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Characteristics of Asperger’s

Characteristics Of Asperger’s Syndrome

I thought it might be fun to look at an online summary of characteristics of a person with Asperger’s and then painstakingly go through each one to see if it applies, while providing a minimum of one example. Because, well, why not. But mainly because I have been looking at symptoms of ADHD today. I may have both. I may have neither. But I think I definitely have one.

Intellectual or Artistic Interest I have always been passionate about English Literature and it is one of the main reasons I do the job that I do. I find stories relaxing and even though I don’t see all the images in my mind I love to read. When I am not reading it is normally a sign that I am too tired or on the brink of a mood crash. Furthermore, I have always harboured dreams of being a published author. I wrote stories when I was younger using my mum’s old typewriter. Pretentious I know but meh. I write creatively now. I do not believe that once I am published my life will change in anyway. But it is something I have always dreamed of and worked for. Interestingly, because I have slight perfectionist tendencies nothing I write ever gets sent out because I believe it is not good enough. Which is as self-defeating as anything can be.

Speech Differences When I was younger I had issues pronouncing some sounds. For example, the ‘ch’ sound at the start of words like Chicken. I would pronounce them as ‘sh’. Much hilarity, for other people, ensued. They were other phrases I couldn’t pronounce and would either avoid using them and substitute them for another. A benefit of a good vocabulary from reading. I confuse the ‘th’ and ‘f’ sounds in homophones such as ‘three’/’free’. I also, according to those in a short radius of me, struggle to maintain the level of my voice and this is exacerbated by stress. So, there is that. Also, when I was younger I would talk incessantly, even in my sleep, I think this is a problem with speech regulation and is therefore a difference but I am not totally sure if it would be classed as such.

Developmental Motor Development This is one that is easy to find examples for. When I was younger I had terrible hand-eye co-ordination. It got to a stage where I had to see a physiotherapist. I would flap my arms wildly like a pigeon trying to applaud whenever a ball came near me. I had to have a special bit of plastic on pencils at Primary school so I could hold a pen properly. My handwriting is also incredibly idiosyncratic – which suggests to me that I never learnt to shape my letters as I ought. However, I like it and that’s all that matters. During PE lessons I could never perform a simple movement such as a forward roll. I would get into position and then my left arm would feel like it was about to collapse and I would fall sideways. My attempts at skipping brought my mother and the aforementioned physiotherapist to tears of laughter. I am clumsy and will occasionally just drop things as if I am bored of holding them. On a few occasions this has happened in front of ladies I was trying to initiate romantic congress with – or in reality boring senseless.  

Poor Social Skills This is one that has been explored several times on this blog before. It ranges from saying inappropriate things to people – “you look good for a change” to a girl on her 18th birthday party, talking to my best mate’s parents about porn – to this day I am not sure how or why I did that but I believe him. It is not that I look to say things to get a reaction or due to boredom but the words come out and then I notice. By then it is too late. There are hundreds of other examples that I do not need to go into. I want to mitigate this slightly as I do have friends who have senses of humour one could consider to be dark and others who do not appreciate the barrack room banter. I am mostly successful at negotiating this particular hurdle. Mostly not always.

Development of Harmful Psychological Problems Ah, this will be fun. Since my teenage years I have always had battles with depression and anxiety. I always felt that I am about to get into trouble for something. I have been on a variety of anti-depressants for ages and this is because I have either felt like a square peg trying to go into a round hole or that I am just not good enough at anything I try and do. I am too obsessed with my perceived failures that it mitigates my successes. Often my mind seems trapped in the past and it is not the idyllic reminiscing of a man who peaked at high school but the failure of a man who believes he will never peak. I look at the manner of my depressive moods and compare them to other people and think “they have it worse than me so why do I feel this way?” Another factor could be that due to a chronic lack of drive and focus I have never consistently succeeded in any job or task. This adds further fuel to the mixed metaphor of depression and anxiety. Sometimes it is like the Sinead O’Connor lyric: ‘You know I don’t much like life, I don’t mind admitting that it ain’t right’. Sometimes, however I do like life. I find joy in my family and work. The depressive moods come in waves and for the most part things are good.

