Prevalence of Asperger's Syndrome Among Gun Nuts


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Orthonym
January 3, 2005, 11:08 PM
The other day I was looking at Bill StClair's blog and noticed a reference to a school for weird kids of the AS type, with some links to a New York Times article on the subject.

This caught my attention, as I seem to have some of the characteristic qualities myself: weird thoroughgoing interests, trouble with the doo-dahs and with getting laid, a VERY strong desire to be left alone, being a mark for devious people, telling the truth when the best course is lying, being easily detected when I DO attempt a lie etc etc.

Then I recalled member Fishorman's problems with cops while obeying the letter of the law, and his rather "tin ear" for the normal monkey dominance games the cops played with him. I've had almost, but not quite, (shudder) similar experiences.

I thought about the absolutely enthusiastic perseverance shown by lots of gun nuts, and the ability of some of us to get really exercised about minuscule details and differences among the many bits of gun info we have memorized.

I got curious and started searching and googling with strings like "asperger's aspie gun" and came up with very little; just one brave member here, (HI JIM) and a mention by Mr. Gwinn on TFL that his wife works with such folks.

I wonder if rather a lot of us might have some aspie tendencies, but are afraid to disclose them to the world for fear of being thought to be more than one kind of nut?

There's an "Asperger's Quotient" quiz at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.12/aqtest.html --

I got a 40. I guess that explains my sig file here.

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pax
January 3, 2005, 11:11 PM
Orthonym ~

My observation is that there are an awful lot of "undiagnosed" Asperger types in the world.

Since it isn't an illness or disease, I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's simply a personality type, a slightly different set of wiring for an essentially normal brain, and that it's not worth getting all worked up over.

pax

El Tejon
January 3, 2005, 11:16 PM
I don't have it but a lot of my invisible friends do have it. :)

Texian Pistolero
January 3, 2005, 11:19 PM
Not sure about what this "syndrome" is all about,

but I am willing to,

"walk on the wild side",

and posit that it is all about being a normal male,

with a normal male's desire to be proficient,

in slaughtering,

in great big gobs and heaps,

the enemies of OUR genetic sub-group,

who do not deserve,

and cannot be allowed,

to impregnate OUR females.

OK.

So how FAR from the truth am I?

Justin
January 3, 2005, 11:25 PM
The link doesn't work.

pax
January 3, 2005, 11:28 PM
Yes, it does. ;)

pax

DigMe
January 3, 2005, 11:28 PM
I worked with one asperger kid and I had another kid I used to work with whose father had asperger's syndrome and it was very obvious immediately that these were very different people. Many would say strange. Based just on those two I would conclude that it's a very noticeable thing and it seemed to border on autism. My point is I wouldn't go around telling people you have asperger's unless you were diagnosed by an expert. I don't know that a test on the internet could really do it accurately.

brad cook

R.H. Lee
January 3, 2005, 11:34 PM
31. Do I need medication, therapy, or both?

Orthonym
January 3, 2005, 11:37 PM
out a little bit on a not-quite-orthogonal axis. In other words,

Sort Of.

Asperger himself thought that what he saw was just an exaggeration of some typically male qualities, but not others.

Justin
January 3, 2005, 11:42 PM
Yes, it does. Hmm. First time I've seen Mozilla really biff it. On Wired's website no less.

El Rojo
January 3, 2005, 11:49 PM
I have done quite a bit of research on Asperger's for my special eduation class. There is a lot of debate on what exactly Asperger's is, but a general consensus is that it is a high functioning type of autism. Basically someone with Asperger's has a specific interests that they spend a lot of time obsessing on. They have very poor social skills. They attempt to interact with their peers, but they are just not capable. They often get frustrated and upset over their inability to properly interact with others. They can range all over the inteligence spectrum.

I agree that I wouldn't speculate I had Asperger's until I sought some professional advice. Joking that you have Asperger's is sort of similiar to joking you have autism or down syndrome. I don't know how funny that is.

Orthonym
January 3, 2005, 11:50 PM
There is a large probability that I may suffer from nothing more than "medical student's disease", you know, when reading about horrible disorders one imagines having the diseases himself?

As a matter of fact, I have mostly refrained until now from mentioning these thoughts online, and entirely refrained from attempting to post on or join any Aspie lists or groups for just that reason. If I have it to any degree, I seem to have it to a very slight degree.

So, sirs; y'all be the judges:

Am I normal, or nuts?

Don't matter, does it, if one be legally sane. (IMHO)

Mal H
January 3, 2005, 11:51 PM
I don't know that a test on the internet could really do it accurately.Especially one from Wired!

Double Naught Spy
January 3, 2005, 11:54 PM
Asperger's Syndrome may not be a disease or illness per se, but it is a neurological disorder. The disorder can cause a number of learning and social/interaction problems.

This link is very informative...

http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/aswhatisit.html

Self diagnosis of AS probably isn't going to produce accurate results by a layperson. The traits exhibited in the orignal post are traits that can be found in other psychological or neurological disorders, not to mention socialization development issues. If you don't learn socialization behaviors appropriate for your society, then you fall outside the norm of society, but it can be due to how you were raised, not necessarily a disorder.

As far a fixation on trivial gun facts, boards like this are for folks of similar interests. With any specialty boards, you will find discussions and debates about the topic. If you visit some of the flashlight forums, you can find some incredibly intense discussion on the physics of light and how such concepts can be applied to the comparing and contrasting of various brands and models of flashlights. If there is an issue describing such overly-focussed debates, it would more likely be obsessive-compulsive, not AS.

Speaking with Alex Hamilton, a pistolsmith in San Antonio, about gun owners and political power, Alex noted that gun types tend to be more individualistic than much of the population, independent, often with authority figure issues, distrust of the government, distrust of outsiders, etc. As a result, they don't band together well for concerted efforts, such as political efforts. They tend to be outspoken about many disagreeable events, like Ruby Ridge and Waco, but unlikely to come to the aid of their fellow gun owners during such events even when such events occur over a long period of time. While many of these traits could be reduced to particular behavior categorizations that could fall within AS traits, it does not mean that gun folks have AS.

Telling the truth when the best course might be lying is hardly diagnostic of a mental disorder. Such behaviors often come as a result of upbringing and socialization influences such as by religious practices.

This site lists several types of traits AS people can exhibit, but many (in bold) definitely are not what I would associate with gun folks or don't seem to occur in any more frequency with gun folks versus non-gun folks.

http://www.autism.org/asperger.html

Language:

* lucid speech before age 4 years; grammar and vocabulary are usually very good
* speech is sometimes stilted and repetitive
* voice tends to be flat and emotionless
* conversations revolve around self


Cognition

* obsessed with complex topics, such as patterns, weather, music, history, etc.
* often described as eccentric
* I.Q.'s fall along the full spectrum, but many are in the above normal range in verbal ability and in the below average range in performance abilities.
* many have dyslexia, writing problems, and difficulty with mathematics
* lack common sense
* concrete thinking (versus abstract)


Behavior

* movements tend to be clumsy and awkward
* odd forms of self-stimulatory behavior
* sensory problems appear not to be as dramatic as those with other forms of autism
* socially aware but displays inappropriate reciprocal interaction

Cortland
January 4, 2005, 12:03 AM
I am of the opinion that the recent profileration of "self-diagnosed Asperger's Syndrome" is a complete and utter crock. It bothers me that people feel the need to invent some kind of syndrome or complex as a venue for their frustrations and obsessions. It smacks of a whiny, overly introspective, self-aggrandizing form of paranoia.

There are truly autistic people out there who never speak a single word, cannot communicate with the outside world, and have to constantly supervised to be kept from hurting themselves. It bugs me when people are too lazy to do this or that or just don't like something about themselves and find it difficult to change so instead they claim their failings are actually a disease, be it a legitimate disease which it's clearly not (like autism) or some crackpot disease (think adult attention deficit disorder, Asperger's, 99% of chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.).

If you think hard enough about the implications of this kind of behavior -- finding a disease on which to blame everything about yourself with which you're unhappy -- I think you'll find it very distasteful.

Standing Wolf
January 4, 2005, 12:19 AM
I'm just a gun nut and Second Amendment defender. I don't have a syndrome: just a trifle more common sense than some.

jefnvk
January 4, 2005, 12:38 AM
34 for me. I have no problem functioning in the world, so I have no idea what I should be concerned about.

Justin
January 4, 2005, 12:45 AM
The traits exhibited in the orignal post are traits that can be found in other psychological or neurological disorders, not to mention socialization development issues. Several of the traits of Asberger's that were listed would also be indicative of Attention Deficit Disorder as well.

Brian Dale
January 4, 2005, 12:55 AM
Smells like treating a less-than-common personality style as a disorder. This must be convenient for those who believe that everyone should strive to be just like all of the other children...

Juggernaut
January 4, 2005, 12:56 AM
I have done quite a bit of research on Asperger's for my special eduation class. There is a lot of debate on what exactly Asperger's is, but a general consensus is that it is a high functioning type of autism. Basically someone with Asperger's has a specific interests that they spend a lot of time obsessing on. They have very poor social skills. They attempt to interact with their peers, but they are just not capable. They often get frustrated and upset over their inability to properly interact with others. They can range all over the inteligence spectrum.

That pretty much backs up my experience with the only guy I knew who had it...I think obsessiveness is just a trait of the serious enthusiast everywhere, honestly.

J.

Orthonym
January 4, 2005, 01:50 AM
..takes all kinds...

Orthonym
January 4, 2005, 01:53 AM
NEVER "played well with others."

Third_Rail
January 4, 2005, 02:21 AM
Agree: 2,4,5,6,7,9,12,13,16,19,20,22,23,26,33,35,39,41,43,45,46: 1 point
Disagree: 1,10,11,15,24,25,27,28,29,30,32,34,36,37,38,44,47,48,49: 1 point
Score: 40


Interesting.

OpenRoad
January 4, 2005, 02:41 AM
I scored an 11. I guess I'm a damn weirdo, even among gun nuts.

Orthonym
January 4, 2005, 02:58 AM
Owhell, yer Neurotypical, AKA Normal. We need guys like you here to keep us strange folks from flying off on weird tangents. Jest as long as y'all don't get into the Dangerous Monkey Majority- Torches-and-Pitchforks lunacy we've all heard about, I can live with you.

