Diagnosis

Regardless of an “official” diagnosis, AANE is here to support you in your questions about your Asperger profile. That said, many people choose to seek a diagnosis from a professional for many reasons. This process can be confusing to anyone, as the designations can change from year to year, and there is on-going debate among professionals and non-professionals regarding the parameters of diagnosis. Some individuals go through their own exploration of self-diagnosis without official testing with a professional.

Know that diagnosis, by its very nature, describes broad generalizations. Here at AANE, regardless of your diagnosis, we recognize your unique experience as an individual.

Essential Resources:

Diagnosis in Adults
What is AS
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Asperger/Autism Disclosure Stories

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Adults with Autism and Asperger Syndrome share their stories about disclosing their condition to prospective employers and other concerned parties. For the Asperger/Autism Network Disclosure conference on Saturday, March 14,... more

In Our Own Words

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Adults with Asperger profiles talk about their experiences and... more

Parallel Play Book Talk

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Tim Page, author of Parallel Play, discusses growing up with Asperger Syndrome and making his way in the... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 4 of 4)

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Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 (This... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 1 of 4)

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Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 (This Video) Part 2 Part 3 Part... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 2 of 4)

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Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 Part 2 (This Video) Part 3 Part... more

Aspertools: The Practical Guide for Understanding and Embracing Asperger’s ASD & Neurodiversity

Webinar
Harold Reitman, MD, author of Aspertools discusses what it means to be... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: An Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 3 of 4)

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Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (This Video) Part... more

Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Second Edition

Recommended Reading
Author, Educator, Musician, Internationally acclaimed speaker and autistic adult offers so much more than the traditional autobiography. Drawing on personal and professional experience, Stephen Shore combines three voices to create a touching and, at the same time, highly informative book for... more

Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Recommended Reading
The future of our society depends on our understanding autism. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has... more

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s

Recommended Reading
Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had... more

Asperger’s and Self-Esteem: Hope Through Famous Role Models

Recommended Reading
Not every person with an Asperger profile is an Einstein--but it can be comforting and inspiring to know that Einstein, Mozart, Gregor Mendel, Mme. Curie, and others had some of the same struggles--and managed to make huge contributions to humankind.Learn More and... more

Living Sensationally

Recommended Reading
Winnie Dunn has worked with many people with Asperger profiles. Based on her deep understanding of how their sensory issues impact their experience and functioning, she offers strategies to creating more hospitable environments and practical solutions. The book is refreshingly concise, with handy... more

Developing Talents and Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism

Recommended Reading
The authors take an in-depth look at entrepreneurship. Using real-life examples, they point out that many of the unique characteristics of individuals on the autism spectrum that lend themselves well to entrepreneurial ventures. The book explores many unnoticed aspects of Vocational Rehabilitation... more

Asperger Profiles: Emotions and Empathy

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People with Asperger profiles absolutely do have feelings, although they may have difficulty identifying and discussing them. In fact, many feelings – such as fear, anger and joy – seem to be experienced more intensely by those with Asperger profiles than by average people. In addition, some individuals with Asperger profiles report that they... more

Asperger Profiles: Environmental Influences

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There is some suggestion that environmental factors play a part in influencing certain characteristics of Asperger profiles, or may even affect the expression of genes. The emerging field of epigenetics, the study of the ways in which physiology can be shaped by external factors, might shed more light on this topic moving forward. We do know that... more

Asperger Profiles: Cultural Influences

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We live in a rapidly changing society that can be more hospitable to some people than to others. The rate of social and cultural change in and of itself can be overwhelming to those who typically struggle with transitions. Many people with an Asperger profile can easily feel over-stimulated by lights, sounds, and textures. In an increasingly... more

Asperger Profiles: Genetics

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Nobody knows for sure what causes an Asperger profile. Current research indicates that there is a genetic foundation for this constellation of traits, involving a number of different genes. So it is not surprising that when a person receives an Asperger/ASD diagnosis, the family often realizes that many relatives also have exhibited... more

Asperger Profiles: Independent and Interdependent Living

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Some adults with Asperger profiles are able to lead completely independent lives; others need some assistance, particularly in the areas of housekeeping, money management, and meal preparation; and still others will require more substantial supports in their living arrangements. There is no reliable way to predict the level of support a child will... more

Asperger Profiles: Language and Communication

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Many people with Asperger profiles have complex vocabularies and sophisticated speech, but using language to communicate, also called pragmatics, is a different matter. The rules of everyday conversation that come intuitively to most people have to be actively learned by individuals with Asperger profiles. Difficulties arise in two spheres. First,... more

Married, with Asperger’s

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He’s finally trained! My husband of 26 years has scarcely completed a single one of my sentences all this year. Like most neurotypical people, Christopher has a tendency to want to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause. That is not helpful for me!I received my diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS) in 1994, shortly after the birth... more

Neurodiversity

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Diagnostic labels, by nature, define disorders and tend to ignore the strengths, gifts, and adaptive benefits of the individuals diagnosed. In contrast to this, the Asperger constellation of traits has more recently been described as the product of natural variations in human neurology that lead to differences in individual experiences,... more

Asperger Profiles: Common Characteristics

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As we look in detail at some strengths and challenges you might see in a person with an Asperger profile, keep in mind that people with these profiles are not all alike; they may differ from one another even more in respect to their areas of strength than in their areas of challenge.Possible Asperger StrengthsCommon Asperger... more

Asperger Profiles: Developmental Delays

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Every person with Asperger Syndrome is developmentally delayed, not intellectually, but at the social-emotional level. This delay can be significant; for example, a 21-year-old may seem socially and emotionally more like a 14-year-old. The social consequences of being developmentally delayed often become particularly conspicuous during the middle... more

