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What were you like as a child?
#1
Lightbulb 
Looking back at your childhood, what kinds of interests/activities did you pursue? What can you look back on now and see is representative of your INTPness?

I'm asking because the school system and the medical folks both believe my 8 year old INTP daughter belongs on the Autism Spectrum. I see the indicators they point to as a function of an underdeveloped INTP rather than on the spectrum, but I recognize my bias in this situation (being an INTP myself). She has also experienced major trauma (I was diagnosed with potentially terminal cancer when she was 6 but am doing fine now) - you know, just to complicate things.

So I'm looking for this tribe to help me see what's typical for INTP kids and see how that's different from or the same as what she's doing that leads people to believe she's Autistic.
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#2
Well, what do you mean by "childhood"? I'm currently in high school and would consider up until 8/9 years old to have been my childhood, but I know that older people frequently have a different idea of the age at which one becomes an adolescent or adult.

In the elementary years, I mostly spent my time reading, primarily sci-fi fantasy books that were targeted at a young adult/adult audience. I also liked to write stories and to play games on the computer. When I played with the toys my parents bought me, it was never "house" or "watch these cute animals frolic about together". There was always a plot, and usually a complex fantastical world of my devising that had consistent rules and mechanics. I would move them about in buildings and geographic areas that I built, pretending they were going on adventures (a quest to find an ancient treasure, or to defeat the monster stalking the streets of their cities in the night, slowly picking off their innocent citizenry.)

Representative of my INTPness: I questioned everything. If I was told I "ought to" sit a specific way or to not slurp my soup, I wanted to know why. If I was given a rule, I also asked for the reasons behind it. If there was no adequate reason (there frequently wasn't), I was perfectly happy to ignore the rule when my parents weren't watching. There was no "thrill of breaking the rules"; I simply saw no particular reason to not do what I felt like doing just because a person with the societal role of "parent" said so, and I was clever enough to never get caught.

I was fairly emotionally unaffected. I was calm, neutral, and usually apathetic. Unlike my classmates, I wasn't easily excitable, and I didn't understand what was so great about things that made them really emotional (people's weird elementary school crushes, schoolyard soccer, having a sleepover, birthday parties, etc.)

I didn't talk to most of my classmates, or interact with them. I was pretty much satisfied with sitting on the pullup bars reading. Additionally, I didn't talk like them; I used big words and complicated concepts, and spoke with proper grammar and enunciation. I wasn't interested in the same things. I had few friends and mostly wandered off doing my own thing; I would sometimes feel this underlying loneliness, but I never connected that to the idea of trying to interact with my classmates.

I had difficulty puzzling out other people's emotions and how to respond to them. My social skills were decidedly sub-par.

I was fascinated with big concepts like finding meaning in life (as a young atheist), the search for the mysteries of the Universe, what love was, honor, friendship, etc.

I didn't feel like paying attention in class, so I didn't. I learned on my own time, though, and this, combined with my natural prowess for such things, let me get great grades without really trying.


And, that's a wrap; I hope this helped. I would like the give the caveat, though; I'm not certain whether or not I have aspergers. It seems like it's definitely a possibility. Also, it seems that all the INTx types I know in person come off as having ASD. Maybe most INTx types do have at least mild aspergers? The possibility is brought up a good deal on INTJ and INTP forums.
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#3
What constitutes a personality disorder? To paraphrase a Ms. Moss it cannot merely be a difference from the norm, because that's also the definition of personality in general.

With a medical disorder, it's pretty easy to look at the patients symptoms and reach a diagnosis, if it looks like strep, smells like strep, and tests positive for strep in a cell culture, than it's probably a duck. But with mental disorders, the symptoms are vague and ill-defined. It's a spectrum, people say, and everyone falls on it somewhere, but that helps us not at all in determining where the cutoff on the spectrum is.

Since everyone displays the traits of every mental disorder to varying degrees, it's easier to self-diagnose then to cook a hot-pocket. (Which is to say, fairly difficult. I lived years of my life placing the pocket on top of the heating wrap instead of inside it.)