(snork):-^)

JohnBT
January 4, 2005, 08:59 AM
Maybe the folks I've worked with over the years have had the more severe forms of AS, but I just haven't seen the evidence of any members here having AS.

Obsessive and compulsuve tendencies maybe, and a few personality disorders, but not AS. Oh, there are regular outbreaks of foot in mouth disease.

John

bogie
January 4, 2005, 10:15 AM
Well, I gotta tell you that more than a few points of those descriptions clicked pretty hard here...

"Hi, I'm Bogie, and I'm a Gun Nerd."

I work in an R&D environment, and I think I know several of the "highly brilliant in their field but needs to have someone dress them in the morning" variety - Our campus security does a swing around the parking lots in the mornings, because on more than one occasion, they've found a car wth the lights on, engine running, door open, and the owner happily at work in his/her lab...

jamz
January 4, 2005, 10:30 AM
That's the problem with Mental Health and the diagnoses thereof- it's like trying to pin down a dot of mercury with your thumb- it keeps skittering away.

You can't positively say that a person has anything, you can only say that on a sliding scale, a person has "x" number of symptoms that either interfere with life, or do not. If they interfere enough, that person gets labeled with a diagnoses.

To make it more confusing, what is considered a mental illness today is not what was considered a mental illness 20 years ago, and will probably be different 20 years from now. So you can see that threre is no "universal yardstick" for mental issues.

Aspergers Syndrome, like ADD, like various Personality Disorders, are very nebulous diagnoses, but they do serve to describe certain behaviors that are on the smaller side of the behavioral bell curve. I know a few people whom I would say have Aspergers Syndrome to a greater or lesser degree. I don't know anyone, nor do I think it is even possible, for Asperger's Syndrome to be severe enough to actually interfere with a life in the way that, say, chronic schizophrenia does, instead those with Asperger's Syndrome sort of find their own level in life, and end up doing things that fit their lifestyle. So by Definition, it's not really a mental disorder.

I can generally tell someone who has Asperger's Syndrome within a minute or so of conversation.

There are quite a few of us who believe that pretty much all of these diagnoses are a waste of time, but to them I say, what is better- looking at someone and saying "there's just something about that guy that Ain't Quite Right", or actually finding out what the common symptoms are so that the sufferer sort of know what to expect?

As someone who was diagnosed with adult ADD, after a solid week's worth of testing at Mass General Hospital in order to test some new ADD drug, I get a little annoyed at people who write off these diagnoses, but at the same time I certainly see and agree with their point that you can't label everything as an excuse or just to categorize someone. We just have to find a balance between ignoring it and making mental health a catch-all excuse.

Overall, I'd prefer to hang out with someone with Aspergers than, say, someone on the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

edit: I scored a 12 on that test. :)

-James

cgv69
January 4, 2005, 10:55 AM
I scored a 25 so I guess I have a touch of it but I'm not too bad? (When I read the questions I thought I was going to score higher so it was some relief!)

Ham Hock
January 4, 2005, 11:02 AM
I have to agree with DigMe and El Rojo on this one.

Asperger's Syndrome is a very serous disease. If you had it you would not need to take an internet test to tell you. As has been pointed out, it is closely related to autism, which is a terrible thing to have. It boggles my mind that anyone would evn want to make a connection between being a "gun nut" and asperger's syndrome.

U.F.O.
January 4, 2005, 11:04 AM
Scored a 16, same as the control group. I guess I'm normal? :cuss: Or not.

U.F.O.

JohnBT
January 4, 2005, 11:21 AM
"So by Definition, it's not really a mental disorder."

????? By definition it is. From what I've seen over the years, and I have a report to write by next week on a young man I evaluated last week, I can say that it causes major problems socially, educationally, emotionally and vocationally. I've worked with some folks who were unsuccessful in supported work environments such as enclaves. Maybe they'll eventually succeed, but to say that AS can not be as disruptive to a person's life as, say, schizophrenia is flat wrong.

Please refer to the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV - Asperger's Syndrome - 299.80

I just don't see how anyone can say that's it not a mental disorder? They might not think that it should be classified as one, but the diagnosis is right there in black and white in the DSM.

Of particular interest is "C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

And "F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia."

Also from the DSM-IV "The proper use of these criteria requires specialized clinical training that provides both a body of knowledge and clinical skills."

More info at:

www.aspergerinfo.org/whatisas.htm

Tom Servo
January 4, 2005, 11:22 AM
I scored a 33, which didn't surprise me. I was diagnosed with this a few years ago, among other things. It's a complete load of horse-puckey.

In this day and age, it's convenient for the medical field to diagnose EVERYBODY with something, and preferably to medicate them, whether it's ADD or whatever the trendy ailment is that week.

I had some real problems in my early 20s, and I ended up going to several counselors. Three different doctors diagnosed me with three different things, and I refused medication each time. Finally found a doctor who observed that I was a bit neurotic, seemed to have a degree of social anxiety, focused more on intellectual than social activities, tended to take things too seriously, but was otherwise fine. Turns out I'm just a geek, and I had been pushing myself too hard for awhile.

Basically, we're reaching a point where it's easier for people to accept a pat diagnosis and go on mood-altering drugs than it is to accept their differences. Everything's a "syndrome" nowadays. There's a history of autism in my family, and there was some concern that I was mute or non-verbal as a kid since I apparently didn't bother talking at all until I was almost four, but apparently I was waiting until I could say something coherent before I opened my mouth :)

If I'd been born ten years later, I don't doubt that I would have been on some sort of medication all my life from then on, and that really irks me. I've seen people deadened by things like Prozac, and I've known several who have gone off and learned to live with their "symptoms."

(I'm not saying that there aren't some folks who DO need these, just that a large percentage of people on these probably don't)

jamz
January 4, 2005, 11:44 AM
????? By definition it is. From what I've seen over the years, and I have a report to write by next week on a young man I evaluated last week, I can say that it causes major problems socially, educationally, emotionally and vocationally. I've worked with some folks who were unsuccessful in supported work environments such as enclaves. Maybe they'll eventually succeed, but to say that AS can not be as disruptive to a person's life as, say, schizophrenia is flat wrong.

Please refer to the American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV - Asperger's Syndrome - 299.80

I just don't see how anyone can say that's it not a mental disorder? They might not think that it should be classified as one, but the diagnosis is right there in black and white in the DSM.


I know it's a diagnosis in the DSM-IV, and I'm not saying that it's not a disorder. What I was trying to say is that if it does not interfere with daily life as you choose, it's not a disorder. Doesn't it have to have significant impact in order to qualify as a disorder?

Anyway, you are probably right about there being people that have it severely enough to require treatment because it interferes with their lives. Of course, what constitutes a "normal life of your choosing" is a whole 'nother discussion. :)

-James

mtnbkr
January 4, 2005, 12:05 PM
I scored a 39.

I was diagnosed "hyperactive" when I was a kid in the mid 70s (and put on Ritalin).

About 10 years ago, I finally realized I wasn't wired quite like others and started to play "the game" in order to appear more in line with what people expect. I feel like a complete phony at times, but it works.

Chris

BryanP
January 4, 2005, 12:22 PM
mtnbkr,

I haven't taken the test yet but what you posted makes me suspect I'll score high. I was diagnosed hyperactive in 78 as a kid as well. They put me on ritalin, but it didn't work as hoped - they had to peel me off the ceiling.

My wife's specialty was mental retardation before she went into nursing (yes, I've heard all the jokes) and she's half convinced that my semi-constant high intake of caffeine is an unconscious form of self-medication.

SiG Lady
January 4, 2005, 12:46 PM
15. Whatever that means.

We all took Introvert/Extrovert tests on another forum and only a handful of us tested out as 'extroverted'... despite the articulate and obviously outgoing nature of virtually every participant. Go figure.
"I feel like a complete phony at times, but it works."Perhaps we all do.

Old NFO
January 4, 2005, 01:52 PM
We all took Introvert/Extrovert tests on another forum and only a handful of us tested out as 'extroverted'... despite the articulate and obviously outgoing nature of virtually every participant. Go figure.

All of these things are "shaded" in one direction or the other... 20+ years in the Navy, I saw a lot of these things. Every new management style had a new "personality" test that invalidated the last one we took :banghead:

OBTW, i got an 11... Guess I'm wierd in the OTHER direction... :D
jim

cslinger
January 4, 2005, 02:07 PM
Well on that super scientific high tech test I scored an 11.

This to the best of my knowledge means that I have indeed kissed girls, am capable of social interaction with actual human beings, do not live in my parent's basement and have diverse interests and abilities.

For anybody out there who got offended by the parent's basement crack........I secretly wish I could live in my parents basement. :uhoh:

mtnbkr
January 4, 2005, 02:11 PM
I secretly wish I could live in my parents basement.

Same here. Would save me mucho bucks each month and I'd have built in babysitters for my little girl.

Chris

R.H. Lee
January 4, 2005, 02:17 PM
Would AS qualify under the American's with Disabilities Act??? Maybe I can get my employer to make concessions to accomodate my "disorder"? :p

kfranz
January 4, 2005, 02:32 PM
Overall, I'd prefer to hang out with someone with Aspergers than, say, someone on the manic phase of bipolar disorder.

Manic bipolar can be fun for short periods(until they approach psychoses), but I wouldn't want to live there. Same with Aspergers. I've worked with a few Aspergers kids, and lemme tell you, Paxil made a HUGE difference for one of them. Went from :uhoh: to :) , and is much more willing to participate and interact. It really has improved his life.

I scored a 23, but I toned things down 'cause I knew what they were looking for..... ;)

pignock
January 4, 2005, 03:03 PM
I scored a 28 but I think it has less to with me having AS than being a cranky old AH. ;)

JohnBT
January 4, 2005, 03:08 PM
"Would AS qualify under the American's with Disabilities Act???"

Yes.

JT

Andrew Rothman
January 4, 2005, 03:18 PM
I remember reading that there was a strangely high percentage of autistic kids in Silicon Valley.

First they looked for environmental causes (mercury in the groundwater, etc.) but then, looking further, found that a lot of the kiddies had parents who seemed to have AS to some degree.

Tentative conclusions reached:
* AS tends to lead one into geek professions.
* Silicon Valley has a lot of geek professions.
* People tend to marry people they meet at work.

so...

