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Featured How Do You Explain To Others What Aspergers Is?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by epath13, May 26, 2011.

  1. epath13

    epath13 the Fool.The Magician.The... V.I.P Member

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    I have told people before that I have Aspergers but I haven't really explained what it is. Yesterday I was talking to a few women and was wondering should I tell them that I have Aspergers. What if they ask what it is. Will I go "by the book" or try to describe my personal experience... And that would take hours probably :) I do believe most of people would want to know what it is exactly and how Aspergers makes you different from others but it seems hard to describe it in a few words without being dull, vague and impersonal.
    How do you do it if you have to?
     
  2. SuspiciousOwl

    SuspiciousOwl Well-Known Member

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    If it comes up, I reference stuff like The Curious Incident that they might have heard of, but then instantly regret it. I am so sick of people telling me that either I dont have aspergers, that it cant be very 'serious' or that they never would have known, when they've only met me like twice. I find that I get uncomfortable if I try to describe my personal experience, but when I give them textbook stuff all I get is patronised and 'made to feel better' by people saying I don't have it :|
     
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  3. xrobertxdavisx

    xrobertxdavisx Well-Known Member

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    Your a girl right? Most people will doubt your Aspergers as a lot of girl traits tend to overlap onto the spectrum hense why people think its more popular in boys when really the girls with it are just not getting a correct diagnosis.
     
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  4. SuspiciousOwl

    SuspiciousOwl Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's true! I have had 'But you're a girl...' before :p I think more research is definately needed into female aspergers
     
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  5. Spinning Compass

    Spinning Compass Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I ask them first if they have ever heard of Asperger's/autism and if they have then I go from there. Most people I know have some idea of what it is. I explain that it is a type of information processing deficit in the brain, that the brain just can't handle certain things. People who work with computers really understand what I am talking about, so I try to use that analogy. Just like a computer can't handle vague concepts (at least not yet) and neither can we. Most of the people I've met are really open to learning more about it, especially when it turns out they have kids with autism or teach kids with autism.
     
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  6. jaws

    jaws Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It is something I've yet to master. I've told several people, but like you said it takes a long time to really explain it within context of our relationship to one another. I think the best way is to have a non-aspie explain it to them. My mother understands a lot and can explain things better than I can, and my partner understands some and does a fair job at explaining things. I think it is too close to an obsession with me, and I get to technical and/or bore people when I try to explain it. The movie Temple is something many people may have seen and I will often reference it in a way saying something like, "it is close to that but not quite that severe (at least for myself)".

    Overall, most people I've told really don't understand it and don't really seem concerned.
     
  7. . . .

    . . . Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I find it kind of hard to explain without telling people that it's a form of autism. I'm not ashamed that it's a form of autism, but most people seem to think that the words "autism" and "retard" are interchangeable so I try to steer clear of mentioning "autism" anywhere. Too many times have I been spoken to in a condescending way after telling people that I've a form of autism and never again will I allow people to speak that way to me again.

    I no longer bother talking about Asperger's to anyone, but if I was to tell anyone of my Asperger's now I'd just point them to a comprehensive page on Asperger's and Autism Spectrum Disorders in general. Lots of people hate reading and even people who don't mind reading would probably lose interest and stop reading the page after a few seconds and would continue assuming that all autistic people are incapable dullards. But whatever . . . I think if I was to tell a close friend about it, they wouldn't start thinking too differently of me. If they'd want to stop talking to me and/or would start talking to me in a condescending way, they wouldn't be a true friend, right?
     
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  8. IContainMultitudes

    IContainMultitudes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm currently reading a new book about AS that I checked out from the library called Living Well on the Spectrum that used a metaphor I kind of liked in a section where it discusses how many aspies, even those who have an intelligence level that's well above average, often have problems with "executive management" (in other words, "top level" management and coordination of mental processes). If the brain is like an airport and mental processes are like airplanes, you can look at an aspie's "airport" as one that has very advanced and sophisticated airplanes but disorganized air traffic control. I'm not sure that's a perfect metaphor, but I think it could be useful if you were trying to explain to someone why aspies usually aren't good multitaskers and usually don't deal well with lots of change or chaotic situations.
     
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  9. Billi

    Billi Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I need to talk to my partner about this. He should know. Part of me thinks he will understand, and believe me, but there have been times where he has basically told me that what I felt wasn't real, or was not important. I don't want to tell him if he is just going to say "no you're not" or something else to minimize my feelings. We have a great thing, but communicating about feelings is not my strongest feature, and when I do, I am just devastated when the other person doesn't get it. He once made a joke (in reference to my interests) that maybe I have asperger's.
     
