Thoughts and illustrations on living with Asperger's Syndrome.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dude, I'm An Aspie!

Thoughts and illustrations on living with Asperger’s syndrome

My name is Matt and I have Asperger’s syndrome. What’s that mean, you ask? Well, you’re in luck, cause I’ve made this helpful guide!
Asperger’s is part of the autism spectrum. It has many characteristics, but generally we have difficulty knowing what someone is thinking, explaining our thoughts verbally, and interacting socially with our peers. It is sometimes described as having “a dash of autism.”

 
Asperger’s is not a disease, it is a genetic variation and a neurological condition. Though I’ve just recently discovered I have it, I always have and always will. Some say it is a gift, and even vital to human evolution.

 
 Asperger’s is sometimes called Wrong Planet syndrome. This is because we feel like we come from a different culture and have a different way of perceiving the world – (Tony Attwood)  

 
 Once I learned what Asperger’s is, I knew it described me. It answered a lot of questions and explained why I am the way I am. So it was kind of good news! Like finding a box I fit in.
 
Now for some myths and facts: First, I will not look you in the eye for long periods or when I’m talking to you. This is not to be rude. It’s because it is the only way I can concentrate on what you’re saying.


 
 In social situations, I don’t process information as fast as you. Facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice all convey subtle information to our brain. The more people who are present, the more info there is to process.
Likewise, I don’t like crowds and noisy places. This is too much information to take in and causes sensory overload.


 
  Sometimes we have super-senses. This makes us easily distractible to background noise, a sudden loud noise, or unpleasant odors.
 
If I run into you somewhere I don’t expect to, I probably won’t recognize you right away. This is called faceblindness. Even though I know what you look like, my mental picture of you is strongly tied to context, your voice, and how other people interact with you.

 
Sometimes I interpret things literally, or I can’t tell when you’re being sarcastic. This is a neurological delay in reading your tone of voice.

   For neurotypical people (that’s you), socializing with others relieves your stress or makes you feel energized. We Aspies are the opposite way. Conversation can wear us out, and we often need alone time to “recharge our batteries.”
 
 
  We usually have special topics or hobbies that we like to pursue with intense concentration and on our own. Examples include trains, foreign cultures, and washing machines.

 
 Are there advantages to being an Aspie? Yes! We are honest, detail-oriented, good listeners, and have a unique view of things. Often, we achieve high levels of success in our special interest area.
 
So that is a glimpse into my world. I hope it has helped you better understand me and others like me. We are all different, and with all differences, knowledge brings understanding. If we understand each other, then there won't be any need for a right planet or a wrong planet. Smile

 

195 comments:

  1. I just want to say great job on the cartoon. I shared it with my 12 year old son who was just recently diagnosed with AS. He is in the denial phase but as he learns more about, especially through humor, he will realize it is not a weakness or disease. He is an outstanding, funny, and compassionate kid in his own unique way. I know he will be fine but understanding why he is different and that it is ok really seems to be a turning point. Thanks for the laugh!

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  2. Thanks! I'm glad I could help you explain AS to your son. One of the ideas I'm kicking around for my next project is to do a kids' version. Good luck to you!

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    1. Oh please do a kids version!! I am a teacher and would love to have a fun way to teach my kids about ASD... especially those who have it! The better my neurotypical kids understand and the better my ASD kids understand, the more we can be from the same planet!!!

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  3. Well, I'm 65, and have an official diagnosis as of a bit over a year ago, and I think the cartoon is great, and so are you. The diagnosis didn't exist until '95, and I was a bit harder than a child, because I've spent 63 years or so learning "how to impersonate a human being", and doing a good job of that. It was such a great relief to learn who I am, and why I am, and that it's okay. I've spent the last several years reading about it, and still have "click" moments, and difficulty explaining it in few words to other people (trying not to bore them with it! ;^) )

    You're doing great! Don't let anybody tell you otherwise!

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  4. Sibyl, thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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  5. Great work, Matt! Your drawings are spot on and very insightful.

    I hope you'll keep dooling as you're obviously very talented and funny. Good luck!

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  6. *doodling - sorry for that (damned keyboard)

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  7. Glad you enjoyed it, Salamandrina - thanks for visiting.

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  8. My name is Chris. I am "self-diagnosed" as well. I'm growing more comfortable each day, though the fine line of self/professionally diagnosed sometimes leaves me feeling at odds.

    To those who wish to degrade the "self-diagnosed" - I do not know what to tell you. We do not diagnose ourselves in an attempt to outrage anyone, nor do we do so in some vain attempt to fit in. But when an answer to a long asked question comes along and not only answers the question but makes us feel more at ease with who we are and why we are that way... it's an answer warmly welcomed.

    Something that helps us understand why we are the way we are, why we've done/said/felt things the way we had, why we can't turn our focus away easily or why we focus on something so much or why the thoughts have taken permanent residence floating in our head...

    So a lot of people can fit this descriptor or that as far as Asperger's goes. It's not just this descriptor or that one which makes us feel a self-diagnosis is relevant. I believe I can safely say that virtually everyone who is self diagnosed can say that they spent time searching - the internet, books, and themselves - before just "jumping to a conclusion"... they didn't see the word "asperger's" and go "that's me!"... they learned what it entailed.

    I'm sorry for those who are so terribly uncomfortable with that sort of diagnosis. We're not prescribing medications nor are we prescribing some ridiculous label just to show off... it gives us a chance to be better armed - when dealing with society, when dealing with friends and family, and when dealing with doctors. For those who choose to seek professional diagnosis, this is a much better starting point than we had before.

    Some of us have needed an answer. Not just some answer, but one that will help us feel comfortable with who we are and will help us deal with daily life.

    As for the cartoons, they look awesome so far! And I can't wait to see some more of them!

    Thanks for what you do to help put others at ease with themselves! God bless you, Matt! The world needs more people with more positive outlooks despite whatever obstacles must be surmounted.

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    1. There is nothing wrong with self-diagnosis. I do not have Aspergers or any of the ASD, but I do have learning disabilities (self diagnosed in 3rd grade and confirmed professionally in 8th) and I self-diagnose myself medically all the time. Then, when it is something I cannot treat at home, I go to the doctor. Since I have been doing this, I have never been wrong about a diagnosis... even when I diagnosed ALLERGIC Bronchitis that was close to developing into pneumonia.

      The point is... YOU are the best one to know what YOU have.

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    2. And furthermore (she said, arriving very, very late to the game) taking myself as an example, it is because of my discovery and "self-diagnosis" that my son (originally labeled ADHD, now formally diagnosed Aspies) and little brother (originally labeled learning disabled, now formally diagnosed Autistic Spectrum) got tested. Given both that and the known genetic factors, I feel fairly comfortable embracing myself as an Aspie. It has excellent explanatory value and that is always a good sign for a hypothesis.

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  9. Chris, thanks for your kind words, and you've explained it very well. I've started to use the term "self-identified" myself, just for people who get hung up on words.

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  10. People, people! This is one dude's clever way to describe the world as he perceives it, and by the way, in this century it is a recognized neurological disorder. You doubters - jump off your high horse and read Sibyl's entry again. "...63 years or so learning to 'impersonate a human being'." That blew me away!
    Recognizing behaviour patterns in yourself is therapeutically affirming, and is not the same as self-medicating or self-diagnosing and demanding a prescription.
    More strength to anyone learning to navigate within the "norm" through their own lens. You have a lifetime working harder to maintain your sense of self and connect to the larger community. Good luck!

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  11. Matt; Thank you for your book. As you know, ASpies tend to be visual learners and your cartoons really get the point across. My daughter is Asperger's and she could really "see" herself in this. Have you read "Freaks, Geeks, and Asperger's"? it is from a teenager's viewpoint and has a lot to say. Good luck to you, Matt. SafetyGrrrl.

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  12. Thank you, SafetyGrrrl - I have heard of the book but not read it yet.

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  13. Matt. Great cartoon. I head up a new and struggling non-profit in Oklahoma City. The Huckleberry Project Foundation, Inc. We run a mixed media studio, with an emphasis on storyboards (like your cartoon) and animations. We use it as a training program to learn job and life skills. We focus on teens and young adults on the spectrum or with other processing issues. Our website, if it's working properly, is at huckleberryprojectfoundation.com. Check us out. I would be interested in what you think about it and whether we could figure out a way to work together. You can get back to me by email if you like johnccl@cox.net.

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  14. John, your idea sounds great. I will take a look!

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  15. neato! very on the spot. i just wish i didn't have to read those negativly opinionated comments. dirty mouths suck. he sounds like he's got aspergers too! so self rightous. so angry. maybe he needs a pet.

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  16. I found the original cartoon on WrongPlanet and then looked at it again here. As the mom of a 4-year-old boy recently diagnosed with mild Asperger Syndrome, I found it tremendously helpful, and will share it with family as we explain what's going on with our son. Your writing has really helped me -- I have very mixed feelings about trying to "heal" our son. We love him the way he is, and we think he has some amazing talents. (But we do want to make the world a little less stressful for him.) I started a blog and it's helping me work through a lot of it. (If you're interested in seeing my post on the day of his diagnosis, it's at http://www.starkravingmadmommy.com/2010/06/asperger-ish.html) Thanks again.

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  17. Hey stark.raving.mad.mommy, your blog is absolute WIN! Following. I think you will be a great advocate for your son. Good luck to you.

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  18. Thank you so much! I'm truly honored that you're following my blog.

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  19. My wife is self diagnosed. All the literature I've read based on the DSM convince me that if she sought a professional diagnosis of her "uniqueness" they'd come up with ASD as her diagnosis.

    That being said, I think of self-diagnosis in this case as being similar to identifying one's "race" on a government form. We decide who we best relate to and associate with those folks. It doesn't mean we're not part of the larger culture, etc... I can say, "I'm white" or "I'm Hispanic" and so forth, but it doesn't make me less "American".

    Self-diagnosis can mean just that: I recognize these characteristics about myself. I have more Aspie characteristics than neurotypical characteristics, so I consider myself an Aspie.

