the polite yeti

KEYBOARD SMASHING GOOD TIMES TO BE HAD BY ALL.

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If you came for the alternative autism criteria, they are available here (revised version here).

Let's start at the very beginning /Do you have questions into the nature of the universe? Pose them here./ I can't.

1 of 6

So, according to your autism criteria, I think I have an ASD, but I don't know how to confirm this? Can you help? :/ I'm sorry to bother you!

@fallenspock

Nope, I can’t help you.

Posted 5 days ago With 1 note

I read your autism criteria and I think I might have a milder form of autism?? They really helped but my therapist refuses to believe me because I talk well with adults (sometimes) and look people in the eye. Am I just projecting or is my therapist being close minded?

@librarytree

I have literally no idea.

I get asks like this a lot, and I’m really unclear why—do people think I’m a professional of some kind who can magically diagnose them on the internet? I’m just an autistic person who wrote a list of what I think are (most of) the major, important parts of being autistic that are recognizeable to other people. It’s great that the list has generated such interest and support from the community, but I am not a clinical researcher or diagnostician. 

Maybe your therapist is right. Maybe you are. I don’t know you, and even if I did I couldn’t offer a pocket diagnosis guide. If you’re in the US there is probably a good autism diagnostic clinic within your state. If you happen to be in North Carolina, I can thoroughly reccomend TEACCH. If you end up doing more research than glancing at an unverified list some weirdo on the internet typed up and continue to think autism may be a good descriptive fit for you and your neurology, talk to someone qualified to diagnose you. I’ve had some shitty therapists and psychiatrists try to give me terrible, bullshit reasons why I “can’t” be autistic because of prejudices they hold about what developmental disorders have to look like. Maybe you’ll never find someone to diagnose you, or you’ll decide you don’t want that. Self-dx has its place. But reading a checklist and then asking a complete stranger for a diagnosis is not going to work.

Posted 2 weeks ago With 2 notes

Hi! I have a question about facial expressions & I hope it's okay if I ask. I'm visually impaired so I can't see faces well. Tried online tests but (A) I can zoom & the faces are super exaggerated or (B) I don't know the answer but there's options & when I read them I suddenly do. This isn't the only thing I relate to re autism but it was a pretty big one. What do you think? Does the fact that I can somehow figure them out negate everything else I relate to? Thank you.

@helena---x

Hi, I’m not sure if I’m the most qualified person to answer this, but I’ll give it a shot.

No person on the spectrum will have EVERY trait associated with the spectrum. A lot of traits associated with the spectrum can be paradoxical; for example, hyperlexia, dyslexia, and illiteracy are all associated with autism. So, sure, some of us may really struggle with reading body language or facial expressions, and that’s gotten fairly well known as an autism thing. But there are also plenty of people on the spectrum who don’t really struggle with these things—Kristina Chew’s son Charlie comes to mind. She’s not the only blogger and parent of an autistic kid who has commented that their child seems especially attuned to the mood in their home or school.

I think in a lot of cases it can also be a self-fulfilling sort of cycle: if I say I’m bad at reading facial expressions, I’m more likely to remember the times I messed up than all the times I didn’t. Also, expression and body language reading are skills and they can be learned. Autism may mean that it doesn’t come intuitively for a lot of us the way it might for allistic people, but it certainly doesn’t mean we’re incapable of learning!

So if you otherwise find that autism seems to describe your experiences, I don’t see why this should be a huge sticking point for anyone. What helped me learn about autsim the most was reading blogs by other people at various places on the spectrum, and blogs by parents of kids at various points on the spectrum as well (some of whom are spectrumy themselves!). If you’re not already, I’d highly reccomend reading Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, the autism and empathy blog, the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (it can be a little parent-centric, but overall I think it’s well intended), Kassiane Sibley, Julia Bascomb, and plenty of others. 

Posted 2 months ago With 8 notes

Revised alternative autism criteria

tiraspark:

politeyeti:

[snipped for length, post was the original and unedited aac]

So this shit is really really helpful for me to have and to explain what’s going on with my brain/life, but like, where is this from? It’d be helpful if I have a source (other than a tumblr blog haha) if I ever am able to bring it up to my brain lady.

