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How I've Coped with Aspergers

Updated on January 19, 2016
An upside-down eye
An upside-down eye | Source

My Asperger Syndrome requires me to put a lot of work into basic social interactions

If I could be comfortable in social situations and make eye contact without wanting to scream - if I could understand what emotions people around me were displaying (without having to play Wild Kingdom of the humans to decipher them) automatically - if I could come off as an articulate and intelligent human being instead of as a slightly dim weirdo - if I could express my emotions verbally and make the right facial expressions without thinking about them - it would be my wildest dream come true.

But for me and many of the rest of the people in the world with Asperger's Syndrome or high-functioning autism, we'll just have to settle for making things work for us the way that we are. To get by, we need to consciously learn what others seem to be born knowing.

Society has thousands of unspoken rules that most people pick up with little training. It can be hard to explain to people who are not on the autistic spectrum that these things they do almost unconsciously can be hard work for others.

I'd like to share some of the things I've learned to help me get by in the world. It is my hope that this may be of help to you as a person with AS or as a friend, parent, sibling, teacher or coworker of someone with mild autism.

DISCLAIMER

Please read this before continuing.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed therapist or medical professional of any kind. I am simply a person who has Asperger Syndrome. The purpose of this page is to give insight to people wishing to understand more about AS on a personal level - to help them understand more about what it's like to have an autism spectrum disorder. None of the suggestions on this page are intended as replacement for advice from a medical professional.

image by Kylyssa Shay
image by Kylyssa Shay

Scripts and Role-Playing

Having a plan for as many situations as possible helps me to get along


I don't know what works for other people with Asperger's or other types of autism but for me, creating my own 'scripts' for all sorts of situations is the biggest help of all. I've never naturally known what I was supposed to do in social interaction but from observing people, I've figured a lot of it out.

I've heard people who don't have advanced etiquette training feel similarly when faced with a high society event or dinner - probably because it's all arbitrary rules come up with in the Victorian era and not socially or psychologically 'natural' to anyone. The way they learn to get along is to study the expected behaviors and to duplicate and practice them. I have just done that with most everything.

The very first real job (that didn't involve picking up dog crap or picking vegetables) I got was a telemarketing position. It made the idea of 'scripts' for various life situations click in my mind. You see, telemarketing companies give new employees a script of what to say first followed by 'if/then' kind of statements such as "if the client says x, then say y" - this was gold for me!

I think it would be of great benefit for children on any part of the autistic spectrum to be taught what the appropriate action is in as many situations as possible to help them create their own life scripts. Role-playing seems like it would be great for this.

photo by NIH National Eye Institute
photo by NIH National Eye Institute

The Problem with Eye Contact

I've found that people think that your level and type of eye contact directly reflects your integrity and worth. Maintaining normal looking eye contact is vital in our society. Inability to simulate normal eye contact makes it difficult to get a job, keep or get clients, hold a conversation, or to not be treated as dishonest.

Eye contact is and always has been very difficult for me. With the difficulty most autistic people have with eye contact I find myself wondering why we are stereotyped as having no emotions or empathy. For me, eye contact is hard because the emotions it causes are overwhelming. True eye contact may terrify me, make me panic, or make me feel an unidentifiable emotion so intense it makes me cry.

To get around this I have to try to objectify a person's eyes. I have to see them as body parts rather than as "windows to the soul" otherwise looking at them will provoke emotions too powerful for me to handle gracefully. I do this by focusing on parts of the eye - sometimes the lashes, sometimes the pupils or iris, and sometimes the blood vessels in the white of the eye. Sometimes I mentally identify those parts as I look at them. Natural eye contact isn't fixed, people don't stare or glare right at each others' eyes, focused on a single spot. So it makes it look more natural if I change focus on the different parts of the eye and alternate looking at parts of the eyes with glancing down to the person's lips. Looking at lips when spoken to is what comes naturally to me.

confusing road sign photo by Michal Zacharzewski, SXC
confusing road sign photo by Michal Zacharzewski, SXC

Really, I Don't Get It, Say What You Actually Want

Stop hinting and say what you really mean.

I don't take hints.

For example: Someone says, "Can the television get any louder?"

I reply, "Yes, it can."

I don't know when you are hinting so you might as well be frank and honest with me. So if you want me to turn the television down, just ask me to, don't try to hint that it is turned up too loud and hope I will divine what you want.

I've mostly given up on trying to figure out when people are trying to drop a hint to me. When I do that I tend to see hints where none exist or misinterpret actual hints. So the way I cope with it now is to ask the person if he is hinting if he says something that otherwise makes no logical sense.

For example:

My partner says, "I'm cold sitting here on the love seat by myself."

I reply, "Are you hinting at something?"

Because, logically, if he's really saying he is cold he would either grab a blanket or ask me to bring one, or go put on a sweater or something, not just tell me he is cold and then do nothing else about it. So, yes, he was hinting that he wanted me to come and snuggle. But now he has learned not to hint most of the time.

Some people will think I'm being mean when I say that I don't take hints in those words so I tend to say, "I don't understand hints so if you would like me to do something, please ask me instead of hinting." So you can make the lives of people on the autistic spectrum (and probably your own as well) easier by not trying to modify their behavior with hints. It seems passive aggressive anyway so maybe it's just a better way to communicate overall?

