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Conditions

Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Autism & Asperger syndrome

Autism and its milder form Asperger Syndrome, often referred to together as autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) are conditions which make it hard for sufferers to communicate or interact with others, or to develop what most people would consider ‘normal’ emotional responses. Around half a million people – that’s one in a hundred – have ASD in the UK. The condition can be mild, in which case the impact on ordinary life is low, or so severe that sufferers struggle to function in social situations. It can make the world seem a strange and scary place.

So what are the main symptoms of ASD in kids? Often they will be late learning to walk and talk, and have difficulties communicating their feelings or needs. Even after they have learned to talk, they will have difficulty maintaining a conversation. As they get older they may seem distant and detached, uninterested in affection, come out with unexpected or inappropriate things in social situations and struggle to do what they’re told.

ASD sufferers lack what’s called a ‘social imagination’. This doesn’t mean they have no imagination at all. Far from it! Instead they tend to take jokes, slang and phrases like ‘that song is wicked’ literally. They won’t be interested in making friends or playing games, may become obsessed with things or routines, and will appear insensitive to other’s people’s feelings.

There are no specific medical tests to confirm ASD, but a doctor will be able to give a diagnosis by the time a child is three years old. Nor is there any specific cure but, depending on the severity, kids will be assigned a range of specialists who will help your child as he or she develops.

All of this can make living with an ASD-sufferer challenging, yet many kids with mild Aspergers cope fine in ordinary schools and go on to live fulfilling, independent lives. Your doctor or specialist will be able to recommend support groups, and for an insider’s view of the condition, the acclaimed novel The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night by Mark Haddon describes the world from the perspective of a 15 year old by with Aspergers.

Take the Autistic Quotient test here >

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It was suggested to me a few years back that I may have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, I knew I was a bit different and odd but I had never imagined this could be the case. In my eyes, I was too old to have just noticed this now? But I did some research and quizzed my family about how I acted as a child, and finally all the pieces fell into place. So I went to see my GP and mentioned that I experience approximately 85-90% of the suggested symptoms of ASD. He told me that he could refer me to a specialist to be fully checked, but that it wasn't entirely necessary, it would just mean I had a definite answer. However, due to certain aspects of my personality I felt unable to contact the specialist, so never received a full diagnosis. Although it is not uncommon for ASD sufferers to be self-diagnosed (my GP did also say that it was highly likely), I feel I am struggling more now that I am studying at university but because I am unable to receive a medical diagnosis I cannot have any extra support. I'd like someone to talk to who can help me out?





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Hi , you've done well to get to university . I lobbied my GP who at first supported helping me get a diagnosis and then decided that I was delusional. The stress of it all meant that I had to be sectioned and detained under the UK mental health act. I was then diagnosed with a very mild form of autism spectrum disorder. Before this I whent to the local 6th form and spent 3 years . The teachers described my attitude as exemplary after that i was long term unemployed and I had a habitt of walking out of Job centres becouse I couldn't cope with being called work shy. So I did loads of Voluntry work and got critsised for that . I had the offer to go and see a world famous specialist but I bottled out . I looked at his research and he was struggling to understand it , though he was dedicated and had intergrity . Being sectioned especially as mine involved the Police means that I have travel restrictions placed on me and employment is impossible . I've had two major meltdowns . Get a proper diagnosis and tell trusted people employers should value the unique attributes that each individual has but also should accept that your not perfect and that in return for loyalty and dedication and honesty you need their support . A working environment that helps you to do your job . Don't let the stress build up :) I could suggest you try Experience Project and talk to others who claim to be the same .. You will find that everybody is different .Asperger's syndrome is being diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder .. Two scales exist the American one and the European one . But be prepared for personal questions especially about your sexuality .. Don't be embarrassed :)

