Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Asperger Syndrome

The past few days have been a nightmare for me. I really didn't understand anything of what was going on any more, or anything about myself in a psychological fashion. That is until I remembered that giftedness is often linked with a form of autism (autism spectrum disorder). I also remembered that a psychologist in Zutphen where I have been from half-way 2006 until end 2006 performed a test from which was concluded that I'm mildly autistic. I decided to look at the official definitions of the conditions which are part of this autism spectrum.

The best match turned out to be Asperger Syndrome, also known as Asperger's:

DSM-IV (299.80) defines Asperger's Disorder as:
A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
(1) marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(2) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(3) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
(4) lack of social or emotional reciprocity

B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
(1) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(2) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(3) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(4) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years).

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood.

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia.

The above is pretty much a perfect fit for me. I have had multiple people remark the past days that they always figured I had something like Asperger, including today at the beauty salon when my beautician bluntly stated that she had always thought I had something autistic, especially since her grand-daughter is autistic too. During the talk I had today at the psychology center regarding my recent domestic troubles the psychologist and doctor present essentially confirmed my Asperger's.

Knowing this is a big relief, because no longer everything unusual about me can just be blamed on my giftedness. Instead I have Asperger's in the first place, which explains my clumsiness when it comes to social situations, my inability to make friends, my contradictory desire to be alone and surrounded by people, of course at my own terms, my sensory sensitivity, and many more things. It allows me to understand why I'm different from most people around me, and why I mix well with certain types.

Not that it's of much use to me right now, though. Here in the Netherlands it's apparently not important, there doesn't seem to be any guidance or anything unless maybe if you happen to be a young child, and I have no idea what my future is going to be like even one week from now, considering I am expected to leave where I am living now by Saturday. Considering that an aspect of Asperger's is a strict adherence to patterns and routines, and severe trouble adapting to changes, the coming days are going to be fun.

Will it work out? Will something go terribly wrong? Stay tuned for the next update. Or not, in which case it should be pretty clear what happened :)


1 comment:

Hedgehog said...

If you want help for Asperger Syndrome you should visit your GP. Most cases will be treated at childhood, so there might not be a described help plan for adults.