The Most Useful Book I Ever Read - Peoplewatching, by Desmond Morris

Peoplewatching by Desmond Morris is one of the most valuable books I've ever read. In it, Morris identifies, analyzes, and minutely describes expressions and normal human behaviors. From studying this book, I have learned to mimic many human behaviors and expressions, I daresay almost flawlessly.

I recommend it highly to any adult with Asperger's Syndrome or anywhere on the autistic spectrum. I read it before I was an adult but many people do not allow their children access to books that discuss sexuality or sex signals. Part of the book is dedicated to flirting and unconscious displays of sexual attraction. Parents may want to read it though because it gives the most in-depth descriptions of normal human behavior that I have ever seen and it might help them teach their children how to use normal body language. It is also rich with illustrative photos and diagrams. I think the material about flirting is especially important for teens to know because it is all too easy to accidentally mimic flirting behavior when one does not intend to.

Let me be completely clear on this - Peoplewatching is not about autistic behavior, it is not about autistic people, it is about the behaviors of average people, the people most people with AS are trying to mimic.

Peoplewatching : The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language
Peoplewatching : The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language

They have books that tell you all about watching birds but this one tells you all about watching people. It also explains and illustrates a wide variety of body language and facial expressions.

 
photo by Kylyssa Shay
photo by Kylyssa Shay

Relationships

In relationships, I have found no way to pass for normal.

I can pass for normal (or neurotypical as the politically correct would say) in shallow, superficial interactions. But I cannot pass for normal in friendships or interactions that I've never experienced or learned about before. Friendships are so hard because no one wants to admit that there are rules, that there are expectations, or that there are conventions for friendship. It is a minefield I find almost impossible to navigate. Sometimes it seems to me that the problem is not just my ignorance of unspoken conventions but people's unwillingness to believe autism is real or to accept me as a person with AS (and all that it implies) if they do.

I have found a partner and a couple of close friends who accept me as I am. They are treasures beyond words.

I think the only way people on the autistic spectrum can have real, loving relationships is to be completely honest with people in the friend arena and to not try to pass for normal with them. If a person can't get past the way you are naturally, then the relationship is doomed before it began. This is a tough thing to deal with because the number of people who will understand that you are autistic and also willing to accept the inconveniences and communication issues that come with it is very small. My experience suggests to me that my personality and my idiosyncratic quirks make it hard for most people to enjoy my company on any deep or prolonged level.

So not only is it extremely hard for me to reach out to someone for friendship, it's a lottery as to whether or not the person I've reached out to is appropriate and capable of being my friend.

One thing I'd suggest to fellow Aspies is that I've had much better luck finding friends among people who are outside the norm in some way themselves.

image from The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin
image from The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals by Charles Darwin

Learning Facial Expressions

Facial expressions don't often come naturally

I used to have a great deal of difficulty understanding facial expressions, a problem not uncommon among autistic people. By purposefully learning the emotions most people associate with common facial expressions I can now identify facial expressions.

My "aha moment" came when I was reading through art books. I found a book on drawing cartoons which included pages of cartoon renderings of human facial expressions and body postures - all clearly labeled! It gave me a wonderful base from which to learn what emotions are associated with what facial expressions and body postures. From there, I sought out similarly labeled photographs so I could see actual faces portraying different emotions.

Using flash cards with facial expressions on them would probably be very helpful to children with AS and others with difficulties recognizing expressions.

Flashcards for Facial Expressions and Emotions

Facial Expressions Learning Cards
Facial Expressions Learning Cards

Photos of actual human faces identifying the emotions being expressed could help you to accurately identify the feelings of others based on what their faces are doing.

 
image released to the Public Domain by Rama, Wikimedia Commons
image released to the Public Domain by Rama, Wikimedia Commons

Aspies and the Medical Community

Medical professionals are not always as educated as one would expect

It would seem like members of the medical community, being well educated and familiar with various medical conditions, would be better than average at dealing with patients with Asperger Syndrome. But in my experience, they are not.

I have had a hard time dealing with medical professionals, apparently because my voice doesn't make the expected changes when I'm in pain and I don't always make noises when I get hurt. This has led to me getting sent home untreated and accused of drug seeking behavior - once with a broken ankle (which required surgery to repair) and once with a broken wrist and thumb.

My advice is for people with AS to bring a non-autistic advocate along with you to the doctor whenever possible. I've found that while many medical professionals will not believe or understand a person on the spectrum they will believe that person's non-autistic companion.

graphic released to the Public Domain by its creator, Lilyu, Wikimedia Commons
graphic released to the Public Domain by its creator, Lilyu, Wikimedia Commons

About Emotions

We have them just like you do

Don't buy into the idea that people on the autistic spectrum don't have strong emotions or don't possess empathy; we aren't sociopaths, we're just emotionally illiterate and we can learn.

For me, it's an issue of 'noise' - any emotion that is too 'loud' is confusing and frightening. I may seem emotionless at times but it's just that the way I express or contain my emotions is in a language foreign to yours; they are present, intense, and sometimes overwhelming.

I want to make it clear that while I have strategies that help me get by in the world of normals, I do not get by well or gracefully. I do not get by without a great deal of pain and misunderstanding. I am not cured. I am still autistic and always will be.

