Melange Survey

We’ve arrived at the final set of survey questions for this round. Phew. These are the questions that didn’t seem to fit thematically in any of the other surveys. I wish I had a snappy title for it, but I ended up going with the obvious. Okay, maybe not that obvious.

You can answer here or anonymously at Survey Monkey

  1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
  2. What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉
  3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?
  4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
  5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
  6. If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
  7. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
  8. Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
  9. What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
  10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?

76 thoughts on “Melange Survey”

  1. 1. Oh God yes. I found that not restraining the way I study has helped me immensely. Friends of mine have theorized that by now – given I could do it totally my way – I could become conversational in a previously unknown language within half a year.
    2. I’d rather like the obliviousness to social awkwardness. I know it’s there and I am (partly) causing it, I can feel it, but have a hard time doing anything about it.
    3. Not at the moment.
    4. Nope.
    5. I don’t understand this question, I’m afraid.
    6. Not that I know of.
    7. I … don’t think so, but am again not sure if I understood the question entirely.
    8. Depends. It needs to be very interesting to me, and audioplays are easier than things narrated by only one person.
    9. Those of my friends willing to joke about it when I needed to, because it showed they still liked me.
    10. I rarely wear any, that’s true. No one can tell by now my earlobes were pierced once. I’m okay with rings, I like my leather bracelets, but don’t wear them often, usually only with certain outifts (and leather cuffs originally meant for bondage, sometimes) and have worn others for special occasions but don’t like them as much, A part of me always wanted a charm bracelet, with charms from different places and people, but I don’t know if I’d wear it often enough for it to make sense to have one. Dangly stuff on my wrist sometimes feels very good and sometimes very not good.
    I used to wear longer necklaces – but then always the same for months, that had some kind of emotional significance. Haven’t done that in a while. Tight ones I didn’t like the last few times I tried – I put one on as a bracelet instead, pulling it around my wrist twice, for my sister’s wedding. That was cute and a beautiful toy for stimming.

  2. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
    Possibly, but it’s hard to imagine. Going to a school which is built for NT people is always going to require me to adapt to suit it. I couldn’t have stopped ‘pretending’ and still been able to attend the school – because my ideal form of education simply doesn’t involve being in big rooms full of other noisy people as the best place to learn!

    What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉
    It would be fun to have a super eidetic/photographic memory (although hardly anyone actually has that). My long-term memory is good, but not perfect.

    Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?
    No(t yet).

    Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
    No.

    What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
    That lying is always wrong. I managed to teach myself that other people can and do lie, but I can’t shake the feeling that it is always a horrible bad thing (when most people find it perfectly acceptable in some situations).

    If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
    I’m nonbinary so there isn’t really anything ‘typical’ for my gender! 😛

    Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
    I’m not quite sure I understand this question. I think maybe it means: special interests are appealing because they are already familiar and well-known? In which case, yes, but there’s also a lot of joy in finding/starting a new special interest for me.
    To the second part: not really, I’m good at remembering facts related to random subjects even if they aren’t my particular interests.

    Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
    Yes. I get bored without something visual, but if I *do* have something visual then it distracts me from concentrating entirely on the audio.

    What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
    My diagnosis was only a few months ago, so… I’m not sure yet! I became entitled to a free bus pass, that was pretty useful. And I’m starting a distance-learning degree where I finally have access to accommodations for the first time, but I’m not sure what that will be like yet (hopefully good).

    Do you dislike wearing jewellery?
    Yeah, I often find jewellery uncomfortable. I don’t particularly *desire* to wear jewellery most of the time so it’s not a big thing to me.

  3. 1. Well, I actually put a lot of effort into actively being as weird as possible when I was in school. I guess I knew I was weird (didn’t know about ASD back then) and didn’t know how to be normal, so I put a lot of my mental energy into being as strange as possible. I did better in college, when I didn’t try so hard at being different, and just embraced my normal (which is still pretty weird).

    2. I agree with Svenja on this one.

    3. I am currently unemployed, but my previous job as an academic lab tech seemed pretty well suited. It was definitely focused on the details, and I didn’t need to worry about the big picture. My boss, and the students in the lab, worried about that stuff.

    4. No.

    5. I’m sure there’s something, as I often get surprised by things that other people think, but nothing comes to mind.

    6. Not really. I like to knit, which is probably considered typically feminine, but I don’t know that there’s a way to do knitting in a way other than knitting stuff.

    7. I don’t think that’s the appeal, but I do have trouble remembering things about topics I’m not currently spending time on. I thought that was normal though. Lots of people seem to forget the details about stuff they no longer spend a lot of time on, so I never really thought about it as an ASD thing.

    8. Yes.

    9. I’m self-diagnosed, so I guess for me it was making sense of some of my difficulties.

    10. No. I actually really like jewelry, but I don’t wear much beyond my wedding ring and engagement ring on a regular basis.

  4. 1) Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”? – yes, I was thinking about this just before the survey came out – I think some time in my teens I made the decision to devote more of my energy to being socially accepted than to my school work, and that I didn’t have the bandwidth to do both. I think people thought I was some kind of genius when I was a little kid and expected me to at least get a PhD like my dad. I think the fact that I settled for a degree, a respectable career in IT and a family might have been a disappointment. 🙂

    2) What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius – I wish I was better at computer programming.

    3) Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism? – I think my career is a good choice, I design and manage websites. Lots of planning, analysis, visual thinking, proof reading and bug testing. I’m also good at communicating with the type of people that tend to be programmers and designers (ie. aspies), and translating between them and more NT marketing/management types.

    4) Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number? – Not consciously, but since reading the previous post on OCD and numbers, I realised my brain is doing stuff with prime numbers without me knowing, so who knows what it is doing with letters!

    5) What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think? – I’m very shocked when I encounter blatent racism/sexism/homophobia – as I can’t understand how people can still justify those beliefs to themselves.

    6) If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”) – I’m generally not a girly girl, but I like making earrings – but this is basically an excuse to collect and sort glass beads, and have a pair that matches whatever I’m wearing. I love the cool, smooth feel of the beads – and the picture you used for this post! I collect sea glass too for similar reasons.

    7) Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting? – yes I have trouble switching between subjects, can’t remember details of stuff I learnt at college but should know. I hate being put on the spot with verbal questions anyway.

    8) Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama? – yes – my brain does tend to wander off. And in meetings.

    9) What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why? – No diagnosis – yet or maybe ever – but your blog is the most helpful thing I have found so far. 🙂

    10) Do you dislike wearing jewellery? – Any jewellery I do wear has to be certain kinds of metal or natural material (silver, leather, glass) or it irritates my skin. I tend to fiddle with stuff so try not to wear too much. I wear a couple of rings, a plain watch, and earrings (see above). Necklaces and bracelets tend to irritate me, but I like the pull of slightly heavy earrings (pressure stim?).

    1. That was going to be my ‘still can’t believe…’ response. Honestly just makes me want to cry in frustration. Oh wait – it HAS made me cry, many times. It’s been the cause of a handful of dramatic and traumatic (for me) dinners, where I could not accept the blatant racism of some of my family members, attempted to get them to see the right way of thinking (so far as I am STILL concerned) and they did not take at all kindly to this. They then joined together against a common enemy – me. Very unpleasant. I just don’t get hate, for hate’s sake.

  5. 1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
    Yes.
    2. What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉
    Eidetic memory. That’d be really useful.
    3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?
    Yes. I am basically paid to perseverate.
    4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
    No.
    5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
    Ableism is a thing that exists.
    6. If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
    N/A. Pretty much all my interests are gender-atypical.
    7. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
    Not for me, and not really.
    8. Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
    I can’t listen to radio/audio drama. Most radio talkie bits just sound like jumbled noise to me. So yeah.
    9. What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
    N/A – self-diagnosed.
    10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?
    I loathe it. Mainly b/c nickel allergy and pretty much all jewelery do not get along, and also because hooking an earring in a towel is incredibly painful.

    1. Hey, I’ve got a nickel allergy too! *waves* I actually found out because there was some in my glasses I still wore at the time, so my nose was horribly irritated.

  6. 1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
    YES definitely

    2.What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have?
    Math Genius…I suck at math due to dyscalcula. I would also love to catch on to all languages quickly.

    3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?
    What I do in my day to day ( Unschool my kids, think outside the boxes of conformity, design my home and decorate my home and others) is all due to my ability to jump quickly to deep insights, attention to detail and have deep insight into helping others…which all stems from my different wiring.

    4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
    No but I do pay attention to patterns.

    5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
    So many things! Anything that has to do with prejudice, stereotypes, cultural thinking- it all baffles me that people just follow like cows to slaughter…also anything institutional like beliefs or schooling…granted it did take certain books for me to get here myself but often the books verify where I already am instead of teaching me something new. (like Home Grown by Ben Hewitt and Dumbing Us Down by John Gatto I just recently read and they both verified what I already came to a conclusion to by gut instinct…)

    6.If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
    Both…I was typical for my gender because I was complimented on my looks as I grew so i went with that…but in a different way…in Elementary I was obsessed with Little Women/ Anne of Green Gables era and costume. My mother had to make me bloomers to sleep in. In high School it changed to the era of the actors I was watching (Audrey Hepburn) ect and their styles which helped me fit in because it was pretty classic. I can predict trends and colours every year before they happen because I start to see hints of it all around…But I will only choose to incorporate it into my life if I actually like it.

    7. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
    yes and yes…my memory sucks even for my obsessions at times if I am in en environment that is stressful.

    8.Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
    Oh yes. Typically I LOATHE it. My husband loves to listen to podcasts while he works around the house and I often say, “Ok I can’t handle it in anymore- it’s like a fan being on…its too draining.” As soon as he turns it off I feel immediate relief, way less cranky and not as sick or depressed…this does not happen to me with music. I can, however, listen to one podcast if I really want to- IF the speakers voice is a tone I can handle and if it’s short and I am in a good place…I don’t absorb it really either. I am more of a visual person yet I know every lyric to every song I enjoy….dont know what is with that:) and I have at least 9ooo songs in my iTunes library and know the lyrics to every one. Seriously. So I guess I am auditory only in music…

    9.What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
    I didn’t ge my papers because it was too pricey but several mental health professionals ( my therapist/ a physchologist) verified my self diagnosis along with many books and just KNOWING from blogs like this where I belong…so I guess blogs like yours and certain books helping me find my way…My helpful thing was the self diagnosis itself.

    10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?
    Yes but I wore it a ton when I was a teen and it didn’t bother me though I did have to take it off as soon as whatever event was done. I LOVE the thought of jewlerry. I have tons. I love sparkles and pretty things and gemstones…but I barely wear it…and now when I do I get drained faster….I take my wedding bands off every night or I can’t sleep…Sometimes I don’t wear them or I often substitute them for a gemstone ring I love ( moonstone cuz its smooth and shiny) I actually now hang my jewlerry around my home in places it suits for decor or hanging in windows to sparkle or around plants…because I love looking at it…just not always on me:)

  7. 1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
    Yes, although I think its more complex than that. I didn’t have any guidance on how to be normal so there was a lot of trial and error and trying to understand what was going on. I think I had to devote a lot of energy to all the other things involved in being at school. Also I found school very easy until I was 17 so never really had to learn how to work until after that and didn’t know how to ask. I was always quiet and fairly invisible so could easily slip past teachers notice.

