Females with Aspergers Syndrome Checklist by Samantha Craft

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and based on my experience after 12 years of researching about autism and being officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. It is not meant to replace the DSM-V Autism Spectrum Disorder definition nor is this list meant to serve as an official diagnostic tool. Hundreds of women have used this list in conjunction with the DSM-IV or DSM-V and a professional mental health professional’s guidance. It is also based on 4.5 years of communicating almost daily with those that are diagnosed with autism and some that believe themselves to be on the spectrum. It is not all inclusive. Some will fit into categories and not be autistic/Asperian. This is meant as a springboard for discussion and more awareness into the female experience with autism.

* Highly intelligent does not relate to IQ levels. Often Aspies are dyslexic and have dysgraphia and other learning disabilities but can be highly intelligent about particular subject matters, out-of-the-box thinking, and verbal fluency capacities.

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Females with Asperger’s Syndrome Unofficial Checklist 

Sam’s best selling book Everyday Asperges is now available here and in multiple countries on Amazon. Strong reviews!

This is an unofficial checklist created by an adult female with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) who has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome. Samantha Craft has a Masters Degree in Education. Samantha Craft does not hold a doctorate in Psychiatry or Psychology. She has a life-credential as a result of being a female with Asperger’s Syndrome and being a parent of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome. She has created this list in an effort to assist health professionals in recognizing Asperger’s Syndrome in females—for in-depth information regarding females with AS refer to Craft’s upcoming book Everyday AspergersTen Traits of Aspergers can be found here.

Suggested Use: Check off all areas that strongly apply to the person. If each area has 75%-80% of the statements checked, or more, then you may want to consider that the female may have Asperger’s Syndrome.

When determining an AS diagnosis (or Autism Spectrum diagnosis) reviewing an individual’s childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and present day is advisable. This particularly applies to communication challenges; many  females with AS teach themselves the communication rules to the point of extreme. A primary identifier might be they are still teaching themselves social and communication rules; in other words they are still rehearsing. (Section A consideration/prolific artist in place of writer and/or both.)

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Section A: Deep Thinkers

  1. A deep thinker
  2. A prolific writer drawn to poetry
  3. *Highly intelligent
  4. Sees things at multiple levels, including her own thinking processes
  5. Analyzes existence, the meaning of life, and everything, continually
  6. Serious and matter-of-fact in nature
  7. Doesn’t take things for granted
  8. Doesn’t simplify
  9. Everything is complex
  10. Often gets lost in own thoughts and “checks out” (blank stare)

Section B: Innocent

  1. Naïve
  2. Honest
  3. Experiences trouble with lying
  4. Finds it difficult to understand manipulation and disloyalty
  5. Finds it difficult to understand vindictive behavior and retaliation
  6. Easily fooled and conned
  7. Feelings of confusion and being overwhelmed
  8. Feelings of being misplaced and/or from another planet
  9. Feelings of isolation
  10. Abused or taken advantage of as a child but didn’t think to tell anyone

Section C: Escape and Friendship

  1. Survives overwhelming emotions and senses by escaping in thought or action
  2. Escapes regularly through fixations, obsessions, and over-interest in subjects
  3. Escapes routinely through imagination, fantasy, and daydreaming
  4. Escapes through mental processing
  5. Escapes through the rhythm of words
  6. Philosophizes, continually
  7. Had imaginary friends in youth
  8. Imitates people on television or in movies
  9. Treated friends as “pawns” in youth, e.g., friends were “students” “consumers” “members”
  10. Makes friends with older or younger females more so than friends her age (often in young adulthood)
  11. Imitates friends or peers in style, dress, attitude, interests, and manner (sometimes speech)
  12. Obsessively collects and organizes objects
  13. Mastered imitation
  14. Escapes by playing the same music over and over
  15. Escapes through a relationship (imagined or real)
  16. Numbers bring ease (could be numbers associated with patterns, calculations, lists, time and/or personification)
  17. Escapes through counting, categorizing, organizing, rearranging
  18. Escapes into other rooms at parties
  19. Cannot relax or rest without many thoughts
  20. Everything has a purpose

Section D: Comorbid Attributes

  1. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  2. Sensory Issues (sight, sound, texture, smells, taste) (might have synesthesia)
  3. Generalized Anxiety
  4. Sense of pending danger or doom
  5. Feelings of polar extremes (depressed/over-joyed; inconsiderate/over-sensitive)
  6. Poor muscle tone, double-jointed, and/or lack in coordination (may have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and/or Hypotonia and/or POTS syndrome)
  7. Eating disorders, food obsessions, and/or worry about what is eaten
  8. Irritable bowel and/or intestinal issues
  9. Chronic fatigue and/or immune challenges
  10. Misdiagnosed or diagnosed with a mental illness
  11. Experiences multiple physical symptoms, perhaps labeled “hypochondriac”
  12. Questions place in the world
  13. Often drops small objects
  14. Wonders who she is and what is expected of her
  15. Searches for right and wrong
  16. Since puberty has had bouts of depression (may have PMDD)
  17. Flicks/rubs fingernails, picks scalp/skin, flaps hands, rubs hands together, tucks hands under or between legs, keeps closed fists, paces in circles, and/or clears throat often

