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 I'm withdrawn until I "learn" the behaviour.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.