Aspergers – a guide to my posts

Since I have started this blog in early 2008, the most steady interest has been in what I have written about Asperger’s Syndrome.  While I have addressed a few different aspects of the condition – as well as my experiences as an Aspie myself and, along with my Aspie husband, raising two Aspie kids.

Perhaps it is my ‘industrial dose of obsessive compulsive disorder’, but I am finding that as I try to write more about all this, I am getting ‘lost’ in what I have already written (and what I have half-written, got distracted, and never finished…..).  So, this page was meant to be a tool to help navigate what I have indeed written about this.

However, I have failed to maintain this page adequately over the years – my apologies.  However, I have been migrating my posts on Aspergers to a blog dedicated to strictly Aspie posts, leaving off all the political and other ‘stuff’ and hopefully making it easier to navigate.

Boilerplate warning:

I am NOT a medical professional.  I am not a psychologist.  I have NEVER had any formal training whatsoever in anything to do with Aspergers, education, or anything else that qualifies me as a professional in this field, or any related field.  I am just an Aspie who ‘learned to function’.  I am just a parent of Aspie kids who has done her best to help them ‘become functional’.  Nothing more.  Anything and everything in my posts is to be treated as ‘anecdotal’, unless otherwise specified.  These are just my ideas – please, treat them as no more than that.

As I write more about Aspergers, I will edit this page to add the ‘new post bit’.  I hope this will be helpful.

Overview

Aspergers

My first intro to the topic…

Aspergers and ADD

ADD often co-exists with Aspergers…

Aspergers, schooling and frustration

Some of the most frustrating things about being an Aspie (or trying to raise one) is that to the outsider, the very real obstacles an Aspie faces will often appear to the rest of the world as either laziness or defiance…

Aspergers and ‘hearing dyslexia’

Not hearing sounds in the correct order all the time can make an Aspie’s life even more difficult and frustrating.  This could be related to the ‘sequencing’ difficulty, discussed in a later post, Aspergers and memory – part 1: ’sequencing’.

Aspies: if I know it, everyone knows it

While this has nothing to do with their ability to perceive themselves as ‘separate’ from their environment (as some ‘experts’ erroneously labeled this, and therefore presumed Aspies lack ‘abstract reasoning’), many Aspies have a hard time understanding that not everyone is working from the same information, using the same reasoning.  It therefore often baffles them that other people reach different conclusions on ‘obvious’ topics….and makes the Aspies appear arrogant, haughty or stand-off-ish.

What can neurotypicals do to communicate better with Aspies/Auties?

The title says it all…

Learning

Aspergers and learning: understand, not memorize

Few things that might be helpful when designing a learning strategy for an Aspie are listed here.  Yet, no learning environment will be effective if the method of learning is one that the Aspie cannot master.  ‘Figuring out’/’understanding’/’comprehension’ are essential to a successful learning strategy of an Aspie – it is our ‘coping mechanism’ through which we compensate for our poor memory.  We achieve this by analyzing, categorizing and integrating the information to everything else we know about the topic on hand.

Writing

Aspergers and writing

From actual mechanical difficulties Aspies experience in acquiring the fine motor skills needed for writing to a desire for perfectionism – this is a first look at just how deep the problems could be…

Aspergers and writing – holding on to that thought!

Some Aspies find that the thoughts are racing through their mind SO fast, they forget what word they were writing by the time they form a letter…. (Actually, Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, recently expressed some interesting thoughts on this…and admitted to having a problem like this.)  This describes a strategy of how we overcame an extreme case of this, one letter at a time….and provide hope that this can, indeed, be mastered.  With time…and a lot of work!

Aspergers and writing - sentences

The English language does not show what part each word plays in the sentence – not obviously.  This, coupled with the misguided ‘whole language’ approach of teaching our kids are subjected to can make ‘writing correct sentences’ incredibly difficult.  Here is how we overcame it…

Aspergers and ‘hearing dyslexia’

This one could have gone here, or in the ‘Aspie Perceptions’ section…either way, it is pertinent.  It explains how some Aspies may have a problem often described as ‘hearing dyslexia’, where the sounds they hear might not be perceived in the correct order or having correct lengths.  This could explain why some Aspies have such a difficult time with names or unfamiliar words….and could also be related to stuff discussed in a later post, Aspergers and memory – part 1: ’sequencing’.

Reading

Aspergers and Reading

It is sometimes difficult for Aspie kids to learn to read.  Here, I explain how we used a videogame as a tool to help our son learn to read…. and he has gone on to become a very fast reader with excellent comprehension.

