Where are all the females with Autism or Aspergers hiding? Life As a Chameleon Part I

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In my two Gold medal award-winning books, I Am AspienGirl and I am AspienWoman, I discuss the female phenotype and how it presents differently from males. One of the areas I have been able to research and ask of my clients is, “how have you managed to hide your Autism all this time?” Other questions I ask them include:

I have worked with clients for over 20 years who have told me how they hide or not hide their Autism. Some autistic individuals can and some cannot or do not choose too. These behaviors are referred to as masking, camouflaging, assimilation, compensation, coping strategies, passing for normal, pretending to be normal or being a chameleon. In order to assist with females and males obtaining an assessment or diagnosis, I am pre-releasing a part of my book to assist professionals in recognizing Autistic females and males by asking the right questions.

The Compensatory mechanisms used by some Autistic people I have met and listened to are complex, even going so far as to use one behavior to cover up another. These questions and behaviors come directly from my professional experience as a psychologist working with individuals with Autism, Giftedness and Social Anxiety. Thank you to all my clients for sharing your stories with me.

The Compensatory Measures Checklist©, Marshall 2017, excerpt from my from my upcoming book. 

Do you feel different than your peers? When was the first time you ever felt different?

What exactly makes you feel different from your peers?

What is your experience of social interactions with your peers like?

Do you copy or mimic your peers (copy their voice or accent, words, and language or slang, hand and/or body gestures). Do you laugh when they laugh even when you don’t understand why you are laughing?

Do you take on a persona of always smiling and pleasing everybody?

Do you make better versions of yourself that based on peers in school, over time? How do you do that?

Have you ever read books on etiquette, social skills, facial expressions, microexpressions? Have you practiced them in front of a mirror? Have you practiced making more or less of a facial expression? In particular, have you purposefully changed you smile or facial expression to look “more normal”? Have you studied anatomy books, in particular, the facial muscle that matches with each facial expression (for example, knowing that a certain muscle is used in smiling and practicing using that muscle?

Have you ever used Botox or a similar cosmetic ingredient to make your face appear more natural, less angry or furrowed/worried?

Do you watch YouTube videos on social skills, self-improvement, and human etiquette in order to fit in?

Has a peer ever make a comment about your gait or other forms of behavior? If so, did you actively practice a behavior until you were able to make it look like your peers do when they behave that way? (for example, being told he/she had a ‘funny’ run and then purposefully practicing the running over and over again until it was perfect).

Have you watched movies to learn how to act with your peers? (for e.g, learn that you need to have a big smile and say hello to everyone because that is how people will like you).

Do you force yourself to make eye contact, look somewhere else on a persons face, look at their mouth or look at them for too long? Do you find yourself staring at people?

Do you hide some body language or facial expressions to fit in? (for e.g., sitting on your hands, twirling your hair instead of stimming or cracking your knuckles)

Do you spend the majority of your time thinking about what to say, how to act or behave, and/or analyzing social situations? Do you analyze what you could or should have said in a prior or past social situation?

Do you pretend to be shy and quiet and therefore avoid the “social drama” of having to navigate the social world of your peers?

Do you have a permanent smile on your face even though you are miserable inside?

Do others say you look angry when you feel happy or another emotion inside?

Have you or do you taken.take on the persona of a book, television, movie character or a celebrity?

Do you attend social situations, but don’t really want to (saying you will go to a party to get in with the “cool kids”). Do you do their homework for them to fit in? Do you do the groups work for the group to gaon social equity?

Do you write in your journal what you think you should say or do or not say or not do and practice them over and over, so you can use them in school? Do you have a list of sayings, slang, words from songs, movies or social media that you use to be “cool” or try to fit in?

Have you developed a special interest that is not yours but simply to “fit in” but you actually found that interest boring (for e.g, pretending to be in love with a certain pop star but you couldn’t care less about them)?

Do you participate in social events, parties, clubs that you do not want to in order to gain social currency? Do you use the skills you have learned from YouTube, social media, books, movies when you are at these social events? Do you find that you have to begrudgingly attend these events?

Do you use alcohol or drugs as a social lubricant? Does the use of drugs or alcohol allow you to be more social and/or have less anxiety?

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Do you utilize social media (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Reddit) to learn social nuances, how to interact socially, or how to hide your social awkwardness?

Do you act in varying ways depending on the social situation that you are in? Do others comment on or notice that you act differently depending on who you are with, the social context or environment?

Do you pretend to like the interests of whomever you are with at the time, however you know inwardly that you don’t like them? Do you make yourself look like you are interested in what your peers are saying, doing, how they are behaving, interested in their interests?

Have you ever had a girlfriend/boyfriend that you inwardly said to yourself, “Why am I with this person? I don’t even like them”.

Do you find yourself involved in friendships and/or relationships and wonder in your head why you are with them because you don’t really like them?

Do you feel there are times when you can be yourself? Do you feel you always have to be “someone else” to be in this world?

Is your headspace mostly filled with continual thoughts about what you should do next, do better, who to pretend to be like?

Do you have a habit of giving gifts to make and keep friends?

Has your family or another person supported you with social skills (enrolled you in drama, etiquette or social skills classes or a modeling school to learn deportment)?

How long can you socialize for before feeling tired?

Are there times where you actively find excuses not to attend events, parties, assembly at school, group activities? Do you often say “yes” to a social event and then make up a last-minute excuse as to why you cannot attend?