  10. epath13

    epath13 the Fool.The Magician.The... V.I.P Member

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    I liked that metaphor as well. I love the book btw. I only wish it could be more graphic and colorful, it's hard for my brain to perceive and especially remember information without color and meticolous design...not sure how else to describe it.
     
  11. Linneth

    Linneth Well-Known Member

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    I like this explanation. I think I might use it in the future.

    On the few times I've had to bring it up, I've explained it as " a pervasive development disorder on the autistic spectrum, that is characterised by..."

    I've found this takes the immediate influence/perception of the listener from autism to PDD, which leaves people much more open minded. Of the few experiences of initial disclosure that I've had though, I've been drunk every time (I was dx'd as an adult)
     
  12. Vanilla

    Vanilla Your friendly neighbourhood hedgehog V.I.P Member

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    Hmm...I've never tried to explain it to people who don't know what Aspergers is before; save my closest family and friends, so haven't attempted to do so with strangers yet.

    I hope no one takes any offence to this, but for me, I would probably compare myself to an artificially intelligent being; though perhaps this would only apply to female Aspies?? I don't know :p

    Generally speaking, we are able to process large amounts of information constantly; going so far as to test out every possible outcome in our minds. We reason with logic, and may have trouble fathoming he purpose of jokes or lies; at least while we are still new to the concepts.

    We are like sponges; everything around us is a new learning experience, which may cause us to appear rather like children; curious, and innocent. We can adapt to the environment around us by mimicry. Sometimes our first few attempts to do so can appear rather awkward, but with practise, we may appear rather 'human'.

    We accept the truth as others provide it to us, and so can't always detect deception, though we can process facts, and apply them on to situations, which balances us out in the end. We care more about these logical facts, then how people feel about them at times, and so can easily upset others, without meaning to.

    While we may not always understand emotional experiences we have yet encountered in the past, we do feel deeply, and empathise; yet constantly question and analyse our feelings, and the emotions of others.

    We also have to live with the 'stigma' of not being 'normal'. We may occasionally wish to be more 'human', so as not to feel so abnormal.

    I don't know how everyone else feels about that explanation, but it feels like the simplest, most correct way to explain myself. I have also felt that I can always relate to AI characters in film, and feel this is why.

    If anyone wants some examples of films they may reference, I'd recommend: 'A.I.', 'The Iron Giant', 'The Terminator 2', 'Her', 'Bicentennial Man'.
     
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  13. S0093679

    S0093679 Well-Known Member

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    My experience of trying to explain aspiness results in other people saying.... "we all do that, what makes you different?"

    *grooaaan*
     
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  14. Vanilla

    Vanilla Your friendly neighbourhood hedgehog V.I.P Member

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    Yeah...I've gotten that one...i just tell them to read up on it, and educate themselves.
     
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  15. Loomis

    Loomis Well-Known Member

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    I tell them I have autism, that we autistics are incredibly variable and Einstein was autistic. Then I say I am neither the "rain man" nor Einstein but somewhere in between.
     
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  16. Spinosaurus kin

    Spinosaurus kin Well-Known Member

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    This is the best way to do it. Instead of trying to explain all of your symptoms, going with the full autism route and then explaining that you can "just about" function is better than trying to claw upwards.
    Some people I have told went *Oh! That explains it!* and some have not believed me.
     
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  17. GallacticGorilla

    GallacticGorilla Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, i usually don't.
     
  18. ghoulbler

    ghoulbler Well-Known Member

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    I explain that it's a form of autism and then, to avoid them getting the wrong idea, end up trying to give them examples of people with Aspergers in the media. They're not always accurate, and usually they're stereotypical or unrealistic in some ways, but it helps familiarize them with the disorder. I always end up saying, "You ever watch Criminal Minds? You remember Spencer? He has Aspergers." and then that usually starts to point them in the right direction when it comes to like, understanding that I'm not "retarded" and that the way we come off is usually just said to be "quirky". I also find that mentioning a well known and admired character makes them more interested, so they're more likely to actually take the time to read into it.
     
  19. grapesicles

    grapesicles Well-Known Member

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    Usually a sigh followed by "kind of like Sheldon Cooper I guess". Not the most favourable nor accurate example but a starting point that most people seem to understand. Then I can explain a bit more from there.

    I seldom mention it to others anyway.
     
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  20. Cerulean

    Cerulean Well-Known Member

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    I avoid using the A words. I tell them relevant symptoms rather than diagnoses- sometimes I'm really sensitive to loud noises and startle easily. Sometimes I have a hard time reading faces and keeping up my end of a conversation. I'm bad with eye contact. People seem to accept those bits of information a lot more readily than saying I have an autism disorder, because for the most part I "look normal".
     
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