Aspergers IS Autism!

I hear this a lot ‘he/she has Aspergers and Autism’. 

I heard it today in fact at work! One of my colleagues was serving a table who, coincidentally were from my neck-of-the-woods in Staffordshire (the mum even came from the EXACT little village that my Dad grew up in… I regret not getting her name). It was mentioned to my colleague that one of the daughters were Autistic so they’d like somewhere quite quiet. My colleague mentioned me and mentioned how I had a boyfriend who was Autistic and Aspergers.

Before I continue, I just want to assure everyone I’m not blasting my colleague. She’s a lovely lady and we get on very well. She’s very inquisitive about Dale and has even asked me to teach her some sign… so this isn’t a ‘bitching’ session against her.

When she told me, I just had to correct her. It drives me nuts when I hear people say the ‘and’ between Autism and Aspergers, as if they’re two different things.

Aspergers IS Autism! 

Just the same as Melanoma is Cancer! Or Dyslexia is a Learning Disability.

I’m sure people have heard the ‘Autism Spectrum’. That’s because there are LOADS and LOADS of different characterisations and degrees of Autism. You have High Functioning and Low Functioning. Aspergers is higher on the list… but it is still Autism and should still be treated thus; not as someone who is a burden, but as someone who just needs allowances.

I’m not sure where this distinguished gap has formed between recognising Aspies as Autistic; I’d asked another colleague as she herself is married to an Aspie, but I believe it has originated initially because, as I have noted myself, Aspies tend to be harder to diagnose because they seem ‘normal’ (whatever normal is). Aspergers tend to not be the more publicised ‘Autistic Vegetable’* that just hum to themselves and have violent outbursts when touched or there’s too much volume. My Colleague mentioned that her husband was diagnosed in Canada at a fairly young age, but wasn’t diagnosed as ‘Aspergers’ but the more blanketed ‘Autistic’ because Aspergers wasn’t recognised as a Mental Condition.

The trouble with that is, because Aspies are more highly-functioning, people either denied the Autistic Diagnosis and continued their every day life, or they sent their child to a special school which dumbed them down.

I repeat, ASPERGERS is AUTISM.

It’s just a different characterisation. Aspies can still be over stimulated and have Sensory Overload. Aspies still don’t really like touch. I’m blessed to have Dale, as I have said before, who loves me cuddling him, kissing him and holding hands with him (but even then it just selected people), but some Aspies can’t stand it. Aspies can be possessive and obsessive. Aspies can be very one-track minded. Aspies can be very non-vocal.

No two Aspies are the same… the same as no two lightening bolts hit the same spot. I’ve met three other Aspies since meeting Dale.

One couldn’t stand touch, apart from his mum. He couldn’t even deal with someone sitting next to him, apart from occasionally me because I earned his trust. But even then, it had to be only when he was okay with it.

Another gave me a hug in greeting on my first day of meeting him. Dale didn’t even shake my hand on our first meeting. However this guy certainly loved to talk about his interests, and he was very outspoken.

Another was quite outgoing! On initial meeting, I didn’t click she was an Aspie until someone told me she was.

And of course there’s Dale. You know pretty much all about him… so I don’t need to tell much about him.

However, I feel this really does demonstrate the serious lack of awareness people have about Autism. 

The danger of not recognising Aspergers as Autistic, is that people don’t understand their needs because they still think Aspergers is a separate thing.

When Dale goes quiet all of a sudden, I had people get irked because he’s stopped being social with them, when actually it’s either because the situation is too much for him or he can’t figure out the appropriate thing to say and when to say it. When he’s had to lock himself away because he’s had a full on week/couple of days or day, I’ve had people become annoyed because he needs to man up. When actually he’s probably mentally exhausted and just needs to decompress and recharge so that he can give the next social event his best effort. But because they still see Aspergers as something different to Autism, they can’t get their head round it.