Section E: Social Interaction

  1. Friends have ended friendship suddenly (without female with AS understanding why) and/or difficult time making friends
  2. Tendency to overshare
  3. Spills intimate details to strangers
  4. Raised hand too much in class or didn’t participate in class
  5. Little impulse control with speaking when younger
  6. Monopolizes conversation at times
  7. Brings subject back to self
  8. Comes across at times as narcissistic and controlling (is not narcissistic)
  9. Shares in order to reach out
  10. Often sounds eager and over-zealous or apathetic and disinterested
  11. Holds a lot of thoughts, ideas, and feelings inside
  12. Feels as if she is attempting to communicate “correctly”
  13. Obsesses about the potentiality of a relationship with someone, particularly a love interest or feasible new friendship
  14. Confused by the rules of accurate eye contact, tone of voice, proximity of body, body stance, and posture in conversation
  15. Conversation are often exhausting
  16. Questions the actions and behaviors of self and others, continually
  17. Feels as if missing a conversation “gene” or thought-filter
  18. Trained self in social interactions through readings and studying of other people
  19. Visualizes and practices how she will act around others
  20. Practices/rehearses in mind what she will say to another before entering the room
  21. Difficulty filtering out background noise when talking to others
  22. Has a continuous dialogue in mind that tells her what to say and how to act when in a social situation
  23. Sense of humor sometimes seems quirky, odd, inappropriate, or different from others
  24. As a child it was hard to know when it was her turn to talk
  25. Finds norms of conversation confusing
  26. Finds unwritten and unspoken rules difficult to grasp, remember, and apply

Section F: Finds Refuge when Alone

  1. Feels extreme relief when she doesn’t have to go anywhere, talk to anyone, answer calls, or leave the house but at the same time will often harbor guilt for “hibernating” and not doing “what everyone else is doing”
  2. One visitor at the home may be perceived as a threat (this can even be a familiar family member)
  3. Knowing logically a house visitor is not a threat, doesn’t relieve the anxiety
  4. Feelings of dread about upcoming events and appointments on the calendar
  5. Knowing she has to leave the house causes anxiety from the moment she wakes up
  6. All the steps involved in leaving the house are overwhelming and exhausting to think about
  7. She prepares herself mentally for outings, excursions, meetings, and appointments, often days before a scheduled event
  8. OCD tendencies when it comes to concepts of time, being on time, tracking time, recording time, and managing time (could be carried over to money, as well)
  9. Questions next steps and movements, continually
  10. Sometimes feels as if she is on stage being watched and/or a sense of always having to act out the “right” steps, even when she is home alone
  11. Telling self the “right” words and/or positive self-talk (CBT) doesn’t typically alleviate anxiety. CBT may cause increased feelings of inadequacy.
  12. Knowing she is staying home all day brings great peace of mind
  13. Requires a large amount of down time or alone time
  14. Feels guilty after spending a lot of time on a special interest
  15. Uncomfortable in public locker rooms, bathrooms, and/or dressing rooms
  16. Dislikes being in a crowded mall, crowded gym, and/or crowded theater

Section G: Sensitive

  1. Sensitive to sounds, textures, temperature, and/or smells when trying to sleep
  2. Adjusts bedclothes, bedding, and/or environment in an attempt to find comfort
  3. Dreams are anxiety-ridden, vivid, complex, and/or precognitive in nature
  4. Highly intuitive to others’ feelings
  5. Highly empathetic, sometimes to the point of confusion
  6. Takes criticism to heart
  7. Longs to be seen, heard, and understood
  8. Questions if she is a “normal” person
  9. Highly susceptible to outsiders’ viewpoints and opinions
  10. At times adapts her view of life or actions based on others’ opinions or words
  11. Recognizes own limitations in many areas daily, if not hourly
  12. Becomes hurt when others question or doubt her work
  13. Views many things as an extension of self
  14. Fears others opinions, criticism, and judgment
  15. Dislikes words and events that hurt animals and people
  16. Collects or rescues animals (often in childhood)
  17. Huge compassion for suffering (sometimes for inanimate objects/personification)
  18. Sensitive to substances (environmental toxins, foods, alcohol, medication, hormones, etc.)
  19. Tries to help, offers unsolicited advice, or formalizes plans of action
  20. Questions life purpose and how to be a “better” person
  21. Seeks to understand abilities, skills, and/or gifts