I am in my 50s and have autism. I was non-verbal until I was five. My dad put it down to me “retarded”, but my doctor did not believe this, and I was ultimately taken to see a psychologist. He concluded that it wasn’t that I couldn’t speak, and it was a case that I was simply being “bloody minded”, and I would start talking in my own time. At primary school, the teacher called my mom in once. She said to her, “Look at David’s drawings, then look at the other children’s”. My mom didn’t notice at first, but then she said to her, “Look at the detail in them. He’s the only one to have put lines down the middle of the roads, and numbers and TV aerials on the houses he’s drawn. Out of all the children here, he’s the only one to have actually done this”. At home, as a youngster, I would play a lot on my own – one of the things I used to play at was having traffic jams with my toy cars up the arm of the sofa. I would have them all lined up bumper to bumper, moving them along a bit, one by one. My mind was once described as like having a tall brick wall in it, and I would hide things behind it, and no-one seemed to be able to penetrate it or break it down . That wall is probably still there to a degree. As I grew older, I remained, as I had always seemed to have been, very withdrawn, and at around 11 or 12, was being bullied at school. My mom said she only found out about this when she discovered massive bruises on my legs. This is how it ended up with me going to a boarding school – it wasn’t a “special school” (a term I absolutely detest), but just a smaller school - intended for the “quieter child”. I struggled there at the start, resulting in continued low “housemarks”. After time, while remaining very introverted, I did come out of my shell a little, and managed to excel in certain subjects. In sport, I also did well at cross country and road running (an activity of course, where you’re largely on your own). Of course, unbeknown to me, and to them, there were a number of us with autism there. A couple of whom, I’ve now regained contact with, and of course, we’re all the wiser now. As I left school and was growing into adult life, I remained, and remain to this day, socially anxious – meeting other people. My mom has said that I would even cross over the road if I saw people of a similar age to me approaching, even if they were complete strangers, simply to avoid them. These days, I have a short concentration span and am easily distracted. I find myself particular about keeping records and statistics and I'm very picky about things being right, and find that even little mistakes and errors frustrate me. I seem to remember figures and records easily. I seem to be able to ream off things like telephone codes and the like without problem. Another thing I find is that when people say things generally, I find myself worrying that they’re talking about me, and it upsets me a lot. On meeting people, I always try to see the good in them and try to be pleasant and polite to them, inside however, until I get to know them properly, I feel in great turmoil. I do have many friends, wonderful friends, and I get very unhappy when I see they’re unhappy. I don’t consider being autistic an illness or a disability - I feel now, it’s an attribute, and that I can understand my traits and my way of thinking more clearly. Indeed, it makes me very happy, now that I do understand. I do have my down-days. Times when I get depressed, and just want to cry, wishing I wasn’t autistic. There are odd occasions when I do have a meltdown, it’s unfortunately, just the way I am, but generally, I look on it all positively and consider myself blessed. We all know being autistic affects us in different ways and to different degrees, and for some of us, it can affect our whole way of life, but I find it concerning here that autism has been put under "Embarrassing Bodies". I do not consider it embarrassing at all, and I think this is sending out the wrong message. It’s not a life sentence to difficulties, sadness and limitations. It’s simply that the way we think and how our minds work that is slightly different. I would be very interested in what other autistic people here think and if they can relate to what I'm saying?





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Do you have any tips on coping? I am finding it increasingly difficult to deal with nowadays... any advice?

In what way are you finding it difficult to cope L?

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I'm 16, and I strongly believe I'm autistic or atypically autistic. I've done many screening tests and I have scored very high on them. I did a lot of research, and I have a lot of the symptoms of autism. My parents don't even know what autism is, so I talked to my brother about it. He says I'm just being silly and I don't have anything wrong but I'm very sure I am. I need to know if I am, since it will help me understand why I always behave so oddly and never have a social life. But I'm scared about asking for a diagnosis,because of what my parents may think of me and the students of my new school. What should I do?





