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 Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?

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NickValentine



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PostSubject: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:41 pm

I know this is a long shot but im just curious to here your thoughts. As someone with Aspergers Syndrome, I've noticed several similarities between problems I've faced and accounts of Dylan from his friends and Family along with some of the home videos.
One thing i notice with my self is the incredible shyness which comes from aspergers being a mainly social handicap
I feel its best shown in the RNN interview where he isnt seeming to be with anyone he knows. He seems uncomfortable. This corolates with accounts of devon adams from the 2007 Documentary "The Columbine Killers" where she stated "He didn't kniw how to interact with people without someone he knew." This is much like me when i am put into a situation where i have to talk to people i dont know and that often leads to awkward conversations.

Another similatity would be the extreme intelligence he displayed at a young age. People with aspergers tend to be very bright. We all dylan was a part of CHIPS.
Theres a few more things that i could think of but tell me what you guys think about this possibility.

Do you think its a possibility or just a coincidence?
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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:49 pm

No.

Not being able to interact with someone without someone you already know around is just being very very shy. It's easier to have someone you're comfortable around when you're shy. It also helps when you have something in common with them and have a common thing to break the ice with.

I read a blog post about this and it's now defunct. I think Dylan was just shy. There's a big difference between being shy and having aspergers.

He was able to maintain eye contact, he had a big group of friends, he had a sense of humor, he wasn't fixated on certain things.

He didn't seem that awkward in the RNN interview he maintain eye contact and had a nice hand shake he just didn't like being in front of the camera

Plus Dylan's mom worked with kids with disabilities. I have to imagine if he had some sort of autism she would know and have him tested.

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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:51 pm

I forgot that sue worked with kids with disabilities thanks for reminding me, It was just something i had wondered.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:52 pm

You're welcome!

Here is another thread that talks about it

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:40 pm

As an Aspie myself, I want to share a few things here.

First, I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the possibility. Especially if you're not an Aspie. I'm assuming you're not, because you concluded that Dylan made eye contact with someone, and his mother worked with special needs kids and would have noticed if he was autistic, therefore he couldn't have had Asperger's. My assumption could be wrong, of course. But unlikely, since people without Asperger's are the only ones who tend to use the presence or absence of widely-known symptoms to form conclusions.

Here's my take:

It's highly possible Dylan was an Aspie. None of us are in a position to make the determination that he wasn't. And in fact, by making the assertion that Dylan wasn't an Aspie, by explaining away his behavior as simple shyness, that's actually the reason so many kids don't get diagnosed with Asperger's - that's what their friends and family do, too. The assumption that someone would have known or noticed he had Asperger's is false.

Dylan isn't here to explain to us what was going on inside of him when he was experiencing the awkwardness of social situations that made him uncomfortable without the presence of others to keep the conversation going (as reported by his friends).

Autism (including Asperger's) is a spectrum, it's not something that's glaringly obvious in a lot of people. Many kids suffer in silence with Asperger's well into their 20's and even later due to the fact that everyone around them -- friends, family, co-workers, teachers, neighbors -- misattribute their behavior, actions, and reactions to things like defiance, tantrums, overreaction, shyness and just plain old teenage hormonal changes.

Overreactions like the one Sue describes in her book where Dylan thought kids at another table were staring at him - to non-Aspies - appear to be paranoia or delusion. In reality, what was going on inside of Dylan is unknown.

In my experience, I couldn't be around kids of any age even when I didn't know them because I was convinced they were always laughing at me. If I sat at a restaurant and a kid my age was there and looked over at me, I'd feel like they were staring me down and making fun of me. If I couldn't hear what they were saying, I was certain it was about me.

I'm not saying that's what Dylan experienced. We don't know. But it's possible, given his severe reactions, and that's something only a person with Asperger's can understand and spot. To others, it just appears like an overreaction of paranoia.

Next, it's simply not true that people with Asperger's can't make eye contact. This is something non-Aspies grab ahold of but it's not true across the board or in every situation.

For example, I had a friend with Asperger's who was able to give interviews in the scientific community at the highest level and she did a TedX talk, answered questions. She was able to make eye contact with me just fine. She may not have as a young kid, but she learned how as she grew up.

