Asperger's in-person description


Well-Known Member
Wow. Now I am convinced that may son does not have Asperger's. (For those of you who recall, I had him tested and the neuropsychologist said "no" very quickly. I trusted him about 95%, but still wondered what was causing these symptoms.)

My husband taught Sund. school today (I went for a 2-mi walk instead) and there was a kid in the class who would not participate. husband said he's been kicked out of the classroom at least twice for fighting and he just won't cooperate.

husband noticed that when the other teacher asked for oral responses, he wouldn't participate. Someone came up and touched his arm and he got angry and turned away. He never made eye contact with-anyone, and literally turned his shoulder to the class. husband said he seemed very angry and husband assumed he'd gotten into a fight with-his parents b4 attending the class.

Since the other teacher wasn't having any luck with-her 1-size-fits-all approach, husband gave the kid a piece of paper and crayons and told him to draw something. During that, there was a discussion going on, sort of like a lecture.

At the end, the teachers asked for responses. The kids, particularly the boys, were reluctant to respond. Finally, husband rephrased it and said, "What did you learn today that will change the way you do things tomorrow?"

He said the kid opened up like a flower, showed off his drawing, and repeated, verbatim, everything that was said during the talk. husband said he was very smart and that you would never have known that from the beginning. The kid was, in fact, the only one who was paying attention!

Turns out, the kid has Asperger's. Neither of the teachers knew that until afterward, but husband said there was clearly something wrong with-the kid; he hated being touched, (that's what the fights were about--he just lit off when someone touched him), and a diff. approach was needed.

I just wish that A) teachers, even Sun. school volunteers, be told what's going on with-the kid prior to class, and B) that all teaching adults learn to improvise when faced with-a kid who is different.

husband showed me how the kid turned away, and physically demonstrated to me how the kid moved and reacted. That really helped, because to this point, I've only known one kid with-Asperger's and he's 17 and highly trained, and other than that, I've only gotten my info from books and written materials. It's one thing to assume you know what the author means by "lack of eye contact," but it's something else to see it done in person. An ADHD kid is likely to have his eyes dart all around the room, and an Asperger's kid is more likely to look down and away. (And if they're both, it makes diagnosis that much harder!)

The best part about this is that, while husband isn't always on the same page at home, he remembered that I had difficult child tested for Asperger's and he knew enough about kids to change his approach to this very different child. And I think it will make him more attentive to our difficult child hereafter.

I don't go to church if I can help it, but this was a religious experience for me! :smile:


New Member
Terry: that's great information and great that your husband was able to try another approach that helped this more ways than one, I'm sure! Thanks for sharing.


Active Member
Hi! I would have him re-tested for Aspergers from a different psychiatrist. Here's why: My two boys have it but it manifested TOTALLY at different levels. While both test as super intelligent, difficult child 1 is belligerent, has adhd, defensive, spoke simple sentences at 9 mos., is possessive and difficult. difficult child 2 had a speech delay, didn't walk until 15 mos. happy go lucky, empathetic and is the world's best friend. So much so that if I give him angst for speaking to strangers, he introduces himself, asks the strangers name and then introduces me as if he's a friend for life. One was diagnosed with Aspergers and the other with a speech delay. Some people have the oppositional, little professor image in their heads and don't see the other aspects of the syndrome.

If your husband wants to get a good idea as to how to deal with this child academically, I found a WONDERFUL book that helps both teachers AND parents figure out various strategies. It's called Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments - Practical Solutions for Tangrums, Rage, and Meltdowns by Brenda Smith Myles and Jack Southwick. It gets a little involved, but from a strategy pespective, it really gives some great ideas to help coach teachers.

Our neurologist loved our story that helped put difficult child 2 into the Asperger catagory and really helps paint a picture of how their thought processes work.

difficult child 2 strips completely naked when he's going to, um, "stay in the bathroom longer than usual". In Pre-K, he was in the classroom lavatory for quite a while, the teacher knocked, he said "come in" and there he was, perched on the potty, naked as a jaybird with his socks on. The teacher was a touch surprised and asked "why are you sitting here with just your socks on?" and he looked at her like she was as dumb as a stick and said "because my feet are cold!!". No thought to the fact that it was kind of odd to be naked, just his feet were cold. She called me laughing her head off, and I have to admit it's quite a funny mental picture.