But surely certified psychologist are more rigorous? Well, as Socrates once so elegantly put it, "Hell no!"

This article and this one might be of interest for further reading. I certainly found them so, as someone who had to undergo a few years of counseling in elementary school . . . but as Elizier Yudkowsky said
Elizier Yudkowsky Wrote:the problem with feeling sorry for yourself was that it never took any time at all to find someone else who had it worse.

. . .

What constitutes a personality disorder? Well, it has to be that last sentence, doesn't it? We know that your child is unusual, I infer that she's precocious. But is there anything wrong with her? I don't know her, so I can't say.

But I'm willing to bet that her assortment of personality strengths and weaknesses make for a far better and more capable person than (I'd even hazard to say) most. "Normal" people, after all, are very much underrepresented amongst important people.

So what does she really stand to gain?
I came up with a very clever signature, as a matter of fact it's cleveritude was so clever that merely listening it would cause you to ascend to godhood. But then I forgot it, so instead you can listen to my gibbering inanities. I'm sorry.
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#4
Have you tried giving her a couple MBTI tests? I think autism or other mental health issues can exist alongside someone's Meyers-Briggs or other personality type, but asking her to take a couple MBTI tests might give a little more insight. I have no idea how valid the test is with children though. What are some of the pro's and con's to having an "official" diagnosis of autism? What does she think about it?

When I was eight, I remember being interested mainly in artistic projects and creating fantasy worlds with sets of conditions for me and my friends to play with as characters in those settings. I liked to play video games and read and would often ask to stay in from recess to read or finish a project. I didn't have major problems communicating with my peers or have most of the qualifications for autism that I've read about, but I generally kept to a small, tightly-knit group of friends. I sometimes had problems understanding my peers though and often relied on others to show me how to "be." If I hadn't clocked in so many hours with self-actuated NFs when I got older (and maybe even as a child), I'm not sure I'd be comfortable telling the people who matter to me the most that I love or appreciate them. I was also quite stubborn and independent in my points of view and wouldn't shy away from an argument. I was lucky to have had a very nice, supportive group of teachers and peers. I think that does a lot for children. Children and adults alike "close up" in a negative environment (which might be something else to consider in determining whether or not she has autism or is just a stressed out NT).
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#5
I'm of a couple different minds about this.

1. What specific course of events has led to your daughter being evaluated thus? Why are the school/medicals even interested in her to begin with? Who are the medicals? Is it local pediatrics, or a licensed Psych professional (either -ologist or -iatrist), and who referred you/your daughter to them? If possible, ask for the clinical breakdown of symptoms that is leading to this diagnosis. (When making a clinical diagnosis, especially of a child, there HAS to be documentation.) One of the things that stands out most in my memory from studying psychology as an undergrad was being told by one of my favorite instructors that it is super tricky to treat children (at least in USA) because treatment is usually paid for by insurance companies, and the insurance companies want the Psych professional to identify a Reason for treatment or they won't get paid, so the Psych professional is basically obligated to come up with some kind of diagnoses within the first session with the child (usually about 15mins long, an hour if you're lucky) which may or may not even be suitable. Most importantly here, get a second opinion, as this type of diagnosis is "for life."

1.5) That being said, I also worked as a behavioral counselor for Autistic kids, and there is (or at least was at the time) nothing invasive or damaging about the therapies used, so there is probably no harm in letting your daughter's school try to get her some behavioral counseling in the meantime. Eight seems late fora diagnosis to me, though, so unless they are claiming a "milder" form where communication is unhindered (meaning she CAN even if she doesn't prefer to) I'm not sure how I'd feel about this, were I you. But then again, I'm just some random internet person who has never met your daughter, and I would hope that the teachers & admins at your school would know her a little better than I do. Again, get a second opinion (one that you seek out on your own, who isn't pre-loaded with the knowledge of what the school is seeing, who preferably is not paid by the school or your county or whoever paid the first one). You can approach this as "hey I have some concerns" or you can say "it has been suggested" or whatever, just make sure you don't tell them exactly the things the school tells you they are seeing, and see whether the second opinion sees that stuff too.