Do you purposefully go to the library, become a prefect, girl scout leader, homecoming queen, cheerleader, debate team leader (so you can give the directions or debate rather than socialize)?. Do you try to become the teacher’s helper at lunchtimes, hide in the bathroom, walk the hallways alone, join lunchtime clubs, wag school, so that you do not have to socialize with your peers?

Do you or are you reading or studying psychology, sociology, taking microexpressions and facial recognition training to learn to better yourself in terms of understanding people and socializing. Do you read social skills books, watch social skills training on YouTube or another social media platform?

Have you learned from your studies and them practiced how to ask people questions, listening skills and/or other social skills?

Are you overly aware of other people looking at you or pacing attention on you? Do you dislike attention? Do you feel like you spend the majority of your mental and physical energy on how you interact with others?

Do you feel like an ‘imposter’ in social situations?

To be continued in Part 2 and many more examples coming 

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I Am AspienGirl

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I Am AspienWoman

AspienWoman April Elit Award1Behind the Mask 3DCoverJune2015

The Compensatory Measures Checklist©, Marshall 2017, excerpt from my from my upcoming book. Thank you.

Copyright© Tania A. Marshall, www,aspiengirl.com, http://www.taniamarshall.com

 

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Just in! Videos: FAQ style, Educational, Instructional, Interviews and more.

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Just in! Videos, FAQ’s style and more

Tania has been requested multiple times to share her work over her lengthy career, give her opinion or support a person or organization. She is now sharing her work via Video FAQ’s or videos, from various individuals or organizations and conferences including the Secret Agent Society, Different Brains, Asperger Argentina’s first and second Symposium and conference on females on the Autism Spectrum, and Asperger Sevilla’s (Spain) recent Innagural Women on the Spectrum Conference and others. These videos can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk_kFdaPkv4w0ieOgfR3IvA

If you like a video or feel it would help someone, please share the video, like the video, subscribe to Tania’s channel and hit the bell to be notified when the next video is coming out. You can leave your FAQ in the comments section below and Tania will read and select a question to answer in the future. Tania will answer the video and it will be uploaded to YouTube. Click on a picture below and you will be taken to her YouTube page, where you can learn more from FAQ’s, conference, interviews and more.

Tania also has her videos on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/neurodiversityacademy

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More Videos coming here soon. Don’t forget if you have an FAQ, leave it in the comments section here or better yet on YouTube and you may see your question being answered by Tania in the future. And always remember to ‘Be Your Own Superhero’.

To contact Tania for in-person or Skype/Zoom fee-based impressions assessments, consultations, interviews, translations, problem-solving sessions and more, please email tania@aspiengirl.com

AspienGirl©

Professional Interview Series: Professor Uta Frith

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This is the first in a series of interviewing professionals in the area of Autism, Aspergers and related conditions. It is with great honour that I was given the opportunity to interview Professor Uta Frith.

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Tania: Welcome Professor Frith and thank-you for agreeing to an interview with me. I am honoured to be interviewing a world expert on autism spectrum conditions. What attracted you to make a career in cognitive neuroscience and Autism?

Professor Frith: In the 1960s, when I started out as a PhD student, autism was hardly known and cognitive neuroscience did not exist. I had now idea that my career would take me deep into these mysterious directions. I suppose it was the very mysteriousness of autistic children, which attracted me to study them.

I was interested in development because I had been very impressed by lectures on Piaget by Ernst Boesch, Professor of Psychology at my University, Saarbrücken. Also at that University I was able to attend amazing Ward Rounds where different psychiatric cases were presented. This experience made me very curious about the mind and what was normal and what abnormal. I naively hoped that studying children at young ages might bring me closer to origin of the mind.

I was very fortunate to train in Clinical Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, a happening place in the 1960s, the place where Behaviour Therapy was pioneered. I intended to find a way to do research from the very beginning: It was very clear to me that we were distressingly ignorant about the mind, and that research was a necessity rather than a diversion from clinical work. Fortunately, I was able to get to get to know cases of autistic children at the Maudsley Hospital under the guidance of Michael Rutter, who was then already widely respected as an authority on autism. His PhD student, Lawrence Bartak, an Australian, and I were contemporaries and often worked side by side in the very first established special schools for autistic children. We felt that the teachers were doing a fantastic job. The children seemed remarkably similar to us, no matter what school they went to. But we often wondered what to make of those few autistic children who stood out from the others because they were not just clever but they had excellent verbal abilities. How did they fit into the picture?

 

My mentors were the experimental psychologists Neil O’Connor, an Australian, born in Kalgoorlie, and Beate Hermelin, born in Berlin. They were pioneers of the psychological study of mental retardation. They were among the first psychologists in the world to ask whether autistic children differed in their cognitive abilities from those of other children with intellectual disabilities and whether neurophysiological measures, such as EEG, would tell us about their brain function. They were way ahead of their time. Their work opened amazing possibilities to understand the nature of autism by teasing apart abilities and disabilities.

 By good fortune, Lorna Wing worked next door in the Social Psychiatry Unit. As the mother of an autistic girl, Susan, she had unique knowledge of autism and already at that time questioned Kanner’s rather narrow diagnostic criteria. She was convinced it was possible to distinguish in even the most intellectually disabled children those who had the ability for reciprocal social interaction and those who did not. I myself was not sure I could do this, and was more confident when the children had some language and showed some islets of ability. Here really was a form of autism that I could instantly recognise, a rare form as it turned out.

