Intolerance: Aspergers Symptom

Although intolerance can be a symptom of all Autistic Spectrum Disorders, it is a very prominent symptom of Asperger Disorder. Most sufferers will particular intolerances unique to them, and even be the source of many jokes from their family and friends

A strong dislike of change to a routine is a very common symptom of autism and ASD, and intolerance is closely related. While everyone has their likes and dislikes, people with Aspergers or ASD often have much stronger likes and dislikes. Some of these likes and dislikes tend to become an obsession or a hatred.

Often they believe they cannot handle the stress that comes with change or whatever it is they don’t like. It is this fear that governs their reaction, which can range from an uneventful dismissal to a panic attack or an aggressive outburst. Sometimes, once they get used to an idea, they can be persuaded to tolerate or accept, but they often react out of fear when they are first presented with the offending bad news.

There are many subheadings that come under the umbrella of Intolerance. All phobias come under this umbrella, but are at the severe end of the scale. Misophonia, which is the hatred of certain sounds, is one such severe subheading. Yet because neurological conditions are invisible, to the onlooker, witnessing a child screaming for example at a seemingly harmless action will invite unfair criticism of the child or the parenting skills.

Or hatred of loud noises in particular is a common intolerance with Asperger sufferers. The guy in the video above has this one. And so do I , but only for certain loud noises. I live near a busy road in the middle of a city, so I tolerate sirens, but to be fair they are not wailing all the time. I always hate very loud hand dryers in public toilets. Some of them sound to me like a supersonic jet engine! And yet I tolerate my very loud vacuum cleaner. I guess it’s largely down to expectations. I don’t expect to hear a jet engine in a loo, and it makes me jump when it starts – especially when you only walk past them! I suppose the dislike of loud noises one is also linked to having bad nerves, but then most people with Aspergers do tend to be nervous people, although they’ll often be the last to admit it.

Adults can be intolerant just as much as children; they just learn (hopefully) how to better deal with their intolerances. Most of the time the cause can be identified, but sometimes it is hard to pinpoint exactly why something isn’t tolerated. A person can be disliked for example, seemingly for no reason. They have not done anything wrong, but for whatever unknown reason the ASD sufferer cannot tolerate them.

This is more often than not, based on hunches or gut feelings. A boss interviewing several candidates for the same job might pick someone less qualified than another person, simply because they felt no rapport with the more qualified person. Some bosses on the autistic spectrum can take a disliking to someone for more petty or childish reasons than a neurotypical person. For example, because a candidate looks ot talks like someone the boss strongly dislikes, or because they support the wrong football team!

Rather than simply being something that “makes us human” a significant level of intolerance to many things is a big sign that someone could have Asperger Syndrome or another autistic spectrum condition.

Some intolerances I have, that drive me crazy:

  • Hand dryers in public toilets
  • Having wet hands
  • Having very dry hands
  • My hair in my face or eyes
  • Tight fitting clothes
  • Draughts
  • Small text (although I have 20/20 vision)
  • Websites with Auto-start video or audio
  • Uninvited people at the front door
  • Radio presenters talking over the vocals of a song
  • Movies that have trailers containing deleted scenes
  • People who pronounce “Bowie” wrong (see below)
  • People who pronounce “H” with an H. It’s pronounced “Aitch”
  • People who say “curated” when they mean “created”
  • Audible distractions when I’m trying to work
  • A dripping tap

It drives me crazy when people say “the amount of people” or “less people”. It should be “the number of people” or fewer people”. If the noun is singular; time, water, happiness, money, etc. then it is “amount” and “less”. If the word is plural; ideas, elephants, mistakes, children, etc, then it is “number” and “fewer”. But most people are unaware of this.

Then there are news presenters who say “an hotel”, or “an historic event”. You wouldn’t say “an hat” would you? This one drove my English teacher crazy too.

I also hate it when “Bowie” is pronounced wrong. It is supposed to rhyme with “Joey”, and I know I react way too over the top when I hear it; sometimes I’m forced to take a big deep breath – I can’t help it. In fact it makes me question the intelligence of these people. And people like Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais should know better, because they are supposed to be friends of his!

His wife pronounces it “BO-ee”, his ex-wife pronounces it “BO-ee”, and his son pronounces it “BO-ee” – case closed. (David Bowie himself doesn’t appear to care how people pronounce his name!)

I used to shout at the TV whenever I heard this and the above grammar stuff said incorrectly, but now I just say the correct word quietly to myself and pretend that’s what they said.

Then there’s being intolerant of other people and their foibles. Snoring, whistling, talking, eating, singing, tapping, breathing! But all these intolerances are made worse by how irritable we are to begin with.

4 comments on Intolerance: Aspergers Symptom

  1. I didn’t realize how sensitive l was to certain sounds/sights until l started really looking into it. I see letters in color and have a HUNCH that l’ve got asperger’s. Not a severe case, but seriously. There’s SOMETHING weird going on there! I’ve been looking at how all this might relate, and clearly a lot of it (in my case at least) leads back to heightened sensitivity. Some of my “triggers”, if you will…….

    – Big trucks passing byvat the top end of a gear
    – Kid’s crying at any volume
    – High-pitched noises


    – Sustained crunching of plastic bags as someone tries to retrieve the contents
    – Sniffling
    – Repetetive scraping or “unfinished” movements


    – Dogs licking people’s faces
    – Out of place things like a rug with an upturned corner or a crooked picture
    – Wrist-length sleeves that have somehow gotten wet or soiled

    There is a lot more, but those are se if them. Can’t tell if l’m insane or just really weird ha ha ha!

    1. Hi Kori,

      Thanks for your comment. Yup, I have all your intolerances too!

      My friends know I am the human spirit level, so they don’t get offended when I straighten their pictures!

    2. Kori, you might want to look up “synesthesia” if you haven’t already heard of it … “a condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor.” Might help explain seeing letters in colour. Alison

  2. Hello, my name is Rebeca, I’m Brazilian and I recently realized that I can fit asperger’s syndrome, even though this condition has been missed for my family and those close to me. My therapist recommended me to an autism specialist and I’m waiting for the diagnosis. Thank you for sharing your story, it is important to meet people who go through the same situations on a daily basis. And I’m sorry, if English is not so well written, because I’m Brazilian I speak Portuguese and I’m not so fluent in English. All good for you.

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