Asperger’s Syndrome’s missing trait

best-life-quote_325404-4 There are many websites, blogs and books that provide lists of traits that are purportedly said to be the common signs of Asperger’s Syndrome in Females.

However, each and every one of these lists has a tendency to focus exclusively on the outward signs of Asperger’s Syndrome in women.

Signs like:

‘difficulties with social interaction’,

‘dislike of small talk’,

‘poor co-ordination’,

‘fixation on special interests’,

‘preference for spending time alone’

I‘m sure by now we are all nauseatingly familiar with the above list of symptoms.

Perhaps we’ve even become so familiar with these lists that we’ve stopped looking for the traits that have been missed.

Well here’s a trait that continues to remain unlisted, although I cannot for the life of me understand why this should be so, as it is a trait that has been mentioned over and over again, by every woman with Asperger’s Syndrome that I’ve ever communicated with.

In fact, it may even be the one trait that is common to every woman with Asperger’s Syndrome.

And that trait is:

The early personal recognition, awareness or sensation that they feel, think and perceive the world differently to those around them.

                “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel different to everyone else”.

                “I’m pretty sure I was born different. No two ways about that.”

                “Different is something I’ve always been.”

                “I must have been the oddest child on earth. I know I certainly felt that way.”

“Evan as a kid, I felt, I don’t know, just different to my sisters and brothers.”

Given that this sense of personal awareness occurs long before the outward signs of Asperger’s Syndrome appear, it is perfectly logical to hypothesize that the early onset of this awareness may indeed be the exact reason why the outward signs of Asperger’s first appear to others.

“I didn’t like doing the same things that kids my age did, so I used to just go off and do my own thing.”

“I could never understand why other girls wanted to play with dolls. Dolls were boring to me.”

I believe that  this early personal sense of ‘not fitting in’ or of ‘not belonging’ within one’s own family, peer group or circle of friends, needs to be considered as one of the fundamental indicators of Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism in females.

It therefore strikes me as extremely odd that researchers, psychologists and other related professionals’ continue to ignore the one experience that, so far, appears to be common to all AS Women, and instead focus on ideas such as ‘masking’.

Imagine how many girls could be helped if all it took to recognize their potential for being on the spectrum entailed the asking of just one simple question.

Do you ever feel different?

Does this post ring true to you?

Have you always felt different?

53 thoughts on “Asperger’s Syndrome’s missing trait

  1. In short, YES. Now I’m wondering about the stereotype that women tend to look into themselves and are more self-aware. It’s a stereotype for a reason, even if it doesn’t happen to everyone. Perhaps the only reason we look like we’re passing is simply because of that heightened self-awareness of ourselves and the world around us.

    1. Exactly Robin…. I think it’s definitely an idea that’s worth pursuing, although I do not believe that AS women ‘mask’ themselves. The examples I’ve provided show that even as young girls, female Aspies choose to follow their own pursuits rather than ‘pretending’ to enjoy Barbie Dolls just to get along.

      1. Now that you mention it, as a kid, I didn’t understand the appeal of pop culture. Most girls my age at least had some kind of crush on a pop star and would even cry and swoon over him. It always fascinated me that people could do that (to this day I still don’t know how that works) I wasn’t interested and thought other music genres were interesting. So I just went off on my own to find the wonders of heavy metal and rock music.

      2. I think you are right– my cousins all played with their dolls– to me they were just hard plastic– I couldn’t understand why my cousins would pretend they were crying and cooing, etc. I just sat to the side and watched. By the time I was 12 I realized that other girls all played as if their dolls were real. Even in Nursing school I could not act as if the mannequins were real humans– they, too, were just plastic to me.

    2. as a young child about 5 or 6, in kindergarten, i knew i was different. this unexplained difference, along with extreme frustration-tantrums, made me feel wrong and different. i never held onto a friend, not cause i didn’t want to, but something always happened. the one or two friends i had were very negative and bullies. and well that ended too. so thus i went deeper into world. i loved barbies and ponies. but i didn’t play normally with them. no stories and make believe. much like a aspie boy and his cars and trains, i bathed them, braided their hair, dressed them and lined them up. for hours. after my diagnosis at 13 i understood. i no longer felt wrong, i just knew i was intrinsicely different and that was ok, though still hard because i did want friends. i believe there are many forms of self awareness. much like many bodies to a consciousness. self awareness in words, behaviours and actions. self awareness in emotions. self awareness in how we grow as a person, self awareness in spirit, self awareness in how we perceive others. and some are more heightened then others. those ones that we faulter on we have to work on and grow. just because one in autistic/aspie/pddnos doesn’t mean we lack the ability to better ourselves, and thus how people perceive us, which gives us better interactions with those around us, we just have to want to do the hard work that comes with that. people who aren’t autistic who refuse to work on themselves will face the same challenges as isolation because to be honest no body will want to be around them. you aren’t ”faking” at this point, your developing. and again just because you have autism doesn’t mean you can’t develop yourself. you aren’t changing who you are, you are becoming a better version of you. anyone have any thoughts?