Aspie Perceptions

Aspergers and accurate words

So often, Aspies are accused of being obtructionist or obstinate, or that sort of stuff, just because they are unable to extrapolate meaning from phrases where inaccurate words are used.  This is not an ‘on purpose’ thing…but a true inablity to understand what is asked of them.  This post explores that – along with a humorous (and TRUE) anecdote to illustrate this.

Aspergers, drawing and art

Aspies have different limitations.  Many times, we need to learn consciously things that would appear to come ‘naturally’ to others…  Reducing an image into its constituent shapes is just one of many such things….and this post describes a true life story demonstrating just that.  Now, if such simple things have to be learned (and thereafter processed) consciously, consider what other ‘obvious’ things Aspies need to be taught a ‘method’ for…

Aspergers and ‘painting music’

Some teachers just don’t get it:  it alomst seems like the pendulum has swung so far away from ‘structured learning’ that today’s teaching methods have been designed to frustrate and marginalize Aspies….here is an example, along with the somewhat creative solution we, as parents, found to ‘fight back’!

Aspie Mind

Aspergers and memory – part 1: ’sequencing’

In this post, I ask more questions than answer.  However, many ‘memory studies’ have shown that Aspies have great difficulty in remembering the sequence of things….which could relate to ‘hearing dyslexia’, and more…

Aspergers and memory – part 2: rote memory vs. reasoning

More of my questions, after having read up on studies involving ‘Aspies’ and ‘memory’.  It seems that how an Aspie arrives at a thought will seriously impact how well that thought will be stored in memory.  It would appear that Aspies are ‘reasoners’, not ‘listeners’…

Aspie sense of ‘fair play’: kids and ‘rules of the game’

Aspies – especially kids – have a hard time accepting a game when the ‘rules change’.  This is a look at one possible reason why ‘changing the rules’ can lead to an emotional meltdown and offers a possible method of mitigating this.

Aspergers:  paying attention

When I was in grade 6, I began to try to observe and learn ‘body language’ and ‘facial expressions’ – but would so superfocus on these visual cues, I would completely tune out any sound.  In school, when I tried paying attention to what my teachers were saying, I would go to great lengths to block our all visual input so it would not distract me.  Predictably, my teachers did not interpret my behaviour as ‘trying to pay attention’…

Other points of view

Aspergers: not just ‘extreme male brain’ syndrome

Felinophile wrote this insightful letter…here it is, along with my thoughts on it.

‘Motivating Asperger kids’ – a tutor’s story

An artist tutors on the side – only to find herself tutoring Aspie kids….and even though she had not heard the word Aspergers’ before, she has better results than most ‘regular’ educators.  Here is her secret, in her own words!

Aspie musings….

If a tree falls in the forest….

The old question, explored from 2 different ‘Aspie’ points of view…

XKCD – Aspie Humour

If you want to understand the ‘Aspie mind’, ‘getting’ Aspie humour is an important part of the picture.  So, this is a VERY serious post, and NOT just an excuse to have fun.  NEVER!!!  I’ll NEVER admit to FUN!!!

If you can’t laugh at yourself, someone will make a sitcom…

More ‘Aspie humour’ – this time, in the form of a sitcom…..  Again, this is SERIOUS stuff, and not just an excuse to have fun!!!

Aspie humour, music and cats

Many successful aspies go on to become engineers…

Aspie Philosophy

I am therefore I think….I think

Only an Aspie could pick THIS fight….but, well, the whole ‘I think therefore I am’ is SOOOOO obviously WRONG to the Aspie mind, it boggles us how anyone, at any time, could have thought it anything but foolish.  Here, I give it a preliminary explanation (though, really, it DOES need a bit of expanding – coming soon, I hope!)

Epicurean, Epidurean…paradoxes everywhere!

A new twist on the age-old paradox.  It simply translates it into terms we can all relate to (or, at least, those of us who have gone through the pain of labour!).  It, too, needs a bit of expansion…

Dogged by Dogma

Not strictly an ‘Aspie’ issue, this is one Aspie’s view of dogma and its role in society….

Nature of ‘Faith’

‘Faith’ is such a nebuous concept – and it is physically beyond an ‘Aspie’ to truly experience it.  Some may rationalize and many do sincerely attempt, but, well, some things are physically impossible.

Note:  this page will continue to be updated as I write more posts on Aspergers.

Aspie Humour

Island of Merzy – Part 1

Island of Merzy – Part 2

General/other

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14 Responses to “Aspergers – a guide to my posts”

  1. A new ‘page’ is added « Xanthippa’s Chamberpot Says:

    [...] Aspergers – a guide to my posts [...]

