Aspergers and ADHD
Res beat me to what I was going to say in part. Rosarium, before we can have a useful discussion about this, let's begin by defining our terms. I know about people with Asperger's partly from what I have read on the Internet (not a great, deep source, I know), partly from talking to mothers of Asperger's children, and partly from a few people I have known who I think might be Asperger's. Much of the information I'm encountering is contradictory. Please tell me EXACTLY (you are very good at being exact) what you mean when you refer to someone using this term. Then please define "NT." I can't speak for others on here, but I find that term rather insulting, perhaps in part because of the way I and some of my friends used the word "typical" in a sneering fashion when we were young and arrogant, but partly because of the way I've seen it bandied about. As Res said, some of us are resisting because we don't like being lumped into this big category called "NT" and then told that we were bullies at worst, or maybe some of us were nice but clueless and annoying to AS people. As Res pointed out, some of us who would be called "NT" by AS people were also considered different and treated exactly as you were. I don't know about Res, but I never bullied anyone and went out of my way to be kind to the people who were different -- which, if any of them were AS, was probably really annoying to them. Also, many of us "NT" folks are shy introverts who don't need socialization as much as the extroverts, so it's puzzling to be lumped in with the frat boys and party girls.

As for what I perceive as your implication that AS people are superior: I realize you may not have meant to imply this, but you don't seem to understand subtext. The subtext of your comments, intentional or not, comes off to me (and some others) as a belief in your superiority and that of others with AS. If you don't mean this, it will at least be helpful for you to know that you are giving this impression so that you can take pains to correct it.
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(07-27-2009, 11:49 AM)Satori Wrote: Res beat me to what I was going to say in part. Rosarium, before we can have a useful discussion about this, let's begin by defining our terms. I know about people with Asperger's partly from what I have read on the Internet (not a great, deep source, I know), partly from talking to mothers of Asperger's children, and partly from a few people I have known who I think might be Asperger's. Much of the information I'm encountering is contradictory. Please tell me EXACTLY (you are very good at being exact) what you mean when you refer to someone using this term. Then please define "NT." I can't speak for others on here, but I find that term rather insulting, perhaps in part because of the way I and some of my friends used the word "typical" in a sneering fashion when we were young and arrogant, but partly because of the way I've seen it bandied about. As Res said, some of us are resisting because we don't like being lumped into this big category called "NT" and then told that we were bullies at worst, or maybe some of us were nice but clueless and annoying to AS people. As Res pointed out, some of us who would be called "NT" by AS people were also considered different and treated exactly as you were. I don't know about Res, but I never bullied anyone and went out of my way to be kind to the people who were different -- which, if any of them were AS, was probably really annoying to them. Also, many of us "NT" folks are shy introverts who don't need socialization as much as the extroverts, so it's puzzling to be lumped in with the frat boys and party girls.
Sure. In the book I'm writing, the first four chapters are for definitions and explanations of terms (but on online discussions, people yell at me if I do too much background information at first).

Asperger's Syndrome, which I also refer to informally as a personality, is precisely defined. I'll copy and paste some from my book (formatting is lost):

Quote:According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, from now on referred to as the “DSM”, Asperger’s Disorder (299.80), the diagnostic criteria are:

A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
    * marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
    * failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
    * a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
    * lack of social or emotional reciprocity
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
    * encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus 
    * apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
    * stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
    * persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood

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

This is from the DSM, and is for professionals, so this is a concise list for professionals. It is of limited use for non professionals, but that is the definition.

Here is the short section after the introduction called "A Few Notes on Style and Convention":
Quote:I do this not to demean anyone, but to communicate clearly. I will mix phrases such as “an individual with a Neurotypical Personality”, “A Neurotypical...”, “Neurotypical society”, “people with Asperger's Personality”, “An Asperger's Personality...”, “Asperger's communication...”, when they best fit the focus of the statement. They are just personalities to me with no connotations of any sort when they are used appropriately. I mention this because I have noticed Neurotypicals assume emotions and negative opinions rather than just a meaningful descriptive phrase when I use it. It seems labeling Neurotypicals gets them upset, but they expect others to accept labels of their choice when it is done by them.

The definition of NT comes later, but it just refers to a personality which is normal. Since it is defined by its prevalence, that sort of makes it hard to define in words, but basically it refers to the average personality.

About my perception of NT's, that is just my perception. Obviously, I did not perceive NT's when they were not bothering me. Those people who do the teasing are not representative of all people, but they are the only ones a young person with AS will notice besides family. That is why I refer to it as a vestigial resentment, because I have grown and matured since then, but they did make a big impression on me at that age which is hard to fully shake.


Quote:As for what I perceive as your implication that AS people are superior: I realize you may not have meant to imply this, but you don't seem to understand subtext. The subtext of your comments, intentional or not, comes off to me (and some others) as a belief in your superiority and that of others with AS. If you don't mean this, it will at least be helpful for you to know that you are giving this impression so that you can take pains to correct it.
Actually, I think it is more about NT people perceiving it that way, rather than my actual words. I do know I give that impression sometimes (and it is address immediately in my book). It is interesting that I do give that impression. When AS and NT are discussed as if they are equal, NT's feel demeaned.

