So anyway, I’m going through my formal Asperger’s assessment (well OK–the first of what I hope will be two assessments).
One of the steps in the process (at least, my specialist’s version) is to have someone who knows you very well fill out two questionnaires about you, describing Asperger’s/autism traits and attempting to see, from their point of view, how well they match what they observe about you.
To be even more thorough, I had not just one but two people complete them: my mom and my partner.
Since I’m the only one with the clinic’s email address, both sets of questionnaires were submitted to me so that I could, in turn, submit them to my specialist.
I couldn’t help but sneak a peek. Temptation and curiosity are two of my weaknesses.
I saw others reflect myself back to me.
I didn’t realize how strange this would feel until it actually happened. And I have a pretty vivid imagination.
The first questionnaire he used comes from Tony Attwood – the Australian Scale for Asperger’s Syndrome (three cheers for practitioners who keep current!). For the most part, the answers my mom and partner provided were relatively similar. In general, my partner was a bit “harsher” on me (lol) than my mom.
My partner thought I “appeared unaware of social conventions or codes of conduct”, such as making “inappropriate actions and comments; for example, making a personal comment to someone but seeming unaware [of] how the comment could offend”, much more so than my mom did.
Another interesting divergence was when my partner thought that I “lacked subtlety in expression of emotion; for example, [showing] distress or affection out of proportion to the situation”, also much more than my mom did. (But then, my partner is a guy….(lol).)
(I always thought that my emotional reactions were pretty proportional.)
My mom didn’t think I had an “unusual tone of voice”, but my partner did.
(I already knew I talked loud. I think my mom forgot that part.)
My partner also thought I made much less eye contact than my mother did; the funny thing is, my partner is legally blind, and he hardly ever makes much eye contact with anyone, either; so his answer to that question might be a bit skewed because of his own interactive style.
I’m really surprised that Mom thought I didn’t read fictional stories for pleasure – of course, I did, and I still do. In fact, I’ve asked to borrow her books and we’ve even discussed authors, and pretty recently, I asked her for literary suggestions! (Lol.) My partner reflected my love of (good) fiction as well as nonfiction more accurately in his answers.
The most interesting divergence, however, was toward the end of that questionnaire; a check-box list (mark all that apply) asked about unusual distress in response to several sensory-related scenarios, such as “ordinary sounds, such as electrical appliances”, “light touch on skin or scalp”, “wearing particular items of clothing”, etc. My mom only marked me “positive” for two: “noisy, crowded places, such as supermarkets” and “wearing particular items of clothing”. My partner, on the other hand, marked me for both of those, as well as, “ordinary sounds, such as electrical appliances”, “light touch on skin or scalp”, “unexpected noises”, and “seeing certain objects” (he checked off every single box).
(That I knew, too.)
He also checked the box next to “facial grimaces or tics”, whereas my mother had not.
(Do I have grimaces or tics? I don’t even know. I’m aware that sometimes my face twitches, but that has only been for the past two years and it comes and goes, usually when I’m fatigued, anxious, or excited without realizing it.)
Mom checked off “late acquiring speech”. That was interesting; I mean, I know that I didn’t start talking until I was two (at which specific point of the one-year period that constitutes “age two”, I’m not sure; I could’ve started talking just after my second birthday, or just before my third one). And when I did start talking, it was pretty advanced for my age. It’s like I skipped over a few milestones and ended up ahead (lol).
Then I stole a glance at the second questionnaire, another one for professionals. I’m not sure what this one is called, though, or where it comes from.
My mom and my partner gave relatively similar answers, with–again–a few interesting divergences, in which–again–my partner erred more on the side of pro-Asperger’s/autism.
He thought I acted in ways that seemed bizarre more than my mother did.
(I have no idea how I act bizarrely. Well, maybe I do. I play with my hair. I like to show-and-tell. I might sit outside for hours. I wear jeans and sometimes a button-down western shirt when it’s 100 degrees out.)
He was also more aware of how much I rely on others (usually him) for basic needs.
(There’s that “masking outside of home” thing again…)
Both of them realized my persistent lack of self-confidence, however–my mom more so than my partner.
(I think that’s because he has watched my self-confidence explode within the past 6-7 months, whereas my mother hasn’t been around me as much to see that.)
My mother doesn’t know how unwell-coordinated I am, whereas my partner does, but that’s because I’ve lived with him and not her for the past 17 years. 🙂
My mom gave me more kudos than I deserve for “making new friends…when trying his/her best”; my partner is more aware of my social awkwardness. But when it came to the question about comforting others when they’re sad, mom gave the lowest score (whoops, on my part).
Mom gave me more credit for having a sense of humor and understanding jokes (whew).
A particularly interesting discrepancy occurred with the question “does extremely well at a few intellectual tasks, but does not do as well at most other tasks”; my partner marked the most “frequently” answer, while my mom marked the most “rarely” answer.
(I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.)
Both agreed that I have difficulty answering questions directly and end up talking around the subject.
(Shit, I thought I was actually pretty direct. I mean, I get myself in trouble often enough, when I say something too direct.)
My partner gave me the highest marks for being “overly suspicious”, whereas my mom gave me low-medium marks.
(But then, to be fair, I might just have a reason to be suspicious toward my partner….)
My partner–but not my mom–thought I give unusual or illogical reasons for doing things.
(What? I mean, I always thought that I was pretty logical–even more so than my partner (lol). One of my chronic points of contention throughout our relationship, however, has been that I’ve explained and explained myself, only to feel that it had fallen on unlistening ears.)
And… I guess I do stare (highest frequency answer given by both).
Like I said…it’s pretty strange having peoples’ opinions and impressions of you reflected back to you. What’s interesting is that some of this information isn’t anything either would tell me to my face….
…which, I guess, is why it was so tempting to sneak that peek. 🙂
(Image Credit: Rebeca Cygnus)