This is the third and last post in my “Tania Marshall ~ first signs of Asperger’s in young girls (preschool)” post series.
And, here are my responses/commentary on the rest of the list.
28 -The Social Hierarchy: Misunderstands and/is unaware of the social hierarchy. May behave as if she is the parent, parenting their parents, their siblings, peers or teachers. May not understand that she is a “child” or how to “be” a child.6 May be isolated, alone or teased by her peers. May have a boy for a friend rather than girls.
My response: Hierarchy? What social hierarchy? 😉 I don’t think I ever acted like a parent, per se. My parents were pretty good at establishing themselves as “alpha” (meant in a positive way), and I was never confused about my place in the family or where I fit in/ranked. All of my “little professor”ship revealed itself in the most embarrassing and socially-crippling atmosphere: school. Oh yes, in front of everyone. On the bus, all the K-12 students rode together, and you could find me about 2-4 seats from the front, kneeling on the seat, turned around to face the back, lecturing about rainbows to a couple of seniors (Grade 12) in high school. I didn’t have the good sense to turn around, sit down, and shut up. I didn’t even have the good sense to be mortified at my own behavior. I had no qualms about giving people 12 years my senior authoritative instructions on trivial matters. I had no idea how to be a kid. As a result, I was indeed isolated, lonely, and teased (not so much by the Grade 12 students, but more so a couple years older and younger than I). Eventually, I did learn how to turn around, sit down, and bury myself in a book, because books are safe places to go. Books don’t ridicule you. That did the trick until I made a couple of friends. My earliest friends were girls, but in junior high (middle school, secondary school), I had found my place among a couple of good (platonic) guy friends, whom I preferred over girls because of the way they thought (it was stimulating to me) and the lack of drama/gossip.
29 – May avoid demands due to anxiety (also known demand avoidance or Pathological Demand Avoidance).
My response: For this one, I truly don’t know. I might have. I might have tried, but then been forced to “suck it up” and do what needed to be done, whether I wanted to or not.
30 – There is a family history of Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Broader Autism Phenotype (BAP).
My response: Both my parents have some Aspie traits. I know that that concept is a point of contention among the community, so I’ll expand on that. My father is the absent-minded, hyper-focused inventor who has few friends and chooses not to be very social….except that he’s the King of Small Talk. He’s been known to stand in the yard and talk with neighbors for hours. He also readily shakes hands and makes eye contact (the latter sometimes uncomfortably so). But he’s very logical, yet emotionally deep and complex, so much so that it’s hard (read: nearly impossible) for him to express the depth and breadth of what he’s feeling. My mother is a full-on introvert, happy not to leave the house, and happy to work alone. She, too, can hyper-focus and she’s very crafty (and creative in this area). She has anxiety, insomnia, emotional extra-sensitivity, and a deep intuitive sixth sense. Even though she’s incredibly sweet, she, too, has few friends….yet, she makes eye contact (too easily), too. And she’s extremely empathetic. Both have a deep connection with animals. Both are (were) gullible, mostly believing what people said at face value. Both are (were) self-employed. So…are they Aspie, or not? Maybe so, maybe not. As close as we are and as well as I know them, it’s a tough call to make; I can’t make it. Mental illness does run in my family, however. On mom’s side, two great aunts were schizophrenic (one was of the paranoid variety); another relative is a non-violent sociopath and narcissist. Mom herself has always been prone to anxiety. Dad has always been prone to deep depression, as have many of his relatives. My sister is most likely an Aspie, although she’s too “well-socialized” (i.e., she might be masking/acting) to tell. She does display a lot of the unique traits, though–traits that I’ve never seen in any neurotypical. Other instances of Asperger’s/autism, or bipolar are unknown.
31 – May display interests more mature than for her age, may act at times more mature and less mature than her age.
My response: I don’t know if there are times where I acted less mature (there probably are), but I am aware of having acted more mature. My interests…well, I’m not sure either way (more or less mature). I do know that I liked to read my mom’s psychology self-help books, and I became interested in those around age 10. By age 12, I had commandeered her handwriting analysis book and started analyzing the handwriting of all my teachers.
