Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

Do I have autism?

If you find youreself asking this, please read on. If not, read on anyway. Perhaps it will help you understand what it may be like for someone you possibly know with asperges or some other form of autism.

As a person with PDD NOS (very similar to aspergers) I can explain what I deal with and see if any rings true with you. If it does perhaps you may have aspergers or some other form of autism. I believe it is more common than people think.

- feeling clueless in new or social situations. For me I like to be accompanied by someone who is familiar and can introduce me to people.

- Trouble recognizing faces. If I don't see the person often or nothing stands out, it is like meeting them for the first time just about every time I meet them. If I do learn to recognize someone, I may only recognize them in a particular setting and context. Anywhere else, they are like a stranger to me. If they try to talk with me, it is like meeting them the first time.

- Noises, visual clutter, chaos... tend to overwhelm me and make me melt down. For me a trigger is shopping at our local Walmart and Cub's Foods. Any time I hear a kid under 5 shrieking to the top of their lungs, I have to get out of the setting. Not only is it annoying but it HURTS my ears. If I can't leave then I feel intense anxiety like a wild animal trapped in a cage. Vacuums, lawn mowers, blenders, etc HURT my ears. If I don't plug my ears somehow, then I get ringing in my ears after the thing is done. (Which may imply the possibility the noise can cause actual damage, not just be perceived pain.)

Personality wise I'm rather friendly though may be perceived by others as shy or stuck up. I interact best one on one. In a group setting I have a tendency to interrupt because I have no idea when to join a conversation and I want to get my word in before they change subject! Either that or I just stay quiet...

If people try to greet me, I may not always notice. If someone waves, I may not wave back because I don't know if they are looking at me or someone else. Or I may wave back when someone is not greeting me...

Socially I have to blunder my way through, because every experience is a new one and without being able to fully understand people's emotions on an emotional level I have to put on an act and hope I am acting appropriately. Things like sympathy are the most difficult. My understanding of feelings for others is different. I analyze and try to understand on a cognitive level. (For me that's often using my imagination and transferring to my imaginary "characters" whether that be the characters I write about or temporary human characters...

Basically if you're talking to me, I am trying to make a movie of you in my head, animated and as detailed as possible.) This slows me down and others may confuse me with being delayed or "retarded" Especially if I start asking questions like "What kind of dog?" "What color was the car?" The person may be offended because that is totally irrelevant to what they were telling about. To an autistic, it is important for making our mental movie as identical to what you're seeing in your head as you are sharing your story as possible!

That's just a few examples.

© 2008 MJI

About this page