    1. I am a 47-YO-Female … I did have a “pop star” crush (John Travolta a la Greased Lightning) and I did play with Barbies, but never baby dolls. However, I do remember a distinct feeling of being different and preferring my alone time to all the complications of social interaction. My space was always being invaded and I don’t really remember a connection to my sister as a kid. I knew she was there, but I really didn’t care about her as a child. Not sure if I had any great passion or focus when I was kid except for reading. I liked ancient history (wanted to be an archeologist). I teach art history and humanities classes now, so, in a way, my childhood interest has been fulfilled. I was always on the outside (bullied & teased mercilessly) and didn’t understand why. I get really frustrated when things happen that I don’t understand and I immediately want to fix them. Taking the bus was pure hell. I have never been officially diagnosed AS, but it would answer for a lot. A friend recommended I take the AS spectrum test and I scored 34 if I remember correctly. I am a stickler for details and order and get agitated easily when there’s chaos (especially when I am tired) if I don’t make a conscious effort to be aware. Sensory overload is easy for me, too. I recently saw the original Swedish version of The Bridge (series) where one of the leads has Aspergers and I found myself relating to not seeing emotional cues. I have learned to be better at that. As I have gotten older, I have learned how to have more empathy for others. I have often been accused of being selfish. Does this sound familiar to anybody?

  2. Gosh…. now that just goes to show how common this feeling of being ‘different’ is within the lives of women with Asperger’s. So glad you could relate. Thank you so much for the reblog.

    1. I always felt so different as a child used to make up stories in my head, my family are gypsie so my upbring was different anyway but I never felt I belonged I used to pretend in my head that the gypsies had stolen me from my ” real” family. On when my grandson was diagnosed with aspergers and I got to understand about it did I get diagnosed in my 50s. Quite something to be able to take a step back and be able to look at your life and be able to understand why I did things the way I did

  3. I agree with most of the traits in this post. I am 39 year old female with very mild High Functioning Aspergers living in Perth, Western Australia.

  4. I agree so much, I always knew I was different. It is just so sad that a lot of women have to work so hard to convince others that this feeling is substantiated. Also probably contributes to a lot of the anxiety we feel, and also why we like to do things alone. It gets very tiring hearing that you are lazy, stupid, slow, mardy and so on. No I’m just different! Thank you 🙂

    1. It may well be Michael, but I can only write from a woman’s point of view. So in the interest of authenticity, and seeing as I am not a male, I write from the only perspective I know. I would however welcome the opportunity to read the male perspective should you or anyone else choose to write about this concept. Thanks

  5. Yeah, I do relate. I was 3 when I realized explicitly…not just that people treated me differently or that things were hard for me that weren’t for other people…but that it would ALWAYS be that way….that it was permanent and intrinsic. A feeling of peripherality (though obviously I didn’t always have that word for it) to other kids practically pervades my earliest memories of school and social activities.

    Especially given that so many of the professional experts believe LACK of self-awareness to be the hallmark of autism, I really think this needs more exploration.

  6. This is so on point! I am in the process of questioning whether I am an Aspie too, and this is the one point I keep coming back to. I have always felt different, always. At times when I was younger I thought that meant I was “wrong” somehow. When I reframe my life narrative in the context of Asperger’s (I am 36 now), everything suddenly makes sense, while without it, I am still puzzled by so much of how I felt and experienced the world, especially as a child and teen.

  7. It’s interesting – that “different” feeling never went away even when I found my tribe… I’m still “different” from most autistic young adults in that I’m not a vocal political activist. I’m different from older autistic women because my life hasn’t gotten to those stages yet (and because I don’t have children in many cases). I’m different even among those who were always different. Possibly because I just don’t know how to be “the same” as any group of people, no matter what.

