This week on Nexus Awareness we are putting Asperger syndrome (AS), Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the forefront of our feature. We will, as always, be supplying an introduction to both of these topics which consist of descriptions, figures and various help that can be found on the internet for sufferers. This will then be followed by a personal account from Jess Draper, who is the owner of The Girl Full of Reviews who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome/Autism, which is a music blog that has a fantastic focus on live performances, reviews and interviews.
To begin, it is important to distinguish the difference between Autism Spectrum Disorder, Pathological Demand Avoidance and Asperger syndrome. Furthering this, we also cover how AS and DPA can be contributing profiles towards ASD.
Firstly, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong developmental disability. It affects various aspects of an individuals life and it is a spectrum disorder. It can affect individuals in different ways, from social interaction and communication to hobbies, interests and behaviour. NHS Scotland report that:
“In children with ASD, the symptoms are present before three years of age, although a diagnosis can sometimes be made after the age of three. It’s estimated that about 1 in every 100 people in the UK has ASD. More boys are diagnosed with the condition than girls. There’s no “cure” for ASD, but speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, educational support, plus a number of other interventions are available to help children and parents“. (NHS Scotland, n.d., Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Following this, AS is one of two profiles that can link to the ASD spectrum. Those who suffer from AS often have average or above average intelligence, whilst having different difficulties compared to those who suffer from ASD. To reference The National Autism Society:
“Often, those with Asperger syndrome do not have the learning disabilities that many autistic people have, but they may have specific learning difficulties. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language” (autism.org.uk. n.d., What is Asperger syndrome).
The final profile which we have to look at is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This profile has begun to increase awareness when defining profiles that are capable of being linked to the ASD spectrum. It is not currently universally accepted as a behaviour profile, but as previously mentioned, this is increasing. As a brief definition and to quote Autism.org:
“Autism is a spectrum condition. All autistic people share certain difficulties, but being autistic will affect them in different ways. Some autistic people also have learning disabilities, mental health issues or other conditions, meaning people need different levels of support. All people on the autism spectrum learn and develop. With the right sort of support, all can be helped to live a more fulfilling life of their own choosing”.
Although we have kept this quite brief in order to not overwhelm you with information, please feel free to follow the links to their respected websites in order to discover more information surrounding each of the profiles or ASD itself. There is a multitude of links to various support which can be found by clicking here.
Personal Account – Jess Draper
From being very young I always had a passion for music, dancing and singing along to whatever I heard. Music was magical to me. As I got older I couldn’t understand why others weren’t like that. I met people who couldn’t care less about it and would rather talk about something else when I would constantly go on about it. Early this year (2018) I was diagnosed with Asperger’s which is an Autism spectrum disorder. It all made sense, my constant adoration for music, why I analysed every lyric, beat and meaning.
When you have Asperger’s you have specialist subjects some have computers etc but I have music. We are also very obsessive about things and our specialist subjects. This trait can pose both positive and negative effects, positively I don’t give in easily if I’m struggling to write a review or come up with questions I will listen to the artist over and over again to perfect whatever I’m writing, I can analyse music fairly well, when certain instruments come in, how long a harmony is etc.
Then negatively it gets in the way a lot, at the moment I’m in college for issuing my first year and I tend to prioritize my blogging before revision especially with maths, I’m quite stubborn. One musician I know of recent who also has Asperger’s is Gary Neuman, and honestly, finding out about him really helped because he has helped me to understand that Asperger’s can be a positive thing and isn’t always a bad thing. Without Asperger’s, I wouldn’t be as colourful and creative as I am.