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.

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.