Many adults with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome are usually keenly aware that they do not ‘fit in’, yet are unable to either express or understand exactly what it is that makes them feel differently to others.
For this reason many undiagnosed adults develop negative perceptions of themselves as “weird”, “crazy,” or “broken.”
Despite these negative self-images, many undiagnosed adults are able to hide their difficulties by developing coping mechanisms, such as mirroring or mimicking those around them in social settings.
They are therefore seen as being able to engage in the everyday routines of life such as working, having relationships, getting married and having children.
Yet though they have the ability to apply such coping mechanisms, many individuals with undiagnosed AS, are never able to shake off the underlying awareness of themselves as inherently ‘different’ to those around them.
Ironically, the very skill sets that adults with undiagnosed moderate to mild Asperger’s apply, in order to try and ‘fit in,’ have meant that they have flown “under the diagnostic radar”.
Other individuals with undiagnosed AS, who have not learnt such skill sets, may show greater signs of having social communication difficulties.
This can make them more susceptible to situations such as chronic unemployment and social isolation due to the fact that they may be mistakenly perceived as people who are deliberately anti-social, argumentative, objectionable or aloof loners who crave only their own company.
In reality, these people may be individuals who are displaying the lack of social skills required to communicate and act appropriately, that make up the characteristics or traits commonly described in Asperger’s Syndrome.
It is now well established that individual with AS may display varying degrees of some or all of the following characteristics:
A lack of social skills which manifest in inappropriate social approaches, responses or social awkwardness.
Difficulty recognizing the facial expressions or emotions of others.
Difficulties in considering or understanding others’ viewpoints.
Limited interest in friendships
Difficulties with being able to communicate their ideas, thoughts and emotions.
Difficulties in comprehending and following social reasoning and adhering to the status quo.
Difficulty with transitions and changes.
Hold a strong need for routines.
Narrow range of interests or idiosyncratic special interests.
Be overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells and sights.
Have motor coordination difficulties.
Experience difficulty managing their own negative feelings, especially anxiety, anger and depression
Adults with undiagnosed AS are susceptible to experiencing high degrees of stress, frustration, confusion and anxiety due to their awareness that they do not ]fit in’.
These additional difficulties have often been misinterpreted, misdiagnosed, misunderstood and mistreated, especially when their underlying AS is undiagnosed or not adequately understood.
Some of the most common additional difficulties include:
Angry outbursts (physical or verbal aggression, verbally threatening behavior)
Agitation and restlessness
Increase in obsessive or repetitive activities, thoughts, or speech
Low mood or depression
Apathy and inactivity
Unfortunately many professionals who are unfamiliar with AS often only focus on the surface symptoms and behaviors that an individual with undiagnosed AS may display.
This leaves individuals with undiagnosed AS at risk of being incorrectly diagnosed with conditions such as:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
It is therefore essential, that in order to prevent individuals with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome from being incorrectly diagnosed with conditions, treatment plans and medications that will not help them, that a thorough Autism assessment must be applied to adults who fall within this criteria.
A proper diagnosis of AS can better help adults put their difficulties into perspective and enable them to understand the underlying reasons for their lifelong struggles.
Correct diagnosis and effective treatment can help improve self-esteem, work performance and skills, educational attainment and social competencies.
More importantly a correct diagnosis can trigger both a journey of self-discovery and a healing process for the individuals concerned.
- Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- ‘Doctors are ‘failing to spot Asperger’s in girls’ – article by Amelia Hill (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Tony Attwood – The Pattern of Abilities and Development for Girls with Asperger’s (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Finding the Positives – Women with Asperger’s Syndrome at peace with being different – An Interview with the Indomitable Rose Guedes and Iris Gray -Written by Richard Watts (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Living with Someone Who Suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome (peoplewithdisabilaties.wordpress.com)
- Myths, Lies and Suspicious Minds – Debunking the popular misconceptions that surround the lives of adults with Asperger’s Syndrome (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Strategies for helping those with Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism deal with negative people on line. (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- ” I looked at the world and the world looked back at me for 50 years. Then I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and suddenly everything changed”. (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)
- Autism form an adults perspective – “It’s a horrible feeling of vulnerability and helplessness to know that the non-autistic world sees you as seriously impaired”. (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)