    The self-diagnosed person's experience is no different fromt he clinically diagnosed person's. My wife and I understand her better now that we have a context... and we've discovered she is more comfy with Aspies (the diagnosed kind) than "normals".

    I have been very much an advocate of getting a clinical diagnosis -- not because I believe my wife's symptoms are made up, but as a way of shutting down some of the ignorance we've seen posted here. Matt may not approve this comment because he's closed down diagnosis discussion. If he posts it, my thanks. It is important to understanding AS that many people will not see it as "real" without some professional validation.

    Those folks should never take an asprin or cold medicine again without a REAL doctor confirming that they actually have a headache or a cold :-)

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  20. I agree with the above - the race analogy is a good one. I use the term "self-identified," or that I "have AS traits." What I do with my knowledge is the same is if I had a diagnosis.

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  21. i like your doodles. im 12 and im an aspie. :) i self-diagnosed myself also, but then the docters also diagnosed it. i have quite a few disorders though, ADHD, ODD, OCD, Bipolar disorder, and Asperger's Syndrome. i like to doodle what the world is like to me. :) i really like your blog.

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  22. Hey Bailey, thanks - you made me :) - I was about your age when I started cartooning. Keep on doodling and keep on being proud of who you are.

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  23. Hi Matt. Excellent! Wonderful post.
    I'll have to watch out for more of your posts!
    x Jazzy

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  24. Love the cartoons..they are so clever!! <3 Am very frustrated at people who are in DENIAL and think Asperger's doesn't exist!!

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  25. I think this cartoon is a very succint way of introducing others to our world. I have tweeted the link today. I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome when I was 40. I work full time and have a happy marriage and children. So although I was outwardly maintaining a neurotypical facade, being diagnosed was one of the most life enhancing things that I've ever experienced. I think your cartoons are a great way of quickly introducing people to the autistic world.

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  26. This was so interesting. I love the doodles!

    Thank you for sharing what it is like to live with Aspergers. I have a good friend (above!) who is an Aspie and I'm keen to find out exactly what it feels like to live with it.

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  27. I'm here following DJ Kirkby (above). This is a fabulous cartoon Matt - you are clearly very talented, and I think the idea of doing a kids' version is a brilliant one. Good luck to you!

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  28. DJ, thank you for the compliment and for the tweet! I've just recently discovered your wonderful blog as well.

    Thanks Rebecca and Di also!

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  29. Hi Matt, I like your cartoons. I'm wondering if you've ever considered getting an official diagnosis, and what your reasoning is.

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  30. I am self-identified, and I have no need for diagnosis. Diagnosis is prohibitively expensive for adults, and not necessarily reflective of the diagnosis I might have had as a child. Based on my own knowledge of the spectrum and of myself, I’m certain I fall somewhere on the spectrum. What I do with that knowledge, how I cope with everyday challenges, and the resources I seek out, are the same things I would do if it were “official.” By the same token, my hope is that anyone who observes my Aspie behaviors in person would treat me with understanding, regardless of whether I am or am not diagnosed.

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  31. Ah... well, the reason I asked is because I did decide to pursue a diagnosis as an adult, and it was confirmed that I have Asperger's. I'm finding that it feels different to me to *know* --which was quite unexpected.

    It's no longer a matter of being "fairly certain that I have some Aspie traits." The testing process confronted me with things I simply can't do. Now, it's: "Yes. I have Apserger's, and I understand much more clearly the specific deficits I have." So I think it *is* changing how I cope and what I do, not because it's official, but because my understanding of myself is clearer.

    But maybe you are more sure of your self-diagnosis, or more comfortable with it, or more aware of your abilities than I was.

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  32. my 10 yr old son has Aspergers, cannot wait to show him your blog. Love it.. Thanks for sharin it with us

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  33. I'm a mother of three adult Auties (not Aspies). Married to someone I'm pretty sure is an Aspie, and cousins to other Aspies. As far as these cartoons go, I don't think it matters at all whether you're really Aspie or mistaken or even faking. The point is that *Aspies* see themselves in your cartoons. This is how they are; this is what they face every day. Kudos on providing a visual aid to explain the syndrome to the neuro-typicals.

    (As for these carping critics who doubt your self-diagnosis, clearly they don't have a clue that official diagnosis is made purely on observed behaviour. There are no medical tests or measurable physical symptoms. There is only a behaviour scale, with graded domains of functioning. And as Michael John Carley, Executive Director of Global and Regional Partnership for Asperger Syndrome (GRASP) says: "if you think you have Asperger syndrome, you probably do."
    http://autism.about.com/od/aspergerssyndrome/a/adultdxas.htm

    "The Cambridge Lifespan Asperger Syndrome Service(CLASS), an organization in the United Kingdom that works with adults with Asperger's has developed a simple ten question checklist to help with a preliminary self-diagnosis..."
    http://autism.about.com/od/aspergerssyndrome/a/adultsaspergers.htm

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  34. Beautifully illustrated in Oh so many ways Matt. My ex-partner was diagnosed recently with Aspergers and we have a son with autism. I lived for 20 years with this man and still till this day we do love each other, however, in a way we had to release one another to discover who we really are. He is so much happier now that he has accepted that he is not weird but as you explained it in the beginning cartoon...wired differently. He really is a brilliant man but for 20 years I watched him struggle with some many aspects of neuro-typical behaviour. Many people thought that I was a single mother anyway as I never came out to social functions...they were boring to him and he definately reacted like he was out of his comfort zone.

    Matt your drawings are brilliant and they clearly represent the differences between say me and my ex...I applaud you for your efforts.

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  35. my mum margaret leachSeptember 7, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    hello Matt, my name is shane, I am 10 and i am an aspie too. the pictures are funny. they mean like everything that happens to me and its nice to meet you matt

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  36. In spite of the "WTF" in this, I'm showing it to my son, who's 9 and an Aspie. He's going to LOVE it. He does cartoons all the time, primarily inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Peanuts, and he's going to think your work here is great stuff...in addition to agreeing with it.

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  37. Welcome all new visitors! I've figured out how to number my comments to help us all in responding. :)

    Hi Marg and Shane, it's nice to meet you too. That is just what I was thinking when I drew them - everything that happens to me.

    #42 - I've found the same thing, that Aspies see themselves in the cartoons. As far as explaining to NT's, I think it will take a little more, but I'm glad to give them an intro. And there are no medical tests, although a brain scan seems to be around the corner.

    #43 - Thanks for sharing your story. I am glad the discovery allowed you to better understand one another.

    Emily - I know that several kids have now read this, so I feel a tad guilty about WTF, but honestly, I never intended for these cartoons to circulate beyond my own Facebook friends. Based on their positive response I shared them with a larger audience, published them as a book, etc. So you are seeing them in their original, unedited form. That cartoon with sarcasm over the phone came straight from real life, and WTF was literally my reaction (at least in my head!) And Peanuts is a favorite of mine as well.

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  38. I have decided that NTs are ill equipped to assimilate the perspective of an Aspie, its not their fault they are just Neuro-Typical. The definition precludes easy understanding of non-NT perceptions. I 'self-diagnosed' myself last year after a suicide attempt. It seems that feeling different and anxious all the time and isolation translates into severe clinical depression. After I was released from the psychiatric unit and getting medication to cope with the depression I started seeing a psychiatrist for the purposes of maintaining my Meds and monitoring my mental state. I began to look for explanations for my particular peculiarities and came across a Youtube video of a young man that was trying to explain why he was different and he used the term Asperger's Syndrome, it was the first time I had heard the term and more to the point what he described was almost verbatim my own experiences. I began to consume every bit of information I could on Asperger's and the more I learned the more certain I was that I was an Aspie. It wasn't long before I had my "AH HA!" moment while reading about another Aspie's experiences. I discussed my suspicion with my psychiatrist and though she cautioned against the self-diagnosis and trusting the internet quizzes that are out there she also said that though she could not provide a diagnosis that from what I had related to her and her understanding of the Syndrome she believed that it was more than likely and would recommend Neurological testing. It seems that I have difficulty in convincing many people that I am an Aspie for the simple reason that I am 39 and have developed workarounds and learned how to hide many of my deficits, but I have absolutely no doubt that I am an Aspie and that knowledge is empowering, I feel less alone and more like I have a place in the world now than I ever have before. There is no way to express what kind of change comes over your life when you finally have an explanation of your own feelings and behaviours that have plagued you with doubt and fear all your life, for me it was akin to coming out a second time(I am also a proud gay man). That was something I thought I would never experience again and it is different in that it is as much a revelation to yourself as it is to everyone else. I endeavour to find more of myself with this new perspective and a sense of adventure and try to help NTs understand us Aspies!
    Cheers!

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  39. Jeff, thanks for sharing your story. It seems very common for Aspies to develop secondary psychological issues stemming from what begins as neurological issues. Just from attempts to cope with different-ness that is unexplainable. And, as you say, we also develop adaptations out of necessity. It’s wonderful that you’ve overcome many life challenges and found new understanding. Good luck to you.

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  40. Wow. It's been so long since I last visited.

    I'm Chris. Same one from #17. And if anything has changed in the last approximately 8 months, it would only be my increased resolve that I am definitely on the spectrum.

    I really hope to find your book. And I would love to see soooo many more cartoons in the future. Cartoons are a passion for me. Though I have difficulty with too many cartoon books. If it even starts feeling like I have too many books, I have to organize, weed through, and sell some. So hopefully I can find your book at the library and just go back to it when I want!

    Also, it's great to see so many more people coming here and supporting not just the spectrum but those on it as well as supporting you.

    Perhaps if I may suggest - for anyone who wants a friendlier version of the 'wtf' moment, maybe use a 'say what' or 'do what' phrasing. I have kids. I know exactly where everyone is coming from with the 'wtf' moment and explaining it to kids! I like to use words like 'fudge' or 'fiddlesticks' or such.