Section H: Sense of Self

  1. Feels trapped between wanting to be herself and wanting to fit in
  2. Imitates others without realizing it
  3. Suppresses true wishes (often in young adulthood)
  4. Exhibits codependent behaviors (often in young adulthood)
  5. Adapts self in order to avoid ridicule
  6. Rejects social norms and/or questions social norms
  7. Feelings of extreme isolation
  8. Feeling good about self takes a lot of effort and work
  9. Switches preferences based on environment and other people
  10. Switches behavior based on environment and other people
  11. Didn’t care about her hygiene, clothes, and appearance before teenage years and/or before someone else pointed these out to her
  12. “Freaks out” but doesn’t know why until later
  13. Young sounding voice
  14. Trouble recognizing what she looks like and/or has occurrences of slight prosopagnosia (difficulty recognizing or remembering faces)
  15. Feels significantly younger on the inside than on the outside (perpetually twelve)

Section I: Confusion

  1. Had a hard time learning that others are not always honest
  2. Feelings seem confusing, illogical, and unpredictable (self’s and others’)
  3. Confuses appointment times, numbers, and/or dates
  4. Expects that by acting a certain way certain results can be achieved, but realizes in dealing with emotions, those results don’t always manifest
  5. Spoke frankly and literally in youth
  6. Jokes go over the head
  7. Confused when others ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray
  8. Trouble identifying feelings unless they are extreme
  9. Trouble with emotions of hate and dislike
  10. Feels sorry for someone who has persecuted or hurt her
  11. Personal feelings of anger, outrage, deep love, fear, giddiness, and anticipation seem to be easier to identify than emotions of joy, satisfaction, calmness, and serenity
  12. Difficulty recognizing how extreme emotions (outrage, deep love) will affect her and challenges transferring what has been learned about emotions from one situation to the next
  13. Situations and conversations sometimes perceived as black or white
  14. The middle spectrum of outcomes, events, and emotions is sometimes overlooked or misunderstood (all or nothing mentality)
  15. A small fight might signal the end of a relationship or collapse of world
  16. A small compliment might boost her into a state of bliss

Section J: Words, Numbers, and Patterns

  1. Likes to know word origins and/or origin of historical facts/root cause and foundation
  2. Confused when there is more than one meaning (or spelling) to a word
  3. High interest in songs and song lyrics
  4. Notices patterns frequently
  5. Remembers things in visual pictures
  6. Remembers exact details about someone’s life
  7. Has a remarkable memory for certain details
  8. Writes or creates to relieve anxiety
  9. Has certain “feelings” or emotions towards words and/or numbers
  10. Words and/or numbers bring a sense of comfort and peace, akin to a friendship

(Optional) Executive Functioning & Motor Skills  This area isn’t always as evident as other areas

  1. Simple tasks can cause extreme hardship
  2. Learning to drive a car or rounding the corner in a hallway can be troublesome
  3. New places offer their own set of challenges
  4. Anything that requires a reasonable amount of steps, dexterity, or know-how can rouse a sense of panic
  5. The thought of repairing, fixing, or locating something can cause anxiety
  6. Mundane tasks are avoided
  7. Cleaning self and home may seem insurmountable
  8. Many questions come to mind when setting about to do a task
  9. Might leave the house with mismatched socks, shirt buttoned incorrectly, and/or have dyslexia and/or dysgraphia
  10. A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming
  11. Trouble copying dance steps, aerobic moves, or direction in a sports gym class
  12. Has a hard time finding certain objects in the house but remembers with exact clarity where other objects are; not being able to locate something or thinking about locating something can cause feelings of intense anxiety (object permanence challenges) (even with something as simple as opening an envelope)

This unofficial checklist can be copied for therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, professors, teachers, and relatives, if Samantha Craft’s name and contact information remain on the print out. This list was created in 2012 and updated in May 2016. 

Sam’s best selling book

Author’s Note: This post was originally composed when Asperger’s Syndrome was a stand-alone diagnosis. At that time, not much was written or discussed about females on the autism spectrum, particularly not the rules of semantics to utilize when referring to other autistic women. In the four years since my online writings began, much to do about semantics in relationship to Autism Spectrum Disorders has emerged. Even the word “disorder” is a trigger word for some, myself included. Today, I prefer to write “I am autistic” or “I am Aspie,” when referring to myself, instead of “a person with autism/Aspergers.” (People-first versus condition/diagnosis-first) Primarily, because I don’t have Aspergers—rather I am Aspie. Aspergers is innately who I am as an individual and not some tagline—like a disease.With that said, while I am sensitive to the ongoing terminology debate and the growing trend (and need) to move beyond identifying one’s self with a “disorder,” in order to keep the authenticity and voice of the original works, including accurately reflecting how I experienced life and trends in the societal and psychological fields at the time, I chose to not make any specific broad-based terminology alterations in this post.

