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Being Autistic and transgender

Natalie

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Is there a link between autism and being trans?

Yes, there is.....we are in the scary part of the process where there is lots of denial and misinformation around the issues. A lot of research has been going on in Cambridge University UK by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen. Its quite a common comorbidity yet those individuals who deal with both issues are undiagnosed a lot of the time because transgender is identified first. Dealing with trans issues covers up the autism traits, and of course, the gatekeepers are only focusing on one problem. 

A lot of autism in adults is misdiagnosed with differing mental illnesses BPD, a common misdiagnosis in girls. Autism can cause no end of mental illness yet in itself is simply a developmental disorder. A lot of transgender M2F's appear to be highly computer literate, have a narrow range of interests and can be obsessed with exactly the kind of interests that are normally found in autism. I speak from experience, autism has been in my family for generations, nothing to do vaccines, and it can be traced back to my father, although I suspect it was one of his parents who had the gene pool, my aunties (his sisters) were much like him and so were their children, my cousins. F2M's are often diagnosed with both and it was the 'Extreme Male Brain' theory that showed how the F2M's could indeed be affected.

I was diagnosed with autism....in that I am talking about Aspergers Syndrome only in 2010, but that was because one of my children was on the spectrum and it was noticed that I was indeed the gene carrier. So I wanted to find out if some of the difficulties I had were all down to being trans or something else (that I knew anyway) and sure enough I am firmly on the spectrum. It is life changing and empowering to discover what has been really going on, and brought so much enlightenment to why my life had been this way, and provided answers to the decisions I make. 

Vaccines as the cause is still unproven, families with autistic children who have a long established history of autism in their gene pool will tell you that IF vaccines are involved, there is a big difference in the effects. Gene pool autism is far more systemic and its affects are wide spread throughout the daily life of the individual. The claims about vaccine induced autism appears to be more narrowly based on learning difficulties but less on the behaviour and other traits. 

Like all people who are in the LGBT community, we appear to have a radar for finding each other, no matter how stealth we believe we can be. Autism is the same, I can spot someone who could be on the spectrum easily, sometimes by just the way they dress themselves, fashion isn't important, comfort is.  My sister has a total aversion to wearing traditional female clothes and only 'dresses up' when the need arises. Yet she is no doubt completely comfortable with her gender and has four children and has been married to the same man for over 50 years. She is atypically autistic, and three of her children too. 

We are who we are though, regardless of whether we are one or both its how we deal with the issues. all I know is that having both have created a really interesting life, difficult to navigate through but I wouldn't change anything, its all part of who I am and who I can be proud of. What I have achieved, and the talents I have is down to being open and honest and facing these challenges head on. Be yourself, cause you sure can't be nobody else.    

 



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Very interesting, thank you Natalie. I looked up autism traits to see if I might have any. Some are a bit familiar but on the whole I don't seem to fit. I well understand how much better you feel having your own diagnosis. Perhaps it similar to how I felt as I came to understand that I'm trans, it's not my fault or some sort of predilection. What if it was? I think I'd have a much harder time claiming my space in the world. 

Sorry, I didn't mean for my comment to be about me. I just wanted to give you some support.

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Thanks Emma, it really is something I have studied and researched about since my kids diagnosis. It would appear that there is a significant number of people who deny everything, like its some kind of fatal disease when their children get a diagnosis. They would blame the family dog if they thought it was possible, not their genes, but it has to come from somewhere. People like me on the spectrum are amused about this because its given me so many abilities, I am a detailed colour pencil artist, I know that is something  I could or couldn't be regardless of my dis 'ability' but its also something that autism has enhanced. I never stop learning, its something I have to do, ask questions all the time, #neverstop thats me, No.5 is alive.....need input :)

It does have its negatives, isolation, lack of face to face and telephone communication skills, unable to read social cues, (big one that, I talk too much, or not enough and eventually say nothing at all) I misinterpret other people......one thing that we all do on the spectrum when looking at a face, its always the mouth/teeth that we concentrate on, the eyes are almost totally avoided. I'm not unhappy being trans and autistic, it makes me who I am :)  

For anyone who is inquisitive enough, here is a test, it means nothing but its a standard test that gives someone an idea about their personality.
https://www.aspergerstestsite.com/aq-test/

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I took the test and here are my results:

Your AQ Test Score is: 31. The official criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome is an AQ score greater than 32. According to statistical analysis, 26 – 31 Is a borderline score. 86% of people with a score of 26-31 can be correctly classified as having Asperger’s Syndrome.

