Tag Archives: Stigma

Question?: Asperger Syndrome Causes

Mandy asks…

How difficult is it for someone who has Aspergers Syndrome to become a law enforcement officer?

My husband is a deputy sheriff and he was recently diagnosed (after many years of misdiagnosis) with Aspergers. I want to see how this will come in to play with his career

admin answers:

Interesting question.

It is important to note that Asperger is a syndrome and not a disease. In other words, it is used to describe a range of behaviours and it is not associated with any specific cause.

Without knowing where you live it is hard to say whether there is some stigma attached to a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome that would affect his career path. However, you could try using the diagnosis in your favour: individuals with Asperger Syndrome often have unusually excellent auditory and visual perception. Both of these skills would be a plus for a law enforcement officer.

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Question?: Schizophrenia Stories

Michael asks…

Schizophrenia?? need help…!! stories, anything…?

how does it affect the person living with the disorder?
how is the disorder best managed?

admin answers:

I’m not sz but hear voices,I also know many people that are sz.

It really depends on the severity of the symptoms. I know many people that live some what of a normal life. Many have had there symptoms go away for many years only to return later in life.

I know some people that are unable to handle day to day life and are hospitalized many times. I also know many that there meds work for them and are doing OK. Although meds can stop working and must be changed a lot.

Many of my friends have gone to collage, been married and have a family, now that doesn’t always work out.

I think that you must educate yourself and the people in your life. These people can see an episode coming on when the person with sz does not. You must keep in contact with your pdoc, eat healthy and find what works best for you.Therapy can help a great deal as it is hard for them to find people they can trust. Many of them live a very isolated life as mental illness has a very bad stigma. Also they have a lot of paranoia. Anyone who hears bad voices can somewhat relate to people that are sz. Some of the symptoms are the same. We try and teach new comers that our voices are liars and have no powers.

But dx at an early age you can learn best how to cope with it and most of them do much better. By the time they have had sz for many years they have learned to cope much better.

This is what I have learned in a suport group I’m in for people who hear voices. Many of these people are my main support and have educated me so much. I was so afraid to tell anyone that I heard voices because I thought since I heard them meant I was sz. Now I see things in a different light. I consider most of my friends in my suport group my very best friends.

Take care

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Question?: Autism Signs In Older Children

Michael asks…

How do you determine a learning disability?

Is it based on IQ and if so how is this tested if a child is non verbal. We are getting our official diagnosis of our son next week and know it will be severe autism and learning disability. We can choose to accept or not the diagnosis, I agree with the autism one but how can a learning disability diagnosis be secure in a 3.5 yr old if he doen’t speak.

admin answers:

Learning disabilities are generally broken down into four major categories including spoken language, written language, arithmetic, and reasoning. Because one cannot ‘see’ a learning disability, it is often called the ‘hidden disability.’ This makes assessment somewhat more difficult to determine and often leaves many individuals with learning disabilities to suffer in silence and isolation.

Learning disabilities typically originate in childhood and if identified early, parents and teachers can use various interventions to help the child cope with his or her disability. Some important signals that parents can look for that may be a sign of a learning disability include: difficulty understanding and/or following directions; poor memory; failure to master major milestones in scholastic development on time (i.e. Reading, math, writing) usually resulting in poor performance in school, problems with reversing letters and/or numbers, lack of hand-eye-movement coordination, and other behaviours that seem out of the ordinary when considering the child’s age and developmental stage.
It will be hard for you to consider the following but it is very important: forget about stigma; later you will need to claim DLA and Mobility; a diagnosis of Autism on its own won’t guarantee this but a double diagnosis will make it easier.
You will know your own child and any medical diagnosis will not change that but it may make life easier in the future.

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Question?: Schizophrenia

Nancy asks…

My friend has schizophrenia and I want to know if she will ever act violent ?

Are schizophrenia people easy to get along with? Do schizophrenia people take orders well? Are schizophrenia people easy to control? Do schizophrenia people laugh loudly in crazy way?

admin answers:

They usually don’t take orders well,actually. And why would you want to control anyone? That is downright evil.

Violence amongst schizophrenics is actually quite rare. Still, i wouldn’t do anything to provoke anyone,regardless. It’s just not nice.

There is a stigma attached to this illness and you seem to have been taken in by that. Your friend is still the same friend you had before you found out about this. Be there for her,talk with her about things,and be good to her.

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Question?: Autism Signs And Symptoms

Sandy asks…

Why are so many children being diagnosed with autism?

It may just be that I notice this because of my hightened awareness, especially since my 2 children are both on the spectrum. It seems like everyday I find out that another person I know has a child with autism, or someone contacts me for advice with their autistic child. Is this really as bad as it seems to me? Why is this an epidemic? What are your theories?

admin answers:

The diagnostic criteria were revised in 1994, allowing more children to be diagnosed. Most importantly, the Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis was created. People who were previously considered simply eccentric are now on the spectrum. Lower-functioning autistics are also more likely to be diagnosed. When Leo Kanner first described autism in the 1940s, he excluded children with other conditions (i.e. Mental retardation and epilepsy) in order to prove that autism was a distinct condition. Now we know that many low-functioning autistics have an intellectual disability, and that epilepsy is relatively common in people with ASDs.