It’s from my brain. I made it. The only source IS my tumblr blog (well, and my not-tumblr blog where I also posted it, alternatelexicon.com). Feel free to take them to your brain lady—at least a few people have, to my knowledge—but they are not scientifically validated (yet).

Posted 3 months ago With 625 notes

hedgehoglike:

This post is some personal observations I have made about people’s perceptions of The Autism Spectrum. When I refer to “people”, I don’t mean “all people”, I just mean the people I’ve encountered personally, whether in real life or talking to online.

When people first learn about autism, it’s because their new friend [be it a real person or a fictional character] has been described as “having autism”. These people, not really understanding what autism is yet, look at their friend’s characteristics and decide that all the traits they have are autism - that’s what autism is, it’s being like Sherlock, Abed Nadir, Einstein, that quiet kid in class, your friend’s nonverbal son. The stereotypes can be nice (look at all the aspergers characters in film, books and television, which paint most of them as eccentric, bad with people, but nevertheless geniuses) or they can be bad (like “Autism moms” complaining how difficult it is for THEM to raise their child… or Louis Theroux’ documentaries painting a bleak portrait of autism “sufferers”).

At this stage, the person learning about autism usually seems to think of it as a binary state… like a lightswitch. They’ll tell you you either HAVE AUTISM and are therefore exactly like the stereotype they’ve created (lights on) or you DON’T HAVE AUTISM because you’re not exactly like that stereotype (lights off).

If they’ve read up a little more, they might have seen the word “spectrum”. Now they have a more generalized view of autism. But they get the idea of “spectrum” wrong - they see it as a linear thing: a number-line, a scale, a dimmer switch or volume control, from Zero to Autistic — or from “low-functioning” to “high-functioning”. At that point they say silly things like “You’re very high-functioning!” or “No, but I mean like, the really really autistic kids, who, like, can’t do anything because they can’t talk”. They invent this linear relationship between a person’s verboseness and “how autistic they are”.

A lot of people seem to get stuck at this point, so I think the word “spectrum” requires some explanation.

When I see the word “spectrum” I immediately imagine a rainbow, or light being split from a prism. I’m sure most people do. And sure, the spectrum of colours is derived from the electromagnetic spectrum - we get different colours at different wavelengths - it’s a continuous range.

BUT- where does white light come from? White light is a combination of all those different wavelengths. You can create new colours by mixing different colours together. You can make colours brighter by adding a little bit of the other colours. You can mix the wavelengths together at different intensities. There’s a lot of ways of combining colours.

Which essentially what the autism spectrum REALLY is. Which is why labels like “high functioning” and “severely autistic” are dumb labels. Just because one autie excels at public speaking doesn’t make them unanimously “high functioning”. Conversely, I know of nonverbal auties who are masters of writing. To tell someone with a vibrant imagination, intense emotions, passionate interests and brilliant intellect that they’re “low-functioning” because they don’t vocalize their thoughts out loud is a massive insult. To refuse someone’s pleas of help because they’re “too high functioning” is also a shitty thing to do (I’m looking at you, ATOS).

There’s lots of ways in which we function, some of which are interdependent, others independent, and the levels vary wildly between autistic people, and they also vary wildly in non-autistic people too:

- Long-term memory

- Short-term memory

- Socializing

- Physical awareness

- Spatial awareness

- Vocal ability

- Verbal reasoning / ability to understand instructions

- Linguistic skills

- Mathematical and logical skills

- Executive function / Planning

- Ability to filter information

- Processing speed of sensory input

- Ability to focus / attention span

- Emotional self-awareness

[These might not be the exact distinct cognitive ‘functions’ as according to all the sciencey literature, this was verbatim]

I see my functions as a bar chart. In the version I drew it’s a prism splitting white light into the whole spectrum, but the different colours fade out at different places (and it’s a homage to Pink Floyd :p). That bar chart can vary throughout the day, be markedly different on different days, and is always changing over time.

