“Copy & Paste’ – Hidden Asperger’s– Girls with Aspergers | Niamh McCann | TEDxDunLaoghaire


Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Raissa Mendes What do you think
when you hear this phrase: “He bent over backwards”? Or this: “She was on the ball”? What you probably
didn’t imagine was this. Or maybe this. The English language is full
of colorful expressions, metaphors, slang, and we use these in the conversations
that we have every day. For 99% of the population, it’s a comfortable means of communication. For the remaining 1%, however, all that colorfulness
is not only uncomfortable, but extremely confusing. And not only because people
bend over backwards or are on the ball, but because a simple wink
can have different meanings in different contexts. And sometimes, a friend will say something
to another friend which sounds like an insult, but it makes them laugh instead of cry. Who are these people
who see funny pictures of flexible men or who can’t understand sarcasm? These people have a condition
called Asperger’s syndrome, which is a type
of high-functioning autism. Now usually, when I say “autism” and I ask people
what they understand by it, they tell me it looks
something like this, your quirky genius type, stimming, bouncing, flapping, rocking, or my personal favorite: restricted interests. Yes, it is true that there are people
with Asperger’s who display these traits. It is also true that these
are only stereotypes and a small part of the entire picture. If Asperger’s were
as easy to spot as this, then there would be
no problem at all in diagnosing it. Unfortunately, Asperger’s, like life,
is far more complicated. And if you’re a girl with Asperger’s,
things get even more tricky because all the diagnostic tools
that professionals use were designed to spot Asperger’s in boys. Now, this gender bias leaves
thousands of Asperger girls undiagnosed, unsupported, sometimes even after
they’ve taken the test. My younger brother was diagnosed
as being on the spectrum when he was three and a half. His autism was obvious, or stereotypical. He was late to talk, he bounced and flapped his hands, and he wouldn’t make eye contact. My parents took him
to get an assessment done. Within two months, he was diagnosed, and the proper supports
were put in place to help him. Fast-forward eight years,
and he’s doing just great. And then, there was me. I didn’t bounce, I didn’t flap. I was a shy but diligent student, I got good grades
and I didn’t cause trouble. But what I did do
was hide under the table and cover my ears at lunchtime because the noise of my chatting peers
was too much for me to cope with. I was quiet, I let others make up the rules
of the games we played, and I shared my sparkly pens
when no one else would. And it took 14 years for anyone
to notice that I was struggling, desperately. For many high-functioning girls,
it takes even longer. Why is this? Shouldn’t our confusion
around other people be obvious to our teachers, our friends, let alone our parents? And what I find is that there is a very
simple, if unfortunate, reason for this. It’s because of something we do to cope. We do it subconsciously, but it results in us
camouflaging our autistic traits, and it is called “masking”. Asperger girls are usually
bright and sensitive, and when we’re younger, we use these qualities to achieve
a kind of superficial social competence. Like detectives, we watch, and we listen, and we try to make sense
of the things people do and why they do them. It’s a hard job. It’s exhausting. We work both day and night shifts. The clues often lead us wrong. But we don’t have any other choice, because it’s our means of coping in a world which is
so socially confusing to us. When I was younger, I would mimic
my favorite cartoon characters: their way of walking, the words they used and how they spoke to one another. I absorbed this information and then applied it
to my social interactions, almost like copying and pasting. But I quickly learned
that life is not a cartoon, people are not characters
who behave predictably, and imitation can only take
an Asperger girl so far. By the time they reach adolescence, trust me, they are mentally exhausted
and emotionally wrecked. Social relationships become
so much more complicated, and for an Asperger girl, every conversation becomes
like a math problem. And I remind you here
that we are not all quirky genius types. I managed to mask
my Asperger’s for 14 years, and then, I crashed. The loving people in my life
rushed in to help. And one day, I found myself
sitting in a room with two occupational psychologists, a bag of feathers, thumbtacks and a book about flying frogs. This apparently was the ADOS test, the standardized test
used to identify autism, the same test that my brother took
seven years previously. They set me some simple tasks, and they asked me questions
about my life, my family, my interests. I responded to these
in the only way that I knew how: by copying and pasting the correct answer. So I smiled, I shook hands, I gave eye contact, as I knew I was supposed to. I’m not sure what the story with the flying frogs
was meant to tell anyone about me, but apparently it told them
that I wasn’t on the autistic spectrum. In fact, I scored a zero. I failed. I “really, really, really”
didn’t have autism. But it wasn’t me who had failed the test. It was the test that had failed me. And there are women in their thirties,
forties, fifties, and even older, who are only just getting diagnosed now, usually after identifying
their difficulties themselves by taking online quizzes. And this simply isn’t good enough. These women have spent
decades of their lives not understanding
a crucial part of themselves. They can end up
in the mental health system, being misdiagnosed
with mental health disorders, medicated and treated
for things they don’t have, and then suffering the consequences
and the complications of these medications. In a recent survey, 23% of girls with anorexia were
subsequently discovered to have autism. Twenty-three percent. A further 40% have
coexisting anxiety disorders. Countless more are being
treated for depression. And I wonder: how many of these girls might have been spared
these mental health difficulties had their underlying Asperger’s
been identified sooner? I got the correct diagnosis in the end; not through ADOS, but in spite of it. I am one of the lucky ones, and I don’t want any more girls
to slip through the net like I did. We need to become better
at identifying difficulties in girls, even if they’re subtle. We need an accurate and broader tool
to diagnose autism in all its many forms. Because autism is not black and white; it is a spectrum of color. And we need to open our eyes
to see all of it. Thank you. (Applause)

