I wrote this in June 2009, about ten months fresh off the boat. I could tell I could get into a lot of trouble just writing this, not only with “NOT ALL DANES!!!”ers but also people who really struggle with autistic spectrum disorders, so I put it on my private blog.
You know what? Fuck it. If you are Danish and it doesn’t describe you, whoop de fucking doo. Go get yourself a cookie from the kitchen, you’re neurotypical. (But if in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king; are neurotypicals equally blessed in the kingdom of the spectrum? It’s a puzzler)
If you have Asperger’s and think I might be doing some cheap disablism, I have Asperger’s and the majority of my friends and family are on the spectrum. So, no. I’m not.
The Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome
- Not pick up on social cues and may lack inborn social skills, such as being able to read others’ body language, start or maintain a conversation, and take turns talking. CHECK
- Dislike any changes in routines. VERY CHECK
- Appear to lack empathy. VERY VERY CHECK
- Be unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech. Thus, your child may not understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally. Likewise, his or her speech may be flat and difficult to understand because it lacks tone, pitch, and accent. CHECK
- Have a formal style of speaking that is advanced for his or her age. For example, the child may use the word “beckon” instead of “call” or the word “return” instead of “come back.” NO
- Avoid eye contact or stare at others. CHECK
- Have unusual facial expressions or postures. NO.
- Be preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about. Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities, such as designing houses, drawing highly detailed scenes, or studying astronomy. They may show an unusual interest in certain topics such as snakes, names of stars, or dinosaurs.
Or “how well you are integrating”? CHECK
- Talk a lot, usually about a favorite subject. One-sided conversations are common. Internal thoughts are often verbalized. CHECK for the one-sided, also the “thinking out-loud” “direct” stuff.
- Have delayed motor development. Your child may be late in learning to use a fork or spoon, ride a bike, or catch a ball. He or she may have an awkward walk. Handwriting is often poor. VERY CHECK
- Have heightened sensitivity and become overstimulated by loud noises, lights, or strong tastes or textures. For more information about these symptoms, see sensory integration dysfunction. CHECK
And so you have it, Denmark has been diagnosed with ASD by me, a woman without a degree in psychology who has not met every single Danish person ever.
It is not all bad news though:
Asperger’s syndrome is a lifelong condition, although it tends to stabilize over time, and improvements are often seen. Adults usually obtain a better understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses. They are able to learn social skills and how to read others’ social cues. Many people with Asperger’s syndrome marry and have children.