In times of anxiety all the functionality unanimously drains out of me. In a nice chilled out environment it all comes trickling back.

When I’m in the zone doing something I enjoy, some of those rays of colour will be shooting off the image :D

(Note how there’s no lines on the image denoting the “average person“‘s ability towards a particular function, because this shit is nigh on impossible to quantify person-to-person. All you can do is compare yourself to yourself)

I think that’s more accurate than “low functioning” vs “high functioning” ??????????

Tumblr autistics

archgayngel:

madeofpatterns:

Some people say that the reason there are so many autistics on tumblr is that it’s somehow trendy or something.

But it’s actually that tumblr is cognitively accessible to some autistic people in ways that no other form of interaction is.

someone told me once (i think it was ray!!) that it’s basically this fantastic combination of echolalia (reblogging) and parallel interaction where you’re not required to interact with anyone but if you have people on your dash it’s like you’re not alone

so yeah, i’d say it can be fantastic

Tumblr is so much drastically easier for me to brains that I have effectively abandoned my original blog.

Posted 4 months ago With 679 notes

Tagged: #autism

Are you planning to write alternative autism criteria based on the new DSM-5?

@lechatelierite

Nope, the alternative criteria were written in direct response to the drafts of the DSM-5, and as far as I know nothing in their wording has changed. While I appreciate the simplicity they were aiming for, autism is a broad range of neurotypes and apparent symptoms, and I prefer a diagnostic tool that explicitly moves beyond stereotyped assumptions of what we behave like to the underlying experience of being autistic. There are lots of facets and most of us have some but not all. 

Also I made them up mostly for my own gratification. I’d love to have someone use them in a comparison study, especially with adults, but I don’t expect much more validation than I already have gotten. I’m glad they’re helpful to other people, especially people tentatively poking at self-dx.

Posted 6 months ago With 5 notes

clatterbane:

chavisory:

youneedacat:

mulder-are-you-suggesting:

One of the myths about autism that I wish would just die is the idea that, if you didn’t get diagnosed until adulthood, you therefore must seem really “normal” and/or have no real problems.

Yep.  I know many adult diagnosed people who were actually thought severely intellectually disabled as children, or who had no diagnosis, or who were diagnosed with a mental illness, but who had very very obvious things going on.  There’s not always any correlation at all between what age you were diagnosed and how “obvious” you were.  And there’s not always any correlation between how “obvious” you were and whether people noticed specifically that you looked autistic.  (Because that hinges on understanding what autism looks like, and on not having found other explanations for your behavior such that they remember their explanations and forget the behavior.)

Yes.  I saw a list recently—like within the last couple of years—of “red flag” signs that you need to get your kid screened for autism.

I had had a vast majority of them as a kid.  But no one knew what they meant.

And then I got assessed by a speech/language pathologist who didn’t feel the need to use any real criteria.

Bolding added, because exactly.

Yes! I get told all the time by well-meaning coworkers and such that I don’t “look autistic” but upon questioning it breaks down to “you don’t look like this eight year old nonverbal boy I know who only watches Sesame Street.” And I’m just like…yes. That is not what I look like. Now if I could get back to my hair stimming that would be awesome.

Posted 6 months ago With 111 notes

Tagged: #autism

mulder-are-you-suggesting:

I really hate when people blame an autistic person’s perfectionism on their autism, when autistic people are constantly being shamed and punished for not being able to do certain things, for not perfectly following the social rules, for not properly “passing” — and so forth. There *could* actually be something about autistic neurology that makes a person more likely to be a perfectionist. I don’t know. I haven’t read up on the research. But even if that were true, it really doesn’t help that autistic people are often treated as though they’re not trying hard enough when they’re not successful at something, that they’re just being lazy, that they don’t really have the difficulties they think they have. I mean, try *not* being a perfectionist when people treat you like that. And that’s the other thing: it’s bad enough that we get punished for failure, but if we worry too much about avoiding failure, well, that’s wrong, too.

