The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale – Revised; comparing and explaining results in an attempt to understand

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – Feature photo by pexels

I took the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-revised at aspie tests, if you would like to take it just click the underlined text to get access to them.  You have to set up an account first but they haven’t spammed once and I’ve been a member for months, there are also many other tests to take.

Although this test is designed not to be taken solely but rather with a professional in a clinical setting, we don’t all have this privilege.  I do not believe we have the professionals available to take the test with me at different intervals in the relevant timescales, I was once told this was because they were understaffed.

Although this test is supposed to be done in a clinical setting that can be quite unsettling for me if I’m honest. Therefore this is likely impacting and influencing the results.  It is hard to diagnose me because my disabilities or disorders do not present definitive or easily observable symptoms.

I am 30 years old with my eldest being 10, I have learnt plenty through observant trial and error, although not enough in some retrospects but I’m still young and im forever changing.

I first took this test 3 months ago with an overall score of 172 on the 17th June 2018.  I retook it on the 17th September 2018 and scored an overall score of 161.  The threshold is 65 for being suspected of Autism, this result was 11 points less this time but 95 above the threshold.

Some of the phrasing in the words caused me to overthink the question plus it is quite complex trying to stay focused on the answer choices.  I came across this article from a fellow blogger who took the test back in 2012 where it was said the questions seem to be skewed more towards Social relatedness and male orientated.

There are 80 questions on the RAADS-R that cover 4 symptoms of Language, Social relatedness, sensory-motor, and circumscribed interests.  I intend to explain a little about the 4 categories coinciding with my past and present results representative of their relevant label.4

In language Junes result was 14 whilst Septembers 12 threshold 4, Social relatedness was 66.0 now 71.0 threshold 31.  The sensory/ motor in June was 56.0 now it is 50 threshold 16 whereas Circumscribed interest was 36.0 and is now 28.0 threshold 15

I’m beginning to believe many of us don’t care about there being a right and wrong answer, it’s becoming more about understanding

This test has been designed to accommodate the fact some adults who show a presentation of autism may no longer have symptoms, that were there in childhood but no longer present in adulthood and vice versa

Another brilliant point made in the article linked above was the phrasing of the words.  The words ‘always/never/only‘ were often used causing the test to take longer as these words were mulled over, I agree that ‘sometimes‘ or ‘most of the time‘ could have been more fitting

Language is just how human beings communicate either in written or spoken words depending on circumstance, system or style.  Some do have persistent problems with social communication and social interactions can be problematic

I’m forever having my tones picked apart in formal and informal settings  When I was younger I struggled with gestures or tones of voices but i have improved over the years.

Once upon a time I used to have a literal understanding of language and used to believe people meant what they said.  An example would be when my mother told me frogs give you warts, to stop me from bringing all the critters home.

This eventually did work when I got a wart and stopped bringing them home. Obviously, no truth behind my mother’s words that I genuinely believed, it was a coincidence. It was in my late twenties and I freaked about kids touching frogs that had my partner put me right in my thinking.

I learnt in many a harder way than that, to learn not to take everything at face value and not believe everything you hear.  In my younger days facial expressions, tones, jokes, and sarcasm were my nemesis.

I have had the privilege of watching 10 years in a girl blossom and have had nearly 4 with my little boy.  This journey has taught me to become more aware of what we allow our eyes to perceive.  I can understand a lot better than I express nowadays.

I used to have great difficulty understanding other peoples feelings and intentions, followed by knowing how to express how I feel about it.  When I’m overloaded I seek alone time, I don’t tend to seek it from others.

Too many occasions, I have appeared insensitive as I try to figure out the problem and how to rectify, fix or move on from.  This can then lead to opinions and views that I am behaving in a socially inappropriate way.

To have restricted and repetitive patterns of behavious, activities, and interests can mean preferring more of a routine or lack of change, liking the same thing.  It can be hard to take a different approach when you have been taught the right or certain way to do it, I prefer to prepare for the change in advance where possible but have learnt to adapt where possible.

You can be overly sensitive to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, lights, colours, and temperatures becoming unbearably loud or distracting creating fascinations, anxiety or even pain

Finding where to challenge your interest or focus when pursuing these can be fundamental to one’s wellbeing and happiness.

I have taken these test 3 months apart and still score really high.  I have learnt a lot and realise this test is based on accuracy so understanding it is important.  I am diagnosed ADHD officially but this journey is not finished

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding, and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

17th June 2018; immediate thoughts after taking the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale – revised (RAADS)

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo by pixabay

17th June 2018

The Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-revised (RAADS) my results

Just done the RAADS – can’t retake for 9.99 days as really liked words of certain questions, also had to rely on google explaining some words and meaning but got there. I now know the difference between empathy and sympathy written Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell

Simply put, empathy recognises someone else’s perspective, sympathy just the current drama. Also had to look into the word compassionate and answer honestly. I think I’ve learnt how to be compassionate but is not, my natural.

A question that really threw me was in relation to cuddles, I like a hug if I feel secure, they also make me feel safe given by the right person. I do not like it when it is just holding the person up, think it’s the pressure given in the cuddle, sure I was reading something linkable to this, the other month.

I couldn’t’ say that it wasn’t true because in a certain mood it seriously my space and I will go for the jugular if you impose on it. I do become frightened, anxious and lack serious control over emotions and bodily movements, don’t mind cuddles if wanted and by choice not forced.

Also when I was grieving my grandad, if I’m hearty crying I hate it don’t want to be touched, I’d do it in private, becoming physically and mentally drained. If their silent takes no energy at all, if I can internally hold them and ride out the storm, all is wee in the end, well so far.

Say something to me please because I’m beginning to give up on you, lyric from a song that influenced this next thought process. I never have enough time it appears, what truly is the priority, I’m guessing my clinical psychiatrist does not have the structure timed to dedicate to me I get that, her schedule is jam-packed so why don’t I use a skill that we both have in common. Writing.

I have been reading my clinical psychiatrists words from my medical records.  This has changed my focus. If I had access before I could have saved a lot of damage to my psychological health and not just my own, my children’s, partner and families.

Reading her words is the very reason why I’m writing my life story, why I am doing these Autistic tests, Why I am going to attempt a timeline then do what I do best, gather the information analyse and look at numerous perspectives, draw on a conclusion.

By doing this I hope to give my Clinical psychiatrist  some insight to allow her to be able to do her job, by being patient I will always get there, and as far as I’m aware from those that do stick, it is well worth the wait, let’s hope it’s true in this case

I had to find out what an “intimate relationship” was as there are so many dimensions and perspectives to the word intimate.  The article for this is Tuesday 3rd July 2018: When you put your trust in someone or something, in an intimate way

You feel sympathy when you feel sorry for someone, it is usually when something negative or bad has happened, that’s when you, sympathise with someone. It is a sense of sadness regarding the other’s unfortunate situation, eliciting unpleasant, uncomfortable feelings and an understanding of their struggle.

When you show empathy or empathise with someone or something you are relating to someone, in a way that you feel what they feel. The challenge is simulating it, a likeness within oneself whether you intentionally or naturally do it.

I hate the word pity and have always linked it with Sympathy as that’s the emotion showcased in the beholder of the emotions eyes.

Whenever my story is truly told I see pity in some, admiration and understanding in others. Just had a little fantasy thought I will share, sympathy could be linked to fiction, a drama; empathy could be linked to truth, looking for reality, not fantasy.