    2. What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉
    Maths genius would be nice. Also the extra good visuo-spatial abilities would be good. I have part of it – very good at noticing details and patterns in things, but I have extremely bad/limited working memory. So in the tasks that involve rotating objects or comparing things, I can’t hold the original in mind well enough to do it. It kind if feels like “failing at being autistic”. Another reason I love the “I am not Temple Grandin” post.

    3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?
    Not at the moment but I have done. In my final year at university I loved doing my research project because there’s nothing I do better than getting totally immersed in a subject to the exclusion of everything else. Even the presentation on it was just a chance to talk at length about my project to people who wanted to hear, and I could answer questions as deeply as I wanted without anyone getting bored or feeling like showing off. I think I’m naturally suited to research, and even my executive function deficits are a super power here because the disorganised, repetitive, fragmented, and perseverative way I have to think about things allows me to see connections that others might miss. I also have to understand things thoroughly to remember them, which gives me a natural advantage as well as extra work.

    4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
    No, but I do play with letters and numbers on signs and number plates. I always have done. I find certain combinations and patterns pleasing.

    5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
    I don’t know what this means.

    6. If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
    I was very into clothes and fashion for a while in my 20s but I don’t think it was in the typical way, which appears to be natural and intuitive. I at some point learned about how appearance affects people’s opinions, and how first impressions can last a long time. I think that got me thinking about what I wore, before that I couldn’t care less how I looked as long as it was comfortable and practicle.
    When I got interested in clothes I studied it in an academic way. I read books, magazines, watched programs about it. I studied clothes themselves, and learned the rules of what suits different body shapes. I liked fashion as an art form, but was much more interested in style and fit for the individual rather than following current fashion in what I wore. I got very good at it for a while and really enjoyed dressing up nicely. I can tolerate uncomfortable things if its part of an obsession. In fact I think sometimes an uncomfortable thing is more likely to become an obsession as a way to cope with it eg shoes, hosiery, perfume, jewellwry. I lose the tolerance for it though once I lose interest in it. Also I find it hard to choose nice clothes now because I’m out of practice. I find it easier to tell if something looks wrong than to figure out why. I quit this interest a few years ago, although maybe it transformed into clothing manufacture and knitting design. In answer to the question, I guess this isn’t typical.

    7. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
    Yes! I think I wrote this question so I am interested in what other people think. I find it hard to switch from one task/thought/action to another and often find it hard to find the memory I’m looking for. Its like having a rusty filing system and a special interest oils the runners on those drawers so I can more easily get into them to find the items of memory. I have good memory, it isn’t that I forget, its just that everything is jumbled up together and its hard to find what I want.

    8. Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
    Only if I’m tired. I enjoy listening to things and often find it easier than reading. I think watching is easiest, then listening, then reading. I like listening to audio books or radio and podcasts while knitting or spinning.

    9. What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
    Knowing I’m ok. I’m not broken. There is a reason for all this. I can start heeling and forgiving past memories and take a huge pressure off myself now. I started off with more “now I can fix it” and gradually shifting to “I’m ok as I am but this might make things easier or more comfortable”. I think I’m discovering kindness to myself.

    10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?
    Yes and no. I really like the look of some jewellery and think its fun, but it can be maddeningly uncomfortable. It was part of a previous special, see question 6.

  8. anonymous answers from Survey Monkey:

    Q1: I think the academic challenges came from having to learn neurotypically- for example, I do better teaching myself from books than listening to a teacher. Also I had challenges organising my work.

    Q2: I’d like to be able to play the piano like Derek Paravacini in terms of improvising, transposing and having performing confidence.

    Q3: I’m a research student. It works well because I have a lot of control and work alone most of the time. And as one friend said, ‘Universities are full of fruit-loops,’ so my weirdness isn’t that unusual.

    Q4: No

    Q5: I’m not sure I understand the question, but to answer what I think it means: I can’t understand why people trust their gut reactions more than research/empirical studies. I think this is a fundamental flaw in democracy: people vote for what they think works, rather than what does, and politicians court that.

    Q6: I love loom bands and nail-art stickers, which is not typical for someone in their 40s. I sometimes make an effort to be neurotypically stylish and on trend, but find it a lot of effort and not very comfortable physically or mentally.

    Q7: Yes. Switching my brain to remember something else is quite difficult, although if I immerse myself in it for a little while it comes back.

    Q8: Yes. I often seem to disappear into my own thoughts, and miss bits. I can’t concentrate on it at all if anyone talks over it, even briefly.

    Q9: I haven’t been diagnosed (I score consistently highly on a range of tests though, and have most if not all the traits; I’m also a postgraduate psychologist, so have read academic literature on Aspergers and autism). Since self-diagnosing, the most helpful things have been books, particularly anything explaining why neurotypicals behave as they do, and how not to mess up things like job interviews by doing Aspie stuff.

    Q10: I’m fine if I don’t notice it, otherwise I can only wear it for a short time. Earrings are generally OK, and my wedding and engagement ring. Bracelets and bangles I tolerate less well. Necklaces are OK if they are short and light, otherwise they start to irritate me.

  9. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes. I had no idea why I floundered so badly at times. Had I known I had ASD and was given a complementary learning environment, I would have done much better.

    Q2: Music genious. I want to hear a song and play it on the piano or other instrument without need of sheet music.

    Q3: Cateloging. I love organizing in a way that makes me feel better. I once took a fileroom and completely reordered 500,000 files over 2 weeks. They had it all backwards and upsidedown. Once I finished, I labeled everything and called it a day. I also used to volunteer at the library to put books away. Loved that task.

    Q4: sometimes. I love patters and when given ample mind wandering time I will do that. I hate prime numbers.

    Q5: In a complex but pithy language. My husband complains all the time that I use rare words. To me, they mean exactly what I want to say. I also don’t consider the words unusual. I use words like “hearty” for soup and “contrary” for my toddler’s behavior.

    Q6: I love historical costuming. It helps me sort the time periods in my head. This is why I hate it when shows stylize costumes, such as the show Reign, since the characters are out of sync with my mental map.

    Q7: Yes. Exactly! I love to know about all the interesting side facts as well as the basics. People say I know a lot, but really I just like to understand my topic of interest. It’s all about linking everything together in a way I remember. The interesting facts are handles to those topics.

    Q8: Only if I’m not busy in some way. I need to be actively working to free my mind up. Meaning, I need to be driving or gardening or cleaning the house or knitting or sewing. Doodling is not conducive because I get caught up in the doodle. It’s too expansive. Driving is fine because it goes from point A to B. Gardening is a set task with limits. House cleaning is non creative (you only do it one way). Knitting is in pattern. Sewing is from point A to point B.

    Q9: I know my limitations better. I don’t beat myself up anymore for not understanding or getting it. I analize my responses to other peoples actions and tackle the problem that way. I feel much more logical.

    Q10: \Yes. I try but it’s hard to have things that move about or jingle or catch on stuff. I have a wedding band I like to wear because it’s small, plain, and the edges are rounded. I have an anniversary band that has square edges, hate it.

  10. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I didn’t devote much of my brain power to being normal, and I did perform very well academically.

    I didn’t fit in with most people and that was ok with me. I left my home school to go to a combined college and high school program and fit in better there for my last two years of high school.

    I guess in college, though, I tried to fit in more since I was finally dating, and my partner wanted me to be more of a “girl,” and that did detract from my studies some (I joined a sorority, spent time shopping and doing stuff for my appearance, etc.).

    Q2: I love being able to read so quickly. I read faster than anyone I’ve ever met, and I also can scan things quickly (like a shelf at a store), and people are often surprised and say “You already read that?” (if we are reading something together) or “You already looked at the whole shelf?”

    Q3: Yes, market research.
    It’s analytic but not as particular or detail-oriented as academic research, and it blends creativity with math.

    Q4: no
    but I do sometimes make a word with the first letter of ever word in a sentence or phrase,

    like for the phrase, I want to go home = IWTGH

    Q5: I have a hard time understanding why or how other people can lie and conceal their feelings so much. It’s exhausting for me.

    Q6: Yeah, if I’m interested in fashion at all (I’m a girl), it’s mostly men’s fashion.
    When I was briefly interested in having kids, it was more as a test of whether I could have a healthy baby using nutrition and supplements, once I found out that those have an impact on the baby’s health.
    I love to cook, but it’s more of a creative thing for me, trying to figure out exactly what I feel like eating and finding the recipe for it, rather than a homemaker thing.

    Q7: Yes.
    I tend to have a deep interest at all times that changes once I exhaust it, and then it follows a path to the next interest (something I learn in one interest causes me to develop a new interest). I do the most reading and learning on these interests, and not much other than that.

    Q8: Well, on one hand, I hate audio books and I hate being read to. It’s hard for me to process it.

    My boyfriend and I are both Aspie and we watch Netflix with the subtitles on.

    But I do enjoy having a podcast on in the background while I work, since it keeps my brain occupied to be doing two things at once (listening and working).

    I can’t handle listening to people READ, since the tempo sounds unnatural, but I like having conversation like a podcast on in the background.

    Q9: I never received a formal diagnosis – I am self-diagnosed but have qualifying scores on online tests and the description suits me.

    Q10: YES
    I have told my boyfriend that if he proposes to me, it should be a $20 ring from overstock, because I will probably only rarely wear it. I can’t handle rings. I fidget with them all the time if I wear them, and so did my dad.

    I have pretty bad sensory processing disorder and there aren’t many clothes I can wear comfortably. It completely controls my fashion that everything needs to be cotton-stretch, basically: yoga pants, tank tops, sweatshirts, etc. I look like I’m ready to go to the gym at all times!

  11. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No
    Q2: Maths ability for sure
    Q3: Yes – Interpretation Officer – writing texts for visitors to a national park so they understand and enjoy. Words are my thing – writing plainly and clearly in a long honed skill
    Q4: No
    Q5: That speaking plainly and without subterfuge would make the world a better place
    Q6: Textiles not clothes
    Q7: No. Not really
    Q8: No. Music on the other hand is very distracting
    Q9: Support of friends
    Q10: Yes

  12. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, but of my 4 defineable periods at University, 3 of them would have been more successful with a better out-of school living arrangement. Much of my difficulty was due to the interaction of poverty and ASD traits.

    Q2: I should like to be evenly good at math, not stellar at some theoretical math while dismal at more basic stuff.

    Q3: I am a computer technician doing field support. It is a double-edged sword. I am very good at methodically taking apart and re-assembling some extremely complicated machinery (ie Laptops, Laser Printers) but I often work in places that trigger me severely with noises, smells, or visual clutter (the worst is other peoples’ residences)

    Q4: no

    Q5: Climate change is real, anthropogenic, and important.

    Q6: I am interested in operating systems internals and system design – not computer gaming.

    Q7: No, I like solving problems.
    No, I have a very expansive knowledge base. For several years as a child one of my interests was reading (entire, adult, sometimes special topic) encyclopedia sets and I have very good recall of it.