AS people marry AS people, concentrating the AS/autism genes, leading to a higher rate of autism.

As far as I know, it's just a theory, but it seems to make sense.

DRZinn
January 4, 2005, 03:45 PM
The problem with all these "disorders" is that the symptoms are perfectly normal traits, greatly magnified. Thus anyone can recognize some amount of a 'disorder" in themselves, and think they have one, and doctors and/or lawyers (depending on who's going after the money) can see one in anybody.

BTW: Hmm. First time I've seen Mozilla really biff it. On Wired's website no less.It worked fine for me, in FireFox.

The_Antibubba
January 4, 2005, 04:39 PM
Then I scored a 19.

So I guess I'm just antisocial.










Why are you all still here?

Smokey Joe
January 4, 2005, 05:05 PM
I'm with you, Pignock and Antibubba! I've been a cranky old AH all my life. Now that I'm actually old, I'm just cranky.

GigaBuist
January 4, 2005, 05:08 PM
The problem with all these "disorders" is that the symptoms are perfectly normal traits, greatly magnified.

Agreed.

It is normal to be nervous around a group of people that you don't know.

It is not normal to have to keep your hands in your pockets so nobody seems them shaking, when meeting people that you worked with for two years, just because you're in a strange building.

Scored a 43.

I make a habit of making sure I have my cellphone and wallet on me when I leave my apartment. By always doing this I was able to discover that I forgot to put on MY PANTS one morning just a few feet from the apartment door.

Werewolf
January 4, 2005, 05:08 PM
There is a lot of debate on what exactly Asperger's is, but a general consensus is that it is a high functioning type of autism. Basically someone with Asperger's has a specific interests that they spend a lot of time obsessing on. They have very poor social skills. They attempt to interact with their peers, but they are just not capable. They often get frustrated and upset over their inability to properly interact with others. They can range all over the inteligence spectrum.

Obsessing is a little strong but the rest of the description above pretty much describes me to a tee... :D

Those folks who actually like me - there are a few - just call me a curmudgeon. The rest - including myself - just call me an @sshole. :what:

Gee - I wonder if the Americans With Disabilities act covers that? I can see it now.

Judge - I am 100% disabled because I'm an @sshole. You should order the Social Security Administration to pay me disability for the rest of my life. :evil:

OR

You can't fire me for being an @sshole - I'm disabled! The American Psychiatric Association says so :p

On a more serious note just because the DSM defines something as a disorder doesn't necessarily make it so. 40 years ago it defined homosexuality as a mental disorder. Now I don't know if it is or isn't but if the shrinks can't make up their minds about that why should we assume they're right about any other defined disorder.

Who knows? The way things are going 100 years from now being an @sshole will be the norm and all you nice guy socialy extroverted BMOC studly types will be the nutjobs. :eek:

jefnvk
January 4, 2005, 06:11 PM
Smells like treating a less-than-common personality style as a disorder. This must be convenient for those who believe that everyone should strive to be just like all of the other children...

I partly agree with that. I do think that many people are truly disabled mentally. However, I believe that sometimes people with personalities that are similiar, and normal, but milder, are thrown into the group, whether to be given special benefits, to make it easier for the parent (giving AD kids ritalin), or whatever.

Black Snowman
January 4, 2005, 06:43 PM
I got a whopping 19. Which was a little higher than I expected actually. When I read the description I knew it didn't apply to me.

Much of psychology doesn't even have as much evidence backing it as astrology, it's much more of an "art" than a science. An observation one of my psych teachers pointed out to me.

I'd bet my astrological profile is a more accurate description of my personality than a psychiatrist could get after quizzing me for a couple hours. :)

Sam Adams
January 4, 2005, 06:46 PM
31. Do I need medication, therapy, or both?

Therapy: go to the range at least weekly.

BTW, I got a 32. Nya, nya, nya, nya, nya! (You can tell that I've been missing my therapy sessions).

bogie
January 4, 2005, 07:02 PM
26 - I'm a bit of a nerd.

axeman_g
January 4, 2005, 08:32 PM
I was thinking I was going for 40 when the questions all got simple for me to answer.

12

All the illegal stuff I smoked in my youth probably raised that number a bit.

GigaBuist
January 4, 2005, 09:29 PM
Okay, it's fun to joke about a disorder that everybody may show symptoms of to some degree. Yes, it's very vague, almost anybody meets some of the critieria. That ceratinly doesn't mean it shouldnt' be in the DSM IV though. It warrants a bit of study, and for me, seems to provide a very handy check-list of things that I need to remind myself to "think through" a bit better.

Call me a hypochondriac if you wish, but there's a reason my parents took me to a shrink when I was 2 years old.

When I was 5 I was riding with my Grandpa and older cousin into town. My cousin saw somebody taking a hack saw to a lock on an ice machine at the gas station. When he asked my grandpa if that guy was sawing the lock open my grandpa replied, "No, he's sawing it closed." Take a guess how long it took me to figure out he was being sarcastic? Five minutes? No. An hour? No. A day? No.

About 6 years. The question would bubble up in my brain for YEARS to come trying to figure out how you'd use a hack saw to close a lock. Eventually I decided that since there was no possible way to do that, he was "fibbin'"

Is it a serious issue that I can't detect sarcasm like the majority of the population? Well, no, but it does cause some problems from time to time. As the years go by I get better at it. Consider how easy it is for you to detect sarcasm in written text on this board. Inflection is lost on me, it's all just text in my brain.

Its a bit... comforting I suppose... to know that there's a REASON why I get skittish when I make eye contact with people. I didn't know making eye contact was considered normal during conversation until I was 19. It takes a conscious effort for me to do it and get over that nervous feeling.

I 'tap' myself when I'm thinking. Wish I had known this was weird when growing up. I remember one time a math teacher thought I was freaking nuts -- tapping myself with my fist in the back of my head while taking a test. Helped me think better. Still does, I just make a point of not doing it when people are around. I still tap knuckes together or something like that though -- it's just less weird.

When you can find somebody's car in the parking lot and ID the correct one even though it's near the same make/model/color becuase your screwball brain memorized the license plate on a whim on a glance -- don't tell them that. Find something ELSE to tell them. It freaks people out. Walked into a small party once in college, on substances that will pretty much completely disable your brain, and when one of the guests went to order pizza and needed to ask the property owner the address I blurted it out. Sigh, don't do that -- everybody in the room thought I was a freak show.

I nearly HAVE to leave things in the same place all the time. It can take me 20 minutes to find my keys some mornings and I need to work on that. Do I forget where I put them? No. I -KNOW- I left them on the kitchen counter. I can look RIGHT AT THEM and not see them. But, because that spot of the counter is key-free 99% of the time my brain doesn't register it. My eyes see the keys, but my brain just thinks "random kitchen object." I sometimes have to put my hand ON the object to make sense of the situation. Also works to turn off the lights and hit things with a flashlight -- since this is WAY outside normal operating parameters everything gets examined.

What's my point?

Would have been nice if somebody spotted these symptoms (mild as they be -- and there's a lot more embarassing stuff I left out) back when I was 4-5 years old and gave my parents a checklist of "weird stuff your kid might do" so they could have worked with me with I was much more malleable.

DRZinn
January 4, 2005, 10:03 PM
I get skittish when I make eye contact with people....It takes a conscious effort for me to do it and get over that nervous feeling.I don't know about any syndrome, but I have that problem, and it effects my credibility. People have a weird idea that if you don't look 'em in the eye you're either lying or hiding something.

R.H. Lee
January 4, 2005, 10:09 PM
I get skittish when I make eye contact with people....It takes a conscious effort for me to do it and get over that nervous feeling. Uh, oh. :uhoh: I just started that behavior. I used to look everybody in the eye when I talked to them. But apparently I'm getting to look maniacal or something in my old age and I'm beginning to 'concern' people. So I stopped looking at them.

License plates: I always look at license plates first. That's how I identify the cars of people I know.

Putting things in the same place: Every time, all the time. Otherwise I forget them.

goon
January 4, 2005, 10:42 PM
I got a 24...
What the heck does that mean?


This caught my attention, as I seem to have some of the characteristic qualities myself: weird thoroughgoing interests, trouble with the doo-dahs and with getting laid, a VERY strong desire to be left alone, being a mark for devious people, telling the truth when the best course is lying, being easily detected when I DO attempt a lie etc etc.


Orthonym - I can associate with some of the issues that you posted about. That doesn't mean that we are screwed up though.
Consider for a moment that maybe they are the ones who are screwed up.
Maybe we are the normal ones.

For instance, I will almost always tell the truth when I could just as easily lie. I will almost always take some sort of action when I could just as easily sit out of a situation and save myself greif.
I am in a situation right now where I am about to get myself a$$-deep in a problem that really isn't mine. I know that I "should just stay out of it" but I can't. Just can't see how it is OK to walk away from this particular situation and leave someone I kind of know (though this person is still mostly a stranger) in the middle of a potentially dangerous situation like this. This person doesn't even know that he is in this mess.
I just have a habit of looking at the worst possible outcome, then working backward, and then figuring out what to do to try to come out with the least harmful outcome.
In this situation, the worst case scenario is PRETTY BAD. I feel that I am morally obligated to get involved eventhough it will never directly affect me.
Most other people would sit this out.
I would bet that if the situation were reversed the person I am going to help wouldn't help me.
Doesn't matter at all.
I just can't see a way around it.

Any way you look at it, I have found that I am wired much differently from most the people that I know. My mind just doesn't work the same way. Some people are of that step-by-step frame of mind. I am not.
I have trouble concentrating on one problem for a long time. I just get bored. So I break up big problems into smaller problems so I can solve them in steps.
If you are giving me a lecture you had better get to the point because if you don't I will literally be watching a movie in my mind.
I will pick up an object from a table and play around with it because it helps occupy me when I am bored.
I am not to be trusted around levers, switches, or buttons without adult supervision.
I am generally pretty quick-witted and people know me for my sense of humor, but I don't "fit in" in a crowd eventhough the rest of the crowd will probably not see any reason that I wouldn't "fit in".
I don't fear death, fighting, snakes, spiders, or much of anything else but women scare the hell out of me.
I am usually cool in a really bad situation but I often over react during a menial problem.
I can pick up an item, put it down for a minute, and it will become hopelessly lost.





