Are all INTPs on the autistic spectrum

Asperger's Syndrome: Living without recognizable emotions

People with Asperger's Syndrome live in an isolated world of island talents, surrounded by social interaction problems.

The diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome initially leaves the affected people and their relatives helpless. Somehow it was clear to everyone that something was "different". It then has a name and there is an explanation for a behavior that is often perceived as strange. But what does that mean for the future? What does life feel like with Asperger's Syndrome?

You can recognize Asperger's Syndrome by these symptoms

Asperger's is considered a mild form of autism and as pervasive developmental disorder (ICD-10: F84.5). While autism symptoms already become clear in the first months of life, Asperger's syndrome only becomes clear when the socialization phase occurs after the third year of life.

Children with Asperger's Syndrome are difficult or impossible to integrate into a social association such as a kindergarten group or school class. The children prefer to live in seclusion, to deal with their very specific interests alone. Some of them are gifted in this and pursue it with passion (Island talent), while they are difficult to inspire for other innovations or learning processes. The appearance of Asperger's Syndrome is characterized by a combination of several deficits in social communication and interaction, as well as difficulties in expressing and dealing with emotions.

Motor skills: Recognize abnormal body movements

When you think of autism, many have the actor Dustin Hoffman in the role of Raymond Babbitt in the film "Rain Man" in mind: Autism is not to be seen in peace and quiet. The disease is only recognized when there is excitement or fear: Autistic people fall into repetitive motion sequences, such as rocking the upper body or shaking hands with long up and down movements of the arms.

This as Mannerisms These patterns also occur in Asperger's syndrome. But while autistic people move inconspicuously in everyday life, people with Asperger's syndrome are noticed early on - as clumsy children who seem clumsy when doing sports and clumsy with everyday things. Since the children unconsciously avoid these movements, the symptom is often overlooked or recognized too late.

Social behavior: Asperger sufferers are considered eccentric

Autistic avoid eye contact. This also applies to Asperger's: A direct meeting of the pairs of eyes is avoided and "endured" for a few seconds at the most. For sufferers of Asperger's Syndrome, this kind of feels like non-verbal communication expresses uncomfortable at. Asperger's patients are not aware that this is perceived as strange or impolite by their fellow human beings. They lack the necessary empathy in dealing with one another socially. This extends to profound emotions: They are usually denied access to feelings of affection, both mental and physical.

They also find it difficult to grieve - not the feeling, but expressing it. They usually appear unassociated and cold. As a result, they are excluded from their environment and into the social isolation crowded, in which Asperger's sufferers usually even feel more comfortable. So they avoid it many everyday conflictsthat their behavior causes otherwise or after the emotional injuries that are felt Teasing in school up to mobbing in the workplace, each of which arises from the lack of understanding of the syndrome by their fellow human beings.

Identifying Asperger's Autism by Language

While early childhood autism is characterized by delayed and impaired language development, this phenomenon cannot be found in Asperger's syndrome. The language appears chosen to educated, the tone of voice always appears neutral and in the color of the voice rather monotonous and proportionless. So a joke would be told in the same way as a severe blow of fate.

Listening to someone with Asperger's disease is made even more difficult because they cannot orient themselves to their listeners and therefore speak too quickly or in tattered sentences. On the other hand, endless speeches can arise on favorite topics in which the Asperger's patient usually completely ignores the interest or disinterest of his counterpart. Asperger's sufferers lose themselves in their explanations in details, so that it becomes almost impossible for the listener to follow the main line of the narrative.

The linguistic abnormalities in Asperger's include:

  • abrupt change of subject
  • Failure to understand rhetorical means such as
    • Phrase
    • metaphor
    • rhetorical question
  • Inclination to abstruse word creations
  • frequent use of phrases that are rehearsed
  • spontaneous alternation between dialogue and self-talk
  • no access to linguistic stylistic devices such as irony or cynicism

Is there a bit of Asperger's in every nerd and collector?

Since living together with other people is associated with great difficulties for Asperger sufferers, they focus on hobbies that do not require contact with other people. They then pursue these passions to a much greater extent than others who are similarly enthusiastic. Thematically, their preferences are often scientific, for them rationally explainable areas like math, astronomy, computer science or physics or they develop Collecting passions for extraordinary things.