  2. Aspergers: paying attention « Xanthippa’s Chamberpot Says:

    [...] Aspergers – a guide to my posts [...]

  3. Cameron MacIntosh Says:

    At first I was worried this was going to be sarcastic or mean-spirited. I was wrong. This is enlightening, I’m glad to have read it.

    Xanthippa says:

    Thank you!

  4. Nick Says:

    Thank YOU, very much for your efforts. I am hugging you with my brain and trying to communicate a billion ideas and potential discussions we might have if only under different circumstance …

    Thanks for sharing. Perhaps one day I can give back through a blog of my own. … But for now, I’m just trying to stave off a nervous breakdown…

    Take care :)

  5. Terry Says:

    I love your site and really appreciate the work you do. I notice your icon is a gold horse (I think. Therefore… no wait, that’s another blog.) I know that in Greek “hippo” is a root meaning “horse.” Coincidence, or is that the meaning of “Xanthippe,” or do you know?

    Xanthippa says:

    ‘Xanthippe’ literally means ‘yellow horse’ (think ‘xanthium yellow).

    Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates and the proverbial nag, is said to have had long blond hair. After they got married, Socrates is supposed to have lamented – long and often – about the impossibility of taming yellow horses.

    I was born is a small town whose symbol is the front half of a horse. I have long blond hair. I am good at nagging…and in my native tongue, most feminine names end in an ‘a’.

    Hence, the yellow horse and the name ‘Xanthippa’.

    • Terry Says:

      So, not coincidence, but serendipity.

      Xanthippa says:

      Well, if by ‘serendipity’ you mean many hours in constructing an elaborate ‘inside pun’ and painting a bunch of pictures of yellow horses (from realistic to very cartoony, in different sizes and aspects) before finally settling on one for my avatar, then yes: serendipity!

      • Terry Says:

        Sorry. I just assumed your alter ego heroine existed prior to all else.

        Xanthippa says:

        No harm done :0)

        I like puns.

        I like puzzles.

        I like archetypes.

        I spend way too much time putting the three together…

        (…had my blog been more technology focused than civil liberties focused, I might have gone with Hera-tech…and so on…)

  6. terry Says:

    Xanthippa,
    In my Asperger’s support group the other night, we learned everyone’s birthdays were in cold months. At another group of Aspies i learned that 90% of them were born in cold months. I tried looking up birth statistics for autism and found an article on circleofmoms.com about a 91% increase in the chance of autism for those conceived in winter. What do you know about this?

    Xanthippa says:

    Terry,
    this is the first time I have heard of such a potential connection.

    Taking a very quick poll of the Aspies in my immediate surroundings: two are born in definitely cold months, two are born in months that can be cold or warm, depending on the year, and 6 are born in warm/hot months. However, this is such a small sample as to be statistically irrelevant.

    I will keep my eyes open for more data on this. Thanks!

    • terry Says:

      This is a tendency and not a causal relationship. A hypothesis to explain the phenomena: stale sperm. Older men tend to engage in sex less often. Winter is a time of hybernation-like slow downs, and ergo less sex. I am an Irish twin: conceived less than a month after my brother’s birth. Might I have been conceived on the first postpartum romp? I was almost an Irish triplet. My sister was conceived 2 months after my birth. Not the first romp? (I am 1 of 10 kids, proving that the only approved Irish contraceptive is menopause.) A younger Aspie brother was probably conceived after a reconciliation. Thoughts?

      Xanthippa says:
      There may well be a co-incidence which is no coincidence!

      Scientists have determined that just as the risk factor for having a Down-syndromed child goes up with the age of the mother, the risk factor for having an Autistic child goes up with the age of the father. Again, these are not black/white type things, just statistically significant events.

      And, according to some of the latest theories, both Autism and Aspergers people have more undifferentiated cells in their brains than neurotypicals do. The difference is that in Auties, this takes place in the frontal lobes while in Aspies, this is in the Amygdalla. (Yes, that is why many Aspies jokingly refer to neurotypicals as ‘those with overdeveloped Amygdalas’ or, for short, ‘freaky Amydala people’ or ‘Amygdala-indulgents’.)

      Of course, we still don’t know the cause for the increased frequency of cell undifferentiation (though we understand the method – and it has to do with hormone levels in the brain during early life). Nor do we know if one causes the other or if both are symptoms of something else completely…

      It is also well known that some people are very sensitive to light and thus more affected by seasons on a physical level – the hormone balance in the brain (and thus the body) is known to be affected by frequency and duration of light. Hormone levels in the pregnant mother affect the developing fetus, obviously. We know that stress hormone spikes at specific points in the pregnancy significantly increase the probability that a male child will be homosexual – but that there are also other, completely different factors which will increase this probability (like the number of previous pregnancies with male fetuses, whether brought to term or not). But, again, there is no direct causality…

      Thus, it is not implausible that there may, indeed, be some factors that affect the probability of having an Aspie child which relate to the annual seasons.

