Last Updated on January 23, 2023
We continue to talk about autistic disorder (Asperger’s syndrome) without the usual clichés. This part is about asperger syndrome empathy, emotions, intelligence and speech. We speak also about Aspie girls – girls adapt better to the social environment, so they are less noticeable and less often diagnosed.
- Understand autistic person (continuation)
- Everyday life
- Aspie girl
Who is Aspie
Why do you need to know about of Aspie and why does one need diagnostics?
“No go” in relation to Aspie
Understand autistic person
What signs in children should alert parents
I / my child has autism – what’s next?
Aspies in Germany – school, diagnostics
Understand autistic person (continuation)
Feelings, emotions and their expression
7. I repeat: if you read in an article about Aspies that they are not capable of empathy and feelings, you can throw out this article. This is a very superficial opinion, based only on the fact that this author could not find contact with the person or was not looking for any contact, but reprints old texts.
Just because people are “emotionally mute” does not mean they are “emotionally stupid”. Of course, in this group of people there are some cold selfish people, as in all other human groups, but this is not a key characteristic of Aspie. Autism does not determine the character of a person – it determines the perception and reaction to the environment. You can’t say that all autistic people are good or evil, selfish or sympathetic, generous or mean. They are all different!
And it’s completely stupid to say that Aspies are human robots. The most of Aspies feel more strongly than other people, equally as they painfully react to taste or smell. There is no filter in this area either, it has been building up over the years.
In childhood, they do not understand their feelings well, have great problems with their expression – which may look like hysterics, hyperactivity. And since they are not fools at all, they understand at primary school age that they react incorrectly and then they learn not to react outwardly at all, to make a poker face under any circumstances. And it’s easy to understand: Aspie is an excellent victim for school mobbing. There are a enough children who love to tell such a person some rare filth or outright lies about them and then watch with satisfaction how he suffers from the inability to protect himself. Therefore, Aspies come to the truth early enough “Be quiet and hide”. Those who try to defend themselves usually end up in special schools, because Aspies don’t know how to defend themselves either.
Expressing one’s feelings is almost impossible even for an adult Aspie: an attempt is either blocked by a panicky lack of words for this, or it will seem forced, unnatural, borrowed from a book.
Read about selective mutism in part 3
Gesticulation and facial expressions
8. As already mentioned, Aspies do not know how to fully control their body. This also applies to the expression of emotions: they do not understand the gestures of other people, and they themselves rarely use gestures. The same goes for facial expressions.
However, with age, with the growth of observation and analytical abilities, which is also facilitated by pushing this group into inevitable observers, and not participants in events, Aspies learn to correlate gestures and facial expressions with emotions.
Many adult Aspies can analyze your condition by your face and behavior better than any other person, but not know what to do with it and what to say. And you should not judge the state of Aspie by his face – it does not reflect his emotions. Aspie is a person who has much more inside than outside.
Asperger Syndrome empathy and perception of other people’s feelings
9. According to one study, the Aspie group showed that in a simulated situation it was more difficult for them to sacrifice the interests of one person in the interests of the group than for the control group of “normal”. They tend to have a heightened sense of justice and correctness, which is enhanced by their own experience of constant persecution and resentment.
Why is Aspie thought to be incapable of empathy? This follows directly from what has already been said.
First, because they have “emotional muteness” – the inability to express their sympathy. This does not mean that they do not feel it!
Secondly, because they do not have a “script for typical situations” – they do not know how to respond correctly and what words to say. And since they tend to tell uncomfortable truths, this only reinforces the myth of a lack of empathy.
Thirdly, their facial expressions do not correspond to the situation. Aspie can smile in confusion in situations where it is necessary to portray grief.
Fourth, they do not always read what is happening and do not always recognize the reactions of other people.
For example. One Aspi has a sarcastic and strict grandfather, whom he is afraid of and does not understand. Grandpa stumbles in the boat and can’t get up for a while. Aspie holds the boat, looks and does nothing, meanwhile he has a panic in his head: What should be done? Does it hurt or is it not serious? If I get into the boat, will he scold me? If I let go of the boat, will it float away? By the time Aspie has sorted out the situation, Grandpa is already in a normal position, but, of course, he tells the whole story to his relatives, to whom it seems to be a history of awful indifference.
Generally speaking, from Aspie’s point of view, these neurotypical people do not have the ability to empathize, because they are either bullied at school or turn a blind eye to it. As an adult, Aspies constantly watch how “normal” people pretend to be sympathetic and describe it in the right words, but do not really feel it and show their indifference with their deeds after five minutes. It is all the more offensive for Aspies, especially women, to read in articles over and over again how “insensitive and free of empathy” they are.
It is curious how psychologists test the so-called empathy. The child is offered to read a situation where animals act with human behavior and some kind of complex emotional situation, and they are offered to talk about their feelings.