    You did make a great point in an earlier response (#39) about the diagnosis being perhaps too expensive. It's the money that is keeping me from seeking an 'official' diagnosis. Many doctors able to diagnose that aren't well within the requirements for HMO's and such.

    Plus trying to keep an eye on my kids, cause I think at least one of them is on the spectrum as well.

    Many thanks again for the awesome work, even if it is just some doodling! It has obviously done quite a bit to help quite a few people. Indeed, may God bless you for giving comfort to some who have found no other way to find it.

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  41. Chris, thanks for visiting again, and for your comments. I've also found that over time, my certainty grows, even without official diagnosis.

    The only place to get my book is lulu.com - but perhaps a library someday!

    http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/dude-im-an-aspie/8076842

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  42. Matt, I love your post! I would like to follow you on twitter.
    @notNTjen

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  43. Thanks, Genevieve! I've recently acquired a Twitter. @dudeimanaspie

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  44. WOW!
    You are amazing!
    I am the mother of 2 boys officially diagnosed with aspergers and a daughter who is (unofficially) diagnosed.
    Your cartoons are SO great!
    I can't wait to read more of your work
    Oh yeah and anonymous 1......pfft - you're not even worth replying to!

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  45. I really enjoyed your cartoon. It was good information as well as a description, short, and sweet story. I see myself. I am an Aspie adult who was diagnosed about one year ago. Since I was in denial, I did not do my own research until a few weeks ago. I have read two books and am reading a third about AS. I feel as if I am reading my life story. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression. I am trying to come to terms. I live in an area in which there are no support groups. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for your time and contribution.

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  46. Hi Gina, have you visited grasp.org? I think they have a list of groups by region. If you truly don't have any near you, I would suggest connecting with one of the online communities - they can be just as good. Good luck to you.

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  47. I found your blog through facebook. I have a son with autism. These cartoons are great! I especially liked "Don't interrupt me when I'm listening to you".

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  48. Thank you, dluvscoke - yes, I can routinely interrupt my own train of thought by attempted eye contact.

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  49. Thanks for the cartoons -- they've helped me diagnose myself, especially the "company - crowd - lemme outta here." I am a librarian, often in the company of other librarian/aspies. We often congratulate each other on our lucky choice of occupation. My special interest is in science, especially astronomy. The great acceleration of understanding in astronomy has sometimes sent me off on Little Professor-ish descriptions of new information to uninterested parties. Still. At 72, I still must monitor conversation. Grateful for being able to identify the behavior at last.

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  50. Hi Marion, thanks for your comment. It is never too late to discover you're an Aspie, is it?

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  51. These are great Matt! My husband is an Aspie and his sister is on the spectrum (probably his brother too truthfully). These cartoons are so TRUE! You sure have hit on some of the most obvious differences that others will notice about people on the spectrum. I have tried to explain to people about faceblindness (which my husband has BIG time, he tells who people are by what they wear pretty much, a haircut REALLY throws him off) or the taking all spoken words at face value (not reading sarcasm) and neurotypucals have a REALLY hard time bending their minds around. These cartoons would be helpful for them to understand. Also, I have sent my sister-in-law a link to this site so she knows she's not alone. Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

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  52. Thank you, alittlestar, I'm glad you find it so helpful.

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  53. i'm alittlestar's sister-in-law; she passed me this link and i am glad she did.

    i was unofficially diagnosed several months ago and while i feel liberated and vindicated by the diagnosis, my confidence took a downturn. my mum didn't believe that i could be an aspie and she didn't believe that my brother was either, even though he'd been diagnosed in his early 20's and is currently in his mid 30's.

    when i received the diagnosis, she told me not to use it as an excuse or a 'crutch'. she keeps expecting me to 'fix myself' and be normal.

    i'm still trying to figure a lot of stuff out, but unfortunately have been feeling very lost and alone. your cartoons are fun and helpful; i'll probably send my husband and friends here to get a better grasp on what i experience and how i think.

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  54. #63, I can relate to what you're going through. It's not uncommon to feel relieved and lost at the same time following diagnosis. From my own personal experience, it does take time. I'm glad you found my cartoons and I'm sure that with time you'll start to find your own answers.

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  55. I realize the original comment is quite old but I'd like to add a response to it.

    - A professional diagnosis comes with its own problems and provides few solutions. There is nothing magical about professional diagnoses and there isn't necessarily anything solution-oriented that arises from it. So as to whether or not a new diagnosis of an overly diagnosed condition is made is only useful for the professional and his statistics. The diagnosed is still left with the same condition and the need to manage that condition. For those of us with certain professional specialties (and even hobbies) the professional diagnosis comes with a paper trail that can be harmful to our passions.

    - Your use of the word "weakness" is interesting. I think that is a personal diagnosis and coping mechanism. I have viewed my own shortcomings as weaknesses and have bullheadedly worked to overcome them, or at least facilitate situations (socially) that minimize their effect. It has also been part of (I consider this a weakness of my own character) my impatience with those who have various personal/emotional/neurological conditions who do not overcome them. If I can do it, so can you, and have I have little patience for those who do not manage themselves. Anyway, the word-choice is curious.

    - If you have a logical mind then you should know better to make generalized statements about what "people are looking for." You are not in a position to speak for all people. Personalities, traits, and disorders, as well as their symptoms comes in wildly complex arrays, distributions, and manifestations. Likewise, the reason for putting order to chaos will vary from person to person. An excuse, I don't think so. I can only speak for myself, but I need no excuses. What I need is to make sense of the chaos for my own peace, and possibly for my children's peace, as the older is behaving very similarly to myself. I'd rather understand and relate to help him circumvent some of the learning difficulties I had early in life. As to what I need, again, I need nothing and I have my successes, both private and professional, and I believe those speak for themselves.

    - Finally, simply having other people with which I, and I am going to assume, others, can relate is a natural desire intrinsic to humans, and probably other social animals. I have historically poo-pood the whole emotional bit -- relating feelings, sharing experiences, etc. and communicated to others that they appear a tremendous waste of time (and I think I have used the word 'weakness' to describe it). In reality, what I was doing, was minimizing their needs and expression mechanisms simply because I could not participate in their means of expression, at least not in a way that was sensible to them. However, being here, and listening to others describe their lives in a way that processes sensibly in my mind is comforting. So, no, I am no different in what I need as a social animal, but how that need is satisfied is different, and reading and listening to others who share similar mental schematics of the world and people describe their lives provides me with the benefits that until recently I was only able to watch others (I suppose what is referred to as NTs) enjoy .

    To the author of the cartoons - they are great. Thank you.

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  56. rocketman, thanks for your comment. All good points, and I especially agree with the last one about finding common ground and people I can relate to through this online community.

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  57. Hi Matt!

    I just happen to find your site, linked up to another site. My son is 9 and has been recently diagnosed AS,PDD, ADHD, and what a world of learning we are doing! After all this reading, and having a lot of 'a-ha' moments, i too realized that my son and I are a lot of like. Guess we got a good genes going on here. I wanted to say that I am totally digging your site, can't wait to share it with him (He still doesn't really understand when I explain it to him, but maybe your cartoons can help!) Thank you!

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  58. Hi Nancy, thanks for stopping by. It sounds like you have a very positive attitude, not easy after diagnosis, so good for you!

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  59. Hi! I just ran across your site. I'm 52 and was recently diagnosed with AS after suspecting it for several years. I look at the diagnosis as an explanation, not as an excuse. It allows me to move forward with my life, without always kicking myself for what I used to see as failures and weaknesses.

    For example, I went to a full-immersion American Sign Language class this summer. I put everything into it. It became my special interest. But, alas, I came away hugely frustrated, and with a D and an F...The instructors acted as if I hadn't really studied. They said I "didn't seem to know where to look", that my signs were "tense and stiff." I cried because I couldn't interpret what they were signing like all the other students in the class could.

    Well, now I know, from writing to Tony Attwood, that ASL is very difficult for people with AS to learn. You have to be able to read facial expressions, and body language, as well as hand gestures. Had I known for sure that I had AS, I would have saved myself a lot of money and time, not to mention a lot of tears and self-reproach. Now I can see that a total immersion course is a very bad idea for someone with AS. Does that mean I can't learn ASL? No, but it means I have to take it slower and be more patient with myself. The diagnosis has given me the explanation as to why I had such a hard time.

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  60. Hi Tabitha, thank you for sharing your story. It makes sense that sign language would be very difficult for Aspies to learn. I'm glad you got an explanation and that you're learning to adapt. Good luck to you.

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  61. Hey Matt.

    Did not know you had a blog 'til now, found it via a link on another blog.

    I visited WrongPlanet after having had a chat with a newly diagnosed Aspie - the result of which was my suspicion that I am Aspie too. Found your 'Dude, I'm an Aspie' cartoon one of the most helpful things on there! Good to see it here again. :)

    The 'not weird but wired differently' idea has entered my own vocab as a way of getting my own head around things, and also beginning to explain it to others (tentatively, cos not all people want to accept me as Aspie, or are ready to perhaps. I have been such a good actress for far too many years, I fear!)

    Anyway, just to say 'hi' and thanks for your help in my series of 'A-ha!' moments! Must go buy your book now. (Skips happily away in a state of gleefully glad-to-be-me silliness).

    (Btw, I messed about with characters and creations in my teens too, but my inventions tended to be more with words, with a dash of the visual.)

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  62. Thanks for stopping by, Dith. I love your phrase "gleefully glad-to-be-me silliness!" As long as you're so accepting of yourself, I think others will surely accept you too.

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  63. What a lovely cartoon.

    I was diagnosed when I was 25. Always been told I was dumb.
    Did you know that your doctor can't help you find a new planet? I know, because I asked ^_^

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  64. Lea, thank you for visiting. LOL! I never thought to ask that question!

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  65. "Gleefully glad-to-be-me silliness"... I like that too!! Nice! I think it sounds like a good way to describe me too!! But the phrase credit goes to Dith, 100%. Still, when someone has such a great idea for a description that you feel describes you, you can't help but want to borrow it!!

    Hope to keep coming back to read more!