That makes me different and I don't think I would want to be any other way.
Just gotta work with what you got. ;)

And I ALWAYS make eye contact. When I talk to someone they always KNOW where I am coming from.
People who don't know me will say hi to me on the street or in stores because I make eye contact with them. I guess it makes them uncomfortable or something. I don't glare and I generally have sort of a mild smile because I am almost always laughing to myself about my next practical joke or something funny, but I think it just sort of intimidates some people.

Dorrin79
January 4, 2005, 11:39 PM
For what it's worth, I know a guy who actually has it.

It's pretty damn obvious - the guy was (for example) unwilling to buy furniture, because he was too afraid to figure out how to put it in storage when/if he moved...

Like most disorders, just because you have a lot of similar traits to someone who has the disorder, doesn't mean that you do too.

GigaBuist
January 5, 2005, 12:22 AM
Uh, oh. I just started that behavior. I used to look everybody in the eye when I talked to them. But apparently I'm getting to look maniacal or something in my old age and I'm beginning to 'concern' people. So I stopped looking at them.Big difference there. You're looking away to appease them, which means you're aware that you make them awkward. I can't sense that at all. I look at foreheads and chins to give a false apperance, but looking somebody in the eyes, unless it's 1:1 and I really trust them, makes me skittish. If I try and stare somebody in the eyes while taking a drink of water/coffee my hands will be shaking. Depends on the "trust level" and thankfully I learned my forehead/chin trick before job interviews.

License plates: I always look at license plates first. That's how I identify the cars of people I know. I don't look at them though, they just "pop" out if I look at a car. All it takes is a glimpse lasting a second or two if I pull out of a parking lot behind them and the gears start turning without any real though. Patterns pop out: PPC 799 ... 2 seconds later, Power PC 799mhz.. 'cuz the guy is a software engineer. Never tried, it's just THERE. 8AS G70 -- find a pattern in THAT one. Didn't even try, but I had one without thought.. .8AS looks like BAS and her last name started with a B and her first name started SA and G70.. well, G is the 7th letter of the alphabet with a remainder of 0. That one is 6 years old, and I'm not a stalker. I've got phone numbers of people in my head that I called 3-4 times before they moved out that on call years after they moved out of that place and after THEY forgot them.

Hell, I remember the license plate on the family car still... and that's been gone I think 16 years. When you move to a truck/van the plate changes. I don't remember what kind of car it was, what color, nothing, but that license plate is stuck in my head. 616 NHT. Why, on God's Green Earth, do I remember the license plate on the family car from when I was 8 years old?

Putting things in the same place: Every time, all the time. Otherwise I forget them.Put them somewhere else tonight as an experiment... like on your coffee table. When you wake up, presuming that you remember they're on the coffee table, imagine having a 1/10 chance of finding them. Imagine looking at the coffee table, not seeing them, checking the kitchen, checking the table again, not seeing them, checking the bathroom, checking the table again, not seeing them, checking your pants from yesterday, checking the table, not seeing them, checking the phone table, checking the coffee table, not seeing them.

Imagine, some days, having to move EVERY SINGLE ITEM on that table by hand until you found your keys. DVD, lighter, box of ammo, pack of cards, ooops there's the keys! In plain sight the whole time, since there's only 6-7 things on there.

I'm not looking for a pity party or anything, certainly not. I've never been officially diagnosed with AS (it didn't "exist" the last time I went a shrink) nor do I want to be... but, I think it's fair to say that I do exhibit a number of said traits. I'm a mostly fully functioning human being with just enough of the AS traits to "feel the pain" I suppose and still get along with society relatively unnoticed.

Normal enough to know when I went weird (sometimes too late) but weird enough not to act normal sometimes.

Here's one for you regarding repetition and having to have things ALWAYS "just right":
I started running distances when I was 12-13. I did this build endurnace for wrestling, ended up actually running for sport shortly after that. When I started running for sport my father (has run more miles in races than I care to think about) clued in me in on something: underwear and socks are nothing but extra weight in a race. He's right. I followed his advice -- but I forgot to lace my shoes up nice and tight once when I was 14. You want to know what kind of blister you get after 3 miles of having a sloppy laced shoe on your foot? About 3" around. Lesson learned, "It laces it's shoes tight or it gets the blister!" A "normal" person would have laced up their shoes tight before races. I began ALWAYS doing that. Repitition == good to me. It's NOT conscious and I'm now 24, haven't run a road race in 2 years, but for about 6 years my friends have always chided me about how long it takes to get out the door. I'll spend 5 minutes tightening the laces on my shoes before we go out to a bar or something. Reptition. Comfort. I'd re-tie my shoes before a skydive out of habbit. I always did before a wrestling match or a race.

I now wear a slip-on shoe w/out laces because my frontlobes realized that I was acting like an IDIOT but the only way to really stop that behavior was to wear a shoe without laces.

Ponder this: After mounting a parachute, helmet, radio equipment, etc, getting ready to board a plane I'M RE-TYING MY SHOE TO MAKE SURE IT IS TIGHT! I know that's nuts, in hind sight, but it would have seriously worried me if I got a plane with a "sloppy" shoe. One would think I'd be double-checking my freaking parachute -- but I found comfort in tight shoes all the time. I'd double-check the rig AFTER the shoes. I did this week after week, not just a one time thing. Neurotic? Yeah.

R.H. Lee
January 5, 2005, 12:32 AM
Giga- I understand the difference with the eye contact thing. I'll try the experiment tonight (maybe- considering moving things around that I'll need fast in the morning makes me uncomfortable). Some of what you're describing sounds like an obsessive/compulsive disorder. I have experienced that to some degree from time to time and have worked to 'unlearn' much of it. Does your mind race most of the time, going from one thing to another? I've found that meditation techniques can effectively counter that, although they (for me) require a certain discipline that I'm not willing to use.

grampster
January 5, 2005, 12:48 AM
Oh no, now I have something else wrong with me. :eek:

Actually I scored 15, so I am subnormal?

GigaBuist
January 5, 2005, 01:26 AM
Some of what you're describing sounds like an obsessive/compulsive disorder. I have experienced that to some degree from time to time and have worked to 'unlearn' much of it.

OCD doesn't really fit me -- there isn't any history of that type of thing in the family either. With the (stupid) shoe thing if I had OCD I'd never be able to tolerate kicks without laces. Doesn't phase me at all to put them on, but I will still "pack" a can of chewing tobacco even if it is unopened. Repatiive, but not compulsive/obesssive.

Does your mind race most of the time, going from one thing to another? I've found that meditation techniques can effectively counter that, although they (for me) require a certain discipline that I'm not willing to use.
Race? Yes. One thought to another? No. I've typically got 3-5 things going on at once upstairs to some degree when I'm just "chilling" -- when I hunker down and think about something it goes to 1 - but I'm usually tapping myself in the head when that happens, or hand to hand tapping. I can carry on a conversation about work, at work, while still pondering my younger cousin's sexual life choices and the war in Iraq without missing a beat though. I don't flip channels -- I just have picture in picture in picture in picture :)

Frustrating as hell.

Imaging stacking up 3 TV's and tuning them to various news channels. Can you follow that? I probably would just naturally. I, personally, think this why AS becomes a problem/issue socially. There's too much information and the "flavor" gets left out. Your use of inflection is far less important than the structural integrity of the wall you're standing in front of.

Pendragon
January 5, 2005, 04:37 AM
I would be interested to see the MBTI preferences for some of the people who feel they have this or at least some symptoms of it.

Personally, I am the opposite.

I scored 8 on the test which seems to be low.

But I am very social, abstract and chaotic (as opposed to scheduled/organized).

Many of these people seem highly intelligent, but in a very focused way so they can see a lot of patterns, but they struggle with social nuance. Combined with the high need for structure and order is very interesting.

This is a decent and relatively easy test to begin to determine what personality modes you prefer.

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

Of course, we can all use any personality mode we want, but the "preference" as shown by the test is what we prefer to be when we are just being natural.

Not trying to get people to get too personal, if you don't feel like posting your results, feel free to PM me if you are open to discussion in this area.

Good thread.

dustind
January 5, 2005, 05:39 AM
I will always follow the same course no matter what.

When I am playing a video game that randomly creates dungeons. I can fight my way through it for an hour or more, die and restart in town, and head back through the dungeon and go strait to my corpse without making one wrong turn.

When I used to go out cruising on my motorcycle I would go on three hour rides. I would always end up in the exact spot, most of the route was back roads. I can not remember how to get there. I assume I leave my driveway and head to the end of the the street, but I do not know if I turn right or left, go on which if any highways or interstates to get part of the way there or anything.

JohnBT
January 5, 2005, 08:58 AM
"Why, on God's Green Earth, do I remember the license plate on the family car from when I was 8 years old?"

I dunno. Ours was AAA-222 up until 1954. :p

John

pignock
January 5, 2005, 09:57 AM
Pendragon said this: "This is a decent and relatively easy test to begin to determine what personality modes you prefer" and posted a link to yet another test.

Cool - another test - I would bet that a vast majority of voluntary test takers fall within one or two specific personality types these tests determine.

For example, according to Pendragon's test link, I am an ISTJ. I would bet nearly all the test respondents (voluntarily following the link provided) will share at least one (probably the Introverted and/or Thinking) characteristic revealed by the test.


Keith


edited because I pushed the wrong button and the wrong time

bogie
January 5, 2005, 10:27 AM
I've had a "retentive memory" for as long as I know. I remember things - trivia, numbers (but I'm not a math person - but I damn near maxed the college boards on verbal...), etc...

Sometimes it seems like I'm multitasking in so many directions that... well... And it can get hard to concentrate on repetitive stuff - I don't mind doing stuff like cutting grass, chopping wood, etc., but examining every cell on a spreadsheet for errors drives me nuts.

McCall911
January 5, 2005, 10:38 AM
I scored the "magic" 32. No surprises.

OF
January 5, 2005, 10:59 AM
I have Aspergers in my family, although not by blood. I have a neice with very serious Aspergers and her father was never diagnosed, but it's obvious. The guy is completely obsessed with trains. Has hundreds of books, memorizes train schedules for cities he's never been to. When he goes on vacation he packs suitcases full of train books and hauls them with him. That is no joke.

