Are you on the "autism spectrum"? And if so, what are your + and - skills?

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When I was in elementary school, for 1st through 3rd grade, I excelled in spelling, and actually was at the top of the class. Then I discovered science, and could not get enough of it. Spelling got absolutely none of my attention, and for some reason my aptitude for spelling fell by the way side, and I have never been very good at it since then. I excelled in science, and did very good in math. I remember one time about a month or a little more into the school year, and the teacher was teaching science and asked the class a question. Then she called on me to answer. I was reading a section in the last chapter of the book and only vaguely heard her ask the question, I was many chapters ahead of where the class was, and the class was still on a chapter towards the front of the book. I randomly opened the book to a front section so the teacher might not ketch on that I was not staying with the class if she got close to my seat, and stood up and asked her to please repeat the question. She did, and I gave her he correct answer, sat down, and went back to the section I was reading.

English class was, and is, to this day my absolute weak spot. The thing about breaking sentences down to different sections, with lines, and lines under lines, and how different parts fit together nouns, verbs, and the rest fit together is something I just can not do. Never could. Something about it just does not click.

When I was in high-school every student had to take an aptitude test. I got a 99+ on the mechanical reasoning section, and a 3 on the English and spelling section. When I got the scores I was upset because I wanted to know what I had missed on the mechanical reasoning section. So I asked the teacher who had given the test "what did I miss on the mechanical reasoning section?" And he said, "You do not understand. The score is your ranking compared to all the students in the country that took the test. A 100 score would mean you are the top rated student in all the country. So they do not give anyone a 100. A 99+ means you did not miss anything, and are among the top group of all the country."

I can design 3D objects in my mind, in detail, including each part that has to be made to make an entire project. And I can think of how a mechanical device can be made, and of the various way it can be built. And keep working on it for many days in the back of my mind. Sometimes an improvement will come to me while I am sleeping and I will wake and take note of the better way of making something.

Electronics is something I find interesting. And the different ways and abilities of different types of electronic components, that can be used to do different functions of sections of a total design is something I like to figure out. Just like some people like to do cross-word-puzzles. I like do design electronic circuits. Some circuits I have designed from scratch have used some components in way that get much more function from them than most people would normally get form them. This sometimes enables me to design something using fewer components than some other electronic designers would have used to make a circuit that performs the same function. And I have redesigned or improved designs other electronic engineers have made, and caught mistakes some have designed into a circuit, or caught problems where a component was not up to what was required of it to make a circuit work, or when an arrangement of components working together was causing a problem.

When I was in college taking an engineering required course in mechanical structural stress analysis the instructor strongly suggested I change my major from EE to Mechanical Engineering, because of how well I did in his class.

Besides English and spelling, some of the other weak points I have are facial recognition, and social interactions. I can work with an associate in a business setting very well on the mechanical and or electrical parts of getting a project moving along. But also if someone I have worked with on a project happens to see me outside the business setting several days later, I might not have a clue who they are. I care about people a lot, and will go out of my way to help out total strangers. But there is something that does not click in facial recognition until I really get to know a person. Only then after I know the details of the character of a person will I usually remember there face. And even then sometimes in a totally different setting, a persons face might not register with me. And sarcasm can be something I can sometimes miss. I too often take the meaning of what a person said to be exactly what they have said, even in the few times when they were using sarcasm.

I guess over all I am a fairly high functioning person on the autism scale. For the first 40 years of my life no one ever suggested that I might have autism. Then one of my brothers had a son who was having some serious social skill problems, and had to consult a specialist. That lead to the diagnosis of that boy having autism. He is not on the extreme end of the spectrum, but has more social skill problems than I. My brother and his wife studied what autism was and with the help of the professional they consulted, were able to school there son on things he can do to improve his social skills. But along with there new knowledge, my brother recognized that my deceased father, and I probably place somewhere on that autism scale, and informed me about that. He said that it often does run in a family, He suggested I read the book " Running With Scissors" which I then borrowed from the library and read.