Samantha Craft (@aspergersgirls) compiled this page. She has corresponded with thousands of individuals touched by autism in their lives. Sam is the author of Everyday Aspergers, a revealing memoir, ten years in the making, about the everyday life of an autistic woman. More information can be found atSpectrum Suite LLC, myspectrumsuite.com

 

 

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128 thoughts on “Females with Aspergers Syndrome Checklist by Samantha Craft

  1. Yep, I’m aspire, as well as my 3 oldest children(7 in total). The only trait I don’t have is not remembering faces. Thank you so much for all your work. I’m 40 years old and have always wondered what’s wrong with me. It’s so freeing to understand why I am the way I am. Just a few years ago, I finally decided to stop trying to fit in and to just give myself grace to be me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE being an Aspie, I would never want to be anyway. I like me to bad if others don’t I wasn’t put on this wonderful earth for other so called normal people’s entertainment. Aspies are fun. God loves Aspies. That is all that counts. So what what other people think. We are nice, fair, and we don’t ask for our own bathrooms. La de da.

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  3. Well that’s me, it’s incredibly odd to get diagnosed in your twenties and see your personality in a giant list occasionally on the internet; not the first time i’ve seen one, but this one is definitely the most accurate and substantial!
    I am also a female Autism advocate now, as so many women go diagnosed; You are doing great research, with clearly great results!

    Helena

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    1. I’m in the first stages of receiving a diagnosis, and as a late-twenties woman. This literally describes me, to an absolute T. My usual therapist even said during our first appointments that I seem to only need help in adjusting to normal society (and this was without me even mentioning all of my symptoms, and no mention of autism).

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  4. wow! I want to thank you for this post! I am in my sixties and finally feel like someone really does understand what i go through daily! Thank you thank you thank you!

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  5. I came here to learn more because my niece has been identified as being on the spectrum. I’m walking away a little shook-to-the-core at how much of this list reflects my personal experiences. I don’t know what to do with this information or that it really matters for me. But it’s not what I expected. Thank you, this is a lot to think about both for my niece and for me.

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  6. I feel like I relate a lot to this. Today I asked my counsellor if she thought it was possible I could have AS. I felt ridiculous asking. I felt even more so when she all but dismissed the idea straight away. Maybe I am just looking for an excuse for myself. I don’t know what to do now :/

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  7. Hello! I am almost 28 years old and grew up extremely shy, introverted, and had some sensory issues as a child that I still have as an adult. As an adult I struggle to fit in, I still feel like a child compared to other women (even though I know I’m not) I have a lot of social awkwardness, social anxiety, I can’t do eye contact, I have OCD tendencies, and a lot more. A few months ago I started researching aspergers and adult autism and almost every single aspie quiz, checklist, and diagnostic tool that I have taken, always says that I’m somewhere on the spectrum. I would obviously have to be high functioning, because I live a pretty typical life and I am a successful adult. But I still struggle in certain areas, especially socially. I took your checklist and I scored 112 out of 173. In 7 sections, I scored 75%, in 3 sections I scored 50%, and in one section I scored 30%. Does this indicate a possibility of female aspergers? This isn’t the first checklist that I’ve done, but it’s probably among one of the few in depth ones that I’ve taken, and all of the others that I have taken, also indicate on the spectrum. I’m not sure I want an official diagnosis, but more for my own peace of mind. Thank you!!!

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    1. Welcome. It would be very hard for me to determine unless I knew you well. I encourage you to seek out others in the community and get their thoughts and insights. This is just one example from my experiences — and doesn’t indicate yes or no. I wish you the best.

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  8. At 66, and seeing that at least two of my four kids seem to be on the spectrum, I went through this checklist. I don’t see to fit much into certain areas, especially the comorbid stuff. OTOH, at my age, I really think that being better equipped in social situations stems from having studied them for so long!

    In total, I count 93 attributes on your list as applicable, or more than half. And, as noted, it would undoubtedly be more, if I were in my 20’s or even 40’s.

    I do have a question, though. A lot of these attributes seem to be applicable to ADHD, as well. Is that a coincidence, or is there a lot of overlap between Asperger’s and ADHD? Because (of course!) another of my kids was dx’ed as ADHD as a child, and still deals with a lot of the issues as an adult.

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  9. I read this out of interest as im quite aware off how odd i am. More so now that I’m in my 30s.
    I just read down this check list cringing at how many things i could tick off (almost ALL). I actually had to put my phone down! Thanks (i think) 😂

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  10. Wow. Erm… so I’ve known for a while now that I’m socially awkward, tend to talk about myself more than I should, have weird interests, and am sensitive to sensory input. I took two detailed tests online so far and also read what you listed for Asperger Syndrome and pretty much everything outside of not remembering faces fits me to a T. Funny thing is I never considered before that I could be on the Autism Spectrum despite meeting others who to me most obviously are. Now I feel rather… stupid for missing it in myself. I see my therapist this week and likely will relate my findings with her. Perhaps she can help give some insight.