My Pet Peeve Regarding Asperger's Groups

People with Asperger's are Often Excluded!

In trying to compile a list of resources for people with Asperger's and/or high-functioning autism I discovered something I find quite disturbing; autistic people are often excluded from AS support groups, classes, and workshops!

Workshops, groups, and classes given titles like "Living with Autism" or "Coping with Asperger's" are almost always 100% material for caregivers and relatives. From the descriptions of such offerings one often finds that people on the spectrum are not welcome to attend. Workshops and classes for autistic adults seem to be nearly non-existent. It's as if groups, classes, and workshops for diabetic people excluded all people with diabetes!

If the whole point of these groups, classes, and workshops is to make life for people with autism and life for their caregivers better, wouldn't it make sense to remember that the autistic people involved are actually people and that they are some of the people most most affected by their autism?

Asperger Syndrome doesn't miraculously disappear at age 18.

Do You Live with Asperger Syndrome?

Do you, a friend, or family member have Asperger's or do you work with people who do?

See results
images from AT&T Laboratories Cambridge courtesy of Ylebru on Wikimedia Commons
images from AT&T Laboratories Cambridge courtesy of Ylebru on Wikimedia Commons

Face Blindness

Difficulty recognizing people is fairly common among autistic people

I'm much more likely to recognize a person by his or her voice than by his or her appearance. I purposely work on memorizing particular faces by looking for quirks like moles, scars, freckles, differences between eyes, or unusually shaped teeth so I can recognize new acquaintances later on.

To more easily accomplish this I will often look for (or take) a photograph that I can study. I often "cheat" by taking cues and identifying markers from the person's body or posture, too. I admit that I feel like I've hit the jackpot when someone I meet has a major distinguishing characteristic such as having a big visible mole or birthmark or some other unusual and obvious physical characteristic. I'm just glad that I'll easily recognize them the next time I see them.

I think I could have learned this skill very early with coaching from an adult on how to see differences in a face and how to memorize faces. It would have saved me a lot of awkwardness and a lot of social errors. Normal people often become very upset when someone cannot recognize them.

So How Do You Cope? Do You Deal with Having Autism or Asperger Syndrome?

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    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 16 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Thank you for sharing your insight. I recently married a wonderful man, who also has Aspergers. This definitely helps me understand him more.

      I appreciate your thoughts.

      Namaste

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Kylyssa.....Not only is this a wonderful and educational hub, but I was very moved by your comment describing some of the horror you were forced to live through. What a strong and courageous woman you are to have survived and be willing to help others as you do.

      I feel honored to have met you here at HP and have the opportunity to experience your gifted writing talent.... Peace, Paula

    • Kylyssa profile image
      Author

      Kylyssa Shay 3 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @jen09 writes: I went to a psychologist for PTSD treatment. She was very knowledgeable and recognized certain behaviors so she sent me to a neuropsychologist for diagnosis. Few adults with Aspergers are so lucky. While the PTSD and Aspergers combination is common, not many therapists recognize it and traditional therapies for PTSD don't tend to work right for people with autism of any type.The most common therapy for PTSD is to talk about and dissect the traumatic incidents until the patient has turned the more physical and primal memories into a less upsetting word story that is just like any other memory. With many people with autism, our memories don't necessarily work that way. For instance, I think mostly in images, sounds, smells and other sensory data rather than in words so turning the memory into words doesn't do anything. I already have to turn every memory into words to talk to people so it doesn't make any transformative changes to the bad memories anymore than it does to regular memories. I was lucky enough to get a psychologist who recognized that almost immediately.

    • profile image

      jen09 writes 3 years ago

      Great lens! I have wondered if I may be on the spectrum a bit, but I will probably never know. I would be curious to know how you came to receive a diagnosis?

    • JustineKnott profile image

      JustineKnott 3 years ago

      Thank you so much. This is so informative and gives real insight into what your experience is like. Even though I have worked with people who have Asperger's for years I have not had some of these things expressed to me. Particularly your explanation about the difficulty with eye contact, is very helpful. I agree with you about there not being enough support services for people with higher functioning autism or Asperger's. It would be nice to have more groups, particularly social groups set up. Thanks again for your lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm 52 and a hispanic female with Asperger Syndrome. What's helped me the most is watching the show "Lie to Me". It deals with micro expressions. I'm also on Paroxetidine and eat carbs 2- 3 hours after lunch. I go to the gym twice a week and swim and use the whirlpool and sauna interchangeably. The cold/hot helps my nervous system. Most of all, I've just accepted myself and understand that my right brain doesn't work properly. Therefore, my executive functions are lacking. For example, I relax and tell myself, "Oh, I said the wrong thing, oh well, it's my asperger's, ignore it, say now something nice, "By the way, I like your shoes!" You have to accept yourself and not try all the time to fit in.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      This was very helpful to me! There is a woman on my road who told me she has Asperger Syndrome, and explained a few things to me that helped me understand a little of why she responds to me and others in the ways she does. Your lens makes it even easier for me to understand, and I deeply appreciate this.