 The neuroscience of autism only started in the 1990s when it had just become feasible to use scanners to look at the signs of neural activity (as reflected in blood flow) in the living thinking brain. Here the collaboration with my husband, Chris Frith, was the vital link. Without his know-how and his expertise I would never have dared to enter this exciting field.

Tania: You received your PhD in 1968. Since then, can you please comment on the changes and the explosion of knowledge and research in the field of Autism?

Professor Frith: Knowledge about autism has accumulated steadily. A number of TV programmes were shown that portrayed a rather bleak view of autism, but they increased awareness. When the film “Rainman” came out in 1988, it was probably the first time that autism had been presented in an adult, and also presented as not all-bleak. It also made people aware of some very positive qualities. I don’t mean the savant skills here, although they do create permanent sense of wonder, but I am thinking of the lovely emotional naivety of Rainman that contrasted with the devious machinations of his non-autistic brother.

One of the unstoppable changes in the conception of autism was the recognition of atypical cases and cases that were not learning disabled. The term autism spectrum and the term Asperger syndrome had been introduced by Lorna Wing, who long wanted to push apart the narrow categories of autism. At the same time, Michael Rutter and Susan Folstein pushed apart these categories as a result of their famous twin studies. In these studies it became clear that when a narrow definition applied to one identical twin, the other twin very likely had a milder form of autism too. In fact they found that there was a 90% concordance in identical twins, if the criteria of autism were broadened. This was ground-breaking work not only because it broadened the category of autism, but even more importantly, it established that there was a genetic origin. Only then could a psychogenic origin be ruled out decisively – i.e. the idea that autism was a withdrawal resulting from profound rejection. This pernicious myth was at last eroded.  

 One of the biggest changes in the awareness of autism, in professionals and the general public alike, was the rise of Asperger Syndrome. I edited a book in 1991, which contained my annotated translation of Hans Asperger’s original paper. It was surprising to me how eagerly it was received. One of the unanticipated consequences was that the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome became fashionable, so that a number of people with successful lives began to diagnose themselves and even famous figures from history. But being a geek and being socially inept are not sufficient. I think there is a big difference between having an autism spectrum condition and being a shy, unconventional and obsessive.

 The new DSM-V has abolished the diagnosis Asperger syndrome. It still needs to be seen what the consequences will be, but I tend to think this is the right move. The label served its purpose in raising awareness of the autism spectrum. There is after all general agreement that it is a variant of autism and part of a very heterogeneous collection of autistic conditions. The difficult task ahead now is to see whether it is possible to identify subgroups hopefully, in terms of neuro-cognitive phenotypes.

 

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Tania: Please tell us about Theory of Mind, the theory that you developed along with Alan Leslie and Simon Baron-Cohen, in the 1980’s. How do the brains of people with Autism and people without Autism differ in terms of Theory of Mind?

Professor Frith: I think the history of Theory of Mind research needs a historian. I feel rather too involved and will not be able to give an unbiased account. In my view, the first part of the story is to do with two Austrian psychologists, Josef Perner and Heinz Wimmer, who devised an ingenious test. This test could show whether a child attributed a belief to another person, i.e. an invisible mental state, and whether the child predicted what another person would do next on the basis of the belief. It had to be a false belief rather than a true belief. In the case of a true belief you can’t tell whether the other person acts on the basis of a real physical state of affairs or an invisible mental state of affairs, because there is no difference. But in the case of false belief there is.

The next part of the story brings in Simon Baron-Cohen who had started his PhD at the time and who did the first critical experiments. Alan Leslie acted as co-supervisor and had already been thinking about the importance of invisible mental states, such as ‘pretense’ in the make-believe play of very young children. This was very exciting to me as I knew from a study by Lorna Wing and Judy Gould that autistic children showed very poor pretend play compared to non-autistic but intellectually disabled children.

 Now I must mention Tony Attwood, who did his PhD at the same time, but quite independently, and conducted a different and most interesting study. He asked how well – if at all – intellectually disabled autistic and non-autistic adolescents use nonverbal gestures. The results were very surprising, since at the time most people expected that autistic children would not use gestures in any meaningful way. But they fitted in beautifully with the Theory of Mind hypothesis: The intellectually disabled autistic children were well able to use gestures instrumentally, i.e. to get something, but much less able to use gestures expressively, i.e. to communicate an inner feeling state.

 The story heated up as we did the first PET studies, with trepidation, and with a number of eminent collaborators.  Obviously only very able and very brave adult volunteers took part. One of them was Heinz Wimmer. The autistic adults came from the clinic of Christopher Gillberg and Stefan Ehlers in Gothenburg and were scanned at the Hammersmith Hospital in London. Here we compared what happened in the brain when people were reading Theory of mind stories compared to Physical stories, invented by another of my now famous PhD students, Francesca Happé. When PET was replaced by MRI scanners, many more studies were carried out, and many different tests were used, frequently invented by Francesca Happé. For example, cartoons that either depicted jokes that required a mental state attribution compared to jokes that did not. Perhaps most successfully, we contrasted short movies where animated triangles interacted with each other. In some of the movies the viewer can’t help attributing mental states to the triangles, but in others, where the triangles move randomly, such ‘mentalising’ is not spontaneously evoked.