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I have a suspected case of asbergers syndrome and felt the same way however with regards to a diagnosis if you apply through the NHS there is a mass waiting lost and especially for me in the Staffordshire area there isn't anyone in medical management that is staffing clinical experts in order to provide such a diagnosis. I feel I have the condition based on tests and mental health counselling and nursing appointments however my point to you would be would a diagnosis make any difference? For me it means people viewing you with the oh your disabled look, so I don't tell everyone I choose who and when it's revealed, I would hate to have everyone knowing and it made fully public as my employers and quite a few others have NO idea how to react to it other than oh so your disabled what can't you do?

Hi :) Your family are ok with you as you are. However you feel that you have difficulties that you can relate to ASD . At 16 I would think that you should be able to go to your Doctor and put your case . This need not involve your family , not at this stage. Your Doctor should be able to refure you to someone who could do a proper clinical assessment. Usualy a physciatrist , or physcologist, this process is done usually to eliminate other similar looking conditions that require different treatment ( ie physcofrenia ) . A diagnosis is a very personal thing and involves questions that you could find embarrassing regarding your sexuality . Some doubt may be made as to why your school has not picked up on your condition . But it is true that milder cases can get missed . Mine was ! If your Doctor doesn't agree you can get another opinion. However at 16 you may still be in the educational sytem so it may be a case of talking to your teacher and getting refured to a educational physcologist . I don't know what country you live in but you should have to right to confidentiality . However you may find that for a clinical diagnosis that your parents would be expected to be involved as they can answer questions regarding your early childhood development. It's difficult ! Good luck with your persistence .

At 16 you're classed as an adult, but even if you weren't you shouldn't have a problem talking to the right people, such as a doctor or teacher. Being female and on the spectrum school was a nightmare for me. The Autism spectrum wasn't really a thing and if it was only guys seem to be on it. I was just viewed as socially awkward. My Mum and Dad split when I was 2. I saw him occasionally growing up and he was always like, there's nothing wrong with you, don't be silly, etc, where as my Mum agreed I could get some help from a psychiatrist. I was treated for anxiety, OCD, depression, etc, but nothing worked. Because they weren't helping the root cause of it all. He's still under the impression I should just 'get out more', but he's slowly getting his head round it. I know there can be a stigma attached to mental problems, and it can make you feel less of a person, but that's only being put on your by yourself and society. You shouldn't feel ashamed for who you are, but it's easier said than done. There is so much support out there now compared to when I was 16, you really need to discuss your concerns with a professional, even if it's just to put your mind at ease. No one should think any less of you whatever the outcome, even yourself. I wouldn't change my ASD for the world, because it makes me who I am. It has great pros and cons, like everything else. You just have to use them to your advantage.

My autism was diagnosed within 2 WEEKS and it was a VERY hard 11 years until I moved school and the notesd autism in me so ther refurd me to a autism lady who diagnosed it in 2 weeks first they thought I had ADHD but that came back ok so I went to the lady and she found autism

My comment is about Autism. I am happy to be autistic, high functioning, despite some disadvantages. But there are advantages, a high intelligence being one, and other less tangible benefits like being able recognize the gist behind problems rather than the useless rubbish and side issues. One of the irritations is that autism is treated as a child thing. People like me, I am 61 years of age, stay autistic all our lives, yet there is nothing for us, actually it is not for the children either but their parents. Some proactive measures are needed and less focus on parents but the actual autistic person of all ages.





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How can be you be autistic at 61 ? As if you sort of grow out of it ! I'm 51 and I have been diagnosed with Asperger's for 2.5 years . I still haven't been able to grow out of it ! Your so right . I'm dyslexic as well. At school I was in the remedial class and I never cought up with the rest. Dyslexia is big picture thinking , while autism is obsession with detail. That's what makes me crazy , sometimes , but it is a gift. I've been called a visionary . I agree with adults being treated as adults .