    • JeannyLeRoux profile image

      JeannyLeRoux 4 years ago

      Wow! This truly is a great lens, with so much information... I particularly liked the part about 'hinting' I don't have Autism or Asperger Syndrome, but I hate when people hint, I never could understand the reasoning behind that ......why not just say what you mean???Great Lens, keep up the great work.SquidLoveJeanny

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 4 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      This is an excellent and informative lens-- thank you. For a while, I considered the possibility that I might have Asperger's, but eventually learned that I am just very introverted, highly sensitive and was raised in a culture (Denmark) where it's considered mildly rude to NOT "lower your eyes in respect" when you greet someone, and subsequently converse with them. I also came to understand that my social awkwardness was a reflection of culture, rather than autism... people in the US are more "aggressively" and "competitively" motivated than I was used to, and it caused me to not understand their motivations. My stepson (almost 24) has AS, but it's pretty mild... his greatest struggle is relationships with girls, which always involves so much "hints and innuendo" rather than direct "getting to the point."

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      I re-read this excellent lens as I was looking at my Pinterest board about autism. I am still trying to figure out how the American Psychological Society de-classified Asperger's. It so obviously is a "thing." Your lens really helped me deal more compassionately with people I know who are somehow on this spectrum.

    • Sandy Kennington profile image

      Sandra Kennington 4 years ago from South Manchester

      Great lens - really interesting and informative!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I'm very fortunate in being on the high end of the spectrum. I have a good many Asperger's characteristics, but to a fairly mild degree. Most of them are annoying rather than debilitating. But I didn't know about Asperger's until late in life, so many of those characteristics shaped my life in ways I didn't understand. They don't bother me now (mostly), but since learning about it, it's been easier to cope with them without blaming myself.Excellent lens. Thank you.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for the links, and for helping me understand my son better. This lens is a so educational!

    • smoothielover lm profile image

      smoothielover lm 4 years ago

      I have 3 "children" and 2 of them have AS. My youngest was 20 on Christmas Day and is at university now. Although he is considered to be much higher up the spectrum than my daughter he copes much better. We realised at a young age that he was having difficulties because he wouldn't give eye contact at a toddler - in fact he went out of his way to avoid it. As a result he had support from preschool and has learnt many strategies to deal with things - and he has the most wonderful sense of humor! My daughter on the other hand was diagnosed in her early teens and still struggles and gets stressed very easily. In respose to your face blindness my mum noticed that my youngest from just a few days old used to stare at me constantly - she said "that baby never takes his eyes off of you" - with hindsight I realised that he was learning my face - probably because a survivel instinct because he knew that he needed me! I have a beautiful relationship with him and wouldn't change him for the world - he is also happy with who he is and says that he wouldn't want to be "normal". My daughter is a different story she would love to be someone else but she lives at home and day by day she is slowing finding her confidence. A beautiful lens :)

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 4 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      This is so enlightening. We think we know about autism or Asberger syndrome but really most of us don't know enough. I think everybody should read this so we can have a realistic picture of the problems that people on the autistic spectrum experience. After all, with a physical disability, we understand someone in a wheelchair, or example, can't go up steps or a deaf person can't hear. We should understand that somebody with autism might not recognise faces or be able to interpret subtleties of speech like hints.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      I've never had to 'deal' with people who have Asperger Syndrome. Your article is very informative and it will help a lot of people, I'm sure. I've read about it on the internet, but never could imagine how it really is to have Asperger. You showed that to me, thank you so much for that.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for writing down how you feel and cope. That is amazing in my eyes

    • profile image

      HomeGardenTools 4 years ago

      My friend has Asperger Syndrome and I love him! He is so honest and a great guy!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for this posting it's something i should try to get other people i know to read. I am 31 and did not get diagnosed with Asperger's til almost 3 yrs ago when they were doing Autism testing on my son. I've always just assumed that the people i knew growing up were right and i was just a freak of nature or a monster. I now know the reasoning behind a lot of what i do. While some of the things you experience are not quite the same as mine i do appreciate the insight into how to deal with some of the things we have in common.

    • Otto Phillips profile image

      Otto Phillips 4 years ago

      Absolutely wonderful lens! My friend's son has Asperger syndrome so this article will be nothing but helpful.

    • Magda2012 profile image

      Magda2012 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this information. very useful.

    • profile image

      gerenek 4 years ago

      As a person who did not get diagnosed until I was an adult, this information is fantastic.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Back to send this powerful lens out by google plus so that more folks can know of this condition and be understanding. I think you obviously are such a unique and exceptional person: somehow the condition you deal with probably is part of this uniqueness. Take good care Kylyssa, we want to see you around Squidoo for a long time. :)

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 4 years ago

      I really look up to you as a writer and a lensmaster. You write about personal, and sometimes controversial, topics, but you take that risk and do it so well. Your lenses are interesting and beneficial to me as a person and hopefully to others because hopefully people will read them and become more understanding of others in general. Another incredible lens. I do have a friend with autism, but I've never asked them about it, and I have definitely gained more insight into autism from this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story! Your article gave me a much better understanding of autism. You mentioned that there aren't support groups out there for people with autism. I hope that with you writing this article, that more people will see that there is a need for support groups like this. I believe the best way to learn about Asperger Syndrome is to learn from someone that suffers from it! I think you writing about it and explaining from your perspective will help everyone understand it better, and find more ways to support people living with this.You did an amazing job explaining everything! Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • Kylyssa profile image
      Author