My neice is totally incapable of functioning socially, although she is intelligent and goes to school. Emotion, nuance, sarcasm, social mores are all lost on her. Completely. She just doesn't understand how to relate to people on an emotional level. She could say the most insulting thing to a person in the middle of a party and have no idea why someone could be upset about it.

It's no joke. 'High-functioning Autism' is just about as perfect a description as you'll hear.

- Gabe (score: 25)

R.H. Lee
January 5, 2005, 12:38 PM
I don't flip channels -- I just have picture in picture in picture in picture Until about 10 years ago, I thought in cartoons most of the time. Actual events and people were reduced to cartoons if that makes sense. In some respects, I was happier then.

R.H. Lee
January 5, 2005, 12:44 PM
The guy is completely obsessed with trains. Has hundreds of books, memorizes train schedules for cities he's never been to. When he goes on vacation he packs suitcases full of train books and hauls them with him. That is no joke. Substitue 'guns' for 'trains'. How close does that come to most THR members? :p

mtnbkr
January 5, 2005, 12:47 PM
Until about 10 years ago, I thought in cartoons most of the time

I've heard people say this before. What exactly do you mean by it? Do you visualize in animated sequences or do you mean something else?

Chris

R.H. Lee
January 5, 2005, 12:50 PM
With me, it used to be animated sequences, but in frames like in the newspaper 'funnies'. Characters may or may not have the caption bubbles above their heads, but I would always hear their voices. {{ :eek: maybe I shouldn't admit to that }}

Nehemiah Scudder
January 5, 2005, 12:52 PM
I got a 33.

And I'm an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs.

The Voight-Kampf test results are still forthcoming. :D

HiWayMan
January 5, 2005, 12:52 PM
I got a 33. Am I "special"?

JohnBT
January 5, 2005, 02:29 PM
Ooh, the Myers-Briggs...it must be good, it's got 16 categories instead of just 12 like astrology. ;)

I said this at buffet luncheon one day during a statewide conference. The stranger across the table who'd asked me my opinion of the Myers-Briggs got a big laugh out of my answer - he was the keynote speaker that afternoon and his specialty was, you guessed it, the M-B.

These so-called diagnostic checklists are a bad joke. I get paid to know these things.

I. R. Expert

jamz
January 5, 2005, 02:36 PM
I'm curious to see how people who have a lot of Asperger's Syndrome symptoms would to in a chat room or IRC or something. There is a High Road IRC that is pretty quiet most of the time, but there are a couple of people in there sometimes, myself included.

I wonder how the interaction would be when reduced to realtime text, and excluding all the face to face aspects of conversation. In one way, I think it might be easier, not having to worry about eye contact, innuendo, tone of voice, etc.

On the other hand, I think it might be harder because with text you have to do a lot of "inferring" what someone means, and humor, sarcasm and hyperbole are rampant on most IRC channels I frequent.

-James

OF
January 5, 2005, 02:50 PM
There is a big difference between Aspergers and 'socially uncomfortable' or even inept.

My niece is, literally, incapable of following subtlety in conversation or interpersonal relationships. Emotionally-laden turns of phrase, expression or nuance not only escape her, they are as incomprehensible to her as sound to a deaf person.

- Gabe

gulogulo1970
January 5, 2005, 03:05 PM
I scored a 34. Great, at least I have an excuse now. I do definately lean that way. Just not to the point that it really interferes with my life.

Now, I must gather all the information on Asperger's Syndrome I can find!

JoeRapture
January 5, 2005, 03:42 PM
My son was recently diagnosed with high function Autism, specifically Asperger's Syndrome. This diagnosis was confirmed by a developmental pediatrician. I took the test and scored 40; which was the upper limit. The Doctor's tell me that I am probably autistic as well. The criteria certainly fits me. I learned to adapt as a child because no one knew what it was. I can tell you that as a child I knew every last detail on WWII aircraft. I was particularly fascinated by the F4U Corsair. I have read a lot about this disorder and have come to realize that it's a label for a particular personality type, not so much a disorder.

bogie
January 5, 2005, 03:56 PM
I like to master things - whatever, to the highest level of which I'm capable - mentally, that's pretty high, physically/coordination-wise, not so high (better at benchrest than at combat pistol, for instance). Then I get bored with 'em.

Benchrest is still a bitch, so it's still interesting. But the quest for the perfect handload isn't as thrilling as it was.

I wonder what's next...

I don't like theory, unless you can whup up on it with geometry-style theorems - Stuff has to be concrete and prove-able, visible, or I have problems with it.

Right now, trying to break myself of what I got into when I got moved from a private school to a government school - I realized I got picked on less if I talked/behaved like the jock types... So I assimilated those behaviors. Give me a few weeks, and I'll pick up accents, etc., too... And lose 'em faster.

I wonder - I don't remember any questions about "do/did schoolmates take advantage of you?" I'd bet that the universal response from positive subjects would be "yes."

OF
January 5, 2005, 04:37 PM
I have read a lot about this disorder and have come to realize that it's a label for a particular personality type, not so much a disorder.Maybe at the entry-level it is. At the level my niece is at, it is most certainly not a 'personality type'.

I completely agree that people with certain personalities may have Asperger's-like tendencies or traits, or even have a touch of the syndrome, but it goes way beyond 'quirkiness' or a tendency towards detail.

- Gabe

Evil_Ed
January 5, 2005, 04:37 PM
On the first test I scored a 12, whatever that means.


On the Jung Typology Test at Human Metrics I scored as follows:

Your Type is
INTP = Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, & Perceiving

Strength of the preferences %
Introverted: 22 Intuitive: 56 Thinking: 33 Perceiving: 22

Qualitative analysis of your type formula

You are:
slightly expressed introvert

moderately expressed intuitive personality

moderately expressed thinking personality

slightly expressed perceiving personality


Interesting test.

FXR
January 5, 2005, 08:52 PM
I scored a 25. Just another average engineering geek.
K

JohnKSa
January 5, 2005, 10:59 PM
I work with a guy I swear is autistic.

He's got an incredible memory. He can also concentrate on what he does (something that most people would find extremely tedious) for 8 hours or more straight. Yet I've watched him take over 30 minutes of hard effort to get things figured out after he was interrupted in the middle of a simple task.

He can tell jokes, and they're usually pretty good, but he surprises you with them--they don't come in context. In spite of his excellent memory, he seems to have real difficulties navigating in his car--even in an area he's very familiar with.

He has to tell you everything multiple times, and correspondingly, you have to tell him things multiple times before they "sink in" for lack of a better term. This isn't a matter of comprehension--it's more like warming him up to the idea. When he gets going on a topic it's almost literally painful. One of my other coworkers has to leave the area when this guy gets on a roll.

A former co-worker wrote him up a book of procedures and he still follows it religiously even though his job has not changed significantly in over a decade. He adds to it when even minor things change.

He can take up to 30 seconds to respond to simple comments. Some people think he's ignoring them, but he just hasn't responded yet. He gets extremely irate when someone asks him several rapidfire questions because of this delayed response trait.

He's a marvel at what he does--bordering on inhuman, but he's interestingly inept at other remarkably simple things.

bogie
January 5, 2005, 11:18 PM
Okay - went back, retook it. Tried to go fast, be honest with myself.

Brutal.

31.

Now, the real question is - how can I harness what I thought were weaknesses that I just had to overcome, but which may be traits that are hard-wired, but may have other associated benefits? I have genius-level IQ, but I tend to either focus too closely, or completely blow stuff off.

JohnBT
January 6, 2005, 12:11 AM
"...but it goes way beyond 'quirkiness' or a tendency towards detail."

Keep telling them Gabe.


JoeRapture - I knew all the details of the WWII ships and read Andersonville in the 4th grade, but I assure you I'm not autistic - a little weird maybe, but I can blame most of it on being an only child with a redheaded mother. ;) You might be surprised by how often diagnoses change when a person is seen by different doctors/diagnosticians over a period of years. I've been in the business for 30 years and have seen a lot of progress as well as false starts.

JohnKSa - About this "...you have to tell him things multiple times before they "sink in"" But they do sink in. My first guess would be that he has an auditory processing problem and a few other issues that remind me of a recently retired coworker. He was a one-step-at-a-time linear thinker who didn't respond well to interruptions and made delayed responses when asked a question. He taught himself programming in the early 80s though, but just didn't get jokes most of the time.

Anyway, a diagnosis is just the beginning. The challenge is figuring out the person's like and dislikes and just what they're willing to do with what they have to work with.

John

GigaBuist
January 6, 2005, 12:41 AM
I shouldn't keep posting on this thread, but it's dredged up a LOT of experiences from my past... so I sorta feel I have to.

I have read a lot about this disorder and have come to realize that it's a label for a particular personality type, not so much a disorder.

Personality type?! Dude, hunkering down in a closet for hours is not a "personality type" -- it's a disorder. Perhaps a MINOR one, but a disorder!

When the slightest break in a "pattern" happens, and society's apparent disregard for "reality" ignores this causes you to break down in tears and absolutely postively lose control of yourself this isn't a "personality" thing. It happened to me in the 5th grade. Over a math problem. It was about borrowing money and paying back less than you owed... what was the debt? My feeble little mind was accumulating debt over the months as the problem went on, but my answer was always "wrong" -- how the teacher didn't notice the pattern of my thinking I don't know. Completely unable to wrap my head around the "logic" of the class and instructor I broke down in tears and lost it. This is directly related to "symptons" of AS... call it a personality type if you want.

Personality type my rear end. "Hyper" is a personality type and "quiet" is a personality type. Seeing a "crack" in reality that confuses the living crap out of you and makes you go hysterical is NOT A PERSONALITY TYPE! It's a freaking disorder!

Yes, there are varying degrees of this. Yes, I am probably on the LOW end of the spectrum. Hopefully your son is much lower than I, because banging your head against the wall slowly in the dark isn't a 'personality type'.

GigaBuist
January 6, 2005, 12:59 AM
Now, the real question is - how can I harness what I thought were weaknesses that I just had to overcome, but which may be traits that are hard-wired, but may have other associated benefits? I have genius-level IQ, but I tend to either focus too closely, or completely blow stuff off.

Well, step one would be to respond to every social question with the grace of Ralph Wiggam from the Simpsons. For a week respond to "How are you?" and such with things like "I like flowers!" or "I took shower this morning!" This will alienate you from just about everybody in the world and cut down your social life considerably.

