Asperger's Syndrome Community
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Avatar universal

ASD as medical student

I'm a medical student and am strongly suspecting I have Aspergers. I've done the AQ & EQ tests and my scores were appauling, (40/50 AQ and 16/80 EQ). I already have a diagnosis of ADHD, and my medical school was not happy about it at all, I almost had my course terminated. I'm terrified that they'll find out, my career is the one thing in my life I don't have a plan B or plan C for.

Does anyone know of any medical students or doctors with Aspergers?  
10 Responses
470168 tn?1237474845
I don't know of any personally, but I know others have posted saying that they suspected certain doctors of being on the spectrum.
Although you say you think you have Aspergers, try to look into the strengths of it.  I don't see that it could mean you could not continue studying.  Do you think you are more Aspergers than ADHD?  
I don't see how they could 'find out' unless you tell them?  They can't force you to be assessed and they can't force a confession out of you!
You know what your strengths and weakness are.  You will have to be honest with yourself about what level you can take in medicine, but that might become clearer as you progress through the course.  For example if someone was suffereing badly with stress and anxiety (but aren't most junior doctors?), then they might take a less demanding position.
But I would try to take things one step at a time.  How is the course going.  Are you enjoying it.  Are you able to sit through the seminars and take notes.  Do you go off on tangents or having difficulties concentrating.  What is it about Aspergers that scares you.  What do you think it will stop you doing?  These are your main concerns for now.
Most people don't have a plan B or C.
I think it might be very helpful for you to go to a support group for adults with Aspergers.  As you are in the UK you can contact the National Autistic Society.  They have helplines and lots of information especially through the services and supports.  They should be able to help you find your most local group.  As you have ADHD, and as this is commonly co-morbid with autism or aspergers, if anyone asked you could say you were going there because of your ADHD.
Avatar universal
I am a doctor with asperger's even though  I've had it my whole life, obviously, it was recent diagnosis by my neurologist. I was in internal medicine (after graduating Duike Med) for 21 years...Then I had testicular cancer and took good appraisal of  my life and decided to leave practice.  I was nearly burnt out trying to do medicine the way I was taught and mentored to do in the 21st century, 5-minute visit,paperwork for everything world.
Like a lot of AS's I am very shy, have NO idea how to make small talk, but I found the in the stereotypical situation of Doctor-Patient In the office I did quite well.....I knew my role and I knew patient's role, and I was quite popular with my patients, mainly for going my obsessively 110% for them.I had to study (seriously study with several books) body language so I was sure I was getting right message from patient and sending back right messages
Dr John Capps
470168 tn?1237474845
I would imagine the time restraints of '7 minutes per patient' would be very stressful for someone on the spectrum as they need to search through all possibilities to the end.  For that reason I am sure you put more into your job than some of your other colleagues.
Avatar universal
I wouldn't worry about some test you took - rather how is your disability be it Asperger's or ADHD affecting you and what can you do about it.  Having ADHD myself - and having read lots of books about it - they seem to do well in ERs.  If it is Asperger's - then you need to see what about it is affecting your performance.

ADHD is not an excuse not to get your work done - even my daughter has charts taped to her elementary school desk. I had ADHD and I still ad to get my papers done and get ready for my boards.  Have you tried adderall, etc. to help you focus.

If you got into medical school I'm going to assume that you are probably doing well cognitively speaking (since the average GP has an IQ of around 125- to the vaulted neurosurgeon who runs around 145 (how do I know these thing?) )- cheer up, the higher the IQ with Aspie the better their life outcome.  If you have Asperger's you are probably obsessive and disorganized.  Somewhere you need to tap that inner Aspie that says to get to my real obssession I still need to slog through A to get to Z.  Perhaps you need to go to an organizational coach.

And if all else fails, we don't always get to to do Plan A.  My husband was the shining undergraduate star of the poli sci department in our college. By sophomore year, he was given his own class to teach under faculty supervision - he envisioned his life as writing poli sci books, working at a D.C. think tank and becoming a political pundit.  But a recession hit, and he decided he best bet was to sell out to Wall Street and become a corporate prostitute so he could pay back his loans.  Plan B isn't always so bad.