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @TheFalconPress: I'm sorry if I misunderstood your comment. To me, it read like you feel that autistic people are not the people most affected by their autism and thus it makes sense to you that most autistic support groups exclude them. Generally, when people say they don't mean to sound condescending it's because they realize that what they are saying sounds at least somewhat condescending. You must realize that autistic people hear other people telling them how much worse it is to know them than to be them all the time. And it hurts. It really, really hurts that people think so little of autistic peoples' humanity that their temporary emotional discomfort from dealing with us is more important, more worthy of helping than the lifetime of emotional discomfort we feel combined with the horrific things that happen to us because we're such easy prey for human predators. Let me tell you where I'm coming from. I became homeless due to my Aspergers when my parents ran away from home, despite having college lined up in the fall and a boatload of scholarships. After my first rape, I went into total meltdown when a normal person could have dealt with things and saved themselves somehow. Instead of having a lovely career in the sciences as I would have had if there were support for people like me or even somewhere to turn for advice, I was homeless for over a year. During that time I was raped repeatedly due to being so naïve. Aspies fall for variations on the same trick over and over; we can't help it or even recognize it. I was stabbed during one of those rapes and beaten into unconsciousness, suffering multiple injuries and broken bones during another. I was literally spat on by normal people, urinated on by teens as I slept, and knocked around by cops. I was living in a state of constant terror. I dropped down to around eighty pounds and had to use a walker after a particularly brutal assault, at least until someone stole it. Imagine I'm your significant other's daughter. Imagine these things happened to her because she was left alone with no support structure and then tell me how much more difficult it is to know her than to be her. It's great that groups exist for people unfortunate enough to be caregivers for autistic people but with the lives many autistic people suffer through it seems like groups for us would be important, too.

    • TheFalconPress profile image

      The Falcon Press 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      @Kylyssa: I never said that autistic people don't feel lonely. I said I feel lonely at times. And, of course I know autistic people have emotions, too. My mother and my guy are deeply caring, compassionate human beings capable of feeling profound sympathy for others. I don't know you and you don't know me. I'm sorry to have offended you. I never meant to condescend. I just wanted to tell you I thought your lens was great but once again the communication seems to have gone awry.

    • Kylyssa profile image
      Author

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @TheFalconPress: My Asperger's caused me to be more vulnerable to being molested and was a contributing factor to my homelessness when my parents ran away from home. I feel that those were pretty major effects and I was quite affected by them. You can have parts of your life that do not include autism; no autistic person can. Not every autistic person has a caregiver; many are on their own and would benefit for some kind of support structure for them. If you think being autistic is not lonely, try to remember what autism is. It is a difficulty connecting with people. When every other disorder or condition has support groups for the people who have them, people with any mental or emotional disabilities are excluded. Why would we not need emotional support? Is it because you believe autistic people have no emotions?I think it is condescending, the way you assume people with Aspergers cannot feel for their fellow human beings and speak as if we are something you need to escape. If you try communicating with your family in words they will then understand your feelings. Even normal people can't read minds.I find that, while I can't necessarily tell what other people are feeling unless they talk to me, trying to act out of compassion and kindness in response to just about everything is the right thing to do.

    • TheFalconPress profile image

      The Falcon Press 4 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      I discovered on my own that several people whom I love deeply, all with whom I've had extraordinarily difficult relationships, are those who're affected by Asperger Syndrome, including my mom, my significant other, and his daughter. My relationships improved ten-fold after I figured out what was causing our problems. I read at least 22 books on Asperger's Syndrome to educate myself, whereas none of them had any interest in reading about the subject. I learned how to communicate better by being very direct and asking for what I need, rather than expecting my mom or my partner to intuit my needs. I gave up on expecting them to ever understand my emotions and, in a sense, there was a freedom in that for me finally. Most importantly, I realized that they do love me, it's just they express their love very differently than I do, so sometimes it's very hard for me to feel it. The definition of empathy is not only the ability to be aware of the thoughts and feelings of others, but also the ability to intuitively adapt our responses to take others thoughts and feelings into account. I don't expect Aspies to feel empathy as I do because I know they can't. I think your lens is terrific and incredibly helpful for others to read. I will say that support groups for people affected by Asperger's sometimes exclude the people with autism mainly because sometimes the one who need the support are the one's without Asperger's who live with those who are affected by Asperger's. If I didn't have access to support from other non-Aspies particularly at times when the loneliness and emotional neglect I'm feeling becomes too overwhelming, I'd never survive in my NT/AS relationship. It really helps me to reach out to others who are able to empathize with my circumstances. I don't mean to sound condescending when I say those with Asperger's syndrome are not necessarily the one's most affected by their autism, but when I'm deeply hurting my Aspie family can't understand my pain at all and sometimes seem to care less. Thanks for sharing.

    • OliviaDaughter LM profile image

      OliviaDaughter LM 4 years ago

      Thanks for your transparency. I work with children with autism and asperger and this has been more helpful to me than any textbook. Thanks so much.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 4 years ago from USA

      Thank you for sharing this.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am sitting here wondering what to say and all I can think of is "thank you". Thank you for sharing who you are, I can't imagine the pain that had to be visited as you told your story. I just shouted on FB.

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens. It is interesting to hear about Asperger Syndrome from someone who actually suffers from it, and not from a textbook.