 Many labs all over the world have used neuroscience methods to study Theory of mind in the brain, in autistic and non-autistic people. It is still very surprising to me that one particular network of brain regions comes out again and again as being primarily involved. This network reliably encompasses regions of the anterior medial prefrontal cortex and the superior temporal sulcus at the temporo-parietal region; but there are also other but seemingly more variable regions involved.

Tania: Please tell us about your current ideas and theories on Autism today, in 2013?

Professor Frith: I continue to be fascinated by autism and by theories that try to explain the core features. I believe that the Theory of Mind hypothesis has had to be updated, in such a way that we distinguish between unconscious and conscious mentalising. I now believe that it is the unconscious type of mentalizing that is somehow failing in autism, but not the conscious type.

 Here is the problem: Why do able autistic adults who have learned to mentalize and pass all known Theory of Mind tasks, nevertheless still show the sort of interaction and communication problems in everyday life, the very problems that are supposed to be due to poor mentalizing ability. Do they not have real mentalizing ability, or is the theory wrong?

 A study that I did with Sarah White (my last PhD student), Atsushi Senju and Victoria Southgate, a few years ago, tried to answer this question. In this study we used anticipatory eye gaze to assess unconscious mentalizing, and this  distinguished autistic from non-autistic participants. Neurotypical individuals anticipated in their eye gaze where a character would look for a hidden object on the basis of the character’s mental state. But there was no such anticipation in the autistic adults. So we can reason as follows: in everyday life fast interactions are the norm, and here the unconscious form of mentalizing matters more than the conscious form. However, there clearly are advantages to having conscious metalizing – what precisely are these advantages? New research is needed.  

 Perhaps the most surprising part of the story of Theory of Mind is that such a complex and high-level cognitive ability as mentalizing, i.e. “attributing hypothetical mental states to others and predicting what they are going to do next”, is actually quite basic and has a signature in the brain.

Tania: I am very interested in the female phenotype of Autism. Could you please tell us your thoughts on the gender differences between males and females with Autism? Clinical anecdotal evidence suggests that females are not being diagnosed until much later in life or misdiagnosed with other disorders. Could you comment on this please?

Professor Frith: I believe this question has at last attracted enough attention so that interesting papers are now appearing that are trying to provide some answers.

 The gender difference in autism has fascinated me for a long time, but I never got a chance to study it. My favourite hypothesis for long has been that there is a special protective factor in being female and a risk factor in being male. This goes with the finding that in most neurodevelopmental disorders there is an excess of males. There are a greater number of boys who have dyslexia, or conduct disorder, or attention deficits.

I wish there was more evidence as to the way autism is expressed in the behaviour of females. There is an idea that girls are more likely to conform and more likely to be compliant. I don’t know whether this is the case, or simply an expectation that is part of the stereotype of being female. In either case, affected girls would less often be considered in need of clinical help. They can ‘pass for normal’ as we know from the gifted women who lucidly write about their autism.

Tania: Please share with us what work you are currently involved in?

Professor Frith: I retired in 2006 and have no longer a research group or students. So what I am doing is not work.

At Aarhus University I am fostering a highly inclusive autism network. This is to provide a forum for discussion involving people with autism, parents, teachers, clinicians and researchers from neuroscience, epidemiology, psychiatry, brain pathology, anthropology and so on. I am hoping to facilitate research by bringing together people from these different backgrounds, who bring a refreshing perspective, and can offer new ways of answering persistent questions.

 I am still writing papers with colleagues, some based on work done some time ago, but fewer and more slowly, which gives me rather more pleasure. I have to confess that sometimes I am a ‘free rider’, that is a co-author who does far less work than the others. I am still very interested to read about new research and I am particularly happy if I see publications by my wonderful former students and colleagues, who are vigorously advancing the field.

Apart from this I have other interests too, for example, promoting women in science, thinking about how neuroscience might provide some tools and some insights to improve education.   

Tania: Could you please comment on the research related to brain imaging and Autism? What are your thoughts on Temple Grandin’s brain imaging results?

Professor Frith: I loved being involved in brain imaging studies. It was exciting, but we were still very much at the beginning of the development of the method, and we did all studies with rather small numbers of participants. Things have changed a lot: the techniques have improved and we can now trust them to be safe also for children.

 Still, brain imaging results are only as good as the experimental design that is used. More often than not, brain imaging studies are difficult to interpret because the statistical analyses of brain images is very complex and error prone.  The main misunderstanding is that the blobs you see on a brain are actual signs of nervous activity. This is not the case. The blobs are depictions of statistical differences and it is hard to get one’s head around this. Furthermore, the activity in nerve cells cannot be seen directly, all we see is increases in blood flow. The rationale is that the more active the nerves are the more oxygen they need, hence the more blood is flowing in their direction.

 Just like behavioural studies, brain imaging studies rely on pooling together data from many trials and from groups of people, basically to remove noise in the data and thus make them more reliable.

 This leads me to mention another misunderstanding: You can’t take one single person’s scan and tell from this whether they are autistic. This is true even when the scan is done in the manner of an X-ray, that is, they were just lying still in the scanner and you take beautiful photographs of the anatomy of the brain. With our present techniques you can discover if there are grossly deviant features, such as tumours or injuries. This is not the norm in the case of autistic brains. But there are subtle differences when you superimpose data from many brains on top of each other to compute reliable averages. Many such studies now exist, and they always report differences in lots of places, grey matter, white matter, cortical regions, subcortical regions and so on. But we don’t know what the differences mean. 