  8. I’ve been questioning whether I have Aspergers for a while now. I strongly identify with the trait of feeling different/wrong and it’s led to much anxiety. Thank you for writing this article. What could I do now to find out more? Or to receive help.

    1. Seren, if you wish you could ask your GP for a referral for an Autism Assessment, or seek out a clinical psychologist, or contact your nearest Autism Association and ask for assistance with a diagnosis. There’s a lot of good information on the internet but there’s also a lot of bad information as well. I’d focus on reading material written by Autistic Women themselves. Hope this helps.

  9. Completely agree. And would like to add, that when people tell me I’m not different, I want to scream. It’s bad enough understanding how different I am, without having someone tell me I’m not. Especially as I’ve gotten older, and learned to appreciate my differences more. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Same for me, always felt different (because I was/am). I was asked in a therapy group by a clinical psychologist, who hadn’t noticed my autism (undiagnosed back then by me and medical staff) “Don’t you think it’s just that you enjoy being different”! Thank goodness I had had quite a bit of therapy and counselling by this stage, and have never suffered from low self esteem, but even so it made me feel very invalidated and subtly attacked. This psychologist failed to notice all the signs of autism I was showing: needing the window open (being too hot makes me panic), needing the radio off in waiting area (too much background noise makes me panic), needing the circle of chairs to be aligned just so, needing to sit next to someone who didn’t smell of perfume/cigarette smoke/coffee etc etc. In fact, the psychologist disliked me because when I met her (huddled in a narrow doorway) she stank of cigarette and I recoiled (couldn’t help it) and asked if she’d just had a cig. From that moment on her reactions to me were coloured by that initial meeting.

      Sorry, I’ve gone way off topic, but wanted to highlight how our difference can be used against us, rather than being understood and accepted.

  10. Omg yes! This is such a strong feeling in me! Alone in the fecking crowd every day of my life…the feeling of difference is huge for me….masking, you bet I mask…I mask this difference so I vaguely fit in, I am aware of actively masking traits, ideas and feelings so I can pass as someone Im not and be kind of accepted. I feel this self awareness of difference even amongst others with autism….

    1. The Mom, yes, absolutely. And even worse when, struggling alone in a therapy group (I hate groups of any kind!) the therapist herself suggests (in a way that shows she’s already made up her mind) that you enjoy being different and somehow bring it on yourself. Argh!

      Regarding that feeling of wanting to scream: how many of us, particularly women, suppress those screams and outbursts because gender socialisation is so strong? Not that I’m advocating letting loose anywhere, anytime, but the stress and anxiety it causes trying to keep it in all the time.

  11. Yes always. And always had an inner monologue describing everything like a book narrator might. Including myself the protagonist of my life 🙂 but yes, always had an outsider, different sense. And people kept reminding me I was, “weird” etc.

  12. Professionals come up with so much bullshit when observing the outside of autism, so much that I have stopped taking them seriously long ago and urged my family to do the same. Sure, when I was young, I did a lot of silly things without thinking very hard about what others might think of me, but I was fully aware how “different” I was even before knowing that I was autistic. Unlike lots of young autistic girls, I never had any desire to “fit in,” but many neurotypical adults insisted that I should. Good old days, Michelle Garcia Winner’s “Why Should I Care” was the most oppressive material I have ever had used on me in the name of “help.”

    1. I agree. I don’t believe that most Autistic girls necessarily want to fit in as desperately as professionals believe. That idea may be yet another example of a trait that may have been true for some, being extended out delivered as a fact to all.

  13. I felt different from everyone around me as young as 3. I have never liked being around people yet I had to learn to mimic them and their behavior. This has been so tiresome. I stay to myself most of the time now. I prefer animal companions over human companions.

    1. That’s true. There were some times that I desperately wanted to fit in and other times that I was perfectly happy keeping to myself. When I think back on it though, a lot of the times that I did want to fit in had nothing to do with the desire to connect with people. I really just wanted to quietly tag along so I wasn’t missing out on things like going to a movie, or to a museum, or playing a challenging game. I had my family, and I loved them, and that was plenty of human interaction for me. It’s really the same today. I am single because I really don’t have any desire to connect romantically with a another person. It’s not that I can’t love people, but just that I am programmed to love everyone in the same way, in a totally platonic, I care about what happens to you, and want the best for you sort of way. I chose to get a dog instead of get married. Why? I connect with animals in a way I can’t connect with people. I feel incomplete without a dog as my companion in life. I’ve never felt incomplete for not having a human companion.