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      This is an amazing lens. I pinned it, shared it on facebook and also added it to my featured lens list on my lens called "Would you like to be part of a support circle for amazing moms and dads..." under Aspergers. Thank you so much for sharing this

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      Oh my. What an eye opener. Thanks so much for this very helpful lens.

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      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Back to give this great lens an Angel blessed. I also pinned it to my Psychology board so that more people can find relief. I have a son with Asperger's and sometimes I just cannot help him.

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      andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

      My son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Very interesting lens and thanks for sharing your story! :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have AS my self and I tend to have facial and emotional problems: 1.) being that I'm very sensitive, I do tend to get more upset than excited. 2.) That I show my happy side around dogs,cats,and other animals instead of being around peers my age. 3.) That I shouldn't find a job while I'm in school (as a request by my psychologist). 4.) I'm mainly in the house unless I'm at school, gym,doctors office,or volunteering. 6.) Needing more alone time than most people

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      Einar A 5 years ago

      I have always been "different" and have never had a desire to fit in or be what most people would call "normal," and I really appreciated your article. Your "Really, I Don't Get It, Say What You Actually Want" section made me smile, because those examples sounded so very familiar to me. Thanks!

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      JimDickens 5 years ago

      Yes I got it and have had it for over 60 years. Didn't know what to call it but now I do. I channeled some of the aspects into a career by using my literalness to program computers. There is no way to work around the social ineptness and discomfort so I just got kinda used to it. Eye contact is a false indicator of integrity if there ever was one. I like to focus on the eyebrow or nose

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      hotbrain 5 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Very helpful tips here! I don't have Asperger's but I have trouble with face recognition (prosopagnosia) and sometimes I struggle with social circumstances but not to the same extent. I've linked this lens on my lens about prosopagnosia because I think sometimes the two problems occur together and maybe it'll be helpful to my readers. I'm going to check out that peoplewatching book, it sounds interesting!

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      Paula7928 5 years ago

      Great lens! I didn't know much about Aspbergers prior to reading it so it was very educational for me.

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      Heather Bradford 5 years ago from Canada

      This is an amazing lens. So well put together and helpful. Very readable, interesting and educational. I have certainly learned a lot. Thank you.

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      sybelle 5 years ago

      It seems that I have gone through life not knowing I was "not normal". As I grow older and educate myself, many answers to life's mysteries get answered and the Gestalt, or enlightenment seems magical. "OH! SO THAT'S WHAT WAS GOING ON!"You just gave me one of those moments... I used to attribute it to my "being literal". As I read the part about hints, it dawned on me! I don't do well with hints! I always act upon other people's words for what they are, literally. The best example I have of this. I might have been 3 years old. My mom had to go shopping in town and while we were in the stores it had rained. As we walked home (small town) there were puddles on the sidewalks. At one point I stepped on a puddle. My mom said: "Oh, great, why don't you back and jump up and down in the puddle and get your nice white shoes and pretty dress all wet with the dirty water?"Yup, you guessed it. I was DELIGHTED on being given permission to mess up my shoes and dress for the sake of fun and, boy, by the time I was finished there was no puddle left! Given that we were in public and several people had stopped to watch, my mom had no choice but to join the spectator's laughter and delight. She learned real quick no to "give me permissions" like that anymore.Thanks for the eye opener. :)

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      sborg 5 years ago

      This lens is priceless. As an NT, I desperately need to be educated by those who are living with and coping with Aspergers. I want to understand the good parts and the hard parts. Because, you see, I write, teach, parent, and counsel about Aspergers, and I seek to be a helpful coach and counselor to those on the autism spectrum. However, my true education in being helpful comes from learning from those who write about their experiences on the spectrum. Thank you!

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      EmmaLouiseB 5 years ago

      Another one of your lenses that is close to my heart. My best friend's two sons both have Aspergers and it can and has been extremely difficult; not just for us but for them too. Thank you for writing this lens I think it is extremely well made and full of useful information.

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      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Wonderful information and really well written. While I've known more than a few people in fandom through the years with AS, you've really explained many aspects of the condition I did not fully understand.

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      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      I have a friend with AS who I have known for many years now. Despite our long friendship, there are some aspects of his condition that I simply haven't been able to grasp until I read your lens. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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      gamecheathub 5 years ago

      I've been told that I have symptoms of AS. Uncontrollable noise or loud yelling by people tends to trigger a type of "flight or flight" scenario for me. My neice has AS and is now in a private school and does the therapy routine. You are absolutely right about Autism groups and the lack of community for AS sufferers. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk about your condition. This definitely helped me understand more symptoms and some solid tips on what to do in the future.

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      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      Squid Angel blessed!

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      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't know much about autism or asperger syndrome so I appreciate your lens and sharing. You have clearly outlined what I need to know. Blessed!

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      klaird 5 years ago

      Great Lens! I know Amazon.com sells a variety of Facial Expression and Emotion Flashcards. You should add an Amazon module underneath your "Learning Facial Expressions" module that features some of these emotion flashcards for sale, since almost half of the people who have voted in your poll say they have Asperger's, they might want to buy some to help learn facial expressions as you suggested.