    Q8: Yes

    Q9: I have yet to be officially diagnosed (referral in but no callback after 4 months). Since self-diagnosis, the most helpful thing is being able to recognize overload early and recognize what is triggering it and take steps to mitigate early or avoid in the first place.

    Q10: Yes.

  13. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes!

    Q2: Physics — math genius for sure —

    Q3: Yes — I am a caregiver for one person. My attention to detail and ability to notice small physical changes in health are very valuable

    Q4: No

    Q5: I can’t believe that everyone does not want to learn new things all the time. I also can’t believe people will lie about things — does not matter what kind of lie, big or small or the reasons — I just hate lying.

    Q6: I do not know. Do not think so.

    Q7: Yes to both questions

    Q8: No

    Q9: I am beginning to understand how I might be presenting to people and how that has affected my success socially (in relationships — I am unsuccessful and beginning to think in some i have been bullied but not sure.

    Q10: Yes

  14. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes. I absorb information best by reading. Listening to a person speak is not a good way for me to learn. Also I have a hard time holding still – such as in class, work, and other social situations.

    Q2: If I didn’t have to trade for it? I would like to retain names and titles.

    Q3: Solo work which requires moving about: after being given a specific task so as not to have to make judgement decisions. I do well at house cleaning, yard work, landscaping.

    Q4: No, but I look for pleasing patterns .

    Q5: I don’t understand the question? Do you mean like a general belief of society? I guess that humans are ignoring the fact that we as a whole are ruining the earth with over-population.

    Q6: As far as I know I do not have anything in this category to mention.

    Q7: Yes, that’s part of it. I have a memory which is hugely unreliable and always have been like this. It has been troublesome in a practical sense as well as embarrassing many times.

    Q8: Yes unless the “other” activity is extremely simple such as sweeping or raking or driving across vast empty stretches such as the deserts of Nevada.

    Q9: I am in process right now, but the fact that there is a logical reason for my difficulties is the most helpful thing so far.

    Q10: Yes, in particular I can’t have anything “touching” my wrists. But I like looking at shiny and smooth beautiful metal and stones, so I have saved a few jewelry pieces that have been given to me.

  15. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes, but only with counseling. I am a member of American Mensa but in 10th grade I really could have used a diagnosis and counseling

    Q2: None. I already qualify for Mensa 🙂

    Q3: Horses, horses, horses.
    But I earn my living as a computer programmer (logical, autistic thinking a real bonus here)

    Q4: I like certain numbers and do all sorts of things with letters and numbers (mostly I misread signs and have trouble figuring out “personalized” license plate meanings)

    Q5: I can’t believe everyone thinks it’s so important to network socially. I can’t believe everyone doesn’t use logic to process their emotions.

    Q6: I love older style shirts (right now I have two civil war replica shirts) but it’s not really gender typical at all. I hate fashion trends passionately and wouldn’t know them if I fell over them

    Q7: I think immersion in my favorite subject (horses) makes it easier to live in general.

    Q8: Not when listening to my good music. The difficulty comes when I try to concentrate on what a person is saying when there are other noises/distractions

    Q9: Acceptance of myself. Letting go of the effort to be “normal”. Learning with my counselor how to best care for myself and be happier.

    Q10: I abhor jewellery.

  16. 1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?

    Actually, I think I performed as well as I did academically (which was super well) because I didn’t devote very much brain power at all (barely any) to performing normally. I didn’t realise until I got diagnosed this past year that I was supposed to “perform normally”.

    2. What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉

    I’m good with what I have.

    3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?

    Yes. I am a ropes course and zip line inspector. Attention to detail while working at height.

    4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?

    No.

    5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?

    That people don’t actually say what they mean AND they think that it’s an effective way to be kind/polite.

    6. If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)

    No.

    7 a. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it?

    Yes.

    7b. Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?

    No. If if I find it interesting (and even when i don’t) if I knew it, I remember it.

    8. Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?

    No but that’s because it’s the only thing that’s happening. Washing dishes AND listening to the radio doesn’t work.

    9. What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?

    That’s my question. Really eager to see people’s answers.

    10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?

    Yes.

  17. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Nah. As stubborn and strong-willed as I was raised to be, if somebody doesn’t like me I have no problem telling them to bugger off. What hurt my academics was noise!

    Q2: Haha, math genius exactly! My grandfather is good at math, my mother is also good at math, and I always ranked as one of the top 3-5 in my math classes, but I would love for it to be a bit easier and I want to study it in greater depth without as much confusion.

    Q3: I suppose so. There’s an annual online charity auction/sale thing I donate to every year. I probably wouldn’t do it if I had to come into contact with people. How strange since it’s a charity to protect people who’ve been kidnapped.

    Q4: No.

    Q5: That dresses are far more immoral than pants, because pants are a bit of work to get up and down and you can never explicitly see anything (unless they’re wearing ridiculously tight pants), but a dress you just have to sit on somebodies lap not only with easy access but also it provides a censoring around you so you can get away with it, and if you’re not careful anybody can see up your skirt whether you like it or not. Dresses are NOT the clothing of chaste or modest women!

    Q6: Maybe? I like glass jewelry and not the real gems, and I prefer leather or medium chains instead of the really dainty chains or elastic on my necklaces.

    Q7: Nothing outside of the usual short-term/long-term memory issues most people have.

    Q8: Sometimes. That seems easy enough. Phones not so much. Phones are the disembodied verbal communication I have the most trouble with. Songs get interesting! I usually have to look up the lyrics if I’m serious about singing along with it if the singer doesn’t sing very clearly or is easily overpowered by the band.

    Q9: Knowing that I don’t have anything seriously wrong with me. My sensory issues have lead to other people saying everything from allergies to vitamin deficiencies to some very bad things about me as a person, and it turns out my nerves are just over sensitive due to autism. I’m not a stalker, psychopath, or serial killer either, I just observe people more closely than a normal person does, but a normal amount for an autistic person.

    Q10: Kind of. I don’t like “real” jewelry. I don’t like gems and precious metals. It’s too expensive and makes me nervous if I lose it. I like glass and “fake” stuff, if only some of it wouldn’t turn me green! Although I just tend to wear the same thing every day for days or years at a time. I’m still very sad that the metal wore in two on my favorite necklace and it’s too small to solder back together. I feel naked without it.

  18. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No
    Q2: Music genius
    Q3: No
    Q4: Sometimes
    Q5: Animals have rights like us.
    Q6: I like historical costumes.
    Q7: 1. Yes I believe so.
    2.No.
    Q8: No.
    Q9: I was relieved, that I don´t actually have all the diagnoses, that was glued on me before, – that my trouble, experiences and ways of reacting could be boiled down to one word.
    Why? Because I began to feel ok for the first time in decades and not depressed, because I wasn´t bad, twisted disturbed or anything like it, – just aspie.
    Q10: Yes.

  19. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes.
    Q2: Good with words.
    Q3: Lifeguarding, counting is my thing. Making sure everyone is still there is good.
    Q4: no
    Q5: I don’t understand the question 😦
    Q6: Soft clothing, gender neutral clothing.
    Q7: sometimes.
    Q8: Yes. I just started driving and I have to turn off the radio and not have people talk to me
    Q9: Validation. That I wasn’t crazy that there are people like me outside of my bubble.
    Q10: yes.

  20. My answers:

    1. I don’t think I was especially conscious of trying to appear normal in a way that affected my academic performance. Although I rarely spoke in class which may have affected the opportunities that I was given as a student (like being picked for special projects or academic teams, etc). I don’t think it affected my grades because I was able to excel in written work and make up for deficits in spoken activities.

    2. I would love to have a savant talent. The more unusual, the better.

    3. Yes, in terms of working mostly behind the scenes, doing detailed oriented work, working with printed words, having a lot of repetitive tasks from week to week and month to month.

    4. No

    5. I’m consistently surprised when I discover that people are intentionally deceitful or manipulative. I guess that means I still can’t believe that people think they can trick or manipulate others and get away with it all the time. Though obviously many people do much of the time.

    6. Nothing comes to mind.

    7. I don’t think so. I have a really good memory for random facts, even for stuff I couldn’t care less about.

    8. Not really

    9. Knowing that there were other people like me and that there was a reason for so many of the things that had previously been inexplicable.

    10. I only wear my wedding ring a regular basis, though I’ve recently gotten a ton of stim jewelry as part of a project I’m working on and I’m quickly getting hooked on it, which is a surprise.

  21. 1) Oh Yes! But I would have needed some major restructuring to my learning environment to have done truly well academically (in addition to simply no longer trying to act normal).

    2) I’m also going to go with Svenja on this one. I carry around a lot of useless embarrassment because I can be awkward and letting go of it would be good.

    3) No.

    4) No.

    5) Though it bothers me to do so, I will give this question a somewhat vague and indirect answer. I have what we in our household have historically referred to as my ‘Jane Bennett Complex’ (Jane Austen as a special interest). I always want to think the best of people and am always slammed back to earth when I realize that I can’t. There are many things that I still can’t believe others think or don’t think.

    6) Most of my interests are almost exceedingly girly (I’m female), but no, I don’t express these interests in a typical way. Jewellery is a big one for me but it goes far beyond simply thinking that it is pretty. It is both a stim a ritual and a special interest to me. My interest in it would be well described as academic. Weather it be history, manufacture, style periods, or gemology I find it all fascinating. I always notice all of the jewellery that a person is wearing and can often pinpoint when it was made based on its style. I am very sensory seeking and I love beautiful things and this spills over into a love of clothing too. I love lace and flowers and patterns and fabrics that ripple, but my clothing also has to feel right and be comfortable. I am not very interested in shoes so I often end up wearing oddly matched patterns and pretty dresses with a pair of shabby red Converse All-stars and a big raffia Tilly hat with a chinstrap because my feet have to feel right and I can’t stand the sun in my eyes but I also can’t stand sun glasses. I’ve been told that the overall effect is a bit Holly Hobby meets Cyndi Lauper. I don’t know weather this is good or not. I also love makeup but for sensory reasons I am exacting and extremely fussy about what is actually allowed to come into contact with my skin. I prefer to look fairly natural so I like luminizers, tinted lip conditioners or sheer lipsticks, and good quality powder foundations but they have to be all-natural and free from irritants such as peppermint oil. I have spent countless hours researching cosmetic ingredients. I am not trendy, but I will admit that sometimes trends match up with me.

    I read and write sci-fi and fantasy fairly obsessively but I also have a huge thing for Jane Austen and will sometimes go for a year or two simply cycling through her novels and watching film adaptations and not reading anything else except the odd Jane biography.

    7) I’m not sure.

    8) If I don’t have to focus on anything else I’m fine but like someone mentioned above, I prefer to watch TV with subtitles so I think that I might have a little trouble focusing on speech.

    9)I think that for me the most important thing about the formal diagnosis (I had already self diagnosed) was confirmation of my suspicions but to go beyond that, it explained all of the mysteries in my life, and I had struggled with those mysteries. The above mentioned awkwardness is one of them. I have always been a bit goofy but now I just run with it and if I ask questions because I need a piece of information to feel comfortable, I try not to worry so much about how I come across even I end up seeming like a total space cadet. It also explains the exhaustion. I’ve had my thyroid checked so many times and have always needed more sleep than anyone else I know. It made sense of my embarrassing social and work histories and my confusing academic life as a child (why could I be brilliant on a psych-ed assessment yet a dunce in class?).

