I’m still processing today….
I’ve been reading an amazing blog by Samantha Craft – Everyday Asperger’s. She is so candid, honest, and open….and her writing is helping me have the courage to do my own. I will probably be expounding on some of her posts on a regular basis.
Since last night, I’ve been reading through her posts from Day 1. On Day 62, she writes her own non-official list of Asperger’s traits. I like this one a lot, because it’s not clinical. It breaks things down in real world language, not psychologese. All of the content is hers, I will add my thoughts under each item.
Females with Aspergers Non-Official Checklist
By Samantha Craft of Everyday Asperger’s, March 2012
This is a non-official checklist created by an adult female with Asperger’s Syndrome who has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome. Samantha Craft holds a Masters Degree in Education. Samantha Craft does not hold a doctorate in Psychiatry or Psychology. She has a life-credential as a result of being a female with Asperger’s Syndrome and being a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has created this list in an effort to assist mental health professionals in recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome in females.
Suggested Use: Check off all areas that strongly apply to the person. If each area has 75%-80% of the statements checked, or more, then you may want to consider that the female may have Asperger’s Syndrome.
Section A: Deep Thinkers
1. A deep thinker
Yes, when my brain isn’t racing from one topic to another non-stop.
2. A prolific writer drawn to poetry
I used to write all the time. Poetry, mainly. I got out of the habit in my first marriage when my ex-husband started reading my personal journals and poetry, and using it as a means to start fights. I got out of the habit, but I’m feeling the calling again. Maybe I’ll start soon. 🙂
3. Highly intelligent
I have an IQ somewhere between 135 and 145.
4. Sees things at multiple levels including thinking processes.
I see things as facets of a stone.
5. Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything continually.
This I used to do continually. Now, I have found some “answers” that work for me well, so I don’t wander and question as much.
6. Serious and matter-of-fact in nature.
To a fault.
7. Doesn’t take things for granted.
What is given, can be taken away at any moment.
8. Doesn’t simplify.
This used to be a big problem, but since I have been homeschooling, I’ve had to learn to make things easier for others to understand.
9. Everything is complex.
If this is simply talking about things I think on, yes, this is true. Procedures, steps, and such often appear very simple to me, but aren’t to others.
10. Often gets lost in own thoughts and “checks out.” (blank stare)
All the time.
Section B: Innocent
Less now than I used to be, but yes.
To a fault.
3. Experiences trouble with lying.
I don’t like being in a position where I have to lie, and I hate being lied to.
4. Finds it difficult to understand manipulation and disloyalty.
Don,t understand it, don’t like it, try to avoid it.
5. Finds it difficult to understand vindictive behavior and retaliation.
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”
6. Easily fooled and conned.
To a point…with strangers, not so much because I am very guarded with who I trust. But once I let someone in, then yes, that person has great power to take advantage of me.
7. Feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed
8. Feelings of being misplaced and/or from another planet
I can’t say I’ve ever felt like an alien, although the concept makes sense to me. I jsut always felt like I didn’t belong and that if I kept looking around, I’d find my place.
9. Feelings of isolation
Constantly. Rarely do I feel truly connected to anyone or anything.
10. Abused or taken advantage of as a child but didn’t think to tell anyone.
This was true more as a teenager/adult. I was a bum magnet for a long period of time.
Section C: Escape and Friendship
1. Survives overwhelming emotions and senses by escaping in thought or action.
I used to just zone out, and be fine. Now, because of the worsening of my sensory issues, I physically have to remove myself from stressful situations, or I risk a potentially catastrophic meltdown.
2. Escapes regularly through fixations, obsessions, and over-interest in subjects.
On a daily basis. In fact, I don’t think I can conceive of how to live otherwise. It’s always something.
3. Escapes routinely through imagination, fantasy, and daydreaming.
At some point on a daily basis
4. Escapes through mental processing.
Also a daily process
5. Escapes through the rhythm of words.
I’m not completely sure on this one, I’ve never really thought about it.