Avatar universal
I am in the medical field.... you can do it..  you have so many talents.. do not give up... just as dr capps stated.. find what you like best within the medical field.. and go from there.... do you like working with others? are you the type that likes being ina small practice?  fast paced? large practive? maybe not so much going on around you .. such as a pathologist.. ( not saying they arent busy.. just a different mode)    I plan on continuing my education.. and becoming a P.A.   just keep swimming swimming swimming.   there are so many varied fields of study within the word "doctor"
you can do it. .
Avatar universal
Thanks for all the replies everyone! A lot of very valid points & suggestions there.

I will take everything a bit at a time, I always have. It may take me a bit longer than most but I will get there in the end...I really don't have a plan B. Medicine is, and always have been, one of "strong interests". I basically only read 2 kinds of books...medical and medieval romance novels.

I think my best plan of action is to not get the rest of the assessment done and not get an official diagnosis. That way I can still plead ignorance if the medical school does find out. If I did get an official diagnosis I would HAVE to tell them, and once again go through the horrors of being interrogated by the Fitness to Practice committee. If I didn't tell them and someone found out or raised suspicion about me, it would be a probity issue & my course would be terminated. (I was told that when I was nearly kicked out for not telling them of my ADHD.)

I'm sure I can do it though, I'm really quite good at "faking" being normal. As much as it makes me uncomfortable, I do look patients in the eye when I speak to them, (well they think I do at least.) The trick is to look at the bridge of the nose on people, they can't tell the difference, it's brilliant. I've read a stack of books on "how to be a people person", "how to talk to anyone", "how to read body language". I'm not saying it's easy, it definitively doesn't come naturally to me, but I can do it. Besides...I want to do surgery (I like using my hands, doing fiddly things and I'm anal about detail) so most of my patients will be asleep. When you do talk to patients, the interview is very structured. There 's a specific agenda or point to the conversation, and everyone has a well defined role in the conversation, (like Dr Capps said), so even though I definitively can't classify myself as a "people person", patient interviews make more sense to me than "standard" conversations.

Again, thanks for all the advice and comments!

Avatar universal
Hey we need you here in the Uk .We need as many health professionals as possible in the profession with AS as I need a lot of help in educating them.
I run The Asperger Training in Sheffield, England and work from home.www.theaspergertrainingcompany.co.uk

There is a big issue here in the UK with a lack of funding. I spend ages campaigning about this but I am struggling to get the nhs or the Primary Care teams to listen to me.
They do listen but as usually over here it is always a matter of a lack of resources.I guess that we are way behind the US as usual in understanding As and it will take years to catch up.
Avatar universal
I am an ER or A and E in the UK MD but have been thinking of going into primary care, I think I'm Aspie, My 7 yr old daughter was just diagnosed, My spouse is from the UK and we would consider moving.
Avatar universal
I have aspergers and I have BS in Pharmacy, BS in Medicine , MD in Medicine and a Minor in Chemistry. In pharmacy i took more credits in one semester than any one before or since me in that college and got As and Bs ( needed special permission from the dean to do it) and did great in med school, and am now a sucessful MD. The fact that you have aspergers should'nt mean anything bad to your chances of getting through med school. I maintain that if you really checked all the MDs , about 60 percent of them would have aspergers (at least 60%!).
The academic and memorizational rigors of med school selects for aspergers traits.  Only difference is You know and many of your classmates dont.  No one's bussiness what you are. dont tell anyone. I never did.
I wonder if anyone ever wonders why the divorce rate for MDs is so very close to the divorce rate for undiagnosed Aspergers who marry NT people ? Probably some significant connection there?  jd56
X-77 ...I know you will do great.....make use of your aspergers gifts in med school . and dont take your traits and routines too seriously when you do find a wife/partner..... my wife gently /lovingly /simply ,teases me sometimes about my routines in a way that makes us both laugh hard. :)

and btw people always say i have ADHD , cuz i am always moving..only time i sit still is when i'm sleeping.
I would'nt have it any other way ;)
Avatar universal
Yes I have it and I am a medstudent and proud of if.. If the university try to terminate your studies you may take legal action. The only time they can chuck you out if you are a danger to the patiant otherwise it is just discrimination. On the contry it is in your interest to point out you difficulties to the dean and request that you recive any support that you are entiteled to.
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