I also had a co-worker who was on the spectrum and her Asperger's was a little more intense than mine, so it seemed. While in the office she couldn't make eye contact with anyone for more than a moment. I invited her over for dinner and my roommates and I had a wonderful time and she locked eyes with all of us while we were sharing with each other. Deep, deep, eye contact where nobody blinks. Back at the office, around other people having conversations that didn't interest her - and she couldn't make eye contact.

The thing about Aspies most people don't get (you have to experience it to get it) is that when another person SEES them... and gets them... and they feel safe with them or don't feel judged - eye contact just happens and it's actually comfortable. Problem is, most people are demanding "look at me! Make eye contact! Be respectful!" And so the avoidance goes on and on and on... but when you start learning how to tell when people are really SEEING you... or they're interested in what you have to say authentically (you can always tell) - the eye contact is just there. Whereas, in other situations it wouldn't be.

Next, we all grow up thinking the world experiences everything as we do, and for Aspies sometimes it can seem like the world has a better handle on intrusions into your life. You think you're just the one who can't handle life, you don't really know that your reactions and strong aversions and likes and dislikes are neurologically based. How can you, when you are only in your own body? So you tend to think of yourself as inferior.

Parents don't see Asperger's in their child when they have no reason to think it exists.

I can tell you that growing up, I was perceived as shy, quiet, and well behaved. On the outside, as a young child, I looked like I was just the perfect child. That's what my parents saw. Inside I was suffering from sensory overload and sensitivities to light, sound, food, clothing, and requests that were driving me into a corner where I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. I retreated inward and suffered in silence. They thought I was being well behaved.

Until the pressure built up and exploded and I started breaking everything around me because I was older, and there were more things being added to my environment that were causing me severe pain and distress.

Last, a 15 second (approximate?) video clip of Dylan speaking to an interviewer for the RNN is not an indication that he didn't have Asperger's. I can read his body language, and he is extremely uncomfortable in that interview. It's in his eyes, his shoulders, and the way he swallows.

Now - I suppose everyone can look at the video and see something different but I will say to my credit that whenever I take communication courses that require participation I have an unfair advantage and am able to tell exactly what emotion people are feeling before they share it. It's not fair in the sense that it's an extraordinary ability that used to drive people crazy in my life because people don't like being read. Dylan's dead, so I don't mind reading him. And in that interview, he is uncomfortable.

The whole idea that Dylan may have had Asperger's is something other Aspies pick up on. And, neurotypicals are quick to destroy the possibility. Probably because it associates Dylan with Autism and the stigma surrounding autism is not something people want to see in Dylan.

Unfortunately, Dylan isn't here to tell us what he was experiencing when he was suffering from anxiety in social situations. But we cannot conclude that he didn't have Asperger's because the only evidence we have are situations that are extremely typical of people with Asperger's. The only arguments against it are anecdotal and observations made by neurotypical people who are looking from the same perspective that others look from and don't see Asperger's or autism in their own kids.

Parents, teachers, and friends don't see Asperger's in the people they're around daily for decades. It's almost invisible to many people for many more reasons I won't get into here. You're not going to see it in the limited videos we have. For many, it's a private hell they get really good at hiding from the world because they don't feel normal and just want to fit in as best as they can. You can hide it for decades. You can be unaware of it for decades.

I would not take anyone's opinion as fact on this matter, no matter how logically they dissect it with statistics and anecdotal commentary. When it comes to Dylan, there's no evidence to assert he wasn't an Aspie. There is evidence to suggest he was. A conclusion can't be drawn because he can't speak for himself to share more details with us.

People love to dissect, justify, explain, and invalidate the experiences of people with Asperger's. It's more common than you think. And it doesn't look like Adam Lanza or any of the stereotypical autistic kids portrayed in documentaries and Hollywood films...

Just something to think about.

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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:49 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:



Overreactions like the one Sue describes in her book where Dylan thought kids at another table were staring at him - to non-Aspies - appear to be paranoia or delusion. In reality, what was going on inside of Dylan is unknown.



You bring up excellent points. I always assumed it was because of the bullying and the fact that he was self conscious.

I guess I sometimes think about myself and I have always been like that due to the bullying I endured. To this day random laughter directed at me or not can irk me.

