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Are there very high functioning people on the Autistic spectrum

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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-30-10 07:44 PM
Original message
Are there very high functioning people on the Autistic spectrum
who are passing by under the radar of the medical establishment? I look at myself and at my kids, and we all have aspects of Asperger's, but mostly not severe enough to really stand out. In other words, I think we have learned (mostly) how to function among neurotypical people even though we are wired differently. I'd be curious to hear other people's opinions on this.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
1. Tons.
Many people don't self-identify until their 40s or even 50s.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Ditto here
I only self-id'd within the past year. Looking back I realize that many people around me (friends, teachers, bosses) must have known but I refused to see it.

One of my co-workers once told me to go get checked and I just took it as an insult and quit talking to him. I could have saved myself 15 years of grief and confusion if I'd taken that advice.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-02-10 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. Oh, absolutely.
Remember that the high-functioning part of the spectrum was completely unknown before Temple Grandin, and Asperger's was not a diagnosis until 1994. so there are a lot of undiagnosed older autistics out there.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-03-10 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
4. Absolutely.
Especially in people over 30 or 35, who were pretty much grown up by the time Asperger's hit the DSM.

I didn't figure out that my oldest is an Aspie until he was 18 years old and half way through his senior year of high school. I just knew that smart as he was, he was really different from his peers and his younger brother. Getting diagnosed is dependent on lots of things, such as actually having access to people who are paying enough attention and know enough to even suggest a possible diagnosis. Or having the financial or medical coverage wherewithal to do so.


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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-07-10 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm am high-functioning.
Edited on Tue Sep-07-10 04:24 PM by sakabatou
As for the medical establishment, I was misdiagnosed until last year as having an anxiety disorder. So that's 21/22 years before I was diagnosed.
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-25-10 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. I don't mean to pry, but...
I have been having panic attacks and was recently diagnosed as having anxiety disorder (2 years now). But I do believe I have Asperger's. It's hard for me to say definitively 100% because I spent my teen years and my 20s and 30s learning how to mimic "normals" and have incorporated situational responses to most social situations so they're almost second nature to me. I know I'm not fully successful because I periodically get called out for it.

I'd appreciate it if you would send me a DU mail message about your situation and how you were correctly diagnosed.
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sakabatou Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-27-10 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I don't really know
The one who diagnosed me correctly works with a lot of autistic kids and saw the same stuff in me.
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LuckyLib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-18-10 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
6. You would be surprised how many. In the academic setting, especially, where quirky
Edited on Sat Sep-18-10 06:45 PM by LuckyLib
folks with unusual relational and perceptual habits hide in the entrepreneurial culture of colleges, universities, and research centers.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-19-10 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
7. Nother comment or two.
After I figured out that my oldest had Asperger's, and I quietly informed his teachers, they all essentially smacked their foreheads and said, "Of course! Why didn't I figure that out earlier!"

And the other thing about the academic setting. Just a reminder that the "absent-minded professor" stereotype is really that of someone with Asperger's.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-11-11 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. If you want to see what Asperger's looks like
Go check out the engineering or math faculty at a major university. The higher the flier in terms of pure intellectual horsepower, the more likely they are on the spectrum somewhere.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-27-10 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
10. I suspect my history teacher from high school, now retired, is an Aspie.
He's in his early 70s right now. He's a walking encyclopedia, was very strict as a teacher, was extremely organized, and HATED change, he used the same old typewriter to make his tests and quizzes since he taught my parents!
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-11-11 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
11. Absitively
I was labeled as gifted as a child but always had social problems. Dropped out of HS at 16, eventually went to college at 25, graduated w/honors and went on to law school, where I graduated with Michelle Obama (then Michelle Robinson). Career was an unmitigated disaster for years. Finally got my formal Asperger's DX at 48 while in treatment for depression. Which explained rather a lot.

Finally found a spot I like six months ago and my boss knows I'm Aspie and what my limitations and strengths are. Whew.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-12-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. How did you go about informing your boss
of your Asperger's?

I constantly wonder to what extent my son should be informing bosses or potential bosses. Actually, I don't think he himself would ever want to do it. He's quite content with the way he is. As well he should be. But he does have certain limitations and strengths that are not the same as "normal" people.

He is currently working in the CAD lab at his junior college, where he got his own CAD degree last year. The main thing wrong with the job is that it's not full time, so he's not making as much money as he really needs. Plus, he'd rather be doing real CAD work. Hopefully, when the economy gets better, he'll be able to get a real CAD job.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-11 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. It was an unusual situation
The guy who called me about the job was an old college friend I had stayed in touch with over the years. We met again when I was clerking for a judge, something pretty unusual for someone 17 years out of law school. We had chats over the years and the subject of why I was doing what I was doing came up. I was frank about my issues and what I can and cannot do. I can research and write with the best, argue motions in court (I spent three years working for judges and know how that process works) and take/defend depositions. What I can't do is the stuff that requires interpersonal empathy - interview clients, try cases, anything that requires a lot of one-to-one personal interaction. I can NOT do those things with any degree of competence because I am the classic "cold fish" Aspie with people and situations I am not familiar with.

There's no safe universal recommendation about disclosure, and it your son and his boss are comfortable with the arrangement they have, there's no reason to go there. Like him, I am content with who and what I am, but I had a horrendous 20-year work history to explain away and a concerned and sympathetic friend to explain it to.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-11 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. 17 years out of law school you were undoubtedly
at least 35, and just being a little older would help.

A year or two out of high school, my son got a summer job doing date entry connected to a research project a cardiologist was doing about some kind of medication. They loved him, because they learned they could put him in an unused office and he'd happily do his job for hours and hours. He's not at all chatty, quite unlike his mom :)

When he has a job, he just does it, and so is a very good employee. I'm sure they like him a lot at the CAD lab. Before that job he did math tutoring at a different junior college, and I heard that they really liked him there.

How truly wonderful you had the concerned and sympathetic friend.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-11 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. I was 48 when I got my DX in 2005
and I'd been out of school 17 years at that time. Didn't start college until I was 25 :)
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-11 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. My son started college right away, but
didn't get the AA degree until age 26, despite never missing attending a semester of school from kindergarten on. The Asperger's really got in the way.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-11 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. It was never an issue for me, academically
during my seven years in college and law school. I was not the most socially involved person, but I never had been before. Being AS came back to bite me with a vengeance once I got out into the real world. Law turned out to be a very class-conscious, socially-driven profession, at least at the level I was at in my first job. AS + working-class rough edges doomed me from the start. Three months after I started I told a friend the question was when, not if, I would get fired. Nine months later I was. And a partner at the firm made sure that I didn't get another job. I didn't work in law again until nearly six years after I was given my notice.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-15-11 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. How truly sad.
I know that a lot of Aspies have trouble keeping jobs. That has never been an issue with my son, I guess because of the jobs he's had. Nothing like law, obviously. When he's working he just kind of keeps his head down and does the job. I do understand that he has unintentionally alienated a co-worker or two because his social skills are lacking, but that's never resulted in a job loss.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. He should keep it to himself.
Most people will not understand.
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Deep13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-16-11 04:02 PM
Response to Original message
21. Asperger's by definition is high-functioning. nt
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