If you're not comfortable with your diagnosis, have it revisited. It could help with how things can be handled in your home. ODD and ADHD are frequent fliers with Aspie's so you might want to check!



Well-Known Member
Beth, I have the book by Tony Atwood. I'll show husband that in the meantime.
We're having difficult child tested for speech cognition at the local children's hospital. this Wed. (a referral from the neuropsychologist). His speech is fine, but the way he interprets things ... well ...

And after reading that link with-comparisons between bipolar and ADHD, well, sheesh, now I'm wondering about that again. As our child psychiatric and pediatrician keep saying, difficult child is so borderline/non-clear-cut on everything he just slips through every category.

LOL about the cold feet story!


Well-Known Member
I would re=test him too, but would go to a neuropsychologist, not a psychiatrist. NeuroPsychs do more intensive testing and have a better idea of what Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is, in my unfortunately broad experience. There is no one type of kid on the Spectrum. My son is friendly, will answer questions, will make eye contact and is liked at school, although he totally prefers to be without peers at home. He has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified. That kid sounds less functional than my kid--some kids get AS diagnosis. when they are really lower on the Spectrum, but they all have similar problems. My son also has no behavior problems. He is "strange" and "quirky" in ways I can't put down here or it would take all day, but he's another corner of the Spectrum and, in spite of being high functioning, probably won't be able to be 100% independent as an adult. He's smart enough, but his social and life skills are not important to him. He KNOWS them, but isn't interested in social norms, therefore if left alone he would never bathe or change his clothes and would probably do nothing except play at his obsessions (videogames/computers). In our Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) parent group we say that "the only thing you can say about these kids is that they are all different. Yet, in some ways, they are all the same." They ALL have serious social problems (don't know how to interact to maintain friendships), all have quirks and obsessions and almost have have been misdiagnosed. The most common misdiagnoses are ADHD and bipolar, and my son had both wrong diagnosis., ten medications, and I could kick myself. I *knew* he was on the Spectrum--I felt it--and I bowed to the professionals who insisted he had everything but. My son has really advanced since getting Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) interventions. His behavior has improved 95%. He is a happy teen, just "different." Good luck.

Mrs Smith

New Member
There's a saying among people on the spectrum that goes: "If you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism".


Well-Known Member
Wow, what an interesting bb! The aspies on there are so eloquent and some of the posts so poignant. I like the posts that say they wish that when they were kids, their parents had sent them to special socialization camps instead of regular camps. The ones about the parents fighting, or putting on airs in public--hey, that could be any kid's complaint.
The more I read, the more I think my son is not an aspie. He makes friends easily, although prefers to be introduced by someone else, such as a parent or teacher. He has many long term friends, i.e. school friends that he continues to see during the summer. He is a bit quirky and lousy at returning phone calls because he wants a concrete reason to call, such as a playdate, instead of just returning a call to chat.
He met a girl at sleepaway camp last month and asked her to the Fri. night dance. She was lifting her tray in the lunchroom and was about to drop it, and he caught it and then asked her to the dance. Pretty smooth for a 10-yr-old.
I realize that not all kids have the "accent," but he definitely speaks clearly and enunciates properly to the point where people comment on how well-spoken he is.
He doesn't like being touched first thing in the a.m, but once his Adderal has kicked in, he's fine. If he approaches you for a hug, then it's okay. But he has to initiate it. If he misses a dose, he is hyper, of course, but his physicality becomes even more pronounced, where he plays very roughly and almost craves hard physical contact--wrestling, hitting, tickling, etc., all while he's moving like the Tasmanian devil.
He's definitely got a few pages to himself in "The Out of Synch Child," in regard to sensory issues. He likes very hard squeezing and hugging.
He does not like spinning (we tried the spinning test for vestibular issues, and he said "stop" almost immediately).

At any rate, difficult child is improving, and does well on Adderal, and I try to take it one day at a time.



Well-Known Member
Hello Terry,

I agree with all the other comments, that you should have your son re-tested for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). What you describe above sounds very much like my older boy, who has Aspergers. For that matter, it also sounds very much like me. Although I'm on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum, it is not to the point that it's considered a clinical diagnosis.

Simon Baron-Cohen, a British autism expert, has done some very interesting research and has developed an AQ (Autism Quotient) test. Although results of such tests are not definitive by any means, it can point to specific areas of the spectrum with which your son may need additional support.