This is where I see a pattern, a chameleon that is me. I’ve spent so many years learning it in all walks of life to some degree, feeling rejected that I become the other or detach, differential bipolar type? Personality disorders? Autism? ADHD?

Whether you intentionally, taught or naturally do this is a different story but one thing I’m sure we can all agree…..

Humanity would be better off if we all took a little time, improving our own empathetic capabilities as it is a very usefully helpful, effectively practical skill.  Just be careful not to become to empathetic, losing yourself in the process

I really do walk in the shoes of those who wish, feel what they feel, think how they think, become the weakness to figure out the solution to strengthen, to fix, to learn, for deeper understanding, insight, and meaning.

Thus creating dynamics and dimension, becoming aware even when I don’t want to. I’m not saying this is what everyone should do, this is what I naturally do now that requires balancing.  Seems I go from one extreme to another, like a leaper, the misunderstood.

New insights and understandings in my journey through, psychological and neurological disorders 

When I first initially started writing and sketching out ideas I never new what the true purpose or intent was, just that it was helping me. How time has changed that, my compass constantly shifting seeking out its destination, has now turned into my own website/blog/group/page, a communication platform I was once told, wasn’t possible at the time.

I have always gave the impression I rebel against the label, or so myself and others have been led to believe, which is not entirely true. I just want more of an accurate or closer fitting one, given as wide a scope of the situation as possible for all parties involved or relevant to this exchange of information. 

This has led me down a very long complicated path, which more recently, seems to have been more focused and orientated around Autism, which has to change to widen my scope that may have become, too narrowed.  I know I am diagnosed ADHD so I need more understandings there, also my mental health is damaged through years of neglect and abuse, intentional or not.

Today (30th July 2018) I had an insightfully enlightening appointment for the second time with a very uniquely observant woman (a speech and language therapist I believe), who gave me hope and understanding in a time where I was struggling to find some.  Many a time I wonder why I pursue this crazy journey with so many closed and out of reach doors. I felt, and still do at times, like giving up time and time again on many a thing, during this journey with mental health and simply put, myself. I was kindly reminded the reason why I don’t give up, and glad to see someone else hasn’t given up on me either.

The Bermuda Triangle that I refer to at times, has now pinpointed and shaped a new angle….. the starting point me, pinballing between my neurological disorder and fixing, my mental health.

I have been in a constant battle trying to figure out autism, because it was the one that made the least sense to me at the time but at the same time like reading an autobiography.  I used to have a stigma view into the most complexity dynamic label of ASD. Professionals and others kept repeatedly mentioning it in different contexts.  Whether or not I have ASD/Asperger’s still hasn’t been answered and can’t be presently due to the state of my mental health, or so it would appear but yet I can be diagnosed ADHD. If what I am reading is correct you have to fit 5 of the criteria for ADHD, been present in childhood and impacting day to day living in adulthood (in a nutshell)

Something a few professionals seem to have concluded and agree upon, is whether I have ADHD which is what I am currently labelled at 30-years-old.  My attention and focus has been less sharp of late as I’ve been stuck in self-destructive tendencies, increasingly getting worse due to catastrophic ways of thinking, which I’ve done for as long as I can remember.  When I take meds for ADHD I seem to get stuck so to speak and can actually have more difficulty focusing, becoming more spacey.  It enables in some ways, whilst disabling in others.

I need to at least research and look into ADHD further in more depth and scope to see where I do, and do not fit statistically, immeasurably relevantly and  individually, in today’s, yesterday’s and tomorrows understandings and findings.

Until I repair some of the damage done, with the aid of others through time and therapy, the question in relation to Autism will be far to difficult to answer, due to far to many overlaps and similarities.  For many a reason I question if it is even possible to separate between ASD and ADHD, when it comes to myself and many others as I have been discovering?  I do believe however over time, whilst the experiences and traumas impacting my mental health are dealt with, I will have a clearer answer to that question.  Another thought is am I wasting my time, when the NHS system is so fractured and demandingly frustrating for myself and many others.

I find this an ironic frustrating cycle, until my disabilities are managed, I can’t work amongst others so am forever hiding behind my studies, therefore I cant afford private health care, so have to hope my mental health doesn’t deteriorate quicker than, the professionals time frames assigned, to myself. All over my medical records it is plain and clear to see how may months back dated the Community mental health team dealing with myself are.

What is even more obvious is how much the departments do not communicate and when they do, how tangled and confusingly misleading the information could be, and often is. What hope do I have when the staff are so overworked doing to many jobs they never signed up to do, (affecting their mental health and well-being) who by their own words admit the system doesn’t work.  Things have to change because I don’t want history repeating itself for my children, and if they do need help, they at least can have access to it in a less damaging and defragmenting way..

My daughter had a more challenging year, really obvious nearing the end of P5.  I met with her teacher to come up with a plan of action to get her resettled because, at this point she was requesting to have her table and chair moved out of the classroom, attitude and outlook on life was daunting to say the least.  Her reasons for doing this as she said ‘I will be able to concentrate on my work’.  My daughter is bright above her years in some subjects, extremely emotional but has difficulty with expressing and controlling the feelings.  She explained that her head and tummy became upsetting and sore whenever she put pen to paper, making her ill from the anxiety it is causing her.  Her solution as I said was to remove herself from the classroom.

After a couple of exchanges with her teacher, she looked into my daughter through two years of experiences, insights and understandings after teaching her for two years.  She was compared to the current criteria for both ASD and ADHD and she met them for both. Her intellectually insightful teacher even went for a second opinion as was shocked herself as not so obvious unless looked at more acutely.  Backing the argument girls tend to suffer in silence, their behaviours not necessarily replicating the common ‘norms’ criteria for certain disabilities.

When discussed with the doctor, or any other professional nothing has ever been done or looked into, the care very poor unfortunately, for whatever reason.  I have told this story because I believe it is relevant here in regards to myself, the opinions, insights, understandings of others and my current research.  Something flagging up consistently is the fact girls are severely skewed for the diagnosis of both Autism, and attention deficiency hyperactive disorder.  I plan to look up the criteria for ADHD and ASD, writing and documenting where I’m aware I fit and where I don’t, because I do not believe ADHD covers enough of my symptoms compared with ASD, given current knowledge and understanding

I once had the distorted view I had to prove I wasn’t abnormal and could fit societies version of the ‘norm’ just like everybody else, still do at times but I think the poker face has slipped there.  I’m beginning to see where life events, uneducated, the energy and resources used to play the chameleon had.  My clinical psychiatrist once said to me with such honesty and sincerity in her eyes and voice once, ‘I believe you struggle a lot more than we think’……..

I remember thinking if only you knew, or I even knew how to begin expressing or voicing.  At least in my head I can delude myself slightly but not once the words have been spoken aloud, that seems to change my perceptions

The cost for playing the chameleon intentionally or not, has been substantial to my mindset, personal development, confidence and self esteem.  More often than not it takes more of a personal resource trying to communicate at times, that suffering in silence is the best option, or leaving people to there assumptions and implications on matters.  I once was asked what the best option is, being a statue hiding my emotions lurking beneath the surface almost unreadable , or being an open book for the world to see, and I’m yet to decide which is the best option, time will tell. It is said women with ADHD tend to suffer in silence, developing strategies to try and hide there deficiencies and more often than not, the strategies make you feel ashamed and have low self esteem.

I never questioned or understood the diagnosis of ADHD fully, most research is on males and irrelevant at the time to my circumstances, or so I thought, given my understandings and abilities.  Over time I have learnt and seen many a different perceptions, events and personalities that have broadened how I once used to perceive certain labels or words. Now that I have more of an understanding, I think it is time to delve into, ADHD which is another controversial and debatable subject.