  14. Yes, describes me quite well. In my day though there was no diagnosis available, just well-meaning teachers who tried to help me fit in (whether I wanted to or not—I now just remember the understanding ones). It wasn’t till I was in my mid-40s that a professional psychologist and a family friend of my parents offered to assess me, and I landed within the autistic spectrum bell curve.

    Incidentally, in addition to not fitting in, I don’t recall wanting to fit in—when quite young I read (and remembered) the E.A.Poe poem, “From childhood’s hour, I have not been, As others were. I have not seen, As others saw” (it was titled “Alone”, which is technically true of me as well, but I don’t feel that way). I was quite happy doing my own thing.

    Now into my 50s, I’m thankful I’m wired the way I am especially when I look at other people—>I don’t obsess over the past, I don’t worry overly much about the future, I take joy and happiness in the day to day things, I seem to be incapable of holding grudges, I can entertain myself in my head when I’m threatened with boring situations like meetings, peer-pressure is a non-issue, I don’t feel compelled to seek out company, I find life fascinating and interesting on so many levels, I don’t get lonely–in short (too late, you say), I don’t seem to be afflicted by the neuroses and baggage that cripples so many of the “neurotypical” people around me.

  15. I agree. That should be on the list. For as long as I can remember, I felt like a didn’t fit in, and I used to ask myself (and probably at least once or twice asked my parents), “Why am I do different from everyone else?”

    I used to think that maybe my life was all one big dream. It didn’t feel real to me…I think because I couldn’t really connect with anyone. I thought one day I’d wake up and be an infant again and then my life would start.

    Other times I wondered if I had been born into the right body or in the right decade or century. It seemed that no one perceived me the way I perceived myself. When others described me, I felt their descriptions weren’t even close. I was afraid to look in the mirror or see or hear myself on a recording. It gave me an eerie feeling. It wasn’t me. When my brother joked (as brothers do) that I had been sent to Earth by Aliens, I didn’t even think it was remotely funny because to some extent, I believed it.

    Still there were other times that I thought the whole world was playing a mean trick on me, or doing an experiment on me like on the Truman Show (I felt this long before that movie came out, by the way). Maybe everyone was in some sort of agreement to treat me differently than everyone else, just to see me meltdown and wait to see how long it would take until I really cracked.

    I was always trying to find that explanation as to why I felt different than everyone else. Around about high school age is when I realized that my differences stemmed from the way that I think and perceive things, and not some outward physical feature that everyone was seeing except for me. That realization helped me, but it wasn’t until I learned about Asperger’s that I had an answer that made sense. Finally everything fits. Everything has an explanation.

    Along the same lines we should add on the list: Belief that you have Asperger’s. Self diagnosis has to count for something. Also, identification with other Aspies (just as we are doing right now.) Only an Aspie knows what if feels like to be one, and if you’ve talked to another Aspie about it, you “get” each other. It doesn’t make sense to have a neurotypical alone tell us whether we have Asperger’s or not and decide what “help” we need. It’s like asking a Kindergartner to give marriage advice.

  16. Reblogged this on Oysters and Life and commented:
    I know girls are wired differently than boys. Most of the Autism studies used males for their subjects. I personally have distinct memories of not being like my peers starting in Kindergarten. By high school, it was very obvious.

  17. This is so refreshing to read . At age 62 with many emotionally based familial comorbidities ,had I known, I was feeling like what is now labeled in the current DSM as Aspergers / autism spectrum my life might have been less difficult and my choices better. My adult daughters are struggling with aspects of very high function with traits . Employers don’t care and the general population prefer to perceive disorder rather than humanness in all our variety. So tired of people telling my daughter she is polite but not friendly. How sweet of her to be polite. She actually listens to a person. She doesn’t interupt to say what she was thinking as the other person spoke because as they speak she is truly taking it in to respond. Bless her heart . Excuse me. But she was just “let go” cruelly from a job she loved doing and did well . Laid off for not being friendly. Left with apartment lease and bills to pay.
    As her parent I resisted labelling her at school. Had she received our state government sanctioned label I imagine she could file a grievance with the labor relations board.
    My daughter wants no part of it. I am proud of her.

