Categories
FAQ

Ask an Aspie: Fun-Facts for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Hello, Puzzle Pieces!

I figured that since I’ve been gone for a while, I’d return with something fun for this round of Ask an Aspie.

Bear with me on this. It’ll work; I promise.

Just last week, I tried to calculate various statistics about the prevalence of ASD for an Editing class assignment. Ultimately, the numbers were cut from the paper, but it apparently didn’t matter. I realized today that my method for finding these statistics was inaccurate.

I had assumed from the data that 1/54 were boys was the same as 1/54 people with autism were boys. That’s where my numbers fell apart.

Like that, but with more numerals and less symbolism.

 

So what are the actual statistics? Well, here’s what I found out:

US Census Bureau fun-fact: There were an estimated 313,914,040 people living in America in 2012.

I assumed that 1/54 of 1/88 of 313,914,040 was the correct answer for how many males are on the Spectrum in America. I realized today that I was operating under an inaccurate assumption. It’s not 1/54 males with ASD in America; it’s 1/54 boys in America. So I went back to the Census data. What I should have calculated were how many boys there are in America and how many men, then I should have calculated the ASD prevalence from there. Just for inclusivity, I looked up the same numbers for girls and women. Unsurprisingly, the split between male and female in America is just about half. No, really! It’s literally 50.8% female and 49.2% male!

I also discovered in my research that the prevalence is roughly about the same whether we’re talking about adults or children, so I used the same ratios for both groups. That would be 1/54 males and 1/252 females in America.

Please note: All of these numbers are American. Sorry, Kim…

So now, here are the final numbers broken down in various ways.

313,914,040 people lived in America in 2012.

That makes roughly 3,476,516 people with ASD in America in 2012.

Out of that, 2,863,013 were male, 613,503 were female. Furthermore, 2,647,093 were adult, while 829,423 were children under the age of 18.

To break down these numbers still further:

2,179,959 were men; 467,134 were women.

683,054 were boys; 146,369 were girls.

So, there you have it, people!

The next time somebody says you are one in a million, you can give them the correct statistics.

Hey, I never said it’d go over well… Just sayin’.
Categories
FAQ School

What Puzzle Pride Means

It has been over two months since I’ve last posted on this blog.  I swear I have a good reason this time!  Remember how I said I had some projects brewing in the distance?  Well, one of them was applying to SJU’s MA in Writing Studies program for Fall 2012.

HEY!  GUESS WHAT HAPPENED WITH THAT?

I’m only accepted provisionally — that means they will review my progress at the end of the semester and decide whether or not I will be fully accepted and continue on in the program — but I think I’m doing well, so far.  Sadly, though, this means that I can devote much less time to the Aspie Epilogue than I used/want to.  Rest assured, I am still alive and as opinionated as ever.

SPEAKING OF ME BEING AS OPINIONATED AS EVER…

I have a bone to pick with the word “cure” as it relates to ASD.

I have no problem with researching new treatments and methods of bringing everybody affected to the same social page as our NT peers.  Don’t get me wrong; I would LOVE to see a world, in which, the puzzle is completed.  I’d love to see the day ASD isn’t as scary sounding as it once was (and maybe still is, as things stand).

Then there are the people who talk about “curing” Autism.  Stop!  Just, please.  Stop right there!

No, thanks. I think I’m happier without a cure…

To “cure” somebody implies that there is a disease within the subject’s body that should not be there.  It implies there is something WRONG with us.  That we are not “normal.”  That we are unable to function as human beings.

Let me bust that myth right here and now:

1. ASD IS NOT A DISEASE.  IT MEANS SEEING THE WORLD DIFFERENTLY THAN MOST PEOPLE.  A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE IS NOT A DISEASE.

2. THE ONLY THING WRONG HERE IS THE ATTITUDE THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH US.

3. NORMAL IS A SUBJECTIVE WORD.  WHAT IS NORMAL TO SOME MAY NOT BE NORMAL TO OTHERS.  ERGO, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS NORMALCY.

4. WE ARE ABLE TO FUNCTION.  JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T FUNCTION LIKE YOU OR AS EFFICIENTLY AS YOU DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE CANNOT FUNCTION.  SOME OF US FUNCTION BETTER THAN SOME NT’S OUT THERE.

5. SURE, THERE ARE SYMPTOMS.  IF YOU CATCH THEM SOON ENOUGH, THEY ARE COMPLETELY TREATABLE.  FOR SOME PEOPLE, THAT MAY TAKE LONGER THAN FOR OTHERS.  LIKE WITH ANY SYMPTOM, THERE CAN AND WILL BE SOME RELAPSES IN PROGRESS.