Best of luck,


Well-Known Member
Which parts, specifically, suggest that my son should be re-tested? What exactly am I looking for this time?


Well-Known Member
I think the other poster thought the boy in Sunday School was your son. It's not, but I still wouldn't rule it out just because your son isn't like him. Neither is mine. Many Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids make "ok" eye contact. Mine will, if he knows you and even if he doesn't, he won't look down. It's up to you, but if you ever suspected, you HAD a reason for it. Now if he actually is socially adept (not just makes friends but has give-and-take conversations with them and knows how to keep friends, and has a wide variety of interests, then I wouldn't worry about it. Also, if his life skills are good too. Anyways, whatever you decide, good luck.


Well-Known Member
Simon Baron-Cohen

Gosh, no luck ... the PDF files keep freezing up my system. I don't know what that's all about. I'll try later.


Well-Known Member
I think the other poster thought the boy in Sunday School was your son.

Now if he actually is socially adept (not just makes friends but has give-and-take conversations with them and knows how to keep friends,


and has a wide variety of interests,

Depends upon wide, but he's not obsessed with-any one thing except computer games, but everyone his age is like that.

Also, if his life skills are good too.

Life skills? Using the bathroom, eating, walking, homework? He's a cpl yrs behind developmentally but is catching up, with-a lot of tutoring.


Well-Known Member
To clarify, I didn't think that you meant that the Sunday School boy was your son.

Your description of your son...socially adept, able to maintain friends over the long term, quirky and lousy at returning calls, hyper sensitive to touch first thing in the morning, but settling down a bit as the day progresses...

These are the things that I was referring to. You could be describing me. Now I'm not all the way into full-blown autism, but I'm clearly on the spectrum. Your son may be in a similar situation...borderline something-or-other, but not showing a sufficient level to meet the clinical diagnosis.

Good luck, and keep trying. It took until I was in my 20s before someone actually pinned down what was going on with me. I agree that the neuropsychologist evaluation may tell you more than the psychiatrist.

Sorry for muddying the waters. I was in an all-day meeting at work today, reading and posting during the breaks, and my ability to string words together suffered mightily for it.

(And yes...the Simon Baron-Cohen pdfs are a bit difficult. I will check my archives, and post the links if I can track them down.)

All the best,


I used to refer to my son as having aspolaradd. He definitley has adhd but whether he is on the autism spectrum or the mood disorder spectrum or both, we don't know. I took him to the research hospital (JFK) in January where we received the diagnosis adhd and anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), separation and social. Now these things are probably part of a bigger picture but I don't know what it is. I do know that he shows signs of addiction (to food, since he was about 6) especially sugar. I suppose that's part of the adhd stuff. I wish we had clearcut answers but I'm learning that most of us don't.

Still searching for the right thing.



Active Member
Making friends easily doens't mean it can't be Asperger's. It depends on HOW he makes friends. Sometimes a direct, no-nonsense approach can seem refreshing which in fact it's simply lack of inhibition, lack of self-consciousness which often hold 'normal' kids back.

An Aspie kid is highly likely to find and befriend other Aspie kids - it's like some sort of mutual; recognition and hey presto! friends for life.

Aspies are intensely loyal with friends and very forgiving. yes, they can get angry, but do not want to lose their friends. If a 'friend' is using the friendship to cause trouble, an Aspie mightn't see it and will put up with far more than most people, rather than lose the friendship.

I see difficult child 3 walk up to a group of kids and start talking to them. If they talk back and are friendly, then by definition, they are now friends.

I've had to scold him about talking to strangers. He simply doesn't understand what strangers are - we have some people living in our street who are, frankly, a concern. Drunken parties, broken glass in the street, rev-heads doing wheelies burning rubber at 2 am - a worry. difficult child 3 was walking past that house and stopped to talk to them. They asked his name, he told them. He said they were no longer strangers because they knew his name.

I've seen difficult child 3 hassled and bullied by kids at school. One kid would regularly torment him and get him into trouble. A gang of boys would trip him up as he walked past. But to avoid getting into trouble when the teacher was called, the boys quickly worked out to say to difficult child 3, "I'm sorry I did that. I want to be your friend now. And friends don't tell on each other, do they?"
So difficult child 3 would refuse to tell the teacher who had tripped him. And later the same day - his 'friend' would hurt him again. And then immediately say, "I'm sorry. We're friends, aren't we?"

difficult child 3 could never 'get' it. And these kids got a lot of fun at his expense.