    Now I cut myself some slack. I know now what I am *not* and I don’t try to be that thing. It simply isn’t in me. I’m something else and I would rather be super at being that something else even if it is something that some people might not like. If I’m goofy and ask strange questions that’s alright. I’m starting to relax now. It feels good when everything makes sense.

    10) I LOVE WEARING JEWELLERY !!! 🙂 I love opals and diamonds and moonstones and angel-skin coral cameos and shell cameos and Edwardian and Victorian and mid-century engagement rings and Art Nouveau pearl lavaliers and oh my goodness I could go on and on and on…

    On a day to day basis I am restrained about what I wear and usually restrict myself to some drop earrings, my wedding band a mid-century diamond band my husband gave me stacked with my grandmothers mid-century diamond engagement ring and then another antique ring on my right hand (either a drilled onyx ring that was my great grandmother’s or else an Art Nouveau amethyst ring or my Edwardian diamond) and maybe a pendant (my silver locket or some Baltic amber brought back from eastern Europe by friends). I also have a beautiful suite of handmade turquoise and silver Navajo jewellery which I love to wear. I get obsessed with what I am currently wearing and I don’t feel right until I have chosen some jewellery to wear for the day. Sometimes I wear the same few pieces for as long as a year and then spontaneously change. Most of what I wear is very modest. I loath ostentatious diamonds and all of mine are below .25 of a carat. If stolen, my jewellery would not fetch much for the poor thief.

    Amber beads and twinkling diamonds are wonderful tactile and visual stims. On a sunny day I can spent hours watching my diamonds twinkle. Higher quality jewellery is often more comfortable.

    I don’t have much urge to own truly ostentatious pieces but once several years ago I got to see and touch some very beautiful diamond, ruby and sapphire jewellery at one of the large Birks locations (I mean the two hundred thousand dollar necklaces that are too expensive to keep in the display cases. I didn’t realize that the manager was flirting with me and also thought that I was much younger than I was– a friend told me afterwards–, but it sure was awesome!!)

    At the end of the day I love taking my jewellery off (part of my bedtime ritual and I get to look at it and think about it again!). I keep my rings on all the time but the earrings and necklace bug me in my sleep.

    1. I love how you describe your interest in Jane Austen. I, too, have Jane Austen cycles. It’s kind of the same way I get about autumn and Halloween. I get a “craving” for her books, and then I’ll spend a couple of months rereading them.

  22. 1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?

    I think I would have performed better academically if I had been better organised, had better overall life/career planning, if university hadn’t been such an overwhelming and uncomfortable environment, if the social stress hadn’t been so draining, and if I had been better at connecting with people.

    And yes, quite likely if I had worried less about feeling “odd” and isolated, and about not being able to team up for group work et.c, since such aspects were very draining and anxiety-provoking. I can think of a least one subject that I was really interested in at the outset but where I ended up doing poorly due to not-directly-subject-related social challenges, such as getting myself in a group for the group exam projects.

    2. What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉

    Math genius would be great:-) Also detailed photographic memory and specific musical talents.

    3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?

    No.

    4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?

    No.

    5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?

    I don’t understand the question.

    6. If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)

    I don’t really have such interests.

    7. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it?

    Yes.

    Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?

    I can remember facts on demand quite efficiently in some situations, but in many situations it isn’t something that I am good at (I can remember facts on demand when given good “cues” that call up the subject area from my memory).

    I do remember fewer facts about topics I am not spending time on, most likely because I don’t learn the facts in the first place!

    8. Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?

    I probably would if I listened to radio/audio drama, but I don’t because I find it too boring.

    9. What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?

    I have seen an employment counsellor that specialises in Asperger’s. I am not sure if that was helpful (it was just an introductory free session), but it is good to know that I have access to that kind of services. It makes me feel like I have more options and don’t need to be so stuck.

    Also, when I had a panic attack incident on a plane earlier this year, I eventually explained to the crew member who tried to help that I have SPD and Asperger’s. It helped, she seemed very understanding, people were helpful (anxiety wasn’t the only problem … also executive function, confusion & sensory overload in the airports) and I didn’t feel so bad about my miserable mental state, it was excused somehow.

    Also, at the time of diagnosis I had started to speculate obsessively about it all the time, and getting a confirmation helped to quiet down the thoughts.

    10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?

    No I don’t think so, but I don’t wear any or own any, so it is a somewhat untested area.

  23. 1. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
    Yes possibly. And I wish I’d known I was an Aspie when I was at school because I might have found it easier (or just possible!) to ask for help when I struggled. Reading round the class was a nightmare and I might have been able to avoid that and thus concentrate on the actual lesson itself.
    2. What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉
    A better memory would be fab. I wouldn’t have to have a perfect one, just to be able to retain information better without so much effort.
    3. Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?
    I’m an accountant and work from home. That situation suits me perfectly though I struggle big-style with client interaction. I love numbers but I’m not convinced I want to be an accountant anymore 😦
    4. Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
    Nope
    5. What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
    I don’t know but I struggle to understand why people aren’t more logical and why they don’t see and agree with my point of view once I’ve explained it. Though given the state of my explanations maybe that is more understandable!
    6. If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
    I love shopping – but for books from home on my computer. I cannot see the point in wandering round shops without a specific intention. (I can’t see the point in wandering round the shops with an intention if you can buy it online)
    7. Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it? Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
    Hadn’t thought about it like that but it makes sense. Lots of sense. And I definitely find it harder remembering facts on demand for other stuff. Mind you I find it difficult to come up with stuff on the spot for anything.
    8. Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
    If I listen to songs I tend to go into daydream mode – different songs trigger different daydreams. I can listen to audio dramas okay though if I’m enjoying them. I love the Paul Temple audiobooks because I can picture what’s happening really clearly and so I’m effectively part of it. But I struggle with audio lectures because I can’t picture the words the same. I need a mental picture – with something creative that’s fine because my brain automatically transfers it into picture form, but with something drier it can’t and so I’m trying instead to visualise the words themselves.
    9. What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
    Haven’t had it yet – 3 weeks and 1 day to the appointment!
    10. Do you dislike wearing jewellery?
    Yes. I have a necklace which I wear sometimes (rarely) when it feels right. But that’s because it has a bible verse on the back which really appeals to me and makes me feel safe. I don’t wear a watch or rings. I used to though when I was younger. At school, in the final year, I used to wear a leather dog collar and leather wristbands etc. (!) I didn’t struggle with that. But maybe it gave me something to hide behind?

    1. I do the exact same with music. If I listen to music, I have to give myself a couple of hours ideally to it because I enter my other worlds then. I absolutely cannot listen to music I at all enjoy and do anything else at the same time. Going clubbing was very interesting when I was in college!

      1. I’m amazed that I can manage to drive actually (not that I drive a lot) because if I put a song on and it trips a memory then I’m sure I must be focussing too much on that and not on the other cars!!
        I hated clubbing – too many people, too much noise, no songs I recognised, and when I dance I’m concentrating so much that I end up sticking my tongue out and apparently that’s not a good look on the dance floor 🙂
        I can happily lie in bed with my ipod on and lose an hour or two daydreaming…

  24. 1. Don’t know that I ever diverted energy/effort towards fitting in. School problems were not on the academic side.
    2. I’d love to be able to draw.
    3. Made my career out of my special interest, programming.
    4. Not for that reason. I group symbols for esthetic reasons. It might be the rhythm of the digits in a phone number, or to appear pleasing to my eye.
    5. I can’t believe there are people who still don’t get that vaccines don’t cause autism.
    6. I enjoy shopping (at quieter times – can’t cope with crowds), but prefer food shopping. Meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, bread and cakes 🙂
    7. I have some trouble recalling facts generally, but I do find that letting information “go stale” reduces the amount of data I have at my fingertips.
    8. Sometimes. I find I’m easily distracted by other auditory or especially visual stimuli. If I can control the environment to remove distractions then I can concentrate just fine.
    9. Self-diagnosed. The most helpful thing was that it made sense of many things that had happened to me as I was growing up.
    10. Certainly not. I’ve worn a wedding ring since I got married, although I take it off to sleep and wash. I habitually wear a watch and earrings. I’m not nickel-sensitive, but I do have a problem with the physical feel of some jewelry. Can’t wear anything that’s tight or that touches the front of my throat.

  25. 1. In elementary and middle school, I performed very well academically. In high school my social anxiety and disorganization really worked against me. I graduated with a 3.2, but easily could have gotten a 4.0 were it not for the emotional and executive functioning issues. In college my perfectionism took over, which made up for the other (still untreated) issues. However, I did take a 2 year break from college due to the anxiety and not knowing what the hell was going on with myself (exhausting! I was only diagnosed last year, when I was 32.)

    2. I have a liberal arts degree, but I wish I had pursued a minor in astronomy or math. I am less scientifically literate than I would like. This, to me, is an issue of gender. I simply wasn’t encouraged to develop a love of these things.

    3. I am a sahp and I volunteer. My autism works against me in these areas. I have a problem with punctuality and organization. And a household is difficult to organize. I am also a writer. This rises naturally from being an aspie, to me. I was a reader first, and I’ve always had my interior worlds. Now I use my skills at reading and imagining as a natural springboard for my writing. It’s one of the few things I feel I’m inherently good at.

    4. No, but I put them in alpha-numeric order. With signs, I’ll rearrange the letters in a word to see how many new words I can come up with. I also like to divide syllables into clusters of 4.

    5. Everyone seems so blindly accepting of tradition. It really guides their lives. I am constantly questioning why we do any of the things we do, especially marriage, education, parenting, religion, and gender roles. I find short-term greed (as practiced by those who have the power and money in our country) revolting.

    6. I am a woman, so I feel a lot of pressure to be beautiful. I keep myself groomed and take care of my skin. I exercise regularly (for my mental and emotional health, as well as my physical health and appearance). But here are my takes: I rarely shave. Maybe once a month. I wear makeup, but I wear it to look like a healthier and prettier version of myself, not to look like I’m wearing makeup. I like my clothing to be simple, functional, and I’ve noticed I dress “younger” than other women in my stage of life. I wear skinny jeans and fitted jeans. I wear fitted hoodies and converse. There is definitely an androgynous flavor to my clothing. I don’t like frills or flowers.

    7. Yes, and yes. I love to read nonfiction texts about writing. I also listen to a writing podcast and seek out writing blogs. I devote spare time to reading these sorts of books, and I get excited about them the way many people get excited about fiction. I have a difficult time recalling information, I think, because of my anxiety in conversation. When I am talking to a neurotypical acquaintance (and I have many at my kids’ elementary school), I am constantly screening myself and it’s exhausting. I don’t think it would help my son (an aspie) if I were the “weird” mom with the “weird” kid, so I try to be the nice mom who always has a smile and always has a moment to chit-chat with teachers and school support personnel.

    8.Sometimes I blank out and miss a bit. I like to listen to podcasts, ted talks, and audible, so all of these make it easy for me to go back and listen again.

