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    Autism Spectrum Visibility/Chat Thread
    • I don't mean to randomly bump this thread, but I feel as if I may be "on the spectrum" and I guess I'm just curious if any of this sounds familiar to anyone. Sorry if this is unwanted or weird, as I know I'm kinda a nobody, and yeah I hate self-diagnosing in regards to something like this, but just hear me out for a minute. Basically, my whole life I've felt awkward around people, as if I couldn't grasp how to socialize on a "normal" level, and I mean my whole life because even as a really little kid I remember new or different people would scare me enough to force me to hide under the kitchen table. Similarly, throughout the majority of school I was barely ever able to develop friends of any kind, and even as early as fourth grade I remember it developing to the point where I hated social interaction period. Anyways that persisted for years and has never really gotten better, in fact I'd say it's gotten worse, and I find myself in the position in which not only do I lack the social skills to befriend people or maintain friendships, but even doing something as little as looking people in the face when they talk to me is something that feels all but impossible, and nowadays, outside of family members I find myself simply looking to the floor, or past people, or turning my head so that people are simply talking to my ear when they talk to me, and I don't know if this is autism or just extreme social anxiety.

      There's other things too, as like just in general I just don't understand people sometimes and I find myself often not knowing how to interact with people when they joke or try to converse with me, as like when people try to be playful with me I find myself immediately going into a deep thought mode where I greatly over analyze what they said and how I should or shouldn't respond, and eventually just give up and say something generic like "oh yeah, haha" or "ok." Likewise, my face doesn't show any emotion around people who aren't my family members. I know this because of all the ton of weird or questioning looks I get when working where I'm genuinely trying to be nice to customers, but they look at me as if they're completely perplexed. I don't know, I'm not meaning to drone on about myself, but I've just always felt as if I was too awkward or unable to socialize to be normal, so I'm trying to figure out why I am this way. Basically, does this sound familiar?
    • Mango The Magician wrote:

      Basically, does this sound familiar?
      i think it's well above ZU's pay grade to diagnose others based on anecdote alone. that being said, when it comes to autism (which we will focus on as the possibility vs. other mental/social disorders that share traits with autism, as we can assume it's autism you're asking about considering the context of this thread) it's really just how the brain functions on a social and mental level and how it differs from a neurotypical. so that being said, if you find yourself struggling in social situations, that remains the main point - regardless of whether you do or don't have an official diagnosis (as struggling in social situations can be related to autism, ADHD, ASPD . . . the list goes on; and sometimes people just don't have good social skills, full stop).

      i'd suggest if you're curious (as it can help us know how to go forward if we have an official name to describe what it is we're dealing with in our day-to-day lives) find a professional you can talk to. of course, you or i could self-diagnose it as autism, and if that's an answer you're content with, so be it. but a professional opinion would be built on a stronger foundation than speculation.

      -------------

      also hi i just found out there's an autism visibility thread and i'm happy to see that : )

      autism runs on my dad's side of the family (i mention this because i have older siblings who are solely my father's children, and not my mother's), so we're all on varying spectrums. that being said, we're all fairly high functioning - the lowest functioning in our family mostly had issues with speech impediments as a result, though he's progressing well and has just recently gotten removed from IEP (Individualized Education Program). which means (aside from the speech impediment therapy which is still a work in progress) he can participate in a regular classroom with a standard report card. which is neat.

      the rest of us simply deal with life the way anyone with high-functioning autism would, honestly - carefully and uniquely. there are upsides, there are downsides, it can make my day to day interesting, though difficult. i'm cross-diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, depression, ADD, and PTSD so that makes for an interesting cocktail of problems that share a lot of traits with autism on the whole.

      my brain just works differently than others. pros and cons included.
    • @death.

      I guess I should say I'm not looking for self diagnosis I'm just trying to understand myself better by seeing if anyone else notices anything similar so I can perhaps have a angle to attack my issues from that isn't just "I'm messed up." I agree that professional help would be more ideal but I don't know how to openly talk about my emotions irl or how to ask for help in getting therapy. I don't mean to bother others though, so sorry.
    • Mango The Magician wrote:

      @death.

      I guess I should say I'm not looking for self diagnosis I'm just trying to understand myself better by seeing if anyone else notices anything similar so I can perhaps have a angle to attack my issues from that isn't just "I'm messed up." I agree that professional help would be more ideal but I don't know how to openly talk about my emotions irl or how to ask for help in getting therapy. I don't mean to bother others though, so sorry.

      oh ya for sure, it can help to at least find others who know the feeling so it feels a little less alien to deal with, if that makes sense. i'm not gonna chastise you for that at all haha regarding your original post, i think a lot of people here can totally understand what you're going through, myself included. often times i feel like i'm just operating a meat vessel in some over-dramatic farce lol i have a particularly bad habit with taking things far too literally (and yet, i have a problem with reading too far between the lines where it's not needed - though it still ends up becoming incredibly useful, to a point that i may as well be a psychic).

      tl ; dr there's no need to apologize lol this is obviously meant to be a nice discussion space for those who deal with the many nuances of this kind of social disorder that's far more prevalent in our society than people give it credit for. my main point was that if you are looking for an official diagnosis, you'll have to go to someone trained to do so ;)
    • Just found out about Autism Speaks and quite livid about it.