This test allows you to identify an autistic person, but does not determine his ability to empathize. That is, you will find out that the child cannot talk about feelings (while the neurotypical will tell everything that is supposed to be according to the social protocol). But you won’t get to what he really thinks. And he thinks this: “They gave some idiotic, absolutely unrealistic story about some stupid animals, which cannot exist at all. Why should I say or feel anything about this?” Thus, for the autistic person, this is an insult to his intelligence, and the psychologist thought that he was testing empathy.[shariff]
10. Touching is a difficult topic for Aspies. For them, they mean more than for other people – this is an invasion of their private sphere, and they learn to protect it from overload in order to exist normally.
Therefore, you should not expect intuitive manifestation of feelings from Aspi through touching and hugging. But if this person is close to you, then you can teach him certain touches, showing and explaining what is pleasant for you and what you would like from him, and what is unpleasant for you and it is better not to do this.
Autistic people are insensitive, unemotional, incapable of empathy (sympathy and the ability to put oneself in the position of another)
Says words that don’t fit the situation.
The facial expression doesn’t match the situation.
Avoid touching, hugging, kissing.
People who know this person well can see that he is very sensitive.
Asperger Syndrome speech
11. Aspies and their relatives without the syndrome are characterized by certain speech disorders. Most often these disorders are associated with emotions and nervous situations: stuttering when a person is nervous, inability to talk about feelings, loss of words up to speech blockade.
Speech blockade (I saw also the definition of “selective mutism”) is more often mentioned in connection with aspie girls. This is a painful loss of words, the ability to speak and even make sounds in general in stressful situations. If a child with autism “looks like a ram at a new gate” and doesn’t say anything, it may be a sign of speech blockage, not that he is guilty or stupid, etc.
Some tips, how to speak with the child after speech blockade, read in part 3
Speech blockade is extremely painful for the person experiencing it: at this moment the head becomes completely empty and there is no way to make any sound. Then the autistic person comes up with a thousand correct words, witty answers – but he has no way to return to this topic again.
Such a problem can even be dangerous – an autistic person cannot signal in a dangerous situation. In such cases, you must have a whistle with you. But even in non-threatening situations, speech blockades have serious consequences for self-esteem and socialization.
12. Many Aspies are characterized by speech delay, but they speak then immediately “like an adult”, fully formed, grammatically correct speech.
13. Speech may be monotonous or have irregular intonation – intonation is difficult to understand for Aspies.
14. Their speech is pedantic. They strive for maximum precision in their expressions, so they often fail to recognize what is important and what is less important and should be skipped. Therefore, they can easily tire the interlocutor with the most detailed story about some of their interests, which the interlocutor is not at all interested in. At the same time, Aspi will not understand the hints that it would be necessary to change the subject – this must be said directly and openly.
15. The Aspi student needs very specific and concise requirements and tasks, otherwise he will get lost in the interpretation options and prefer not to do the task at all.
16. Aspi understands many expressions, words literally. The pepper makes it hot – panic sets in, doesn’t that mean the mouth can catch fire? Because of this, Aspies may literally react or not understand idioms, irony or sarcasm at all – to varying degrees, depending on the degree of the syndrome itself. They don’t laugh very often, or vice versa, overreact to things that aren’t too funny.
An example is given of one student whose inscription in the library “Speak quietly!” led to a long-term stupor: with whom should he quietly talk there, if he actually just wanted to read?
With age, Aspie learns to cope with the literalness of understanding.
At the same time, they are quite capable of operating with figures and metaphors and often come up with their own expressions or comparisons that are unusual for the interlocutor, but, if you understand them, they become clear.
17. Dislike for ambiguity and love for accuracy – the reason why Aspies are bad at lying. And if they try to lie, they do it badly. Disguise lies, convincing stories – it’s not about Aspies.
Usually they say exactly what they think, not always realizing that sometimes it is better to hold back their opinion or not be so sincere. Therefore, Aspis are perceived as impolite, rude people. They can accidentally hurt by saying nasty things to their loved ones, as they do not always realize what can be said and what cannot be said and what weight this or that word has.
18. Stimming is also typical in speech – repetition of statements, quotes, scrolling in the head of favorite stories or dialogues. This helps to calm down and does not require adjustment. Banning stimming is bad for autistic people.
All Aspies are “little professors” who monotonously mumble something on their topic.
Nervous speech disorders. In extreme cases, speech blockades
Misunderstanding the weight of words
Literal understanding or misunderstanding of figurative meanings and expressions
Making up their own words or idioms
Monotony, speaking too quiet or too loudly, inappropriate laughter
Stimming – repetitions for calming down
Asperger Syndrome intelligence
18. One of the popular and well-known signs of the syndrome is non-standard interests and deep study of the topic. It can be anything, up to studying the schedule at bus stops, but more often technical and natural science topics: a thorough knowledge of car brands, aircraft fuselages, dinosaurs, butterflies.
The theme can remain with the child for years, or it can change regularly. The approach does not change: maximum attention to detail and perfectionism. Some hobbies find a particularly successful expression in the future job, and then Aspie has the opportunity to reach career heights. Others are completely useless. But in analytical and attention-demanding work, Aspies are in their place.
19. Love for some topics means extreme indifference to other topics, which is expressed in complete inattention to unloved school subjects and possible bad marks. They do not want to engage in meaningless subjects or topics from their point of view, to perform meaningless tasks. Why color different words or letters in different colors, why do you need to make these examples, if everything is clear anyway? Aspie students generally deeply despise homework and consider it redundant.