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Comments

  1. the first 90 second of this video and I understand that this disease is! i had watched 20 videos and I could not get it. thanks.

  2. Ugh! And in addition, imagine how this country will interfere with your dying process. Tuck you neatly away into an old folks home and forget about you, carry on with your mondaine life of non societal contributions, basket weaving ckasses and living off your parents trust fund until they die and you realize you contributed NOTHING in this life, you only took and spent and you are worthless even in you true soul. I hope you return as a bug.

  3. That's me. I'll be 41 next month & I haven't been diagnosed as of yet. I acted like people on tv until I realized no one else really acted like those people LOL I was always considered weird, mental, slow, etc. & never fit in. I've never even had a driver's license because in my area there aren't any student driver services & none of my family or friends were willing to teach me.

  4. Copy and paste is the story of my life! I mask without even knowing it. I was assessed and was told its bpd, even though my scores were extremely high. I presented in an hour interview in a neurotypical way and so my struggles were dismissed. My traits (8 pages of examples which I handed in) were dismissed. Bpd, depression, anxiety, complex ptsd, etc. I agree, if I'd been a boy, if would've been picked up. My behaviour as a child was not "normal," but due to having an abusive home it was chalked up to me acting out.

  5. Okay? If that did not mean that he bent over backwards and she was on the ball, than what did it mean? I seriously am wondering right now, as an High Functioning Autistic. Do tell me please.

  6. This is my stepdads account. But who is writing is a 27 year old woman who struggles with Asperger syndrome. I was diagnosed when I was 20, and I took a long time before I actually accepted my diagnosis. I truly saw it as a death sentence. Only recently have I truly accepted that this is me and this will be my life, to a degree. I have struggled all of my life with making friends and maintaining friendships. I a m pretty well a loner, because most times I try to make friends I come on too intense or they just want to take advantage of me and use me for money and for drives. Without giving money away or giving away drives all the time, leaves me with few potential friends it seems. Most just want me for something. I am either too quirky and have limited interests and cannot balance her interests and mine (compromise) or I come on too intense and creep them out. Usually I am desperate for a friend that yeah I will maybe accidentally scare them off or I come off as rude by accident since I am no good with eye contact or showing body language that shows I am interested ( even though I am, I am just so awkward.). Also, I deal with the struggle of coping with loud noises /sounds, certain fabrics and texture, and bright lighting. I cannot socialize for long and if theres external stimuli such the loud noises, uncomfortable fabrics, bright lighting, then my time to socialize is even more limited. I meltdown a lot and I suffer from extreme amounts of anxiety. My meltdowns are where I cry and cry and have to go to a quiet, dark room and try to calm down, away from people and any triggering stimuli. On top of that I have social phobia so I am always worried about being judged negatively or going outside alone, anxiety plagues my life. I am trying to see the positives of having Aspergers now that I am older, and I am trying to figure out how I am going to function the rest of my life. I compare myself to others my age, who are working successfully, earning decent income, have lots of friends and get to go to dances and outings, have a great family, travel, etc etc.. I try not to.. I am sad.. I know people will tell me 'stop self pitying!!' I have dreams and aspirations that i do want to achieve !! I will try.. Thanks for reading