6. Philosophizes continually.
7. Had imaginary friends in youth.
I don’t know if it would be considered imaginary friends, per se, but I used to spend hours running pretend “movies” where I would imagine myself as a character in a book or movie I liked, and I’d make my own episodes. This usually occurred at night after I was supposed to be asleep. I would sit in the dark and talk to myself, acting out scenarios.
8. Imitates people on television or in movies.
See above :). I also tend to be very good at imitation.
9. Treated friends as “pawns” in youth, e.g., friends were “students,” “consumers,” “soldiers.”
I don’t know that this one applies to me, but I didn’t really have many friends when I was young.
10. Makes friends with older or younger females.
Yes I have very few friends my own age.
11. Imitates friends or peers in style, dress, and manner.
I used to do this a lot, but I’ve come to enjoy my unique sense of style, and I’m trying more to get clothing that actually reflects what I want to wear.
12. Obsessively collects and organizes objects.
I used to have a lot of collections, but I lost them in my divorce. I’ve decided recently to start up a couple collections again. I love colored glass, and faeries. I reorganize stuff all the time.
13. Mastered imitation.
14. Escapes by playing the same music over and over.
15. Escapes through a relationship (imagined or real).
yes, to a degree. I’m getting better about it as I get older.
16. Numbers bring ease.
17. Escapes through counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging.
18. Escapes into other rooms at parties.
If I must be at the party to begin with, then yes. Even parties I throw myself.
19. Cannot relax or rest without many thoughts.
I can never NOT be thinking about several things at a time.
20. Everything has a purpose.
My significant others call me “Our Lady of Practicality”, so I guess the answer would be yes. 🙂
Section D: Comorbid Attributes
1. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
I used to have a lot of OCD tendencies, but life circumstances have forced me to rid myself of most of them or go crazy and take everyone around me with me.
2. Sensory Issues (sight, sound, texture, smells, taste)
The only areas I don’t seem to have what I would consider issues would be taste and texture. I’m not a picky eater, and I rather enjoy different food textures. I am very sensitive to taste and touch sensations though.
3. Generalized Anxiety
Yes, and it’s getting worse with age.
4. Sense of pending danger or doom
Yes, I often turn into Chicken Little.
5. Feelings of polar extremes (depressed/over-joyed; inconsiderate/over-sensitive)
when I am calm, not really. But if I’m overloaded, everything becomes very black and white.
6. Poor muscle tone, double-jointed, and/or lack in coordination
I don’t have great muscle tone, and I am very uncoordinated.
7. Eating disorders, food obsessions, and/or worry about what is eaten.
I’m a recovering bulimic, and right now, I am working on learning to change to a gluten free diet, and watching my over carb intake because of prediabetes, without falling into obsessive habits and driving myself crazy.
8. Irritable bowel and/or intestinal issues
My stomach is very sensitive, but often to weird things.
9. Chronic fatigue and/or immune challenges
I can’t say that I’ve been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, but I am often tired. I have insomnia issues that often hold the answer to being tired. My immune system isn’t great, I will always be the one to get sick.
10. Misdiagnosed or diagnosed with other mental illness and/or labeled hypochondriac.
I’ve been diagnosed with insomnia and depression. I don’t think these are necessarily misdiagnosed, but I now believe they are biproducts of being Aspie.
11. Questions place in the world.
12. Often drops small objects
Yes, especially when I’m upset, or in a hurry
13. Wonders who she is and what is expected of her.
14. Searches for right and wrong.
Yes, to a point, but I have a good understanding that it’s a sliding scale, so it changes from time to time.
15. Since puberty, has had bouts of depression.
I’ve had more time in depression than out of it.
16. Flicks/rubs fingernails, flaps hands, rubs hands together, tucks hands under or between legs, keeps closed fists, and/or clears throat often.
I’m rubbing my fingernails right now LOL. I tap my toes almost constantly, cross my toes, twirl my hair chew on my shirt. Unless I am sleeping, I am moving.
Section E: Social Interaction
1. Friends have ended friendship suddenly and without person understanding why.
2. Tendency to over-share.
3. Spills intimate details to strangers.
I’ve been known to do this quite a lot.