      However, I think that ‘stale sperm’ is not a valid hypothesis because it is almost unheard of for two Aspies to have offspring that do not have Aspergers, regardless of age or season. Therefore, we are dealing with genetic factors, not physical defects in the sperm due to ‘staleness’.

      Since it is uncommon to find 2 Aspies who have non-Aspie children, it would be interesting to collect and analyze data on whether non-Aspie offspring of Aspie parents are more likely to be born during particular time of year…

      Another thing you mentioned was quite interesting: just how soon post-partum your mother became fertile. This is quite uncommon – many females do not ovulate while they are lactating and very few females will ovulate less than 3 months post-partum, whether they are lactating or not. However, I have met several Irish-descent women who ovulated almost immediately post-partum, despite lactating. I wonder if this genetic predispositon towards renewed fertiliy so soon post-partum is more prevelant among people with Irich genetic heritage than other people. Or, could there be a link between, say, red hair and fertility?

  7. terry Says:

    And Happy new year. And thanks for the wonderful emails.

  8. terry Says:

    I posted the question of birth month on wrongplanet.net and am getting interesting responses.

  9. Collin Says:

    You say that Aspies can’t have faith. You’re wrong. I fervently believe in objective reality and sequential time.

    Perhaps you mean Aspies can’t have what most people mean by “faith”. (Although even at that, I believe in God, abstractly.)

    Xanthippa says:

    I don’t think the word ‘faith’ means what you think it means.

    It is non-sensical to say ‘you have faith in objective reality’ because ‘faith’ implies ‘deep seeded belief despite lack of evidence or despite the presence of contrary evidence’. As ‘objective reality’ is based on evidence and evidence alone, ‘belief’ in it is, by definition, not faith.

    If we twist words to not mean what they actually mean, then any dialogue we carry on will necessarily be rendered meaningles.

    That is why I consider myself to be an ignostic (not an agnostic or an atheist): I maintain that as long as people cannot agree on what ‘God’ means – unless we all mean the same concept when discussing ‘God’ – there is simply no point in even considering ‘belief’.

    For example, if I define ‘GOD’ as matter, then yes, the claim that God is present in every person, big and small, is actually true.

    Another example: if I define ‘God’ to be the ‘physical laws governing our universe’, then, yes, the statement that ‘God’ shaped the Universe is valid.

    But change what you mean by ‘God’ to an evil troll that delights in torturing people in hell for following their conscience instead of his laws and I would most vociferously disagree with the statements in the examples above.

    By the qualification you put on your statement – that you believe in God on an abstract level, you reveal that while you like to think you are a theist (for reasons of familial/cultural or self identity, social conformity or from whatever other motivations), you actually are closer to being a faithless Aspie!

  10. Sophia Says:

    Hi Xanthippa!

    It’s Sophia, from TEDxRichmondHill. I just recently stumbled upon your blog, and whilst I’m uncertain as to who you are, I’m very pleased to be in touch with you again, haha. I’m even more pleased to note that you’ve dedicated a portion of your website to Asperger’s – as someone who has it, I feel it wonderful that you’ve chosen to contribute your experiences with and thoughts concerning our state of mind to the world’s knowledge base.

    Would it be possible for me to obtain your e-mail address? I would like to quickly inform you of something, but can’t seem to find your contact information – please forgive me my ignorance.

    Anyway, an excellent blog! I’ll be visiting it frequently.


    Xanthipa says:

    Sorry it took me so long to approve this comment – I have been sidelined with a migrane. My appology.

  11. Heriberto Haught Says:

    AS is stands for Aspergers Syndrome. It is neurobiological type disarray and it is found in each age group people like children, younger’s and adults. Aspergers Syndrome affects the basic life skill like communication, interaction with others and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. Aspergers is completely related to the autism spectrum on. Aspergers is well know pervasive developmental disorder and it is known to hamper or we can say that it hamper a person who are suffering from this syndrome form study, interaction with others, communication and frequently speaking. Generally it is characterized by communication problem with others difficulty in relating with other people, can’t avoid repetitive body movements hate changes in routine deep think about certain topics and strange play with. Many people are don’t know about the these type problem in earlier days, people usually emphasized more on health instead of wealth in their life, and like to live a healthy life. But nowadays people are not aware about their health and running behind money. -

    Our personal website
    <http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/strep-throat-pictures/


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