Another people confuse is Anxiety and Autism/Aspergers. I’ve heard some people say that Anxiety is a symptom of Aspergers.

No! Anxiety is a completely separate diagnosis.

Anxiety is common among Aspies, but it isn’t a characterisation. Not all Aspies have Anxiety. Anxiety can be, in some instances, cured! Anxiety IS a disability. Aspergers is NOT. Assuming this correlation would be effectively saying that eating Bacon gives you Cancer (now days, everything gives you cancer). When actually, no, it’s just merely a coincidence.

So people… Please please PLEASE stop saying Aspergers and Autism! 

Because ASPERGERS IS AUTISM

 

 

 

*DISCLAIMER: I use ‘Autistic Vegetable’ to represent the way the Media and the way none awareness people may think of Autism. This is in no means to suggest that Autistic People are Vegetables because they most certainly are not.

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Hours and Algebra

Dale and I haven’t really had chances to meet up or talk the last three weeks…

What with all the action with him leaving is old, and starting his new job this week and me working crazy hours and days, and I had three days off last week. Of course we would love to spend 24/7 with each other, but life outside of our relationship gets in the way sometimes. It can be work, daily duties and even people. Yes. Even more so people.

It’s not necessarily been bad on our relationship, because we both understand it’s been hectic the last three weeks but it definitely has been tough not getting as much time together as we would like to.

I miss him. Every second of every hour of every day. Even when I’m with him, I miss him, almost like I’m preparing for the time spent without him, not being able to talk with him. It sounds like I’m a clingy girl to be with, but I think it’s a natural thing to miss someone you love, even if they’re just in the other room.

What I don’t like though, is that we’re talking less than what we did when I was at University (I’m not there anymore due to health reasons) and that’s purely because the kind of job I have. Being a waitress, you don’t even have time to think, let alone text your boyfriend.

I’ve also been fairly down lately as well and being introverted, I’d prefer to just whole up in my bedroom and play a video game by myself. Of course that’s not helped by dealing with grumpy customers and sometimes staff on a weekly basis so that lessens my want to be around humans.

(Random side note: My dog is currently Sleep-Barking. She’s making such cute little ‘Yip’ noises I’m just melting).


Dale came with me babysitting on Friday and one of my duties as babysitter for that evening was to help one of the young ladies with her homework. One was English (which I don’t mind) and the other was Maths (eek!). So, I got Dale off his phone and got him to help with the Maths homework, which I do believe he enjoyed. He seemed quite over-joyed with himself by getting the correct answer on the Area of a Parellelogram (which, being the maths weirdo he is, he went into this whole Algebraic method of working it out… the weirdo). He then tried to convince me on the merits of algebra by explaining ways in with I use algebra on a day to day basis. Safe to say, I’m still not convinced.

I’m proud of my Aspie. He did good!


And that’s how I know this reduced speaking and interacting time isn’t going to be the ‘be all and end all’, because he still makes me proud and makes me love him even more than I already did. 

Second-Hand Anxiety

It’s hard knowing when someone you care about is not having it good…

Whether it’s a family member, friend or boyfriend.

As we’ve mentioned before, Dale has anxiety. What most people can just deal with within a second, or quickly justify the matter, anxiety is a longer and more exhausting process of doing what we non-anxieties do quickly. There are so many various ways of helping someone who is suffering anxiety, but not everyone’s the same.

Two of my colleagues at work suffer from anxiety, and both have different ways in which they express and deal with it. One needs time away from the situation and becomes very emotional. The other becomes angry or frustrated and needs to punch something. Dale withdraws into himself, going very quiet and distracted. I’ve worked out that talking to him, sometimes about what’s causing the anxiety or sometimes about something non-related can help him.

It’s important to know that there is no prescribed rule/guide book in dealing with Anxiety. 

