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Do I have Aspergers?
Why do I think I might have Aspergers Syndrome? There are a number of reasons I feel this way. I meet a number of the criteria for an Aspergers diagnosis. I will discuss a few of them. First, a person with Aspergers has trouble making friends and maintaining a conversation with others. I have trouble making friends. Everybody likes me, but nobody is close to me. I don’t have a close friend to confide in. I also have difficulty carrying on a conversation with others. I mainly listen as others’s converse, and don’t like to participate in group activities.

Most individuals with Aspergers have difficulty maintaining eye contact. It is almost impossible for them to look someone in the eye. It is very confusing and painful for them to do so. I couldn’t maintain eye contact until my dad forced me to. He said if I wouldn’t look him in the eye it meant I was lying. He also told me he could read my mind by looking into my eyes, and needed to know what I was thinking. I had to force myself to look into his eyes or I would face his wrath.

Poor motor skills can also be a symptom of Aspergers. Handwriting, sewing, needle work, anything that requires precision can be difficult. A person with Aspergers is often awkward and clumsy. No matter how hard I try, my handwriting is very difficult for others to read. I can’t sew neatly or do any kind of needle work. When the other girls were doing cat’s cradle or any other string game at school, it was impossible for me to play with them. It is also impossible for me to keep a rhythm or dance. I have always seemed to trip over my own feet and can’t swing a baseball bat correctly. I guess a lot of people can’t swing a baseball bat correctly though.

Repetitive body movements or behaviors, such as hand flapping, continuous rocking, bouncing, and pacing are also common in people with Aspergers and autism. So is compulsively biting or picking at fingernails. My grandson holds onto his mother’s hair and rubs it between his fingers for comfort. He also does this with his caretakers, such as his aunts and me. He has done this all his life.

When I was young I loved to twirl and spin in circles. My uncle gave me the nickname Dizzy because of my constant spinning. I only stopped this behavior when I was forced to by my father. He said I was too old to spin around like that. My father was not a nice person. I continued to spin, but only when I was by myself. I also rocked continuously and I still do, especially when I’m nervous. Another of my repetitive behaviors was picking at my fingernails until I managed to tear the end of the nail off. Sometimes I would tear them off to the point of making them bleed.

People with Aspergers usually have an interest in only a few things. They may spend most of their time learning everything they can about that subject. I have helped a few children with Aspergers in my job as a Special Education Assistant. One student was very interested in astronomy and knew all the planets and their moons as well as where they were located in relation to the sun. Another student was very mathematical and was fascinated with building and dismantling mechanical items. My eight year old grandson knows almost everything there is to know about sharks and just now added snakes to his area of interest.

So, that leaves me. I love to read and write. Poetry and rhymes are my thing. I sometimes think that I am a rhyme because of my ability to write a rhyme at the drop of a hat. A lot of times I even think in rhyme. I would much rather sit down and read a book than visit with anyone. I am also fascinated with animals and would love to study each one at length and write about it.

People with Aspergers may also suffer from place-blindness. This means that they can frequently become lost because of not recognizing places that they have seen before. Individuals with place-blindness usually rely on landmarks such as a tall tree or a house with a certain color. It’s possible they can become lost even in familiar places if some landmark is changed. Hiking could become problematic if they are separated from their group. They would have no idea which way they need to go and could easily get turned around and go the wrong direction.

I was always getting lost as a child and continue to do so even today. When my family lived in a forested area my brother’s, sister, and I were exploring when my eldest brother fell down a small rocky cliff and broke his arm. My brothers insisted my sister and I needed to run home and let our mom know what had happened. I tried to tell them I didn’t know the way, but they insisted I did too know the way, and demanded that we go home. My sister and I got lost on the way back and didn’t make it home for hours.

A couple of years later we were visiting our cousins in Spokane, Washington when we discovered there was a small town fair taking place a few blocks away. We were all excited and my brothers and cousins rushed off to get permission from our parents to go. Again I was left behind even though I insisted I didn’t know the way and would get lost. A few hours later I finally made it to my cousins’ house. It was way too late for us to go to the fair.

There is also the issue of face-blindness. Some individuals with Aspergers have no problem recognizing acquaintances no matter where they meet them. Others aren’t even sure if they met that person before. I worked in an elementary school where I interacted with over 250 teachers and students each day. I couldn’t recognize many of them without memorizing what their hair color was, or if they were heavy or average weight. If two teachers looked similar I was always trying to figure out which teacher I was talking to or looking at. I also had difficulty recognizing the students no matter where we were. I was only able to work because of my incredible coping skills.

So, what do you think? Is it possible that I have high functioning Aspergers?
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