I want to see what others have discovered, and figure out where I fit amongst the words written, and where I do not.  I’m hoping that with the trio combination of what I have learnt through life, neurology and psychology so far, then writing my findings and what I learn in the future, presently on women diagnosed or suspected to have ADHD, it will allow me to understand what others are relating to, when referring to myself

From what I have been reading so far its a minority diagnosis amongst females, because most of the diagnosis’s of ASD and ADHD are given to males in the past, but I believe that is beginning to change.  There are many a theory and opinion on why these changes are coming to light, in today’s societies, but words repeated and recited a lot seem to focus on the fact,

The majority of studies were done on males in the past, but now more research, that has been done into women under the same and different light, both in psychology and neurology, are changing our once black, white and grey outlooks on life in every way to some extent or another.

ADHD and ADD are believed not to be gender biased as more research comes to the surface, now more female research has been undertaken, a spanner thrown into the works so to speak.  The stereotype once was that an ADHD diagnosis was given to hyper little boys, extended further to stigmas that the parents couldn’t control or discipline, the fault being theirs.  Nowadays it is almost as often seen in females, as it is for males but the way individuals present these symptoms, react, behave or think can be different, depending on past experiences and understandings

What I can relate to with my findings so far in ADHD is having difficulty shutting out noises and distraction, that don’t appear to bother others.  I pick up noises and smells that can be infuriatingly irritable which can be a trigger, depending how intuitive my mindset is or my way of thinking.  Some days I’m able to tune out or be distracted, other times it appears the harder I try the more it seems to affect, eventually causing me to revert into myself or spontaneously combust spurting out word vomit, as I lose control over what my outward emotions portray.

An example would be the noise made when someone eats with their mouth open, similar to when you mix a saucy bowl of pasta…..  There are certain pitches and noises that make my skin crawl, triggering and making me appear aggressive and giving off ample amounts of negative energy as I fail to hide my displeasure or how uncomfortable I am.  Usually if I can’t find away, I walk far away as possible or remove myself from the situation as best and as much as possible

As many can probably relate, time, money and everything in-between really seems to dominate my life, interfering and influencing my abilities to achieve my goals. Something I’m looking into is the difference between a melt down and a shut down. A question in a test for ADHD referred to the feeling of shutting down and that requests for just one more thing, can send you over the edge.  I seem to cope by always looking for things, researching, avoiding, looking back and catching up, or covering up the fact I’ve shut down in the first place.  This can have me avoiding people, life, internal and external influences becoming either a couch potato or  a tornado.

I don’t feel like my ideas are always better maybe once upon a time in my younger years possibly, I prefer the best most effective solution regardless of who has came up with it.

I’m actually good at organising and structuring tasks, but I can really struggle juggling it with my personal relationships and incorporating it into my daily life, self esteem and confidence play a big part there. I do go to bed with the intentions of being organised and motivated, but more often than not the next day arrives, ending in the ground hog feeling of deflation. I sometimes wonder if it’s possible to fulfil my potential  or meet my goals, more often than not because I have no control over the outcomes, I am reliant on people and their timescales, systems or procedures.  If this is referred to as despair…… I most definitely can relate.

I often feel as if I’m an imposter in my own body (internal prison), a shadow of my former self just trying to pass as normal.  As time passes though I become more and more fed-up, I’ve became sick and tired of the constant looping cycle that’s so self-destructive.  I’m forever just trying to cope to get through the day, trying and failing to stay organised, in control of my emotions as I struggle to communicate my feelings. There never seems to be time for relaxation, even when I try my efforts seem pointless.  I know there is help available out there that could substantially speed up my process, I still can not gain access to them though, in an efficiently and effective worth while way, because they are out of my control or not seen as needed under my current label.

What is the difference between mental health and Autism?

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo from my 2016 journal

It is thought to be believed, that mental illness is most common for people on the Autism Spectrum than in the general population, and is more often, overlooked.

My life has been filled with so many confusing questions, some answered, but the majority of the time, the answer doesn’t seem to fit when it comes to expressing or explaining me.  I remember my response when it was first ever verbally said, that I may be autistic, two and a half years ago.  That is the first time I had ever heard it, in that context directed towards myself, I was 28 years old.  Bearing in mind, I had already been thought to have, postnatal, PTSD, depression, then bipolar, and medicated for these.

I was also in the system since 12, many a professional trying to help to the point I had to go into care despite my parent’s best efforts.  All these people from all walks of life and job title, so many a professional with many an opinion, technique or medication. In my opinion they were and still are, relevant pieces in the puzzle that is me, the process of untangling, but still not allowing enough to balance my scales.  Linkable to the fact that ASD is something entirely separate but interchangeable from mental health, and I seem to fit to well in both, currently diagnosed ADHD, which is biologically more a male orientated diagnosis, were as mood disorders are more commonly diagnosed in women. (I am a minority it appears, still treated like the majority, no wonder damage control varies.

This has all happened in the time frame of 2016-2017-2018, but the reality is, it has been more than half my life, and all my life.  Sometimes I find it so ironic how people worry abound legalising cannabis.  There was a story I signed a petition for with regards to a young boys meds for his fits, containing a key ingredient found in a marijuana plant.  Unbelievable what that family and boy had to go through due to debates against facts and fiction, easy to go buy a pint or vodka though, turning many into nutters by choice.

Well believe me you, from personal experience, prescriptions, and tested medications, used for all sorts, can be, and has been for me personally, the most aiding and disabling trips I’ve ever had, in my entire life, unless educated or experienced, opinions influence, make sure it’s for the right reasons.  Everything has a side-effect, what works for one, may not for the other, the key is knowing your own internal balances to ensure your scales aren’t tipping. (equilibrium/balance).

Something I learnt back in 2016 when I was put on a mood stabiliser is, epileptic medications are used to treat some with bipolar.  One actually helped what I once described as the black cloud from suffocating me, but I was far to medicated to give a clear outlook.  Dramatic word choices I use at times I know, but verbally, words can fail me majorly and that was the only way, I could describe it.  Meds seem to work really different for me in many a way, also I’m extremely aware of my bodies internal chemical balance depending how inertly focused I am. (just don’t know the words sometimes or how to explain)

Further down the road of discovery, and also an opinion of a gentleman on our very first meeting, was once nicknamed my action man, and a woman I called the delicate flower (the hand over process when one nurse leaves for good), ADHD was my action man crisis nurses opinion, which I’m currently diagnosed, and finally, it appears for me and those I hold dear, we may finally be on the right path to answers more suitable or helpful, the unanswerable in some ways, Autism.  Autism I now believe given my understandings, is separate from my current diagnosis of ADHD (mental health)

I will never forget mine or those that are closest to me, first response or opinions to the thought of me being Autistic….. no chance, and that is putting it mildly, obviously influencing my way of thinking, and those around and relevant, to some regard.  The reason I thought this was because of the narrow-minded view and education I had on the subject, also what others, my entire life’s views have been, even professional.  I have no obvious physical deformities (there are and were some), but i am beginning to broaden my understanding through experience, just being me, and educating myself, I have learnt so much more.

Every time things go skewed, it’s usually due to interactions or input from people, other human beings. Maybe relationships is a more accurate word for this setting, and not just intimately, regardless of what shape and form, relationships seem to be the answer or word, making the most sense.  Looked at more acutely, people, linkable and compatible with emotions. Time and time again, I tell people my need, not my want, but my need for time to gather ones thoughts uninterrupted or influenced, unless chosen, never seems a possibility, just a pipe dream.   No doubt everyone can relate to some degree and beg for space, but it is fundamental to keep my mind healthy and functionable at points, or the aftershocks are defragmenting.

