My Aspergers Radar

Like a fair number of people with Aspergers, I have a very effective radar for spotting other people with Aspergers. This is most evident when I am watching programmes on TV. There was a documentary last year which featured several teenagers who were approaching their fourteenth birthdays and had been followed from birth to see how their lives progressed over the years. There was one boy on the documentary whom I could instantly tell had Aspergers before he mentioned that this was his suspected diagnosis. It wasn’t just the fact that he spoke about his history of poor social skills and not knowing how to play with other children in the school playground-it was his physical awkwardness too and his mannerisms. Sure enough, he mentioned that Aspergers was his suspected diagnosis although his family had never gone down the formal diagnosis route. While he may not be officially diagnosed, it was clear to me that he has Aspergers. I have also watched programmes following families on the route to a formal diagnosis and been able to tell instantly that the professionals were going to give an Aspergers diagnosis.

I am also very good at spotting other people with Aspergers in my daily life too. I guess this comes from being so self aware about my own manifestation of the condition and the mannerisms it gives me that I recognise those same mannerisms in other people. However, sometimes I have had suspicions that I am talking to someone with Aspergers Syndrome even when they present very differently from me. I used to attend a support group for students with Aspergers when I was at university and, in my first week there, I would often see students around campus and suspect that they had Aspergers and then see them at the first meeting.

I am not sure what exactly has made my radar so strong and why so many other people with Aspergers also have effective Aspergers radars-maybe it’s a survival mechanism which draws us towards other people who also have trouble fitting in. Everybody needs to feel they belong somewhere and, for a lot of people with Aspergers, the only setting in which they feel they truly fit in rather than merely being tolerated is with other people with Aspergers. Therefore, on a subconscious level, we are drawn towards other people with Aspergers. This happens before we even know what Aspergers is. We often realise we are different many years before diagnosis-I knew I was different from my first day at primary school, three and a half years before I was diagnosed and I was lucky to be diagnosed in childhood. I have read stories online of people who have not received a proper diagnosis until mid adulthood but have always known they are different and seek out similar minded people. I believe it’s an instinctive process but I would be very interested to hear from other people with Aspergers whether they also have a radar for spotting other people with the condition, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed.

I leave you all with one thought-are these radars innate or have they developed as a consequence of the level of isolation most people with Aspergers experience in society? I personally believe mine is innate-I’ve always been drawn to other people on the spectrum but perhaps it is also due to needing that setting where, for a brief period of time, I can actually feel like I’m not different at all. It’s an interesting debate and I would welcome my readers thoughts on this topic.

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4 Responses to My Aspergers Radar

  1. alexforshaw says:

    I think the ability to identify those who share traits with ourselves is a common human instinct. A number of gay friends refer to their “gay-dar”: the ability to pick out fellow gay people, and I think we Aspies’ ability to recognize others on the spectrum is similar. I believe people are attuned to spot aspects of appearance and behavior that are similar to their own, even if this is not on a conscious level. On a related note, I’m pretty good at spotting fellow geeks too.

  2. I was talking about about this just yesterday with a friend that also has it about the fact I seem to meet so many now which was a far cry from even 9 years ago when I didn’t know a single one. She finds them all the time on dating sites even though she is not looking for them.

  3. maximusaurus says:

    The gait is a giveaway for me haha. I can very often spot fellow Aspies by how they walk. 🙂

  4. Dannebrowne says:

    I can often pick out a fellow female Aspie by their reduced interest in feminine fashion and makeup.

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