Saturday, September 15, 2007

How weird am I?

There was a link in the forums on etsy the other day to an online quiz that would tell you what your Autism Spectrum Quotient was. I scored 30 which is at the very high end of normal. I scored 32 on this one which is the low end of Autism around Asperger's Syndrome. Some information on Asperger's is here.

So does it seem strange to you that I scored that high on these tests? Wellll......

I'll tell you a secret: I don't know how to behave in new situations. I don't know the right things to say or do and so I watch other people to get clues on what I should be doing. I'm withdrawn until I "learn" the behaviour. After that, I come across as having known how to behave all my life. One thing that is helping me get over this is pretending that I'm someone else who's good at behaving in a given situaiton.

I tend to take things very literally. Whatever a person says, that's what they mean. I also don't get jokes, and often don't know when someone is being teased - I take things like that very literally. I think I know when people are bored, but I don't always understand facial expressions. I remember being in my teens and asking someone why movies showed such close-ups of people when they were looking at others - I couldn't tell what those people were feeling. I can now tell when people I know are happy or unhappy, but I'm still not very good at figuring out what people are thinking or feeling.

I don't know how rigid I am or how devoted to routines I actually am, but I can say that I really dislike being interrupted. I am not one of those people who has an open-door policy at work. Really, I want a door so that I can shut people out! I very much dislike being interrupted at home, too. If I'm watching tv or working on beads or reading a magazine and someone calls, I'm not going to want to take the phone. Some of you may have noticed that when you call, I seem uninterested in talking on the phone or that I'm somewhat abrupt with you. It's not that I don't want to talk, but it's that I prefer not to be interrupted (I hope that makes sense). For that reason, I encourage people to contact me by email (or for me make the phone call so that I'm doing the interrupting :) ).

I also have a hard time when people stay with me. There's no way that someone else in the house won't interrupt me in my daily routines, because even talking to me when I'm accustomed to things being quiet in my own house is an interruption to me. I love seeing people but I need my own space, too, where I can be me. That's one of the reasons that I don't have many people stay with me.

Of course I relax my own routine and work to be less sensitive when I'm staying in someone's house. : ) It can be tiring to do this for a long time, though, so I generally don't try to do this at home.

I can also handle more interruptions when I'm not tired - when I'm feeling good and when I'm not exhausted, I can better handle things. I get MUCH more rigid when I'm tired.... and I'm much more tired these days than I was a year or two ago.

Someone posted a question asking whether people who scored high on this test had sensory integration issues as well, which I do - I'm highly sensitive to certain loud noises. We had budgies when I was growing up and they would chirp and I would have done almost anything to make them stop because the noise hurt my ears. More recently, I remember covering my ears and screaming because I couldn't stand the sound of people drilling through concrete. I also have problems with the sound of a fork scraping against china.

So do I have Asperger's? Probably not, but I am not exactly what people would consider "normal", either :)

Oh - we went to see our old dragonboat team, the Silvermasters, in their last event in Stratford today. It was cold and windy and we were happy to not be paddling (although we were asked several times to paddle). The team came in 18th out of 59 which is a pretty good showing.


Tibcat said...

Sorry about the budgies - I like to think I would have gotten rid of them had I known they bothered your ears. But that was long ago, and I'm not sure you could have told me, and I'm not sure I could have heard you then. Love, Mom

Chantelle said...

It's ok - I know you loved the budgies and that they made you very happy.

I do know that the chirping didn't bother my ears all the time but I don't remember the specific circumstances under which it did. Their chirping was pretty to me the rest of the time (I wish I'd said that earlier).


Anonymous said...

As I was reading I was thinking you are the same as me....but we're different. The loud noise thing is the same (and I work in an environment with clanging stainless steel and pssstting depositors and chunking cutters) which is why I demand absolute silence occasionally. Ok, frequently :)

I don't like interruptions either and have had to put my book down because I can't concentrate on it if the boys are talking, if the tv is on, if the Playstation is too loud, if the phone rings. So I understand that really really well.

Where we are different seems to be that I can easily read facial expressions and judge when people are bored or interested, I can easily see people's intentions and divide what they are saying by what they really mean. And that's one way I judge actors, if I can tell he/she is acting then I may not want to continue watching the show.

Is it possible that we have an Autism Cluster in our family? Does it usually run in families? Interesting........

Love you,

Anonymous said...

I think many people do not like interruptions. I myself do not either, especially at work. This year with our staff changes has been hard with that. It's hard to focus & get work done with people constantly interrupting you.

I wish I could tell when people are bored when I'm talking to them so I can stop! lol Love, Trina

Darling Jee said...

Hi Chantelle

I found your self-analysis fascinating. I thought I was neurotic for being that way myself! I am also sensitive to noise. I love silence and love living alone for that reason. It used to drive me nuts when my mother would turn on the TV early in the morning. Office noise also drives me nuts, especially loud phone calls about personal subjects. And I am having a problem with my neighbours and their intimate nocturnal habits (!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing all that - I am glad because it allows people to understand more about me - and me too (yeah yeah I have an empathy problem)!

I also don't like interruptions, or more particularly 'last-minute changes' - I have to feel in control at all times.

Sounds often seem too loud, but I'm also extremely sensitive to smell, taste (I'm a supertaster and salt from foods like 'tatoe chips even sometimes burns my tongue), and touch (I'm always itchy, and tags HURT).

Anyway, I'd go on and on, but the blog isn't about ME! I recommend that anyone who thinks they may have some form of high-functioning autism should watch "Snow Cake", as I found it pretty accurate.

p.s. I scored 48 on the test (did you notice both tests are the same?)