There is also increased awareness, largely due to the Internet. Parents and schools are more likely to notice a child’s symptoms and recognize them as signs of autism. Professionals know more about autism than they did a few decades ago, and can make more accurate diagnoses. Many people are realizing that autism isn’t just a boys’ disorder, so more girls on the spectrum are receiving the correct diagnosis. Because of increased awareness, there is less stigma as well. More people are willing to take their child to be evaluated, and are more open about their child’s autism.

It’s not an epidemic and I don’t believe there are more people out there with autism. It’s just that more people are being *diagnosed* with autism due to criteria changes and awareness. In your situation, it’s very likely that you’re more aware of autistic kids around you. Plus, people may be more likely to discuss an autistic child with you, since you have two of your own.

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Question?: Treatment For Autism In Adults

Sandra asks…

Does anyone agree that our culture has become overly therapeutic?

It seems like these days everyone has some disorder or another. We’ve all got depression, anxiety problems, codependency issues, ADD, half of us are bipolar/unipolar what have you…

and apparently now every child needs ritalin and a steady supply of behavioral meds for their autism.

Doesn’t anyone else see that this is all just a ploy to make the pharmaceutical companies rich and richer?

admin answers:

I would define our society as overly diagnosed. In general, the stigma is still quite in place regarding admitting to and/or seeking treatment for mental health issues. As more people in the public eye “confess” to their bouts of depression, the overall negative view of depression has become slightly improved, yet also abused. I personally believe as we get further and futher from basic values and communication, the increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression are a natural result.
I think what frightens me the most is the alarming increase in childhood “psychiatric disorders.” To a certain extent children are supposed to have a shorter attention span. That is a skill that is acquired overtime (although I know many adults who have still not mastered this developmental skill). The medical field and the pharmaceutical companies must share some of the blame. Parents must also learn to advocate for their children, provide a healthy and nurturing environment and not, as some do, look for a “medicinal” quick fix for their children’s behaviors.

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Coming Out Autistic

So I am at BlogHer. And it is crazy and wonderful and overwhelming and fun and some of my favorite people are here and I have a lot to say about it and photos to post, but I have something rumbling around that I have to get out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my own autism at this conference. Partly because of my social and sensory issues, but also because autism is so central to what I write about.

When people meet you at BlogHer, they ask what you write about. I usually say, “I write a humor blog about autism and rodents,” partly because it’s true and partly because it’s funny to see people try to digest that information. I usually follow up with, “I have a son with autism.”

This year, however, when I’ve said that, it has felt less honest. This is because although I still identify most strongly as an autism parent, the truth is that I have Asperger’s and that is an important part of me. As I understand this new lens more and adjust to this new part of my identity, that identification will probably become more important to me.

Not mentioning it when it is pertinent seems dishonest and as if I am hiding a part of myself. Which I don’t want to do, both for me and as an example for Jack. I always say that my goal for Jack is to raise a proud, happy, autistic man and he can decide on the rest.

But I can’t expect him to be proud and open and full of love for every part of himself if I can’t lead by example and do the same. And part of that is being out.

I am out as having Asperger’s. I have disclosed that information here. But there is a big difference between writing about being autistic online and actually saying the words out loud to people in real life and accepting the judgments, stigma, and assumptions that might follow.

And, yes, a lot of the people who live in my computer also exist in my day-to-day real life world, but other than four or five people that I am closest to, I hadn’t yet said to someone’s face, “I am autistic.”

Yesterday I went to a BlogHer panel by Deb on the Rocks, Mocha Momma, and Faiqa who talked about the intersection of identity and issues in blogging, in their cases, largely gay, race, political, and Muslim issues. As they spoke of closets and responsibility and power, I thought about the way I feel about the autistic rights movement and how I see it as a civil rights issue and it all felt so parallel to what they were saying.

Then Deb said something along the lines of (and dear lord, I hope I’m not misrepresenting her), if there is an impulse to be closeted, we need to examine why that impulse is there.


I understand why some people would choose to not disclose their autism, but I think that if I can be out about it, if I can disclose it, don’t I have a responsibility to do so? On a micro scale for Jack and for me; on a macro scale, for all autistic people that fear identification?

I’m still figuring all this out. This is why I wrote about my diagnosis and haven’t touched it since. It’s a big identity change/addition/modification/retooling. Please bear with me over the coming months.

What I’m trying to say is that I feel as if not saying, “My son and I have autism,” when I am explaining why I write about autism feels disingenuous. Yes, I still own my status as an autism mom and I own it fucking proudly, but now there is more to it.

So this weekend, I started to tell people in person. I started to come out of the neurotypical closet (Or is it an autistic closet? I told you that I’m new at this.) And you know what? It didn’t hurt at all. Some people made the small talky comments that means they don’t much care, some people glossed over it, some people wanted to know more, and at least one person told me she is an Aspie too. Also, when I kinda freaked out over this sample of the core of a gel mattress, the lady at that Expo booth kind of gave me a weird look and then walked away from me.

(Also, one person congratulated me, which is, without a doubt, my favorite response to my diagnosis and has come almost solely from autistic people.)

It feels strange on my tongue to say it, but it will become more natural. And I know that all the feedback I get won’t be good, but at least it will be honest on my part.

So. If you see me walking around the world?

This is me. I write a humor blog about autism and rodents because I like to laugh, my son and I are autistic, and rodents are goddamn funny.

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