In some ways my autistic mechanical and electronic reasoning skills are a blessing. I can think about something for a long time in great detail, and can design, and redesign over and over again making improvements each time before building something. Sometimes I reach a point where I finally have to build something before I can then continue to think about it and continue to improve its design. As the TV character Monk said " It's a Gift and a Curse. "

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So, is, are there anyone else out there in the BITOG community that places somewhere on the autism spectrum?

And if so, where do you place, such as what are your + and - skills?
 
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I'm not sure that comment was appropriate.

What's wrong with my comment? We obsess over something meaningless. Something clicked in me from the time I joined this site to today, I no longer have a desire to preserve my vehicle in pristine condition. I use it as it's designed to be and trade it in a couple years. I keep it nice, but I don't get a penny more over proper care vs. obsession.
 
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60 minutes had a story on the "autism spectrum" tonight. Pretty interesting.
 
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I can't read or write at all, I failed all of my reading classes but always passed my math class's with satisfactory grades. except geometry because it was in the morning.
 
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If you're a member of this site you're on the spectrum.

We rarely agree, but in this case I think you're absolutely right.

I was tested in my early adult years, and apparently qualify as having Aspergers. It wasn't a surprise to me. I've obsessed over things my whole life. I am a perfectionist, and can do math problems better in my head than I can on paper.

Spelling, sentence structure, and grammar, are more of a challenge.

I also think being "on the spectrum", is a lot more common than most people realize.
 
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My wife has mentioned I probably am on the spectrum, and/or have ADHD/ADD (she is diagnosed with ADD). I have many of the same “symptoms” as you; mechanically inclined, love electronics, terrible at social situations/reading facial expressions, science was my favorite subject in school, math was my least favorite though, I still count on my fingersbut I can do the trig required for being a machinist no problem… except I absolutely loved reading.

In 6th grade and forward we were required to take Lexile tests, which measures your reading level, I was reading at a college freshman/sophomore level. In high school I read a 7 book series (~130-200 pages per book) in 5 days, the librarian didn’t believe I was actually reading the books so she tested me on them before she’d let me check out another. After that she’s let me check out 4-5 books at a time so I didn’t have to keep going into the lib

My biggest problem is… motivation I guess you’d call it? If I don’t want to do/learn something, it is almost impossible to being myself to do it, and I wish I wasn’t like that but I don’t know how to bring myself out of that “this sucks, I’m not doing it” mentality. But if I want to do something, nothing else matters, that thing is getting done right now. That has caused some friction between my wife and I, she’ll say something and I’ll start looking it up immediately/go to find the object she’s looking for and she’ll be like “can’t it wait, we’re talking!” I’ve gotten better, but she says I’ll start “vibrating” because I need to know that piece of information/get the thing and it’s clearly bothering me lol.

My organization skills though… best described as “loosely controlled chaos.” I know where my stuff is, but to anybody else it looks like I just put it down and forgot about it. But please don’t move it even a foot because then it’s gone forever and I’ll spend 30 minutes looking for it.
 
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Maybe you are more likely to have what I have - dycalculia. I have some things that autism types have, but really it's a dyslexia/dycalculia thing - that being 3D visuals. I had an advanced reading and comprehension level when young, but seriously backwards in mathematical ability. Really, I only add, I add to subtract, add to multiply. I knew my times tables which was a big help...but these days I know 6x7 is 42, but don't know what 7x7 is, so add 7 to 42...on my fingers...and so on.

But it's the 3D images and ''movie in the head'' that sets us apart...and we tend to be in trades or physical jobs, not because we are stupid, but being able to mentally visualize the work we are doing. One of my daughters has it too, and she is a dressmaker...able to see the whole garment in her head, from all sides...at once.

So I'm not a BITOG type that will get into a panic because they have slightly overfill their car....but I will put the oil container on my desk, and read every single word and marking on it....and walk away with it in my head, it's all there, in 3D.
 