I don’t suffer from anxiety so I’m not going to pretend that I understand what anxiety sufferers go through. The only experience I have is second-hand. I’m not going to proclaim my experience is any worse or any better, because it’s a totally different situation, but maybe this analogy can help you understand:

You’re on a frozen lake with a friend, family or partner. All of a sudden, the ice cracks and your companion falls in, and almost at the same time, your feet are frozen so you cannot move to help them, all you can do is shout for help and shout encouragement to the person in the freezing water. You can’t physically help them, and through the panic, the other person is only hearing a few words that you’re shouting.

When I see Dale withdraw, it’s like that analogy. Sometimes, the analogy will end in me being able to break the ice around my feet to help him, sometimes it’s him being able to get himself out of the water. Sometimes it’s a bit of both. It becomes even more difficult when other people around don’t understand, and make quick, outside judgements.

So how would I recommend helping out someone?

  • Take your cues from the person. Most of the time, they know best how to deal with their anxiety.
  • Don’t pressure them. Sometimes, just taking a step back, but being a presence for them for when they’re ready to talk is enough.
  • Don’t brush off their anxiety as something stupid or unreasonable. Sometimes, you will find that the anxiety sufferer knows that their anxiety is over something small but the last thing they need is someone telling them they’re being silly for how they’re feeling… they have no control over it.
  • Don’t say it will be okay, unless you know it will be okay. They will trust you more and feel more able to come to you with their anxiety when they know you are going to be honest with them.
  • If they are open to it and at that moment ready to hear it (and you feel able to give it), pass some advice on how to deal with the issue. Maybe even offer to be around when it comes to dealing with it, if it’s appropriate.
  • Be compassionate and not judgemental. Anxiety isn’t a personality trait and is very distressing. 

I don’t pretend to know all there is about Anxiety. In fact, I’m still learning from Dale. It’s not something you can take a course in, get a qualification and “hey presto”, there isn’t any Anxiety you can’t deal with. Most of the time, yes, I can bring Dale back quite easily, but that’s just one person who I spend a lot of time with. Even then, his anxiety is different every time. I also find it fairly easy with Dale because Dale trusts me to be honest, non judgemental and able to cope for him.

Sometimes, when I know that Dale has tried to overcome and deal with his anxiety himself but it’s become too much for him, I’ll just let him know that I’m proud of him for even getting as far as he did. Sometimes I worry whether it’s a little patronising, but I think in some cases, Dale needs to hear that he did well.

However, I don’t think I’d find it as easy with my work colleagues. Yes, I know the very basics of what they’re going through and what their brain is doing, but their ways of dealing with it are so different.


Do you suffer with anxiety? Or have any other ways of helping out?

So I want to try and open this up to people commenting (not for ‘blog brownie points’) to help everyone get an idea of how to help out. 

Do you have a way of which to deal with Anxiety, which either you’ve found helps your own anxiety or even another? Comment below so we have a wide range of ways of giving someone a friendly helping hand.

Thanks guys x

Sensitivity doesn’t mean Disability

Firstly, I would like to thank the massive support Dale and I feel right now about this blog. It’s very encouraging to know so many people are reading, loving and encouraging us for more, and we will hopefully oblige abundantly, even two days in.
We are excited to even hear it’s reaching NT’s who are parents of young AS’s. We hope we will embolden your hopes and dreams for your young Aspie’s.


Setting new limits for each other is part of a healthy relationship…

Part of being in a relationship and growing together is knowing what each other are comfortable with. As I previously said in my last post ‘It’s who I am (Full Stop)’, Dale and I have set Physical Boundaries which keep us physically moral to ourselves, each other and to our Christian Faith. It stops us from moving to quickly, making the other person feel uncomfortable or pressured and inevitably trapped in the vicious cycle of a ‘[Purely] Physical Relationship’.