    9. The most helpful thing was simply the diagnosis. It explained everything. I had been wondering why I was different since early childhood, questioning whether it was all in my head, and even going so far as to assign sinister reasons for my differences (mental illness and PTSD, for instance). When I got the diagnosis, I was able to have compassion for myself and to marvel at just how well I’m functioning in spite of my differences. I also allow myself to feel pride and joy in my differences (I actually have a passion, which is something many people drift through life without finding!). I forgive myself my social faux pas–or at least I’m more forgiving. And I’m not crazy; I really AM different from many of the people I know. So I am learning to trust my gut now. I’m starting to formulate some “radical” thoughts about parenting an autistic child, based on my own childhood experiences. Looking back, the only things I would change about my childhood would be knowledge of my asperger’s and homeschooling and/or a Montessori type learning environment. I wouldn’t have chosen the special therapies unless I 100% trusted the person administering them to respect my autonomy. I think that when someone who is in a leadership position with my child does not do so, that the therapy does more harm than good. Most neurotypicals don’t understand Asperger’s syndrome, and don’t view it positively. They look at us and see us as a cluster of problems that need to be fixed, which is damaging to a child. So I feel like I’m on the verge of making some shifts in my parenting soon. There are other factors at play here and I need to make sure I’m ready and capable of making these changes in a positive way.

    10. I only wear my wedding band. Occasionally I wear a necklace. Before I had children, I wore jewelry more. Now it seems kind of silly and a waste of time (especially earrings, so annoying) to me.

  26. anonymous answers:

    Q1: At high school, No: I did really well academically – something of the Aspie genius at high school. At university, Yes: I fell apart when I went to university, and had to switch to part time. Much as I loved tertiary study and university librabries, I had difficulty with executive function and distraction.

    Q2: I am very good at mathematics already. My psychologist said I had the Aspie strengths, so I am not sure what else I would want.

    Q3: Both! I work in IT, like many Aspies, and I voluntarily mentor a high school student who has ASD and whose special interest is programming. I would like to work with more Aspie high school students.

    Q4: No.

    Q5: I can’t believe (as in, I am flabbergasted) that everyone doesn’t think that global climate change is important.

    Q6: Yes. I like computers, but the only computer games I like are soliatire card games and Mah Jongg games. I just don’t care about the other games that my male colleagues all want to play. I like writing compilers.

    Q7: Sometimes special interests are dealing with fears – e.g. I will read avidly about BIG volcanoes, air disasters, and earth-shattering meteors (e.g. the one that wiped out the dinosaurs). I am transfixed by the way that certain events can completely change the human (or animal) world.

    Q8: I rarely do it, so I am not sure. I get bored with most TV and have to be doing something else as well – e.g. playing a game.

    Q9: Mentoring. I realised after doing it for 9 months that it was therapeutic: my diagnosis actually qualifies me for the job (adult Aspie mentoring teenage Aspie), so I am using my diagnosis to help someone else.

    Q10: I wear a watch and a wedding ring – that’s it (I am a male). I am not at all interested in any other jewellery. I don’t want a watch that is a fashion statement.

    1. I feel similarly about reading up on fears, and share many of yours. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanoes, air disasters, oh and serial murderers, dictators, war… They’re like man-made disasters.

  27. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Computer smarts
    Q3: No
    Q4: No, but I do group things into threes.
    Q5: That they don’t ‘think’.
    Q6:Earrings.
    Q7: No and yes
    Q8: Yes
    Q9: Finding this community of people just like me.
    Q10: All except earrings.

  28. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Hell YES.
    Q2: I would like to be able to focus on details. Right now my brain makes connections without any work on my part it seems. And that quick answer that comes is great, but then I am often confused as to how I got there.
    Q3: No, not at the present time.
    Q4: No i just notice whether they are appealing or not.
    Q5: You mean about aspergers or just in general?
    Everyone should think lying is a waste of their time and everyone elses.
    Q6: I am not interested in clothes, fashion and accessories.
    And I can not think of anything else that would really be considered typical for my gender.
    Q7: Yes, some of the appeal is that it is easier to remember and think about, and easier to stay focused. Also great distraction.
    I do have trouble remember facts about things I am not interested in..
    Q8: Very, I have never been able to stay focused on the radio.
    Q9: I could understand my own brain and like it just fine.
    Q10: Yes, all jewellry, with the exception of earrings. Cheap, fun hippy type stuff.

  29. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes.
    Q2: None. I love the way I am now, everything, the good, the bad, the ugly and the awesome.
    Q3: No. There aren’t nearly enough of then available, which is a sad but true fact.
    Q4: Nope.
    Q5: Why people can walk in stairs without thinking, it seems like an impossible task to do without thought.
    Q6: Nothing comes to mind.
    Q7: I often have trouble remembering facts on demand about most things, I am a seemingly endless fountain of odd and weird knowledge I never even knew I had, at the most odd times.
    Q8: Yes.
    Q9: Finally feeling that everything that happened made sense.
    Q10: Yes, it get’s sweaty and itchy, if I try I always pick on it to move it around.

  30. anonymous answers:

    Q1: yes
    Q2: do not know
    Q3: yes
    Q4: yes
    Q5: do not know
    Q6: yes
    Q7: yes and yes
    Q8: yes
    Q9: reading about other people having similar experiences in life and knowing i was not alone.
    Q10: yes

  31. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Eidetic memory
    Q3: College professor in art and design program
    Q4: No
    Q5: That people say what they mean. Also inanimate objects have personality.
    Q6: Interested in gardening but botany and digging in dirt.
    Q7: Oh yes yes yes.
    Q8: Sometimes
    Q9: Not alone. Not to blame. Less trying to be like I am supposed to.
    Q10: Earrings okay.

  32. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No
    Q2: Maths genius – Made straight A’s from 1st Grade through Grad School
    Q3: Yes – Research Physicist
    Q4: No, but I always set the volume level on my radio to an even number
    Q5: Too many to list
    Q7: Yes
    Q8: No
    Q9: Nothing. I was diagnosed at age 61
    Q10: Yes!!!!

  33. 1. I may not have performed as well. Ok life when I was young and at university was incredibly difficult in many ways but studying was part of my routine – it was what I was there to do. Also being a nerd and having a small group of friends meant that there were fewer distractions
    2. I cannot think of one. I feel I have significant advantages as my autism is well matched to linear logic which is an asset in an era of computer technology.
    3. Yes, I work in a nerdy specialist area of computing, around 15% of my colleagues are autistic (the rest are an amicable bunch of nerds and geeks). We are challenged to improve our behaviours and responses (so as not to hold back our careers or be too difficult for others to work with) but also encouraged and accommodated in using our talents.
    4. No.
    5. I cannot believe that people think it is ok to say something that is not true or the have no intention of doing. I am harshly judgement of people who do this to my detriment.
    6. Not really
    7. No.
    8. Yes, I will end up thinking about anything (everything) else.
    9. The most helpful thing was that my difficulties now had an explanation and I no longer had to drive myself as hard to try and do things which I would never be that good at.
    10. My only jewellery is my wedding ring, I am always fiddling with it and find it irritating, sometime to the point of panic. My wife would be upset if I refused to wear it.

  34. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?
    I’ve never really tried to “act normal” in school. What I would have done differently in high school, and am still trying to make a habit of in college, is being more stubborn in fulfilling my own needs rather than other people’s expectations. A major example is that during most days that have discomfort and pain, I should just not show up, rather than power through it. In fact, I’m ditching a class while writing this.

    What [stereo]typical autistic trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉
    I would love to be able talk endlessly about subjects I’m an expert on. A lot of people doubt that I have special interests or am ever excited because of how little I talk. Not mutism, mind you, just speaking elegantly.

    Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because you’re autistic?
    My volunteer work is with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, so I think being Autistic is pretty relevant. My only previous volunteer position was acting in a theatre company. How autism makes me a better actor is a complex subject I intend to write a whole article about. The short version is that memorizing lines in 1/5 the time is pretty convenient.

    Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?
    I find patterns semi-automatically, but I have no particular preference for even or odd numbers. My favorite number is 32.

    What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?
    In a world where 80-90% (depending on whom you ask) of people are religious, there are way too many answers to this question.

    If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)
    Cars: meh.
    Sports: meh.
    Boobs: No one doesn’t love boobs. Even gay men love boobs.
    Video games: Now this is an interesting one. I do consider myself a gamer, meaning someone who’s a little more enfranchised than the average Wii Sports or Angry Birds player. I follow new releases and technological developments, but I don’t own very many games or play them very often. This is partly the result of prioritizing in a busy life, and partly because I have no internal sense of urgency. The current upcoming game I’m interested in is Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which I will most likely purchase 2 or 3 years after release.

    Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it?
    It’s a possibility, but I’m not really feeling revelé (AKA an “aha moment) here.

    Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?
    Nah. Memorization is easy even if I know little about a single topic.

    Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?
    Depends on the activity. I usually listen to podcasts while driving and the auditory language processing does not interfere with spacial navigation. I definitely don’t listen to people talk while reading or writing. Music is easier to work with, but I’ll skip a song if it has too many lyrics.

    What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?
    Musings of an Aspie was my introduction to Autistic community and culture, which pulled me out of a depression caused by self-hate through internalized ableism.

    Do you dislike wearing jewellery?
    Yes. Jewelry is dermally irritating, dangerous, and has no practical function.

  35. 1. This is hard to answer because I didn’t devote any part of my brain power to performing normally until high school. Before that, it never occurred to me to try to pretend to be like the people around me. When I became a teenager, many family members started pressuring me to be different by doing things like encouraging me to wear make-up, read fashion magazines, and try to dress like the other girls at school. I was in my early teens when MTV came out and I used to spend hours watching the music videos, studying every detail in them, as if I could find the key to social success there.

    But before that, I was too caught up in just trying to survive another day to realize that there might even be a chance of easing my pain by trying to perform normality. The entire concept was so far off my radar that it never occurred to me at all. I think I would have performed better academically if I weren’t so concerned with bare day-to-day survival, though.

    2. But . . . I am a maths genius? (hah, just kidding. I love maths very much but I am far from being a maths genius.) I admire the few people who can see something once and draw it perfectly from memory. I was bullied heavily in art classes in elementary school and shut down as a result and didn’t do anything like that for years until I came to believe that I couldn’t draw. This year, I decided I was going to start drawing. Some people have expressed great surprise at my talent and that has filled me with regret over all those years I could have been turning what appears to be a raw artistic talent into a honed artistic skill. I keep making art and my skills continue to improve, but it sure would be nice to be an artistic savant. Or a musical savant. Or a mathematical savant. Still, I love these three things and I derive pleasure from improving in my abilities, so there is a gift and a joy right there. I don’t need an Autistic Super Power. Gradual daily improvement is satisfaction enough for me.