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      lakern26 lm 5 years ago

      I've just learned that someone very near and dear to me has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. We weren't exactly surprised by the diagnosis --- we know that some behaviors don't come as naturally to him as they do with other people, some of which you've mentioned above. Unfortunately, without experiencing those problems ourselves, we're often at a loss as to how to help. Your insights here are invaluable. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      This has helped so much. I have asperger's. Allmy life I wondered WHAT IS WRONG with me. Social interaction became such a problem I would bring a bookOr newspaper to a party so I would have something to do while I was being ignored. If someone actually greeted me I felt like saying " Hello. Do you come with a book of instructions ? Because I don't know what to do after Hello. Now I know why. I start therapy next week. I hope I can meet other Aspies. At last. People I can relate to.

    • nuestraherencia profile image

      nuestraherencia 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your life with us. I believe that the best way for kids with autism to be "helped" not "changed", is to listen to the voices and views of adults with autism. Those who have been there. Those who truly know what it's like.

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      greenreviews 6 years ago

      I have learned to cope with my NVLD kinda like how you described dealing with aspergers

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      Leanne Chesser 6 years ago

      I have blessed this wonderful and personal lens. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Yawapi LM profile image

      Yawapi LM 6 years ago

      Very well done, thank you!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Dear Kylyssa- I can't thank-you enough for your writing. Your insights into the mind of a person with Aspergers are so valuable. What you say about avoiding eye contact because eyes are the windows to the soul is so familiar to me. I actually avoid socializing because I don't really want to know what's going on inside of most people- usually appearance and essence don't match up and I'm left with the truth of that. And it's true, if you avoid eye contact, people get paranoid and self-defensive. Perhaps Asperger's can function as a way of self-defense. I do hope you keep writing. I feel as if I have a friend in you.

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      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Better late than never.... finally compiled my SquidAngel Lens from my 'angel flight' back in the Fall of 2010 :-) So.... returning to tell you that this lens has now been 'featured on' and 'lensrolled to' "SquidAngel Blessings by an Elf".

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      jamesnodturft 6 years ago

      Great article! I will add that vocal intonation is a big, big issue. My son worked with a speech therapist on recording his voice and playing it back so that he knew what it sounded like. Often he sounds very rude without intending to. Just as you rehearse interactions, rehearsing vocal intonation can vastly, VASTLY improve relationships.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

      My 15yo daughter was recently diagnosed with AS. She is a gifted artist - I guess it does explain why she's willing to sit and draw for a minimum of 6 hours each day ("willing to" should read "unable not to" LOL). Fortunately as an artist she studies faces and doesn't have quite as much trouble with reading expressions as you seem to, but her empathy and expressiveness are similar. Thank you for sharing your story.

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      Dawn Michael 6 years ago from Thousand Oaks

      Kyllssa, this was a wonderful piece of work and I applaud you for it, being so easy to understand the way that you have written it. I want to also thank-you for the comments that you have left for me on the forum. I knew that you were a unique and special person by your comments, your questioning and your logic. My writing is emotional, personal and empathic and I could see you in your writing tying to understand it, hitting me with the logical/technical side which is more of my weakness. Your suggestions I take to heart and I appreciate them. I am looking forward to reading more of your articles and yes I do know and have worked with people with Aspergers syndrome and most have been duel diagnosis along with Tourettes syndrome.

    • Dee Gallemore profile image

      Dee Gallemore 6 years ago

      You have provided such valuable insight into Asperger Syndrome. Thank you so much for sharing your personal story.

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      GrowWear 6 years ago

      Have only recently heard of Aspergers...in the last year or two, but this explains so much in the way of better understanding of our fellow man. If these techniques you use work, and I see no reason why they wouldn't, then people need to get in there and teach the diagnosed children. I agree with you; your life would have been much easier had you been taught theses things early.

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      Jacqueline Marshall 6 years ago from Chicago area

      Excellent lens! Several of my clients have Aspergers so I know everyone with that diagnosis is unique - in spite of having similar perceptual challenges.

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 6 years ago

      Just stopping back by to give this valuable page a SquidAngel blessing.

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your experience of having Asperger syndrome. I agree with you; doctors should have more understanding about what it is like to have the condition. You have described what it is like for you, which is so helpful those of us who don't have it. Thank you for giving us an insight into your world.

    • nenierhea profile image

      nenierhea 6 years ago

      Your lens caught my attention. I'm so glad that I learned a lot from this lens. I wonder If you also have taken vitamins and supplements before?

    • NarrowPathPubli profile image

      NarrowPathPubli 6 years ago

      Thank you for writing this lens. I have Asperger's, and I have a LOT of trouble with facial expressions and facial recognition. I live with my best friend who is not autistic but is definitely "outside the norm" and we get along pretty well, although she gets annoyed with my inappropriate facial expressions at times. I have trouble making other friends and do NOT do well at parties or places with lots of noise.

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      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      My best friends child has diagnosed High end Autism, he is very bright and the proudest day was when he started P1 mainstream, he sure is Auntie Lisas' Cuddly Boy! I will send this over to my friend as inspiration for her. Thankyou

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Your writing is outstanding and I truly admire you, not only using the written word to share your coping mechanisms for your Asperger Syndrome, but just generally sharing yourself to help others understand and cope. You've done a great service here by making people more aware of Asperger's. ~~Blessed by a SquidAngel~~

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Excellent lens! One trick I've learned for the eye contact issue is to focus on the spot just above and between the other persons eyes, where a "third eye" would be on their forehead. That way you aren't really making eye contact, but to the other person it looks as if you are. Helping my son with these issues is also a challenge, but it's easier because we share the syndrome. I try to share my experiences at my Aspergers parenting tips blog; hopefully others can benefit from my experiences. Having aspergers isn't so bad once you learn to deal with your particular symptoms. Thank you so much for sharing this lens; it's great!