6. WE HAVE THE FULL POTENTIAL TO BE HUMAN BEINGS, AND WE TRY OUR HARDEST TO BE SO.  WE HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH SOCIAL SITUATIONS.  THEREFORE, WE HAVE TROUBLE READING EMOTIONS AND WILL TEND TO MISS SOCIAL CUES FROM TIME TO TIME.

7. WE ENDURE SO MUCH MORE TORMENT FROM YOU GUYS THAN YOU ARE EVEN AWARE YOU ARE SUBJECTING US TO.  YES, WE DO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.  AND YES, IT HURTS US VERY MUCH, EMOTIONALLY.  THINK ABOUT HOW IT’S GOING TO SOUND TO ME VERSUS HOW IT SOUNDS TO YOU BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR FOOT IN YOUR MOUTH.

THIS IS WHO WE ARE.  THIS IS PUZZLE PRIDE.  WE MAY NOT HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THE SAME TYPE OF THINGS AS YOU, BUT WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED FAR MORE IN QUANTITY AND IN QUALITY.

I’M WEIRD!  I’M LOUD!  IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN WALK AWAY!  BECAUSE WE ARE THE 1-IN-88, AND WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE ANYTIME SOON!

Categories
FAQ

Ask an Aspie

Okay, so I promised you all last week that I would discuss a very particular question that I’m sure many of you have had at some point or another.  This post just so happens to introduce a new recurring segment on the blog that I like to call:

Ask an Aspie

This is a segment where I take questions I frequently hear about and answer them in my own inimitable fashion.

Daffy Duck just wishes he had my swagger.

So, you just found out that your child has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Let’s just bypass the confusion and fuss behind getting that diagnosis in the first place.  We can talk about Diagnosis Puzzle later.

If your child’s psychiatrist happens to be played by Dick Van Dyke, just do yourself a favor and get a second opinion. Sooner rather than later…

But let’s say you actually went through all that and already have the diagnosis.  Now what?  When do you tell your child?  Should you even tell your child?  Will he understand what it means?  Who ate the last piece of that cake I was saving in the fridge since yesterday?

Well…  First off, I’m sorry about the cake.  I was really hungry and too lazy to make something more nutritious last night.

It was actually 2:30 AM. I just couldn’t figure out how to set the VCR clock.

But more seriously, the best time to tell your child is NOW.  You cannot hide this from your child forever.  He or she will inevitably find out one way or another.  Even if you feel your child is not mature enough or mentally ready to handle it, the truth is your child will at least know what he or she is dealing with and will grow to accept it over time.  It is always better to have everybody on the same page.  That way, you can work on what the next steps are together.  Your child will know he or she is not alone, and likewise, you will not be alone.  I can’t begin to remember how long it was before I was present at my own IEP meetings in school.  I actually wish I was there from the start.  (Then again, I was 3 or 4 when I got my first diagnosis.  So maybe I would have been a little young to understand what was going on.)

The sooner your child knows, the sooner your child understands.  The sooner your child understands, the sooner everybody gets on the same page.  The sooner everybody gets on the same page, the sooner progress can be made.  Because when it comes to ASD, you want to start as early as possible.  I was lucky enough that my mother noticed my abnormal behaviors when I was 2.  Since then, I’ve made considerable progress on my social skills.

Now, you may want to know the best way to do this.  That’s the easy part of this whole situation (perhaps the only easy part).  Just hold a family meeting and discuss it.  Answer any questions your child(ren) may have to the best of your honest knowledge.  But what if you have more than one child, but only one is diagnosed?  Just as simple.  I would recommend talking to everyone in the household all at once.  The sibling(s) will no doubt have questions, too.  After all, this affects the entire family.  Honesty is always the best policy.  Especially when it comes to ASD.  You want to be CLEAR, STRAIGHTFORWARD, and OPEN-MINDED about this.  I was very depressed when I first learned what Asperger’s was.  Over time, I grew to accept that this would always be a driving force in my life, so I decided to put it to work for me.  I decided to USE IT TO MY ADVANTAGE.

But I never would have gotten this far if nobody had ever told me what it was I was dealing with.

If anybody else has a question they would like answered in Ask an Aspie, please email me at aspieepilogue(at)me(dot)com or tweet me at @aspieepilogue.  I’m also always on the hunt for your Puzzle Pride Awards.  You can email me or tweet me those as well!  Don’t forget about the Facebook page, either!  I am always interested in what my readers have to say.  Until next week, Puzzle Pieces…