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expressions » Blogging AS an Aspie
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Matt has Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is writing this blog so that people can gain more of an insight into how people with the condition process thoughts, feel emotions, react to situations and generally handle life.
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18 Feb 09 Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill

Disclaimer: I do not, at present, agree to using hormonal contraceptives as a method for controlling behaviour in females with autistic traits!

I don’t want to say too much about this, because it is simply my own personal observations of somebody who may or may not have any autistic traits – certainly I don’t think she is formally diagnosed with anything. This article is a follow up to Maybe, maybe not!

My observations

None of the observations from the previous post have changed, and the young lady concerned is still the same as always when in class. I’ve noticed her more often outside of class, mainly in the college canteen where she is still surrounded by her large group of friends, and, often, her boyfriend.

The difference comes in her behaviour towards me. When I first met her, she was alright with me, not exactly best-of-mates, but certainly no trace of dislike. Admittedly I can be a bit very patronising at times, and that can cause people to dislike me, but I wasn’t expecting her behaviours towards me. Within 2 weeks of meeting her, it would appear to anybody who saw us that she hated me. She would be very ‘bitchy’ to me in class, and my support worker overheard her saying quite a considerable number of horrible things about me to her friend.

Then, for no apparent reason, she simply ignored me, then would talk to me, ignore me, and go back to the bitching. Funny, but that cycle took about 28 days – give or take… After October half-term, it happened all over again, and I basically go used to the fact that she was never going to get on with me, even if her life depended on it! But then, something changed leading up to Xmas. She was civil to me – which was, for this situation, quite a breakthrough. Obviously, I tried to stay civil, and polite with her, although I was very confused by her sudden change; particularly as I was subsconsciously bracing myself for another lesson of bitchiness.

One of the girls I used to know at high school will tell you that I have an almost uncanny ability to predict, with a 1 day accuracy, when a girl’s period will fall; based solely on what one person has told me about her in two weeks. Amazingly, I was spot-on for some considerable time – althought it was never a topic we brought up often!

So, completely confused by what my mind was guessing, and what I was noticing, I quickly flicked through my notebook. One thing I sometimes do is to make notes at the top of any pages when a social situation is turning negative, to see if there is a trend (ie is it getting worse, and is it continual). I wrote the dates where I had made notes (only twice) in the back of the notes, and calculated the interval – 27 days. Then, I worked out the time between the last note and that day – 57 days. Without medical evidence, but using solely mathematics and gut feeling, I assumed I was calculating when she was ‘on’.

Since the Xmas holidays, she’s been even more bubbly than usual, and has started asking me for help. Sometimes complimenting or thanking me, although almost invariably in a sarcastic way. I could be seeing things in too much of a positive way, but I like to at least think that she has become much more civil and polite with me than she was.

The final observation was actually a physical one – and that was thing young lady taking a small white tablet from a foil packet which she kept in her bag. My medical knowledge guessed that it was likely to be a COCP, and based on what I’d seen of them, I would hazard a guess at Microgynon-30.

Conclusions

I can’t really say. I can timeline things, and figure that she started seeing her boyfriend in either October or November, that she became more civil/polite towards me in late December, and that I witnessed her taking a small white pill about 2 weeks ago. But that is all circumstantial.

Whatever has changed her, and stopped her being so bitchy to me, and horrible about me behind my back, is a great thing as far as I’m concerned. I can’t say what it is, but I can guess…

27 Nov 08 Maybe, maybe not!

I’m not quite sure how to write this, to be honest. What it is, I know somebody in one of my GFE college classes who I’m not sure if she has a “non-descript undiagnosed underlying condition”, and I’m considering the possibility that it may be “on the spectrum”…

My observations

She is a friendly enough girl, in fact it’s fair to say that she gets on with pretty much everybody at college, has a large circle of friends, and is incredibly sociable. It’s crossed my mind more than once that she may well be in college purely to build a social network!

But in the lesson I have with her, she displays a lack of confidence, which usually comes across as attention-seeking. Though it may be possible that the low confidence and attention-seeking are entirely seperate issues. It’s hard to say why she’s not confident about the work, because in the time I’ve seen her focus and do it, she is more than capable of answering the questions correctly.

As well as that, she is usally asking for help, either by ‘disrupting’ other people or shouting the lecturer’s name out loud. Whilst it’s excellent that she recognises her need for support, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps there are other, more appropriate ways of going about obtaining it! This can often lead to other people trying to help, which may contribute towards the next problem…

The habit of continual talking. I know this is something I am quite an expert on, but not even I am that bad! It starts with the subject, but quickly moves off to everybody’s social life and anything else she feels like talking about. Quite often we have discussion about how long until break is, can it be extended, and can we finish early? This conversation will be ongoing whilst she texts any of her friends not in the lesson! It’s probably safe to assume that she is very easily distracted, and it can be a struggle for the lecturer to bring her back on task.

What I’ve heard

I’ve also heard that she is the same in other lessons, and has been throughout her school life.

My analysis

Well, I’m not sure if she is on the spectrum. I’ve considered the diagnostic criteria for sub-strands of conditions, and I would say that it’s possible that she’d fit some of the criteria for attention-deficiency. She also fits some of the criteria for hyperactivity, but not many.

At present, it may be that she has an “atypical presentation” of a related condition. I know it’s possible to miss ASD completely with girls, and even more so as they mature and the symptoms can be masked as they master the social skills necessary to make up for the deficits.

I simply don’t know if it should be considered a possibility or not – maybe she should see an educational psychologist…?

29 Feb 08 Non-verbal cues

I was watching Channel 4‘s Big Bang Theory last night, and noticed that Leonard and Sheldon had so much in common with Aspies. For one thing, I can most definately relate to Howard’s comment about being a “self-taught sexual harrasment law expert”, although much of my own teaching has came from the 50,000 trying to protect me from committing an offence under it!

Anyway, having watched the latest episode, The Fuzzy Boots Corollary, I was simply stunned at Leonard’s total lack of apprecation of non-verbal cues in signalling inner emotion. Here is some of the non-verbal cues I spotted:

  • At the end, when Penny asks Leonard if it was a date, Penny subconciously strokes her hair back behind her shoulder; indicating that she may like him more than as a friend;

  • Again, when Leonard is very badly lying about it not being a date, Penny again touches her face and hair; confirming the above signal that she may like him more than as a friend;

  • Sitting at the table in the restaurant, Penny turns to face Leonard, and is making good eye contact, showing that she is interested in what he has to say.

  • But, when Leonard orders the waitress away, Penny turns her head away slightly, raises her voice a little, and her facial expression shows she is a little annoyed with Leonard for his actions. I don’t think Penny understood why he did so, either.

  • When Leonard bangs his head under the table, Penny shows genuine concern and sympathy for Leonard, offering to drive him to hospital, and noticing the possible signs of a concussion.

So, how many did you notice? Or, did you spot more than me?