    3. I don’t have a job or volunteer activity. I did at one point walk the dogs at the animal shelter, but I stopped doing it because it was so hard seeing the dogs disappear to be put down instead of go to homes and because the other dog walkers really seemed like a community and I felt like and was treated like a complete stranger and I couldn’t handle both the dog death pain and the social outsider pain together. But that’s not what the question asked – it asked what I was good at, not bad at. My current “job” as a writer, musician, and artist — all self-published — is, so far, the most well suited to me because I can work alone, on my schedule, at home. So far, it hasn’t generated enough income to live on, but it generates a little and helps me stay within a budget and still be able to eat. I think I might be good as a light house attendant or the forest ranger who watches for fires. Any job that I would ever be able to do and keep doing long-term would have to include working completely alone but with good instructions to guide me.

    4. I don’t, but even if I did, I have a strong preference for odd numbers. And multiples of 3. And prime numbers. So I most likely would not be looking for even numbers.

    5. I’m not exactly sure what this question is asking, but I still struggle to accept that people with religions really do believe them and aren’t just playing along. I tried to become a believer and was unsuccessful at it, so I’ve spent a lot of time in church and I have never been able to get over the sense that everyone else is just like me — going along with the program, saying the words, doing the actions, but pretending it all, not really believing any of it. I know, intellectually, that people who believe in religion really do genuinely believe. But there is this “gut level” at which I am no more able to make myself believe that believers believe in god than I was able to make myself believe in god.

    6. I am very interested in clothing because I am interested in art and so I love sewing, knitting, crochet, macramé, dying, weaving, etc. because they are a sort of sculpture and clothes are a wearable art. My own wardrobe is chosen primarily for a combination of artistic beauty and comfort, so I wear a lot of very colorful long dresses that are loose and flowing and get pigeon-holed as a hippie as a result. I’m not a hippie, I’m just drawn to beauty and comfort. And since bright colors are part of what I find beautiful, I dress like a hippie.

    7. I’m not able to understand this question well enough to answer it.

    8. I have auditory processing issues, so it’s hard for me to follow the spoken word, especially if it goes too fast. For the same reason, conversations are hard for me because they so often go faster than I am able to keep up with. I also notice, however, that words in the background mess me up. They mess me up from the obvious things – other things that use words. Like I can’t write while listening to music with lyrics. But they also mess me up from things that don’t use words. I can’t have sex while words are happening. It doesn’t matter whether it is television news, tv commercials, or even music with lyrics, the words pull my attention and processing abilities toward them and away from what I am trying to do and I can’t focus or accomplish anything worthwhile until the words are turned off.

    9. Learning about meltdowns. I had always said I couldn’t help them but no one believed me. Now I understand that I truly can’t help them — it’s like vomiting; there’s no way to hold it in. It’s going to come out. Knowing that, freed me up to start learning how to build a life where they aren’t triggered (or at least not so much) which was a great relief because they are painful, exhausting, and embarrassing. Now that I know more about the neurological and biochemical underpinnings of meltdowns, I feel much less like they are a personal failing and much more like they are a health concern, like seizures, that will always be with me but can be controlled and prevented if I am allowed to have control over my life and what sort of things are permitted to be in it.

    10. I flat-out can’t wear rings. They are constantly in the way. They hurt. They fall off. They get stuck on. Eventually, no matter how much I love a ring, I take it off to wash my hands someplace public and forget to put it back on and lose it. I managed to get my wedding ring back twice after leaving it in public places but the third time, it was gone forever. I like bracelets but I always forget to put them on. The only jewelry I wear regularly are two necklaces that I never take off.

  36. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes. I preformed much better academically when I was younger, and didn’t have to spend so much energy appearing “normal”.

    Q2: The ability to do complicated arithmetic in my head. I’m very good at some math, but arithmetic… not so much.

    Q3: Shelving books in the library, because I’m good with patterns, and libraries are filled with patterns.

    Q4: No, I don’t think so. But my brain does do weird things with strings of numbers.

    Q5: That people that are poor or homeless or working minimum wage jobs don’t deserve basic living necessities because they haven’t “earned it”. I don’t understand why people think you have to “earn” food and a place to live.

    Q6: Yes. For example, subculture fashion used to be a special interest of mine, but I’ve never been interested in mainstream fashion. That said, I don’t actually identify as girl anymore… so nothing is typical for my gender 🙂

    Q7: Yes. If I’m not spending time on something, I tend to forget facts about it. I still have the facts somewhere in my brain, there just not accessible until I spend time on it again.

    Q8: Yes, depending on the amount of distraction around me. To pay attention to an audio recording (or even a lecture), I have be somewhere free of distractions. Otherwise, I can’t process it at all.

    Q9: I haven’t received an official diagnosis yet, unfortunately :/

    Q10: Yes, especially if it’s loose.

  37. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Probably. I spent half my energies trying to be social
    Q2:Synesthesia with numbers
    Q3: Yes. Nursery teacher. I love psychology and children. I really bond with them.
    Q4: No . I read license plates. The last one I read said ‘ pricey’ ( p12 1 c3y
    Q5: Almost everything I think
    Q8: Yes
    Q9: I don’t have a diag
    Q10: No. I dislike wearing hats

  38. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I didn’t do very well academically at School I was bullied for a variety of reasons. I returned to education in my 30s achieved a first class degree a MSc and a PGCE
    Q2: I wouldn’t I am happy with who I am.
    Q3: No in fact I’m in a job that is the complete opposite I’m a teacher which requires a great deal of social interaction which is quite exhausting at times
    Q4: No
    Q5: Yes absolutely. I could say more but might offend
    Q6: Never been on tend or typical
    Q7: A definite yes
    Q8: No
    Q9: I do not have a diagnosis
    Q10: No

  39. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes, I do. It took a lot of effort for me to hold myself together and try to function normally. If I had supports to help me cope and been free to be myself I would have had more energy to study and would have coped better.

    Q2: I am happy the way I am.

    Q3: No, I don’t work.

    Q4: Sometimes when I am travelling in a car.

    Q5: I have no idea. Nothing surprises me any more.

    Q6: I love vintage fashion. I collect it. I have a wardrobe full of vintage (60s-70s) fashion. I haven’t collected much since having my son. I rarely wear them because they are not practical clothes.

    Q7: Yes, I find immersing myself in information of a topic of interest helps me remember it and be more comfortable talking about it (if needed). I have trouble remembering facts about topics I am not spending time on, even if I find them interesting. It all depends on how overwhelmed and overstimulated I am. I can’t think clearly when that happens.

    Q8: Yes, I do. I need silence to concentrate and think clearly.

    Q9: The disability pension and access to respite support so I can cope better with daily life and as a parent.

    Q10: Yes, I hate it. It sends me into sensory overload. The only jewellery I wear is my wedding ring. I cannot stand anything else. Bracelets and anklets are the worst. I cannot even stand wearing a watch.

  40. anonymous answers:

    Q1: As I am also ADHD, it is hard to separate the two. I escaped college with a degree vs. graduating.

    Q2: Oh, I’d love the math bit. It would have saved my ass in question #1.

    Q3: Ironically my work has a heavy component of reading how groups interact. I can pick up dysfunctional interactions very well, and (usually, sometimes) am appreciated because I “call em as I see em” meaning I cut to the chase and say what’s going on.

    Q4: Yes

    Q5: I see systems interactions very easily and naturally. It took a long time for me to accept that isn’t easy for everyone.

    Q6: Don’t know, because I’m not sure what would be “typical” vs “different.”

    Q8: You mean concentrating on something *else*? Or concentrating on the drama itself? If it’s gong on in the background, I can’t tune it out at all.

    But yes, I’ll drift away from it as well.

    Q9: The diagnosis is pretty new. (verbal debrief in May 2014 at age 57). I think the reference frame for metacognition. I have also, ironically I suppose, relaxed about “acting weird” especially in my own house, meaning I have turned off some of the inhibitions, and am still seeking a balance between just relaxing and being “me” and “acting un-weird” to avoid negative attention.

    Q10: I never wear jewelry. Can’t stand the feel of it. I hated wearing dog-tags in the Army.

  41. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Certainly
    Q2: School room math. I used math in the workplace, including algebra, and i was very good at it.
    Q3: I was in construction for 50 years. It was perfect for me as I was able to control the amount of interaction I had with others. As foreman or sup’t I only had to speak with others briefly. I had my own world.
    Q4: yes!
    Q5: that books are the most amazing things ever invented
    Q6: I’m just more comfortable associating with women.
    Q7: yes
    Q8: always
    Q9: self diagnosis…it was knowing that I had a community that I belonged in.
    Q10: no

  42. anonymous answers:

    Q1: YES! I’m a college student who recently opened up about being Autistic, and I feel a lot less constrained, more suthentic, and more able to meet my needs, which has helped me academically.

    Q2: Sometimes I wish I was more visibly different…whatever that means. But I wish people could more visibly see why they need to take my needs more seriously. Also, I can’t draw for shit. That bugs me cuz my brain makes such pretty images and it’s difficult for me to share them.

    Q3: I worked at the monterey bay aquarium as a tour leader, and being autistic helped. It was super easy to script answers to thousands of questions-literally-and I got to geek out for an hour. And people paid for me to geek out! Hahaha

    Q6: I think of my style as post structural femme slob. But I’m a femme woman who’s really dominant on dates and in bed. That always surprises guys.

    Q9: EVERYTHING. It gave me a language to articulate my needs, and a way to make my needs validated.

    Q10: YESSSSS

  43. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q3:no
    Q4: no
    Q6: yes
    Q7: yes
    Q8: yes
    Q9: finding more information, like this website
    Q10: Yes, mainly because I don’t like the feel, but some of it is because I don’t like to make the decision of what to wear. If I wear jewelery, I will typically wear the same thing every day instead of switching it up.

  44. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I was always an honor student

    Q2: Photographic memory

    Q3: I work in IT in a solo role.

    Q4: No

    Q6: Not sure, I am female but am more interested in typical male stereotypical things like vehicles, computers, etc. I do love horses though, especially caring for them and just being around them.

    Q7: Not really, I do have some subjects that I am very knowledgable about but tend to be able to answer questions about most of my interests

    Q8: Yes, I am easily distracted from what I was listening too. Especially audio books/drama. Even if it is really interesting.

    Q9: I have not been officially diagnosed, but after a lot of research I find a bit of relief in realizing there is a reason I have always been different and never felt like I fit in.

    Q10: Generally, I only wear just my wedding ring when I am out, but not at home. Jewelry gets in the way.