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  11. I am a 34 year old female and I am in tears right now. I was one of the first wave of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 4 years old. All my life I was told it’s bipolar disorder, you have a mental illness and this is the reason you act like you do. For 30 years of my life I have been bipolar. 30 years. I no longer think that assessment is correct. After reading the article in Scientific America on female ASD and now this article I am highly confused by the emotions coming in. I keep telling my mother, “I know I am supposed to feel a sense of relief with having a non professional diagnosis but I just feel fear and dread with this change, I’ve always had bipolar.” And now I’m laughing because that in and of itself ties into what this is or may be. If I were to put an arbitrary percentage of what is correct on this checklist it would be around 98%, and now I want to go back and check what the non arbitrary number would be. This is my life. Thank you for this article, I am heading over to Amazon now to purchase your book. Thank you for the research and the knowledge and your hard work. Thank you.

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  12. I’m a 40 year old woman, who looks very young, and acts in ways that my closest family and friends would call “childish.” I shut down when anxiety gets too much, which destroys me to know that I’m negatively impacting on my family. I always knew I had social awkwardness (that over many years i managed to fake to get jobs and try to maintain friendships) anxiety in many aspects of life and i do suffer from depression, but i never considered the possibility of being on the spectrum until it became apparent in my eldest son, who is now 6, and is a beautiful child that has behavioural, sensory and social difficulties. My youngest son Saxon, has none of these difficulties and is polar opposite. So much of the traits listed are myself, the agoraphobic tendencies that i have and have affected my life considerably are especially where I’m trying to get some clarity. Anxiety and social awkwardness have really had a negative impact, i have obsessive interests from when i was a young child. it is starting to become clear that women everywhere are now getting to know themselves better now that the ratios have come to light. Thanks for the clarity.

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  13. Wow. Thank you for this. I’m 21 and have just started to read up on ASD after hearing that women with Asperger’s are often misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder (I received a diagnosis of depression with anxiety last year, and BPD in January). Tried online ASD assessments and my scores far exceeded that of the ASD threshold, which I attributed to BPD and ASD sharing similarities… But the tests made me aware that I also show traits that are typical of ASD but not so for BPD, such as stimming, inability to understand social norms and cues (still struggling although I’ve come to learn them), very intense and specific interests in details that seem obscure to others…

    After reading this list, I’m more convinced to talk about this possibility to my therapist. A lot of items in your list could be easily written by someone with BPD, and I relate with them, but there are also things that, as I mentioned, specific to ASD but not BPD and still checked. Thank you for the list, I just hope that my therapist won’t dismiss my need to discuss this…

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  14. 95% on total. I never knew what was wrong with me, I’m now 55. Have always faced agonizing relationship problems with every single person in my life. Always odd person out, even in groups. Taken advantage of in every single relationship, just cannot comprehend what’s wrong with people and why they are the way they are. So much wasted time and energy over all these problems with no answers. Terrible feelings of humiliation and no confidence in every job ….low pay in all, taken advantage of because tasks were my escape and always completed so timely and correct. (Difference for me is the numbers, enjoy them, but never been fixated on them, but am on trying to figure things or people interactions out …. can get fixated and tumble it over and over in my head till my brain hurts, and physical pain from worry) . Managers in every job I’ve ever had, would keep adding more until literally doing work of 2 or 3 people. It hurts very terribly emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting looking back and realizing this. I feel stupid how easy I was. Very humiliating hearing how smart other coworkers were, for doing so much less and out smarting everyone….I guess that is how one really makes it, not by working hard but being manipulative enough to have everyone else do the work. Same with social “friendships “. Not working right now, needing down time, worried and hurt for future. High functioning and “pass” initially until people begin to know and observe me, then faster than I know and can react, like months down the road and way too late, realize I’m being exploited and cannot figure out how i got there or how to fix the situation. Communication deteriorates rapidly, exploited again in trying to communicate, then the anger humiliation and shame, taking it all on as my fault and looking for first opportunity to leave, without the manager / person taking any responsibility of their own, is then blamed on me. Not exaggerating, every single relationship, and job. Including parents. Never able to fix these things. Not feeling sorry for self, these things are true. By saying it and looking back and calling it as it was, I AM taking my own responsibility as well as the others too! Just needing to get it out and wondering if others here have experienced same. I feel no solutions, because of these challenges, others do not understand and will take advantage to exploit. It’s taken all my life to just finally get here and by your article and comments realize and feel validation, finally, THIS is who I am, I understand now even though others don’t. Do not even know how I managed to, but am married to a wonderful supportive man, it took many years of working through issues, including being taken advantage of, but now he understands and still wants to stay for the long haul. THIS is where I feel fortunate and blessed. He is my best friend. And from past experiences, I am okay with that over the moon.