    • cherylsgifts2go profile image

      cherylsgifts2go 6 years ago

      I was very interested in your lens as my grandson was diagnosed with Aspergers. Strange too that I received this lens while he is staying with Grandma for a couple of weeks, perfect timing. Thanks for all the information which I shared with my daughter. Great lens!

    • NanLT profile image

      Nan 7 years ago from London, UK

      Excellent! There is much one can learn about Asperger's here. All of my boys have varying degrees of Aperger's Syndrome.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Already gave it 5* but have returned to bless it and feature it on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • myraggededge profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Your strategies are wonderful and inspiring to others. You are a gifted teacher who can use your own negative and positive experiences to enhance the lives of other people (both those living with and without Aspergers) and help them to cope. Squidoo and writing online, in general, are the perfect places for you to spread your teachings. As a chronically shy and socially awkward person when growing up, I can relate to having to use scripted reactions/responses to just get through the day. I preferred to live in my head than to interact with real people. I still do.Blessed :-)

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      Laurel Johnson 7 years ago from Washington KS

      This is a beautifully written lens. I learned a lot from reading about your experiences.Your courage and honesty are inspiring.Congrats on the purple star.

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 7 years ago

      Congrats on your Purple Star. It is brave of you to share your struggles with us. This info will help lots of people!

    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

      Congrats again, Purple Squid. I'll add this to your feature later but, for now, I think you'll want to visit: https://hubpages.com/community/luvmyludwigs-purple

    • sulcatamandy profile image

      Mandy 7 years ago from Montana

      This is a beautiful lens. I am so glad that you are able to communicate what it is like as a person with Aspergers to live day to day. My stepson has Aspergers (he is about to turn 12) and he often has trouble coping. This is quite an awkward age anyway, and the Aspergers makes it more so. If I could get him interested I would have him read this...but unfortunately reading is not one of his favorite things to do right now. Thank you for the beautiful lens!

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      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      Your Purple Star has been awarded by our Purple Star Queen of the week, luvmyludwig.

    • luvmyludwig lm profile image

      luvmyludwig lm 7 years ago

      Kylyssa, every time I read something you've written it effects me so deeply. You are a special person with a talent to express yourself with the written word. I don't know what it's like to have Aspergers, but you have enabled me to see what it's like through your eyes. I see a couple similarities between Aspergers and Bipolar Disorder. It is much easier for me to form friendships online because I have a way to edit myself. In a face to face encounters I sometimes react in inappropriate ways or say something "off" when I'm hypomanic or manic. And face recognition gives me trouble too. A person's hair tends to stand out in my mind more than the face and that causes problems because of hair cuts and such. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it has helped me better understand Aspergers and I have even more respect for you than I previously had (and I'm always had a lot of respect for you). I really admire your strength.

    • Airinka profile image

      Airinka 7 years ago

      Useful information! Thanks!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      A very clear and insightful description of the challenges that you and other people with Asperger Syndrome face. You communicate wonderfully with the written word and do so much to foster understanding.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

      This is absolutely amazing! I admire your courage and your tenacious determination. This is truly an awesome insight into your everyday life and struggle. Thank you for helping us to understand Asperger Syndrome. In reading your lens, I couldn't help but wonder how many people with Asperger Syndrome go without a diagnosis, thus without any help or understanding. "Angel Blessed" and added to my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.

    • dc64 lm profile image

      dc64 lm 7 years ago

      I tried to leave a comment, but I lost my internet connection after I hit the 'Add Comment' button, so just in case it did not go through, I'd like to say how great it is to see that there are quite a few of us on the Autism Spectrum here. Lensrolled!

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      HikiCulture 7 years ago

      I'm glad you're creating these insightful lenses about Aspergers.Being an aspie, I highly appreciate this.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 7 years ago

      Once again, a wonderful lens. Your difficulties with this disorder have certainly not affected your intelligence or writing ability - you are a very bright and articulate woman and it is wonderful that you are using your abilities this way.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image

      VarietyWriter2 7 years ago

      Wonderful lens. I have built many autism lenses myself and I don't think there could ever be too much attention brought to the world of autism. Thank you for sharing.

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      Quirina 7 years ago

      Kylyssa, I find your account of your own experiences extremely interesting. Thank you for sharing!

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 7 years ago

      A lot of really great information. Thanks for all the work you put into this.

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      sandralynnsparks 7 years ago

      Kylyssa, this is wonderful. I've given it five stars, and lensrolled it to my lens on synaesthesia. Thank you...a lot of people don't realize just how Asperger's works; we need the descriptions to be just as clear as you need descriptions from us.

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 7 years ago

      I cope with nothing else than asthma, Kylyssa :) But I regret of not being an angel (a real one) as I would bless and cure anyone who has to cope with troubles and/or diseases!Dom.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Very nice insight into the problem. Great topic and thanks for sharing it 5*

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