Asperger Profiles: Successful Adults

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People with Asperger profiles can and are successful writers, doctors, artists, professors, scientists, therapists, and executives among many other careers. Because the diagnosis is relatively new, few living high-profile adults have disclosed their own Asperger diagnoses. Among those who have disclosed their diagnoses include comedian Dan Aykroyd... more

Seek Alternative Routes: AS at 75

Article
In the year 2002, when I was seventy-one years old, I read a book review in the Times Literary Supplement (London). The author of the biography under review speculated that his subject might have suffered from Asperger’s. I recognized that the symptoms enumerated also applied to me. After further research, it seemed intuitively obvious to me... more

Asperger Profiles: Prevalence

Article
No one knows how prevalent an Asperger profile is. Some professionals currently surmise that at least one in every 250 people has an Asperger profile. The statistics continue to shift. In the late 1990’s, the National Institute of Child Health and Mental Development estimated that 1 in 500 people had some form of AS. As the number of individuals... more

Asperger Profiles: Understanding Strengths and Challenges

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When parenting, teaching, befriending, treating, working alongside, or supervising someone with an Asperger profile:Consider both the person’s challenges and his or her strengths. Balance acceptance with teaching necessary skills. Strengths-based interventions foster hope, inspiration, and energy. People with Asperger profiles... more

Asperger Profiles: Mental Health

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Many children and adults with Asperger profiles experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health symptoms. An Asperger profile is a neurological difference, meaning that it influences the way that one perceives and processes information and experiences. Sometimes this can cause emotional and mental distress or sometimes a person with an... more

Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook

Recommended Reading
This practical manual will enable people diagnosed with AS and high functioning autism to deepen their understanding and appreciate their value as working individuals. Through step-by-step self assessment, the reader is encouraged to engage actively in a self paced exploration of their employment... more

Asperger Profiles: What We Know

Article
Because of the ways in which they tend to differ from the norm, many people with an Asperger profile report having been bullied and/or excluded from groups, both as children and as adults. This history of rejection can impact Asperger individuals’ ability to trust others; they might be more cautious and emotionally guarded around certain people... more

Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum

Recommended Reading
Edited by Stephen Shore, Ask and Tell aims to help autistic people effectively self-advocate in their pursuit of independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. Ask and Tell is unique by being the first book to speak to the twin issues of self-advocacy and disclosure for people on the... more

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
Girls with Asperger/Autism profiles are less frequently diagnosed than boys, and even once symptoms have been recognized, help is often not readily available. The image of coping well presented by AS females of any age can often mask difficulties, deficits, challenges, and loneliness. This is a... more

Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to…

Recommended Reading
At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains... more

The Story of One Aspie Woman

Article
Earlier this year, I hit rock bottom. As a 40-year old woman, a sobering reality caught up with me: so many of my peers had reached the traditional milestones of marriage, children, home buying, etc., none of which I had "achieved."  While I had previously embraced what I knew to be an unconventional life, I was suddenly seeing the steep prices I... more

Don’t Mourn for Us

Article
This article was published in the Autism Network International newsletter, Our Voice, Volume 1, Number 3, 1993. It is an outline of the presentation Jim gave at the 1993 International Conference on Autism in Toronto, and is addressed primarily to parents. Parents often report that learning their child is autistic was the most... more

Asperger Profiles: Is There a Cure?

Article
There is no cure for an Asperger profile as it is not a disease; in fact, many people are concerned that anyone would suggest that their essential nature should be “cured.” That said, many of the more challenging aspects of living with an Asperger profile can be reduced, and the positive attributes can be supported and nurtured. Over time,... more

Background of Asperger Syndrome/Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnoses

Article
Asperger Syndrome (AS) is a diagnostic term that officially came onto the professional scene in 1994 within the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) IV [and subsequently subsumed under the category Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the DSM 5]. AS is defined as a neurological condition, meaning that people who have AS are born with it, and have it... more

Asperger Profiles: The Big Picture – Strengths

Article
People with Asperger profiles present with a complex and at times perplexing combination of strengths and challenges.Asperger brains process some kinds of information better than the brains of neurotypical people. Dr. Hans Asperger (1906-1980) said: “It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential.” ... more

Asperger Profiles: The Big Picture-Challenges

Article
While respecting the abilities and humanity of people with Asperger profiles, one should not underestimate their struggles and suffering they might endure. A society designed for and dominated by the neurotypical majority can feel uncongenial and even overwhelming for a person with an Asperger... more

Living with an Asperger Profile for Adults

Article
For more than two decades, AANE staff have learned about the talents and struggles of adults with Asperger profiles. Working closely and talking extensively with adults with Asperger’s, ranging in age from 18 to 83, along with their parents, relatives, and spouses, we have together explored successful strategies for addressing the challenges of... more

Disability Aspects of Asperger Syndrome

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This article is a general review of the pertinence of social security disability benefits to impairments presenting limitations associated with Asperger Syndrome. The author, an administrative law judge for the office of hearings and appeals of the social security administration, submits this article in his private capacity, without official... more

Autism Spectrum and Mental Illness: Misdiagnosis or Co-Occurring Condition?

Article
On their way to receiving an Autism Spectrum diagnosis, many people find themselves labelled with a variety of other conditions. These may include, but are not limited to, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic... more

Asperger Profiles: Invisibility

Article
It is important to understand and respect that someone with perceptual differences might need support while navigating a social landscape and culture predominantly shaped by neurotypical influences; their challenges may not be obvious to others. The gap between intellectual ability and functional presentation complicates the Asperger experience... more