Similar story with difficult child 1. A lot of his friends are also Aspie, and also very loyal. They are now in their mid-20s, finished school years ago but still very close friends. Always in touch, always visiting each other. Sleepovers when the travelling ones are in town... and all incredibly immature, despite being very smart. They still play dress-ups!



Well-Known Member
Very interesting, Michele, Trinity and Marg.
My difficult child would never tolerate that consistent mis-use and abuse and teasing. There's one kid in his class he really likes but he's wary of him, because he's been kicked out of class on several occasions for "anger issues." He's never hurt difficult child but can disrupt the classroom. Whenever I offer to host 3 or 4 kids for a sleepover or movie, difficult child is very careful not to include this kid, but to invite him alone on different occasions. He says I wouldn't be able to handle it all! And he's right! LOL!

Incidentally, Trinity, the part about being sensitive to touch in the a.m. is also considered part of the bipolar diagnosis. FWIW.

I asked difficult child today if he wakes up ready to jump out of bed, full of energy, or if he is overly tired every day. (This, after reading a slew of info online about bipolar, ADHD, and Asperger's.) He said, "I only jump up right away if there's something really fun to do."

Well, that's 100% easy child. LOL!


Spork Queen
I have had the joy of teaching 2 Asperger's kids for the past 4 years. They are the most unique and loyal students. They are fortunate enough to go to a very small private school where they are widely accepted as they are, and have a lot of individual attention.

What I have learned from them (they have taught me more than any college course could) is that you have to be very specific in what you want. For example: When I greet them I say, " are you today?" Their typical response is, "Good."

After the first year of getting to know them I challenged them to come up with a different answer each day. They LOVED it. MY vocabulary has increased because of them.

I noticed that one of them has the need to doodle ALL the time, but is still quite capable of learning the material. I asked him to doodle me a cartoon of what we were learning. He does that daily now and I have a great visual book of my lessons!

I am not an expert by any means with Asperger's, but it appears that they are very task oriented. These two are highly intelligent, but don't get the social cues that other's do. It does not mean that cannot...they just need to be directed on what is socially 'normal.' It is a forced issue for them, but seem to really be happy to rise to the challenge.

On the parent side, I recommended the older child for the Eisenhower International Ambassordor program for this summer. This was a HUGE issue the parents who have constantly had to be there for their child and dreaded the thought of him by himself. End of long story...he went BY HIMSELF on a tour of six different countries this summer. :bravo:

Now comes the Asberger's - he would never tell me how much fun he had, but I had to specifically ask him how it was. I had to use specific terms such as: Did you have fun? What was fun? What exactly did you learn? Tell me one place you visited. Who did you like spending time with?

He would never volunteer this information, but when asked small pieces of time you could see his happiness. I was so thrilled for him to take this step, which was huge for all involved. I understand the need to protect kids with special needs, but sometimes you just need to let them fly.