Wow! That's so interesting. I think it's accurate to say that I'm borderline if anything. Still, maybe this adds some perspective and context about what I've experienced in my life. I may very well bring it up with my therapist next week to get her viewpoint. She's amazingly perceptive. 

I wonder what therapists feel about this test. For example, the COGIATI test is available for people to "test" whether or not they are trans. IMHO it's hogwash. More like a parlor game than anything substantive. 

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I would just like to pipe up ant say, the claims about autism with vaccines?   The original author made it up.  He made up the study, and it came out on scrutiny originally that the tests were poorly controlled and done, but he later admitted he'd pretty much made up most of it.  Unfortunately, there is a large population of the population who will not hear that, or all the studies about it.  My best friend's son has autism, so I sporadically follow the new related to it, and often get directed to interesting things by her.  

I'm glad it brought you peace.  Learning what my disorder is and isn't(add), and where I can separate out behavior issues alongside it and improve as well as coping mechanisms for the actual disorder has brought me much peace.  I have not asked for concessions from people, just let them know I have the disorder and that is why I need to make so many notes for myself learning a new position for example.  So when my brain is jumping around like crazy I have a visual reference to reorient with.  I still get accused of playing the 'add' card.  People get weird with a mental disorder.  Like the brain is some sacred incorruptible organ, rather than a flesh and blood organ that can go wrong like a kidney or a heart or lung.  Mental health really is just another form of physical health at the end of the day, something has gone wrong in an organ, and we have stigmatized it to be something else so we can blame victims instead of helping them it feels like sometimes. :(  You can't find a solution or treatment for an illness wtihout understanding the illness, adn it's causes. 

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Agree with you about vaccines Briannah, Its well known about Andrew Wakefield and his flawed research, families who have genetic autism like mine we just feel sorry for those who can't accept that their genes carry the answer. Like I pointed out, they would blame the family dog instead of themselves or their relatives :) 

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Dear Natalie, Emma and Bree,

Didn't take the test because I found it confusing, but some of it resonates with me.

Have epilepsy, and I can spot people with epilepsy on the sidewalk, especially if it is not well controlled. About half of people with autism have epilepsy.

Took care of a man with Asperger's Syndrome for 10 years, and I learned a lot taking classes, taking him to support and social groups and attending symposiums on the topic.

Have issues with loneliness, and I am not sure if it has to do with the fact that I am disabled, poor, or that I am average looking. Must confess I felt more accepted when I lived in Florida (there are many more disabled and poor people there, and, amazingly, they are much more T/LGB-friendly. When I lived in Brooklyn, I was almost as well accepted and well-treated as I was in Florida, and here in upstate New York, I seem to have much greater difficulties than I had in Florida and Brooklyn.

Thank you for allowing me to share.

Your friend,

Monica

 

 

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Hi everyone, Thank you for all your interest and comments. Sorry for the length but I thought it might be interesting to hear the realities from someone on the Autistic spectrum :)

The AQ (Autistic Quotient) test has to be taken with all honesty, it is the standard test taken by anyone who is looking for a diagnosis although of course that on its own is not any real indication that someone might be autistic. There is a lot more testing that takes place but here are the most common indications that are important. Below is a in depth look at my autistic mind, we are all different and although this will show some the advantages and disadvantages of being on the spectrum.