This has led me to the question, what does mental health look like in someone with Autism, given current knowledge.

My thought process is as such, if I can figure out what areas of my mental health is skewed and fix or enable them to be less problematic, maybe just maybe I can figure out what autistic traits are interfering and impacting on my life, in a negative way because there are many a positive.  My theory is, once this is figured out I can learn the abilities to counteract, making it easier to cope and get my life finally on the right track, where I may be currently disabled.

I feel so trapped and it is becoming more and more suffocating internally, eventually manifesting and spilling outwardly.  Always a similar pattern with similar outcomes, just slightly shifting and changing whilst I continue losing and winning battle after battle, will I ever win the war?? Or were the odds never in my favour?  No doubt more unanswerable questions with many a different view so I will move on from this way of thinking as the odds are in my favour, when I make them.

I wrote an article about self-hatred, anxiety and depression a time ago, now my research has taken me deeper into the questions asked or relevant to that first Article.  Roughly 40% of individuals who are autistic will suffer one anxiety disorder at any time, compared with the general populations statistical figures of 15%.  This can then influence and create sadness and depression.   Vulnerability and stress seem to be the key words popping up time and time again when finding the words to describe how I feel.

I have always given the impression I rebel against the label, or so I have been led to believe, which is not entirely true. I just want more of an accurate or closer fitting one, given as wide a scope of the situation as possible for all parties involved or relevant to this exchange of information, so I can get access to the help already available out there, but unreachable to myself and others, who could really do with it. This has led me down a very long complicated path, which at this present moment, seems to be more focused and orientated around Autism.

Leaving no other choice but to personally search for answers to questions such as where on the spectrum do I fit? What do the 4 categories results of the RAADS actually mean or tell ones-self and others? When do I start following the cookie trails in my medical records, or should I even do that? I can tell statistically and through research that this genre of writing seems to be needed, therefore I will continue to write what I discover on this journey, for all those interested, as I’m tired of hitting a brick wall due to time restraints, debates, negligence, my disabilities or disorders and my gender.

My way of processing data seems to be, naturally categorise everything, for deeper analysis and understanding. Knowing what is relevant and irrelevant is a complicated process all humanity relates to and stumbles upon daily.  They deal and react given their own unique coping mechanisms and abilities, accessible and relevant to the situation.  I appear to put labels/categories on everything to help me remember and to put relevance, where there was possibly none, depending on where they fit in my head given that days abilities.

“There are definitely things I will never be able to do, but, I can learn new abilities to contradict the disabilities.  I try to achieve this by creating better order, where I once may have been disorderly, to the best of my capabilities”

Every time questionnaires are pulled out I swear I internally implode and metaphorically poop my pants, depending on the setting, context, understanding on what I am actually being questioned for or, if I can even answer the question by paying enough attention where relevant, it has my hackles, guards, and walls shooting as high as possible.

Aggressive I’m told, but a more fitting word may be protection with enough cause for it to be my primary reaction. I’ve been on the receiving end for trio of decades repairing the damage, it is not for the faint hearted hence why I rely on my primal instincts to guide me, they have kept me alive since a young age, where people intentionally and unintentionally have failed.

Please remember it is my health in question here not yours, I am not just a label, category, or statistic, I am an individual pointing her voice out there in the only way I know how. All I ask is to please tread more carefully and have the support necessary for dealing with the landmines and implications you happened to stumble upon in my mind, without a second thought to damage control. Trust is a two-way thing, and it’s getting harder and harder to trust those, who continuously say one thing, but do a complete other, leaving disappointment and a lack of hope.

I was reading through the words I had to pay for, written by my clinical psychiatrist and she had asked me to write a time line, life story, keep a journal and we were supposed to do the RAADS but I had never understood that or had the time to recall the words.  I have created a free way for my clinical psychiatrist and any other professional aiding in dealing with my care, can have access to my words, understandings and insights, hopefully limiting lack of communication and confusion, resulting hopefully in effective results from the limited time slots available, for helping an individual..

Now however, I have completed one to the best of my ability available on another post which is better than nothing I suppose.  I apologise for the time delay, I always seem to be reflecting on what I miss, but I do get there in the end.

The overall score for yours truly, a 30 year old whose gender is female, in a long-term intimate relationship alongside being a mother to, a preschool boy and a tween girl, who given my knowledge and understanding meet autistic thresholds for Autism but back to their mothers score on the RAADS, of 171.  I will retake soon and see what the results are as I believe I have more understanding into the questions therefore the patterns will have changed, my compass shifted.

When I understand more of the words within the question, its relevance and what the results tell, or give insight into, for the clinician or those relevant, yourself included, I’ll post an article, but I stumbled upon this piece of writing below today.  I remember how lost I felt when I lost all ways to communicate, when my mind was that tangled and crammed full, it was reflected in every angle of communication, but most devastatingly so in the words I wrote, refusing to allow them a reality I went into a complete malfunction of sorts.

February 2018 (my skill returns to give comfort to oneself)

How to start!!! The ultimate question that has left so many pieces of paper blank, possibly writers block implemented in my brain for the past few years.  I miss it, my mum says its something I’ve always done is write it down.  When thinking back she is right, it is when I’m not getting what I’m wanting to say across verbally, I write.  I have not lost the skill, just the ability to use it in the short-term, even what I write is so below my normal skill set but I don’t care I want it back, therapeutic arguably and the more I do it, the more it improves, the better I can communicate as proven back in February 2018 with my GP, a  man I have struggled with emotionally over the years, butted heads with, but formed a genuine bond in which together, we can now laugh at the history in past memories over the years. 

I will never forget our first meeting end December 2012/January 2013. I had just moved to the land of the lost, after seeking refuge.  We had our appointment and his eyes unsettled me to the core near the end as they noticed things my poker face couldn’t hide, asked questions that no other doctor has, in the context he done it, maybe compassion is the word I’m looking for.  I clammed up so tight as his brain and eyes were far to observant and sharp, unsettling me and leaving me feeling vulnerably exposed.

I remember the phone conversation with my mum after where I described him as one of these hillbilly doctors, probably living in some cabin in the woods (not stereotyping something from the movies at all here!!) I’d just moved from the city to the country, I was used to the conveyor belt treatment).  His eyes unnerved me because they appeared to look as if they could see through my armour, past the chameleon that is me, as if he could look into my very soul, I left with my tail dangling between my legs.

He wanted to help, always has and regardless of the struggles, he always will if he is able, and that was why I cried out for help to him, as I was failing with everyone else.   I knew he would listen and try everything he could to help, I just had to communicate it right so that he could.  I feel honoured and privileged to of had him as my doctor, a pillar to the community and that’s not just my words, most sought-after doctor here, a credit to his profession and believe you me I’ve only met a handful like him over the years, I wouldn’t be where I am at the moment without his support, understanding and patience when my behaviour is less easily explained.

I have a plan, a focus, fixing my inner foundations and structure…. That’s if I don’t flat line on appearance and become trapped in an inner hell, looking for anything to clutch so I can come out the other side.  After my appointment back in February 2018 where I handed over words so raw and open to me, overwhelmed was an understatement, silent tears flowed, triggered by anything happened for hours, got stuck in my past, these words are found in the post defining a rebel is someone who does not fit the ‘norm’.  