  7. It’s funny when I talk with adults they can’t tell I’m on the spectrum, but when I talk with kids and teenagers I stick out and I am incredibly identifiable as different. This is been one of the things I have never understood

  8. I managed to mask my Autism until one day I took an online test and after a YEAR of waiting I finally told my Mom. Now I am 14 years old and getting tested. I am also being treated for Depression because I self-harm which is “always a red flag”. I do it as a coping mechanism and now after learning that so many are, I think that I was misdiagnosed. I am of course going to tell the person this but there are so many things that I could relate to in this video that I thought I was alone on. Feeling like I have to change for every different group of people, learning from the TV, and hiding who I really am. I, personally, learned from Disney channel. My Mom always says to me “Madison this isn’t Disney channel” as evidence. I am going to have to say these things to her (I know for a fact that the tester is a woman so don’t freak out at me) know all of these things so that this doesn’t happen to me. But the thing is my Mom usually tells people this when she has to and I’m going to be in there all alone so I’m nervous. Not to mention that everyone always says “well what if it comes back negative” and it is making me nervous because if I pretend too well that the Doctor won’t have adequate information. I am under so much pressure.

  9. Told my girl the other day that she better "hurry up, chop chop, on yer bike"…. And she looked puzzled for a moment…and said… "But I don't have a bike." And when I tried to explain it to her she just got more confused and said…"I don't know how to ride a bike either."

  10. I'm balling my eyes out to this beautiful tragic speech I was diagnosed at 8 and I'm 15 now struggling with my peers , in friendships , my emotions , Everyday I try to make sense of why people say the things they say , which is why bander really ANNOYS me it's everywhere in Ireland 😒

  11. Conversations are so confusing , no wonder I FEEL so ALONE 💔 I have no friend who understands me . I LOVE U ❤❤❤

  12. I just got diagnosed at 19 and nobody would’ve ever known until I had a huge breakdown. I was originally diagnosed with generalized anxiety and depression but finally one of my therapists mentioned maybe I may be on the spectrum so I got tested. My parents tried to get me tested during school but since I was passing my classes, nobody would do it (because it costs the school money) I would’ve continued by life thinking I was just seriously depressed.. I still continue to struggle as there aren’t many resources when your diagnosed after 18. We all just have to hope one day people will be more understanding with mental health issues

  13. It's exhausting acting normal. Being aware of everything you do and how you do it in public situations can cause a panic attack.

  14. I literally rationalize the jokes and look at the moments where people use them and I try to replicate that. Is that weird? Textures freak me out and I’m very “ quirky and cute” according to the people. And i don’t understand when people joke using hurtful words, it causes problems and anxiety. I identified too much with this video. I just thought I was awkward….

  15. This whole Asperger's mimic is not quite true, I mean, everyone mimics, every person. The difference is that an Asperger does it on purpose to understand the rest of the people, but everyone else does this as well, is just that for the 99% this is normal yet unconscious behavior.

  16. As a Psychologist with long professional experience with people with Dx of Social Emotional Disorder/ASD/Asperger's, I am impressed by this courageous and eloquent young person's presentation of the 'lived experience'. Treise leat a Niamh agus go n-eiri an bother leat le do shaol as seo amach!

