Autie or Aspie?

All over the place I see the use of abbreviation autie or aspie. For those unaware autie is a short for autistic, someone with an autism diagnosis. Aspie is short for Aspergers, someone with an Aspergers diagnosis. Autism and Aspergers used to be categorised separately though part of the autistic spectrum. Now it is much more about Aspergers being a subcategory and really the distinction isn’t made too much.

Though for me I’m not sure which one to identify to. Do I have autism or Aspergers? That’s a question I ask myself often. I am about to refer to NAS information so anything I talk about I’ve read about there so there is continuity.

Basic definition
“Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.” This definition really covers all the autistic spectrum conditions.

Bit more in depth
So we have our base understanding. A couple more things to state autistics have:
difficulty in social communication,
social interaction and
restricted/repetitive behaviour.

Also may have learning needs, i.e. ADHD, dyslexia, etc. and
Sensory sensitivity, either hyper or hypo

So now quick look at how Aspergers differs from autism.

Main differences
Instead of restricted repetitive behaviours they list social imagination in reference to Aspergers. Also have fewer difficulties with speech and are often above or average intelligence.

Okay so now the distinction has been made I’m going to explain why I’m confused about where I would fall in terms of ‘label’.

My confusion
As loyal followers will know (❤️ you all) I don’t have like an official diagnosis but I’m not self diagnosed (I know I say it a lot it’s just for clarification). Anyway, I was round two years old when my mother noticed that I wasn’t developing typical. I’d stopped speaking and completely wouldn’t respond to anyone, except my brother, and I went through assessments, observations, etc. It was clear from them I was but it was back in the early 90s and the disability act had just changed, autism was in its infancy. So I got a language disorder diagnosis a referral to an autism specialist clinic but it was to disruptive and a no go for an autistic person to go to a series of appointments during school time disrupting routine. Anyway so clearly I had language delay and speech issues all pointing to an autism diagnosis. I also had clear repetitive behaviours that I had to do in order to function.

So let’s speed up decades and I have average intelligence, no diagnosed learning disabilities I could speculate that I have certain conditions but really I wouldn’t want to be using other conditions flippantly so I will not, I don’t believe in doing that because I hate when people use autism flippantly. My speech is better though I get tongue-tied often and not quite stutter but similar to that. I feel that I have repetitive behaviours that dictate how I navigate the world, certain things that take it to a new level. For example I get anxious if things are not in even numbers, like food, I genuinely will feel really weird if I’ve eaten an odd number and bothers me to an obsessive point, again I’m not trying to use obsessively flippantly.

So am I autie or aspie?
Well I realise I shouldn’t be bothered about which one I am but my literal organising brain can’t help but want to categorise and place a label onto myself. It’s how I understand things I need to organise and categorise otherwise I’m anxious. So I think I’m an autie. My reasoning is that I hit the criteria when I was younger for autism it was noticeable at an early age, as opposed to Aspergers which is usually later, speech difficulties. If I had finished the official diagnosis route when I was younger I’m sure it would have been autism. Though now as an adult if I sought out a piece of paper diagnosis I think my diagnosis would be Aspergers.

I identify as an autie mainly, well really I would just say autistic. I mean it probably doesn’t matter and sometimes I think I’ve used aspie but I prefer autie. I feel it better describes me.
I hope no offence is caused in this post. It is just my opinion and obsession with categorising and everything having an order.

Thanks for reading. Hope you liked it. Peace out!

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2 thoughts on “Autie or Aspie?

  1. Thanks for sharing! I’m a new follower so don’t know very much about you yet, but just wanted to talk briefly about the autism/AS distinction, because it interests me.

    How autism/AS are distinguished depends on a few things, but primarily which diagnostic manual is used, and which psych diagnoses you. It’s generally understood nowadays that there’s no meaningful distinction to be made between the two, which is why the latest diagnostic manuals (DSM 5, and the ICD 11 will follow suit when it’s released) collapse all the categories into the single label of “Autism Spectrum Disorder”: so, both (classic) autism and AS are autism.

    The older diagnostic criteria come from the previous versions of these manuals. The main differences between autism and AS are that, for AS, there shouldn’t have been any language or cognitive delays evident before the age of 3. Also, while for autism there should be abnormalities in communication and social interaction, and “restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests, and activities”, the criteria for AS don’t require there to be abnormalities in communication.

    The thing is, psychs usually have their own ideas of what ‘autism’ and ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ look like, even if researchers generally agree there’s no distinction to be made, plus they’re often still using the older diagnostic manuals. This means psychs will often, especially for adulthood assessments, decide which label to apply based on the stereotypes they’re aware of. For instance, like you mentioned, one stereotype of AS is that people have average or above average IQ, so lots of clinicians diagnosing adults who have jobs, have been to university, etc, will automatically reach for the AS label instead of the autism one (because there’s often also the assumption that, if you’re ‘classically’ autistic, you would have been diagnosed in childhood). As well as this, sometimes it’s hard to remember or get evidence from your very early years, so if you don’t have a lot of information about your developmental history, an AS diagnosis is probably more likely as the criteria don’t require that information.

    For instance, when I was diagnosed, because I’m at university etc, the psych was initially leaning towards an AS diagnosis, but when we discussed my developmental history it became clear that an autism diagnosis was more accurate. If I hadn’t had that information, I would have been diagnosed with AS. So it can be quite arbitrary which ‘label’ is applied! I think there’s stigma against autism compared with AS, too – at my uni, all the support services for autistic students are labelled as being for students with AS, the assumption being that if you’re able to study at uni you must have AS rather than ‘classic’ autism! So when I was diagnosed, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to access that support, but fortunately it’s not so black and white as they make it seem.

    Anyway, all this aside – I thought it might be helpful to think of the AS/autism distinction as an artificial category that researchers don’t really believe in any more, rather than worrying too much about which side of the divide you fall on.

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    1. Yes the diagnostic process is very muddle and not clear I know especially if you are an autistic woman being judged by male criteria. Despite scientists knowing for decades that male and female brains are different so of course neurological conditions like autism will effect male and females differently. It’s a shame people who are not autistic are sometimes deemed more qualified to determine how autistic someone is. Though of course outside perspective is needed.

      Though I disagree and feel that the distinction between AS/ASD can be useful just as you have ADD and ADHD. It allows for more precision and meaning an individual’s needs are better described by a label that is appropriate to them. Having just one term for such a complex condition I feel can lead to lack of understanding because it can leave it open to too much interpretation and then how will people get the support that they specifically need if the umbrella is too big. Like if we are all shoved under one single umbrella then some will be at the edge and pushed out into the rain. Whereas if there are smaller umbrellas like ASD/AS/PDA more people can get a better quality of coverage. If that analogy makes sense. I love an analogy. That’s just my personal opinion.

      I appreciate your opinion and so glad to see you are following my blog. I think healthy debate can only enrich all our understanding of autism and anything for that matter. Spread the love ❤️

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