The Brain image of Temple Grandin’s brain does not look like that of other autistic people. It does not like the brain of a neurotypical person either. There are so many differences that it is difficult to name them all, but these differences are very difficult to interpret. Temple Grandin during her whole life has built up a number of important compensatory strategies, and these leave their imprint in her brain. If we had an image from her when she was younger it would likely look different from now.

 Incidentally, most images of autistic people look perfectly normal to the naked eye. Some brains are particularly large, but then some neurotypical brains can be large too.

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Tania: I hear you have become Dame Uta Frith. Congratulations and a well deserved title for you. For those of us here in Australia, could you please comment on the process of gaining the title of Dame and how that came about?

Professor Frith: This was a most unexpected and amazing experience, something that never ever crossed my mind. I have no idea how it came about as the process is shrouded in secrecy. Amazingly, some kind people must have believed in me and proposed me and never claimed the credit. So I do not know to whom I should show my gratitude. I have retained my German citizenship since I would have had to give it up to obtain a British passport. This did not seem right to me as my accent immediately reveals that I am German, even after 50 years of living in London. This means that my DBE is honorary. I can put the letters after my name, and I am immensely proud to be able to do this, but I should not be called “Dame Uta”, you know, just as Bob Geldof should not be called “Sir Bob”.  I received the insignia from David Willetts, Minister of Science, in a special and very nice ceremony on 31st January, where I was able to invite some of my family and friends. This was also my mother’s birthday, which I thought was a wonderful coincidence. There are only few occasions when ‘decorations can be worn’, but I did wear mine recently at a special Guest Night at Newnham College in Cambridge where I am an Honorary Fellow.

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Tania Marshall©. 2013. Interview Professional Series. All rights reserved. Duplication in whole or part is explicitly forbidden. Thank you.

Autism and personality disorders

caveatThese disorders are all on a Spectrum with mild to severe traits. Manipulation is a tool used by many people but when it’s used with purpose to hurt someone, in all it’s various ways and forms, it is known as a “feature of a personality disorder. Because these disorders are on the spectrum they can present differently in different people at different times and in different contexts.

A frequently asked question I receive from parents regarding their adult daughters or sons is, “Can my adult daughter or son have Autism and a personality disorder at the same time?”

Over the course of my career, I can confidently answer that question – yes. So, how do you know? Research and professionals who work with these individuals. There are some traits that are the same in both disorders, which adds to the confusion, however what I have observed in those that have both are a different presentation of combined traits.

Can those that think they are Autistic actually have a personality disorder too? Yes. Can they overlap? Yes they can.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5590952/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51551726_Personality_disorders_and_autism_spectrum_disorders_What_are_the_connections

https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/43/6/1220/3877996

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21821235/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21078305/

Together, the presentation is quite complex. Parental descriptions coomonly include “extremely volatility , impulsiveness , irrationality, a lack of respect for their elders or those above them (the social hierarchy) and report the use of high use of manipulation(for e.g. publicly smearing them to other family members, or being highly argumentative with people they disagree, often when they don’t have all the facts. The family is often in disarray.

Living with Autism and a personality disorder

https://themighty.com/2017/12/what-having-both-autism-and-borderline-personality-disorder-is-like-asd-bpd/

Behaviors indicative of a PD can include but I’m not limited to: only hearing one side of a story, over-reacting and then smearing someone publicly. Autistic individuals generally do not do this because they do not like conflict or confrontation. this is not to say that autistic people do not bully or engage in these behaviours.

However, autistic and personality disordered individuals are well known To the courts police there family members the previous jobs for behaving in inappropriate ways towards other people within those areas, online or in the workplace. Workplaces bosses please co-workers family member and friends report that the individual often does not listeto the other persons point of view.

A large number of clients I have worked with admit this is a problem for them and some appear have no insight into the effects of their actions on others, their co-workers, their bosses or those around them. Both groups have interpersonal issues, however it is the ability to manipulate and smear that separates them. Autistic people have a difficult time with social skills. Personality disordered individuals are also known for poor interpersonal skills. However the difference is “manipulation”.

Extreme demand Avoidance (a type of Autism) one which the person is very defined as intelligent, manipulative and avoids everyday demands. The core feature of their condition is anxiety and the tendency to make up excuses or lies to avoid every day demands.

So, we can see how complex it can be teasing out these disorders from each other. We will concentrate on Autism and personality disorders, not EDA/PDA.

There are a number of research studies that have investigated the prevalence of Autism and a personality disorder, finding them to co-exist.

Those that work or live with individuals that have both report a volatility and manipulativeness that is not seen in Autistic individuals. This is because most Autistic individuals have a social communication disorder as the core feature and find manipulating others very difficult. What about emotional abusers?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201810/three-habits-emotional-abusers?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

What is projection?

Projection is one of the most common defence Mechanisms. see the article below

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/experimentations/201809/is-projection-the-most-powerful-defense-mechanism?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

Personality disorders often have manipulative features, including cruel intentions, depending on the personality disorder. Some clear features or examples include:

Trolling (see ‘Just who are the trolls?: An investigation into Facebook trolls and the dark Triad”, 2018) here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563217305034 and here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321218092_Judgments_of_the_Dark_Triad_based_on_Facebook_Profiles

Engaging in public smear campaigns on social media, blogs, or other platforms.