  18. Well said. I have always felt different. I don’t recall a time when I didn’t.
    I was diagnosed last year at 50. My non-diagnosing therapist said, “You can’t have Asperger’s. You have so much empathy.” That hurt. I never went back.

    1. I really enjoyed your post and can relate to many of your thoughts and feelings on this subject. I too am an introvert through and through. I write as a way of clearing the fog from my own mind. It’s simply the easiest way for me to be able to stand back and process things. I’m glad you found some small degree of value in my thoughts and words. Thank you Seventh.

      1. as the parent of a daughter who has only recently been diagnosed as being an Aspie, I am learning a great deal from reading your posts. However, I am also struggling with understanding how a girl or woman with Aspergers can be so self aware and yet be so judgemental of other people. My daughter says she is a high functioning autistic person with Asperger’s syndrome. I knew for many years that my daughter was wired differently but did not have a name for it. I knew she was unhappy and struggled to feel accepted by her peers and could not maintain relationships, but did not have a name for that either. I sought help repeatedly from child development experts, doctors and psychologists, None of them could tell me how to provide my daughter with support, guidance, discipline or encouragement, so that she could be comfortable in her own skin and feel good about her self and the way she was made. No one could tell me why she had such a hard time with obedience of simple rule about manners, curfews, respect for other people’s property or allowing for other people’s feelings to be valid. At the same time, I was raising two other ‘neurotypical children’, who felt cheated because their sister needed more attention, “got away with” more negative behaviors, was given more slack with regards to “proper” behavior in church or other social gatherings etc. There were many times when her meltdowns (especially as a teen) were violent, and appeared to be vicious and hurtful. She also seemed to be very sneaky and deceitful, when she was probably just trying to mask her sense of “otherness”. But now that she is a an adult, she seems to be contented with her label and is happy to be able to explain her way of being and what she can and cannot tolerate in those around her, who form part of her life. But,it seems to her family that she has become a bit of a tyrant, imposing her own set of standards for what must be accepted by others if they want to be around her or she wants to be around them. It seems like being empowered and validated by the label has somehow given her a sense that any way at all that she chooses to behave in any situation must be accepted because “that is how a person with Aspergers acts” and no matter how hurtful, abrupt, rude or downright nasty it comes across, no one is ever supposed to call her on it, because she is on the spectrum and cannot change the way she is. She has managed to maintain relationships and hold down a responsible job for years, but with her family, she demands that all contact with her is at her instigation only and that she sets all the parameters. We are fine with that. But, when I read on this page that other Aspie’s don’t hold a grudge, or judge others, I find it hard to accept that my daughter is also an Aspie, but has held on to what she considers my failure to parent her properly and my unworthiness to be in her life or connect with her, because of the failures of my parenting. And heaven forbid that I should ever say anything that even hints that I feel she should be accountable for any hurt she ever caused, by any action or choice she ever made. Apparently in her understanding of her uniqueness, people with Asperger’s not only don’t relate to others in a typical way, they are not accountable for any action that causes harm or hurt to others, and that no one is every entitled to tell them they did wrong! If a person with AS is no ever accountable for their actions, regardless of the injury or hurt an action might cause to others, then how can other people ever feel safe to interact with them. Is there no right or wrong for an Aspie? Do they not understand morality?

        1. Hi Bev and thank you for your questions. I will do my best to try and describe how some of these counter intuitive reactions occur. Firstly, being judgemental of others isn’t what it seems. It’s more a case of genuine confusion and trying to figure out the motivations of those other than ourselves. It’s a matter of, “I wouldn’t do, think, act, dress, that way, so why does she/he?”

          It sounds judgemental buy your what your daughter may be doing is simply seeking to understand others by applying the only frame of reference she has, which is her own way of doing things.

          And yes, you are right, this way of understanding and experiencing life, when forced on others who do not share the same frame of reference is extremely difficult to deal with and yes, I would also agree that “Tyrant” is the right word to describe any person who insists that others adhere to a rigidity of rules, that are purely self serving.

          I know that when my daughter and I clash, it often feels to me, as if she’s being the most disrespectful, selfish and egocentric person in the world.

          She absolutely refuses to budge or concede any ground at all.

          The word “compromise” doesn’t even seem to exist in her vocabulary.

          It is frustrating but to be fair, she would also point out that there are more than a few issues and ways of doing things, that I too refuse to compromise on myself.

          And she’d be right.