4. Raised hand too much in class or didn’t participate in class.
I raised my hand all the time until I got beaten up for it in elementary school. Then I stopped. That habit carried even into college.
5. Little impulse control with speaking when younger.
I still have some issues with this…if I think it it likes to pop out of my mouth.
6. Monopolizes conversation at times.
I am very bad about this. I realize it often even in the conversation, but then moment passes and I start talking again.
7. Bring subject back to self.
Yeah I do this too.
8. Comes across at times as narcissistic and controlling. (Is not narcissistic.)
Yes, because of the tendency to talk about myself and interrupt people. I’m hardly narcissistic though…it’s usually because I’m trying to show people that we have something in common, to make them understand me, or to impress them and make them like me.
9. Shares in order to reach out.
10. Sounds eager and over-zealous at times.
Usually at inappropriate times. Often am not eager when I should be.
11. Holds a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside.
Yes, a learned habit, because every time I open my mouth, my foot goes in.
12. Feels as if she is attempting to communicate “correctly.”
Yes, and a lot of times, I think I’m doing it right, and it is a disaster.
13. Obsesses about the potentiality of a relationship with someone, particularly a love interest.
OMG with my husband, this was a pretty extreme example. LOL
14. Confused by the rules of accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, stance, and posture in conversation.
I don’t have too much trouble with this anymore, but it’s a learned thing. I’m very precise about how far to stand from someone. I have a lot more trouble with eye contact when I’m agitated in any way.
15. Conversation can be exhausting.
Yes, even when I am the one being a motor mouth. I always feel drained.
16. Questions the actions and behaviors of self and others, continually.
All. the. time.
17. Feels as if missing a conversation “gene” or thought-“filter”
Yes, I’m missing both.
18. Trained self in social interactions through readings and studying of other people.
19. Visualizes and practices how she will act around others.
before most conversations that are planned out, yes.
20. Practices in mind what she will say to another before entering the room.
21. Difficulty filtering out background noise when talking to others.
it’s becoming almost impossible.
22. Has a continuous dialogue in mind that tells her what to say and how to act when in a social situations.
23. Sense of humor sometimes seems quirky, odd, or different from others.
yes, and I’ve learned to ignore a lot of what I actually think is funny. I’m very sarcastic and witty though, so I can usually make good jokes.
24. As a child, it was hard to know when it was her turn to talk.
Still is, I interrupt people all the time.
25. She finds norms of conversation confusing.
I tend to confuse others, because I will have two or three things going on at a time. I’m bad about talking about doing other things because I can’t sit still, and people think I’m rude. I’m not trying to be, I just get very anxious, and sometimes jittery if I don’t have something going on in my hands.
Section F: Finds Refuge when Alone
1. Feels extreme relief when she doesn’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house.
Oh yes, but these moments are few and far between.
2. One visitor at the home may be perceived as a threat.
I HATE strangers pulling into my driveway, and people knocking on my door makes me panicky.
3. Knowing logically a house visitor is not a threat, doesn’t relieve the anxiety.
Not at all.
4. Feelings of dread about upcoming events and appointments on the calendar.
Yes for a lot of things, especially if they don’t pertain to my interests. Takes days to psych up to go to the doctor, or to my kids’ parent teacher conferences (which I avoid if I can)
5. Knowing she has to leave the house causes anxiety from the moment she wakes up.
And usually for the night before, keeping me up all night.
6. All the steps involved in leaving the house are overwhelming and exhausting to think about.
It can be, but I’ve learned to prepare early, or if it’s say, a trip to the doctor, I can be ready to leave the house in five minutes because I just eliminate things like makeup and such.
7. She prepares herself mentally for outings, excursions, meetings, and appointments.
It depends, but for unfamiliar or stressful things, yes, I have to prepare. I don’t like trips sprung on me at the last minute.
8. Question next steps and movements continually.
If I’m in an unfamiliar situation, yes.
9. Telling self the “right” words and/or positive self-talk doesn’t often alleviate anxiety.
That never works for me.