  17. I feel so lucky to have been diagnosed at 8, brilliant video, there should be a better system to spot it 🙂

  18. Thank you! Thank you for reaching out for us Aspie girls like this. This is very spot on and insightful, and even I had undergone most if these experiences. Including tests… but I finally got diagnosed and am getting what I need. I'm happy for you. And I agree, we Aspie girls especially need to be observed more closely and more, for our tendency to 'mask' and such is very strong and has a lot of affect on hiding that part of ourselves and also more. Thank you again, more people need to see this!

  19. I don't have autism, but I have ADHD, and while I got help for the "school" problems of ADHD, I really struggled with the "social" issues of ADHD. My mother tried roleplaying with me, on the advice of my psychologist, and I remember saying to her, "But, what do I do if something different happens?" I never got an answer to that question. Figuring out how to solve social situations when you are not a neurotypical girl is very difficult, because no one will just tell you what you're doing wrong, they expect you to just figure it out. I am always up front and honest about my ADHD. Not in an attempt to make excuses, but so that other people will understand that there are some things that I need help with.

  20. Omg… yes! Copy and paste is exactly what I do. To the point where I pick up accents and mannerisms when I travel, and it makes me anxious that not everyone can’ blend’ .
    Also, I also would seem to always give the ‘right’ answer ( or I at least try to find the right answer). Only with my close friends am I myself, even if that is a little odd. My mother was baffled when I mentioned any of this to her, she admitted she was always questioning it but I wasn’t the stereotype so she just figured that I was just a bit quirky .
    It makes sense why people often have a hard time following my train of thought , I always figured it was just my quick brain skipping a few steps but now I realized that it is just that my brain connects things differently.

  21. my mom once told my then lil daughter that she could have some of her food if she swallowed her food first. poor little thing had a mouthful, unchewed food in her mouth and swallowed the whole mouthful in one big gulp.
    i had her looked at at age 4 and age 9 but both times ppl did not see her true self. at age 15 she crashed terribly and i googled her diagnosis and found her the right diagnostic center. she scored 100% in all 6 categories.
    why i ask. why did she have to suffer for so long.
    why did those experts not listen to me when i told them that she smiles in a weird way and cannot initiate play with other kids.
    they said i was hysterical and a helicopter mom.
    i am not tested yet myself but i am too clearly autistic.
    and i think my other daughter is too, she just has way better social skills or rather put is much more competitive when it comes to social interaction.

  22. High-functioning goes mostly unnoticed for all. I've never been diagnosed, but I see the resemblance in the "copy/paste" reference.

  23. I had someone asking me if I was Autistic at 16, and was deeply hurt by that because I had a wrong idea of what being Autistic meant back at that time. Had been on meds and dealing with mental health issues since 13. When I finally had the courage to ask a psychologist if I could be Autistic at 23, he immediately dismissed saying I could make eye contact and talk so it was not a possibility. Many more years struggling, but finally got a diagnosis this year (at 28).

  24. I diagnosed myself with some degree of autism after reading 3 books written by Donna Williams in my mid-twenties. I could identify with some of the things she wrote about, but not all of it (thankfully). These books were Nobody Nowhere, Somebody Somewhere, and Like Colour To The Blind. I found these books in my local library only because they were on display. Donna Williams was autistic, wrote at least 9 books and was also an artist. She died in 2017 at the age of 53.

  25. It took over 40 years for someone to diagnose me with Asperger's Syndrome. Of course, no one knew or had any idea that autism existed back in the early 70's. I feel gypped. 😕

  26. I'm in my 50s now, and these days it's my mother I feel sorry for – she spent so much time and effort trying to 'fix' me. Ah, the checklists I compiled, the acts I perfected – she left me alone once I could pass for 'normal' enough. I remember spending every lunchtime for two years of primary school (grades 4 and 5, I think) being lectured by the teacher on the importance of fitting in – those lectures were where I learned to stare into people's eyes when they talk to me. Once I got that down pat, Mum decided I was fixed. These days, I'm told I unnerve people when I stare while they're talking. Those neurotypicals, they're just never satisfied…