Publicly naming and smearing organisations or people with the intention of hurting them.

Contacting your friends, family, boss, whomever you are connected to and spread rumours, which in turn has that person also engaging in a smear campaign, without knowing of any of the facts beforehand.

Taking revenge. This can range from making false complaints about you, exaggerating, being a “drama queen” by creating and continuing drama, playing the ‘victim’, leaving out important details of the truth, outright lying, accusing you of being unprofessional, or going to your boss and lying about you, manipulating, and causing complete disruption to their families lives. They often are the ‘victim’ full of made up complaints and have a huge “chip on their shoulder”. Parents complain that they are always blaming others or that they are playing the victim.

Love bombing you. This is the idealisation phase. Paying you excessive amounts of attention, taking up all your time and putting you on a pedestal. You can do no wrong.

Some time late the devaluation stage takes place and the person will be taken off the pedestal and placed at the lowest position. You can do no right.

They report having to continually “put out fires” that their children have created or overdramatised. Largely since the invention of social media, this is where is it all played out now and this playground is fodder for a narcissist, borderline, sociopath or psychopath to troll, disrupt conversations, leave nasty comments on other people’s social media accounts or other platforms. Some can tmake up fake profiles for the purpose of trolling others, leaving fake negative reviews and/or stalking others online. This is because it’s a lot easier to just talk about them on a blog or make up a fake Facebook page about them and/or cyberbully them as keyboard warriors and get away with it.

A personality disordered person is often very unstable and sees in black and white. You are either an Angel or the Devil. Autistic thinking can be rigid too, however whilst they may engage in gossip and fighting online, they rarely engage in public smear campaigns or use a suitcase full of manipulative tactics, often accusing their parents or others of things they themselves are doing. Autistic people are largely socially naive and this leaves them very open to being taken advantage of.

Both groups are solidified that their version is right (usually without having the real facts or hearing the other side of their family members point of view) and this causes them problems in teenage and adult life in work organisations educational institutions and sometimes the place in court system.

Personality disordered people (in particular Male narcissists ) are well known by the court system and judges for repetitively taking their exes through the court system again and again and again. Unsurprisingly, they may end up on a vexatious litigant list.

For individuals involved with personality disordered people, there is a feeling of never knowing where you stand, a description by parents or friend as “walking on eggshells” and ‘splitting, at one time making you out to be higher than God and you can do no wrong and a while later you are then the devil and can do no right. Humans are neither and all of us make mistakes. Putting a human in either place is unfair to that person. No one is perfect.

Clients and parents describe simple facebook interactions that “turn into drama filled public smear campaigns” towards other family members and defriending them “leaving their head spinning”. Itis next to impossible to negotiate or problem solve with them as they have long gone off to tell someone about how they were wronged – yet again and garner and gather their crowd to call you or contact you to abuse you. Family members report they find themselves not knowing how to manage the situation. Work organisations, Human Resources and public relations spend a large majority of their time and resources to managing this type of employee. Typical conversations with a personality disordered person are reported to be circular, are combative and argumentative and I have often heard those all too familiar words, “they are just looking for a fight. I don’t know what to do?”. That is because they are recreating the drama from their formative childhood years and do not know how to act and resolve issues in adult ways. They also rarely understand how unprofessional they look to others.

Non personality disordered people usually are able to look at all sides of a story, do not publicly engage in smear campaigns, troll people, put words in people’s mouths and are generally Non-combative and looking for peace. They are wanting to get along and be peaceful. You should not feel like you have to tippy toe on egg shells around them. They are willing to work out issues in non dramatic and respectful ways. They do not go behind your back and use a carriage device and platform to smear you. They will talk to you reasonably and work out an issue with you with the intention of repairing the relationship and moving on, with both sides happy. Generally, healthy people want to work things out with someone. They like peace and do not like engaging in gossip, back stabbing, covert or overt manipulative or public smearing campaigns.

Public smearing campaigns whether overt or covert are a red flag and the makings of a personality disordered person. Only listening to one side of the story and not the other is personality disordered. Making false and vexatious complaints is personality disordered.

The Dark Triad are most often focused on acquiring status and will walk over anybody to get it. They have a multitude of ways of doing this, far too long to list in this blog however more noticeable narcissistic Behaviors include:

Competing against you in a conversation rather than talking an issue through

Competing to have the most forewords or mentions in a book or the most mentions in an article or publications

Competing to have the the most followers or selfies is narcissism at its finest. The newest “disorder” in 2018 well maybe called “Selfie Syndrome”, due to it’s addictive qualities, interference with daily life and obsession with getting the right picture.

If you think you have an adult child or you know someone who sounds like they have a personality disorder, you will need a lot of help from a mental health professional. It can be very challenging to manage difficult people and some companies are now letting go of these individuals, even if they are good at their job, because their personality disorder creates too much havoc within the organisation.

https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Psychological-Murder

They usually have a pattern of going from job to job to partner to partner or friend to friend or country to country in a repetitive fashion, leaving chaos behind them and often do not see their role In the pattern and the breakdown of communication because they have the belief that they are right and everybody else is wrong. Public smearing and the mentioning of names is never OK. It is this behavior amongst others that are cause for firing in many organisations, universities, contracts or other positions, and rightly so.