Recent studies indicate that one in three people with autism has an as Island talent designated, special ability in a certain subject area. Here, too, the cause appears to be the interconnections in the brain, which in Asperger's autism strongly impair the actually usual functions in social behavior or movement sequences, but on the other hand clearly strengthen a specific other talent.

This is how people with Asperger's Syndrome feel

Even the eponymous first person to describe the syndrome, Hans Asperger, distanced himself from the view that Asperger's sufferers have underdeveloped emotions. They tend to feel differentlyhe concluded. Since Asperger's cannot be cured, no direct comparison is possible, but people with Asperger's describe their emotional life very clearly: They have no access to complex emotional worlds that are essential for interpersonal contacts. However, they experience feelings such as anger, fear, sadness or happiness equally. Only they evaluate them more soberly and do not express their emotions in the widely used way.

With island talent to genius

Unlike most forms of autism, people with Asperger's are no less intelligent than the average person. Occasionally even special talents found at a young age that allow children with Asperger's to learn to read and write well before school age. They stand out through structured, analytical thinking, which allows them to perform particularly well in the natural sciences.

These skills that they have in their Island talent but cannot transfer them to other areas of responsibility. For example, an enthusiasm for mathematics cannot be developed arbitrarily for another natural science, even if its content involves a similar number of arithmetic tasks. For children with Asperger's and also later in adulthood, the ability to concentrate is always limited to certain areas of interest, so that, viewed as a single symptom, initially leads to the suspected diagnosis of AD (H) D.

Living with Asperger's: Rituals provide stability and security

In Asperger's syndrome, as in general with autism, it is usually not possible for those affected to differentiate between essential things and irrelevant information when it comes to information. The flood of information that cannot be distinguished in terms of its meaning quickly overwhelms those affected. That is why people with Asperger's plan their daily routine meticulously and work their way from one ritual to the next in order to cope with everyday situations and avoid surprises. If the milk is then unexpectedly empty in the morning, the whole concept of the daily routine shakes and plunges those affected into nervous states of excitement.

The causes of Asperger's Syndrome

Autism results from certain changes in the growth of the brain at an early stage of development. This has a particular influence on the number of nerve connections among each other (connectomes). In general with autism, these are reduced in certain areas of the brain, with the form of Asperger's autism, however, small areas are more often networked with one another than average.

Depending on the severity, this is initially only a predisposition for Asperger's syndrome. What ultimately triggers this form of autism is currently still being researched. However, it can be assumed that hereditary factors have a say in the decision-making process and the final triggers lie in the social environment of those affected.

Asperger's brains grow differently

Examining the brain in the womb is difficult. The healthy range of development of an embryonic brain is too large for unambiguous anatomical structures to be established in imaging processes that suggest the syndrome. However, the brains of children and adults with Asperger's show completely specific changes compared to the anatomy of the brain of a non-Asperger patient in the areas that are associated with the symptoms typical of Asperger, i.e. in the Brain regions for emotions and motor skills.

Gene diversity creates complex clinical pictures

Autism is inheritable. The cause lies in the combination of over 100 different genes at over 40 possible gene locations. This results in a huge number of possible combinations for these genes and at the same time explains why autism can show such a large spectrum in individual forms as Asperger's syndrome.

Neurology: Good Connections - Bad Connections

Since 2004, the investigation of the interconnections of nerve cells has moved more into the focus of scientists in autism research. Physicians at the University of Pittsburgh (USA) recognized that the flow of information in the brain of autistic people is inhibited. The cause seems to be that the nerves are not connected to each other to the usual extent, which leads to the impulses being conducted "more slowly" and the thought processes being hindered. This is called Sub-connectivity designated.

In people with Asperger's Syndrome, in addition to these connections with a lower line capacity, extremely fast connections can be determined that only extend to very small, specific areas in the brain, but allow a significantly higher flow of messages in these areas. According to the island talent theory, the scientists conclude that this over-connectivity does not result in an increase in the effectiveness of the thought processes, but allows specialization, i.e. leads to a very specific talent.

Diagnosis: Do not confuse Asperger's Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome is a specific form of autism. This profound developmental disorder is so complex that it cannot be easily squeezed into a diagnostic scheme. With each new edition of the disease classifications according to the ICD scheme, the formulations for diagnosing Asperger's are refined.