  27. Once you were diagnosed, what type of support did you receive? What seemed to help the most? I asked my 14-year old daughter if she knows the phrase, "bend over backwards" and she literally bent her back backwards… I asked her if she knows what it means to, "be on the ball," and she said no. She says she imagines someone balancing on a ball. This is amazing to me. She was diagnosed with Level 1 ASD last week…

  28. Thank you for this. I’m 16 and have felt similar to this my entire life, considering going to see a neurologist bc im not sure if I have it

  29. Greetings (fellow?) Aspies!
    I wonder if anyone else has noticed a paradox inherent in many of the commenters here? Many of you say how difficult it is to work out people, work out what to say, and how to say it. The paradox is:you assert that the unaffllicted(neurotypical?)don't have these difficulties, to put it bluntly how would you know? If you're autistic how would you of all people know? And if you do have this insight into the minds if others doesn't that undermine the defining principle of autism

  30. Stop saying my life story (but don't actually because it's important peopl hear it). The only other diagnosis I have that you didnt mention is PTSD and I failed the ADOS otherwise this is me

  31. Higher functioning Autist here (super high IQ too). My daughter seems to have taken after me. Incredibly diligent and gifted but easily overstimulated and displaying harder to spot female-centric autism behaviours.

    People tend to take the extreme autists with severe learning disabilities as what autism is. There's a whole load of higher functioning autists who exhaust themselves behaving and copying other people to look relatively normal.

    Frustrating is putting it lightly.

  32. I am 14 and I think I may have Aspergers but I’m not sure because all these symptoms are confusing me and my friends and some of my family don’t really believe me. I also am scared to get tested for it because of talking and see the people to do it.

  33. 2:11

    Restricted interests are present in every case of autism, except sometimes in atypical autism.

    So it's not a stereotype.

    What can be bothering, though, is that it's almost always completely exaggerated.

  34. I have always been a difficult female. An outcast, INFP, taking up an invisible corner of this world. Still undiagnosed, a little suicidal, but working my way into the world the only way I can, through art. My therapist is doing her best to teach me how to save myself when my neurotypical friends fall short of understanding. As for the mimicking, I change myself when I find a mannerism I like on a video. Nobody notices or minds. I'm frightened to death about reaching out and finding someone who can test and can diagnose me. I am desperate. I think I am a sociopath who carries her dad's mental illness. I need help and live in a city which is supposed to have what I need. Where do I go?

  35. My daughter was 14 when she was diagnosed. She had such bad OCD, that none of us could see the autism underneath. Medication for OCD let her show who she really was. She crashed at 14. Didn't speak for 2/12 years. I home schooled my kids, my 2 boys have autism, and I have Asperger's. So I understand how hard school is for them. My daughter could never cope with school, supposedly because of OCD. I had to do most of her schooling and therapy myself, because the doctors wanted to put her in hospital. She developed autism related catatonia, and they thought they could help, when all they did was make things worse. She needed time. I reparented her, she was like a toddler, and over 3 years, she redeveloped, and now at 20years old, she is extremely intelligent, emotionally young, but is doing very welll. I'm so proud of how far we have come, that we didn't listen to anyone else, and did it our way. Xx

  36. I am one of these girls. I was diagnosed with ASD this year at 27 years old. I also previously had been diagnosed with anorexia. It makes me so happy to see that my story isnt unusual, at least.

  37. Well a least you did not say ASSBURGERS ,Please remember its the Duty of People with Autism to Help non autistic understand you need meet halfway

  38. Those of you who are adults and seeking an official diagnosis…may I ask why? Asking because my 40-year-old son is on the spectrum and knows it, but fears a diagnosis would lead to being devalued by NTs.

    Is Asperger's considered a disability? It would have saved everyone a lot of heartache and trauma if we'd known when he was in school but now? I truly don't know.

