be tough to have to bite your tongue.

As far as the Cluster B disorders, I can imagine a borderline seeking help -- if only for their moodiness -- but sociopaths and narcissists are notoriously averse to seeking help, as they don't think they need any. In their minds, they're always right, so why should they try to change? And sociopaths simply see themselves as strong individuals and the rest of the world as weak. ("There are two kinds of people in this world, my friend....") And they see morality as a silly construct the rest of the world handicaps itself with. I suppose histrionics, the fourth type of Cluster B, might seek help, if only because their need for attention has gotten them into trouble.

I can see why therapists limit themselves to only one borderline at a time, as they are exhausting. I know two guys who married a borderline; with one, the marriage lasted less than two years, and with the other he's spent his life since acting as if he has Stockholm Syndrome.

Fled The Undertow said...

and with the other he's spent his life since acting as if he has Stockholm Syndrome.

Oh, so you've met my stepdad? Lol.

My uBPD mother sought help from a therapist hoping she could get ME to behave (I'm the only one in the family who won't put up with her nonsense). Of course, that lasted exactly two sessions, when my mother realized the therapist was only interested in talking about HER. So she quit.

My stepdad has given up everything and everyone who was ever important to him, including his only child, to appease her. I think at this point, acknowledging that my mom has BPD (and concluding that all his personal losses were wasteful and unnecessary) would shatter the man.

As for biting my tongue...dude, you have no idea. It's an issue I struggle with daily. As a parent, i so want to be honest with fellow parents who are searching for answers. But i also wanted to keep my job. I once sent a book about Aspie kids to one such parent anonymously in the mail.

John Craig said...

Fled the Undertow --
Ha, do you have any idea how that family reacted to that book? Did you ever hear anything?

Yes, "appease" is the perfect word to describe what you have to do with someone who has borderline personality disorder. I see the guy I know bending over backward trying to mollify her all the time, he's constantly walking on eggshells. And the pity is, he's a wonderful guy overall, but I guess part of his wonderfulness in a way is that he's able to put up with an awful lot.

And yes, it sounds very much like someone with BPD to try to get YOU to see a therapist to change YOUR behavior, but then to quit as soon as she realized she was the focus. That must have been a smart therapist, to see through her so quickly. Too bad the sessions didn't continue.

Anonymous said...

Neurodiversity isn't merely just a fad born from political correctness. It's current form it manifests as, maybe, but the root of it all is darker. If you dig into it's history, it has roots in the anti-psychiatry movement and thoughts from the 1960s stretching further back into fascist organizations who were also anti-psychiatry in the 1930s. Groups like Mad Pride, anti-semitic groups like neo nazis who regarded psychiatry as a Jewish invention contributed. Not to forget Scientologists who also regard psychiatry as an invention or myth. Hillary Clinton has also voiced support before for neurodiverse leaders and associated with them if that is not evidence enough. Their reverence for Hans Asperger despite his numerous errors, sloppy research, and terribly inefficient methods (he was also a nazi supporter) and disdain for and lies about Leo Kanner who wrote of it earlier and was far more successful with even more severe patients (He was also Jewish, and saved Jewish lives) is also telling.


Anonymous said...

my wife's nephew was diagnosed with Asperger's which surprised me a little at first, because the times I had met him when he was 5 to 10 years-old he seemed social. Always greeted me and looked me in the eyes when talking with me. But the next time I spent time with him he was 18 and if I did not know otherwise I would assume he was retarded. Not sure how he graduated from high school. He is dumber than Forest Gump. While he may have Asperger's , his main problem is due to his low IQ. I suppose if his IQ was normal his asperger's would not be a big deal. I suspect many parents would rather describe their children as Autistic because calling them retarded sounds worse. From the media one would think most with Asperger's are of normal intelligence, but most are well below average in intelligence. My nephew clearly has symptoms of aspergers , but even if his apserger's was cured he would be lucky to have a job pumping gas.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I think Aspies come in a full range of IQ's. Some are dumb, like your nephew, and some are quite smart, like Ga, the commenter above, who has talked about his Aspergers on this site. It's always been my impression that the smarter ones are better at disguising their Aspergers, though if you get to know them well enough it's always evident, if you know what to look for.