I'm 43 years of age and I am still waiting for a diagnosis, it is stressing me out tremendously in addition to my difficulties processing thoughts. I forget to pay my bills for example but I've learned how to use IT quickly and found that I can be quite practical if clumsy. Not knowing is the worst part, they may even say I don't have it, have thought of suicide on certain occasions hard to live like this.. My score was 45 on this test and 43 on another and I think i'm on the wrong site as this seems to be for kids. My advice for children with this condition get help and support as soon as you can, please don't let it ruin your lives like it has done mine. Good luck to you all.





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I can relate to your comments. I became so stressed that I ended up in a physciatracic ward after being taken their by the Police. I had what they called a meltdown . I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome , which is know autism spectrum disorder . It's a bit extreme and I hope you get some help :)

I have autism and I am 58 and have had a hard life and it is getting no better I am rely strugelm . I have been cold retard so meany times . I am not in a good place I clap all the time and bang my head. I fell confused and can not remember things. I am friend to go out from past expeances . I am not getting better far from it it gust getting worst . But getting help well what do I do . M

My son was diagnosed with atypical autism at the age of 13 he is 16 now has never had any medication or treatment seen the specialist twice and the next appointment is very soon and they want to sign him off he is on the very mild side of the spectrum that I am aware of but my question is what does it mean to be signed off is he better?





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Hi :) If he has been diagnosed , then it's a life long condition. I don't see how he could be better. I think what they are saying is that they can't do anything to help him within their own medical context. In The UK the government has decided that at 16 you still need education or training . That's really to stop 16 year olds from claiming benefits. Help should be available to him from other sources. They may be able to help him find something to do with his life. Something to aim for .

I'm 13 and I am worried I have mild Autism! My brother is mildly Autistic and I'm worried that I do too. I also think that my dad is. I have to have everything need and tidy otherwise I break down and get angry. I never finish tests, I'm quiet, I don't really have any friends because I don't know how to kinda go up to them and I don't laugh at jokes. I don't like trying new things and I like to have a routine, but I'm not that sever with it because I don't mind changing it of we are doing something different. I have asked mh parents if I can be assessed but they won't take me seriously because my brother is the favourite. What should I do? I don't want this business of not finishing exams to affect my future with GCSE's and A levels.





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I have severe aspergers-moderate autism and I didn't get help until I was 11

I've been diagnosed with dyslexia / dyspraxia but have never undergone an official test for autism / autistic traits. My score on the Autism test was 44 which is above the clinical threshold. I'm not sure whether it is worthwhile asking my GP about testing. I've always been 'weird' but can just about cope with work. I don't know whether a diagnosis would provide any practical help or just make things harder.





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I have Asperger's Syndrome and am fairly okay talking to most people, except other girls/women. I've not had a proper relationship before and it would mean such a lot to me to have someone special in my life. Just to ask, is there any help or are there any good ways of getting help to increase your chances of finding a partner when you have Asperger's Syndrome?





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Hello, I strongly suggest that you have people that love and support you who know you have Asperger's around you, inform any potential partner of your condition and if they are meant to be they will support you and accept you.

People with Asperger's, or anyone in any situation in fact, have just as much chance of finding a partner as the next person. You just have to do it in a way that works for you. I'm female on the spectrum and I am happy with my partner I met through work. We have similar interests but he also lets me be independent as I like to do a lot of things on my own, and he understands that. It can be a bit difficult sometimes because you can have no idea if someone fancies you or not, but you just have to e open and honest, and if they are worth it they will stick about.

My son has been in trouble since he has been really young and was always put in a room on his own at school because he would throw things and use abusive language. I often thought it was because my ex partner my sons dad who was an alcoholic and a control freak that he was the way he was. I am no longer with his father and haven't been for many years. He is now 13 and still struggles at school, likes routine and struggles with his emotions and has never been able to talk to any one about how he feels or accept responsibility for his bad behaviour. It has been a massive struggle for me on a day to day basis and he is now at a support school but I want to get a diagnosis for him as I do believe he has autism.





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