  39. I can genuinely say most, if not all, of my knowledge of social interactions came from books and tv shows. I learned the best facial expressions, words, and traits to exhibit at any given moment. I still struggle from time to time, especially when I have to deal with something I never had to deal with before (I also struggle with social anxiety, so it's double the pain), but I can pass most of the time because I forced myself to copy other people's behaviors. there are literally habits and quirks I picked up from other people that have now become my own. a lot of masking can be conscious, but a great part of it is unconscious. dealing with this neurotypical world is hard for an autistic girl. it really is. at 6:26 she talks about how exhausting it is. and boy, it is incredibly draining. I avoid social interactions with people I am not familiar or really comfortable with simply because it takes so much of me. I spend most of my time alone because I don't have to pretend when I'm on my own.

  40. eve though i qualify strongly for autism/aspergers diagnosis , i am refused a diagnoses because here in britain they dont like to label….
    this is infuriating since nobody believes me despite my odd and different behaviour and my fixated insterests.
    im still fighting for a diagnosis now and im already 18
    the system is unfair and not very helpful honesty

  41. I wasn't diagnosed till my 20's as a kid and teen people said I was shy, I didn't really have many friends and when my friend moved away when I was 11 I had no friends at all I young out with my younger sister and the few friends she had in school I rarely spoke unless asked a direct question and in high school it just got worse I would often eat my lunch quickly then go to the library and read or play on the computers I didn't really have a single friend I had people who would say hi in the halls but that was it I guess as a girl I was seen as shy quiet polite a loner but the only reason I was diagnosed was because I needed to take a test when I was trying for the third time to get disability do to my feet and it was the only reason I was diagnosed but it was to late for me no help was given no therapy no help to work on socializing so I just do my best and get by

  42. People usually say "You don't show it" whenever I tell them I'm a female with Aspergers. Society just wants to label anything different from their cookie cutter standards as a "disorder"

  43. If you have Aspergers and find yourself having rambled on for a bit, end it with "…and thank you for attending my TED Talk.".

  44. I'm grateful for this speech. I'm queued up to be assessed and the predicted waiting time is a year, and I'm so nervous that I'm gonna fail the test (or rather, that the test is gonna fail me, like she so neatly put it) because of my acquired social skills that make me look more social and normally functioning than I actually am. I need proper help because I have also crashed now and I can't go back to living my life the way I did, because even though everyone else thought I was doing great, it exhausted me completely…
    Also, random thing but omg I love her voice and intonation

  45. Those who were born prior to the 1970s who are Aspergers, and on the Spectrum never received any assistance. So they went to university or college, learned skills and trades, not knowing they would be held back by school staff; as is the seemed tactic now.

  46. Everyone says I'm a walking talking anime girl.

    I'm not diagnosed, but recently my medications have literally prevented me from masking and caused a crash, and it's become completely obvious to everyone around me as to why I got that title.

    Video games were how I learned to mask despite even with it, my sensory processing issues and Pica made it obvious. (ASD and Pica go hand in hand, apparently, I chewed on barbie dolls for years because the texture was pleasant. Fun fact for anyone who ever did something similar and wanted an answer.)

  47. Soon I will be getting my tests done for Aspergers syndrome I have all the signs and traits and my Psychologist said it too but it’s harder to see because I’m a girl

  48. Effectively it's an excuse for being thick then, because I don't seem to recall too many asperger wannabees back in the 1800's when you actually had to work for a living and benefits were not so easy to obtain.

  49. "He bent over backwards"

    thinks about someone bending forward

    "She was on the ball"

    thinks about a girl holding a ball

  50. I am a 24 year old Aspie and it has been really hard for me people in all my schools have bullied humiliated me just because I do not grasp social norms and I got diagnosed just recently it is so frustrating

  51. It’s tough as a female with Asperger. Social communication has always been far too complex to understand. If everybody was the same then that would vastly limit the variables making it easier. But how people can understand that when you say something to a person you never met and you should somehow automatically know what their reaction is going to be? That I have always been confused about. How is that even possible? People to me seem completely random. Like a lesson in statistics. And I HATE statistics! So I tend to be socially withdrawn. And as a woman this is not a well accepted trait in today’s society.