However the REAL trick is being able to convince yourself that what you said was actually perfectly normal. Failure to do so would mean you'd actually devote brain time to acting more socially acceptable.

After you've pretty much disolved yourself from society and no longer associate with them "people" things pick a science related hobby that'll actually make you some money. Spend a few years doing this and nothing but this in your free time. This will also aid in your inability to function with actual people. Helps with the studies, I must say.

For bonus points add in 10 years of getting your behind smacked around by every predator your size, with a dash of an 18 year old scaring the crap out of an 8 year old for variety. You're socially inept, remember? You don't KNOW this is jacked up.

Next, dig your butt out of this hole and start to deal with your problems that nobody knew you had, apparently, and start making a functional human being out of yourself with that vast knowledge in some field or another.

Its real real fun! Results 10% (not a typo) guaranteed!

GigaBuist
January 6, 2005, 01:17 AM
jamz,


I wonder how the interaction would be when reduced to realtime text, and excluding all the face to face aspects of conversation. In one way, I think it might be easier, not having to worry about eye contact, innuendo, tone of voice, etc.

On the other hand, I think it might be harder because with text you have to do a lot of "inferring" what someone means, and humor, sarcasm and hyperbole are rampant on most IRC channels I frequent.

You're missing the point -- that's how people with AS see normal conversation! In the written, online, world if I wrote something like:

"The last thing somebody who wants to confiscate my guns is going to see is the business end of my AK! :rolleyes: " -- Imagine that coming from a gun grabber type.

Well, you know where the inflection is and just how "serious" that person is with the "rolleyes" smiley. Somebody with AS sees it without the smiley -- that is, in normal conversation. Body language doesn't work with people that have AS, yet remain functional.

Online is easier for somebody with AS type symptons -- because there's no "guessing" and if there IS guessing as overtones of sarcarsm they're on a level playing field with eveybody else. Sarcasm has to be placed, not by inflection or body language, but on context, knowledge of the person saying it, and probability.

Heck, I screwed up one today.

Brian Dale
January 6, 2005, 01:46 AM
OK, John, Gabe and Justin, I'm convinced. It's a real affliction that causes real difficulties.

What, then, is the best way for us who are dorks, geeks and linear, detail-oriented types and not masters of witty, face-to-face repartee to respond to those who sling diagnoses without medical qualifications? I had a boss once (a lawyer in employment litigation, no less) who set up a meeting for me with a university-run AS/Autism research unit led by a member of her wide circle of acquaintances. The Boss used the "I'm very concerned" routine and, as usual for me, I fell for it. I spent quite a bit of time reading about AS and convinced myself that it might be true (the warnings are correct: always beware of self-diagnosis).

I didn't tell my boss, "No, you only suspect I've got what you've called high-functioning autism because I'm not a flaky chatterbox like you." I went to the introductory meeting and then chickened out before going in for the evaluation. Why? I was afraid that a diagnosis on paper might cause problems for me down the road. What if whole classes of psychological categories become fair game for gun prohibition? Denial of health insurance? Other fun penalties? Unrealistic? Probably, but why take the chance?

John, you wrote (about the Myers-Briggs, et al., if I've read your comment correctly) that These so-called diagnostic checklists are a bad joke. I get paid to know these things.Fine, but I've used that bad joke to get some breathing room when pestered by co-workers or superiors who were the sort who regard anybody who's even somewhat engineer-ish as wrong and unnatural. Got a better approach? I quit that job; that worked for me, but I can't recommend it to everyone.

Yooper
January 6, 2005, 03:01 AM
I scored 21, not bad for someone who can't find his butt with both hands at the same time.

bogie
January 6, 2005, 03:34 AM
Giga... I know from where you come... Maybe not as far... But I know.

Was in gifted program for kindergarten/first grade... Then the folks split. Moved. First day in the new (government) school, they put me in a classroom with a buncha kids who were essentially drooling. That was the "special" class. Didn't last. Teachers discovered that I had a bad habit of calling them on what they didn't know - I'd read the text in the first week of school (yup - 1st grade...). Kids aren't as nice as teachers... I wasn't from there - never would be from there. And I can never go back to where I came from, so...

Tried to fit in - talked different, acted different... thankfully, got switched to the local private school -I was a token prod in catholic thrashfest, but most of them weren't from there either... Actually, that sorta worked. I was expected to be different, among the different - really pissed 'em off (especially the penguins) tho when they didn't do as well on the "religion" classes... Penguins hated how I'd read through school days - and they thought that reading an encyclopaedia was unnatural... (but of course, the half-dozen biographies of John Fitzgerald Whatshisname in the library were fair game...).

Then, back to government school for junior high and high school. Rude awakening. It's good to be dumb. Thing is, I was too dumb to figure that out fast enough... Got my ass kicked for about 5.95 years...

College... well...

Transition from high school to college was interesting. I knew the behaviors, and I essentially reinvented myself... After all, once a high school geek, well, you better move outta town... But when I went to college, I knew what to do. Fit in. Hey, I'm your guy - I can fix things... Or I can introduce you... Whatever. It's just introducing myself, etc., etc., that's a bitch... But hey, I grew. Went from 5'8" and maybe 165 to 6'2" and 260... Of course, getting tossed into an athletic dorm helped. Every other room had a weight bench... Learned how to do jock things. Knew every dealer on campus. Every bartender. Everyone who had a party house. Played bouncer/"party host" for a while. Damn, this is almost depressing...

Flippant is good. Flippant works.

Present day to day... Different folks walk up to you a few dozen times a day (I support approx 1,500 folks - mostly scientist types - as a computer geek/graphic designer type), and say, "Hey, how ya doing?" And I've got an answer. "Vertical." On some days it's "vertical and breathing." Depends on the moment.

I don't think about it. It's what they want to hear, and it's sorta funny. It's normal enough, and makes 'em laugh, and they don't get too far into how I _really_ am "doin'." It's customer service - keep 'em happy, and keep 'em from calling someone who can get you fired. Of course today it was "soggy." 4" or so of rain will do that to someone...

"Chuck, could I ask you a question?"

"Yup. Answer's 38." (it's ALWAYS 38 - not really sure why, but that's the answer... really tired of people asking if they can ask a question, because they will anyway, right?) Eventually I break the folks of asking to ask, and they just ask. Then they hear, and hopefully retain.

I work VERY hard to not be a grammar nazi. BTDTGTTS. I don't do that anymore. You can spell, punctuate and conjugate howevertheheckyoufeel. I don't do math well, but damn, I can, and will, with modest encouragement, rock with verbal. Got da license, got da switch. You really want me to, I'll even become quite formal. But that's boring. Der vernacular be much mo fun.

I know I'm not normal. But I can't be abnormal. Being abnormal gets the bleep kicked out of you... Every so often tho, I see myself, almost from a distance, really stepping in it, while I'm simulataneously unable to stop - because it's right...

Of course, working in a scientific R&D environment, I'm damn _near_ normal. Interesting to watch who has lunch together... The support functions and the scientific functions shall never merge. Seems like very few accountants "live" for accounting... Yet I'm a bridge between... Kinda freaky-geeky...

I am normal. You are normal. We're all normal. Just different shades... Can't help it that some folks are essentially colorblind. Pity them, and rock on.

Ahh... And the monastery... Spent the latter part of the eighties playing hacker... Did about a year of 24-36 on, 12-16 off... Lemme tell you, that'll really screw your whole en-bleepin-tire schedule... I do systems very well. Doesn't have to be a computer/software. Take the thing, take it apart, figure it out, make it work, put it back together.

Once got in an argument with a myers-briggs adherent/advocate/disciple... "Would you rather go to a party, or stay home and read a book?" My answer of "take a book to the party, and if things get boring, I'll read" was not acceptable... These people obviously do not understand shades of grey...

This schtick is the first I've heard of this stuff, and most of it hits way too close to home.

Orthonym
January 6, 2005, 05:08 AM
It's at www.rdos.net/eng/aspie-quiz.php

Got a 138-now/145earlier on that one.

Am an INTP to boot.
Guess that's why I hated what they did to the Hornblower character in that movie- Horatio was not the sociable type.

I've read that someone suspected Maj Thomas McGuire, the man who arguably got Yamamoto, was aspie, too. As well as being the second-highest-scoring American ace, he was also the engineering and maintenance officer who doubled availability of aircraft in his group (squadron?), and was absolutely hopeless socially.

And for some fun (these really did have me LOL)

Try www.geocities.com/autistry/YMBAAI.html

I had to turn off Windows colors to read that on my browser.

Orthonym
January 6, 2005, 05:19 AM
I mean the mini-series. Peck was closer in the actual movie, but still not very. Ah well, one should always stride the parapet *as if* unafraid, as an example to his men. The Hornblower in the books often simulated others' social behavior so as to appear normal. I guess being in mortal danger requires a naval officer to simulate coolness even if he doesn't feel cool at all. If you have to practice being on stage for the NTs all the time anyway, it might not seem so different in combat.

WhoKnowsWho
January 6, 2005, 06:10 AM
A 25

bogie
January 6, 2005, 11:02 AM
Been thinking... Gotta wonder who else...

Edison? I'd guess so.

Poe? Possible.

2nd Amendment
January 6, 2005, 11:13 AM
I have much research to do. A 40. I think this might help explain a lot of questions I have had for a lot of years...

JoeRapture
January 6, 2005, 03:38 PM
Ok, maybe I mispoke about it being a personality type rather than a disorder. I do know that I have learned some techniques of dealing with AS in my son that has helped him. I also know that I'm laying the groundwork now for his success later on by focusing on his personality now. I was devistated when I first got the news of Autism. Now I look at it as something we have to manage and work around. I view my child as a normal, healthy four year old. We just have to manage his disorder.

JohnBT
January 6, 2005, 09:56 PM
"What, then, is the best way for us who are dorks, geeks and linear, detail-oriented types and not masters of witty, face-to-face repartee to respond to those who sling diagnoses without medical qualifications?"

Happy Bob - Ask to see their medical license or Ph.D. and then ask about their clinical training and practical experience. Threaten to turn 'em in for practicing without a license and then laugh in their faces. Or do what you did. Any tactic is fair when fighting ignorance. :)

"I had a boss once (a lawyer in employment litigation, no less) who set up a meeting for me with a university-run AS/Autism research unit led by a member of her wide circle of acquaintances."

