I am writing in regards to a very close friend I have, who I believe may have been mis-diagnosed as a child. I will present to you his current symptoms, and I would appreciate any insight into whether or not he has a clinical condition.
Although I have not discussed this with his parents to gain further information, I do know that as a young child he was hindered by some type of muscular/ motor inhibitions or irregularities; severe enough that his parents had more than 5 appointments with a specialized pediatrician to discuss his disorder and its progression through childhood. Although I don't know the full extent of what was observed, he displayed problems with balance and co-ordination and was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. His parents were informed that he would never be physically able to do some activities, such as ride a bike. He did not engage in sports or other active play with children due to his embarrassment.
However, now, many years later, due to support and care, I encouraged him to learn to ride a bike; despite his deep-seated feelings regarding the subject. After much persuasion, he got on the bicycle, and within fifteen minutes he could ride it 10 feet or further, perfectly balanced. The second time we attempted this, he could ride the bike with equal or greater precision than I. The only motor awkwardness that seems to remain is occasional jerking and jarring movements of his body, but these are slight and uncommon.
This, to me, suggests either a wrong diagnosis when he was a child, or that perhaps some other disorder is present. I am curious, because he displays some other interesting characteristics.
He displays above-average intelligence. At the age of 13, he had read, enjoyed, and discussed many works of classical literature, his favourite of which being the works of Dostoevsky.
He displays problems with verbal communication. Linguistically, the diction he selects in common conversation is somewhat outside the social norm and usually quite descriptive. However, when aiming to express ideas or feelings that concern him personally, his shows great reluctance, even inability to communicate. This results in occasional and extreme strain on inter-personal relationships. However, with this said, he does not show any lack of empathy, feeling, or understanding for others. Emotionally, he is highly developed -- the issue lies not in the feeling but in it's expression.
Furthermore, he shows extreme introverted tendencies in social situations. If he is around anyone who is strange or unknown to him, he either chooses not to speak or finds himself physically unable, as with his problems in verbal communications.
And, finally, he is extremely sensitive to physical touch. When touched by others, he flinches or ‘jumps’, in sometimes-severe reactions similar to the movements of someone who has been electrocuted or stung. This reaction is displayed even when touched by those extremely close to him, such as his mother, and his wife. When speaking to his wife about these occurrences, she recalled that at the commencement of their relationship, he was deeply adverse to any type of physical contact, which frustrated her. Such small things, such as whispering in his ear, would cause his face to contort and his muscles to tense, sometimes resulting in jerking or jarring movements of his arms. He described this feeling as ‘too much’ – it was unpleasant to him and he asked her to desist. He also commented that the feeling of her touching his body was like being burned. As time passed and their relationship progressed, she noted that the physical contact issues faded and became less common in their interactions. Later, she noted that in response to sexual stimuli, his movements were exaggerated, often involved kicking/ thrashing of the legs. Although his physical hypersensitivity no longer appears to her as limiting between them, it is her belief, and mine that when presented with a new individual, he would experience the same deep aversion and sensitivity to physical stimuli.
I am curious to see if anyone has any insight into a possible diagnosis of this. Thank you for your time!
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