20. Fantasy – the affected area for Aspies. An essay based on pictures can be successful if the picture is well interpreted and the topic is close for Aspie-pupil, but it can also be completely unsuccessful if the situation requires imagination, thinking out or is extremely unrealistic. Composing in general is difficult for Aspie, because he wants a perfect statement, but understands that he is not able – therefore it is easier to give up right away. Aspie’s typical writing is an endless tedious recount of who went where and what they did, or an extremely short description.
21. Aspies have a problem with authorities – they are not available in automatic mode. Obeying a parent or teacher simply because they are a parent or teacher is unlikely. They must respect the person, realizing his authority through the intellect, then they will listen to him. And this authority will need to be confirmed further and further.
22. Aspies are hard-core realists. Logic and proof reign supreme in their world. What makes it possible to influence the behavior of children with Asperger syndrome that you can never achieve with emotions, shouting, punishment or threats. Another thing is that it is very difficult for parents to always act through logic and not succumb to their own emotional reaction.
23. In the world of Aspie everything is divided into black and white. Ideal or catastrophe.
24. A related diagnosis for Aspie is concentration problems. They concentrate too much on some things and fail to concentrate on others. Not very competent psychologists can not notice Asperger synfrome and diagnose an Aspie child only with hyperactivity.
Autistics have one topic that they study very deeply and do not change, and in it they have significant abilities, like Rain Man.
The tendency to study one topic in detail – it can change or remain the same.
Some have an outstanding memory – but it is usually selective and concerns their interests.
Realism and logic
White or black, all or nothing
Everyday life problems
24. Most Aspies acquire household skills late. They forget or do not pay attention to the sequence of actions (breaking concentration for “unimportant” topics).
An outstanding memory is often found in autistic people, but this memory does not always help them, as it is often limited by their interests. Short-term memory, on the contrary, can suffer greatly, creating significant problems in everyday life. Forgotten homework, documents, codes and information from school, lost things are typical Aspie problems.
Some things seem meaningless to them. Part of household duties is unpleasant for them because of hypersensitivity – smells, unpleasant tactile sensations (see inadequacy of sensations).
However, most Aspies are quite trainable! They need to make lists of typical actions, they can be taught standard recipes for the food they eat. For guests, a protocol for meeting guests is drawn up (what to cook, how to clean up, what to say, what not to forget). For cleaning – cleaning protocol.
Therefore, Aspies who have reached the institute age must fly out of the nest. Suppose a shared apartment is too difficult for them. But sharing a home with someone they know, or renting an apartment with decreasing parental help (in more serious cases, serviced housing) is perfectly within their reach. Otherwise, they will never be able to start a separate life and will lose a lot.
25. Aspies need to think ahead about possible scenarios in order to avoid possible emotional overload and panic. Therefore, they try to follow the routine and do not like spontaneity – children are up to hysterics.
Of course, you can say to little Aspie: “Now get dressed, quickly, I forgot to go to the doctor.” But prepare for the screams. It is better to inform Aspie about all changes in advance so that he gets used to this idea. Typically pronouncing or prescribing a future conversation.
At the same time, most autistic people do not need a routine schedule that repeats day after day and constant rituals – this is a sign of more severe forms.
26. Autistic people may have such a feature as a Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA). They suffer from restrictions and demands. This can be very strong and then it will be the profile of this autistic person, or it can be one of the symptoms that is most strong in teen age. This can be explained as a wall that arises between the child and the required action, he simply cannot step over himself and do it.
The child needs constant control of his actions, the demand takes away his choice and deprives him of control. PDA is poorly described. If you feel that this is your option, please refer to English-language sources.
Hysterics by spontaneous changes in plans at a young age
Difficulties with mastering household skills
There are fewer diagnosed girls with the syndrome, most likely because the features of a more flexible female psyche allow them to adapt more easily.
In girls, such signs as “fixation on one topic” and “social communication” are smeared. They make up for their shortcomings by copying other people. Further, in the section “What signs should alert parents,” I will separately describe girls.
The mild syndrome in girls remains undiagnosed (1 in 9 in countries with advanced diagnostics), and only more pronounced cases are noticed and, as a rule, on average later than in boys.
However, this is not very good, as undiagnosed girls do not get help. This means very low self-esteem, high risks of anorexia and suicide, problems in relationships with partners.
It is more difficult for girls in adulthood, because strange young men are forgiven for their strangeness for their intelligence. Weird girls are never forgiven for their minds.
Therefore, the Aspie girl requires increased attention from her parents, although she usually causes fewer problems.
A pretty adult Aspie will get attention for her appearance, but her further behavior, contrary to the expectations of men, will always destroy these relationships. The less pretty Aspie girls will be ignored as Aspie girl don’t pay attention to looks, prefer comfortable over trendy clothes, and don’t like makeup, and most importantly, they don’t have that “Welcome” look of neurotypical women.
This does not mean that Aspie girls cannot have a family – many Aspies have confirmed that they can. But knowledge about the syndrome makes the task much easier.
To be continued – Part 3
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