Tacky, ill-advised and might even be unlawful these days. Now, if the boss was your friend and asked if you'd be interested in going then that would be different. Maybe the boss meant well, but who knows?

I've been listening to employment tales for more than 30 years and I'm still hearing new ones. Everybody is different AND has had different experiences and learned different lessons.

One example, unrelated to this discussion, happened 20+ years ago. We got this kid a job at a turkey processing plant. He was straight off the farm and was deaf. The first day the boss called up yelling to get over there immediately. It turned out that the kid was urinating all over the walls in the bathroom. Hmmm, that could be a big problem. Well, the kid didn't have a bathroom at home and if the flies in the outhouse were fair game then the ones at work should be too. It took a sign language interpreter to straighten that one out.

Speaking of adapting, I took my central VA accent to Baltimore where I attended city schools in the '50s. After 7th grade we moved 15 miles north of D.C. Talk about a culture shock. The good news was that I was big enough that they didn't mess with me more than about once every year or so. I liked making good grades (not straight A's), I liked to read, I liked math, I didn't study and then I was an early-decision-acceptance physics major at Tech. I changed majors after the 3rd year because they wouldn't let me play with the reactor. I should have been a chemist I think looking back on it.

Meanwhile, I have a gun to clean and a trigger to polish.

John

Cosmoline
January 6, 2005, 10:40 PM
What's the syndrome name for people who live in huts in rural Alaska with no heaters? :D

Forgetting important dates and birthdays? Yup. Avoiding formal social situations? Oh yeah. Missing subtle signals of displeasure, esp. from females? I'm there. Fixation on complex and intricite distinctions? Yup. Guns, architecture, history, you name it. So what does that make me? A man, I suppose.

Brian Dale
January 6, 2005, 11:08 PM
Thanks, John.

Nathaniel Firethorn
January 6, 2005, 11:25 PM
I scored an Asparagus quotient of 25. It means I'm about to broc up. So lettuce pray.

- pdmoderator


P.S. Horse puckey is right. Shrinks are like lawyers; they just make more work for shrinks.

OF
January 6, 2005, 11:36 PM
Boooo! :)

GigaBuist
January 7, 2005, 02:15 AM
Cosmoline:
Forgetting important dates and birthdays? Yup. Avoiding formal social situations? Oh yeah. Missing subtle signals of displeasure, esp. from females? I'm there. Fixation on complex and intricite distinctions? Yup. Guns, architecture, history, you name it. So what does that make me? A man, I suppose.

pdmoderator:
P.S. Horse puckey is right. Shrinks are like lawyers; they just make more work for shrinks.

Alright, reading that just plain hurts. Fine, make fun of it. There's a metric crapload of kids out there that suffer from a legit disorder FAR worse than I might. I'm not even saying that I have AS -- and if I do I'm probably on the far end of the low spectrum.

Equating AS as some fantasy condition because normal folks exhibit some of the SYMPTOMS of the disorder is akin to writing off schitzophrenia because, hey, who hasn't seen a face in the carpet or a cloud? Must be all horse puckey, right?

How many hours have YOU spent in a closet, bundled up into a ball, in the corner, BANGING YOUR HEAD ON THE WALL BECAUSE ITS A SOOTHING EXPERIENCE?! What? You mean you've never spent an hour of your adult life backed into a corner laying on the floor in a ball smacking your head on the floor to calm yourself down? Ha ha! It's funny! Fake problem, yuk yuk!

Hey, why's that guy collapsed in a puddle after running 6 miles? That's funny! Hey, he's all curled up in a ball crying to himself moaning and rocking back and forth in that field! Ha ha! Stupid fake condition.

There isn't a living soul on the face of the earth that has ever heard some of the stuff I've said here, so please keep making jokes about how AS is something fake and nobody has it.

JoeRapture,

Sorry about pouncing on the personality vs disorder terminology. I can't officially say I have AS (nor would I want to) but ... well ... I can identify in many respects to people that have it.

It's a disorder, but it can be managed, I think, into manifesting itself into "quirks." If your child has a "quirky" request it'd probably help to ask why. Don't try and talk them out of it, though. If they have a reason, they have a reason. You will NOT change that. Somewhere before my teenage years I decided I didn't like wearing jeans. I don't remember why -- it might have just been one uncomfortable pair for all I remember. I didn't own a pair of jeans until I was 21 again. I wore khakis or sweats for years and the meer THOUGHT of me having to wear jeans was a cause of trauma. I still have an aversion to them -- I only own 2 pairs and I bought the last pair just 2 weeks ago. Had the other pair for 2 years. Obviously, I barely wear them. Hangover from whatever hangup I had.

It is easy to assume that your "weird" kid is just being too picky and needs to learn to deal with stuff. Normally, yes. Tell a kid with AS that he's getting Mac & Cheese and drop a plate of blue stuff in front of him and he'll probably flip. Never happened to me, ... oh heck, nearly did. Mac & Cheese was always yellow in my house, but an aunt made some once and it was white colored -- confused the crap out of me. Guess there was a reason I thought of that example. Not sure if it was a big deal to me or not... but I guess since that memory from 20 years ago popped up, it might have been.

You probably already know this but uniformity and patterns are key. This is why I would encourage you to ask "why" -- simply because some patterns have no logic behind them. They're actually just regular things for no reason at all. Those can be "broken" without trauma. Watching a TV show might not be important, but the color of their shoes might be. Not EVERYTHING has to be consistent, just some stuff -- and you might not place importance on the same things, so ASK them. You'll probably find some very odd things that MUST be consistent in your child's life.

I really think "cope" is the best idea until the teen years then you can "deal" with the problems. The only way to deal with them, though, is to identify them and make a conscious effort to overcome, or basically mask, the odd behavior. I didn't get around to this stage until I was 19 though, so I can't say for sure what age to start with the "dealing" process should start. A "shrink" (you know, the people that made up the disease that left me banging my head into a wall for hours in a dark closet) might have some advice or at least anecdotal evidence.

Orthonym
January 7, 2005, 05:39 AM
Imagine someone of exactly 100 IQ, someone who is exactly at the zero of the x axis of all possible bell curves. Aside from the very great probability that there ain't no such guy, he could probably make a very good living as a clothes dummy. No dummy myself, I vary somewhat from the norm in all sorts of ways. I'm smarter than most, smaller than most guys, I have bad teeth, am nearsighted in one eye, have good balance (does me well in field sobriety tests). I could name any number of things at which I am either better or worse, either naturally or cultivatedly, than other folks.

Let's say I had a perfectly neurotypical brain, IQ 110 or so, but was confined to a powered chair by a broken neck, and communicated by blowing through a tube. Not much point in my going armed there, eh?

Then consider that maybe I had full and easy control of my body, was somewhat smarter in some ways, maybe dumber in some, than the general run of folks, but was generally more earnest, and honest, and less inclined to fall into partisan fanaticism than the guys around x=0? A consciously, conscientiously kinda-rational guy?

May I go armed?

Edit: changed "cool-headed" to "kinda-rational". I am not cool-headed.

Orthonym
January 7, 2005, 06:00 AM
I seem to have had just a slight taste of it, compared to you. Of course you seem both smarter and more accomplished than I, if that's any consolation. Owhell.

bogie
January 7, 2005, 08:56 AM
I wonder...

Does AS increase performance in pattern-oriented activities or games? i.e., would an AS person be a major tetris geek?

crucible
January 7, 2005, 10:46 AM
Cheers for one of the more interesting threads in some time. I scored a 32 myself, my wife only a 14.

-I dislike many social situations, and am not very good at small talk with folks I don't know. I can tough it out through them, but prefer to not have to to begin with.
-I tend to keep to myself, and sometimes struggle with that even with family. Not that I'm introverted in a bad way, but often I just don't think to interact, or assume to think that whomever would be interested in doing so with me. For the most part. I've always "kept my own council" as it's called.
-I don't obsess with numbers/patterns, but I do have interests I have a tendency to obsess over. I'll get interested in something, find out out all the information about it and I mean all, maybe purchase that something, then get bored/tired with it, and move on. I've done this since I can remember beginning as a child (another WWII combat aviation kid here too btw...I remember being mesmerized by the books I had of them as a child, and memorized much of their information). I invariably do come back to some of those interests like a spinning wheel: firearms (and all the gear, CCW, etc. and I am a former Marine), fly fishing (salt and bass), astronomy (telescopes, binoculars and all the gear), military history (WWII combat aviation, USMC, and Civil War in particular) and a few others. Or perhaps it's that I don't totally leave them, I dunno. Others are less certain that I'll come back to, and some, not at all.

I don't beleive that I'm abnormal, just have varied interests like any man would. But I do indentify with some of a stated charateristics, and after scoring a 32, I guess that makes some kind of sense.

JohnBT
January 7, 2005, 12:12 PM
Bogie - Like all people, those with an Autism or AS diagnosis have their preferred way of looking at the world and interacting. Some are pattern oriented, some prefer the abstract and some look at things primarily in concrete terms.

I'm fascinated by the different ways people think, not their conclusions necessarily, but the actual process they use to think and communicate. I began reading about Dr. Temple Grandin years ago and remain amazed by how she thinks in pictures and how she describes her autism. And as far as successful adaptation goes..."In fact, one third of the cattle and hogs in the United States are handled in equipment I have designed."

www.grandin.com/inc/visual.thinking.html

"Chapter 1: Autism and Visual Thought
Dr. Temple Grandin

I THINK IN PICTURES. Words are like a second language to me. I translate both spoken and written words into full-color movies, complete with sound, which run like a VCR tape in my head. When somebody speaks to me, his words are instantly translated into pictures. Language-based thinkers often find this phenomenon difficult to understand, but in my job as an equipment designer for the livestock industry, visual thinking is a tremendous advantage.

Visual thinking has enabled me to build entire systems in my imagination. During my career I have designed all kinds of equipment, ranging from corrals for handling cattle on ranches to systems for handling cattle and hogs during veterinary procedures and slaughter. I have worked for many major livestock companies. In fact, one third of the cattle and hogs in the United States are handled in equipment I have designed. Some of the people I've worked for don't even know that their systems were designed by someone with autism. I value my ability to think visually, and I would never want to lose it."