Posted 6 months ago With 95 notes

Tagged: #autism

teddybruisevelt:

when someone actually asks you to infodump on a special interest and you’re so shocked you forget everything you ever knew about it

image

Posted 6 months ago With 69 notes

166
youneedacat:

karalianne:

neurosciencestuff:

A Deep Brain Disorder
An SDSU research team has discovered that autism in children affects not only social abilities, but also a broad range of sensory and motor skills.

A group of investigators from San Diego State University’s Brain Development Imaging Laboratory are shedding a new light on the effects of autism on the brain.
The team has identified that connectivity between the thalamus, a deep brain structure crucial for sensory and motor functions, and the cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer, is impaired in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Led by Aarti Nair, a student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, the study is the first of its kind, combining functional and anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine connections between the cerebral cortex and the thalamus.
Nair and Dr. Ralph-Axel Müller, an SDSU professor of psychology who was senior investigator of the study, examined more than 50 children, both with autism and without.
Brain communication
The thalamus is a crucial brain structure for many functions, such as vision, hearing, movement control and attention. In the children with autism, the pathways connecting the cerebral cortex and thalamus were found to be affected, indicating that these two parts of the brain do not communicate well with each other.
“This impaired connectivity suggests that autism is not simply a disorder of social and communicative abilities, but also affects a broad range of sensory and motor systems,” Müller said.
Disturbances in the development of both the structure and function of the thalamus may play a role in the emergence of social and communicative impairments, which are among the most prominent and distressing symptoms of autism.
While the findings reported in this study are novel, they are consistent with growing evidence on sensory and motor abnormalities in autism. They suggest that the diagnostic criteria for autism, which emphasize social and communicative impairment, may fail to consider the broad spectrum of problems children with autism experience.
The study was supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health and additional funding from Autism Speaks Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship. It was published in the June issue of the journal, BRAIN.


That was a really small sample. But the results are interesting and confirm things we’ve been saying for YEARS. Well, most people who aren’t invested in the purity of ABA. (I had a VB lead therapist - that’s Verbal Behaviour, which is supposedly more closely based on Skinner’s work than Lovaas’s was, but anyway - look me in the eye and tell me that sensory processing disorders aren’t real and they proved it in a study where they tested sensory integration techniques on a bunch of autistic children. I kid you not.)
So now, finally, some actual real physiological diagnostic things that can be checked, assuming this finding holds up across more and larger studies. I’d be interested in them testing the types of impairments and differences based on the type and location of the impaired connectivity. And then to see that tested in ADHD and the other disorders they’ve recently identified as being affected by the same cluster of genes. (I would totally be a subject for such research. I want brain scan images anyway, I think that stuff is so interesting.)
Not because it’ll lead to a cure (because I don’t think this particular research will) but because it will help us know sooner what kinds of impairments a person is likely to have, and that can help with teaching skills and coping mechanisms, and it might even help us understand why different things help different people in different ways.
In other words, I think this will pretty much cement the concept of “autisms” and “schizophrenias” because they’re probably different depending on where the connections have been messed up, but they present somewhat similarly so are grouped together as one thing instead of a bunch of different things.

Finally someone actually noticed what we’ve been saying for at least 30 years.
But schizophrenia isn’t even as much of a thing as autism is. It’s literally an explanation Bleuler came up with for a bunch of totally unrelated (like not even a little) neurological and psychiatric conditions that don’t have to have even a single thing in common. Autism has some of that going on too but not nearly as much.
Also many of what look like extreme differences among autistic people, aren’t actually. I’ll be curious how they begin explaining it to themselves once they start noticing that the people most similar to each other neurologically don’t necessarily look anything alike on the surface. Because the surface just means notice one or two superficial traits and ignore deep similarities or differences.
Can’t stand the amount of times people tell me I’m just like someone totally different from me or totally unlike someone who could be my brain doppelganger. I bet my and Anne’s brain structure is nearly identical but most people think we are totally different.

