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A lot of people I've met are either familiar with Aspergers and autism as it pertains to boys and adult males, or they don't know anything about it and they look it up on Google and find out a lot of information that pertains to boys and adult males. Then, they say to me, "I don't see how you have Asperger Syndrome!"
I have to clarify that my ADHD symptoms are a lot more obvious than my Asperger symptoms. And sometimes I find myself doubting that I have Aspergers at all. But when I come upon a list like this, it makes me recognize all the traits I do have that display my Aspergers. Let's take a look, shall we?
(Don't worry, I'm not going to go over every single one of these. I'll get carpal tunnel. I'm just going for the top three in each category.)
APPEARANCES - Dresses comfortably due to sensory preferences and practicality. That is me... you can almost always find me in jeans, T-shirts, and comfy sweatshirts! If I'm at work, I'll be wearing corderoys instead of jeans. In the winter, I wear sweats underneath! If I am wearing something tight or uncomfortable, that is all I can think about. Comfort is way more important than fashion. Also I have no sense of fashion. But I do love to wear colorful dresses when I have the occasion to! Lots of dresses and skirts are really comfortable, like some I've had that are made of T-shirt material and are really stretchy, or skirts that are billowy and flowy. My shoes have to be comfortable. I have never worn heals or tall boots a day in my life. Sneakers, comfy flats, moccasins, hiking boots, or Uggs, are it for me!
Will not spend much time on hair. Hairstyles have to be "wash and wear." True! Part of this is due to poor hand-eye coordination. I can't do my hair in anything more complicated than a braid or a pony tail, even if I want to!
Is youthful for age in looks, dress, appearance, and taste. How many people have commented that I look, and act, way younger than I am?
INTELLECTUAL/ GIFTEDNESS/ EDUCATION/ VOCATION - May have been thought of as gifted, shy, sensitive, etc May have also had obvious or severe learning deficits. When I was a kid they tested my IQ and thought I was gifted, so they put me in classes for gifted kids. They were then really frustrated that I did so poorly in the classes! That was partly due to my ADHD and difficulty paying attention. I was also really shy and sensitive when I was little, and still am, but not as much maybe.
May have been a self-taught reader, or hyperlexic as a child. I learned to read when I was about two years old! By the time I was in kindergarten I was reading children's novels independently. As a kid I would read everything. I would get reading material taken away from me because it was inappropriate for kids. For instance, I needed to be reading so badly, I'd just pick up my mom's magazines and start reading, and got into articles that were way over my head! When I'd ask questions, the magazines were whisked away from me! I was also reading Judy Blume novels way before I was anywhere near old enough to understand them.
Highly-intelligent, yet sometimes may be slow to comprehend due to sensory and cognitive processing issues. Totally me, and this is part of why I have trouble getting a teaching job as well as doing other things! My brain freezes, and it takes longer for me to process what people are saying or what I'm expected to do, and then even longer to respond by answering or doing. I say "What?" a lot, not because I'm hard of hearing, but because my brain can't listen to the question quickly enough! People get irritated by that.
EMOTIONAL/PHYSICAL - OK, just read the whole list for this category, because they all describe me super well! People often think those with autism spectrum disorders don't feel emotions. That isn't true... we just may not process them or react to them as well as other people!
Emotionally immature and emotionally sensitive; moody and prone to depression; prone to temper or meltdowns even over seemingly small issues; prone to mutism after a melt down. I'm not saying I'm like a little kid in my Terrible Two's or something! But sometimes, especially when I am tired and/or overwhelmed, my emotions are very hard to control. One thing that I've talked about before is being more emotionally reactive, such as crying when I had to leave Sunny and Bro's house and then crying again when I had to leave Auntie M and Uncle J. Not like, "Snivel, snivel, quiet snivel into a kleenex" but really bawling! (Only I am pretty good at crying silently. I've perfected that talent. If I can cover my face with my sleeve, I can bawl my eyes out with no noise at all! I learned this after getting yelled at a lot for crying.) But that is about things that are obviously emotional, and me just not hiding my emotions or managing them. I can also have "meltdowns" over small things.
Here's an example from a few years ago. I was traveling with my parents home from a road trip to Wisconsin. My parents had mentioned ahead of time that we were going to stop for dinner on the way home. So in my mind, I was expecting to stop for dinner. I was pretty much measuring time and the outcome of the entire night on the fact that we would be stopping for dinner. We kept on not stopping, but I was still expecting to stop soon. Then I realized we were actually in Illinois, about an hour from home. I asked, "When are we going to stop for dinner?" And my parents were like, "We're not." And I had a total meltdown, because I was so angry and frustrated and sad that we were not stopping for dinner, despite the fact that it was about midnight by then and I wasn't even particularly hungry or everything. So my parents stopped at some A&W inside a truck stop so I could get a hot dog, which was so not the point... I didn't want a stupid hot dog, I wanted to stop for dinner and all of us go in somewhere and eat, because that was what I had thought we were doing. The whole thing probably could have been prevented by someone saying, "Angel, do you mind if we don't stop for dinner after all, and just drive straight home?" Therefore giving me the chance to change the plan my brain had. I know this story makes me seem like a spoiled brat, but I just wanted to know what was happening, and by my parents not telling me the change in plans, it pushed me over the edge! Also when I am very upset I will often stop talking or just talk in one or two words at a time.
Stims to soothe when sad or agitated, and also when happy. I do this. When anxious, you will see me rocking, flicking my fingers, licking my lips until they get chapped, rubbing my eyes, etc. When happy, you will see me rocking still, humming or singing, flapping, jumping, etc.
SOCIAL/RELATIONSHIPS - Is very outspoken at times, and can get fired up when talking about passions and special interests. That's me! The best way to get me talking is to mention pets, or children, especially children with special needs. I can also be very talkative about social justice issues, like any issue where I feel that some members of society are getting screwed over by others. Like, should gay people be allowed to have children? I could talk for hours about why this is perfectly acceptable and there are many great things about gay people having children. To the point where you might start wondering if I am gay. I'm not, but it is a subject that gets me riled up because I perceive that two groups of people... gay people, and children... are getting unfair treatment by society. (Uh, if anyone wants to comment on that, maybe I'll write a whole separate post about it. My blog could use the traffic, even from angry commenters!)
Will not have many "girlfriends" and will not to girly things such as shopping or getting together just to hang out. May have a close friend or two in childhood and high school, but not once adulthood is reached. I've tried a lot to join groups of women, but my problem is I like to do stuff. I do enjoy shopping sometimes, but more for fun things than for expensive and fashionable clothes and shoes. I like suveinere shopping! I enjoyed hanging out with Sunny when I was staying in California, but we weren't, like, doing each other's hair or something... we took care of the baby, talked about real things, and did fun stuff like go to the river or make jam.
Often prefers the company of animals, but not always due to sensory issues. Me! I love all animals! With animals, particularly dogs and cats, I feel an instant affection and understanding that I don't often get with humans. I don't have any sensory issues related to animals. In fact, petting a dog or cat, or having one sit on me, can often calm me down when I am feeling overwhelmed! My Small Dog knows this and will run straight to me for a hug when she sees I'm getting upset.
That is just a few of the things on the list. If you read the list more extensively, you may notice even more of them have to do with me! It is kind of reassuring... but also very strange... to see myself described so well by a list!
The list, by the way, is from the website Help4Aspergers. If you want to learn more about Aspergers, especially as it pertains to women and females, there is a ton of great information on that site, and I recommend you check it out.