          Only to me, the things that I refuse to compromise on are the big things in life, (you know things like equality, justice, an end to war, the right to personal safety and so on), not who should or should not be responsible for feeding the cats based on who said what and to whom five years ago regardless of how situations may have changed.

          I too have any and every “perceived parenting mistake” thrown in my face when ever doing so seems to suit my daughters mood, or even serves as a tool in gaining some leverage towards getting her whatever it is she may want at the time.

          And no, I’m not Okay with such behavior and I let her know it.

          But my daughter doesn’t just have Asperger’s. She also has Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) as well as Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

          Both add to her inability to let issues drop and her need to control (manipulate) everything within her environment, including myself and other family members.

          So trust me, I get that people with Asperger’s can hold grudges and are more than capable of willfully saying hurtful things to those they love.

          I also know that when these things occur, it needs to be pointed out clearly, again and again that, no matter how much you love her, you too have the right to live a life free of being hurt by the words and/or actions of others.

          This is something that I do regularly with my own daughter and yes, it can lead to further arguments, slammed doors and more hurt feelings to brood upon, but it also helps to establish a way of letting her know that she’s gone to far with her over the top demands and/or hurtful words/behaviors.

          I have to be willing to walk away from her rudeness in order to clearly show her that I’m human, I have feelings and the right to be treated fairly and to feel safe in my own home.

          Just like everybody else.

          Even though I have Asperger’s, I do not go to the extremes that my daughter is capable of going too in terms of deliberately hurting others with words and actions, and that’s because she has additional psychological issues that I do not have.

          I don’t explode with frustration or anger, I implode in hurt and confusion.

          I don’t hold grudges against other people, but rather, I hold grudges against myself. You know the “why did I say/do that stupid thing?” kind of grudges.

          I don’t relive other peoples mistakes in my mind late at night when I can’t sleep, rather it is my own mistakes that play on a visual loop like a movie inside my brain.

          To put it bluntly I don’t externalize, I internalize.

          My daughter on the other hand completely externalizes.

          She rarely blames herself for any misunderstandings or situations that go wrong, hence, the fault always belongs to someone else.

          She sounds a lot like your daughter in that way, so I would have to say that I think that having ODD and PDA greatly exacerbates the negative aspects of Asperger’s, such as the ones you describe, and it may be that your daughter’s behavior can not be explained by a diagnosis of Asperger’s alone.

          So she may well have co-existing issues occurring and that may help to explain why she behaves as she does.

          Yes of course there is right and wrong for Aspies.

          Frankly I find the concept that individuals with Asperger’s should, for some bizarre reason, be exempt from the consequences of their own bad behavior to be a disturbing one.

          Asperger’s or not, we are still people and like all people, if we do something morally wrong, we should have it pointed out to us and be reprimanded accordingly.

          I think this topic is perhaps the only place in which the whole high and low functioning bit comes into play.

          If you don’t understand a concept, such as right and wrong, then you can’t logically be blamed for trespassing across that imaginary line in the sand.

          If however, you do understand the concepts of right and wrong, and indeed, understand them so well that you are the first to point it out when someone else does the wrong thing, then you too should be held accountable for your own trespasses.

          I know that if I ever do or say anything “wrong”, even if it’s something that others would consider to be merely a tiny faux par or error of judgement, I kick myself about it for years.

          I do have a very strong, if somewhat less nuanced, sense of right and wrong.

          Hurting other people is wrong.

          Being hurt by other people is wrong.

          I know that being honest isn’t always considered a good thing, but I am always honest and if you ask me my opinion you’ll get it.

          At the same time, I have also learned that not offering an opinion, when not asked to do so, is okay too.

          Even though it’s hard for me to not say something tangentaly related to the topic of a discussion in the middle of a conversation, I have learned to cover my mouth with my hands, the top of jumper, a book, a coffee mug, literally anything I can, just to stop the flow of words from pouring out of me, so that others may continue on, un-interrupted, with their discussion.

          I do this because I know that others don’t always appreciate my interruptions and that doing so is generally the wrong thing to do and not because I’ve suddenly been cured of Asperger’s.

          So in a nut shell, your daughter’s behavior is by no means typical of all individuals with Asperger’s and yes individuals with Asperger’s do know right from wrong, even if we sometimes miss the subtle social nuances involved in issues or morality, we get the basics in spades and if anything, individuals with Asperger’s are more likely to stand against injustice and to stand up for social justice issues than any other sub-group.

