Sunday, March 24, 2013

Testing. Testing. Aspie or Not?

Over the past four weeks or so I've been making notes. A list of personality traits, behaviors, oddities, and what have you for both Jack and myself. Mostly, for something solid to give to the doctor. A hard copy, if you will, because when faced with the task of talking about symptoms there in the office, I'll go blank. I always do. I'm not sure I'll get to them today, in fact, there are so many they may need to be categorized and post in separate entries.

So before the traits...why did I decide to include myself in this process?  A few reasons, actually. First, my ability to understand my son's inability understand certain things was a red flag for me. Not initially. Only when I realized that no one else seemed to and I kept getting the "Why can't he just..." comments from people. Could it be just because he's my child and we share some kind of unspoken bond?  Sure. It could be. Could it be Mama Bear Syndrome where I feel the need to protect him no matter what?  Uh huh. But, again, I don't think it is. Next, I kept stumbling across the same story over and over again. Parent has questions/concerns about child/Child is diagnosed/Parent or Both Parents are later diagnosed. Genetics. In almost every single account I read, this was the case. And lastly, the online test, which you can find here.

The first test I found was the AQ (The Autism Spectrum Quotient) My intention was to have Jack take it, which turned out to be more difficult than I had anticipated. If he's not interested, he's not interested and it's a pretty long list of questions for an eight year old. While I was reading the questions, however, I was intrigued by how many related to me, although they do ask them in a backwards way. So, rather than forcing my son to sit through the torture, I let him go play his Wii and I sat and took the test. My results where off the charts. Okay, so big deal. It was one test. Maybe I didn't answer it as honestly I could have. I decided to take it again, but this time I would only answer definitely agree/disagree on those things I felt/did all the time. Not just once in a while. The results changed only slightly, still leaving me well within the Asperger range.

From there, because I can't seem to let anything go, I ended up here taking the battery of tests listed. I scored high in the Asperger range on every single one of the tests, except for The SQ (The Systemising Quotient). If I remember correctly there were a lot of workings of a railway system, trains, and engine type questions. Not surprising I would score low as I'm interested in none of that. (I'm guessing that particular test leans more toward the male species). What really shocked the hell out me, was how low I scored on the Two-Factor Imagination Scale, which basically says I have very little Spontaneous Imagination.  If someone were to have asked me that weeks ago I would have said I have a great imagination. I'm creative. I write. I paint. I make things. (Also if anyone would have asked me weeks ago..."Does Jack spin?", I would have said no. The reality? Jack spins. A lot.) After spending more time thinking, recalling, researching I realized there is nothing spontaneous about any of the things I do. There is a process, for sure. A process that includes structure and planning. The Face-Voice Battery tests were much the same. I consider myself to be very intuitive. To be able to pick up on peoples emotions/feelings when in a room. When faced with watching videos or looking at pictures and picking out the emotion of the subject, I failed. Miserably. They were just short clips and I kept thinking they were too short. I needed more information, about the setting, the context, and the subject they were talking about in order to be able to tell what the look of their face really meant. Socially, I'm ill equipped. (Unless, of course, I'm drinking, and even then, I'm probably still ill equipped,  I just don't care.) I know this and I completely expected to not be considered "normal" in that area. The rest, however, was a surprise.  (My BF agreed to take the tests as well, after I told him what I scored, so we could compare and call bullshit if needed. He hasn't yet though. He does have ADD, however, so I'm guessing all this test taking won't be nearly as enjoyable for him as it was for me)

Needless to say, all the testing and scoring raised even more questions, prompted even more research and resulted in more digging into my past. (Incidentally, the fact that I enjoyed the questions, the research and the digging is also a strong personality trait of person with Aspergers.) What it lead me to directly, was Women with Asperger's Syndrome. More reading, listening, watching and one holy shit moment after another. For the most part, it's been boys being diagnosed with this Syndrome, leaving an impression that only boys have Asperger's. This is far from the truth. Girls and Women have seemed to slip through the cracks simply because girls are different than boys. In general girls, even at their worst, are better at socializing, coping, adapting and camouflaging. It's far more acceptable for a little girl to be constantly spinning. She's a little girl. She's a Ballerina. A little boy spinning, well, that's just odd. Normally these woman are diagnosed...with something...or better yet a long list of somethings. They don't slip through entirely, they just don't normally get a diagnosis that fits.

After all my concerns about Jack over the years I was pretty familiar with the signs in toddlers and children. But what about Adults? What about Women, specifically?  Half expecting to find only slightly altered versions of Rain Man, Sheldon Cooper, and Amy Farrah Fowler, I set out  to find a profile of women with Asperger's Syndrome. Aside from learning that there is no SET profile, because just like all people are different, all people with Asperger's Syndrome are different as well, I also learned that there are some really amazing women on the "Spectrum" who I will continue to read/follow, regardless of my own findings, simply because they are Fucking Awesome.

As far as traits go, this list by Author/Comedian/Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Aspie Rudy Simone, is pretty extensive, covering a lot of the bases. I've already read two of her books and am in love with her down to earth honesty about who she is. Sam from Everyday Asperger's also has this list of traits as well as a non-official checklist that was not only fun to read, but also like looking in a mirror. Tony Attwood was also a good reference, and I've started reading his book as well.

Am I obsessed? Yeah. A little. But not for the wrong reasons. At least I don't think so. I'm aware of the dangers of "self-diagnosing" although, ironically it's usually what I have to do. I don't take my concerns to the doctor. I normally take my conclusion. If I take my concerns they will miss it every time. This could be partly my fault because, like I said, I go blank, and giving them the proper information right then and there is nearly impossible for me. (especially if it is physical symptoms and I don't happen to be having them right at that moment) Now if I take them my conclusion, 9 times out 10 I get..."yeah, yeah, you know, you're probably right." I know. You're Welcome. In this case, I admit. I don't know. I have a strong feeling, and for now I'm going with that and just gathering as much information as I possibly can for as as long as I enjoy gathering this information. (I'm doing other things too, by the way)

Next up, a more personal list of traits...or me over sharing, as usual. Whichever.

Hope, who seriously needs to get a better chair and ass cushion.


  1. Interesting post, I wonder myself about my own traits in relation to something other than anxiety and depression. I have 'specific learning difficulties', and I think sometimes certain ways I behave might be down to this and not my mental (ill) health. But I also wonder how much these things overlap??

  2. Hi! Thanks for visiting. I do think they overlap. That sometimes you can't have one without the other. That sometimes one will cause the other. I also think that there are definitely different "types" of people, as well. I have yet to meet someone who suffers from anxiety and depression that wasn't a deep thinker and creative in some way. I don't think that's an accident. Whether it's genetic, or a differently wired brain...who knows. I do think it's important to know yourself though. The good, the bad, and the ugly, and then accept yourself. I think (hope) that is the road I'm on with this. :) Thanks again for reading!