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-good-life/200810/the-jerk-in-the-corner-office%3fam

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/food-thought/201501/life-is-too-short-deal-holes%3famp

Some families will also be forced to distance themselves from the personality disordered person. Often personality disordered people will smear you without mentioning your name, but they mention enough information that everybody knows who you are talking about. This is known as overt abuse and emotional abuse or domestic violence in families. You may not even be aware of what they are doing and will be the last to know.

It is extremely important to understand what healthy communication and healthy relationships friendships are supposed to be like. If you see any of these Behaviors online or in the real world, they are red flags and you may need to get some help in managing the person and help for yourself or PR for your company.

Choose wisely because you are only as good the the 5 people around you. Who do you want to be? Sometimes that can be a tough choice when it’s a family member or partner.

Always remember it is none of your business what other people think of you. Whilst they may create the drama, don’t go into the jungle with them.

next blog will discuss Current domestic violence laws, police involvement and the court system as it relates to autistic and personality disordered individuals

Thank you to J. For this FAQ.

Next FAQ is “Why do I see so much hate online towards Neurotypicals, professionals or researchers? Why do they send them death threats?

Cybercrime, cyber bullying, personality disorders, Autism, trolling, drama, PhD in manipulation, public smearing campaigns, tall poppy syndrome, hate, death threats, victim blaming.

https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.lifehacker.com.au/2018/02/how-to-deal-with-assholes/amp

Autism Ambassador for Education Placement Group and Supply Desk UK and a variety of countries

All over the world teachers face a challenging career teaching students in their classroom. Their class may consist of a variety of students with unique and individual needs. Some of their class will include likely 3-5 students with Autism.

At a minimum, a stunning 60% of teachers in England do not feel they have adequate training to teach children with autism, and this is concerning. Teachers should be provided with adequate training in many specific areas and this is barely addressed in their training to become a teacher.

Some of the common questions I receive from organizations, schools, parents, teachers, principals, support teachers, and teacher aides include but are in no way limited to the following:

What about unstructured time? What unique challenges do students with autism face here and how can school staff help during break and lunchtimes?

Are pupils with autism more likely to be victims of bullying? What can teachers do to counteract this? What signs can teachers look out for that may indicate a child with autism has been bullied?

Students with autism are three times as likely to be excluded from school as pupils with no special educational needs. Why are exclusion and seclusion particularly harmful to those students?  What can school staff do to avoid excluding pupils with autism?

70% of children with autism are educated in mainstream schools in the UK. What other components of mainstream education are harmful to those with autism?

How would you describe the current state of autism awareness among teachers?

How can teachers be better equipped to teach those with autism? What should training include?

What’s the biggest misconception the general public, including teachers, might have about a child with autism?

Why are teachers roles in caring for children with autism so important? What are some of the benefits that well-trained and autism aware teachers can bring to the classroom?

There are so many more questions and education for teachers, principals, support staff, teacher aides that are needed.

I stand proudly with a progressive organization devoted to training their teachers how to teach students on the Autism Spectrum, helping them to reach their full potential and be their best selves. I am proud to be assisting and training UK teachers and EPG teachers in many countries to teach and support students with Autism.

In particular, I am very excited to be training teaching professionals about females (and males) in school and how best to educate and support them, with their learning and mental health. This is a wonderful forward and progressive move on the part of Education Placement Group and Supply Desk.  I applaud them for addressing this important issue and am honored to accept their invitation.

 

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For more inquiries about consulting with Tania about educating teachers, support teachers, teacher aides, principals, and other staff, please email tania@aspiengirl.com

Tania is also available for diagnoses and assessment, impressions assessments, problem-solving sessions, training educators, law enforcement in person or via Skype or Zoom.

 

Copyright 2013-2018 http://www.aspiengirl.com, http://www.taniamarshall.com, taniannmarshall.wordpress.com

Plagiarism, Copyright and making money off others

 

Image result for copyright unsplash infringement

I love to share my work. I love to help others. I even allow others to use my work if they credit me or ask me first, but what I don’t like is a blatant infringement of mine of other authors copywritten material. It has been brought to my attention many times over the years about different people, groups and individuals have been blatantly scraping my work from my websiteS and putting it on theirs without asking me or crediting me. If you have done so, you will be contacted and if you do now remove my copywritten material, sent a cease and desist letter and/or further legal action and be listed here:

  1. HEALTHY GOSSIP ONLINE Nazish Shokat

This website has stolen many other people work and is most probably using it to make a bit of money, since it was recently developed, with the majority of the blogs scraped and stolen from various health websites.

Www.healthygossip.online

Copyright infringement by healthygossip.online

Copyright infringement by healthygossip.online

Do Autistic or Neurodiverse people attract abusive and toxic people? Yes

A recent FAQ and theme in the thousands of Neurodivergent people I have worked with is, “Do I have an S (sociopath), a P (psychopath), an N (narcissist) or an L (loser) on my forehead???”. Yes, I have seen this time and time again. Toxic people are everywhere. 1 in 100 people are Psychopaths. They are at your work, they may be your boss, a colleague, a friend, a family member, a partner, or your own child.