    Chris

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  66. i never put it together.but i know now that this is why i have problems in noisy places!thank you!

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  67. I'm more of a "Human Being" than an "Aspie". I got diagnosed with a pathological condition: Asperger's Syndrome. I glad you're happy with your difference but I'm one sick puppy -- my difference is also a disorder and not one that I'm willing to base my identity on.

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  68. I just found this article courtesy of Autism Speaks on Facebook, and I feel it does a decent job of describing me. I have been professionally diagnosed with Asperger's; my interests include emergency lighting, such as found on emergency vehicles), photography and public information/crisis communication in the emergency services.

    Matt, thank you for sharing your writing, and I look forward to exploring the rest of your site.

    Doug

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  69. This is absolutely fabulous. My son is nearly 7 now and was diagnosed in Sept '09. I struggle so often to find the line between his AS and normal kid behavior that I should correct. I need the constant reminders of what it's like to be in his shoes and why he responds the way he does to so many things. THANK YOU! Regardless if you have been officially diagnosed or not, you covered some of the basic yet important issues behind AS. It's very refreshing to see things like this that don't sound gloom and doom, but positive and encouraging. I will be sharing this with anyone who cares to see it!

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  70. My 10 yr old son as aspergers,and i was struggling with some of his habits. Because he always told me he came from a different place. I did not know it was also referred to as the wrong planet syndrome. He was diagnosed just after he turned 9. He is very smart, and has an IQ of 145! and this has been very helpful in helping me understand him better. I plan on showing this to him because i think he will enjoy the simple laid out, but to the point version you have here. Oh and the cartoons are a PLUS!

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  71. I am most likely an aspie and have 2 children that are diagnosed. I love your cartoons and it was the simplest way I have ever seen aspergers being explained. You should write a young adults book about aspergers. I think it would be a huge success!! I cant wait for my 13year old son to read this! Thanks!

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  72. hey!!!! I am saddened by the mean spirited ones who's souls are moved to this type of castigating commentary with that much fervency and passion. I think they could do a whole lot more good to the world using that energy to make it better in some capacity. To them I send out that hope that they find inner happiness to be able to do that. They remind me of my Father who considers me a loser for not working a full time job and instead using my time caring for my 3 asperger's children. My daughter age 17 being the most impaired and it is rare for a girl. This article of yours has gotten all over Facebook and came to me via an autism awareness site. So your openness speaks to the ones who matter. Let the miserable enjoy the company of their misery. Much gratitude to you.

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  73. I wanted to say thank you for your post!

    My son is six and we have spent the last 3 years in and out of several offices trying to get a diagnosis for him. As of January we have a diagnosis of PDD-NOS. They psychologist said that if he wouldn't have had a language issue, he would have been labeled an Aspie. If he didn't look people in the eyes so much he would have been Autistic.

    Regardless, I just want to say that I'm going to be saving your cartoon and using it as a tool to help explain my son's condition to him when he is older or he asks about it!

    As for the people who are getting on you about the self diagnosis...they're obviously ignorant. In any form of issue in life, isn't the first step admitting it to yourself?

    Keep truckin on, you are truly awesome!

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  74. I would just like to say that your awesome Matt! I have a 7yr old boy on the spectrum. As for the negative comments, just ignore them. Love what your doing, keep it up! ~Brandi

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  75. I love this post, the cartoon is so cute!! LOL@ SO glad mine isn't washing machines!

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  76. Oh mine is words.

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  77. I am so happy to have seen this! It made me laugh and also nod my head to all that you said. My son Robert was diagnosed with AS when he was 3! He is a great kid and I think you both speak the same language! Thank you SO MUCH for this cartoon and explanation. I can't wait to show it to him!

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  78. I am an Aspie. I was professionally diagnosed in 1998. It doesn't matter whether it's professionally or self, it's all the same. The first anonymous is so ignorant, it's amazing.

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  79. oh whoops.. forgot to say My son robert is almost 17 now!

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  80. Telling my son about his AS has been weighing heavy on my mind for a long time now. I wasnt sure how to even begin the conversation. I love the cartoon and am actually feeling relieved. My plan was to watch the Parenthood tonight to see how they explain it to their son (a character on the show who has AS and about my sons age). You mentioned in one of the above comments that you were considering doing a kids version. Just wondering if you ever did; if so is there a way for me to obtain it.

    I love your outlook on this; youre an amazing man.

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  81. I LOVE this :-)
    So many people paint ASD to be such a dreadful, soul destroying thing, but really it is just another type of personality...who says to be 'normal'means you have to be able to run around and bang things?!
    You rock :-)

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  82. I have an 11yr old grandson I'm raising who has been tested and is ADHD and Aspergers. I can't wait for him to get home from school so I can show him your cartoons. During his meltdowns and times of pain when he thinks he should never have been born and he is all alone the cartoons I think will help to see he is just as God designed him and we will continue to search for his special niche in life.

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  83. I can't wait to show this to my 16-yr-old. He was diagnosed autism at age 2 but with early intervention and a lot or hard work, he is now considered aspergers. At age 10 he got into music and now plays 12 instruments and is in a youth symphony orchestra. He is lately interested in his condition and I think your drawings and humor might be of help.

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  84. Thank you very much Matt. Everything you described fits my son exactly. he lives with his mom and i was never told what he had. i was just told he has "problems". he is 9 yrs old and i was just told he had AS about a month ago. and of all i read this explained it the best. I will pass it on to my son.

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  85. I felt compelled to post after reading all the comments... nice work on the cartoons, very insightful look at what Asberger's is all about. And I am sorry that some people are so negative on here, please don't let that affect you posting anything in the future. People need to be more understanding of other people's differences, instead of judging them. You rock, just had to say that :)

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  86. Love it! This is a wonderful, simple way to explain aspies to people in a very comfortable way.

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  87. As the Mom of an Aspie...Thank You! I will be sharing this link with my son and all family members.

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  88. Thanks, Matt. Even though my son has Autism, not Asperger's Syndrome, it does explain a lot of why he does the things he does sometimes. He is four. Every day we watch him grow a little and learn so much. Our child is very smart, but gets angry at things that don't go his way. He shouts and sometimes people don't understand why he does this in public. They think he is badly behaved, or mean, and that we don't correct him. Thank you so much for this glimpse, this map into our child's world, his day, and his mind.

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  89. Hmmm...I can clearly see my 9 year old grandson, who I have custody of, in these cartoons. He's not been officially diagnosed but his psychologist would comment at almost every appointment that he's very "aspergery" and his psychiatrist says he has a lot of asperger's type behaviors. I can understand and empathize with him. The part I'm still not comfortable with is all the many different ways he's like I was at his age. The more I read and learn about Asperger's in an attempt to help him, the more of me I see. Not sure I'm ready for the AH HA yet.

    Keep up the great work Matt. I'm looking forward to the kids version that I can share with my grandson. I probably won't share this one because he picks up on details and would ask about the WTF, which he probably already knows about, but, hey, I'm a grandma, I don't want to discuss it with a 9 year old. :)

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  90. I'm a music therapist, mom and friend to one Aspie (at least, I'm in academia). I think we're all on the spectrum somewhere. :)
    Thanks for a great post!

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  91. ok, my son was diagnosed when he was 4. After a 3 month hospitalization and observation. it wasn't until he was diagnosed that i understood the symptoms and saw the identical traits in myself. I had never even HEARD of Aspergers. People told me that they thought my son might have a form of Autism and I thought they were off their rocker! Autism to me was helmets, rocking, etc...self diagnosis? yup. and then the real one. at least I felt better finding out that I wasn't a "bad" person and that there was an explanation. excuses EXCUSE behavior. explanations EXPLAIN why they might occur. I have researched and educated myself on this condition to a "T" . So the ignorance that I have jyust read in the above posts is just air-blowing.

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  92. Thanks Matt This cartoon defines me perfectly. I am 31 and not officially diagnosed. They knew I was different as a child but didn't know that much about these thing. I'm sure I belong somewhere on the spectrum. I plan to get diagnosed as soon as I get my medical coverage back. In the mean time I'm going to print your cartoon so people will understand me better. One last thing do you have problems talking on the telephone as well? I don't seem to carry a conversation on the phone well unless its in one of my areas of interest or I'm following a script.

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  93. I'm so glad to see that there is hope for my son... he is 17 now and has been diagnosed since he was 8. I wish there were other people that would come forward and let us know their stories so we can see what our children's future looks like. Its hard to see the world through an Aspie's eyes. But when you can understand that they are going through something different than what we are it really helps to be on their level. Thanks for the cartoons. my son loves to draw... he is so good at it.

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  94. Dear Matt, I LOVE THIS CARTOON!!!! :) I t helped me to understand the disease a little better. Sometimes I wish that my brother has this type of autism instead of low functioning autism. :( So that way I'd at least be able to have a small conversation with him, but at the same time I wouldn't want him to have this disease so that way he wouldn't at times feel the way you used to, as if he didn't fit in. Thank you for this cartoon.... and those who comment negativly on this... IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL!!!

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  95. Just another made up syndrome so the psychiatrist can get paid. Autism, ADD, etc. Me, me, me, I, I, I.....that's the common thread. "I'm SO important and self-absorbed".....time to grow up.

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    Replies
    1. Mr. Freud:
      Solution to the psychiatrist money sink: Don't drag the psychiatrist into it in the first place. I used to want a diagnosis so I would finally have a type of normal to cling to, but then my family warned me about the inescapable paper trail it would leave. I can't think of what concrete benefits there would be to getting diagnosed with something at this point in my life anyhow.
      Many of the people who will relate to this cartoon have also have spent most of their lives driving themselves mad in an effort to pacify the oblivious neurotypicals around them. "Me, me, me, I, I, I" might be just the thing they need after all this time.

      ~Violet Black

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    2. 88 Lookin' in the mirror again, Freud? You pore thing, you!

      Delete
  96. As someone who works with people who have this form of autism, I really appreciate the insight it gives on your viewpoint of the world. Thank you!