Well-Known Member
There are big exceptions to what condition you wake up in. I have bipolar (and I'd rather have Aspergers, by the way--it's not even a contest) and I wake up at 5am and am ready to go. I annoy everyone with how well I wake up, but there is NO doubt I have a serious mood disorder, and always have had one. It had destroyed my life, made me increasingly suicidal and unable to stay out of trouble, until I was 35 and finally got on medications that helped me, and I have to take them for the rest of my life or I instantly drop. My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son, while not Aspergers, is pretty much on an even keel. Weird things bother him, such as abrupt changes, and he has trouble holding a conversation. An example of a conversation with LUcas may go like this:
Me: What did you do when you were at school?
Him: Nothing. I don't want to talk about it
Me: Did you have a bad day?
Him: No.
(You get the picture)
Another variation, when he gets talkative is this:
"Did you know that Super Mario Brothers has sixty four characters and was first made in 1994? And the next game is scheduled to come out on Dec. 2, 2007. That's a year and a month after the last one came out. Did you know that Mario has a sister...?" Blahl, blahl, blah--he talks about his obsession as a one-way monologue. He is also good at memorizing television shows by rote. At school, however, he is much beloved (and this is a PUBLIC school). He is very well liked probably because of his big heart and good nature. He is mostly mainstreamed and his teachers LOVE him (this is NOT an exaggeration). He is one of the sweetest people i've ever met, and I'm not just saying that because he's my son. He will not be capable, like some Aspies, of going to college, because his life skills are poor and he's a little behind in school, even though he has an IQ tested at 107. There are some things he doesn't "get." He doesn't have much of an imagination and is an extremely concrete, literal thinker. However, some Aspies are VERY creative! Higher functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) tends to become more of a problem as a child gets older, if he hasn't had the right interventions. It really is important to keep checking out a child who may have it. While some Aspies CAN and DO function without help (see Bill Gates) it is more common that they need help. This is a long thread, but I have to give one more example. My best friend has a thirty year old Aspie, who has an IQ of 160 and is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. But because of his rigid thinking, inability to think ouside the box, and incredible sense of fairness (coupled with lack of social skills), he has never been able to hold a job for more than six months. He is on Disability. He either gets hurt and quits his jobs or tells his bosses something about "fairness" or "unfairness" and it ticks them off, then he comes home and cries about being "worthless." This is a special, precious young man who is gifted, but doesn't 'get' social normals and cues. He was misdiagnosed for years with ADHD until age eighteen, then bipolar (two common misdx. for Aspergers). Now, at thirty, he knows he's an Aspie, but refuses all help and lives on Disability. He's married and the marriage is shaky. They are living in Low Income HOusing and she gets exasperated because he is content to watch television all day while she does everything else. There is NO one Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) person. But they all have lack of understanding social skills in common, and the vast majority of them need help in text book training social skills and usually also life skills. Only three out of one hundred ASDers can live 100% independent lives, but most can be pretty independent and the odds go up if the child is helped early. OK, vent I wish you and your son all the luck in the world and I'd see a Neuro-psychiatric. I may add that although I never can get an Aspie diagnosis., I have lots of soft neurological signs that point to it, but I'm "too social" so they simply say I have a non-verbal learning disability, which can be just as bad. Maybe your son has that. Have you ever looked it up? It has affected MY ability to hold jobs. Many times people have more than one thing going on.


Active Member
I was talking to easy child 2/difficult child 2 this evening as I drove her to college (on the way to difficult child 1's drama class). We were talking about how she's at last been given back her extra shifts at the store where she works as a checkout chick. For a kid with an IQ of 145, a checkout chick job is really not making the best use of her abilities, but she's finding ways to use her skills.

She had her shifts cut back because a senior (male) staff member reckoned she wasn't noticing and responding to customer needs. It may have been a misunderstanding, or it may have been her borderline Asperger's. But the shift organiser, when she finally realised there was skulduggery afoot to keep easy child 2/difficult child 2 on only two shifts a week, told the senior staff that she wanted to give more shifts to the staff with the highest accuracy in balancing up at the end of the day. And easy child 2/difficult child 2 is rarely out by even 5c (our smallest coin) - she is their most accurate operator.

We talked about this, from what I can work out she's carrying out a mental balance very time there is a transaction on her register. She's constantly assessing her coins and notes status in her head, to minimise the amount of work needing to be done at the end of the day; working to keep coin amounts down and notes amounts up. She keeps bills rolled in set amounts as soon as she can, all this while checking off groceries and operating her till.
And she wonders why the other girls don't do this too!

She's not QUITE an automatic calculator, but she's getting close. She has difficulty recognising customer faces or distinguishing between them, but she's finding ways to get the job done, and done well.

An amazing young lady. Very good with people, makes friends easily (too easily, sometimes) and although she can see through it when someone is being nasty to her, she is still very generous and forgiving about it. She WILL walk away, however, from someone who is abusing her trust. No second chances. She used to give too many chances but got badly burned when she was 12, by a 'best friend' who had a lot of problems. Lacks confidence at times, especially in new situations.

All these kids are so different, and yet when you sit down and analyse it, you can see the similarities.

I can't speak about bipolar, I have very little experience. I do not know of any children in Australia who have been diagnosed with it. In fact, I know very few adults diagnosed with it. I've met sociopaths, psychopaths, people with various mental illnesses from schizoaffective disorder to Munchhausen's to depression, but bipolar is simply outside my experience.