Being around me can damage your own mental health when I am like this and verbally communicating, dissecting as my mind raced all because I managed to get the words down, someone took the time to read and I knew I had got across what I wanted to say.  At the time his answers gave so much relief and hope it was intense.  I wanted to hide, thought of hospital, hiding in my room in a pain no one should have to witness or be around.

Through time I became more high, metaphorically running around looking, listening reflecting on ways I could fight the dark fog threatening to suffocate me. I then became higher emotional instead of low, flat and deflated if that’s the right word, my mum understands my language and even though verbally to anyone else, they wouldn’t have understood, just left the conversation exhausted and confused, my mum managed and helped to change my perspective slightly. 

Best I can explain but to the next point, triggered from the change in perspective, ignorance can be bliss, but I no longer have that option, knowledge and understanding is what I’m lacking, so fix it.  I read mass amounts always have, but have stuck to more fantasy and supernatural, time to come out of fantasy and into reality no matter how badly I want to avoid it.  

What I’ve found on mental health has been exhausting, a point-less or more in some ways, so decided to start looking in to the one I refused to believe many a moon ago, ASD but resources are limited and time consuming.  I have found a book written so brilliantly, I have decided to read the whole thing in one setting.  Would have been done February 2018, would have been an all nightery as the first 50 pages had me so intrigued but I had promised to switch off, if there is such a thing, to try switch of. 

To date I have still not managed that book and to many tasks to list as far too much has clouded my focus, knocked it off or changed it entirely for that moment in time (mostly out of my control).  Unfortunately that bit of space with no influence has not been possible and I’ve exhausted the resource that is me yet again. When it does become a reality and space is not just a fantasy, I image I  will have already found most my answers and more, eventually they will become reflective, time frames are just to long though, that is something requiring immediate attention. 

My compass is forever shifting as I pass by, no matter how tiny or huge, always shifting to point me in the direction I need, want, or must be at that present time.

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

What are some of the sex differences influencing diagnosis for Autism?

source of writing www.naturalempathiser.com – feature photo Scottish Loch

Over the course of the past several years, there have been many studies done, creating a number of explosive and insightful discoveries, into the disorder Autism, especially for the Females.  More people have been able to observe how, why or even if, Autism presents differently in females.  A development becoming more openly welcomed rather than shunned, but there is a unique presentation of Autism in females, that is fundamental in helping better identify and treat, those who may have the disorder.

I am terrible with consistency out with my personal comfort and timescales, also I medically pop in and out on paper, for help due to all the labels, stigmas. Worst of all can come from those you put your trust in to help, their treatment can be the most damaging from those claiming, to only be trying to help. Unfortunate but true, sometimes your biased, stuck or uneducated view makes everything extremely more challenging, for all parties involved, especially the patient or clinician.  For me it can put me on the slippery slope of depression, because all the professional words continuously contradicting one another, leave me more confused at times, than when I started

These challenges are for a number of reasons because, not only are females just as diverse as any other groups of individuals with the disorder, but there is a more pressing matter I would like to stress.  I yet again keep hitting a metaphorical brick wall that makes it harder for me to gain access to the help I need, and that is because most autistic screening and diagnostic tools were developed and based, primarily on, observations and behaviours of boys.

I was reading an article by a clinician who was expressing her views and opinions that I happen to agree with.  That was in relation to specialist research and those closest to the individuals in questions, which was the matter at hand of, missing girls with symptoms who do not fit the “typical boys presentation”.  This brings me back to an article I previously wrote with regards to three tests added to the mix, one for the female, one for the male, and a combined more generalised one and see what that produces.  I very much would like a test more relevant to my sex plus a more generalised to give me the answer, it would be very much appreciated. PDA is one of the better questionnaires, especially with wording, that has not had me wanting to pull my hair out.  My next articles will include the different profiles, will include PDA, an area of personal interest I will be delving into.

Anyways this article written by the clinician, helped me to be able to, word, that as a female parent, by my own and many professional opinions, am in fact Autistic, but where I fit seems to be the time consuming and frustrating process, that is like pulling teeth out, the most mentally, invigorating, deteriorating experience I have ever been through, which believe me you, says a lot.  My children are raised by a self diagnosed ASD (awaiting diagnosis if relevant) but a clinically diagnosed ADHD female mum, they are not going to meet the levels of ‘norm’ for your criteria necessarily or to the T, I work really hard flipping their stuck mindset and helping them gain broader and greater understanding.

For that reason, I listen to what my children’s words and body tell me, that is why I listened to my tween’s teacher as she explained, my daughter met the criteria for both ASD and ADHD, she even went for a second opinion, but doctors dismissed it, hitting another brick wall.  Therefore with the 10 years of knowledge gathered between raising the two of them, 30 years of being me, and what others have learnt, written or communicated, I am beginning to find answers and better ways of doing things.  Not everyone has the ability to be a self-directed learner and it comes with its costs and sacrifices to.

My daughter is the double of me in so many ways its unbelievable, she see’s the world in the most amazing way, and like her mum can learn and excel at anything she puts her mind to, but her focus is language.  My 3 year old son appears as a mute in nursery at times, didn’t start communicating properly till 3 and really flags a lot of the criteria.  He took years longer with verbal speech but is a little mastermind, when your truly listening and watching, he has to be comfortable too, he’s a possible mathematical Wizz in the making.  So here are 3 possibly undiagnosed Autistic people, who are unreachable and unhealable by those who could, but simply unobtainable due to stigma and stereotyping.

That is why as a female parent, who by my own and many a professional opinion, am in fact autistic, and now that I am in touch with someone from the National Autistic society I might actually get somewhere with the diagnosis, hopefully one step closer to those that can give it.  Because of how easily dismissing the process can be, (I’ve been in it since 12) I’m scared to let my daughter walk in my footsteps and it isn’t right to be made to feel this way.  I have a feeling things are about to change though, for the better and maybe my trio can be helped

I started by looking and reading a little into biological science, which tells me I’m delving into a subject that is, extremely confrontational and debateable.  As a minority myself I agree and disagree with what is to follow but they are personal opinions, I’m not educated enough and have nowhere near enough information to say anything without a shadow of doubt, but I need to start somewhere.   This is just what I’m coming across on my personal journey for answers into where my cluster fits on the spectrum.

This is the beginning of research, delving into the mystical world that has become the  differences between males and females.  Something I see often happening, is sex differences put solely down to culture differences, but science suggests a biological difference between the male and female, in relation to the brain.  These differences are not absolute, have been generalised as the majority and tend to be skewed depending on ones sex.

I looked through a narrow scope into why males appear geared towards math, where as females language, why women are more emotional, how the sex’s feel pain differently, how males are more likely to suffer neurological disorders, where as women are more likely to suffer mood disorders.  The gender difference’s apparent before birth and, why it appears women handle stress better than men, and finally why we are led to believe males have weaker impulse control.  But what if you are a minority?

Changes are noticeably presentable from birth, but even before that, taken to the development stages when you are still in the womb, things are different.  Gender is determined immediately upon fertilisation, meaning the sperm is the only one that knows what sex it is going to be, and the egg only carries a stationary X.  The 23rd pair of chromosomes establish the sex of the baby.  So to illiterate more clearly, the female egg contains one X chromosome, whilst the male sperm carries either the X or Y chromosome.  Once they meet the egg becomes XX=Female and XY=Male, so in a nutshell

“The baby’s gender is known before it is even consider a foetus” during the first few weeks the external and internal genital structures are the same, but this is just the process within the development stages.