  19. I knew I was different since I can remember myself. I was in kindergarten when I started feeling differently. Didn’t say anything about it because I had a hard time expressing myself and also understanding my own feelings. But this is my eareliest memory, of feeling different. I could never understand the other kids and had no idea what they were thinking or feeling. They seemed like aliens to me, and sometimes like robots. I didn’t understand what they said. The words made no sense, and they laughed at things I didn’t find funny. Didn’t understand why they got mad or upset or happy. I knew there was something fundamentally different about me. I could understand animals better. Thank you so much for writing this post.

  20. It absolutely rings true with me. I can remember as a very young child of four or five, thinking how strange my thoughts were, and that nobody was like me. However, just to ask, “Do you ever feel different,” well I’m sure just about everyone at some point has felt “different.”

  21. Most definitely. I have always felt it. I have never been able to. My obsessive need to understand why it is so different for me took me to studying psychology where after 37 years of trauma and a breakdown led me to my diagnosis.

  22. I did not always feel different because prior to about fourth grade I was too socially oblivious to notice that I was different. Other kids existed, and it sucked when they picked on me, but I didn’t like them much (with maybe one exception per grade) and they didn’t like me much (likewise) so we mostly just avoided each other. Around fourth grade is when you start getting a lot of the middle school crap about ostracizing anyone at all different, so when the bullying ramped up, I looked for why, and that was when I realized how different I was from the other kids (while reading in a crouch under the school porch so the teacher wouldn’t find me and take my book and tell me to “go play with the other kids”) and watching other kids go play in groups and realizing that I’d never really had that desire to group up that much – I mean, I’d clumsily tried to join groups because I had the idea that was what I was supposed to want to do, but I didn’t actually succeed, nor did I really want to.

    But once the “different” realization was made, oh my gosh did I feel it in spades. It was kind of like I’d known it all along but it took that long for me to admit it.

  23. I felt different all my life and my parents are Aspie but in denial I was also aware that they were different – unfortunately they punished me for it so I was totally alone always have been.

  24. I have to disagree on this one. There are many, many girls who have always felt different. This is not diagnostic of ASD. First off, every girl who is gender varient (ei, not a girly-girl) will tell you that she has always felt different. Walk into any lesbian group and ask everyone who had a strong knowledge that she was different to raise her hand and 90% of the women in the room will do so. Then there are all the girls who have dyslexia or auditory processing disorder, or… any thing cognitively different about them.

    Just because all bananas are fruit doesn’t mean that all fruit is bananas.

    And just because almost all autistic girls recognize that they are different early in life doesn’t mean that all girls who recognize they are different are autistic.

    1. Dana, you have read things into the article that simply aren’t there….. at no point do I make the bold statement, nor even allude to the idea that all girls who feel different must automatically have autism. You have missed the point completely. The issue that I am highlighting is the mistaken belief that Autistic women and girls lack awareness of themselves as being ‘different’ to those around them. Many clinicians are still operating under the erroneous belief that Autistic women and girls have no self awareness. Therefore if a woman or girl states that they are able to perceive themselves as being ‘different’, then they’re showing self awareness, and thus, any other symptoms or signs of autism that they may experience, such as sensory issues, are either entirely overlooked or incorrectly diagnosed as being evidence of some other disorder.

  25. You bet! Used to tell my Mum thus all the time. Even kept asking if I was adopted, several times, even tho she kept assuring me I wasn’t.

  26. Reblogged this on Laina's Collection – sharing Aspergian/autistic writing and commented:
    I, too, have always felt different from those around me, beginning around the time I started Montessori school at age 3. This feeling only intensified when I was 5, when 1) I started (my first year of) kindergarten and 2) my sister was born (both were obviously major events and they occurred within 3 weeks of each other). I felt very much like an outsider whom nobody understood. Even though I’m currently 40 years old, that sense of “outsider otherness” persists, especially when getting together with extended family or going to a professional conference. Rarely do I feel like I fit in, and even more rarely do I ever feel understood, at least outside of the Asperger’s/autistic community. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful piece and helping me feel less alone. ❤

  27. Reblogged this on Yinin's Thoughts and commented:
    As far back as my memories go, I remember this sense of “being different” or “otherness”. I also remember being told that everyone feels like that from time to time 😛 It’s definitely got better since my diagnosis though.

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