SteveS
January 7, 2005, 01:35 PM
P.S. Horse puckey is right. Shrinks are like lawyers; they just make more work for shrinks.

It is hard to argue with such an intelligent statement, but I will try. While an occasional "pop disorder" will appear from time to time (people that were upset over the past election results), there are plenty of people that suffer from legitimate disorders that prevent them from functioning. I am not tlaking about quirky or odd people, I am talking about people that are unable to relate to others, hold a job, or even leave the house.

GigaBuist
January 7, 2005, 05:21 PM
Gee, Justin, Sorry It's That Bad. Honest!

Sorry that I stepped off the deep end. I'm much better off these days than I was as a kid truth be told. Yanking back a bunch of memories well... yeah, not so much fun.

bogie
January 7, 2005, 05:56 PM
Oh yeah...

-I don't obsess with numbers/patterns, but I do have interests I have a tendency to obsess over. I'll get interested in something, find out out all the information about it and I mean all, maybe purchase that something, then get bored/tired with it, and move on.

Been there, done that... And it's really bad when you go to something, and it turns out that the only person in the room who understands what you're talking about is the guest lecturer.

And you're 11 years old... Had a really great conversation after the speech.

Let's see... from an early age - geology/lapidary, fishing, camping, woodworking, coins, stamps, knives, writing/journalism, photography, computer stuff, Audiovisual/stereo stuff (and producing/recording...), etc. Learn everything, master the craft, and then move on - I've also got a tendency to buy table lamps, kitchen stuff, and tools...

Got into desktop publishing in a big way in the mid/late eighties, and made my living with it for a while. Been a designer in corporate America since 1992. Thinking that it may not be that I'm burnt out (been sorta dragging), but that I've reached the far end of "let's play with this concept," and that it's time to move on to something else... But at this point, nothing else is beckoning.

What do you do when nothing is really that interesting?

Feanaro
January 7, 2005, 06:54 PM
but I do have interests I have a tendency to obsess over.

It doesn't sound like you are really that obsessive. Too much free time, mayhap. :D Until you literally can't walk into a room without turning the lights on and off five times, it's not really an obsession. If you REALLY CAN'T turn your head left without turning it right once to "even it out", it's nothing to worry about. I don't have the first problem, though I had the latter(If I drummed three fingers on my left thigh, I would have to do the same on my right) and still have it to some extent. I mostly broke myself of it, because it started annoying even me. But until I did I almost couldn't stop myself from such "evening out". And I still do it sometimes but I don't HAVE to.

GigaBuist
January 8, 2005, 12:37 AM
Does AS increase performance in pattern-oriented activities or games? i.e., would an AS person be a major tetris geek?

I think I have an answer for that, Bogie.

AS and Autism doesn't mean that you're a master of patterns. It means that you depend on them. An AS person doesn't see patterns because they're intelligent -- they see them because they MUST from time to time.

You find patterns because you almost HAVE to, not because they actually make sense.

JohnKSa
January 8, 2005, 12:46 AM
This guy is a valued member of our team--I don't mean to imply that he's clueless or has comprehension problems. It's more like he has blind spots or something. His memory borders on photographic and yet I've watched him virtually get lost in a small town where he's lived for nearly 20 years. It wasn't so much that he didn't know where he was going as it was that he couldn't do the point-to-point computation.

The repetition to get things to sink in isn't to help him comprehend. He'll respond to the first statement (after his typical delay--which seems to me to be a response processing delay, not a trying to comprehend delay if that makes sense) with an answer that indicates he understands what you said. But unless you tell him several more times nothing results. It really is like you have to warm him up to the idea that something can be done any way other than the way he has formulated in his mind.

He's very good at his job and has excellent insight into the aspects of it and into other aspects of what we do, but at the same time, he has absolutely no clue when he's being impolite by interrupting a conversation or talking over someone. Not that he doesn't understand that's impolite, because he doesn't want it done to him. It's just another of his blind spots, for lack of a better term.

A coworker (very good friend of this fellow--possibly his best friend) wrote a program that did a menial part of his job for him automatically. In spite of the fact that this person helped the programmer with the setup of the program and agreed that it was a very good idea, it was several years before he began using it as a matter of course. Change is absolutely anathema to this person even when he sees the necessity and the benefit.

He lives alone, has never been married and has never indicated that he has ever had any romantic interests or girlfriends even though I've known and worked with him for 15 years and know people who knew him from well over 20 years back. He never mentions engaging in any activities with anyone outside of work and has never been seen or known to engage in such. Loner doesn't begin to describe him.

He truly enjoys his work even though it is VERY tedious. Not simple tedious, painfully difficult tedious. He will take a person and show them details of what he does literally for hours if they are too polite (or not allowed) to leave. In spite of the fact that we often punish/prank people by turning this guy loose on them, he's never even suspected it. That kind of thing just doesn't register with him. I think it would be very difficult to even explain what was going on to him.

I also don't want to give the impression that this guy isn't functional. He spent many years in the military and acquitted himself very well. He is very well thought of in his field and has lived on his own for his entire adult life. He is very responsible with his money, isn't in debt, doesn't get into any kind of trouble, has never needed or asked for any help outside of work from any of his coworkers, has nice things, etc. etc.

BTW, he's not into guns at all. I think his job is his only hobby.

mrapathy2000
January 8, 2005, 01:04 AM
thanks for posting the thread.

what really sucks is the misdiagnosis of ADD and HADD and over prescribing of ritalin on thousands if not few million of kids who actually wind up worse.

as for the people joking in the thread you really are a bunch of A******* is not what I would come to expect on THR but its not the first doubt it will be last.

bogie
January 8, 2005, 01:28 PM
Okay - I sorta know what you mean... Every so often, I get "really into" something... Not often, but... And since I was a kid, I've had recurring dreams where there's nothingness - but it's more like a giant encompassing cotton tuft... and there are balls criss-crossing it... very complex, random-appearing at first, pattern. I figure it out. Or maybe I make the balls adhere to it via thought - not sure...

It's not a bad dream... comforting, almost. I've probably had it on average a couple of times a year since I was 5-6 or so... pretty weird.

denfoote
January 8, 2005, 02:54 PM
I scored 12.
Does that mean I'm a normal gun nut??? :evil:

GigaBuist
January 8, 2005, 03:13 PM
Couple things I was thinking about this morning.. might help some follks, I dunno.

One thing that can be an issue is touch. This shows up a lot I guess in Autism and to some degree in AS. I know, personally, when I'm all freaked out over something (against, mostly happened in childhood) that the LAST thing I needed was my parents to try and physically comfort me. Once that magic breaking point is reached all bets are off and there is nothing you can do to fix it. As a parent I'd imagine this sucks pretty bad. Trust me, it's no fun on the OTHER side either.

How you would tell the difference from a regular childhood tantrum and them totally freaking out I don't know. I don't remember my childhood tantrums though, but I DO remember when I just "lost it" from time to time. You'd probably have to have video of them side by side for me to tell you the difference -- which brings me to another point.

There's a logical reason why empathy is an impossible thing for AS people. The emotional scale just doesn't work like it does in normal people I guess. Much like the political spectrum it's actuall a pyramid, or a circle upon which you would plot an emotion for a normal person. The more severe the case, the less of a spectrum there is. I'd imagine a true-blue Autistic simply has good and bad feelings. Nothing in the middle. For me there's actually a sliding scale. Anger and intense sadness are virtually the same to me -- I only know the difference because I know what they SHOULD be based upon what has happened. When I get angry I cry -- it FEELS like the same thing inside. Without knowing what just happened I could absolutely positively NOT tell you if I was angry or sad or scared... which brings us full circle now.

Your child is sad, or upset, and totally lost it. Trying to physically comfort them isn't going to help because they don't have a sad or upset feeling, they're in full-on fight-or-flight attack mode for no good reason. Its all just one big unhappy emotion. You're running on all 8 cylinders, and scared to death of everything around you. No good reason, you just are because it's the only emotion you have on that end of the spectrum.

Think of it as akin to trying to give a hug to somebody involved in the middle of a gun fight. Yes, you have the best of intentions, but how do you think THEY are going to respond to it? Not well, and it will only make them jumpier.

Now, this isn't to say that they're dangerous -- logic can still prevail within the mind. Just because the appropriate EMOTION isn't being felt doesn't mean the wrong ACTION will be taken.

Seeing a grown man beating a child means I should take action to prevent this, and probably pummel the worthless puke into the ground. When I'm sad I know to just go off by myself and sit somewhere to sort things out. However, when it's all said and done I'll FEEL the same way.

Hope that helps.

Orthonym
January 8, 2005, 10:53 PM
What with (cough) sober (cough) consideration and thoughts of, "OMG, did I really write that!" but some recent posts got me going again.

1st, for JohnBT:

Funny you should mention that. I spent a coupla hours last PM in the B&N reading "Thinking in Pictures" by Professor Grandin all the way through. I fully intend to go back tomorrow and buy it, so shut up you copyright maximalists! Yup, she's like me, just LOTS more so.
The most interesting part, to my thinking, was her chapter on theology. She wrote of having her religious consciousness profoundly, if temporarily, changed, by stupidly doing a publicity stunt involving swimming through a tick-dip for cattle, which was loaded with organophosphates.

2nd, for mrapathy:

About the wrong ideas the "helpers" have, yeah, that sucks.

About the jokes? I "imagine" yer pain, unlike that spherical bastard who claimed to "feel" it, and was lying, of course.

I think Al of Gor might actually be somewhat like some of us. I think he suffers from seriously wrong ideas, though. The boy ain't got good axioms!

Now, Dubya, he's an NT with a good heart, but even he has his litle ways....

3d, for gigabuist:

Yup, lotsa times they just make it worse. I've tried, and failed, many times, to explain to my (aged, hm maybe that's why) Daddy why I feel much better if he just leaves me alone to chill out for a while after he's done something to me he's sorry about, rather than do what he usually does and get all pushy-feely with apologies, etc. Hey, lemmee just go off by myself for a bit, I'll get over it!

Dang! There I went, TMI again!
Am of course posting this anyway. snork.

T.Stahl
January 9, 2005, 09:10 AM
I scored 38.
I'm not really surprised.

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