Late night, well, morning, rambling on autism/comorbidities + spoons and energy 8D

So, since reading Jalen and Nido’s posts mentioning the autism spectrum (called a disorder in DSM-5, though some are reclaiming it as condition), I’d been thinking about posting something (important to note that none of this is about either of them, just that mention of autism made me go :bulb:), as I’ve been collecting probably too much information that should be shared instead of hoarded. There’s an unlimited number of directions this could take, so I’m just going to settle with whatever happens to this stream of consciousness :sunglasses:

(Note that I’m absolutely not a health care professional, and that none of this is advice, just someone with a personal interest in the subject. :nerd_face:)

Even before getting into more of the specific details, though, there are a some things:

  • For the most part, people just want to be able to exist as themselves. Everyone’s different. However, this doesn’t mean unlimited tolerance either.
  • That’s already well-explained in paradox of tolerance, so I won’t go into it too much further, though it also has potential issues with dismissing people too soon but properly used :+1:
  • Consider intent, though repeated issues once someone has been made aware of them is a big :x: too.
  • Even then, feelings are always valid; it’s how those impact our actions that matter.

Onto the info dump, I won’t really cover what’s easily searchable but will provide different bits to keep in mind instead.

I’ll actually hide some of this next bit for people already pretty familiar with the spectrum.

Click to show

Sometimes, peoples’ first impression of autism is something along the lines of savant syndrome (due to Rain Man) or someone in full-blown physical meltdown states. It’s called a spectrum for a reason, though calling it a spectrum is also oversimplifying it too. Continuing on, though, those interested in the less “severe” side of things will likely find it easier to search on Asperger’s (problematic due to Nazi ties and no longer in DSM-5) or high-functioning autism (problematic due to ignoring the middle, putting down “low-functioning”, suggesting that it isn’t as impactful, etc.).

Also, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) may come up; I’d suggest using DuckDuckGo, as Google results for it are highly skewed towards the positive, but adults who went through it as children point out numerous issues. Among these are that it’s teaching kids to listen to whatever strangers ask them to do, rewarding specific behaviors (as if training a dog) without focusing on intrinsic motivation, huge time sinks, and generally that something is wrong with the kid.

Another item that’ll come up is that people love to associate those in the minority with something in the media. One of the more recent ones has been The Good Doctor. “Is the doctor an accurate representation of autistic people?” Refer back to everyone is different. Is “Does this white male doctor represent all white males?” a question that’d be asked? Probably not.

Moving on from there, there’s often writing on how autistic people can be emotionless, but it’d be more accurate to say that it may be harder to express/relate to them or isn’t one of the first things thought of.

:thinking: There are countless more items that could be covered here, though it’s easy enough to search debunking x myths. One more of these is that every once in a while, there’ll be news on how a new medication is showing promise for “curing” autism. It’s more likely that these show promise for one of numerous comorbidities (other conditions that often occur with it) that autism has.

Aforementioned comorbidities are also fairly easy to find, though some of the subtypes may not be. These include cyclothymia (bipolar), dysthymia (now combined into persistent depressive disorder, depression), and selective mutism (anxiety, which isn’t just panic attacks).

Another one is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This isn’t just outwards hyperactivity, which could also be internalized as racing thoughts vs “bouncing off the walls”, but it also includes inattentiveness and combination. Things that inspire interest/passion, pose a challenge, or provide a sense of novelty and/or urgency may help focus, which is one reason gaming fits so easily :sweat_smile:. The combination of ADHD and autism can often be conflicting, which this thread covers well.

Ultimately, to fit in, people will try to conform by masking and behaving in more expected ways, particularly bad at workplaces that don’t seem to think that different mental health conditions exist :thinking:. It takes extraordinary effort and can be extremely taxing, particularly if further complicated by physical issues, which all leaves less energy for other seemingly easy activities.

