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Asperger Syndrome

I have Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, diagnosed on the basis of impairments in social interaction and non‐verbal communication, and restricted patterns of behaviour and interests. Although it is a developmental disorder, originating in childhood, I had not heard of it until 2001 when I was in my 50s, and I did not seek a diagnosis until 2013.

Since May 2013, the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome has given way to the newer diagnosis “Autism Spectrum Disorder – Level 1”, though like many people with the disorder I feel more comfortable using the older name.

As well as the impairments on which diagnosis is based, people with the disorder often have other related difficulties (“co­morbidities”). In childhood, my main related difficulties were anxiety and tactile defensiveness. In adulthood, my main related difficulties have been depression and executive dysfunction. In addition I have a number of perceptual abnormalities besides touch, and some motor clumsiness, but I don’t think these have greatly affected the way I live.

Those with Asperger Syndrome commonly have special strengths as well as weaknesses. In my case, it seems likely that the same neural abnormalities that gave me the impairments of Asperger Syndrome will have given me an advantage in academic ability, especially in mathematics and the physical sciences, and in musical aptitude.

I feel relaxed in my attitudes towards Asperger Syndrome. I feel neither ashamed nor proud to have it. As the phrase “person with Asperger Syndrome” is somewhat long and clumsy, I am happy with the term “Aspie” as an informal and friendly abbreviation.

This section of my website is by its nature open and personal.