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Maybe I have this, or maybe I just hate people.... - Electric Pages
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Electric Pages
Date: 2009-03-18 18:01
Subject: Maybe I have this, or maybe I just hate people....
Security: Public
Tags:psychology, tony_attwood
The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome (2007)
by Tony Attwood
397 pages - Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological condition that is considered to be on the Autism spectrum, and has only been recognized widely in the last decade or so. People with this condition generally have difficulty with social interaction, as well as other quirks such as clumsiness, trouble making eye-contact, and usually an exceptional talent or deep area of interest - though the nature of the condition is that it shades into 'normalcy' without any definite defining line. Because it is a neurological condition, it's not something that develops or that can be cured, but instead is life-long and stable. That also means that any treatments for it are focused on adapting to the condition.

This book is aimed at a general audience, with enough references for professionals, but easy enough to read for the general public. Its main goal seems to be summing up what is known thus far, and in that it does a good job, but even though it is meant to be a complete guide it's very noticeable that a majority of the material concerns children with Asperger's. I think this is because this is where most of the resources of psychologists are focused, and where they have gathered the most information. The main reasons for this are probably because most public schools are forced to care for all children that are brought to them, and the parents are likely to have extra health insurance that pays for things such as extensive counseling. There's much less information, in this book and in general, about adults living with the condition.

I read this mainly because I suspect I have Asperger's. After reading this (and viewing some videos), I suspect that if I do, it's somewhere on the borderline between this and normalcy. I'm not sure about the value of putting myself through a formal diagnosis (especially being that 'formal' doesn't seem to be that formal). I found it interesting that a lot of people think that this condition has been around basically as long as people have been around, and that it's likely that a lot of leaps forward have been due to it, as accomplishments like that require people that see things differently from the majority, as well as extreme focus, etc.

Though the stereotype is that Autistic people are good at math, to the point of being seen as human calculators, a lot of them actually have trouble with it. The general separation is between those who are math-inclined, and those who are visual thinkers. I know we shouldn't curse or take for granted the gifts that we're given, but I can't help sometimes feel like it would be much easier to be math-inclined, as there seems to be a much greater utility for those sorts of people.

Reading this, one of the things that kept running through my mind is the wonderful narration at the start of Little Dieter Needs to Fly: ""Men are often haunted by things that happened to them in life, especially in war or other periods of great intensity. Sometimes you see these men walking the streets or driving a car. Their lives seem to be normal — but they are not."
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Jenn
User: parkejen
Date: 2009-03-19 09:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My father-in-law has low-grade Asperger's. He is fully functional just really socially awkward and has quite a few ticks (I think they are endearing). It doesn't seem to bother him. He is an engineer so he falls into the stereotypical "good at math" group.

He has invented several fairly big items - remote thermometers and the tire pressure monitoring system used in most high-end vehicles. However, he has been unemployed for quite a while now (at least two years).

If you do have it you should be able to get some insight into your own behavior and how your brain works.
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Electric Pages
User: electric_pages
Date: 2009-03-19 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well, I'd say I definitely identify more with people with Asperger's than with average people. I'm probably hesitant to embrace it whole-heartedly for a lot of reasons, among them that psychology is really closer to astrology than some kind of hard science (not to say it doesn't have its role).

Over time you learn to adapt and imitate others so that you don't stand out as much and from first glance or a short conversation, but it's not any kind of newsflash to me that I'm different from other people.
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