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  15. My name is Tiffany, and I’m a 35 year old woman, who suspects, very intensely, that I have High-functioning Autism. Throughout my childhood, I rarely spoke, unless spoken to, and even then, I tend to stay quiet, or unresponsive. I kept to myself and my specific interest, at the time, it was WWF wrestling, music, and movies. I just stayed in my room, alone, enjoying these things. Wrestling was like an obsession, couldn’t wait for a the next Pay Per View and weekly TV shows. I didn’t care about much else. I went to public school, and was often bullied by my peers, with words, calling me a nerd and fat, consistently. I didn’t react because I was very fearful. I never told anyone, including my parents. I never felt the need to go over a my fellow peers houses, not like I was invited, much. I just went to school, came home, went into my room, and did my homework. I was very obedient when it came to doing what I was told, by my mom. I felt very shy, and I was always quiet, especially since my mom would express that to people when she was in their company, making me feel like I was weird for being that way. I was an A student, which was a burden because if I got anything less than an A, especially on my report card, I would feel defeated and afraid of how my mom, in particular, would react. She had a more extroverted personality, and my dad was rather passive. I did whatever she asked if me, and if I seemed as if I didn’t want to do it, she would tell at me or passively aggressively say things that would hurt me. I was so sensitive to where I would cry, often, even at something that seems so trivial. My mom drove me to school, until I was 17 years old. I always felt embarrassed when she would take me to school. Throughout high school, I went through the same experiences that I did in elementary school. I graduated high school, but I was fearful of working because I didn’t think that I could consistently do a good job, and I feared criticism and, potentially, being bullied by co-workers, who had a more of an outgoing personality. I’ve started jobs, I but never finished them, always quitting. My mom made me apply for public assistance, which she benefited more than myself. She would make me feel guilt over not working. I lived with my family until I was 22 years old. I was afraid to let my mom know that I’m moving out, into a low income housing complex. I always thought that I would live with her, forever, so I was excited to get away from her verbally, emotionally, psychologically abusiveness, although I was afraid to be responsible for myself, now that I was moving out. She was angry at me, and tried to sabotage my transition. When I moved out, it was the last time that I reached out to her, until 4 years later, when my sister told me that she had cancer. It was very awkward being around her, not only because I felt bad that she was dying, but our relationship was non existent prior to this. She passed away then, 3 months later. During the years that I moved out, a high school friend of mine, who was also an ‘outcast’, gave me a number to a mental health clinic. My consistent diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’ve been in many programs, prescribed medications, but my life felt the same. As I’ve gotten older, I realized that I didn’t hate people, I just hated myself because I was different, not fitting in, anywhere, so I continued to be a hermit and non-social. I applied for SSI, and was awarded a monthly payment. Even though I was academically smart, I still felt mentally challenged. My Therapists and Psychiatrist never mentioned anything about Autism or High Functioning Autism, so I went on thinking that I was just a depressed, fearful, lazy person, but something kept telling me that there’s more to me than what was diagnosed. Research upon research, I feel that deep down I may have High-functioning Autism. It just makes sense, especially with the things that I do and say and think. I’m afraid to approach any of my doctors with this, in fear of them telling me that I need to stop worrying about my health and just dismissing me. They all see a person who’s articulate, dresses ok, and very smart, so therefore, I can go out and work and have a more fulfilling life, but deep down, it doesn’t feel that way. I haven’t done laundry in several months, my apartment is not the cleanest, except for on the surface. My closets are a mess, and bills are tough to deal with. I still like being alone, but I want real connections with people that I have yet to feel. People in my life have negative opinions about me, thinking that I’m lazy, and it sucks because I feel that they just don’t get it. I’m 35 years old, and my life isn’t going anywhere. I need help, but I’m not sure what help to ask for. I’ve gone through life without a healthy support system, so to me, it’s no wonder why my life is sedentary and stagnant. Please help! I have no one to advocate for me, besides myself, and I’m not doing a great job. Thanks for reading.

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    1. thank you for sharing your story. Please consider going to Facebook and searching for Aspergers and Autism groups. There is a lot of peer support out there. Also see myspectrumsuite.com for resources. It’s important to find safe and understanding people. You aren’t alone.

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    2. Oh you poor thing – I have to read your story with more time and concentration but will come back for sure. Not a professional but a late discovered Aspie myself. Hope you did or will do the test on this site to get more clarification. Give me the week and I will get back to your post – Kristina

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    3. Dear Tiffany — have you been able to do the online test so far? And how are you feeling since you are obviously reading up on Asperger – I can fully understand how you feel about yourself and finding out that there are some things inside you that aren’t easy to understand and even harder to live with or even change is coming like a shock – I know that’s what it did to me. The more I researched, the more I learned, the more I found out about Asperger and it’s UP-sides, the better I felt. It is not all bad – it is just different and in many parts even better :)) — I am still swamped with some issues at home but hope you let me know if you are interested in some exchange on this site for further help.

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      1. The above comment was from me – charliesbestfriend – although it showed under my name … sorry for the confusion.