  45. 1. I’ve not devoted part of my brain power to performing normally, at least that I’ve noticed, though the classes that I take that assume/require normality–things like talking in class or organisation–tend to be the ones I perform worst in. Interestingly, I’m having less issue interacting in my ASL class than in verbal language classes. I’m not sure if this is because of sign vs auditory/speech or if it’s that the way it’s taught works way better (immersion-based; spoken English is banned) or some combination of the two.
    2. More obvious communication issues–I’m in that grey area where I can communicate well enough that people don’t think I have communication issues, but it’s really difficult for me and sometimes my verbal communication completely dies on either the hearing or speaking end.
    3. No.
    4. No.
    5. I can’t understand why being polite is apparently more important than directness and efficiency. I can’t understand how any “adult” could think that everyone else thinks and experiences the world the same way as them. I don’t understand how stuff like warning roommates about guests isn’t common practice. I grasp these things intellectually, as in these are things I need to assume about society, but they still don’t make sense to me.
    6. Definitely. My interest in clothes is all tied into construction. Part of this is probably that I was taught to sew when I was around 8, if not younger. Part of this is from an interest in historical costume which grew into an interest in corset construction. And part of this is that various parts of my body fit into sizes from 4ish to 12ish, if not bigger, so clothes never fit me right.
    7. I don’t think so. If someone asks me a question about a less current special interest, I can still give a great deal of information about it, though there are some extremely specific bits that I can’t remember off the top of my head.
    8. If that’s all I’m doing, yes. But if I’m doing math, chores, logic puzzles, or something with my hands, I greatly enjoy them.
    9. Currently in the process of official diagnosis. As for self-diagnosis, knowing that I’m the one that’s different has been really useful. Beforehand, I just thought I had really bad roommate luck while now I realise that people like socialising and smelly things. Now at least I know that I need to tell people about these sorts of things rather than assuming 3/4 of my roommates were just extremely rude.
    10. It depends on the jewellery. I have a couple necklaces I like wearing because I did the work to use silver to make the stones into pendants. I have a string bracelet I’ve not removed in 3ish years. I had a Pandora bracelet which was nicely heavy but I lost it. I think it’s largely weight-based. They either have to be light enough that I don’t notice them or heavy enough that they’re a definite presence. Earrings are hit-and-miss. I like some studs, but hate sleeping in them. I like the weight of dangly earrings but the weight has to be balanced with the wire size, and they fall out when I’m sleeping. My favorites were a pair of hoops, but I lost them. I can’t wear watches–the only comfortable bands are fabric, but those start to smell fairly quickly. And I always end up losing rings.

  46. I’ve enjoyed this round of questions – I find it really helpful and interesting to see other peoples experiences.

    I’ve a suggestion for another topic for TaTT if you are looking for ideas – inspired by your tweet/comment on hypnopompic hallucinations on Alex’s (http://bjforshaw.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/ghost-story/ ) post about ghosts. Every so often in blogs and books I see intriguing comments to the effect that aspies dream vividly, or have other insight or heightened perception of a maybe mystical or spiritual nature. The scientist side of me thinks this is potentially a load of rubbish, but needs explaining, and is fascinated by possible theories. My more mystical, lucid dreaming, ghost-seeing, side is intrigued too. Anyway – could we have some questions such as:

    1) Do you dream vividly, unusually, or not at all?
    2) Have you ever dreamed you were flying?
    3) Have you ever had a precognition dream (dream that foretold a future event)?
    4) Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis (the feeling of being unable to move in a dream) ?
    5) Do you experience synethesia, in dreams or generally?
    6) Have you ever seen/felt a ghost?
    7) Are you sensitive to the atmosphere of buildings and places (historical or otherwise)?
    8) Are you sensitive to the underlying emotional atmosphere in a group of people?
    9) Do you meditate, or seek altered states of consciousness in other ways.
    10) Would you be upset if there was no question number 10?

    For Halloween maybe…

  47. anonymous answers:

    Q1: no, I did it the opposite. I performed academically and failed socially.
    Q2: objectivity
    Q3: research and writing
    Q4: no but add up numbers on the gas pump til I get 3 or 9 (that’s how much gas I get) because I think they might be lucky
    Q5: conservatives. tribal thinking.
    Q6: I like fabric.
    Q7: definitely. or even a non favorite subject, I get more interested the more research I do usually unless instead I discover tribalism at the bottom and then I get disgusted.
    Q8: yes. or even lyrics.
    Q9: rerouting my career thoughts.
    Q10: hate it. and underwear.

  48. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I never tried to act “normal”. I was, am and always will be different. Thank God 🙂
    Q2: I’ve already got some good ones but I guess a maths genius would be pretty cool 🙂
    Q3: Yes! Computer programming!
    Q4: No but I do make words out of the letters and numbers on number plates.
    Q5: There’s a God
    Q6: What’s fashion?
    Q7: There’s nothing wrong with my Special Interests! I live for my Special Interests! They’re about the only good thing in my life. What am I talking about?! They are my life!
    Q8: Yup!
    Q9: A new Special Interest – “Asperger’s Syndrome”
    🙂
    It helped me because at the time, I had just lost a 20 something year Special Interest and was hospitalised for depression. It was there I was diagnosed as AS. I did some research and long story short, AS has now been a Special Interest for some time now 🙂
    Q10: Y E S ! ! !

  49. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No clue at all. I’m doing this survey right now instead of a three-days-late assignment. That is my main academic problem I think.
    Q2: Obliviousness about how I seem to others. Maybe then I could get to know people instead of suppressing anything that could lead to social interaction because even though I know how much I suck at it I can’t get any scripts to run fast enough.
    Q3: IT, enough said.
    Q4: Not exactly that, but I do notice a lot of little inconsequential things and try to work out patterns where most people would get bored.
    Q5: The idea of having a constant internal monologue made of spontaneous language is pretty hard to imagine for me. Also small talk, I can’t wrap my head around people not hating it.
    Q6: My interests are mostly stereotypical male autistic obsessions. Little to no NT gender appropriate interests though.
    Q7: I can’t exactly understand the question. I do seem to not have the ability to choose what I remember.
    Q8: Actual live people are easier to concentrate while listening to than voice acting.
    Q9: I’m not diagnosed with ASD. I regret how I faked my way through a (non-ASD-assuming) diagnostic interview when I was still in denial about my condition.
    Q10: Most I can handle is a thin watch with a non-metal strap.

  50. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Absolutely

    Q2: Easy date memorization. I can’t even remember how old I am!

    Q3: Sewing/crocheting for charity. I can work very fast and fall into my own world. I see stitches and can easily piece a complicated pattern together in my mind.

    Q4: No, I’m not that smart.

    Q6: Shoes- yes! I love hiking boots! They have amazing laces that have tons of colors. Some don’t even have eyelets- they have little metal hooks 🙂 They make a great clomp clomp noise when I wear them and I feel powerful in them because if someone tried to hurt me I could kick them.

    Q7: I can’t remember anything about something I’m not interested in. This caused undiagnosed younger me HUGE issues in school. They said I was lazy- but really I just couldn’t remember the info. I really tried too.
    As far as immersion acting as priming, it’s an interesting theory! I do like having multiple angles to think about something from. So I like Doctor Who- in high stress I sing the songs from the show. If I need a mind picture because what I’m looking at is boring/painful- then I play an episode in my head. So I think your theory could be quite valid.

    Q8: Depends on the day and how stressed out I am. I know at church I have trouble following the sermon if it goes longer than twenty minutes. This is a source of shame for me.

    Q9: Nothing- we don’t have money for the 2000.00 USD official diagnosis and I’m a middle aged housewife. There is nothing an official dx would get me at this point.

    Q10: I will wear some earings and watches, but that’s it.

    1. What a great reason to love hiking boots! I like to be fit and toned, and have it appear obviously so, because I feel stronger and safer when I know people are seeing a muscular, strong female. I’m actually not very muscular yet but I have very impressive shoulders!

  51. 1. The schooling system I experienced suited me almost perfectly as I had a superb memory. I LOVED tests. So much better than a regular school day. I hated school itself, with all the people, and chopping and changing between subjects, and break times and – eugh. In my final year of college, I maybe could have done better but I made a conscious decision to not shoot for the moon academically and spend some of that extra energy on trying to date and have fun. It was an experiment – didn’t seem odd to me at all at the time.

    2. Learn languages. I would love to speak at least five of them 🙂 And if I could have a super power it would definitely be invisibility, or flying.

    3. I can do anything for short periods of time. I’m scarily good at passing – I can fool myself still. But being alone most of the time with some limited people contact works nicely for me.

    4. Yes. I survived church every Sunday by counting the different pieces of glass in the massive stained glass window behind the altar over and over again until I came up with a number I liked. I have no idea what the picture on the window was though I looked at it, literally, hundreds of times – but I can recall the numbers.

    5. Discrimination. Just will not compute. Hate. I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand why people hate, and hurt others – and for no good reason! This has led to people being my greatest and longest running special interest. I sort of get it on an intellectual level, after all my careful studying. Also, I have prejudices too. I’ve been taught well. They’re not very instinctive though. I tend to judge on individual behaviour.

    6. I love to wear dresses. I only own dresses and gym gear. I wear dresses because they help me pass. I feel quite male-female in personality so I felt a need to emphasise my femininity. I often envied men, because they seemed more straightforward, less bothered by all these rules I didn’t get. Once I started wearing dresses, however, I realised that they actually saved me so much time getting ready; the dress was the outfit. Everyone liked my dresses so much I didn’t have to try so hard with the rest of my appearance. Win!

    7. I made people my special interest because I didn’t understand them but that’s about it.

    8. I can do physical tasks with audio on but nothing else. And then only music. If it’s talking on the radio, it drives me nuts. I don’t like to hear random people’s voices when I’m doing anything. I feel compelled to listen, to process. I have almost no control over my expression or body language when very engrossed in audio. I will grin like a maniac listening to music on a walk. I will sometimes look ‘homocidal’ I’m told. Also, creepy and vacant – eyes glazed, mouth a little open.

    9. Understanding how I work, or starting to.

    10. Watch and engagement ring (didn’t want a wedding band because don’t want to wear anything else). And I LOVE the days I can just leave them off because I’m just in my gym gear the whole time. I’m used to them now though, the weight of them. If I’m dressed regularly, I’d probably feel a bit naked without them. Otherwise, jewellery is an idea I love but a reality that I find quite uncomfortable.

  52. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Dunno
    Q3: Musician
    Q4: Sometimes
    Q5: Because they don’t!
    Q6: Yes. Guns, but for precision shooting, rahter than hunting.
    Q7: I suppose so. Remembering on demad is erratic.
    Sometimes excellent, othertimes non-existent.
    Q8: Oh yes. Close to impossible if music is playing.
    I hate the Mall and WalMart.
    McDonalds is no better.
    Q9: Self-knowledge of the situation.
    At least I can understand myslef sometimes, even if other people don’t understand me.
    Q10: Generally yes. I do have several pieces that have associations that are strong and meaningful.

  53. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Probably yes. For example if I actually did the signs to indicate I was “listening” to someone lecturing or speaking to me, it took so much concentration that I actually wasn’t. To them, me concentrating looked like not paying attention. On the other hand though, i didn’t even learn about Asperger’s until I had graduated from college, and I didn’t even earnestly become aware of some things to do to try to be “normal” in this sense until I was in college so I wasn’t devoting a lot of mental energy to this. I was homeschooled before college though so that probably helped a lot and I wasn’t aware of some aspects of “abnormality” until later (detrimental in other ways perhaps, but I learned out how study on my own in my own way). I did well academically in college in the end.

    Q2: Immediately solving problems and having a really good memory for everything (e.g. what happened on a certain day, exact facts and figures). I am incredibly absent minded and scatterbrained, I never have factoids at my fingertips when they would actually be useful. Just when I think of something random when other people are making “normal small talk”

    Q3: I’m not sure if it’s related to my autism or not but I’m very detailed oriented and good at finding “problems.” My job involves testing/breaking things and pointing out the problems (and fixing them). I also get to work independently a lot and don’t have to spend a lot of time interacting with people in person, in fact the whole department chats with each other online even if they are sitting next door. It also allows me (in later years) to work from home. So in many ways it’s a good fit for me.