Imagination. Not being able to imagine anything that is not based on reality. Conjuring up a story, a situation from scratch is impossible for me, I really don't have a clue what is going on around me unless I base it on the past realities/situations. In part of the diagnostic test I was given a book to read with pictures but no words. I was then asked to say what I thought was happening. Apparently all the pictures were linked but I couldn't work out what the link was, it didn't make sense. I wasn't able to use my imagination because the pictures I saw just didn't link in any logical way. That was the downfall, it was apparently describing someone having a dream, nothing makes sense in that scenario, so for me it impossible.

Picture thinking. I only think in pictures, or images. Anything that passes through my mind presents itself as an image and if I am asked to remember anything I just run the videotape in my mind, I can recall huge amounts of memory, what was there, what was said, a bit like PTSD except its not scary situations. I am also able to construct visual images and move them around with ease, like rearranging a room full of furniture and seeing what it would look like before I move it, remembering maps, thats a positive, I don't need a GPS to allow me to find my way about, even in other countries I've been to, my spatial ability is so developed getting lost is unusual.

Logical thinking. Its all logic and I liken it to precisely how a computer works. If you present illogical information/arguments to a computer it will have great difficulties finding what you want, it has to make logical links and anything that doesn't link has to be found in another way. If that is still illogical then a computer will return a negative. This can cause utter frustration because life isn't logical, computers just crash, humans can 'crash' too. Thats what happens with me, but over the years its become easier, unlike a computer I learned different methods to use but I still have great difficulty  working out what some people mean, thats why I ask so many questions, trying to find the logical link. 

Pattern thinking. The best part is being able to see patterns emerging as they are normally logical. In that I can identify what is going on around me and I am attracted to patterns...carpets and wallpaper I can look at and see all the repetitive lines and shapes and that is how life is too, but of course the downside is illogical patterns throw me off, life tends to be more illogical. Repeating the same things, like eating the same foods, following a route over and over and even number plates (licence plates) can be fascinating. Comparing everything and finding logical patterns in life is one of the advantages.

Communication. Humans can be so difficult to understand, thats the problem for me and generally all autistic people because they are not necessarily logical. Whilst my life is run along a well oiled track, always the same, not boring but has to be regular in the way I do things, expecting others to be the same, and they definitely are not. Normally people communicate with each other in a number of ways, some of those abilities are difficult to grasp, if someone tells me something I expect it to be as told, but there are other cues that I will miss, facial expressions are the worst, although its become better as my life progressed. But if what I am told doesn't make logical sense then it gets confusing, especially when the person I am talking to is not giving all the information that they can. Giving me simple information about something that in itself is complex is really difficult, I prefer if the difficult parts are given, then I can make sense of it. Sometimes because I don't understand the simple things in life I am thought to be a bit slow, but tell me about the difficult parts that I can understand I am thought of as intelligent.

The downsides to the lack of communication skills can be massive, several lots of illogical information and just like a computer I will shut down, crash and then get into panic mode. The consequences can be problematic because if others don't understand how I process information, there is confusion on both sides and the probability of becoming overwhelmed and everything escalating into what is a meltdown, a total loss of control, an explosive rage cycle is possible. Its not anger, its the inability to process and communicate what I am feeling that makes any sense. 

I can talk endlessly about special interests, I have a mind full of information thats probably only important to me and other people can get bored rather easily if its not what they have an interest in, but I won't know that and then that situation can get into a problem area. 

Learning. As I've already explained, I learn differently to a lot of others, but information is normally given from the simple to the more complex. I learn back to front and so I have to seek out the more complex information to be able to make sense of the easy parts. The advantage is that I learn quickly and comprehensively. This is reflected in schools with some children quickly becoming bored waiting for the slower learners ( the normal method of teaching) to catch up. If the teaching isn't the way I learn then thats where big problems occur. If children could be tested to discover how they learn before the teaching process begins, instead of teaching one way, the quicker centre focused and the slower outer learning kids could both benefit.

This is me and although there are a lot of similarities to others, we are all individual and we are all affected differently, have our own methods of dealing with this challenging life. I could have gone into much greater depth so I hope this helpful and ....interesting :)

   

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