One way to help people think of this is the spoon theory, or people will refer to Dungeons & Dragons spell slots, though I personally much prefer the comparing it something like the Guild Wars energy (or mana in some games) bar and spell casting (tasks). Some people just inherently start with less energy to begin with. Energy regenerates with time, but various events may cause it to increase or decrease, even into degeneration. Tasks consume energy, and some tasks may even temporarily decrease the maximum energy potential, which then also needs to regenerate. In a simpler format, I suppose that WD’s rage bar also works. At 0, people just hit that “I’d just like to exist and do nothing” state.

whee late night rambles, was thinking about just deleting this, but it’s long enough that it might as well get posted. Maybe something in there is useful, though it’s so absurdly long, oops :see_no_evil: ~ guess it was more like a river than a stream.

P.S. I lied. There’s more but just going to drop in resources that may be relatable/helpful for someone. I haven’t read or watched all of the content from these, and they’re not listed in any particular order, but each one had something relatable in it.

Oh yeah, there are also a ridiculous amount that could be written on social norms. This often makes it difficult for “neurotypicals” in foreign countries with different ones vs “neurodivergent” people :sunglasses:

17 Likes

A beautiful and insightful post, Sci :slight_smile:

Comorbidities is such an important part of this topic as the reasons for comorbidities can be both intrisic and extrinsic but one of the reasons that so many of the same correlate with ASD presentation can be put largely down to learned responses from interacting with others.

Anxiety can stem from the insecurity of not knowing if you have done something wrong because you are unable to see what the other assumes everyone can.

Self esteem issues and depression can come from the conflict of how you feel verse how others think you feel. ASD people are often observed as not wanting company or “beating to their own drum” but the reality is that many of them are lonely and would dearly like to make more friends.

There is a lot that can be covered on this topic and I will refrain from expanding on it now but thank you for writing this. You are an amazing soul.

5 Likes

There is so much to this that it’s hard to put something down. I will just see how the thread plays out and comment then :joy:

That’s too much to read, can you make an audio?

If you’re in good faith : if the topic is too dense for you, then it’s probably best not to interact. Otherwise you can find online text-to speak readers.

If trolling : my dear sweetie, you poor child.

1 Like

Who are you referring to?

I’d suggest the person immediately above his post.

1 Like

sorry, yes, that was the person above. I did press reply though, weird.

You hit the nail on the head with this. It was very informative, and you covered everything so well that I almost don’t know what to respond. It is always good to have someone understand you, especially if you’re on the spectrum, and you’re often under the instinctual impression that nobody truly does. The comorbidities bit stood out a lot; especially the mention about ADHD. 14% of people with the condition have ADHD, me included.

As someone on the spectrum, I view people of the same group as “different”. They (we) simply don’t act similarly to everyone else. Intentions can become lost as things get done in specific ways. I cannot tell you how many conflicts I have gotten myself into unintentionally; both offline and online (often on this forum, but I’ve managed well).


Most of the following pertain more to personal life aspects, but a few may help understand from the forum aspect, if necessary. I also do hope that some of this helps most to understand those in their personal lives. As someone on the spectrum, I understand what it’s like to feel misunderstood. Some (but certainly not all) of the things that come with autism include:

  • Social awkwardness and timidity

This is especially common in individuals with Asperger’s, which is very similar to simple autism, but just has an added social affect. In the face of a social situation, people with this condition become timid and often tend to shy away from others in the area, preferring to be alone in their own state of mind. (This includes myself, and I will be sure to confirm which effects pertain to me, if it’s no trouble. This is one topic I love to open up on.)

  • Challenges socializing and making or keeping friends

This sort of ties into the previous bullet. Especially due to social hindrances (which, again, is especially visible in individuals with Asperger’s), people with “the condition” tend to have trouble forming bonds with people. This only becomes more difficult as time passes on; when you have no practice in forming connections, it can be hard to maintain the ones you do manage to make. Of course this is not the case for every individual (not me).

  • Lack of adherence to social rules (often unintentional, often undetected or unknown to the individual)

The majority of people with “the condition” (at this point, “the condition” should be apparent; it’s what is being discussed) often fail to comply with rules and norms. Depending on the environment, they could get into trouble; federally or in a more normal aspect. Intentions come off incorrectly, and it can be hard on the individual when they either are unable to, do not know how to, or simply refuse by instinct to reveal what their intentions are. It is not even always as serious as breaking rules. Oftentimes, it is coming off as eccentric or weird in manner, which I consider normal. (All of this applies to me, though I’m generally good-natured.)

