Is it possible to outgrow Asperger Syndrome??????



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StylishBlossom
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Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:22 pm

After looking through some of the forums, I have noticed how a lot of people talk about outgrowing the syndrome, and I was just wondering is this possible? And if it is do you end up being like a "normal" person (I know that no one is really normal, normal, but thats the label im putting on for the moment to explain what I'm getting at) or do you still have social problems and are you still shy and "weird" in some way? Im an 18 year old female with mild AS, btw.

Thanks :)



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Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:25 pm

I think it's possible to learn coping skills, but I don't really see that as outgrowing it. For myself, I can fake my way through some things, but I can only do it for a limited amount of time before the effort exhausts me.



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Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:28 pm

I hope that I never outgrow my AS. I love my quirks and special interests.


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jmnixon95
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Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:30 pm

No, you cannot outgrow the syndrome, but you can make improvements.


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Callista
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Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:37 pm

StylishBlossom wrote:
After looking through some of the forums, I have noticed how a lot of people talk about outgrowing the syndrome, and I was just wondering is this possible? And if it is do you end up being like a "normal" person (I know that no one is really normal, normal, but thats the label im putting on for the moment to explain what I'm getting at) or do you still have social problems and are you still shy and "weird" in some way? Im an 18 year old female with mild AS, btw.
Well... it's possible. Kind of. It'll take a bit of explaining, though.

OK. Autism comes from, as far as we can tell, a basic difference in the structure of your brain. You developed differently both before and after birth; and you learned differently as you grew up. That neurological difference causes the symptoms we call "autism".

To diagnose autism, there's one question they always ask: "Does this person have significant impairment related to their autistic traits?" If they don't, then there is no reason for the diagnosis, because a diagnosis is only needed when the person in question either needs help, has to try harder, or has to do things in a different way from typical people to get along in the world. The world is built for a theoretical "average person". When your impairments are far enough outside that average-person range that you need accommodations, therapy, equipment, etc. to get along, we call it a disability. And only when autistic neurology causes a disability do we need to diagnose it.

Autistic children learn as they grow; autistic people don't stop learning just because they have become adults. Because it is possible to compensate for autism to the degree that you no longer need to use more effort, special strategies, or accommodations, it is possible to be neurologically autistic, but no longer disabled. When that happens, you can no longer be diagnosed with autism. It happens mostly to children who are diagnosed with milder traits. If by the time you are a teen or an adult you are still diagnosable, it is much less likely that you will "lose" your diagnosis this way, but it is not impossible.

This group of people who have a "lost diagnosis" still have autistic neurology. Their brains are atypical and their way of perceiving the world, thinking, and learning are still atypical--these differences just don't cause impairment. People who are neurologically but not diagnosably autistic often find they have more in common with diagnosed autistics than with neurotypicals (after all, disability is a social construct that isn't truly intrinsic to the person, so that it depends on the society you live in to a large extent). They will often identify as either autistic or as a person with autistic traits, and they will often be culturally autistic (i.e., they share the background pool of information that forms the basis of autistic culture). There are a lot of these folks on WP.

Someone with a lost diagnosis might, if they were stressed out enough, had another mental illness, or had some sort of brain trauma, be once again diagnosable with autism. This would be a unique case, but it wouldn't be totally unheard-of.


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Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:40 pm

You can never outgrow Aspergers but you can learn to mimic normal behavior. The older I get the better I am getting at doing it. It is trial and error but eventually I will be able to pass as normal. I have gotten better compared to when I was a kid it took 41 years but I can pass for normal to an extent. :wink:


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Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:14 pm

Callista wrote:
StylishBlossom wrote:
After looking through some of the forums, I have noticed how a lot of people talk about outgrowing the syndrome, and I was just wondering is this possible? And if it is do you end up being like a "normal" person (I know that no one is really normal, normal, but thats the label im putting on for the moment to explain what I'm getting at) or do you still have social problems and are you still shy and "weird" in some way? Im an 18 year old female with mild AS, btw.
Well... it's possible. Kind of. It'll take a bit of explaining, though.

OK. Autism comes from, as far as we can tell, a basic difference in the structure of your brain. You developed differently both before and after birth; and you learned differently as you grew up. That neurological difference causes the symptoms we call "autism".

To diagnose autism, there's one question they always ask: "Does this person have significant impairment related to their autistic traits?" If they don't, then there is no reason for the diagnosis, because a diagnosis is only needed when the person in question either needs help, has to try harder, or has to do things in a different way from typical people to get along in the world. The world is built for a theoretical "average person". When your impairments are far enough outside that average-person range that you need accommodations, therapy, equipment, etc. to get along, we call it a disability. And only when autistic neurology causes a disability do we need to diagnose it.

Autistic children learn as they grow; autistic people don't stop learning just because they have become adults. Because it is possible to compensate for autism to the degree that you no longer need to use more effort, special strategies, or accommodations, it is possible to be neurologically autistic, but no longer disabled. When that happens, you can no longer be diagnosed with autism. It happens mostly to children who are diagnosed with milder traits. If by the time you are a teen or an adult you are still diagnosable, it is much less likely that you will "lose" your diagnosis this way, but it is not impossible.