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  16. Wow. I feel most of these things. I always just thought I was shy, introverted, and sensitive, but lately I’ve been noticing things about myself that I’m finding on this list. Like if I’m somewhere and the music is too loud I start to freak out and get irritable because I can’t hear myself think, or if I’m in the car listening to music and have to tell someone something I have to turn the music completely off to talk or else I can’t deal with the sound! If I’m trying to talk and hear the background music it’s just too much for me and I feel so overwhelmed! Or sometimes if I’m on the phone with someone and the connection isn’t good and I hear static or I have to keep repeating myself, I get so overwhelmed that I freak out and have to hang up. I tend to have a lot of patience but not with things like this. No one understands these things and they just say I’m too sensitive. I’m sensitive with everything… light, feelings, sound, digestion, taste. I noticed I like very bland foods.. too much flavor is overwhelming. I get overwhelmed very easily. I’ve had horrible vivid nightmares ever since I was a child.. people always chasing me trying to hurt me. It seems I’m always paranoid. I’m awful at social interaction. How does everyone else know what to say to people? I need to plan in my head ahead of time or else my mind goes blank. But I would much rather talk about deep life issues than the weather or school. I hate small talk. And I need so much time alone to recharge. If I don’t get to recharge enough I feel overwhelmed in conversation. But if I do feel comfortable enough I tend to overshare. There have been times where I’ll tell my whole life story to someone I barely know. I’ll often get hooked on new projects and just become completely absorbed by them, spending days doing only that. And I feel so much like a child. At 22 I see all the women around me and they seem like adults. I feel so much like a child that I don’t even feel comfortable calling myself a woman.. I still feel like a girl. My sister is five years younger and people always think she’s older than me. They usually guess that I’m 17. I’m always tired, possibly chronic fatigue. I’m always thinking about life, how lucky we are to be here, but also about what my place is here. People say I’m too innocent and naive. I always would rather see the good in people though, than just assume the worst. I always pick the skin on my lips and I don’t know why! I can never seem to stop.. If I’m not doing that I’m picking my face or something that I can do non-stop. My emotions always feel extreme. I’m either stressed or completely calm, depressed or so happy to be alive. I’m always so anxious about things.. going to the store, appointments, making phone calls. My whole life I’ve been anxious. My parents said ever since I was a baby. Any big life step that came along I’d throw temper tantrums and kick and scream. When I had to start wearing a training bra I cried for days and wouldn’t stop fighting with my mom. When it came to getting my license I took two extra years to take the test. I never wanted to grow up. I would go into my parents room and cry about whatever new change I had to deal with. I was never comfortable in gym class when we had to change in the locker rooms. If I have something coming up I have to prepare for it mentally for days, and if something comes up last minute I usually have to say no because I wasn’t prepared for it. No one understands this. I’ve turned down jobs before if they were last minute because I wasn’t mentally ready. And I take criticism so harshly. I’m a photographer, so when I submit work to people if I don’t get an “I love them!” I start overthinking and stressing and going on and on about how they must not like them. If I do actually get criticized for something it pretty much ruins my day. My heart drops and I don’t know how to act. To this day I still love animals and will take an ant or spider outside so I don’t have to kill it. I always notice patterns in things, and I do have favorite numbers. When I’m editing photos I’ll only use certain numbers for my settings. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have are either older or younger. I’m very much in my own head. Ever since I was a child I was always dressing up and pretending to be someone I wasn’t, or somewhere I wasn’t. My imagination has played a huge part in my art. I’m always creating art about escaping, about using my imagination to escape to other worlds. I’m very much interested in the other worldly and fantastical. And I’m very attuned to other people’s feelings and emotions. I cry so easily, and therefore hate sad movies and emotional events like graduations. I don’t even want to walk at mine because I hate being so emotional. And I don’t feel worthy of all the attention! Also, I’m awful with following unwritten directions. I almost got fired at my first fast food job because if they didn’t tell me to do something I wouldn’t do it. I was always horrible at making judgements like whether to open a new food at the end of the night, because it wasn’t something that was written down.
    I can check most of these items. But now I don’t know what to do! I feel a bit silly to go to a therapist and ask because I’m worried they would just sort of laugh at me or think it was silly of me to come. A part of me wants to know but a part of me doesn’t. Would you say being diagnosed has helped you enough? Do you regret knowing?

    Thank you.

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    1. thank you for sharing. You aren’t alone. Sounds familiar. No, I am pleased and happy to know, but it was a long acceptance process. Many of us on Facebook if you want to join us. Diagnoses brought closure. see everyday aspie for a post there where women speak about what having diagnosis meant to them. Best to you!