  • Sensory issues: sensitivity to light, sound, balance, and often picky eaters (due to texture, etc.)

People with “the condition” are often either overly or underly perceptive to certain senses. I personally show no sensitivity to light nor sound nor balance, but what is accepted for me may not be for someone else. People on the spectrum aren’t always guaranteed to have similar experiences. I would, however, feel inclined to reveal that I often find myself zoning in a lot when in public. I listen intently to conversations around me, and when I hear criticism, I think it’s about me. Oftentimes, I don’t care; other times, it is a trigger. This is where social anxiety comes into play. I, and surely many others, have it. It is natural, and approximately 7% of the population has it. I am also part of the group of individuals who are picky eaters. I have a massive appetite, but limited. Sensory issues are perhaps one of the most significant of the issues among people on the spectrum.

Those were the negative attributes, but there are several positives. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Average or above-average intelligence

This is not to say that those without “the condition” are lacking in this regard. This is to say that those with it are generally very sharp. A common misconception is that people with autism are inane; they (we) are foolish, stupid, unworthy of respect—you get the picture. And thus, we get mistreated, but most are very obstinate, very resilient, and push on to be the best version of themselves as possible. Most, like myself, are great at solving problems. Information also sticks quicker and much better than those not facing this condition, so those with it are fast and adept learners. Visual pictures are the most common among learning tactics. It is also why most, especially (but not exclusive to) those on the younger side, are so good with puzzles. Intelligence is more inside of people with “the condition” as people may be aware. Just ask Albert Einstein.

  • Strong ability to focus (especially on desired subjects), and retain massive amounts of learned information

As an animal lover, I am going to quickly analogize people with “the condition” to my favorite of all sea animals: Orcas. Orcas have numerous hunting tactics for catching prey, all taught by mothers for calves to use and teach later on: slapping tails on water to stun stingrays and Manta Rays, flipping sharks on their backs to bring them into a state of tonic immobility, bravely but very dangerously beaching themselves to catch seals and sea lions onshore, knocking Arctic seals and penguins off of ice through wave creation, etc. Orcas’ intelligence is what makes them one of the most-feared creatures in every sea and ocean in the world. (Rest assured, they would never hurt a human unless you mentally or physically hurt them.) I will deviate from this topic, though, because I could talk about Orcas (and really any animal) all day. I will also blur this part for anyone uninterested. Although quickly, I will say that like Orcas, autistic humans are adept learners, and generally are very smart.

People with “the condition” are generally very intelligent and wary, and often don’t like to be called dumb (but that’s expected of any human), even if… they show signs of it to most people. We are very misunderstood people. While some may seem less intelligent through their expression and their actions (in more personal life aspects), they are certainly not dumb. Focus is another thing. People with, once again, “the condition”, tend to focus a lot on details and other things (I will get into that in the next segment), although most (such as myself, having comorbid ADHD), tend to focus more intently on subjects of their desire. (For me, that means animals, complex words and phrases, and art.)

  • The ability to detect errors and details insignificant to the general present group; being “pedantic”

Most people with “the condition” (as which I have referred it numerous times) have the special ability to detect errors and details that other individuals within a close proximity may not be able to detect fully. I have been in that boat myself, pointing things out and receiving looks and/or exclamations of surprise and awe in return. Of course this is not limited to “being within a close proximity”. It is also applicable to online experiences.

  • A desire or drive to connect; expending time to learn social skills that do not come naturally; having an unwavering, undying sense of perseverance and faith when rejected, confused, irritated, etc.

As people impeded by their lack of confidence to interact, it makes tons of sense how people with—dare I say again (I totally do)—“the condition” would feel so driven or inclined toward learning things relative to them. Online conversations then prove to be no issue, and the general mental state is improved literarily. The perseverance aspect is perhaps connected to the criticism that very often comes with being on the spectrum. This is me, and is a perfect explanation as to why I express myself the way I do. It is not pretension; it is instinct, and the fact that real-life socialization does not fully work all of the time, though I’d like it to someday.

  • Advocates for the underdog being bullied, pestered, or harassed; some on the spectrum can relate to animals and even strongly defend them.

