ASD Classifications — And then there are the super-classifications


I’ve been refining my lists for my Alt-Autie-Aspie Profile Builder, and (of course) I’m seeing more patterns. It seems to me, after sorting through 658 different line items, that they fall into the following categories or classifications:

  1. Career / Work
  2. Challenges
  3. Cognitive / Intellectual Variability
  4. Communication
  5. Comorbid Attributes
  6. Coping Mechanisms
  7. Education / University Life
  8. Emotional
  9. Empathy
  10. Executive Functioning & Motor Skills
  11. Finds Refuge when Alone
  12. Gender Expression
  13. Innocent
  14. Interpersonal
  15. Lifestyle
  16. Literal thinking
  17. Past And/Or Current Mental Health History
  18. Patterns
  19. Personality
  20. Physical Appearance
  21. Physiology / Neurology
  22. Relationship Choices
  23. Self Experience
  24. Self-Expression
  25. Sensitive
  26. Sensory
  27. Sexuality
  28. Sixth Sense, Intuition, Psychic Abilities
  29. Social Interaction
  30. Special Interests
  31. Stimming
  32. Thinking Styles
  33. Unique Abilities And Strengths
  34. Words
  35. Working Styles

More on each of those later.

So, what to do with all those categories? Each of them has subcategories associated with it (I’ll cover them later under separate posts). How do I work with 35 different categories and suss out the pieces of them? Some of them have a handful of subcategories or traits associated, while others have tens of them.

How do I make sense of this?

Well, by assigning super-classifications to them. I’ve heard folks talk about the “Triad of Impairments” in Autism — connected with Social functioning, Communication, and Thought. I’d like to use the “triad” concept as well. But in my case, I’ll talk about

  • Essence
  • Experience
  • Expression

In other words, How We Are in EssenceHow we Experience Our Lives Internally… and How We Express That Externally in Relation to the World Around Us.

There is overlap among all aspects, and there are empty spaces where there’s a void – of understanding, articulation, or acknowledgement

This, I think, works. And lo and behold, each of the three super-classifications has roughly the same number of items — in the 200 range. The Essence list is shorter, coming in right now at 178 or so, and the Expression list is longer — over 200.

Because, really, if you think about it, those are the three areas where the autistic spectrum impacts us:

  • How we actually are, in our wiring and in our character and our “native modes” of being and processing information.
  • How we experience our internal lives — especially for women and non-verbal and other “non-communicative” folks on the spectrum. This is hugely important for those of us who have been under the radar for most of our lives and have suffered intensely because our issues and challenges were never detected or acknowledged — or were even flat-out denied or mis-diagnosed as something completely different than autism/Asperger’s.
  • How we express ourselves when we interact with the outside world. To me, the above two lay the foundation — overlapping with each other to combine and contribute to our outward expression of our essence and interior experience.

The New Triad I envision has a number of “empty areas” — places where there’s overlap that’s not fully characterized. And maybe it shouldn’t be. It has symmetry, which is of course completely unrealistic and doesn’t reflect the full range of complications that we have on the autistic spectrum. But it’s visually pleasing to this Aspie, and I like it.

It says what I think it should. And there is more to say.

Anyway, back to my categorization work, culling the pieces that have been said and re-said many times over, and condensing them into a single line item, instead of seven.

The work continues.


4 thoughts on “ASD Classifications — And then there are the super-classifications

    1. VisualVox

      Thanks – that’s exactly my goal – to consider all these points as someone on the autistic spectrum does. Thanks again – I look forward to hearing your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

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