Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Magpie Syndrome and Aspergers,Autism..Stealing

So, I went to this conference last week..and I found myself admiring pretty, shiny things, mostly other peoples bling and baubles. When seated with others from, I often found my eyes seriously gravitated to their necklaces and rings to the point where I had to either consciously self-restrain myself from touching or I would ask to see said pretty shiny things. Most people proved to be pretty okay with allowing me to touch their goods with one woman even going so far as to remove her ring and let me play with it for a moment:)
This got me thinking...
So, upon my return home, I scoured the internet to see if there was a correlation for Aspergers/Ausitm and pretty shinys and/ or if the obsession with all that glitters was a psych or "named" syndrome.
It took me awhile to stumble upon "Magpie Syndrome" and, even then, only on an obscure, single website,"Urban Dictionary". I wasn't sure Urban Dictionary was a legit site, so I search wikied it and it seems legit.
Here is what it says:
Magpie Syndrome- an irrational affinity for shiny objects. When a highly shiny object is seen by the sufferer it often may induce a compulsive need to claim it and several minutes of staring at said object. This will later end in the sufferer pocketing the object to add to his/ her collection by a sunny windowsill at home. If a shiny object is outside of a sufferers grasp it will usually result in a strong, though usually short-live obsession over it.
Okay, so it is somewhat tongue-in-cheek and it is a site where individuals submit words and definitions but it really,really fits.
I find that it is irrational and definitely obsessive to the point of distraction and nothing else matters, albeit momentary or temporarily.
Just yesterday, I was picking up my phone and the tech helping me had on a bright, shiny necklace with a semi-familiar symbol on it. After a few minutes of figuring out when it was appropriate to ask, I did. Of course, I do not touch things directly upon a person like that, but I was able to do the second best thing and overtly stare at it as she described what it was.
My son, my eldest with the Aspergers, has this to an even higher degree. Back when he was quite young, 4 or 5, we noticed bright, shiny, expensive small things missing from the, crystals, things like that. He had been pilfering items that were sparkly. So, as biological mom, I gave him more than one good talking to but the behavior persisted.
It became quite clear that this was something that was obsessive and outside his rational control. My ways of coping were to simply start going through his room once in a while, locating the stash and returning them to their proper place.
His pocketing never stopped. And I lost a number of very expensive items to his Magpie Syndrome.

Anyway, I would be most to curious as to if other Aspies, Autistics have the same symptoms.


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    1. Hi Amy - not sure if you have my last message - caught in thunder storm so not sure if it was correctly sent- Gordon UK

  2. I mentioned two adults I know with AS who might well have traits related to what you call Magpie syndrome - Gordon

  3. Hi Gordon, these are the first two messages that I have received from you. Very cool about others having the syndrome. I always wondered if it was an anomaly only in my gene pool. Thank you! Amy

  4. Hi, my name is Basia and i'm sure I experienced the same obsessive behaviors towards 'shinies' I call them. I grew out of it around 12-13 yrs.old. As a child I would search my moms jewelry and go as far as to break a strand just to take one or two beads that would best suit my "collection" that I housed in a miniature pirate chest, how appropriate!(my moms wrath did not stop me)I often took them out,in secret (secretly, because to show them to someone else was like bearing a slice of my soul to them and only a few people had that privilege)to expose them to the sun and stare, almost self hypnotizing) I stole some items from unsuspecting family :( and for many years I obsessed over my aunts two huge, breathtaking broaches (sent to her from USA)I WANTED THEM SOOOOO BAD. Ahhhhh, I think about these things now and smile. Back then I thought I had The Shiniest stars straight from heaven in MY possesion.( all of my shinies were lost on a faithful bus ride,(I always wanted them with me) one of the biggest heartbreakes of my childhood.)I think an adult picked it up and kept it, thinking that it was valuable.:((( Now as an adult I still appreciate the beauty of shiny jewels and I purchase accordingly. As far as I know I have not been diagnosed with anything...that's known :)bye

  5. Diagnosed with AS myself, and I can answer a resounding 'YES' to your query. How I love pretty shiny things...and I am a man by the way, just in case people might assume it might be a feminine trait.

  6. Thanks Ginro, oh, it is a trait of both genders for sure! My son was the first person that clued me in to my own shiny pretty behavior. Thanks for writing!

  7. I have transient obsessions with shiny sparkly things and onbtaining them. Once i fully became aware of it i found I was able to better regulate more often and save my bank balance in process.

  8. Thanks Laura! I do like to hear about others who share this. I'm not alone in my affection with shiny pretties:)

  9. I've never had this particular problem, except for "Inappropriate staring" - my eyes would focus on something bright, or even just a pale or made-up face, and I would continue to stare far longer than is (apparently) normal. I started noticing myself doing this when I was in my early teens, and slowly grew out of it. It still happens sometimes when I'm tired.