Back in the 90's I don't think Aspergers was as common. You were just shy or awkward and that is that.

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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:18 pm

I have aspergers myself and I always thought it was a possibility based on interviews and on his body language.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:24 pm

As a fellow aspie, I personally never saw it, and I'm not sure if Dylan had it. I think there's just too many factors at work to accurately determine if he had autism of some kind. I won't discount the possibility entirely but I'm not sold on it.

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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:45 pm

Yeah, that's so true, it's really hard to say if he was, because we don't have any information about what his internal experience was in his body or how he perceived the world outside of a minute selection of writing that focused only on one subject. We just have a brief view of symptoms that are possible indications, a couple of them stick out more than others. But the way Sue described his childhood doesn't seem to fit Asperger's but who is to say she didn't hold back some things intentionally or unconsciously. Like if he ever had any meltdowns. It's also possible she never saw them. Or, they were attributed to something else like a tantrum. So many possibilities.

Not everyone has the same experience with Asperger's, so all of us that have it, can see different aspects in Dylan based on our own personal experiences. And those who aren't on the spectrum, can see the same traits but don't interpret them as possible Asperger's because those traits are also seen in kids without Asperger's.

Even if he wasn't on the spectrum, even a little bit, he was suffering intensely more than most people.

Whatever personal hell Dylan was experiencing, he never told anyone the details. Sad


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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:06 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Overreactions like the one Sue describes in her book where Dylan thought kids at another table were staring at him - to non-Aspies - appear to be paranoia or delusion. In reality, what was going on inside of Dylan is unknown.

In my experience, I couldn't be around kids of any age even when I didn't know them because I was convinced they were always laughing at me. If I sat at a restaurant and a kid my age was there and looked over at me, I'd feel like they were staring me down and making fun of me. If I couldn't hear what they were saying, I was certain it was about me.

I'm not saying that's what Dylan experienced. We don't know. But it's possible, given his severe reactions, and that's something only a person with Asperger's can understand and spot. To others, it just appears like an overreaction of paranoia.
He was in abusive environment for 10 years. Attributing malice to people's behavior for example laughter is also a part of trauma of bullying.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:44 am

It's hard to say, but I've grown increasingly tired of autism/Asperger's being attributed to *everything* and *everyone* the slightest bit off; it's like the 21st century version of "the devil made me do it" or "PMS."

Not saying you're doing that, mind you.
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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:52 pm

Yes, attributing malice to people's behavior can be part of what the trauma of abuse does to people. However, when you're on the spectrum, that experience of trauma is amplified more than it would be for others. Considering Dylan was having an overreaction to kids in a city where he didn't know anyone, the intensity of his reaction is questionable as a symptom of Asperger's. Not definitive, but questionable and very possible.

Of course, some people don't want to see beloved Dylan as someone on the spectrum, so this conversation will always be "off the table" and not worth discussing. (Not saying anyone in this thread thinks that... just an observation).

Many people do attribute people's behavior to disorders in a context that isn't helpful. People do the same with psychopathy and bipolar, too. But I wouldn't generalize by saying people attribute it to everything and everyone the slightest bit off...

Can you share specific examples of what you're referring to when you say autism is being attributed to everything and everyone the slightest bit off? It sounds like a generalization/statement of frustration than an actual fact.

Also, to clarify, I don't support the possibility that Dylan may have been an Aspie because something about him was "off" as you describe is happening - I'm supporting the possibility because he exhibited multiple behaviors specific to kids on the spectrum that non-spectrum kids - even severely traumatized kids - don't express in the same way.

The problem with saying that people are using autism/Asperger's as the 21st century version of "the devil made me do it" is factually incorrect, but I won't get into that on a text-based platform. That viewpoint is the reason people reject the realities of autism/Asperger's and it's why kids aren't getting the help they need from a young age.

I can tell you that there are certain things you are not in control of, that you cannot change no matter how much you try, and there are neurologically-based reasons for those things.

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PostSubject: Re: Do you think Dylan could have had aspergers?   Yesterday at 8:31 pm

Not at all. In the boys' videos you can tell by their body language, eye contact, facial expressions and the ease with which they communicate that both him and Eric were "normies" as far as the autism spectrum is concerned.
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