  52. She’s just described my childhood… I got really good at mimicking, had to learn to watch people in the eye even though it’s still uncomfortable, had to learn how to interact with others, didn’t understand why people’s emotions where so complicated and so absent of logic (ie: why get upset if it’s not true or if it doesn’t affect you or there’s nothing to do to change it), hiding when sounds became too much for me, avoiding bright lights, I still have trouble understanding the oral version of things preferring to read everything so as to understand better.
    Interpersonal relationships are too much for me at times, with everyone so clingy and attention starved. I had to learn how to give physical affection, as I hated it since I can remember (gave my first real hug, without being forced to do so, at 17 yrs).

  53. Well.I'm actually asperger girl and I don't realize it until today (after my friend shows me in internet).
    Well many people think that I always act differently because I'm introvert. most of them don't realize it because my intelligence and my sweet behavior.and I don't suprised because asperger syndrome is rare cases in Indonesia especially girls ( only 4 of 1000 people who has that syndrome and most of them is men)

  54. A youtuber I watched was recently disgnosed and talked about her experience with it and some of the aspie traits she had and watching it was uncanny because I related so much to it. Watching this and hearing another girl talk about her experience with it again made my jaw drop and now I really want to get diagnosed and see if my suspicions are true. Also I saw the literal meanings of those first things and then my brain was like, but no, they mean this, right? Also, when people are sarcastic with me or when they use similar phrases to those at the beginning, I always have to clarify by saying, "You don't mean literally, do you?" And I always get weird looks.

  55. I looked at a page of gender dysphoria and it said it could be common in people with asburgers. I think it has something to do with the way our brains our built, but I don't know??

  56. I hated lunchtime and don't remember going into the cafeteria much. I would go straight to the library and spend the whole hour there. It just felt better, and hunger was never an issue. I never "felt" hungry even when my stomach growled. I don't know why but it's still like that.

  57. How do we get a diagnosis? I suspect I have aspergers but I’m too scared to say anything to my doctor because for years I’ve too copy pasted how to engage in social interactions. I’ve tried making small talk at bus stops and after a couple of exchanges I dry up. I can’t sit amongst people and just chat. I feel uncomfortable and it’s hard work. However I can talk about facts/relay information etc. And I enjoy that. I guess that’s talking at people, rather than to people. Is there anywhere I can get an independent diagnosis from? I’m in the UK. And would it be accepted by the medical field?

  58. I told my friend that I was on the spectrum, and she told me ‘you don’t seem like someone who’d be on the spectrum.’ And doesn’t believe me

  59. I was diagnosed at the age of 12 (female). The copying and pasting thing rings a very familiar and coincidental bell. I am overly obsessed with a sitcom called the Big Bang theory. In the show there is a character called sheldon. He has lots of things in a particular order, has his own spot on the couch and a particular obsession, in his case, trains. I began picking up certain things he did, having my own spot on the couch, observing the actual sciences behind social situations and not being able to lie (in the show he tries to lie in a scene, his roommate asks if he’s lying and he admits it instantly). Sheldon happens to have many traits that stereotypically would fit on the spectrum but it’s never been confirmed.

  60. As a male, I still relate to a lot of this. I'm 32, and suspect only now that I might be on the spectrum. It was a strenuous process in my first 20 years figuring out how to seem like a "normal" person in society. Most people who've known me recently would laugh if I said I suspected I might have this condition as I've gotten very good at masking my "odd" inclinations. It does get tiring, though. Still, I've not been properly assessed so it may be something else entirely.

  61. Did the flying frog test and the other thing with the umbrella and feathers where you make up a story as a kid. They said I was either a sociopath or a narcissist. Test is flawed and they're all idiots.

  62. Im a girl and I got the diagnosis asperger when I was 7 because I didn’t talk to anyone except my close friends and family. Now I know I had selective mutism but back then they discovered asperger. Still to this day I am not sure how to act with strangers. I’ve learned phrases to say by watching others in that situation. Just like you say, copying.

  63. Omg…. i didn't cover my ears, but I'd leave, go outside or away, anywhere it wasn't so much. But i definitely wasn't smart, i always struggled…. hmm…

  64. I have aspergers, adhd and bpd. It's taken my whole life to get proper diagnosis for it. I wish there was more money in mental health services.

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