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  97. Mental note to young kids with this condition, some people will be ignorant and cruel but others will love you and do their best to understand your needs. Don't give up because the ignorant and self-centered won't let you join their club, be yourself and be proud of who you are and again never give up hope because you may not feel sometimes like the people who love you understand you but they are trying to and it's better than nothing.

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  98. Matt, I'm amazed at how many ignorant people out there are willing to let their voice be heard even though they have no idea what they're talking about. I think you're right on brother! My 11 year old son was diagnosed a few years ago with A.S. and we know from living him for the last 11 years that this no "made up" syndrome. Great job Matt!

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  99. thanks for this!
    my son has autism, not sure yet where he falls on the spectrum but it's so great to hear first hand experiences from someone who's lived with autism all their life.

    keep up the great work!

    all the people who are putting you down for posting about your autism should be ashamed of themselves.

    to those people i say Autism is real. VERY real. i have a son with autism. i know several other children with autism, one of them has aspergers. yes, alot of "disorders" are grouped into the "autism spectrum" because at this time more research needs to be done to really know what's going on in these kid's heads. only the kids who have it can really tell us, and many of them can't speak so it makes it hard to study it. having somone give first hand experience like Matt here is wonderful and helps to make great strides in helping kids with autism spectrum disorders.

    once again, thank you matt.

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  100. Matt i am the father of a soon to be 13yr old who has been diagnosed with aspergars he is honest as a boyscout and his special intrest is japanese culture war games history he is very intelligent and has a very good sence of humor i want to thank you for what your doing keep it up -your helping lots of people to a better understanding of aspergars i will show this to his mother and her family who are in denial of him being an aspie personally i am fine with his so called deferences hes a beautiful boy who i am very proud of thanks again keep up the good work

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  101. thank you, matt, you described my 14 year old son perfectly

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  102. Wonderful cartoon! I'd love to see the kids version in the future. I found this from the Autism Speaks page of facebook.

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  103. Daphne here...

    I'm 49 and am a self diagnosed aspie as well. I'm going to print this out and give it to my dad. He has had trouble grasping what this means to me and 3 of my other siblings. We were all graduated before this was a recognized syndrom.

    So quick question if you have a minute? Do you tell people that you have aspies depending on the situation? I can't figure out if it is something or should do or not so have started asking other aspies what they think.

    Thanks again for the amazing illustrations!

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  104. I LOVE your doodling! I love that you are self diagnosed, as I am too! YAY for Aspie's. I have 4 sons on the spectrum. They are so talented and unique!

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  105. To Anon 1, thanks for proving that people like you still exist. After all, its ppl like you who sent my son off the deep end, not understanding, judging him unduly. Rather than seeing his strengths, they were only seeing how he was different and then, when the taunting wasn't enough, physically beating him repeatedly for those differences. Why? Because he was "wierd". They didnt care that he was brilliant to the point of knowing things at 3 yrs old that most junior high and high schoolers couldnt imagine! His intellect was concentrated on music and science. How many 8-9 yr olds can hold their own in college courses, even correcting the Doctor teaching the labs and being patted on the back bc he's RIGHT? But his peers failed to see this, failed to see what an asset he could be. They only saw an easy target.

    To Matt, idc if you are self-diagnosed or not. Your cartoons helped me understand my son better than many so-called professionals who told me to MAKE him look at me when I was speaking, etc. I knew a long time ago that something just wasn't right with what they were telling me. I wish I'd seen your cartoons 10 years ago. Maybe then I could have understood him better and helped him better. Thank you for helping me see a bit into my son!! Please keep sharing this.

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  106. there are so many adults with AS that need support as well it is very difficult to get a diagnosis because you are an adult. I found my niche with Lab science and I am glad it is not washing machines either. but on occasion I am the walking encyclopedia for many different subjects. and I am fortunate to have a very accepting work place.

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  107. Hi! I have aspergers like you and I am 10. I love your hysterical cartooons!! ha ha ha...I love 2 draw and play video games.

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  108. Matt,
    youre brilliant and thank you so so so much for posting this! my son who just turned 18 has aspergers and was diagnosed at the age of 3 with it, he has had and still does have many challenges facing everyday life but just yesterday we came home to find he had washed, dried and folded(extremely neatly and symmetricly) a load of towels on his own and i was in shock and amazement(he had not been asked, told or hounded to do this!:) we have known and understood AS for all these years and read all i can on it and your cartoon actually told me a few things i didnt know! as far as the first "anonymous" wrote, theyre ignorant and border on being a complete idiot and its worrisome that there are mean people out there which is why weve all been so overly protective of our son all these years because unnecessary meanness is just that!-UNnecessary!! live and let live and if you cant, keep your mouth SHUT! right? i have found that when people make these types of comments, somewhere deep down, they feel inadequate, inferior and are jealous of others(as crazy as that sounds) as though someone is taking something away from *them* somehow? oh well, what goes round comes round...all the best Matt! keep up the great work! oh btw, i should mention i have a rare disease i was born with, but wasnt diagnosed until i was 35 and i was born with it and it resulted in having to have brain surgery, theres no cure but at least i finally was validated that something was wrong! so it doesnt bother me you are "self diagnosed" ...doctors nowadays are overworked, too busy, some could care less, some desensitized to their work so its hard to get a diagnosis, a so called "proper" dx unless you go and go and go and wear them down?...so sometimes it takes you, yourself, to recognize whats going on with you..take care :)

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  109. Matt, I have a seven year old who is a high-functioning autistic. These cartoons sound like him, and more importantly help me understand him. Having friends who have questioned my son's autism diagnosis, I recognize the way you must feel when the previous commenters question your self-identifying as Aspergers. Obviously you have great insight into the world of the spectrum, one that can only really be seen from inside or very very close to it. So glad I found your blog. Check mine out if you want: http://www.aidansautismadventures.blogspot.com/

    Thanks!
    Vickie

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  110. Why is it that Aspergers is so hard to diagnose? I have a 9 year old son that has so many symptoms and they just want to say he is ADHD. One doctor says he has it but the other doctor not so sure. Mean time he struggles in school and no one wants to accept he has it. Where I live there are not any support groups for patents stuck in the middle till the doctors can agree. I'm in the process of another evaluation and the doctor not sure herself.

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  111. I think some of thz thgs are me, the litteral interpretations, the special interest and sometimes easily distracted, maybe not the socializing-causes-drainage, but lots of this other stuff is me. I have never fit in anywhere except the Josh Groban and Michael jackson fan communities. ;(

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  112. Hello and welcome to all the new visitors today, and thanks to Autism Speaks for linking to this post. I am so glad to hear these cartoons speak to all of you. I can't possibly respond to all of your comments right now, but I hope to do so when I get the chance!

    Again, thanks for visiting my blog, and if you like this post, I hope you'll stick around for more thoughts and illustrations.

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  113. That's awesome - putting it in pictures and one-liners definitely helps. That literal interpretation is a huge one for my 11 year-old; my 5yo will be laughing because he knows I'm joking but my 11yo will be about to burst into tears.

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  114. Please try to do a young kids version...the drawings and words are great!

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  115. Yes, please and I will buy the first copy of your first children's book and let all the people I know how great your book is. Please do it for our children so they can know why they are like this. Thanks.

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  116. Matt THANK YOU for blogging this! Ignore all of the IGNORANT comments that have been left criticizing you. They need more education on the Autism Spectrum. Your illustrations fit my 11 year old who was diagnosed with AS 3 years ago, TO A "T". thank you for doing this!
    God Bless you!

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  117. I have always felt like I was "wired differently" too but I self identified as ADD and I also self diagnosed a gluten sensitivity which was later confirmed by a doctor. We know ourselves better than anyone else does, if you see yourself in a description, you are likely correct.....BTW, I work with autistic children once a week and I'll tell you, these kids are so smart!! Even one 4 year old with extremely limited communication, I find that I want to speak to her like an adult, she is just on a different level from other kids her age.....I love your description of aspergers, it gives me better perspective on what these kids are going through.

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  118. TY TY TY. My son (11) has AS and always felt like he didnt 'belong' and 'weird' but little by little he is beginning to see that he is not alone and this cartoon made him see himself even more.He just loved your blog and now is applying thought bubbles to his doodling, so ty and bless you.

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  119. Kudos - i wish you luck

    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was young, and understand how having people deny that you tick a bit differently from them is frustrating. I just hope that "normal" folk can learn to accept differences. Everyone can fit in in their own way, if some would just stop judging others so harshly.

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  120. Good show Matt!

    Keep on telling your Unique story & the pictures are.. The Best!

    Most of all... Continue to work from your heart*¨*•. No matter ~Who~What~Where~When or Why!

    Step #1 is to just accept each other, we are all UniQue!

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  121. Those are cute drawings, Matt! I'm an aspie myself. I was officially diagnosed almost 2 years ago at the age of 25. It was pretty hard growing up so different without me or my family knowing what the problem was. Good job for sharing things that help raise awareness!

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  122. Fun to read Matt, thanks so much! My boy just turned 11, his autism used to be very pronounced (perseverations, no communication or interest in interaction) but now he's a talkative pianist who reads science and loves math. He has perfect pitch, he can identify not just any note but even some chords by ear too! He doesn't get the psychology of other people, he doesn't easily give information, but he actually seems to know just about everything objective that's going on or has ever been in his experience or reading.

    When he was a little boy I spent a few years in the "crying stage" but now I wouldn't change anything about him, he's such an awesome person, my favorite person in the whole world! Just the other day friends were telling me how far he's come and realized I hardly even ever think of the despair or worries I had for him 9 to 7 years ago! I would advise any parents who are still in the early years to not despair and never give up and get him as much one-on-one interaction with as many different people as possible. He will amaze you and have so many hidden talents you can discover and cultivate and which will bring him success and happiness when he grows up!