      To give a quick summation; it's an organisation founded and funded by PARENTS of autistic children who seem to think of autism more as a disease that ruins families.
      Autism is gagged. It has no mouth and it must scream.

      They scared away their only openly autistic worker with their shit, and in his words, they accomplished internally what they wish for the world; zero autistic people.

      It reeks of the anti-vaxers that would rather have their kids die of tetanus than risking the scientifically disproven chance to have an autistic kid.

      I should start an organization that pays shitty people to get sterilized.
    • @gamtos

      Autism Speaks is loathed in the actual Autism community for every reason you stated above and then some. I especially hate how they divert funds away from programs who are actually trying to help autistic people through promoting acceptance.

      On that note, Specialisterne is an organization worth looking into. Their mission is to help people on the spectrum find meaningful work -- I mean, real careers, not just the minimum wage pity jobs we're supposed to feel grateful for. Unfortunately they aren't very big yet and most of their partner companies are in the tech industry, at least at their Toronto branch. Still, they did get me the spot on Employable Me, so they have been a big help. I do recommend them to any Aspie in the Toronto area who needs help. Go to one of their workshops - it's worth it! And see if they have a branch near you!


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Gear, by my husband, D4rkSilver
    • This is actually a great point to introduce a sub-topic that was an ulterior motive of mine for creating this thread (lol). So genetic testing has gotten so advanced that people capable of giving birth can go to a doctor, get tested, and then be told as to whether or not their children are genetically prone to being born with or developing various...traits—or as poopyheads would say, "defects."

      I bring this up because autism is one of those traits for which the ova are tested for genetic predisposition. And my cousin's tested positive for that chromosomal pattern or whatever, and based on that, she and her husband have decided to adopt rather than produce children of their own. (There may be other reasons for their decision—I hope there are other reasons—but that's the one I heard about.) Now, I'm all for adoption over childbirth—those kids really need loving homes—but if your reason for taking that path is that you don't want the "burden" of raising an autistic child, then I have a problem with your logic. I actually haven't seen her since I heard about the decision from my mom (who is her aunt), so I doubt she's aware of how offended I was to hear about this. Honestly, it feels like eugenics in action. Except it's also my cousin, whom I have respected all my life. (She first introduced me to Britney Spears and *NSYNC almost 20 years ago lol.)

      I'm in such an uncomfortable spot now. I'm proud of everything that sets me apart from the crowd—ny gender identity, my sexual orientation, my religion, and yes, my "brain stuff," including my Asperger's. They all grant me strengths and weaknesses as an individual and among society. So when I hear that people are trying to Darwin one of those traits out of future generations, I can't help but take extreme offense. Like, sorry for existing. But not actually sorry.

      Ugh.

      Sorry for that rant. I just really needed to get that out there, and I didn't want to drop it in as people were happily discovering this thread over the past few weeks. Gamtos opened the door for this, so uh, thanks? lol
    • I've heard that before. Sounds like the digusting old practice of eugenics to me. EUGH. What a disgusting concept. See, if I were the type to have kids, I wouldn't want to NOT have a kid knowing they'd have a disability. That's just life; shit happens. I would learn as much as I can about said disability and try to be a good parent. Of course if was Autism then that'd be much easier lol.
    • I've been wanting to post here but I've been hesitant. I'm not sure how to say what I want to say and now come off accidentally offensive but here goes:

      For one thing, I'm not on the spectrum at all. But I am interested about the Autistic Spectrum. I remember learning general information about the Spectrum from psychology courses back in university. One reason I want to learn comes from negative experiences.

      When I was younger, about 13-17 years old, I was a victim of cyberbullying. Not the typical kind but I still considered it as such. On another video game forum there was this one person who I'll just refer to as "AT" who seemed to be one of the smartest people on that forum when it came to knowledge about the game series but when it came to treating the other forum members, the person was just a total jerk. And "AT" knew it too, he/she was proud of it. And I wasn't the only one either, "AT" would harshly insult anyone he/she wanted to if he/she felt it was needed. The moderators did step in to try to curve some of the behavior but...let me just say that if the person tried to say just one of the things he/she said on that forum on ZU, "AT" would've been perma-banned in a heartbeat.

      Eventually, that person left and everything is fine now.

      What I'm getting at is, that person, "AT" claimed he/she was autistic (this was before the name was changed to Autistic Spectrum Syndrome) and I was told that sometimes those on the spectrum may say somethings without incorporating tact. Is that true? Can anyone clarify that for me?

      -----

      At any rate I also want to give a shout out. I know this girl named Annie. I met her at a culinary program I was once in. If you met her in person, you wouldn't be able to find a more positively pleasant and sweet girl. She's on the spectrum and she has Asperger's. But she doesn't let that stop her. In fact, she's even proud of it because she never once saw it as a handicap. Instead, she sees it as a unique gift that she has. She's sees every single day as a blessing that she's proud to express and loves everything about her life and her family.

