08 December 2009

4 Proofs I Have Asperger Syndrome

. . . Asperger's is a mild form of autism which generally impairs the social skills without affecting the language or verbal skills of the individual. I went all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade and some college without being officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Yes, it was hell, but probably better that being institutionalized.

Having been in the following conversations — 1) 'I have Asperger's.' 'What is that?' or 2) 'I have Asperger's.' 'No you don't.' — about a zillion times, I feel compelled to post a short list of 4 Proofs I Have Asperger Syndrome.

1. A psychology major who prefers to remain anonymous. Explained to me that I displayed strong characteristics of Asperger Syndrome. This was about 1995, when I was 31.

I did not run out and get myself tested due to expense and so what if I have it anyway? I was long out of school and just about everything one reads about Asperger's or Autism is geared toward parents coping with a child who has it. Where is the information for the 30-year-old who has it?

2. A professional who has worked with disabled people, has disabled relatives, and is familiar with all manner of developmental disabilities. About the year 2000.

My brother's fiancee. Founder and executive director of a large company that provides services to blind, deaf, and developmentally disabled individuals so they can live on their own rather than in a group home or institution. She has 300 employees and 200 clients (or is it 200 employees and 300 clients, I can never remember).

The first time I met my brother's fiancee we talked for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes. So, you can tell what's wrong with me, can't you? I asked her. She did not hesitate for a moment: Asperger Syndrome.

3. The holder of a master's degree in social work. Director of religious education at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit. August 2007.

The first time she and I had a conversation of more than a few words I asked her if she thought I might have some kind of developmental disability and she said of course I have Asperger's, it's obvious.

4. A test given by a Ph.D. psychologist, March 2009.

In February 2009, a gentleman at my church, who goes regularly to a Ph.D. psychologist for his ADHD, asked me if I would be willing to take an Asperger questionnaire, and I said sure. A week or two later he brought me a 3-page questionnaire with exactly 50 questions.

I noticed a problem right away: since the quiz was all yes-or-no questions, for many of them, for me, the answer will be sometimes yes, sometimes no. He said, for questions like that, I may circle both. An ingenious solution. I agreed, finished the questionnaire and gave it back to him.

About two weeks later he reported to me that my test had been scored by his psychologist, and that my score was 44 out of a possible 50, and that a score of 32 or more is a positive for Asperger Syndrome.


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