    Every human being is unique. In our civilization of highly specialized division of labor, there a a million vocations where creative and unusual minds contribute to the advance of technology, culture, art, insight, artisanship, etc. Each of us should try to accept as many people as possible despite their range of styles or backgrounds. Not just people on the autism spectrum of course but every single one of us is "weird" from a certain point of view when you get to know them. That's just human uniqueness and its a beautiful thing, collectively it carries our species into new levels of civilization and experience of life.

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  123. I am a mom of 2 teen girls on the spectrum (Aspie/ADHD and High-Functioning-Autism). They were not diagnosed until 6th and 4th grade, because I had no idea what Aspergers was until my sister-in-law told me my niece had it. I didn't realize there was anything wrong, because they were just like me. Sure enough, they were diagnosed. Since then, I have requested testing for myself from my doctor, and from the accessibility center at a college I was attending. Both refused, because "adults don't get Aspergers." Another testament to the ignorance of our society. At least I managed to finally get my learning disabilities diagnosed, at the age of 31 (I always knew I had some).

    I love the term Wrong Planet, because that is where I grew up, and still live. How was it put... "learning to imitate a human being"... not quite sure I have that down yet, at age 33.

    I want to tell all you Aspie kids, you can do anything. People have called me stupid my whole life. I took that as a challenge, and went and got a masters degree. There were people in my class trying to have me kicked out, because I "didn't belong" there. But I showed them. Most important, I showed my girls... If I can do it, so can they. Never let anything get in your way. I didn't let learning disabilities, ADHD, Aspergers, Fibromyalgia, or being a single mom get in my way. It was what I was meant to do, so I did. Now happily married, I am home schooling, because I understand my aspie girls where the school system does not.

    To all those who believed in me, thank you for being there. To all those who ridiculed me, thank you for making me stronger.

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  124. My wife and I have a 5yr old who was recently diagnosed an Aspie. THANK GOD!!! At least now we know that there is a reason for his behaviors other than him being a turd! It can be incredibly frustrating to experience being the parent of an Aspie without knowing that your child IS an Aspie! Now we are learning behaviors that we can adopt in ourselves that will help him along. Good stuff! My wife, in the meantime, created a Facebook page where relatives, friends, etc. of Aspies can come to seek or give advice to each other. Basically a place where people who have an Aspie in there lives can find other people they can relate to. What a great thing to know you aren't the only person in the boat you are in!

    If you don't mind I'd like to share a link to my wife's Asperger's page. The more the merrier!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aspergers-Syndrome/197003000329476

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  125. I LOVE your book Matt!

    Thanks so much for sharing. ;o)

    Doodle on!

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  126. I just started a page on facebook called "Aspies Friend Club". I really hope that people can meet and become friends on there. No bullying allowed. My family started it so that there can be a place people can talk and feel welcome. Also share ideas and feelings or just hang out without worrying about being judged. Come visit Please!

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  127. Matt- love your cartoons and the Aspie explanation. Very well done. I'm very happy for you to be figuring yourself out- that is great. My son isn't an Aspie (in fact, reading and writing are pretty much torture for him), but he has Sensory Processing Disorder and as such, has a host of mild sensory issues (as do some Aspies). Even though you are an adult, if you want to read more about sensory issues, www.sensorysmart.com is a great resource. In any case, keep up the great work!

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  128. I like your description of aspie-ness. My 5yr old son is a dx'ed aspie. I consider myself to be a "touch" aspie. My husband thinks my son and I have ALOT in common.

    Don't let those people bug you. Unfortunately, it's people like them why many of us don't get officially dx'ed. I know, for me, I wonder if a doc would think I am just "acting" like my son or relating to him. With syndromes like this, it's very hard to say, "Hi, yes, I've survived life all of this time, I've married and had relationships and kids, and I've learned to function decently in society, but I think I have a social disorder." I know what I've struggled with. I know that I still am overcoming these things. For me, that leaves me better equiped to understand and help my son to learn to get along with this world and make those around him work and understand him. :)

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  129. and my blog about my son and his aspergers:

    www.nonstandardissue.blogspot.com

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  130. 'Kiesha, it's true, many of us adapt on our own over time, so our differences get more and more invisible, and less diagnosable, even though they remain very real challenges.

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  131. Matt, I was recently diagnosed with Asperger's myself. Your comic is great and I will be using it to explain Aspie to neurotypical people.

    Someone recently asked me what Asperger's feels like and the best example I could give is the following song lyric (from the Counting Crows song "When I Dream of Michelangelo"): "I can't see why you wanna talk to me when your vision of America is crystalline and clean."

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  132. Dude! You should create a print-friendly version of this. I'd love to spread a few copies around... like on our coffee table.

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  133. Doh! Just saw the link on the right-hand side to download the book for free. Sorry 'bout that!

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  134. How many years went by wasted not understanding my daughter. I would think, theres got to be more to it than depression. How many therapists tried to get her to make friends. Why did no one pick up on it sooner? When finally the answer came, and I read up on it, wow.

    This book helps not only the person with AS but, also the family. We found out after she finished high school. If I had approached my child differently, maybe I could have made high school less painful. Thanks P.S. Freaks, Geeks & Asperger Syndrome By Luke Jackson was very insightful as well.

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  135. Hey, I'm almost 19, and I have Asperger's. And I love every freakin moment of it. Don't listen to the haters. They don't know what they're talking about. Honestly.

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  136. Ahhh!! I just saw your t-shirts available for sale!! I want to see the "I need a 1-up" as a t-shirt!! That would be absolutely awesome!!!!!!!!

    Chris

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  137. For Posters #'s 77 - Socrates, and 105 - Freud, I must say, your name sakes must be rolling in their graves. Whether you know who they are or not, whether you agree with them in any way or not, I think it'd be fair to say that they weren't this cruel.

    Sick puppy? Child molesters, abusers, rapists, and murderers... among others. Those are the sick ones. Who's to say that because we are different and decide to make the best of it that we are sick? Why must it be viewed as such? It boggles the mind to think that Aspies are "sick" instead of "different"... wasn't that the problem with all those institutions of the past that "hospitalized" the "different" because of fear and misunderstanding?

    I wake up every day and find some challenges easier to face than others. I go forward with my life despite how scared it makes me sometimes. The past few years I have stepped out of my shell a bit more often. My boyfriend has helped in some ways with that, whether he realizes it or not. Guess it's not that hard for him to do that though. After all, I've seen it written that Aspies do good with NTs as partners because of a "social life by proxy"... I do find it easier a bit to be more social at times if I have him near me.

    Anyway, wish me luck, pray for me, or however else you may say for good things to come my way. These past few years, since I've started looking into why things have been and felt so different, I've started finding a little more courage. Not that I didn't have any beforehand. But I'm sure you understand. I'm daring to make another attempt at climbing the food chain at work, so to speak. I've found it easier somewhat the 2nd time around. Partly because of the little bit of experience from the 1st time, but I feel it's more due to the confidence in knowing who I am and why.

    Sorry to ramble! I'm sure there are prob a few of you who can relate to things being so easy some days, and yet those seem to be the scariest days. But I have my faith (Catholicism, for any who may be curious), and my bf and my kids.

    Oh yeah. This will be the first summer I won't have the kids with me. They'll be going to their dad's for the whole time. Kinda nervous. Though we hadn't been "together" for some time, we lived under the same roof for financial reasons. But that didn't work out because of a job change, so we each had to move back in with respective family members. Meh. Life happens.

    Like Bugs Bunny says - "if you take life seriously, you won't get out of it alive"... I'm weird, I'm different, and I'm more than okay with it.

    Chris

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  138. I'm Aspi, my daughters are Aspies and my husband is Aspi. Our psy says that it only took us to save this family buth we did even with our differences and huges chalenges. I think you're cartoon are awsome. Keep at it.

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  139. Sorry for my spelling it is my biggest challenge!!! Even with colege education I cant right with good spellig all the time!

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  140. Hi Chris, great suggestion for the next T-shirt! Hope things work out for you.

    Drew, thanks for visiting and glad you enjoyed it.

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  141. You're right about Asperger's being a genetic variation and neurological condition rather than a disease. It's no more of a disease or even a disability than, say, being right-brained or left-brained. You're the first person I've seen who hasn't implied I'm disabled. I mean, disabled means someone's NOT able to do something, such as walk or see or hear. I hear and see and feel a lot, and I consider that being more enabled (rather than disabled) than NTs. Thanks for the comic.

    R. A. B.

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  142. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for posting this cartoon. Alo of it matches me. I am 38 and was Officially Diagnosed about 10 years ago. I have to agree with the comments regarding lack of services for Adults on the spectrum. I know from experience especially in the area of Helping adult Aspies with employment.

    That is why I decided to start Asperger Career Opportunities, Inc. (in the process of Changing the organizations name to Asperger Works)

    About Us

    Get to know Asperger's Career Opportunities, Inc. (Asperger Works) We are an early-stage startup non-profit focusing on solving the employment problem a great number of adults with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and other autism spectrum disorders cope with. Those with AS are willing and able to work but challenges like conducting a job search, managing a professional network, and navigating the social environment of the workplace put them at a great disadvantage. We want to work with both employees and employers to break down barriers to success.

    Putting Autism To Work

    More than a slogan, it's what we do. We put adults with autism spectrum disorders (Asperger's Syndrome, HFA, PDD-NOS) to work, literally and figuratively. We develop programs that help a very underserved segment of knowledge workers within the autistic community find fulfilling work, stay employed, and advance their careers. We put autism to work for employers by helping them to understand how to provide a work environment that works best for the employee with Asperger's Syndrome and the employer. We provide support services and advice for both adults with AS and employers so that they both can work together.

    If you would like to find out more Please visit us at www.aspergercareer.org

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  143. Just wanted to respond to those criticizing the self-diagnosis....for adults, that is often the only option. I have a brother who has struggled in life for reasons that fit *perfectly* with Aspergers, but there are precious few resources for adults. Awareness of the autism spectrum is new, and there have been exciting treatment results with children, so that's where everyone is focusing. An adult watching this unfold on the public stage and realizing is FITS his/her life has very little he/she can actually do about it. Including getting an "official" diagnosis.