Setting these boundaries are healthy for both of us, both spiritually and non-spiritually. I remember years ago (I think I was about 14 years old) I made a promise to myself to keep my body mine until marriage. Yes, I was Christian at that time but I wouldn’t have considered myself a devout believer. So, it was more just a personal decision rather then one influenced by my belief. Hard to believe? It was my mum who actually inset this into me. I’ve always grown up with the morality of ‘If you don’t see yourself marrying him don’t date him‘. Now, of course I’ve dated or been interested in other men. That’s a natural and good thing to do. But eventually we saw that we weren’t right for each other and went our separate ways. ‘But you’re only 20. What experience could you possibly have?’ Not much, however, enough to know what kind of man I’m looking for in a partner. So I credit my high self-morals to my parents – BIG TIME!

Being a young female humanism, and being very self conscious about my body and how I look, some of my boundaries factor in this insecurity. For example, I’ve asked Dale that if he feels uncomfortable with what I wear (which isn’t often as my clothes are normally vetted by my dad) or if he likes what I wear, but doesn’t feel comfortable with me wearing outside, he tells me. I have made mistakes in the past, like wearing a slightly transparent dress or shirt and not put a vest/long t-shirt on underneath. Does this encourage him to look at me inappropriately? I don’t think so. I think it trains him to look after me morally, and also lets me learn what he thinks as morally appropriate. He’s pretty good at it too.

We set a new boundary today…

As Dale has said in his own post, Dale has some extreme obsessions (which is characteristic of an Aspie), all of which I’m okay with and doesn’t impede on our morality or Christianity, and we were talking about one of them today. I brought up a sensitive issue about one, which made Dale feel uncomfortable. He quickly told me that he wasn’t okay with it, and after assuring him and (hopefully) settling his anxiety about the issue we promised each other it would not be something we spoke about.

I normally am able to tell when he isn’t comfortable or when he’s not okay, even after telling him it is okay. He has certain mannerisms which I can pick up on which are tell-tale on his emotional state. He is slowly learning mine, some of which he misunderstands, but he is learning. One of his, which is after I assure him, is that he says “I’m Okay; I’m Fine”. At first when I was getting to know him, this would settle me and we would just carry on. However, now I’ve learned that this doesn’t necessarily mean that he is okay. I can now tell his “I’m Okay… but not really” from his “Yep, I’m okay… Where’s my cake?” (much like a woman in this instance).

I think I briefly annoy him in this instance, I don’t know, but I don’t like leaving him if he’s not okay. So I impress on him that it is okay until I see My Dale back (My Dale is happy, jokey, smiley and relaxed). It works at the moment. Sometimes if he thinks he’s offended me, I give him a peck-kiss on his lips so that he knows I’m okay and that I still love him. That works too.

When we were first talking to each other (before we were dating), we actually agreed on a code-word. I think it was ‘Lemons’, which he would use if the topic of conversation was beginning to make him uncomfortable. I think he used it once for a real thing, but we haven’t used it since. We are generally like-minded, so things that offend one person tend to offend the other.  I still mess up and sometimes need to repair the damage, but we both understand that we aren’t perfect.

I love learning about him and his little quirks…

And I’m certainly never bored. I’ve heard other people refer to the ‘Honeymoon Period‘, which is basically when the relationship is still new and shiny. I’m not too sure how long this period is, but everything about him is still fascinating. What he would class as ‘becoming a better person’, I can see the way he deals with things change. The other day, he actually came to babysit some children with me. I’ve noticed too, when we cook together, he doesn’t ask whether something needs cleaning or whether it needs cleaning before we use it anymore. Either he assumes that I’ve already cleaned it when he’s not looking, or he’s becoming comfortable that it’s not going to harm him.

One time, I actually was worried about telling him something incase he went into extreme OCD Dale (my household family took some tablets for something) and, not wanting to tell him the reason for the tablets, but assuring him it won’t effect him, I was worried he might press for information and continue to worry. I was pleasantly surprised with how well he actually took it.

When I see a weakness, he surprises me with huge strength.
When he sees a weakness, all I see is his strength. 

Tip #1 on dating an Aspie: Aspie’s are very literal… but can be complicated like a woman.