    Q4: I’m not aware of doing this.

    Q5: I have a hard time grasping that there are still people who think animals don’t have feelings and thoughts.

    Q6: I like wearing interesting and comfortable things, but I often make choices that others disapprove of. I do like to buy nice clothes/jewelry etc but it has nothing to do with what is “fashionable” just what I like.

    Q7: Yes, definitely have trouble with facts on demand or producing anything from the memory pool “on demand” if I haven’t studied about it a lot (especially recently). I like to know everything about a topic of interest so I think that’s part of the appeal, but I don’t necessarily have to recall everything instantly because I don’t usually talk about them to others that much, it usually becomes apparent after a few sentences that I’m just babbling and no one cares.I think another reason I like to learn about something is accuracy. I want to be accurate when discussing something or even thinking or pondering about it. I often like to do hands on things related to an interest so I can prove the accuracy of facts for myself. When I embark on a new project, even if I wouldn’t really call it a “special interest” I do a lot of research about it, but also look out for new discoveries along the way to find the best way to deal with it, and even take notes along the way. Once I’ve mastered it sufficiently in my mind it may lose its appeal. Kind of like a computer game you already know how to win (1048?) First fascinating and addictive, then once I win I no longer feel like playing, time for something new.

    Q8: I don’t think I’ve listened to drama per se, but when I was younger I used to listen to “books on tape.” I can still hear them in my mind in fact or recite based on those tapes. I would play them on car rides mostly. I was able to focus on them then and immerse in the story, and make up visuals to go along with. Currently however I think I’m so used to multitasking I’ve lost the ability to do that intense focus very well. If I try to listen to a book on tape in the car I just tune it out now (same thing around the house). I can’t stay engaged. Music though I can sing along with when I’m doing physical work or driving or something else that doesn’t require active mental processing, but if I’m doing something that requires more concentrating I have a harder time. There are just too many tracks running in my brain, and if the track that “says” what I’m reading and the track that “sings along” with the music are running simultaneiously along with everything else in my head it’s too confusing.

    Q9: I self diagnosed and still haven’t gotten a formal diagnosis, for many reasons. I think the most helpful thing was now that I had a name for all these things I used to think were just unique weird things I did, I could do research about it. Talking to other people who were like me online was reassuring and often helpful, especially if they’d learned methods to deal with things that I hadn’t learned. It also helped me learn which things I did were truly bothersome to other people vs just being slightly weird vs. being normal/close to normal. Because I honestly didn’t have much sense of this before… I knew from people’s reactions that I was doing things ‘wrong’ in their opinion, but I didn’t know which parts were wrong and which parts were okay or tolerable, let alone what to do to fix the worst areas. Likewise this knowledge helped me relax about a lot of my “quirks” which are Asperger’s related but they’re not driving me or anybody else crazy so I don’t worry about them anymore.

    Q10: No, I like wearing some things but I often don’t just out of laziness. Having a ring or bracelet on gives me one more thing to fiddle with. When I make bracelets myself out of beads I often do it with that in mind.

  54. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes
    Q2: Maths genius
    Q3: Yes
    Q4: No
    Q5: Empathy is important
    Q6: Skirt not trousers
    Q7: Yes I do
    Q8: Yes I do
    Q9: It explained a lot. I now view life differently.
    Q10: No

  55. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I was incredibly fortunate to be homeschooled all the way through. Though I didn’t receive a diagnosis growing up, I did very well in academics because of the unique situation – I was given as much time as I needed each day and plenty of one-on-one instruction.

    Q2: Savant musicality. Everybody thinks autists are prodigies, right? 🙂

    Q3: Yes and no. I’m a self-taught seamstress and designer with expert skills in costume design and construction, but I have no certificate or degree. I’m a fully trained ballet dancer with 12 years of professional experience, too, but a lot of choreographers are a nightmare for an aspie to work with.

    Q4: I did that when I was a kid.

    Q5: Yikes, now I wonder what I’m just assuming!

    Q6: Fashion is a good example, actually, because I love to follow fashion and use it for design, but I am not very fashion-forward or interested in spending a lot of time on my personal appearance.

    Q7: For the first part, I actually think that’s true of all people. As far as memory, yes, I have lots of trouble accessing even info I know well if I’m not already focusing on it. I have a hard time switching gears like that.

    Q8: Sometimes it’s white noise and sometimes it’s very distracting.

    Q10: I wear a nosering. I occasionally wear earrings, but only for a few hours at a time because they can become an irritant after a while. My husband and I wear our wedding rings when in public together, but they’re impractical and irritating (a hazard on the job, too), so we plan to get tattoos to symbolize our union instead.

  56. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No
    Q2: Music genius
    Q3: Yes
    Q4: No
    Q5: That you always need words to communicate
    Q6: No
    Q7: Perhaps
    Q8: Yes sometimes
    Q9: Understanding my past – why I struggled socially. It was sad but I felt less stupid about it. It wasn’t simply my fault.
    Q10: No but it can’t be too heavy and I take it off at the end of the work day.

  57. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes

    Q2: Not sure

    Q3: No

    Q4: Yes

    Q5: That the world is noisy !

    Q6: Yes , I think of it practically but with a touch of quirky

    Q7: I have memory problems generally, things are often triggered by something unrelated

    Q8: I can only really concentrate when all other sounds are gone

    Q9: One to one sessions monthly, because there’s help with practicalities like domestic issues

    Q10: Yes

  58. Do you think you would have performed better academically if you hadn’t devoted part of your brain power to performing “normally”?

    I preformed well academically most of my life and do today (accept in math), the times when I started to fall behind in high school were due to going through burnout at the time, so I guess in a round about way that answer would still be yes.

    What [stereo]typical ASD trait you lack would you want to have? Eg maths genius 😉

    I wouldn’t mind being good at math since I am so terrible about it 😄 But a 100% honest answer would be not really cause then I wouldn’t be me.

    I sometimes wish I had a photographic memory, or was better a memorizing series of facts immediately. I can absorb a lot of information about a subject very quickly, but it is more general knowledge than a bunch of little facts. I come by knowing series of facts more naturally over time.

    Do you have a job or volunteer activity that you are particularly suited to because of your autism?

    I’ve had some small jobs video editing, which is something I believe I am good at as part if my neurotype. I also think I would be good at shelving library books, although I haven’t really had the opportunity to do this yet! I took a training course on it in one afternoon and was told I was a natural though.

    Do you group letters on things like signs and license plates until you can get an even number?

    No

    What can’t you still believe everyone doesn’t think?

    That disability = diversity

    If you are interested in something typical for your gender (e.g. fashion for girls) are you interested in a different way? (e.g. hats not shoes or historical costume rather than being “bang on trend”)

    I am interested in hats and shoes! But the shoes I am interested in are never dress shoes, so I guess that would be less typical. I like tennis shoes of various sorts and boots.

    Do you think some of the appeal of a favourite subject/special interest is that immersion in a topic acts as priming making it easier and more comfortable to remember and think about it?

    I don’t think so.

    Do you have trouble remembering facts on demand for other subjects you aren’t spending time on even though you know it and find it interesting?

    Sometimes? It depends on the level of interest.

    Do you have difficulty concentrating when listening to radio/audio drama?

    I don’t think so. I will actually listen to dramas in the background to help me concentrate better, sometimes.

    What was the most helpful thing after you received your diagnosis? Why?

    Community I found online. It helped me learn things, accept who I was, know I wasn’t alone and learn how to be a self-advocate. And gave me a knew special interest 🙂

    Do you dislike wearing jewellery?

    I actually like necklaces a lot but it ends there. Don’t like rings, earrings, etc. and necklaces, even though I like them, I ALWAYS forget to wear them. Sometimes I like or don’t mind things on my wrist.

  59. 1. Up to the ninth grade (ninth grade inclusive), yes. My grades have always been very good, and in the ninth grade I did have all grades except Phys-Ed over 90%, however once I stopped attending regular high school and began home schooling myself (beginning the tenth grade) both my grades and my time spent to earn a certain grade improved. For example, it only took me a year and a half to finish the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades (all together, I mean; not each) once I began home schooling, and my final average was 96%. This home schooling was technically distance education, also, which means there were still prerequisite courses and the difficulty level was similar to that of regular high school. Hence I would say I have significant evidence suggesting the answer to this question is yes.

    2. I am already quite stereotypical: my special interest in physics and I am very good at mathematics. My memory is fairly good, though if anything it would be nice to have a flawless long-term memory.

    3. In a way, yes. I volunteer with a group of individuals with developmental disabilities at my grandfather’s church. I largely dislike this volunteer work because it is religious in nature and I am an atheist. However, I find it is much easier for me to interact with the disabled individuals than it is for me to interact with the other helpers, largely because I tend to presume competence and don’t speak to the disabled individuals in that infuriating baby-voice. Many of the other helpers do speak to them this way, and they also tend to behave as though they think they’re all stupid. This is quite ironic, being that many of the helpers themselves are blatantly unintelligent.

    4. No.

    5. I still have trouble believing everyone doesn’t think like me. After receiving my diagnosis I learned that the way I think about concepts and perceive most things is different from the way the vast majority of people think/perceive, and this is quite disconcerting. I used to think it was simply because I was smarter than most people I meet and my psychologist says this is certainly part of it, however another large part is the ASD. This is revolutionizing the way I view and attempt to understand other people and their actions.

    6. I collect shoes–I have thirty pairs of shoes. However, I only wear three of them. The rest I just keep on a shoe rack, nicely spaced and organized, in my closet. Sometimes I like to look at them, but I rarely put them on. I think I collect them more in the way one would collect shells or cards than in the usual way a female individual would collect purses/shoes.

    7. Definitely. I can remember physics concepts I learned recently and quite some time ago in great detail on demand, but I think this is because I do physics for 4+ hours each day and when I’m not doing it I am thinking about it (i.e. I am perpetually immersed). Even though biology interests me, especially evolutionary biology, I can’t remember things I’ve read about it when in a conversation with others. When I was younger my special interest for a while was chinchillas (I wanted one as a pet and for about five months I learned everything about them), and during this time I would rattle on about them to my father as though I was a specialist. Now, though, I have a great deal of trouble remembering facts about chinchillas when someone asks me without warning.

    8. Yes, and this is why I despise radio/audio drama.

    9. Likely reading Tony Atwood’s book The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, which I haven’t yet finished. I was still somewhat skeptical of the diagnosis somewhere in the back of my mind after having received it, but upon beginning that book I became convinced. As has been said before, it is as though I could place my name into some of the paragraphs and it would be a description of my life. Regularly seeing a social worker and psychologist also helps because I am now approaching familial and social issues from the perspective of having ASD, which means the solutions proposed are more effective.

    10. Yes for some types of jewelry. I don’t mind long necklaces, but short ones that are too close to my neck drive me mad. Earring also often irritate my ears, even though I’m not allergic to materials than aren’t gold. I hate rings, especially those thick plastic ones. I don’t mind bracelets as long as they don’t hang down too much.

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