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  144. Saw this just today...gonna share it with my kids..this is perfect for them..The problem that I run into with them-in trying to explain things..well, the explanations aren't relatable to them as people.. that's the most important lesson I want then to have,,,yes-they might do things or be affected by things differently..but there is an explanation for it..and at the end of the day-they are human beings just like everyone else..deserving of respect and inclusion..they just happen to do/experience/respond to things differently. It would make a cool tee-shirt.

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  145. Matt, I really enjoyed your presentation. Like you I am "self-diagnosed," and have found that reading other people's experiences with Asperger's makes me feel like I'm not alone. What makes it that much more difficult for me is the idea that you can't have Asperger's unless your condition is sufficiently debilitating--an idea that I find both odd and infuriating.

    Along those lines, here are some of the responses I've had:
    (1) "But you seem to get along okay." Yes, I've been largely able to compensate for my eccentricities. This doesn't mean I don't hae a qualitatively different experience.
    (2) "Everybody has those problems to some degree." Yes, but when you have it to the degree I do, you learn to hide it because people treat you like you are weird. Plus, even the people that say "everybody has it to some degree" seem completely unable to relate to how difficult it makes your everyday life.
    (3) "But you don't seem to have a problem with empathy." This one is a little more understandable to me, but it also reflects a serious misunderstanding about ASDs. We have some difficulties processing emotions and emotional cues that other people can't relate to; it doesn't mean that we necessarily lack in sympathy or caring. We're not sociopaths.
    (4) "How do you know you have it if you're not a doctor?" Well, there have been many times I could tell I had the flu without an expert opinion. The fact is that doctors are only barely starting to understand the spectrum of ASDs. I don't think there is a clear line between classic autism, high-functioning autism, Asperger's, and PDD-NOS. These are diagnostic buckets, aggregates of medical facts that are themselves composed of personal experiences such as my own. If I don't have Asperger's, I have something so darn near like it that they better hurry up and discover the syndrome. Until then, I don't care what they call it; I'm just glad I'm not so alone in it. Medical science has taken its time catching up with our experiences, and they will be a long time yet making sense of them.

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  146. Matt! I am a mother of an 11 yr. old sweet High Functiioning Autistic son! He JUST started middle school 3 weeks ago and already have shed a few tears watching and hearing about his stories of struggling to cope socially. Just the other day we were laying in his bed before he went to sleep and I asked him if he sat with anyone at lunch only to find out he didn't. He said "I sat by myself and did comics". He also likes to draw. Anyway, I asked him if that made him feel sad and he said it made him feel BOTH sad and glad. I didn't press him anymore because it makes him feel uncomfortable. I KNEW though that by the time lunch came around he needed a "break" from people yet I also know that he wants to be with other kids yet know's he's different and it's a struggle for him.

    I can't wait for him to read this as he will really enjoy the sketches and hopefully your explanation of how your brain works as it is the same for my son. I knnow this because he does what you described. It sure helped me. I KNOW my son will be fine but also know that it will take A LOT of work on our family's part. Luckily our family has decided he's WELL WORTH the effort!!!

    To ANYONE who posted negatively on this, SERIOUSLY, GET A LIFE!!!!

    Sincerely,
    A grateful mom!

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  147. Thanks to all of the recent comments - as always I enjoy hearing your stories, and knowing this post is helpful to you keeps me doing what I do.

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  148. Hi Matt,

    Great pictures and humor. It tells a lot without a lot of words (I'm afraid I always use a lot of words). i've thought for a long tim my son was an Aspei, but he is now diagnosed as having Sensory Processing disorder. But what I read as Asp.symptoms I guess adiagnosis partly depends on who does the tests and on what level you function in social contacts. Do you feel better after moving, swinging, gliding juming etc. My son changes, for a short time and loses soem of his Asperger like symptoms because of the vestibular stimuli those activites give.
    It turned out I have SPD myself, but I'm the opposite of my son: I hate moving.
    I also hate crowds or being with people for a long time, I get overloaded. I have my own blog about it. Maybe you would like to read it some time.
    My son and I we both know how it is to be 'ostracised', or to feel like a martian among earthlings, and people just can't understand that "participating more in social activites" (please, bring me a bucket...) doesn't make it disappear.
    Please continue to turn your Asp. into a talent instead of a disorder.

    Kind regards Joanne Lakefield-Jasper

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  149. I have an aspie son, 13 years old.
    I loved your "introduction" to Aspergers!

    I would show it to my son, but he purposely shows no interest in anything about his diagnosis.

    And, ignore all the haters! Us neurotypical people sure do like to jump on the bandwagons and bring people down...

    What I admire about my son is that he refuses to acknowledge haters and bullies.

    He is just himself.

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  150. Hi Matt,

    Great site,

    Im still learning about Asperger's Syndrome. We have been told by Doctors, that it is probably the reason my 3 year old son is not talking yet. He has recently had a brain scan and now wait for the results. The Docs here in South Africa, dont want to say he has it, until they are 100% sure.

    Thanks for the site, it has some great info.

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  151. I would like to address the very first comment i saw. very negative. first of all matt, wonderful wonderful book/article!! pinpoints it exactly not just for aspies my son has autism and some of his actions/reactions are the exact same. however this comment.. negative as it is.. the one thing that sticks out the most is the word weakness... weakness? no. autistics/aspies have the utmost strength. they have it right. i wish the world were full of them. and btw i have bipolar and know lots of people with neuro disorders and mental illnesses who are not weak. among them einstein. would you call him weak? hmm. it is like saying anyone with a disability is weak and i know plenty who are extremely strong and have done alot for our world such as the founder of the idependant living centers. here was a guy who lived on oxygen in a wheel chair could hardly move and founded one of the biggest organizations for disabled people in america. anyhow... you should think before you type. no one with a disability is weak. some "normal" people are weak minded though.

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  152. Ed Roberts thats his name I could not think of his name last post. the founder of the independant living centers. sorry about muliple posts but I had to sneak that in.

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  153. Does anyone know if it exists an official symbol for AP? From what I've encountered online, a coloured piece of a puzzle is the symbol for Autism, but I can't seem to find anything official regarding AP.

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  154. Matt,
    Thank you for this easy-to-see and read description of some Asberger's traits. It is, I think, especially difficult for adults on the ASD spectrum to seek out and learn about themselves. I agree that "self identification" can be had. I just wanted to comment that for those who want to avail themselves of therapy or disability accommodations, an "official" diagnosis is very helpful. eg: insurance and coverage and funds from other sources. I attended a conference, years ago, where an MD who has been at the forefront in researching ASD said to school personnel "DO Label" "Do get the diagnosis" otherwise the children will not receive the help they deserve.
    Side note: re: your cartooning. I once worked with a young boy with autism who was very very talented in producing artwork and cartoons. He has since had great success as an artist and he has done many cartoons in frames since he was about 11. So many children with autism have this ability with art. When I worked with him, we "communicated" through "balloon cartoons" when he or I could not understand each other.
    You may have seen him online or in the news. He is now grown and has shown his art at galleries. His name is Justin Canha, you can google him if you like.
    Again, thank you for your book! I also have an ex-boyfriend who's found, I think, some comfort in learning that some of his "life-long" problems, being bullied for being different, etc., as well as his attention to some "social mores" that he just wasn't aware of. He remains a good friend and interestingly, his mother tried and tried to have him diagnosed as Autistic, but the "specialists" at that time said she was wrong, so he never received any help. He was "too intelligent" (and he IS that!). That was in the 60's, so it may be a good thing, in that the "treatments" at that time were frequently very cruel. Best of luck to you, and, again, thanks for sharing!

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  155. I love these! I'm so glad I found this site. You're so clever.
    Would it be okay if I used some of these during my 'Autism and Aspergers 101' Powerpoint presentations to educators and other professionals? I would credit you for them, of course. They explain in a single frame just how the mind of someone on the spectrum works. Keep up the great work.

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    1. Thank you - yes, you're welcome to use them!

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    2. hi i am an aspie

      it is weird
      but then life has been really weird for me

      mooseman

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  156. Simply brilliant Matt, look at all the lives you've touched.

    I self diagnosed years before Asberger's became an official thing, I just called it "autism lite". I have no interest in getting officially diagnosed, I've already worked out enough coping skills to deal with those who are invading my planet, enough so that I doubt most people would see me as anything more than a little eccentric and occasionally erratic. I can live with that.

    Keep up the good work Matt, you've said more in a few scribbles than I could in volumes.

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  157. I'd just like to make a point about self-diagnosis (sorry Matt, I know you said to leave it, but hope this helps?).... there are many people in the world who realise something is wrong with them, so maybe do some research to try to establish what it could be.... often before going to a GP. Then when they have an idea as to what their problem might be, they go to the GP... who may or may not agree or sympathise with them....? GPs are not infallible!! They may eventually receive a 'formal' diagnosis and be able to obtain help/treatment etc, but the biggest benefit is in knowing what's been wrong all along?... removing the anxiety of thinking you're hopeless or weird or cracking up or whatever...!! sound familiar?... well guess what?... I am NOT Aspie'...- I am referring to what happened to me when I strongly suspected I had Thyroid problems....!!!(it took 5 years before I was finally put on correct dose of Levothyroxine!!)my point is, it doesn't matter what the condition, people should be given the same respect and sympathy if they know something is 'wrong'?... If I hadn't 'self-diagnosed' I would never have had the conviction to stick it out when GP kept sending me for lots of generic tests for separate symptoms?.. My life has been transformed, and I totally empathise with Aspie' folk at the relief in finally discovering their 'box'...:) Incidentally, my partner is a self-diagnosed Aspie' and that knowledge has also transformed his life too!! Thanks Matt.

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  158. I loved this so much!!! I am a mother to an 8 year old Aspie... and (ex) partnered to a 32 year old Aspie... self-diagnosed, by me, himself, and another friend of mine who has a degree in Psychology. 'Knowing' my partner is Aspie has made so many things about him, our relationship, and his life CLICK into place! Things actually make sense now, where before it was just all too weird to be 'normal'. I'm sure you understand what I mean.
    This blog post made me LOL because I saw so much of my son and partner in it. <3 Thanks for posting this... ignore the haters - they have to nitpick about everything!