This group of people who have a "lost diagnosis" still have autistic neurology. Their brains are atypical and their way of perceiving the world, thinking, and learning are still atypical--these differences just don't cause impairment. People who are neurologically but not diagnosably autistic often find they have more in common with diagnosed autistics than with neurotypicals (after all, disability is a social construct that isn't truly intrinsic to the person, so that it depends on the society you live in to a large extent). They will often identify as either autistic or as a person with autistic traits, and they will often be culturally autistic (i.e., they share the background pool of information that forms the basis of autistic culture). There are a lot of these folks on WP.

Someone with a lost diagnosis might, if they were stressed out enough, had another mental illness, or had some sort of brain trauma, be once again diagnosable with autism. This would be a unique case, but it wouldn't be totally unheard-of.


I just wanted to say that I found this to be a brilliant explanation. :)



MakaylaTheAspie
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Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:21 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I hope that I never outgrow my AS. I love my quirks and special interests.


Me too! *high fives*


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LuxoJr
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Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:22 pm

Outgrow the symptoms, but not the disorder. Some quirks will stay with you. Or you'll always retain the same overall personality.


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Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:19 pm

Callista, that is the best description I've seen written up on that. :)



techn0teen
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Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:26 pm

Yes and no. Aspies are not born with the same social skills as others or it takes a longer time to learn them. Social skills are something that can be learned though. In a way, you can get over Aspergers syndrome's social deficiency by making up the deficiency over time.

You cannot get over the sensory issues, meltdowns, and special interests that are common with aspergers syndrome. That is why seeming socially "normal" can be a huge disadvantage. People forget that you do have aspergers syndrome and are less willing to accommodate you.



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Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:14 am

Callista gave a very good explanation of how the system works, but am I the only one who finds it weird that one needs to be significantly impaired to get the diagnosis? In medicine, a benign tumor is still a tumor (though, upon checking, it's not cancer, so my analogy kind of failed there). If autism is a matter of brain wiring, shouldn't that be all that matters?



MakaylaTheAspie
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Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:21 am

It's aso a developmental disorder, so it could go down any path depending on your situation.


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Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:29 am

Artros wrote:
Callista gave a very good explanation of how the system works, but am I the only one who finds it weird that one needs to be significantly impaired to get the diagnosis? In medicine, a benign tumor is still a tumor (though, upon checking, it's not cancer, so my analogy kind of failed there). If autism is a matter of brain wiring, shouldn't that be all that matters?
Well, a benign tumor just means it won't shed cells that spread and grow elsewhere. It can still grow and cause damage by taking up space (pressing on nerves, squishing things that are better off unsquished, etc.).

Psychologists in general are really careful about drawing a line between psychological disorder and atypical but non-pathological behavior. Eccentric people don't get diagnosed even though they have unusual behavior, because they aren't impaired. Homosexuals don't get diagnosed (anymore) because even though they're in the minority, they're not impaired.

In order for a psychological disorder to be diagnosed, it's necessary for the condition to cause distress, dysfunction, or both; and it must be unusual enough to be considered something not part of the expected life experience.

For example: Dyslexia does not usually cause distress; but it does cause dysfunction, and it is not something that every child experiences. Therefore: Diagnosable.

Dysthymia (long-term, low-level depression) causes distress, but does not usually cause significant dysfunction (if it did, it would be major depression). That can be diagnosed because of the distress the person is experiencing.

Agoraphobia causes both distress (from anxiety about leaving one's "safe place") and dysfunction (not being able to do anything that requires leaving.)

Examples of things that are unusual but don't cause either distress or dysfunction, and thus cannot be diagnosed as psychological disorders: Giftedness, homosexuality and asexuality, introversion, simple synesthesia.

Examples of things that cause distress and/or dysfunction but cannot be diagnosed as psychological disorders because they are experienced by many people: Grieving a loved one; becoming stressed during a move or change in profession; the impairment associated with having recently fallen in love; the emotional and social effects of hormones (in women, during pregnancy and the menstrual cycle; in men, due to higher levels of testosterone; in both sexes, during puberty).


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Joe90
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Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:45 am

My cousin had a lot of Aspie traits when he was a child, enough to definately meet the AS criteria without missing it. He didn't mix properly at school, he got angry when routine changed, his special interest was electricity ever since he was 2 or 3, he got anxious about things but didn't tell anybody, he used to have crying fits but wouldn't tell anybody what was wrong, and there's a lot more. His mum even got through to child support services and had a social worker come to visit his home to have a chat and see if they could assess him, and even she said that it was possible AS. It was nothing to do with his upbringing because his sister was OK, and his mum and dad were lovely parents (they were my own aunt and uncle, and I know my own aunt and uncle). I was diagnosed at 8, so I knew a bit about it too, and so did my mum.

But I reckon he's outgrew it, because he's 21 now, (the same age as me), and he spends a lot of time with other boys of his age; going to parties, and he went upto London with 3 or 4 friends for his 21st birthday, and he's got lots of pictures of himself at bars with his mates. He doesn't sound like an Aspie there, because if he has AS and can do that, why can't I? So he must have ''outgrown'' his disorder. Perhaps he only showed traits as a child, then grew out of them. Wish I was like that.


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