I've talked on here about Logan before. We know he's on the autism spectrum somewhere, we just don't know where. The more we learned about that world, the more we came to realize that our oldest probably has mild Aspberger's as well. Not bad enough to really need to *do* anything about it. Just enough that it puts a reason behind some of his quirkiness. (Like the fact that he has no idea how to hold a proper conversation, and will talk at you about something for hours, until you force him to stop.)
In order to help understand my boys better, and also just out of curiosity, I read the book "Look Me in the Eye" by John Robison. (It's a great read, and I highly recommend it for everyone.) However reading it, and about some of his experiences, thoughts and feelings, I found myself going "huh."
I then watched a video of him speaking, because in the book he talks about people with Aspberger's tending to have a certain rhythm to their speech, and again I thought "huh."
THEN, I started doing a lot of reading about adults with Aspberger's. About how they prefer to interact with people online, they have trouble making friends, they prefer to work alone, and that they tend to miss social cues. Another "huh."
Eventually, after some more research, I found the test a lot of doctors use to diagnose Aspberger's and Autism in adults. For the test, anything above a score of 32 is generally considered Aspberger's. I scored a 38.
I know that I don't have it "bad". I'm able to mask things pretty well when I have to. Then again, I've had lots of practice. Knowing this about myself isn't about having an excuse, it's more about finally finding out that I'm not just defective. There is a reason behind the struggles I have socially.
I do prefer online to real life. I get very nervous before things where there will be lots of people, like a party. I have a hard time making friends. Amongst the friends I do have, it is well known that I am *not* a hugger. I really don't like to be touched. It was a game in my family growing up, my mom and sister would catch me and squish me on the couch to make me have physical contact with them. There is also a whole gamut of sensory issues I have, (like loud noises, food textures, etc.) which I won't get into here.
One thing I've known about myself for a long time, is that I don't like looking people in the eye. It feels very overwhelming to me. When I have a conversation with someone, I have to physically and consciously make myself look them in the eye periodically, because I know that's what is "normal". I also have to work really hard to have a normal conversation. If I don't watch it, I tend to talk and talk and not listen to what the other person is saying. Another thing I have to consciously *make* myself do during conversation. Stop my own thoughts and focus on what the other person is talking about. At the risk of looking like an @ss, I'll admit it's like my brain doesn't care what the other person has to say. I have to force myself to care. It's not that I don't care about that person though, it's not that at all. I just have to work harder at making my brain see the value of what the other person is saying.
I also remember growing up, and even in my adult life, I have been labeled as "rude" when I ignore people. It was something so prevalent in my life, that I started telling people I met that if they pass me on the street or whatever, and wave, and I don't respond, it's because I really don't see them. When I am busy doing something, or thinking about something, I really. Don't. See them. It's not that I don't value that person, or don't want to talk to them, it's just like that part of my brain that notices people is shut off. So I tell people, if it happens, to get in my face, or touch my arm or something, to snap me out of it. I can be scary focused when I want to. Example-I was taking bird photos earlier. I can sit there with a camera for hours to get a shot I want, and it doesn't bother me at all.
There's times when I say something, that to me seems logical or funny, it causes silence in the room. There is that dreaded awkward pause, and I *never* know why. I can tell I've said something weird or not right, but I never can figure out what it is.
None of this really changes anything. I'm still me. It just is a comfort to me to find out after all these years, that things I have had trouble with my whole life aren't my fault. It's validation that I wasn't being this way on purpose. It's not that I am defective. It's just Aspberger's. And that makes my life make a heck of a lot more sense.