Someone should have pointed them at my diagnostic criteria list earlier. /snark

youneedacat:

karalianne:

neurosciencestuff:

A Deep Brain Disorder

An SDSU research team has discovered that autism in children affects not only social abilities, but also a broad range of sensory and motor skills.

A group of investigators from San Diego State University’s Brain Development Imaging Laboratory are shedding a new light on the effects of autism on the brain.

The team has identified that connectivity between the thalamus, a deep brain structure crucial for sensory and motor functions, and the cerebral cortex, the brain’s outer layer, is impaired in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Led by Aarti Nair, a student in the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, the study is the first of its kind, combining functional and anatomical magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine connections between the cerebral cortex and the thalamus.

Nair and Dr. Ralph-Axel Müller, an SDSU professor of psychology who was senior investigator of the study, examined more than 50 children, both with autism and without.

Brain communication

The thalamus is a crucial brain structure for many functions, such as vision, hearing, movement control and attention. In the children with autism, the pathways connecting the cerebral cortex and thalamus were found to be affected, indicating that these two parts of the brain do not communicate well with each other.

“This impaired connectivity suggests that autism is not simply a disorder of social and communicative abilities, but also affects a broad range of sensory and motor systems,” Müller said.

Disturbances in the development of both the structure and function of the thalamus may play a role in the emergence of social and communicative impairments, which are among the most prominent and distressing symptoms of autism.

While the findings reported in this study are novel, they are consistent with growing evidence on sensory and motor abnormalities in autism. They suggest that the diagnostic criteria for autism, which emphasize social and communicative impairment, may fail to consider the broad spectrum of problems children with autism experience.

The study was supported with funding from the National Institutes of Health and additional funding from Autism Speaks Dennis Weatherstone Predoctoral Fellowship. It was published in the June issue of the journal, BRAIN.

That was a really small sample. But the results are interesting and confirm things we’ve been saying for YEARS. Well, most people who aren’t invested in the purity of ABA. (I had a VB lead therapist - that’s Verbal Behaviour, which is supposedly more closely based on Skinner’s work than Lovaas’s was, but anyway - look me in the eye and tell me that sensory processing disorders aren’t real and they proved it in a study where they tested sensory integration techniques on a bunch of autistic children. I kid you not.)

So now, finally, some actual real physiological diagnostic things that can be checked, assuming this finding holds up across more and larger studies. I’d be interested in them testing the types of impairments and differences based on the type and location of the impaired connectivity. And then to see that tested in ADHD and the other disorders they’ve recently identified as being affected by the same cluster of genes. (I would totally be a subject for such research. I want brain scan images anyway, I think that stuff is so interesting.)

Not because it’ll lead to a cure (because I don’t think this particular research will) but because it will help us know sooner what kinds of impairments a person is likely to have, and that can help with teaching skills and coping mechanisms, and it might even help us understand why different things help different people in different ways.

In other words, I think this will pretty much cement the concept of “autisms” and “schizophrenias” because they’re probably different depending on where the connections have been messed up, but they present somewhat similarly so are grouped together as one thing instead of a bunch of different things.

Finally someone actually noticed what we’ve been saying for at least 30 years.

But schizophrenia isn’t even as much of a thing as autism is. It’s literally an explanation Bleuler came up with for a bunch of totally unrelated (like not even a little) neurological and psychiatric conditions that don’t have to have even a single thing in common. Autism has some of that going on too but not nearly as much.

Also many of what look like extreme differences among autistic people, aren’t actually. I’ll be curious how they begin explaining it to themselves once they start noticing that the people most similar to each other neurologically don’t necessarily look anything alike on the surface. Because the surface just means notice one or two superficial traits and ignore deep similarities or differences.

Can’t stand the amount of times people tell me I’m just like someone totally different from me or totally unlike someone who could be my brain doppelganger. I bet my and Anne’s brain structure is nearly identical but most people think we are totally different.

Someone should have pointed them at my diagnostic criteria list earlier. /snark

Tagged: #autism

crown-of-weeds:

hedgehoglike:

This post is some personal observations I have made about people’s perceptions of The Autism Spectrum. When I refer to “people”, I don’t mean “all people”, I just mean the people I’ve encountered personally, whether in real life or talking to online.