The foetus gonads will either become ovaries or testicles, the phallus either a clitoris or a penis, and finally the genital folds will become either Labia or scrotum, depending on whether or not testosterone is present, which in turn determines the “default sex” of either categories of male or female.  Remember the sex is determined by the males sperm , to the mystery of whether it is carrying either an X or a Y, because the egg holds only an X.

Intersex describes a variety of conditions, where the minority of individuals who are born with, a sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit typical presentations, of a male or female.  Examples would include a person born with genitals that are between the usual descriptions of, male and female parts, or, they could be born with both XX and XY chromosomes.

A way that has been described to try and help understand intersex, were words written to think of gender like the colour spectrum. As sex organs vary in shape size and dimension, of course it seems only common sense, that so would the sex chromosomes determining the default sex.  As these conditions are very rare, however, they do still exist.

“It is argued to be a humanistic way, of categorising people into gender categories, not the original way of nature”

As gender is determined upon fertilisation, at around the 16th to 18th week of pregnancy, the foetus produces a bud called a genital tuber, at the site of the genital.  By the end of the 20th week, the external sex organs should be fully formed for both the male, and female sex of the foetus. At around 26 weeks, the female foetus generally starts developing thicker corpus callosum, which is the part of the brain that connects the right and left hemispheres, than a male foetus.  This information helps explain why women tend to use both, whilst men tend to lean towards the left hemisphere, which leads me on to my next point, that might explain what you have just been reading.

I often hear people saying that he or she is not in their right mind, but if looked at in a biological sense, women are the ones more in their right mind the majority of the time.  I say this because men mostly use the left hemisphere, to process information, where as women are more skilled at using both hemispheres, as we see happens because of differences in the making, of males and females in the womb.  So there is an obvious difference between males and females, which would affect the workings of their mind, would it not?

“So in a literal sense women are the only one’s in their right mind.” but what about the minority of males who do not fit this notion?

It is believed women are more likely to suffer mood disorders, than Autism and ADHD, because male brains, synthesise serotonin, far more quickly than the female brain.  Obviously when looking into biological factors, it’s then placed into categories and researched for many a year, seeing patterns develop, so yes the majority of people fall into the criteria’s described, but now doors are opening for more insight and analysis into the minds of the minorities, who may be more alike to some once classed, part of  majority, than we once thought.

Standardised intelligence test show no statistically significant differences, between males and females. When looking at the brain we can see lots of differences, take the findings that suggest that genders tend to slightly lean towards, categories with regards to their abilities, in maths and language.  Males are said to have a larger inferior-parietal lobules (IPL), than females, which is an area of the brain that is thought to, influence mathematical abilities, which matures in boys about, 4 years earlier than girls?!

The frontal and Temporal areas of the cortex, are larger in females, and are thought to influence language, matured approximately 6 years earlier, than the males.  All these words I have written to date, are just me summarising my findings so far from what I’ve gathered, and this is a subject I do not specialise in, I’m learning for vast and varied reasons now. It is a very debateable subject obviously, because a minority or girls can be maths wizzes or vice versa, minority of boys can be language masterminds, that comes down to individual choices, opportunities and circumstances. Personally I excelled in all subjects at school just some more acutely, some of my most traumatic problem’s arose during high school, with social communication and interactions, where my biggest cost, was my education.  These are the years where I learned to become a chameleon the best, with some of my harshest lessons.

So, from that we see above the majority of males mature quicker mathematically, by approximately 4 years, and the majority of females mature 6 years earlier, than males in language.  There and always minorities and splinter groups, who do not fit where the majority of others do.  Take the way we feel pain, there are even differences there between males and females.  When men experience pain, they tend to activate their right amygdala, where as for women, they tend to activate their left amygdala, which leads us to believe, women feel more pain.

“The left amygdala is more closely associated with the ‘internal functions’, this is the reason behind why it is often thought and expressed, women experience more pain than men do”

According to biological science from where and what I’ve been reading, males are more likely to be dyslexic and autistic, than females, this is noticeably explained in the skewed differences in ratios, between males and Females.  It is also said, that males are more likely to experience Tourette’s  and ADHD.  Females appear to be found, and thought, to be more likely to suffer, mood disorders.  The reasons for this is because, females have larger hippocampus, and deeper limbic systems, than males.  Therefore allowing females to feel the full range and depths of the emotional spectrum, more so than males. Is that why this minority female, keeps getting caught up in the Bermuda triangle effect of, Autism, ADHD and bipolar?

I wonder what a visual image of my brain would give insight into for someone, me in particular.  Since someone once said to me I am like the human equivalence of the Rubik’s cube, it has kind of stuck in my mind since, because no one seems to have figured out the riddle that is me.  If someone specialising in neurology or psychology was to take an active, time-scale appropriate interest, into researching my brain, I wonder what findings would be discovered, as I’m already aware I’m a minority thinker.  Maybe one day that will be possible, but at the moment, it’s a fantasy, my reality is just words, opinions, views, theories and a lot of both reliable, and unreliably communicated evidence, and experiences, in the search for the answers, to my questions.

I’ve been reading that, when it comes to differences in intelligence, between the two sexes, there are more males than females that differ, and become more skewed on the results.  Male IQ has greater variance from one perspective, than the female IQ.  This is why females appear to be more clustered around the middle, where as the males occupy the extreme high and low end, of the intelligence scale.

Studies have shown that the majority of women, handle stress better than men.  Science shows that whilst both the male and female release the hormone oxytocin during stressful events, the difference is by combining oxytocin with the female estrogen, it produces a calming effect, whereas male testosterone only makes men more aggravated.

It is coming to a point in need to finish up writing this article, before I end up writing the never ending story, that never gets published.  I will stress, I am no expert, just someone currently going through the process of life, just like you.  If I’ve worded something that upsets or offends, I assure you that was, and will never be my intention.  I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my words, message me personally, shared and helped me on my feministic journey into the spectrum.  If you have a story that’s related please comment.


I personally am recieving extreme difficulty waiting, like many of my readers and those taken the time to message, just to see someone who can analyse and determine, whether or not i have autism before gaining access to, the help that is available.  I’m aware we do not have a vast number of people that specialise, but something does need to be done here to accomadate.  So the studies indicating it is more challenging for a female, undiagnosed in childhood, to obtain a diagnosis later, i fuly agree with, from first hand experience.  I am living proof this is the case, for getting access to the help already out there, that one requires, firstly you need the label that is the diagnosis.  I was suspected back in spring 2016, referred and awaiting specialist input, many a moon ago.  This week is the first time i have met with someone, who does specialise in an area i need help with, who looks like she can and will help, where she is able, she gave me hope, that things are changing, and that space may be possible.

www.naturalempathiser.com for more reading, understanding and depth

Further Reading

  1. My Feministic journey, into the spectrum
  2. Trip down Memory Lane
  3. Mirror-Mirror, Show me my true reflection
  4. My Journey through Mental health
  5. The words of Lilly falls Beautifully unfinished
  6. Welcome to the natural empathiser

 

My personal RAAD results done by yours truly, for insight

Source of writing www.naturalempathiser – feature image personally drawn

My Personal RAAD results

I recorded my initial thoughts after taking this test written on 17th June 2018; immediate thoughts after taking the Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale-revised (RAADS)

(RAADS) Mine 17/06/2018 Threshold Female

average (4644)

Male

average (5375

Language 14.0 4.0 12.9 11.6
Social Relatedness 66.0 31.0 75.7 71.8
Sensory/motor 56.0 16.0 42.1 34.9
Circumscribed interests 36.0 15.0 31.1 27.8
Total 172.0 65.0 161.8 146.1

“My life seems to be resembling the shape and dimension of a triangle, with three angles continuously shifting”

This requires watching for signs and how symptomatic I am, just to be aware of what energy, me or others are generating and how that influences and impacts one another in a negative, positive or balanced way.  It can become exhausting.