Detailed Orientated I think this one is probably the weakest of all these characteristics for me. Certain things have to be in the right order, such as book and DVD series or it plays on my mind. I don’t like when editions of books change their design or if I order one particular edition and another one turns up thus creating an odd one out that sticks out like a gangrenous thumb. I can be pedantic to the point of rudeness at times. These details matter and if I spot a typo in a book or something I have written it knocks me off balance. Which is probably why I never proof read anything at University (as well as poor time management). However, there are times when I do not pay attention to the details and this leads to poor performance especially at work. If I am not fully onboard with the job or task then I get sloppy and things get missed. Unintentionally I must add. This can lead to problems with my performance and leads to awkward conversations with management. When working in an office environment I will become distracted and go online, start a conversation or do something other than the task I have been assigned. I do not do well in an office because I don’t focus on the minute details. However, when analysing a text or poem for work I will go into minute details about why a comma has been used and why an indefinite article creates a certain affect.

Persistence When playing football my effort and running makes up for a perceived lack of skill and ability. I will chase down everything like a terrier after a toy. I will play video games for hours so I can beat a level or boss. I spent four hours working on a Rubix cube without much success only for my nephew to complete it in seconds – the git. I can be very persistent when I chose to be. Ideas will stick in my mind for a long time. For example, a long poem idea I had nearly ten years ago is still there and I only started working on it in earnest last year. Some of my persistence is good and sometimes it can annoy others. I don’t have Newtonian levels of concentration but if I need to I can concentrate for a long time. I believe in getting up once you are knocked down, but as I said above, I might get back up but I will dwell on the fact I was knocked down. I think most people in teaching are persistent. You cannot be otherwise. You need to chip away at the walls the learners build to establish relationships and help them progress. You cannot give up on them, any of them. You need to turn up every lesson full of passion and giving even the most disruptive learner a blank slate. If you believe in the students and be persistently, unrelentingly on their side and encouraging then they will work with you and not against you.

Not Socially Driven This is similar to the “poor social skills” characteristic. With one important caveat: while not actively misanthropic I do not really do events with loads of people. I do not need people, I need individuals. I have my father’s gift of the gab and can talk to anyone about almost anything but I do not particularly want to do so. I am happiest going out with my wife or with my mate. I do not really want to be in large groups going from pub to pub, the thought of it makes me anxious. Mainly as I won’t know who to be: do I try and be funny, do I try and be the big drinker, do I try and be the quiet one, do I try and be the confident one or the one that bounces from group to group. I also hate nightclubs and once saw a man with a massive beard and a string vest figuratively chewing the face off some young lady. It was that moment I realised I am no longer young. Put on a Ben Sherman shirt mate, bloody hipster.

High Integrity I don’t lie. This is because if you lie then you need to remember what you have said to people and I don’t remember things. The truth is easy to remember. I am not the type of person to succeed by climbing up the dead bodies of my enemies. During my disastrous week delivering Amazon packages each time I crashed I would stay where I was. One time I was tempted to flee but got less than a hundred yards and reversed. I can’t hide things from my wife which means that I don’t do anything that would need to be hidden. I do not want to hurt others and do not understand why people would, and frequently do. I have been told I trust too easily. When I do trust someone then it is almost completely and I give people too many chances. This may not be a definition of integrity but I think it is close. I give second, third, thousandth chances because that is what I would hope people would – and probably have – given me. As the Old Book says: do unto others as you would want them to do unto you.

Masters of Routine This is one that I do but not an especially massive one. Or if it is then I am in denial about it. In the morning I do the same things: bathroom, brush teeth, say “dog” to my dog, coffee, pills, get the boy ready. If I oversleep and cannot complete this then I panic. If I go to a restaurant then I will order the same things or very similar. Desserts are normally a hot chocolate fudge cake and if that is not available then it is a confused look to Leanne and a mild panic. I go to the shop and get a meal deal with ready salted crisps, Pepsi Max and a Twix Extra. Or Pepsi and a Twix. If any item from this is missing then I do not know what to get and am unsure until I pick something vaguely similar. I like watching the same TV shows and I like playing the same genre of games (sports and First Person Shooters). I like paying the rent as soon as a wage comes in and if I don’t then I worry about it. I am not obsessed with this routines nor am I thrown in to a sort of existential crisis if one is missed; if anything, they just provide an element of the known in life. I know that I will always like a steak or a burger so I will order them. I know that most shops will have a Twix and Pepsi Max and that I like them, so I will buy that.

I suppose that if you look hard enough most people will be able to see themselves in some, if not all, of these characteristics. However, I believe it is the undue weight that they occupy in my mind that then turns them in to a neurodivergence. The vast majority of people will not worry about a book being out of order in a series, I do.

Here is the link/ credit for the images used in this post: https://www.appliedbehavioranalysisprograms.com/lists/5-characteristics-person-aspergers-syndrome/

See, integrity.

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