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English class was, and is, to this day my absolute weak spot.
If you know, what age did you start talking?

Have you been administered any autism-related diagnostic scales?

I also think being "on the spectrum", is a lot more common than most people realize.
You are probably right but the disparity between the help different functioning levels get, and the conflict between the high functioning ASD and the caregivers of the low functioning ASD is uncomfortably surprising.
 
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Over the years the spectrum itself has expanded and included traits which otherwise would NOT be considered Autism. Basically I consider the limits as being somewhat arbitrary. I addition I have always believed that highly functioning individuals exhibit some autistic-like traits. For example I think everyone is familiar with the concept of the "crazy scientist" or "crazy professor". Todays these individuals would probably be considered as falling somewhere near the periphery of the autism scale.

Elon Musk, and perhaps Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would fall somewhere along todays spectrum.
 
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My son tests on the spectrum. My mother says I was a lot like him. Am I on the spectrum? No idea. I have plenty of quirks but seem not to be held back by most of them.
 
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Thanks for taking the time to write all that up and tell your story Jim.

I don't know about an autism spectrum, but I experienced a complete "rewiring" of myself early in life that changed me.
I was born a leftie, but in grade school while we were learning to write in cursive I broke my left arm in a skateboarding accident.
The teacher would not let me just ride it out for 6 weeks and insisted I write with my right "correct" arm at the time.
This forced change created temporary dyslexia I recovered from, but somehow altered my skills sets forever.
 
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When we took standardized tests in school, I typically scored 99 percentile on everything except spatial mechanics. The test would have a 3d object drawing and then spin it on its axes and give us 4 multiple choice answers as to what the original shape. I had no idea. Very interesting how different brains work. I studied math and statistics and engineering in college and was very shy. I hate those things now and gravitate towards English literature and I'm not that shy anymore. Maybe it's my wife's coaching. Maybe it's part of life.

About 20 years ago I joined a group for big brain people thinking I might get along better socially with them but they were a lot more awkward socially than me with a lack of it or apathy. I at least try to fit in but am a big fan of absurdism philosophy which I've felt my whole life only fairly recently discovered it had a name. Curiously, I spend time on a website devoted to discussing the minutia of motor oil where my basic philosophy is it just doesn't matter.
 

JimPghPA

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We rarely agree, but in this case I think you're absolutely right.

I was tested in my early adult years, and apparently qualify as having Aspergers. It wasn't a surprise to me. I've obsessed over things my whole life. I am a perfectionist, and can do math problems better in my head than I can on paper.

Spelling, sentence structure, and grammar, are more of a challenge.

I also think being "on the spectrum", is a lot more common than most people realize.
Aspergers and another were what my nephew was diagnosed with. And Aspergers is what the book "Running with Scissors is about". Aspergers is what my brother said he now recognizes that my late father and I have. Though my brother does not have a degree in psychology, he is probably correct.

Actually I think many people who excel in mechanical or engineering aptitude probably are on the Aspergers spectrum to some extent.

There are many different skills that people can have a natural gift to be able to do very well in with less effort than average people have to use. Sometimes people who are even extremely gifted in one area are almost totally lacking in any ability in another area. And recognizing the reality of a persons skills and also area of lack of skills is not in any way trying to discriminate against anyone. It is recognizing where they can do good, and where they may need help.
 

JimPghPA

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If you know, what age did you start talking?

Have you been administered any autism-related diagnostic scales?


You are probably right but the disparity between the help different functioning levels get, and the conflict between the high functioning ASD and the caregivers of the low functioning ASD is uncomfortably surprising.
Regarding age of starting talking, I am told that I started at a normal age. But an interesting fact is that I never crawled. I had a cousin who lived near by me and our families would visit each other then. I was born on April 29, and he was born on July 4. He was crawling and I sat and watched everyone. Then one day I got up and walked and he was still crawling, though he was 2 months younger. I do not know what significance it is that I never crawled, but it is not normal.
 
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