10. Knowing she is staying home all day brings great peace of mind.
At this point, staying in my room all day makes me happy, going to my other spouses’ house makes me happy.
11. Requires a large amount of down time or alone time.
I require more down time that up time lol.
12. Feels guilty after spending a lot of time on a special interest.
Yes, but it doesn’t stop me doing again the next day. I always feel like there is something else I should be doing, even if there isn’t, then the moment goes, and I forget. It’ll come back 10 minutes later anyway.
13. Uncomfortable in public locker rooms, bathrooms, and/or dressing rooms.
Very much so.
14. Dislikes being in a crowded mall, crowded gym, or crowded theater.
I hate crowds period.
Section G: Sensitive
1. Sensitive to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells when trying to sleep.
Right now, I have the best sleeping environment I’ve ever had. I live in the middle of nowhere, with one streetlight that is far enough from the house, it doesn’t bother me if my dark curtain is closed. I have a large outdoor fountain in the corner of the room, a ceiling fan and another fan going at all times. If it is too hot, I cannot sleep, or if my feet are cold. I like the temp to be around 55-60 in my room at night, for optimum sleep. I have wonderful sheets, a fuzzy blanket, and a soft comforter, and a memory foam pad on my side of the bed. Any little noise will wake me up if I’m not in a medication induced sleep. I have a lot of allergies, so I often can’t smell, so that is minimized.
2. Adjusts bedclothes, bedding, and/or environment in an attempt to find comfort.
Yes, it has to be right, or it will keep me awake.
3. Dreams are anxiety-ridden, vivid, complex, and/or precognitive in nature.
yes. I have recurring dreams of being chased through tunnels by various and sundry monsters or people, I dream in miniseries, and I have deja vu all the time.
4. Highly intuitive to others’ feelings.\
To the point it’s becoming a serious problem.
5. Takes criticism to heart.
very much so
6. Longs to be seen, heard, and understood.
Yes, usually, but right now, I’m at a stage where I largely want to be left alone.
7. Questions if she is a “normal” person.
I already know I’m not, just learning why
8. Highly susceptible to outsiders’ viewpoints and opinions.
Yes, it’s hard to keep and hold my own viewpoints. I have to work at it.
9. At times adapts her view of life or actions based on others’ opinions or words.
Yes, this was most evident in my first marriage
10. Recognizes own limitations in many areas daily.
11. Becomes hurt when others question or doubt her work.
yes very much
12. Views many things as an extension of self.
Yes, I would say so.
13. Fears others opinions, criticism, and judgment.
14. Dislikes words and events that hurt animals and people.
15. Collects or rescues animals. (often in childhood)
I’ve always had allergies to animals, so not so much. But I have been accused of collecting and rescuing people by more than one person
16. Huge compassion for suffering.
Especially what I consider avoidable suffering, If it’s unavoidable, it simply has to be lived with.
17. Sensitive to substances. (environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, etc.)
Yes I have a lot of chemical sensitivities
18. Tries to help, offers unsolicited advice, or formalizes plans of action.
Yep that’s me, Little Miss Fix It
19. Questions life purpose and how to be a “better” person.
For myself, and others too…often wonder why people want to be miserable.
20. Seeks to understand abilities, skills, and/or gifts.
Yes, that’s what I’m doing right now.
Section H: Sense of Self
1. Feels trapped between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in.
I just want to be accepted without having to change everything about me. I know everyone has to make allowances, but when do I get to be the one people adjust for?
2. Imitates others without realizing.
3. Suppresses true wishes.
4. Exhibits codependent behaviors.
I used to be very bad, I’m better now thanks to help from my husband
5. Adapts self in order to avoid ridicule.
6. Rejects social norms and/or questions social norms.
I don’t fit in social norms.
7. Feelings of extreme isolation.
8. Feeling good about self takes a lot of effort and work.
yes, and it comes and goes in waves
9. Switches preferences based on environment and other people.
10. Switches behavior based on environment and other people.
11. Didn’t care about her hygiene, clothes, and appearance before teenage years and/or before someone else pointed these out to her.
