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The Aspie (Asperger’s) Experience

A resource page for those wanting to learn more about what being an Aspie means in the real world; and how to do better.

What is the Autism Spectrum, and where does Asperger’s fit in? 

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States today.

I dislike the inherent ‘label’ value of low, high, and very high functioning autism. This taxonomy also disregards the fact that AS is a spectrum, and there may only be a few aspects of manifestation causing any life challenges. Instead, my personal scale considers aspies as a sub-group of those on the autism spectrum who can thrive independently (without special support). I use two other descriptions for general placement on the spectrum, low and high needs, delineated by those who can survive independently, or thrive with just a little special assistance, and those unable to survive (independently or otherwise) without support services. My personal estimate of AS’s occurrence is around 1:25 to 1:30 in the general Australian population, as many women and girls are misdiagnosed as neurotypical; not in any small part due to all of the diagnostic criteria being modelled on male manifestations!

>>Read more here<<

What does it mean to be on the Autism Spectrum (including aspergers)?

An aspie is a person on the autism spectrum (A.S., or AS) who is able to independently thrive without special support.) Those on the spectrum are analogous to Apple Mac computers, where the general population are all PCs. The issue is that social interactions are very much a PC program, and the education system is written in PC programming; and the AS/aspie finds the programming keeps crashing their computer (mind), resulting in anxiety and melt-downs. Aspies are also often capable of thought processes and cognition far beyond the ordinary; often to the point of personal isolation. Many AS manifestations can be turned into ‘super-powers’ when the right tools and training are applied.

How does being an Aspie manifest?

Words are important. The sub-heading above does not describe having Asperger’s, but being Asperger’s; Asperger’s describes an operating system, not a disease. Asperger’s tends to represent the extremes of experience

  • Extremes – The social battery – How social situations can go from enjoyment to endurance in a minute.
    >>Read more here.<<
  • Extremes – Social Anxiety – How AS people crave to be included in social situations, but can find overwhelming fear and debilitating anxiety at the thought of them at the same time.
  • Extremes – Emotions – Rare AS people feel little emotion, but a great majority experience emotions of potentially overwhelming magnitude, but have learned out of necessity to hide it, giving rise to the ‘expressionless’ and ‘unfeeling’ labels often hung on those on the spectrum.
  • Extremes – Touch sensitivity – Many AS people have an aversion to specific physical sensations of touch; from clothes tags to clothing textures to unwanted hugs. Touch is often not just touch, but can be like a typical person hearing a thunderclap when they were expecting a whisper; especially specific levels and manner of touch; like a hair under the clothing, or even the feeling of dry skin.
  • Extremes – Smell sensitivity – Smells are often overwhelming, or barely noticed by most AS people. Hyperosmia (hyper-sensitive sense of smell) can be a debilitating issue in our scented and perfumed world, and for AS, even more so.
  • Extremes – Gut issues, taste and food sensitivity – Autism is often accompanied by gastrointestinal issues and food sensitivities. Many AS are either super-tasters, or can barely taste a thing beyond basic sweet/salt etc. analysis. Food texture is a massive issue for many on the spectrum.
  • Extremes – Hearing sensitivity – Representing the extremes, AS hearing is either disregarded (like talking to a brick if they’re not paying attention) or approaching a far more physical sense than the neurotypical (non-AS) experience. For those with heightened sensitivity, specific frequencies of noise can be quite physically painful, and sounds can distract to the point of overwhelm.
  • Extremes – Visual sensitivity – 
  • Extremes – Routine.
  • Extremes – Words, number, talking, and reasoning.
  • Extremes – The AS melt-down.
  • Extremes – Sexuality.