2. You may find this article interesting, which discusses the differing presentation of ASD in girls vs boys. It will be interesting for you to read about some people diagnosed as on the spectrum and see whether you think they have common traits with your daughter. About 4/5 the way down under the heading "The Protected Sex" it also discusses the idea that Autism is a form of "increased maleness," in the same way that female INTPs are considered "rare" because the typical INTP is more logical (stereotypical masculine) than emotional (stereotypical feminine).

3. I was a very tomboyish little girl, but then again I'm also bisexual, so there is no real knowing how much of my disinclination toward skirts and makeup is because INTP, and how much is due to Ugh...

Here's a quick run-down of me as a kid: bikes, skateboards, climbing trees, climbing anything I could really, no fear at all, HotWheels cars (organized by type in a "parking lot" drawn onto posterboard), Pokemon for days (cards, video games, tv show, clothing, stuffed animals, etc... but this was int he mid-90's when it was BIG), dogs, cats, mice, a snake, lots and lots and lots of reading (sometimes all night long, a habit I have yet to kick), lots of drawing, had a stuffed rabbit that went everywhere with me named Mr. Bunny til I lost it on a soccer field when I was 10, bought a replica for $2 as an adult (it was an "Ears" TY Beanie Babie, and I searched a long time to get the one with the right "facial structure"), played some video games, LOVED Legend of Zelda, wasn't a big fan of like Mario Kart because what's the damn point?, was OBSESSED with the television show "Charmed" in middle school, still own a lot of the season sets on DVD but don't really watch them anymore. Had some really close friends, and some not-so close friends, never really thought of us as the "cool kids" but my dad swears my friend group was running that school, so what do I know? Good in most school subjects, especially those in which I could showcase my intuitive logic and details-noticing, but got really disenfranchised with math between fifth and sixth grades (pretty sure it was due to 6th grade math teacher's militant and ostracizing approach: everyone write the times tables up to 10x10 under a minute and if you do you get candy and don't have to do it again and if you don't you just have to keep doing it every whatever day it was done on.... What if I can't write that fast? What if I get distracted? Nope, doesn't matter, end up being one of very few kids that the rest of the class basically watches do this thing. That's NOT a good approach. Felt ostracized, even if there was never any overt... actually, yeah, I'm pretty sure there was overt ostracizing of those who failed to get it done (by both teacher and students). I didn't really like him, but didn't feel like I could speak up about it because he had my older sister a year before and apparently they really got along. My 8th grade teacher, though, taught us the quadratic equation in the form of SONG, which was way cooler and I still know it today... I'm now pretty fond of math). In elementary school I remember really liking the time where my teacher would read to us and we'd have some clay to play with. I don't think I ever made anything with it, I just liked the consistency once it got heated up by my hands and would spend the time trying to make it as smooth as possible and then like sticking my thumb in it or something to have to start over. Liked to play by myself at recess, not really a fan of games with other kids like tag or 4-square or whatever because nobody seemed to just want to play, everyone was super competitive, so it was really frustrating when I was disqualified almost immediately for not being a "pro"... In Kindergarten I remember making valentines for the class and there was this one boy who was always misbehaving and I thought he was like the "bad boy" and super rebellious and stuff so I made him a special one with a black heart surrounded by rings like Saturn (I think Space Jam had just come out) thinking that he'd like it cos it was cool and "dark" like him, but he ended up crying because he thought it was mean....

Haha, well that went quickly down the rabbit hole.....