(Coincidentally, even though sociopaths are in some ways the opposite of Aspies, the same dynamic works with them, too: they, too, come in a full range of IQ's, and the smarter ones are better at hiding their sociopathy, though it will eventually always become apparent if you now what to look for.)

I don't quite buy all the lists that have been compiled by Aspergers advocates that claim all sorts of geniuses (Einstein, Mark Twain, Isaac Newton, etc.) as Aspies. But some of those people may well have been. One thing Aspergers does is focus your brain intently on one thing, which is always a prerequisite for greatness in a particular field.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what John said, if even normal people can come in a range of different intelligences (hence it's possible to be retarded and not autistic, have a genetic disorder like Forrest Gump is) then obviously your nephew just happens to be unintelligent/retarded and on the spectrum.

In my experience, severity of autism is not always correlated to intelligence, there are people quite far along the spectrum who are much smarter, have more common sense, and are full of insight (I corresponded with one on a forum, he or she I forget is almost non-verbal, only able to speak fragmented garbled words, but communicates well with a keyboard) while many people on the mild end who are absolute dolts (who I wasted time debating on the same forum).

I also tend to use to term "autism" over "aspergers" out of habit since the Chinese term (ji bai zing) makes no distinction. I also don't like Hans Aspergers. But y'all can use any term you want, I wont mind.


jova said...

The statistics on Autisms demonstrate that 80% have an IQ below 80....and among Asperger's the average IQ is about 90.

In the 1990’s the diagnosis of autism was changed to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – the new name reflecting the changing concept of autism to include a broader spectrum of symptoms, including much more subtle manifestations.
it is not a coincidence that as more people are diagnosed as autistic the number of people being counted as Mentally disabled (retarded) has dropped. Since 1999 the numbers of children diagnosed as retarded as fallen over 10% as the number counted as autistic has risen about 12%. Maybe autism is a better diagnosis, but the typical child diagnosed as autistic has an IQ below 80. Thus parents who have a child with an IQ of 70 are now more likely to label them with asperger's than as mentally disabled.

John Craig said...

Java --
That's interesting, I hadn't heard that 90 number before. Most of the people I know with Aspergers (an admittedly limited sample) are good at whatever they do, even as they're lacking socially.

I wonder if the low IQ numbers might not have something to do with test-taking ability, or perhaps nerves when it comes to testing, as opposed to actual intelligence. The Aspies I've known would be more likely to "freeze up" in that situation.

Anonymous said...

IQ in autism is a chicken or egg question. Does the autism lower the IQ or is it inherent? It could be either depending on the individual, the condition is very heterogenous.
I probably had a lower one when younger, but worked on exercising my brain once I became aware to make up for my shortcomings and my psych suspects I'd score better if I did one now.

If a person is severely autistic, does the severity of the condition feralize the person? Preventing them from access to the outside world (hence the "auto" part of autism), preventing them from developing intelligence? If you threw a regular child to a pack a dogs to be raised, it would grow up retarded for a similar reason.

Parent's refusing to get their child diagnosed is one of the worst things to do. Or ignoring it thinking it doesn't matter after diagnosis. Early intervention, and I mean very proffesional intervention, not a special ed class, but hard core behavioural therapy up to 30 hours week when the brain is still plastic and moldable is vital for a chance of a good outcome. Gene expression is most fluid when young. It pisses me off parents don't use the window they have. There is TOO a window I tell you all.

Hence the stories of severely autistic children gaining verbal abilities after intensive therapy, and a small and very rare few lose mental retardation if they are super lucky.
(like John Hall).


John Craig said...