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  159. Good on you Matt, my diagnosis changed my life too! It helped me understand many reasons why i was different and also why i recognised so many like me.(i KNEW there was something wrong with so many people, poor dumb buggers!)(anonymous, dont for get to DIE on the WAY OUT!!)
    ASPIES RULE!!

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  160. Matt, what a great cartoon! I just found it thanks to Stark Raving Mad Mommy via the Babble List. Please DO DO a version for kids! I have an 8 year old who is not quite ready yet, but will be soon, and I'd love to share something like this with him. This is a nice, straight forward, positive, refreshing statement of what it is like to be an aspie. And it comes from your perspective (and not an NT perspective) which is even better.

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    1. Thanks! Perhaps you all will talk me into a kids' version yet...

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  161. Hi Matt Ive been a diagnosed aspie for a month now and i just want to say Thankyou! this cartoon helped me when i was goin through diagnosis and wen telling people about my diagnosis showing them your cartoon made them understand who i am.
    Im a very proud Aspie and ill defnitly be following your blog :0) xx

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  162. Hi Matt

    Stole one of your picks, I think you said I could - just bought the book for £1.24, don't spend it all at once! I've included you in a Squidoo book review. Let me know if you don't like it and I'll change it - no problem. You can find my rantings poconnor1 on Squidoo.

    http://www.squidoo.com/writing-a-book-about-aspergers

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    1. "So bad it's brilliant." Um, I guess that's a compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  163. Hi, i'm 16 (i feel so young compared to most of the other commentors...) and i think i might be an aspie.
    Recently, after meeting a professor who's an Aspie and having a conversation with her about Asperger's, I started having my suspicions. I did my resear and wrote a list of possible sympytoms., and came up with 17 different points.
    For example, at parties, I often excuse myself to the bathroom just to catch my breath from the people, I cannot stand the texture of cooked mushroom, and I like writing and words, because the meaning is definite and told straight-out. And I like repeating words and random bits of poetry that I may have only heard once or twice. And dont get me started on eye contact. One time, I was instructing one of my newspaper writers (I'm editor in cheif of my school's newspaper) and she grabbed my chin, turned my face toward hers, and said, "look at me when you talk, for goodness's sake!" I told her that if I look at her eyes I'll forget whet I'm trying to say, and it was the first time I realized it myself. However, I had recognized my faceblindness a long time ago, but never thought it could be a symptom of anything bigger.
    I've brought up the idea before to my sister and mother that I might be neurogically different, but my sister strongly claims that I'm looking for attention. My mother did admit that when my mental health was checked as a toddler, the doctor told her that I was going to be very special intellectually, and I did teach myself how to read at age two. And because I often didn't pay attention in class, I was tested for ADD in third grade and was given medacation for it until I told my mom that it made me lose my awareness of my surroundings when I took it.
    Do you think I should get a professional medical opinion or am I "aspie" enough to be able to call myself one?

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    1. Hi, it certainly sounds like you identify with a lot of Aspie traits. As for whether you should get a diagnosis, that's a decision only you can make. Think about what it would mean to you - would it be helpful in qualifying for services, or do you want it for your own peace of mind? It also depends on where you live and whether diagnosis is accessible and affordable. In some cases, it's much easier to get diagnosed as a young person than as an adult. Whatever you decide, I suggest connecting with online communities such as Wrong Planet, and that will help you become more certain in your own mind where you fit on the spectrum. Good luck!

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  164. This is a very long string of replies, and I doubt many will read this, but, wanted to share.

    I was self-diagnosed for about a year or so. Money held me back. Then I stumbled upon a low-income grant available at a university near me (U of W to be specific, $450 was much more doable then $4000). Long story short, I got my diagnosis.

    I was even discouraged from the idea of "Self-Diagnosis" during my process. But honestly, certain traits, at certain notable degrees, to me makes Aspergers (Soon to be *Autism* anyway), a uniquely, self-diagnosable, condition.....

    Love the cartoons, I think we spoke on Wrongplanet about 6-7 months or so ago. Saw the TV show, your Short was the best thing about it. The show itself has too much ingenuous scripting/plot devices for me, but then I hate most programming on TV anyway. They got the asperger themes mostly correct, but I worry that truly aspie kids would see through exageration. I could go into further, but i'll save it. Feel free to PM me on Wrongplanet if you want to hear it.

    Keep up the good work,
    Ta,
    Aldran

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience - glad you got the answer you were seeking.

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  165. What a simple way to convey the message. Hopefully more people will understand. Not everyone will get aboard at once though, and that's just natural.

    Well done!

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  166. Hi, This is such a wonderful thing to bring to people. As a "wierd" kid I truly feel for those with differences in perception. I wish our school environments were really about nurturing all of our amazing unique ways of seeing the world. We need the input from all kinds of minds and hearts. I wish education was really about helping every child to blossom. Thank you for doing the good work!

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  167. The Ah ha moment is the strengthening point. I don't look at Asperger's as a Syndrome it constitutes difference. With 1/ 110 with some type of Autism it's hardly different. It's a way of life and processing information we are just learning about. Until you understand that some people do not smile on cue please keep learning about AS. It is your ignorance that may have you miss a diagnosis in your own family and therefore treat a harmless person with rudeness. Instead learn about others and the way they process. Because you too may be immediatly influenced by a co-worker, niece, nephew, gran-child, son or daughter with AS or Autism. Be grateful that science has come so far to learn about the brain. We are all human and the only way to survive is to learn about those surrounding us.
    Learning about AS has helped me be a better and more successful person it was the clarity I needed to realize why things didn't make sense. Now I can be better and proud of myself because I know how to fit in.

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  168. Why do you think people can live 70+ years before hearing of asperger's syndrome, and the first instant they read about it, they go like: WOW, That is ME for the past 70 years?! What other kind of "disorder" is like that you can live your entire life knowing you're "special" and "different", but have no clue why until you hear about Asperger's, yet function "normally" most of the time, AND is uncurable? It's like we're all out there, invisible to the untrainted and ignorant eyes.

    Asperger's is NOTHING like depression or anxiety, which are temporary, curable afflictions. Aspies are often afflicted by depression, and other's treatment can bring on anxiety, but otherwise the diagnoses share absolutely NOTHING in common.

    Asperger's is the CORE of a person's being = an "aspie". It IS the personality of that person, and is completely - one 100% - individual. It is 100% UNREMOVABLE and part of WHO YOU ARE. Got it?

    At the same time, asperger's is undeniably a disability, but most often BECAUSE of other people's ignorance about it!

    Asperger syndrome is just observable traits which are most often shared. Someone with ALL the traits, would be called an autist. Often aspies can have the opposite traits, and stay under the radar their entire lives. We are 100% individual, and yes, we are more "special" / "coming from another planet", than most.

    Asperger's is NOT a disease. It's a different kind of personality. Aspies, when trained and educated, have the potential to become MORE functional members of society than NTs. Don't forget, almost everyone on Star Trek was an aspie, with Spock as the High-Chief amongst them ;-) Although I think the series overstated his type of personality's ability to lead other people. Aspies are good, honest technocratic leaders, but no naturals and can quickly become stressed out, which is why we rarely lead.

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  169. I am the Mum of a young man with Aspergers. He is incredibly honest and intelligent (has just topped the year at his uni) but spends most of his days and nights locked up in his room studying and researching. He tries to avoid talking to us because he doesn't like how we fail to apply scientifc methodology to our comments. He thinks we do not approach communication 'rationally'. During his lifetime I have had well meaning friends, teachers and so forth trying to impose there non-Aspie view of the world on to me with negative comments about my mothering style with no regard to the fact that my son is an individual with his own preferences that I have no control over. Even now, the same friends ask me over and over again if my son is now going to parties and night clubs like 'he should be at his age'.I have given up trying to explain the situation because quite frankly, they will never understand. I am so proud of my son and despite the scrutiny from others that I should somehow be making him into a party animal, I hold dearly to my heart that he is one of the most genuine and gentle men you could ever meet. And to the person who made the comment that if you have Aspergers you can put your mind to it and change, you've got it SO SO WRONG! Anyhow, I look on in awe at my sons strengths and as long as he is content in life and treats others with respect, I wouldn't want to change him for the world.

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  170. That. Is. Awesome. Thank you so much :)

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  171. Thank you Matt, best description ive seen. Keep up the great work!

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  172. Dude I think you so much you've given me a better understanding of my 22 year old cousin and his troublesome voyage. But in the end he has pursued God to the end. Thanks Matt and your doodles where amazing.

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  173. This is amazing. I have recently put the pieces together that I am an Aspie. As with many of you, I don't have the time or money to do a professional diagnosis....but when I read about AS, it's like the pieces of the puzzle fall in to place. Your cartoons have made me feel so much better...less hindered by my new findings. Thank you!

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  174. I looked at this for my son... And it totally fits. Then I realized, I've been telling myself I'm deficient or crazy all these years for having difficulties in crowds, loud places, anything super emotional, peoples faces, trying to figure out what they are saying, and if they are mad, sad, happy, it's always been so hard. Always.... wow. Thanks for the site, it'll help with my son, and other stubborn NT's in my life.

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  175. Wow, it's amazing that the way you describe it.Thank you for your work.
    When they diagnosis me at the psychiatric hospital, there was already few years ago, they didn't explain clearly the thing . So, I was looking for by myself some books which can explain that I'm suffered, the only ones I've found were some english books. It was a little hard for me to translate it, anyway it was helpful.
    And now, I have discovered your blog and your comics. I've just buy it, I think it has its place on my shelf.

    (Sorry for my english, I know it's horrible. But to quote Monty Python "I'm French! Why do think I have this outrageous accent")

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    1. Thanks for visiting! I'm glad you found your answers.

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