Asperger’s?

9 Apr

After Tuesday’s post, I realized I knew next to nothing about this syndrome I may have. So, naturally, I made friends with Wikipedia and related footnotes. I’m still working through a lot of the links I dug up, but I thought this was interesting:

From the DSM-IV requirements for diagnosis with Asperger’s Syndrome – my comments in italics

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 I absolutely suck at recognizing non-verbal communication. What I understand, I understand because I’ve looked up body language decoders on the Internet.
(2) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level As I said in the last post, I’ve never made friends easily or well. I had what I would term a best friend in elementary, but most might call ‘good friend’ or ‘acquaintance.’ I’ve never had that level of closeness since. In fact, the occasion immortalized here from last Monday was the easiest I’ve ever made friends (and if feeling dizzy and short of breath because I have to stand up and ask a question in a microphone to a room full of people is easy, I’d hate to see what making friends the hard way is).
(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) Not sure if I do this or not.
(4) lack of social or emotional reciprocity I had to google this, because I wasn’t sure what was meant. This result is interesting, and it may be applicable to me. I’m still not sure if this is what is meant, but I find small talk vastly irritating and as soon as it begins, I try to get away from the situation.

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 I don’t know if I do this.
(2) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals Possibly. I get frustrated when I’m in an exercise class and the warm-up order shifts unexpectedly. I don’t do well with change to my routine I’m not prepared for well in advance. I don’t like not being able to check my e-mail immediately before bed and immediately upon waking.
(3) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements) Very much so. I fidget constantly, I crochet, I draw. My hands cannot be still. I hate not having something in my hands, something to focus idle energy into. I keep rocks in my purse to hold when I don’t have anything better to do with my hands (and when I’m walking, I pick up rocks I like the shape of that look nice to hold). When in junior high/high school, I played trumpet, and practicing fingerings was a convenient way of appearing “normal” while enabling my need to fidget. When walking, I occasionally throw in a few bounces and pirouettes, without really consciously realizing I’m doing so (others have pointed it out to me).
(4) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects The shape of noses fascinate me. I love staring at noses, the contours and bumps and zits and hairs poking out from the nostril, all the little “imperfections” that give the nose character and make me secretly adore the bearer. This is the only example coming to mind, but I’m almost certain there are others.

C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. I can’t relate to my mother, because she expects things of me that I’m unable to deliver. I have trouble applying for jobs, because I’m so convinced I won’t get the job that it seems futile to even try. I can’t ask for help if and when I need it, because I lack the social skills to feel comfortable doing so.

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). Nothing as far as I’m aware.

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. Nothing as far as I’m aware.

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia. Nothing as far as I’m aware.

So I certainly meet enough of the requirements to warrant a follow-up and an attempt to get an official diagnosis. The main problem is financing such an endeavor – as I’m currently uninsured, I have an overwhelming desire to say, “Fuck you, United States of America, for not having socialized healthcare.”

EDIT: So, ten minutes after I post this, Meowser has another awesome post up.

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