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    2. Marisa – you spoke out of my heart, my soul, my mind – I feel the exact same things and then some. To me at 58 the diagnosis has two faces – the one feels finally explained, the other feels worried since the only 2 people in my life (family) who know, who I shared my findings with – do not take it serious and sadly on occasion hint out that I would use it as an excuse. Unfortunately do we live very remote and I have no chance to talk or even contact in person to an educated professional. I agree with the comment ‘it was a long acceptance process’ -and I am still working on it. Like in many other regards it seems that there is a great deal of self-teaching involved – a sorting within yourself, trying to combine your new knowledge with your reality and find a way that is less hurtful. Like those nightmares you (and I and many others) have – when I have a bad night – a vivid, almost real nightmare – I get up no matter the time (it’s early morning usually) and do whatever takes my mind off those dreams, exercise, watch TV, go outside to my horses, in nature — it helps a great deal. I used to have panic attacks not knowing why those dreams are haunting me and being told to be ‘crazy, bipolar’ etc. etc. Those extreme emotions – ‘normal’ people will not ever understand and now I started to cover them as much as possible in front of others – the social balancing act so to speak … no wonder I keep thinking that I ended up living so remote, I don’t have to see anyone for days if I don’t want to (2nd husband excluded – but then there is always another room to go to :/ )
      I am not on FB and like the one on one more – it keeps the small talk out and I can focus on the core issue.
      Keeping busy as much as I can helps a lot too – it gives me purpose, always did. Photography is a wonderful thing and I understand how you overthink the slightest wrinkle on the forehead of a customer since to you it was the perfect picture, but then your’e embarrassed and wonder if you made a mistake and how to fix it and on and on and on. I lost most ‘friends’ in my life over those issues – not liking small talk and gossip seems to be an offense to most people and often a person who likes the ‘deep life issues’ is intimidating to those and so they turn away. Please stay in contact – I will come back here.

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      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! It really means a lot!
        Did you get officially diagnosed??
        It’s weird for me, because even though I have all of these things, a huge part of me wants to just think it’s a coincidence. I suppose it could be possible, to have all these things but not aspergers. But then a part of me feels like I’m just trying to deny it. A part of me feels like I would rather not know, because I’ve made it this far and most people seem to think I’m normal, though I’ve really never felt that way. My whole life I always felt like something was different for me, like I was never the same as everyone else. But could it be that I’m just stretching this? Just to be able to have an explanation for how I act? I really really like to be able to put myself into categories. I’ve taken so many personality tests over the years, and the Myers-Briggs one recently, where I learned I’m an INFP. It’s really very interesting to be able to read things about yourself that are so accurate. I’ve been obsessed with learning about it ever since… strengths and weaknesses, and other famous people who are INFPs.
        This is an excerpt from the description of INFPs: “Unlike their Extraverted cousins though, INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix. If they are not careful, INFPs can lose themselves in their quest for good and neglect the day-to-day upkeep that life demands. INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type. Left unchecked, INFPs may start to lose touch, withdrawing into “hermit mode”, and it can take a great deal of energy from their friends or partner to bring them back to the real world.”
        So a part of me just feels like maybe it’s just my personality. I’m not sure.
        (Here’s the link to see more: https://www.16personalities.com/infp-personality)
        If you haven’t taken it I highly suggest it. There’s an adaptation to the original test at https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test . I have a feeling many of us may have similar results. Let me know if you take it! I’m interested to see!

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  17. INTJ-T is my Myers-Briggs — I believe that everyone falls into some personality drawer – of course – and yes being diagnosed but realizing that there is a reason for some of the really bad traits, and trying to work on them I find now easier than just sitting back and putting it as – that’s my personality and end of story. To diagnose a seemingly normal person who just has ‘a few negative’ traits but otherwise manages life pretty good seems extremely hard to me and takes a lot of skill. I found there are so many positive side on Asperger that I can build on further and make me not wonder anymore WHY am I doing this or that, WHY am I so persistent on an issue, why do I have emotional breakdowns etc. etc. I like to have a reason for everything because this seems the only way for me to understand and go forward. I strongly believe that even ‘personality’ can be learned to some degree once one understood the underlying causes. Separating the good from the bad is step 1 for me since there is no reason to change the good, now I can focus on the bad much better and it helps me to go through every day. The worst part is having a partner who is not convinced just yet and expects too much in too short of time. It really bugs me that my first comment does not show – I had some good thoughts into it.

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    1. Sorry you lost your comment. But it’s good to hear your thoughts! I’m the same where I always like to have a reason for everything. I’m definitely going to do further research on this. Thank you again!

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  18. I am an adult women with Aspergers as well. I wrote my story of self-discovery, The Snow Queen’s Daughter in 2013, published by Bramble Books. I find that many items on the author’s schecklist are spot on especially, ‘retreats to other rooms’ at parties. I have tried repeatedly to have fun at parties, but just unable to do so. I also agree with the author that I never say “I have Asperger’s’ or “a person with autism.” I am an Aspie. I am autistic. Period. To say, “I have autism” implies that autism is a disease or defect which should be cured, ie. “I have a broken leg” or “I have influenza” You could mend the broken leg or treat the influenza and I would be the same person, only better, but if some how my autism were taken away, I would become someone totally different than me.

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