Definition of Asperger's Syndrome according to ICD-10

In order for a disorder from the autism group to be diagnosed, the following must be general Developmental Disorder Criteria present:

  • The first symptoms appear in early childhood.
  • The signs continue to increase with age, there are no phases with lighter symptoms or even a time without evidence of the disease.
  • Symptoms reflect developmental delays associated with biological aging and mental maturity.

Additional diagnostic criteria for Asperger's Syndrome are:

  • As in autism, social interaction, i.e. the establishment of an emotional connection such as friendship or even love or even the mere attempt to start a conversation, is strongly inhibited and sometimes impossible.
  • The interests of those affected are limited to a very specific, rather small area of ​​expertise. In it their activities are repeated like rituals. They show special talents in these areas.
  • In contrast to autism, with Asperger's syndrome there is no general developmental delay in those affected.
  • The linguistic and intellectual development is at the normal level, in some cases it can even be significantly higher (island talent).

Asperger's Syndrome in Adults

Adults with Asperger's Syndrome are often alive withdrawn and have few direct contacts outside of the immediate family. Acquaintances are often made over the Internet, so that those affected can find a partner despite their problems in social life. While in school the range of subjects in the various subjects increases Learning difficulties leads, the great career can beckon in professional life, as long as the respective island talent becomes a profession.

It is not known how many adults live with Asperger's Syndrome. Various studies show that the number of children affected is around 0.25 percent, depending on the study, and that boys are significantly more likely to be affected by Asperger's than girls in a ratio of 2: 1 to even 3: 1.

Because Asperger's Syndrome was just starting since 1943 is known as such and was rarely diagnosed in the decades thereafter, the exact number of adults with Asperger's is not known to this day. What is certain, however, is that Asperger's syndrome exists as a predisposition in the brain from birth, usually shows the first symptoms in the socialization phase in childhood and persists throughout life.

In rare cases, Asperger's is not diagnosed until adulthood. Although the predisposition to this already arises in the embryonic development, stable social and emotional conditions can suppress an outbreak of the mild form of autism in the long term. Radical changes in family structures such as a divorce or the loss of relatives, but also in professional life such as when taking on new tasks or even losing work, activate the predisposition and lead to the onset of Asperger's syndrome in adulthood.

Feel good in your own microcosm with Asperger

Adults with Asperger's tend to be withdrawn. They usually cannot cope with the different characters of their environment. Only if the other person ticks similarly, i.e. is also introverted and concentrates more on technical aspects of a common special interest, will they be recognized as soul mates. These people don't have to be autistic or have Asperger's Syndrome themselves. They are as "Nerds" or "Geeks" Denoted people whose interests and rather withdrawn manner create a self-chosen isolation that is similar in essence to autism, but is not neurologically conditioned, with which Asperger sufferers get along.

Which therapy is right for Asperger's?

Asperger's syndrome is incurable, as it develops during the embryonic development and invariably affects central brain structures. However, there are a number of symptomatic therapy options that can help those affected to live more easily with Asperger's in everyday life.

First of all: Diagnosed Asperger's Autism does not always have to be treated! If the symptoms are only mildly pronounced, Asperger's is recognized, but not considered a disease. If the affected person in his mild form of autism is pushed into the role of a patient, the symptoms increase. In this case, doctors and therapists advise accepting the occasional, mild symptoms and ignoring them as far as possible.

If the diagnosis Asperger's Syndrome is classified as worthy of treatment, the therapy can only concentrate on the management of the symptoms and the affected person through Everyday coaching and behavior therapy to make life easier. A logical understanding of feelings is built up here, since it cannot be grasped emotionally. Social skills such as conversational skills or gestures and facial expressions are trained and can then be called up and reproduced if necessary. The emotion is not modeled, but its meaning is recognized. People with Asperger's Syndrome are less likely to get into conflict situations and their quality of life increases.

Which drugs help against Asperger's autism?

There is no causal drug therapy for Asperger's Syndrome. Genetics cannot be changed retrospectively and the neuroanatomical changes that are responsible in the brain cannot be corrected surgically.

However, if Asperger's syndrome is accompanied by symptoms such as a hyperactive movement disorder, increased aggressiveness or, due to social conflicts, depressive episodes and sleep disorders, these can be treated with medication.