-----Edit-----
Oh, also, I had a relatively strange self-soothing behavior that carried over from my infancy where sucking my thumb made me gag, so I sucked on my wrist instead, and would hold onto an earlobe (either mine or that of a parent) at the same time... this behavior persisted for an embarrassingly long number of years...
"Well if I were You-Know-Who, I'd want you to feel cut off from everyone else. Because if it's just you alone you're not as much of a threat." -Luna Lovegood
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#6
(05-16-2017, 07:35 PM)moseylissa Wrote: Looking back at your childhood, what kinds of interests/activities did you pursue? What can you look back on now and see is representative of your INTPness?

I'm asking because the school system and the medical folks both believe my 8 year old INTP daughter belongs on the Autism Spectrum. I see the indicators they point to as a function of an underdeveloped INTP rather than on the spectrum, but I recognize my bias in this situation (being an INTP myself). She has also experienced major trauma (I was diagnosed with potentially terminal cancer when she was 6 but am doing fine now) - you know, just to complicate things.

So I'm looking for this tribe to help me see what's typical for INTP kids and see how that's different from or the same as what she's doing that leads people to believe she's Autistic.



I am INTP and I have a 15 year old daughter who is also INTP. The INTP personality type has many of the same characteristics as Aspergers which is now just known and diagnosed as an autistic spectrum disorder. I have investigated both diligently and often wonder if they are not just one in the same, only they seem to focus more attention on different aspects of the attributes in the personality. Each have some differing criteria that you won't find mentioned often or at all in the other, however the majority of personality traits are very much the same. The reasons given for many of the peculiar traits often differ between the two, but I have found that , quite often, an easy connection can be made between the two. Unfortunately the research I have attempted relating to Aspbergers has been very limited by the fact that we are both female. Aspbergers presents very differently in males and females and most research and papers written on the subject have been done with observations and studies done on the male population. When I tested, my scores came out as borderline Aspergers. This score leaves it up to the psychologist, and his observations of my behaviors, as to whether of not I should be diagnosed as such. My daughter score very highly, leaving no doubt that she meets almost all criteria to be diagnosed with Aspbergers. However, I definitely attribute this difference in scoring to age and learning life and all it's quirks as you go. I had a very different childhood then many people in that my only parental guidance was my mother who also happened to be a very neglectful drunk. Therefore I was forced to take care of myself and navigate this life from a very young age. You learn very quickly to integrate and navigate around people when there is no other option presented to you. In a way this made me very fortunate. Many observations regarding emotions and thought patterns that are very different in me then the majority of the population I noticed very early in life. However, I was not so fortunate as to know exactly what to do with all the information I procured so early. I also wasn't lucky enough to have anybody in my life to whom I could confide in about my worries that I was alien to all the socializing around me despite the amount of time I spent in these social groups. Anyway, my point is this, in my opinion you could probably label her with either/or, the important part is that despite the label, being female INTP or female Autism spectrum disorder ( not to devalue in any way what males of the same may go thru. I can only speak from my perspectives and knowledge) she will be coming up very quickly, if she hasn't already, on the realization of just how different she is and what reprocussions that may have in her life. Emotional teenagers can easily be led to depression for much less and with the intense emotions of the INTP ( or whichever you choose call it) , and being female , which often make this personality type seem even more crazy and leaving them feeling even more isolated, it is important to watch for the signs of depression in your daughter. I have done my best to educate my daughter with as much knowledge as I possibly can and to connect with her in that way that only truly intimate close INTPs can as often as I can so that she understands that she isn't alien, just different then most but the same as a few, many of those few being amazing people. Quality over quantity. I have had to use any medication as of yet, but she has gone thru some spells of depression. One was exceptionally troubling and almost had me there. I, as a child however, should have had intervention and am very lucky to have had things go the way they did without it. Listen and learn from the school board as well as the medical professionals, they often have great insight and are very knowledgeable about such things. However , I'm not sure of the particulars in your situation, but it seem to have some similarities to mine, and in my case I just had to talk to her. A lot. Over years. And those conversations continue. And she got to decide how she felt inside and why she felt that way and how feeling that way has shaped her behaviors and person. She like INTP.
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