Since this is not the ‘norm’ I decided to take screening tests such as, well renowned autistic tests where definitions of words had to be found, because I didn’t truly understand the questions intent, purpose or meaning with the words used.

My first and major stumbling block was the difference between sympathy and empathy, which I truly believed I was naturally able to do, and there lay an answer I once never understood which is explained on Sunday 19th August 2018; Looking at heaven living through hell .

People can use the words empathy and sympathy differently, understand and express them incorrectly all the time, sometimes confusing the meaning with other words.  But what does it mean when you lack the ability to feel empathy and sympathy when you were younger but have learnt it differently through time?

I knew the real meaning which had got caught up, and tangledly confused by others descriptive words over the years. I am a constant natural empathiser which comes with its pro’s and con’s, Sympathy I view as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, playing the clown and becoming a chameleon.

I want to communicate my inner thoughts and questions in a written way, relevant to my timeline. I have no idea how to write a timeline request of my life, no idea where to start given social norms and influences of society, relevant to the timescales in question.

Times change non-stop regardless if we want them to or not, that is why we have to move with the times, where we were once uneducated, become educated and where we were once unable, re-enable or become able if possible.

Ignorance is an excuse, one necessary at times (but when is the key).

I do not believe it should ever be your primary resource in life, your just disabled then, (cowardly avoidant), becoming a part of the problem or creating new ones as your actions give the solution to old ones.

I have used writing and words my whole life, if no one gives them or gives the wrong ones, (myself included) I create or find the fitting ones to fully understand, given my capabilities in relation to the matter at hand.

I have been told over and over in too many different variations of wording to reiterate so I will stick to the message they were voicing.

Too much is too bright for some not all, know your audience but isn’t that a pickle, especially when the audience doesn’t even know themselves.

Do we need to turn our colours down if we are never physically aggressive or cause physical pain to anyone or thing, only enthusiastically expressive and passionate? Should you turn it down?

If so who, when, where, why or even how should one go about doing that??? Why do other people’s view and opinions have to matter if it causes negative internal complications within one’s mindset?

Why do we live in a society portrayed in some sense like a living breathing version on big brother? No matter how much we try to say we don’t, if that was the case then why does invasions or invites into privacy, continuously influence all levels of society.

It’s amazing how many thought processes can go through the mind in just one day. I’ve always been a thinker, I go far to in depth, analysing and dissect things until I have a broader perspective and understanding, which can create its own problems.

My teens were extreme, to say the least, I cringe at a lot of things I have done and wonder what was going through my head at the time. I have always said I don’t have regrets and what I mean by that is everything I have done and been through has made me who I am today.

I’ve always felt like I don’t fit anywhere even with my family, somewhat like the black sheep. The most recent episodes were triggered but my life is so calm now and has been for a while, that’s why I think it became more noticeable.

On my own, I would have gotten over it somehow as that’s the way it’s always been, but trying to keep those I’m attached too close whilst I was not thinking in my right mind, and doctors telling me it’s part of the process of postnatal, I’m on the mend just exhausted.

This did not fit or make sense to me, therefore, it sent me spiraling down a road that was so out of control, it was honestly the worst thing I have ever been through.  I will do everything I can to prevent that happening as I don’t know if I  can keep surviving it.

When I become unbalanced the fight for equilibrium can take its toll on my body physically, as I become trapped mentally where times ceases to exist.  The knock on effects appears predictably unpredictable.

When I look back now I can see how out of control I was then, but there was plenty of drama for me to feed off that was not my own to control, manage or fix.  Another piece to add to the puzzle

Why do women on the spectrum, fall short on some diagnostic tests?

Life can be alienating and challenging at times, especially if you’re driven primarily by both intellect and intelligence, head strong and far to independent in thinking at times.  If your someone who does not seem to fit the female, or any stereo type for that matter, and not so common at all as it would appear, a minority, life can have its more challenging complications in a sense. The more learning done through time seems to highlight, that personally, I don’t think in the common sense kind of way the majority do.

Many a time I have been asked question’s, answered and returned In kind, been given insights and returned them, have helped and been attempted to be helped, for more than half or all my life. In some proceptions and perceptions it hasn’t worked yet though, not in the ways it should, well that has and is my opinion as of late, after what I’ve been reading and learning.  This is yet another branch, and the reason behind the question, why do women fall short on the diagnostic tests for autism? (More acutely me).

A clinical psychiatrist once told me she would be very interested in reading my analysis and views on where I fit on the spectrum.  This is why I am going to be dedicating a separate section headered in my side bar on the Natural Empathiser, titled My Feministic journey into the spectrum, in a question based theme, in the order there done and published, A book Blog so to speak. To many questions needing answered in my head that keep bouncing off one another, needing an out let.

Questions along the lines of what are the statistical differences between diagnosing a male or female? Are the features harder to recognise? In what way do you consider something a repetitive behaviour or restricted interest? What does it mean to show signs or not? What signs would you like me to show you, me or the chameleon? When I show me I confuse, frustrate or simply annoy the person trying to get the answers, becoming disabled or appearing disorderly under certain lights.

Before going further I will give a brief outline of the journey being diagnosed autism entails, from my knowledge and understanding at this time over years of gathering and experience.  Hopefully getting my point across that the diagnosis can come with many terms and labels, as I have discovered.  Names associated with the spectrum include Autism, Autism spectrum disorder, (ASD) or condition (ASC), three types atypical/classic/Kanner autism, Asperger syndrome or pathological demand avoidance to name but a few.

There are constant changes, some more recent than others, being done to the main diagnostic manuals for the ‘autistic spectrum disorder’ (ASD), which is predicted and most likely to become, the most commonly given name when referencing someone diagnosed on the spectrum.  Obviously additional terms will be used for deeper understanding and analysis, but ASD is the one word it is categorised and generalised as, when describing the particular autism profile showcased by the individuals.

Another point to note is, someone diagnosed or symptomatic of the spectrum, may also have learning disabilities, mental health issues and other conditions separate to the diagnosis of ASD, which can and often does, complicate the diagnosis period. In my case the Bermuda triangle, ADHD, ASD and Bipolar type 2, the trio from the start of this journey that still seems quite accurately insightful, but needing further analysis from those qualified. I believe that for more consistent and linkable communication, for all parties involved, possibly lessening the confusion, can be obtained with more frequent periods of time spent with the individual in question.  In my current opinion, if possible, it would help or at the very least give more insight, into the individual whether autistic or not, or so one would think.

If the clinician or person assigned to aiding an individual lacks experience in autism, or other conditions/illnesses, they can make numerous assumptions that are incorrect, both informative and misleading, disabling and influential at times, and vice versa for the patient to the professional.  People or systems, whether consciously aware or ignorantly, that do not take the issues related to autism into account, are part of the problem that needs a solution through teachings and learnings.  The reason I say this, is because you could find your self stuck on the long road around, instead of cutting right through the middle, which can be a dissatisfying and detrimental cycle to become stuck upon.