As people who experience bullying and critical judging firsthand, people facing this “condition”, such as myself, often grow tired of both experiencing it and watching others go through the same hassle. I will open up to the thought that this is possibly why I defend this game and PG so much, and it’s possibly why I often step in to defend the GPF, moderators, and other players. Oftentimes, in our own way, we (not including all, but “we”) will defend those being picked on, because we have been in that perspective many times and know how unpleasant it can be. I did also mention animals. I am one of the most obsessed animal lovers ever. Animal research is one of my most longstanding hobbies, and thus, I know a lot. I have even shared some of my knowledge on the forums, which can be seen in part here. I understand animals because, quite frankly and quite unfortunately (and also quite unacceptably), many of them are tortured and mistreated by much of humankind. This has turned me into an extreme enthusiast and determined defender of them. Animal admiration is one thing very well-known about me to those who know me in person. They’re relatable.

I do hope these pros and cons shine a better light on the subject and general existence of autism. When assessing those on the spectrum, consider the fact that they (we) are different, and simply function differently than others. Autistic people are misunderstood, so it is always pleasant to have someone understand. Intentions get mixed up, false theories are formed, and things worsen. This could all be prevented with a little bit of understanding, and I do hope that my very detailed explanation above suffices to bring that out.

4 Likes

So I shouldn’t interact to ask about interact to ask about adjustments to help?

I can’t seem to get those to work maybe I’m doing it wrong I’d ask but you say I shouldn’t interact

I’ll acknowledge the irony of my reaction, what’s with the subject of this thread. Though I’m still unsure I’m not being taken for a ride here…

I find it quite daring to ask perfect strangers to go through the additional work of making an audio for you, without even a polite word to back your request. You may be a troll, you may be visually impaired, or you may be missing social cues in a similar way as the original post is about. That happens.

The good thing is, some social cues can be learned! “Please” is one of them. The knowledge that people may reply: “sorry, no” and “here’s a compromise” (text-to-speech) is another one.

I’ve found this site to be pretty good, even though it doesn’t work with mozilla firefox (microsoft edge will do). Just copy paste the text you want read, into it. Truthfully, the same goes for the other sites, just copy paste. Else, you need a webbrowser text-to-speech extension, but those I’m unfamiliar with.

That being said, these readers don’t mention punctuation, nor do they quite understand emoticons. That means that text that hasn’t been written for the purpose of being read by these text-to-speech programs will not quite work. I can only sympathize.

Adding random chunk of quote so that it’s clear who I replied to. (For some reason it didn’t retain the reply to)

It’s my opinion that this topic touches into the topic of what “normal” is. Who has the right to say what’s too far? Why should someone be bound by rules they had no say in?

First principal thinking suggests that you should consider throwing out existing assumptions. Which may suggest some of societies problems are best addressed by throwing out long time assumptions/rules.

That is to say that normal tends to be defined mostly by what other people notice as being socially disliked or socially sticking out. But even a “normal” person has a vast spectrum. Or more specially everyone is different and the deviations from center of the statistics, especially in behaviors which are socially apparent, tend to be embraced or shunned the most.

It’s been my experience that autism and similar behavioral “classifications” tend to be focused on people who have low emotional intelligence/awareness. And these people often (but not always) tend to have high intelligence and/or logical skills. Generally resulting in a experience that sticks out unapologetically from social norms and often offends people, upsets people, etc. (and never works out well when folks attempt to put them in their place so to speak)

It’s also been my experience that the human brain is incredibly adaptable. That is to say that even someone with nearly non-existent emotional intelligence can develop enough if they force themself, that they can fit in if they want. (Although who’s to say they should want to or that it is easy).

Part of human nature seems to be to force some level of conformity. Which has always been odd to me, since it is diversity that helps us adapt as a species and overcome obstacles we cannot without. Tribalism seems to often be at odds with itself especially when tribe sizes are expanded massively using connectivity such as the internet and social platforms.

