I have been reading up more on Aspergers lately and my overnight manager thinks she has it and is going un-diagnosed. One of the things we have been talking about this week is Executive Functioning and Theory of mind skills. Here is an excerpt from Autismspeaks.org, explaining how this effects people like me who have Aspergers.
"Individuals with Asperger Syndrome/HFA may often face challenges related to their ability to interpret certain social cues and skills. They may have difficulty processing large amounts of information and relating to others. Two core terms relating to these challenges are Executive Functioning and Theory of Mind. Executive Functioning includes skills such as organizing, planning, sustaining attention, and inhibiting inappropriate responses. Theory of Mind refers to one’s ability to perceive how others think and feel, and how that relates to oneself. Both of these issues can impact the behavior of individuals with AS.
Difficulties in the area of Executive Functioning can manifest themselves in many different ways. Some individuals pay attention to minor details, but fail to see how these details fit into a bigger picture. Others have difficulty with complex thinking that requires holding more than one train of thought simultaneously. Others have difficulty maintaining their attention, or organizing their thoughts and actions. Executive Functioning difficulties can also be associated with poor impulse control. Temple Grandin once said: "I cannot hold one piece of information in my mind while I manipulate the next step in the sequence." Individuals with AS often lack the ability to use skills related to executive functioning like planning, sequencing and self-regulation."
Even though I have some set routines that I have to have to feel comfortable, but to be completely honest I have many lacking abilities when it comes to executive functioning. For me it manifests as I see minor details and I don't really get the big picture unless someone explains it to me. And quite honestly I have issues with all of it. I have difficulty maintaining attention and organizing thoughts. I often have to go through a whole serious of explanation just to get the the main point where I notice people just summarize what I would take as 10-20 mins in explaining to like one short 5 second sentence. It often looks like I'm trying to guilt trip and stuff because I say "you did this" so that must mean this type of thing. Also self regulation. I am good about getting out of bed and being responsible for getting to work on time, However, when it comes to brushing my teeth and disciplining myself to concentrate, get things done, and deal with the adult world, I suck at it. It gets very overwhelming navigating the adult world as an Aspie.
"Theory of Mind deficits can oftentimes have a large impact on individuals with AS. In the book Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments by Brenda Smith Myles and Jack Southwick, the authors illustrate social deficits caused by theory of mind:
1. Difficulty explaining ones behaviors
2. Difficulty understanding emotions
3. Difficulty predicting the behavior or emotional state of others
4. Problems understanding the perspectives of others
5. Problems inferring the intentions of others
6. Lack of understanding that behavior impacts how others think and/or feel
7. Problems with joint attention and other social conventions
8. Problems differentiating fiction from fact"
An ex had tried to change some of these things inside me. Guess what... Didn't work. It's not something anyone can change. It is how I am wired and I get really angry when people can't accept my aspergers or don't do any research or reading on it so they can understand me and help me with these things.
I Don't understand emotions, weather they are inside me or someone elses. Sometimes I cry and don't know why, or I feel silly because I feel that maybe I don't have the right to feel these things because they are stupid feelings. I grew up thinking its not okay to have feelings, only to intellectually find out later it is okay, and that I do have feelings that matter, I just have a hard time identifying what they are and trying to explain it to someone.
A person in general I've heard has issues communicating emotions, and yet I'm expected to function on a normal level when I clearly have deficiencies? I can't. Yeah behavior can change but I think we only mimic what we learned using our intellect but I don't think people with aspergers can change the way they are wired. I will ever fully get it. Is this a bad thing? No. Just mean's I have a different set of needs that probably takes more work. If you don't want to deal with it, then Don't. I don't expect everyone to like me and I don't expect people to understand right away. If you want to be friends or more, Great! However, do some research after I tell you I have AS. It's like expecting a person in a wheelchair without legs to get up and walk.
However, when it comes to the written word, research, and writing English, I do very well at expressing myself... This comes with my intellect and I honestly think I am way smarter than my IQ test gives me credit for.
So with this information, I obviously need help with these things....I can't do it on my own. I need rules, reminders, a schedule to follow, I need structure and discipline because quite honestly I never got these things when I was a kid. My discipline was always physical, as in I was spanked and well that doesn't work, especially when you don't know what you did wrong and don't understand why. One idea that my ex had, is something I want to start doing, and it will be for stuff like brushing teeth, getting organized, and making sure I do the things I am supposed to do everyday. Its to get a calandar and everytime I complete my to do list I get a sticker. If I get 5 stickers out of 7 (5 days out of 7 days) then I should get a treat. There should be some leeway for alone time, and being able to just breath after dealing with the adult world for 5 out of 7 days.
I hate that I am like this, I feel like such a little girl in this big bad world and it's scary, but I am not ashamed to admit to my faults because when you admit them to yourself, become self aware, there are coping mechanisms out there as well as resources and help available. I really need to start going to aspie support groups but the ones I know of are really far for travel and busing back and forth with me working overnights is a pain in the ass...