For years I’ve had professional and unprofessional opinions telling me I am or am not this or the next thing, so who do you listen to when your own voice can be so confusingly frustrating at times, forever entwined with the voice of many? A wise woman pointed out that to much information can be a bad thing as well, but I argue against this to some degrees, it’s knowing what to do with the information in question that can lead to the most interesting discoveries.  Moving this piece, creating or uncovering a new piece to fit the gap,  manipulating and imposing the abilities to expose insights into seeing the bigger, more precise and clearer picture.  Words and how they are implemented paint a picture, body language paints another, and so forth.

Back to explaining the diagnostic manual and the one in question being referenced, being briefly described to give some insight for those interested. It is the tenth edition, which is the most current, for the International Classification of diseases, (ICD(10)).  Inside this book, which I am yet to find time to properly delve into, contains a number of autism profiles such as Asperger’s, under the Pervasive Developmental Disorder heading defined as,

recordable abnormalities in reciprocal and social interactions alongside patterns of communication.  Also restricted stereotyped repetitive patterns of interest and activities determining how they function in all relevant situations

There is a manual that is not most commonly used in the UK, it s the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical manual.  It is predicted to significantly influence the next edition of the  ICD which is used by many diagnosticians.  It has been recently updated so the diagnostic criteria are simplistically more clearer, and now includes sensory issues, which is where I score extremely high in comparison to the other criteria, followed closely with social and communication.

Here is where my interest spikes because if this is the case, it would be extremely useful to me, and I hope it does significantly influence the next edition of the ICD.  My reasons to support this statement are as follows. I am living proof of how detrimental these issues impact day-to-day living and because I do not have the diagnosis, I can not access the help and support to hopefully change that cycle, impacting my children and those attached.  It also includes support needs and other factors that impact on the diagnosis.  So what is the current criteria for being diagnosed with the official label of Autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

To get a full diagnosis instead of a partial if my knowledge is correct, you have to meet all 3 of the criteria for social communications and interactions, restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviours, activities or interests (including sensory behaviour) present from early childhood, that influences and impacts day-to-day living.  Also you have to be able to answer these questions which can be challenging if communication falls under your disability.

“Knowing where to draw the line is challenging for everyone and is at the end of the day, a choice influenced by vast and varied circumstances, situations or events, but a decision down to the individual.”

The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, documents the behaviour of the adult, when they were children.  I am a 30 year old female adult who’s gender is female, with at least average intelligence, by my own opinion and others. Without a shadow of a doubt, I would now agree and say, that it is in fact, an extremely challenging group of individuals to diagnose. It seems, where women are concerned anyways, the ones diagnosed have dramatic signs in one domain, usually communication or social interactions, and mild to moderate signs in the other two domains.  Whereas more commonly documented research highlights that the majority of males show more moderate signs across all three domains.

The reasons for looking into Autism started off personal, and still is to some extent but runs much deeper now, I don’t know if I would be this persistent if it only involved myself.  Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on perceptions and conscious knowledge and understanding ,when I’m looking into it I have three people in mind, a pre-schooler boy (3-5), tweeny girl (10-13) and a mature female adult (25+).  From what I am learning there seems to be a pattern developing, a focal point seems to be that women more commonly flag up for one criteria, where males more consistently flag up for all 3, this is not always the case though.  Even in the majorities of the minorities, you have splinter groups where they are outnumbered and often missed.

I keep hitting a brick wall where the population seems somewhat divided on their views with regards to sex differences.  I keep hearing quotes and references along the lines of;

“giving the scope of the study, surely if there are sex differences or whatever else they are bound to show up??”

Not necessarily because to me it seems common sense their are differenced between sex’s in some regard or another, taking further to difference in the individual.

The gap between differences in sex and individualism seems confusingly wide to myself and others at times, therefore I intend to look further into this when the time arises.  What I do know is that our body make-ups are different, grouped into the male and female sex at birth.  What stems from that is another story entirely, and one I am still at the baby stages of learning and understanding.

There are current consistent patterns developing over time and analysis in the majority, in relation to repetitive behaviours and restricted interest.  Studies that point to the possibility that both women and men present differently and would benefit from, diagnosis tools that take gender differenced into account.  Is that just me or is that yet not again common-sense to the process of finding answers for the individual?

My opinion is starting to lean toward the notion there should be questionnaire’s structured around these criteria’s and differences considered and implemented.  I’m never going to struggle getting an erection, I do not have a penis??? The medication is not effecting my man hood, or the questions are not relevant because you are aiming it at the wrong sex, therefore the question and questionnaire is a point-less and irrelevant in some shape to me, the individual in question.  Therefore it is just one point that gives credit to the argument, that it is mostly male orientated and research based at this present moment, that can change.

Are we beginning to blur the lines too much between individualism and sex differences, this remains a question pin balling around my head.  Both sex’s and those stemmed from it are stigma and stereotyped in some way, everything can be and is expected to dance to the steps orchestrated and choreographed by societies expectations and wants, from whichever and whatever group you may fall into, given the current timeline.

The ADI-R appears to highlight the possibilities caregivers and parents tend to recall, fewer repetitive behaviours during their childhood for women than men, which then trudges up more questions.  Am I caught up in the loop of researchers relying on the ADI (R) to diagnose me?  If so is that why even the partial diagnosis is so hard to obtain here in the UK for a female, the other diagnosis given beforehand fail in comparison on an emotional wellbeing level.

I thank my persistent, dog with a bone nature or I would probably still be stuck on the slippery slope of depression.  There is no fail safe guaranteeing I will not fall back onto it if all patterns and behaviours were so transparent.  I’m not saying that the ADI (R) isn’t one of the best ways for identifying those behaviours, I’m not saying it is either.  What I am saying is they are all relevant in highlighting different linkable, comparable and relevant information.  What is done from this information is down to the individual and those involved.

Leads me yet again to the thoughts that maybe, 3 test specifically designed and structured for a male, a female and both sex’s combined, as the root basis.  What would branch from there is something unknown and above my knowledge, understandings and education.   By adding 2 gender orientated questionnaires alongside the combined into the mix already there, might increase the likelihood of reaching more individuals.

Many women (men as well for the minority), do not receive a full diagnosis and are often misdiagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and social communications disorder, rather than autism.  The reason for this is because the individuals relevant to this statement do not meet the criteria with regards to their repetitive notions.  I’m forever shifting my compass, from one end of the spectrum to the other just trying to live.

As I have said there are so many different terms associated with the word diagnosis such as autism profiles, diagnostic manuals and tools, alongside varied research and quite commonly said, misdiagnosis.  Life affects everybody in multi-dimensional complex ways on many vast and varied levels of difficulty, depending on the individual.  Subjects I’m focusing on currently are language and cognitive development, emotional intelligence, motor development, avoidance to demands and expectations, anxiety, control and social demands.

One thing I can say that I am sure of,  all these questions both disable and enable, influencing and impacting the individuals involved, both the patient and the professionals.  More so the patient though who is there, probably in crisis but also a choice based on necessity, creating difficulties predictable and not, in obtaining clinical support and access to more useful and beneficial resources.

I for one am extremely clumsy at times, disastrous and end up quite bruised especially on my legs, is this possible dyspraxia. My body language and behaviour is unexplainable to some at times is this border-lining personality disorder. Depending on the current clinician aiding in the search for answers, experiences, insights and views impact what is transpired. Sometimes I am so switched on its intimidating for the majority of personality types, as my passion in what I am discussing or saying, can be mistaken and commonly misinterpreted as aggression, something I’m working on so I don’t retreat back under the rock, I’ve just managed to resurface from under.