It’s also interesting that while emotional (normal) and highly emotional people usually interact better with society, I notice a trend of those folks slowly evolving some of the behaviors in their older age normally associated with more logically minded more anti-social. (And sure this observation could be wholly irrelevant or just in my mind)

It’s also interesting to note the societal norms. I’m probably on the spectrum. Or at least I can check a lot of the boxes and tend to relate well with fully autistic folks. But as a product of the early 80s I grew up in a world where you were thrown to the wolves and you either adapted or you didn’t survive. Things like ADD/ADHD, bipolar, autism, etc we’re not really commonly diagnosed but usually just had pressure applied to do as expected and most came out of it with some really traumatic experiences but ultimately (from my perspective anyways) did adapt. And in fact I would say I feel society has flipped, into a quick pill to treat everything, combined with an over sensitivity towards many things. I’m also a fan of not too much but not too little. All things in moderation tend to provide better people. All just my opinions of corse.

Also while ranting in response to your night thoughts. I’d call out a tangent of forced environmental behavior. I have a few stories but I’ll share one from when I was in kindergarten. A friend of mine was named Russel. To me Russel was a normal kid. I don’t think it was just me, but again I am not exactly a typical person and definitely not a typical kid. But the thing about Russel was that he was diagnosed with a neurally degenerative disease where it was believed to be a certainty that he would eventually be reduced to essentially lights are on but nobody’s home situation. The thing was that everyone treated Russel (especially teachers) like he was already impaired. But the reality was Russel was a pretty normal kindergartener, or would have been if he was treated like the other kids. Being his friend I can tell you for certainty he was smarter and more functional than many kids in our class. And yes I met him 14+ years later and he was essentially gone at that point, but it makes me wonder if that would have been the case if he wasn’t treated like it was pointless to even teach him or let him be a kid. Literally not given a chance.

Anyways. Just thought I’d share my 2 cents on the topic. In general I think society needs to be more accepting of people who think differently but I also think more parents need to be educated to encourage development of skills we are weak at. To help all children to be well rounded and let them choose their path with the best tools they can get.

5 Likes

100% & coincidentally enough, I had a friend in middle school and high school with cerebral palsy with much the same experience as Russel. :thinking: She’s wittier than anyone I know, just that people wrote her off due to speech/mobility.

It’s also why I’ll put things in quotes, as it can pretty much always be traced to peoples’ “holier than thou” attitudes instead of taking the mindblowing step of seeing different perspectives. The US (I don’t know if this is still a thing but growing up) also has a problem with the BS golden rule of “treat others like you want to be treated,” as if everyone’s the same :rofl:, though I guess that’s what schools are for - teaching conformity and single styles of learning for the more archaic ones.

5 Likes

I’m always very impressed when someone brings up spoon theory. Nothing to add, just an awesome post that everyone should read.

I try to remember that people have bad days. None of us know what a person has gone through that leads to a certain response. Not excusing legitimately bad behavior but often a situation can be de-escalated if we don’t all assume the worst about each other :blush:

5 Likes

Sci, why the vested interest ?
What are you looking for ?

Autism is so vast, that things may not come out as you think. What is working for one, may not work for another. It depends on the uniqueness of each individual. Both my boys are autistic, yet highly functional.

I won’t bother you with the details. It would take hours to short through all of it. So unless you have a more direct question, than just the vested interest, you ain’t gonna find a guide to walk you through autism condition. There is no other expert than the person living with it 24/7.

1 Like

:rofl: not looking for anything, was just an info dump in case there are bits that are helpful to people living with it or those who want to find out more, as pursuing official diagnoses can be impractical/out of reach for some (or lack of trust for health care professionals), but it doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t try to understand themselves/others better

Oh, actually, changed to personal interest vs vested interest, as I guess that implies gain in some interpretations :rofl:

4 Likes

LOL :joy:

Ok. I’ll tell you that much. Worst thing you can say, is I am sorry or I feel sorry. It was not a fault such a thing happened. On the contrary, it is a magical world, unless there is no form of communication. What is called low functionality. When just sentiments are there and emotional responses. Then it is hard. Very hard.

Diagnosis varies and is necessary to have five or more of the typical symptoms (just for the sake of convo), as many of us present some of them at different stages of life. It can be enhanced as a situation, by certain factors. It can also be dealt with through a range of approaches. But first, people need to accept the situation.

As I said it is a vast topic.