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:
- Career / Work
- Cognitive / Intellectual Variability
- Comorbid Attributes
- Coping Mechanisms
- Education / University Life
- Executive Functioning & Motor Skills
- Finds Refuge when Alone
- Gender Expression
- Literal thinking
- Past And/Or Current Mental Health History
- Physical Appearance
- Physiology / Neurology
- Relationship Choices
- Self Experience
- Sixth Sense, Intuition, Psychic Abilities
- Social Interaction
- Special Interests
- Thinking Styles
- Unique Abilities And Strengths
- 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
In other words, How We Are in Essence… How we Experience Our Lives Internally… and How We Express That Externally in Relation to the World Around Us.
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.