32 – A concern for the rules, a sense of justice and difficulty with perspective taking, theory of mind, social thinking and context blindness.
My response: I think that very early on, I might’ve had concern for rules for the sake of them being…well, rules. I knew when something wasn’t fair. I knew when something was against the rules. I do remember following rules even if I thought they were pointless or arbitrary. I’m not sure about perspective taking; I’m not exactly clear on what the term means, and my basic quest for information hasn’t been of much help (yet).
33 – Social and emotional delay for her age.
My response: I think this might have been true in certain situations. I didn’t like to share. I didn’t like to negotiate. Cooperation with other people was foreign to me. I did learn all of these things, but it doesn’t mean that they always come easy, nor do I generally like doing them.
34 – Parents may observe some “self-taught” abilities and/or the child may resist being taught by others.
My response: I’ve long been a self-teacher. Painting when I was three. Piano when I was nine (composing that same year). Typing when I was 11. Computers around 14. Spanish at 15 (not that I’m fluent; I haven’t devoted much time to it in years). World religions in my 20s. Biochemistry in my 30s. I think I did resist being taught by others at times when I was little; I remember being stubborn and I recall a very “let me do it myself” frustration, although the memories are vague and I can’t describe the situation.
35 – May have less or lack a sense of “stranger danger” or safety and/or may wander and/or have social naivety, be too trusting, take others literally. A lack of boundaries.
My response: Definitely a lack of stranger-danger. As a kid, I was honest, pure-intentioned, and generally good-natured. As an Aspie, I wasn’t aware that anyone thought any differently; I assumed that everyone operated the same way I did. Yeah, recipe for trouble. I got lucky in that nothing catastrophic happened, but it easily could have.
36 – Some AspienGirls experience gender confusion very early, expressing a desire to be the opposite gender, not feel strongly either male or female.
My response: Oh my, yes. Dresses? Makeup? Curl my hair? Housewife roles? Submit to a husband? Have kids? Yeah, screw all that. Sit and play nice? Be quiet? Be passive? Be social? Negotiate/cooperate? “Girly” toys? Pink? Yeah, screw all that, too. I was a tomboy through and through. I think I went in for the gossip “thing” for about 20 minutes and then quickly got bored with it. Gossip is pointless. Gossip is boring. Gossip isn’t constructive. I absolutely wanted to be a guy. Guys got a “pass”. They’re held to a different standard, measured by a different metric. They “get away with” more. They get to be louder, more active; they get to have more fun. Being classified as a girl was boring, wussy, and too stifling. I’m done being stifled. Screw that, too.
37 – A tendency to have intense social justice issues and to “police” others, which are often not appreciated by their peers. At times, she may have a misguided sense of justice and an inability to “let things go” or may not understand the issue is not her business.
My response: I’m not sure if that happened/applied to me or not.
38 – May be the “teacher’s pet”, may to interact with their peers not as a “peer” but in more of adult manner.
My response: Absolutely, yes. My first good teacher was in Grade 4; as in, this was the first teacher not to holler at me for “not following directions” or to “pay attention”. I was just as dreamy as I ever was in this (male) teacher’s class, but he was a very nice guy and a fantastic teacher. At that point, the other kids decided that I was “teacher’s pet”. And at that point, I didn’t care; it was good to finally have an ally.
39 – A tendency to be too emotionally honest and unable to hide their true feelings.
My response: Yes and no; I think it depended on the situation and who I was interacting with.
40 – May have gastrointestinal issues, gluten, wheat, casein sensitivities to intolerances/allergies.
My response: Yes, to all of the above. Of course, we didn’t know that back then. So my ear infections ran wild (my only sign/symptom of a dairy allergy!) and my nervous system slowly began to degenerate (gluten; nope, no abdominal symptoms whatsoever). Eventually, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, with massive cross-reactions to dairy/casein, soy, and egg.
I wrote this series for the same reasons as I’ve written so many of my other posts. First, to get my thoughts translated into verbal form. Second, to satisfy my creative compulsion. And third (most importantly), to help or support anyone else who might be able to relate, or who might be looking for answers, or who might feel a little less lonely in the world. ❤
(Image Credit: Cyril Rolando)