When people first learn about autism, it’s because their new friend [be it a real person or a fictional character] has been described as “having autism”. These people, not really understanding what autism is yet, look at their friend’s characteristics and decide that all the traits they have are autism - that’s what autism is, it’s being like Sherlock, Abed Nadir, Einstein, that quiet kid in class, your friend’s nonverbal son. The stereotypes can be nice (look at all the aspergers characters in film, books and television, which paint most of them as eccentric, bad with people, but nevertheless geniuses) or they can be bad (like “Autism moms” complaining how difficult it is for THEM to raise their child… or Louis Theroux’ documentaries painting a bleak portrait of autism “sufferers”).

At this stage, the person learning about autism usually seems to think of it as a binary state… like a lightswitch. They’ll tell you you either HAVE AUTISM and are therefore exactly like the stereotype they’ve created (lights on) or you DON’T HAVE AUTISM because you’re not exactly like that stereotype (lights off).

If they’ve read up a little more, they might have seen the word “spectrum”. Now they have a more generalized view of autism. But they get the idea of “spectrum” wrong - they see it as a linear thing: a number-line, a scale, a dimmer switch or volume control, from Zero to Autistic — or from “low-functioning” to “high-functioning”. At that point they say silly things like “You’re very high-functioning!” or “No, but I mean like, the really really autistic kids, who, like, can’t do anything because they can’t talk”. They invent this linear relationship between a person’s verboseness and “how autistic they are”.

A lot of people seem to get stuck at this point, so I think the word “spectrum” requires some explanation.

When I see the word “spectrum” I immediately imagine a rainbow, or light being split from a prism. I’m sure most people do. And sure, the spectrum of colours is derived from the electromagnetic spectrum - we get different colours at different wavelengths - it’s a continuous range.

BUT- where does white light come from? White light is a combination of all those different wavelengths. You can create new colours by mixing different colours together. You can make colours brighter by adding a little bit of the other colours. You can mix the wavelengths together at different intensities. There’s a lot of ways of combining colours.

Which essentially what the autism spectrum REALLY is. Which is why labels like “high functioning” and “severely autistic” are dumb labels. Just because one autie excels at public speaking doesn’t make them unanimously “high functioning”. Conversely, I know of nonverbal auties who are masters of writing. To tell someone with a vibrant imagination, intense emotions, passionate interests and brilliant intellect that they’re “low-functioning” because they don’t vocalize their thoughts out loud is a massive insult. To refuse someone’s pleas of help because they’re “too high functioning” is also a shitty thing to do (I’m looking at you, ATOS).

There’s lots of ways in which we function, some of which are interdependent, others independent, and the levels vary wildly between autistic people, and they also vary wildly in non-autistic people too:

- Long-term memory

- Short-term memory

- Socializing

- Physical awareness

- Spatial awareness

- Vocal ability

- Verbal reasoning / ability to understand instructions

- Linguistic skills

- Mathematical and logical skills

- Executive function / Planning

- Ability to filter information

- Processing speed of sensory input

- Ability to focus / attention span

- Emotional self-awareness

[These might not be the exact distinct cognitive ‘functions’ as according to all the sciencey literature, this was verbatim]

I see my functions as a bar chart. In the version I drew it’s a prism splitting white light into the whole spectrum, but the different colours fade out at different places (and it’s a homage to Pink Floyd :p). That bar chart can vary throughout the day, be markedly different on different days, and is always changing over time.

In times of anxiety all the functionality unanimously drains out of me. In a nice chilled out environment it all comes trickling back.

When I’m in the zone doing something I enjoy, some of those rays of colour will be shooting off the image :D

(Note how there’s no lines on the image denoting the “average person“‘s ability towards a particular function, because this shit is nigh on impossible to quantify person-to-person. All you can do is compare yourself to yourself)

I think that’s more accurate than “low functioning” vs “high functioning” ??????????

This is actually perfect.