 

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Neurodivergent people are more susceptible to these types of toxic people than Neurotypical people. Having said that, neurotypical people find it challenging to associate and untangle themselves from these kinds of people. Neurodiverse people (whether male or female) have a unique combination of traits that can set them up for being open to being taken advantage of. Susceptible people can also include: highly sensitive people (HSP), Empaths, intuitive individuals and co-dependent individuals.

Just some of the characteristics and traits include: social naivety, taking what people say literally/believing in what people say to them, misreading other people intentions, a dislike of conflict and/or confrontation, a lack of boundaries, being passive, not understanding the unwritten social skills (let alone the Dark triad’s language and behaviors), having Alexithymia, and a lack of assertiveness. There are many more traits.

It is critical that socially naive people learn the Dark Triad Personality’s language, words, actions and behaviors and understand that it is not their fault and that being with a toxic person can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is also critical that Neurodiverse people learn boundaries, how to assert themselves, including how and when to get out of a toxic relationship.

The Molotov Cocktail is a video series that covers all this and more, from what makes a person more susceptible, to learning the Dark Triad language and their tactics, to what to do about it, how to respond or NOT respond and many tips. The series can be found here.

Starting at Episode III of her video series, Tania discusses in a 6 part series, why Neurodiverse people are vulnerable to abuse and/or attracting the dark triad (often Narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths) into their lives, why and how they often are taken advantage of, the red flags to look out for and what to do if they have toxic people in their lives. She helps Neurodiverse individuals to understand those with this personality type to and how to avoid them in the future.

Part 1 is an introduction and answer to the question, “Do I have an S, N, P or L on my forehead?” Why is the dark triad attracted to me? Tania discussed the uniques qualities that make you a target for being set up to be involved with a toxic person.

Part 2 reviews the unique qualities of Neurodiverse individuals, how the ‘dark triad’ find or seemingly find or are attracted to you, the red flags to look for in a toxic person, learning the ‘dark triad’ language (yes, they have their own language), helpful tips and actual case clinic illustrations.

Part 3 delves deeper into the ‘dark triad language’, delves deeper into the characteristics and traits that you may have that attract them into your life, learning assertiveness, boundaries, how to speak to a toxic person, and including more case illustrations.

Part 4 discusses what to do if you are married or have been married and/or have children with this personality type, the court system and how the dark triad uses it against you (communication is just one weapon they use). She discusses what a Neurodiverse person can do when you find yourself in this type of situation, strategies to keep calm and how to or how not to communicate with your dark triad ex or current toxic partner. Tania uses a case illustrations to illustrate her points.

In part 5, Tania teaches Neurodiverse individuals the tools for understanding how to untangle yourself from a dark triad individual, how to identify and avoid this personality type in the future and obtain the appropriate professional treatment, if necessary. She also shares case illustrations to educate and help those individuals who are or have been conned by a toxic person. She also discusses what she has seen occur in therapy, from either side.

In part 6, Tania concludes with successful and positive examples of neurodiverse people becoming detangled from the toxic individual in their life, answers some FAQ’s, discusses more helpful tools and tips and more. Please keep in mind this series is an introduction the ‘Dark Triad’. 

Tania uses case studies from her work to illustrate each topic in her video series because she understands how powerful these can be to the listener and many people have told her they feel “less alone”.

If you would like her to discuss a topic in a future video, please email her. She can be reached for both male and female adult impressions assessments via Skype or other platform or in-person for training, presentations, collaborations, problem-solving sessions, educational and professionals consultations or training at tania@aspiengirl.com
taniamarshall.com
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Rent all A$27.09
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“Thank you, Tania, for sharing your work from your lengthy career. It is life-changing”.

“Tania has a unique and positive refreshing view on those who are often entrepreneurial, out-of-the-box thinkers, utilizing their strengths to make meaningful contributions to the world”.

“Thank you for your work and dedication to supporting females on the Spectrum. In particular, your work regarding the ‘dark triad’. I am Neurodiverse and can not tell you how many times I have ended up in what you describe as a “living hell” and the hell continues.”

If you have found yourself in a toxic relationship, tell us when and how you found out, what you did about it, and what worked or didn’t work. Leave a comment below and take care out there. Safety first!

 

Copyright 2018  http://www.aspiengirl.com   www.taniamarshall.com vimeo.com/ondemand/femaleautism   Tania Marshall

Videos, videos, videos…oh my…

Videos, videos, videos…oh my…new ones just uploaded.

After receiving numerous requests, Tania is sharing her work with Neurodiverse individuals over her lengthy career. Primarily, she feels that video is the fastest way to get the information out there to those that are wanting it or needing it. She is sharing her work via Video FAQ’s or videos. These videos can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk_kFdaPkv4w0ieOgfR3IvA or Vimeo

Tania also has her videos on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/neurodiversityacademy

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Click on a picture below and you will be taken to her YouTube page, where you can learn more from her FAQ’s, conferences, interviews and more.

Why a strengths-based approach?

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YOU CAN’T HAVE ASPERGERS/AUTISM IF…

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The Neurodiversity Within the Spectrum, Strengths and Myths

Tania talking about beurodiversitywithin the pectrum

 

If you like a video or feel it would help someone, please share the video, like the video, subscribe to Tania’s channel and hit the bell to be notified when the next video is coming out. You can leave your FAQ in the comments section below the video or below her blog and Tania will read and select a question to answer in the future. Tania will answer the video and it will be uploaded to YouTube.

 

 

Copyrught 2018 ASpiengirl.com and Tania Marshall