      She and I are Facebook friends and, like I said, she fully loves and enjoys her life and you'd believe me if you saw her Facebook posts. Not one bad thing ever appeared on her timeline. Her constant cheerfulness can sometimes be a bit annoying but that's my own fault not hers and I would never try to damper her spirit.

      The girl's a freaking sunshine that's never going to go out. And her Asperger's and placement on the spectrum is the reason for it I think.
    • @EzloSpirit regarding your cousin and her decision:

      I knew about Autism's tendency to run in families, and I knew going in to parenthood that there would be a high chance of my kids being autistic themselves. Sure enough, my son has inherited my autism, along with my brown eyes, pale skin and hair colour. To me, it's just another trait he got from Mommy, and it's part of his personality. I would never change my precious, perfect little boy for the world!

      Besides, there are really great things about being Autistic, both for the individual and society as a whole.


      Temple Grandin wrote:

      "What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?


      You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.


      The really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves."
      That said, no offence or anything to your family, but if your cousin thinks having a potentially autistic kid would be "too much" for her, then it's probably a good thing she's adopting. There are already too many autistic kids out there with parents who don't even try to understand them. Probably best in the long run that people with minds as closed as hers are never in the position to destroy a Chie's self-esteem in the first place.

      By the way, "Chie" is the term I have come up with for people on the spectrum, which I am using in my novel. It's based on Chi, for the energy that flows through all living things in Eastern philosophy and basically represents potential. It also makes us sound more like a cool alien or fantasy race, rather than having a "disease" or "defect". I'm kind of hoping it will catch on.


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Gear, by my husband, D4rkSilver

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Violetlight ().

    • @EzloSpirit usually a LOT goes into deciding to adopt, lots of people morally want to adopt vs having their own because they want to help kids who need homes, others can’t have kids, there are a ton of reasons. And sometimes genetics play a factor but are often not the only factor. There are wonderful people I’ve met who you’d never guess it, but struggle with depression and mental illness. And because of that they said they would feel guilty passing that on to their children.

      The point is, sometimes when it comes to adopting to avoid certain genetic traits, these choices can be made out of love instead of selfishness. I don’t know your cousin so i couldn’t determine why she’s making this choice, but it’s possible there were other genetic traits besides autism that factored into it, and perhaps they were leaning toward adopting even before these tests were run.

      BUT something she should know is adopting children, even babies in seemingly perfect health, doesn’t guarantee there won’t be bumps along the way. For example Russian children adopted to American parents often have serious issues, because in Russian orphanages they haven’t had the same traditions of holding babies, and it is hard for these children to adjust. In Asian and African orphanages babies are held and carried around so these adjustment issues are less prevalent. My friend adopted a child from Colombia and now they are working on tough issues with her as far as depression and behavioral concerns. Either way it’s no walk in the park and the results of what the child endured even as a baby can show up years later, and be hard to overcome.

      No matter what it’s a roll of the dice, but hopefully either way, whether they adopt or have their own biological children, hopefully they provide a loving nurturing home.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Winnie ().

    • /waves

      Hi I know this is autism awareness thread and I by no means want to derail this thread and how amazing I believe it is (i've really been interested in reading about people's stories in here and I'm learning a lot about the spectrum as a result).

      I just want to piggyback on Winnie's comment about adoption for a sec* and the reactions of parents to children with any sort of illness.

      So I am adopted and my parents made this choice because they couldn't have children. It is absolutely a roll of the dice and you -never- know how a child will be as they age. I have depression/anxiety/bipolar disorders along with something similar to OCD, and my parents couldn't have known that, and honestly they don't know how to react to the fact that I have some mental illness. It wasn't talked about growing up and neither of them have any mental disorders. I'm assuming it's the same, if not more extreme, for those on the spectrum to have parents that don't necessary understand. Hopefully you have a loving family who will make that effort to listen to how you feel and accept you for the wonderful person you are. My mother didn't believe I had depression. She didn't believe it when I told her I was in love with a girl in high school. It took a doctor telling her I have a disorder in the bi-polar family for her to understand my irrational outbursts were more than a phase or more than just "teenage hormones" and/or immature behavior. It can be detrimental to have a family who won't listen or won't accept when there is something different about you.

      Ezlo - I can see where your concern would lie with your sister. But nothing is guaranteed, adoption or not, and if she wants to be a parent, hopefully she can love unconditionally any child she has no matter what.


      "Defense against the dark farts, am I right?" -Pennington
      | This spot reserved for Dark Link Reigns |


    • I just stumbled across my old school reports, going back as far as 1994, when I was 4 years old. They make very interesting reading. This was before my diagnosis of Asperger's and ADHD, but reading them now in hindsight the signs were clear even then. The earlier reports, before diagnosis, frequently mention concentration issues resulting in inconsistent work despite my apparent ability; and reluctance to participate in discussions. As time went on, particularly after my diagnosis, things improved dramatically.