Ga --
"Fertilized," I like that word.

The thing about intelligence and Aspergers, like intelligence and sociopathy, is that whatever the IQ of the person involved, there are certain inbuilt characteristics that render the person less intelligent (not IQ-wise, but common sense-wise) on a couple issues. With Aspergers, the deficit is social, in the sense that they don't read situations well, and are also somewhat unaware of the impression they're making. This could be summarized as being "tone-deaf," as I heard one Aspie described just yesterday. (I witnessed the incident that led to that description as well.) With sociopaths, the deficit is in misjudging situations because of overconfidence. Sociopaths often seem to think they're fooling people when they're not, they often think they're capable of things they're not, and they see themselves as victims when they're in fact the perpetrator in a lot of situations. All of these things effectively render the sociopaths less intelligent, from a practical viewpoint, on certain issues. (Of course, sociopaths are also MORE socially effective in a lot of other situations -- they're better at seduction, manipulation, etc.)

Anonymous said...

I wanna ask John, what is your opinion on psychiatrists and/vs psychologists?

A lot of neurodiverse idiots love psychologists and detest psychiatry. I have had a good psychologists, one good psychiatrist, but I still have a distaste for psychologists, or some of them.

One Polish psychologist prescribed bottle feeding and confinement for an 11 year old boy and then lost his license. I've read stuff, articles even, on the internet on popular sites by psychologists, and I wonder how the hell do they still have a license? If that guy were an American, not a Pole, he would be able to take it to court and defend his work. Like modern art, psychology has a lot of bad taste that gets defended.

I also have a distaste for the ones who keep writing bad books, getting rich off them, while some are good, many are cliched common sense at best and absolute bottle feeding rubbish at worst, simplifying serious issues, selling them like candy to the masses.

Psychologists used to suggest homosexuality was due to not being able to progress past certain developmental stages involving genitals. (Was it Freud?) Yet recently I read an article about how birds exposed to lead in their drinking water engaged in more homosexual behavior (of course it added at the end "this does not necessarily apply to humans" just to be safe!). Using psychological theories to explain everything is a postmodernist's wet dream. Have you ever heard of a SJW psychiatrist? I'm sure you can easily find a sjw supporting psychologist on the other hand.

There is a real anti-psychiatry slant in society, people gravitate more to psychologists who are "subjective" and don't "judge" by giving an organic explanation for some of your problems. A psychologist can make money appealing to your sense of ego and can say almost anything. There has to be rules in place else they lose their license, but at least in the USA, what they say to their patients or write about may as well be protected and considered "free speech". Even if it is crap like bottle feeding.

They have suggested borderline being a sexist construct of PTSD among the oppressed womyn and narcissism being genetically related or a step before ASD. And yes one suggested that, now, I don't dispute the resemblances of narcissism to asd, but the scientific part is unsupported, that's like saying bipolar is related to borderline or carob and chocolate are in the same genus.

It's not even supposed to be a dichotomy. They have different jobs and a person may see both. But it's been turned into one. BLARGH!


John Craig said...

Ga --
I have limited personal experience with either psychologists or psychiatrists but I've heard a fair amount about clinical psychologists from a woman who was at one point in the field, and who used to comment here. She says the field has become incredibly politically correct and you're only allowed to make suggestions that are in line with the latest pc sensibilities when it comes to sexuality and so on. And she says that if you veer from the party line, you risk losing your license.

As far as psychiatry, it's my general impression that traditional psychiatry -- listening to patients talk their problems out -- doesn't really do much good. When I was young people still believed in Freudian psychology and Adler and Jung and all that stuff. How labeling like that would help anyone is beyond me: how does knowing that you have an id and an ego and a superego help you deal with the real world in any way?

I suppose psychiatrists can do some good just because they can prescribe drugs, which do seem to help in some cases. But it's my overall impression that there aren't that many psychologists and psychiatrists who give good, practical, commonsensical, utile advice.