Sometimes, I still don’t
12. “Freaks out” but doesn’t know why until later.
13. Young sounding voice
No, I have a very low voice, always have.
14. Trouble recognizing what she looks like and/or has occurrences of slight prosopagnosia (difficulty recognizing or remembering faces).
I often look at myself and thing I look strange, and I do have a hard time remembering faces.
Section I: Confusion
1. Had a hard time learning others are not always honest.
still working on that…I KNOW it, I don’t understand it.
2. Feelings seem confusing, illogical, and unpredictable. (self’s and others’)
3. Confuses appointment times, numbers, or dates.
if I don’t write it down, it will not be remembered
4. Expects that by acting a certain way certain results can be achieved, but realizes in dealing with emotions, those results don’t always manifest.
This usually backfires in my face
5. Spoke frankly and literally in youth.
still speak frankly, but I use a lot of metaphors
6. Jokes go over the head.
I’m actually pretty good with humor
7. Confused when others ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray.
Yes, I don’t get why it even happens
8. Trouble identifying feelings unless they are extreme.
yes, and usually can’t until after I calm down and can analyze
9. Trouble with emotions of hate and dislike.
I hate very few things, and disliking is very fluid for me
10. Feels sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt her.
11. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity.
12. Situations and conversations sometimes perceived as black or white.
Sometimes at first, then my brain kicks in and I start overthinking
13. The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood. (All or nothing mentality)
14. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship or collapse of world.
I am very bad about this
15. A small compliment might boost her into a state of bliss.
Sometimes, usually I just feel very self conscious
Section J: Words and Patterns
1. Likes to know word origins.
2. Confused when there is more than one meaning to a word.
not too bad, but it happens on occasion
3. High interest in songs and song lyrics.
this is a big one for sure
4. Notices patterns frequently.
5. Remembers things in visual pictures.
6. Remembers exact details about someone’s life.
if they are important to me, yes
7. Has a remarkable memory for certain details.
yes, and others not at all
8. Writes or creates to relieve anxiety.
I used to, I got out of the habit. But in the last three days, it’s been like opening a flood gate.
9. Has certain “feelings” or emotions towards words.
10. Words bring a sense of comfort and peace, akin to a friendship.
(Optional) Executive Functioning This area isn’t always as evident as other areas
1. Simple tasks can cause extreme hardship.
sometimes, it depends on the task
2. Learning to drive a car or rounding the corner in a hallway can be troublesome.
I didn’t learn till I was 24, and cannot for the life of me figure out how to drive a stick. I cannot parallel park, and I don’t like parking between two vehicles. I constantly run into things, walla, furniture, because I always cut the corner too close. This is such a big thing for me people laugh about it.
3. New places offer their own set of challenges.
I get lost very easily, and that only adds to my anxiety.
4. Anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse a sense of panic.
Yes this can be the case quite often
5. The thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something can cause anxiety.
6. Mundane tasks are avoided.
7. Cleaning may seem insurmountable at times.
8. Many questions come to mind when setting about to do a task.
yeah, too many usually
9. Might leave the house with mismatched socks, shirt buttoned incorrectly, and/or have dyslexia.
I rarely wear matching socks, and I don’t usually care what I’m wearing when I leave. I button fine though
10. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming.
I enjoy grocery shopping, I’d even call it a special interest, but if it’s at a new store, I make my husband go with me the first few times.
11. Trouble copying dance steps, aerobic moves, or direction in a sports gym class.
This is pretty much impossible for me, much to my hubby’s chagrin
12. Has a hard time finding certain objects in the house, but remembers with exact clarity where other objects are.
Yeah, I’m always losing my inhaler, glasses, keys, purse. I can remember unimportant stuff, though. I am also constantly locking my keys in cars, losing my wallet, I have to stay very organized or I lose things.
This list was compiled after nine years of readings, research, and experience associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. More information can be found at http://aspergersgirls.wordpress.com © Everyday Aspergers, 2012 This non-official checklist can be printed for therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, professors, teachers, and relatives, if Samantha Craft’s name and contact information remain on the print out.