In the DSM, this is significant (although it is found in some way in all definitions):

Quote:C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

I feel when a person with AS does not have this, or loses it, they are still AS but their personality is just a personality, no better or worse than any other. If AS is seen as just a big difference in individuals, as I do, which leads to problems rather than being a problem in itself, one has to conclude that the "solution" is not treatment and care, but learning and practice. The very young people with AS have no problems, also, those who are older and more experienced often have no problems either, yet their personality remains the same. Knowledge is the key. Knowing how to communicate is the key. For people with AS, this means learning how NT social values work, and how to communicate with them, even if they don't really understand it. This is my focus when I'm with people with AS (rare, actually). When, however, a person wants to communicate with a person with AS, it is up to them to learn and work at it. If a mother wants to communicate with their child, she has to learn to communicate to the child first, before teaching the child how to communicate to others. A young child doesn't know what is best for them and if no one can properly teach them, they are at a severe disadvantage.

I'm posting here at the prompting, mostly of NT inquiries, which means I respond in a way which is useful to them. About ResiduumRevertetur's son, I responded in a way that I felt ResiduumRevertetur would benefit, not her son only. If her son came to me with questions, I'd certainly give a different answer and if taken alone, that answer would give the impression that I feel people with AS should change and work to communicate with NTs rather than the other way around.

In my book:

Quote:It is usually the responsibility of the Asperger's Personality to prove itself to society and adapt itself to others, rather than the other way around. This is “unfair” to us, but it is the way it is.
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(07-27-2009, 11:49 AM)Satori Wrote: As for what I perceive as your implication that AS people are superior: I realize you may not have meant to imply this, but you don't seem to understand subtext. The subtext of your comments, intentional or not, comes off to me (and some others) as a belief in your superiority and that of others with AS.

Well, let me try to put this in layman's terms at least how I understand it...

Say you're an American and you travel into the jungle to some tribal culture.  You think you're normal, but because of the social and cultural structure, all the tribesmen think you're weird.  Why do you keep sticking out your hand like that when someone new comes up (handshake)?  Why don't you spit twice over their shoulder like the tribesmen do?

Likewise, you think they're kinda weird.  Like how they grab their groins twice and mumble "mumbabay" every time they cross a threshold.

Who is "normal"?  Well, the tribesmen think they're the right way to be, and you think you're the right way to be.  Nothing against either on either side, just that you think you're superior because you have a cell phone and they think they're superior because they can escape a tiger attack.  And what does superior mean anyhow?  In the Catholic sense it means who is the most sanctified which has nothing to do with cell phones or tigers anyhow, or possibly who holds a higher God-given authority which means nothing here either.  So, at the end of the day, neither can be objectively thought of as superior except that in certain contexts one functions better than another.  You'll do better in Manhattan, they'll do better in the jungle.

Think about having AS and having everyone around you say that you're broken in some way when you don't feel like you are, and, in actuality, you probably aren't by definition since most of the "brokenness" comes in the context of social interaction with non-Aspie people (Aspies seem to interact just fine amongst each other from what I've seen).

What Rosarium seems to be saying is akin to "When in Rome, do as the Romans."  Aspies do "as the Romans" even though they think it makes about as much sense as the American would when he grabbed his groin going over the threshold.   They do it to get along in society, not because they think the grabbing of the groin makes sense.   Otherwise, they are happy with their cell phones.

Does that make sense?



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Quis,

Great explanation!

Having had some experience with an Aspie teen--not my own child-- I can see where you and Rosarium are coming from.  I never thought that Rosarium's posts seemed as if he had a superior attitude.  In fact he seems to be very humble and accommodating.

But then again it may be due to my experience in being with an Aspie teen and his mom on a day-to-day basis.

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I'm sorry, but although I understand the example given, I'm not convinced that this describes the situation between "NT" and "AS" people. The desire for human companionship and the ability to communicate with other people are very important parts of being human; they aren't just extra frills that most people have, they have contributed to the survival of the human race as a whole. Of course they are traits that vary to some degree, but if you have people who are so different in this way that they need a name for their condition, that's a real problem for them, and not just because they live in a world dominated by people who aren't like them. It might not be a big problem in modern Western society, but imagine AS people trying to survive in a "primitive" situation where you need to rely on the goodwill of others and on having a family. I also can't see how people with aspie traits would be inclined to clothe and procure food for themselves if they didn't have an "NT" to teach them of the necessity of doing so and how it is to be done. This may be a misunderstanding of how these traits play out in real life, but if someone is truly obsessed with a narrow category of interests and engages in repetitive, ritualistic behavior and doesn't react well to change, I don't see how they would adapt very well to independent living without a lot of specialized help from people who don't have that problem.

This is not to say that AS people are inferior overall, at fault, or have nothing special to offer the world.
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(07-27-2009, 12:43 PM)QuisUtDeus Wrote: Say you're an American and you travel into the jungle to some tribal culture.  You think you're normal, but because of the social and cultural structure, all the tribesmen think you're weird.  Why do you keep sticking out your hand like that when someone new comes up (handshake)?  Why don't you spit twice over their shoulder like the tribesmen do?

Likewise, you think they're kinda weird.  Like how they grab their groins twice and mumble "mumbabay" every time they cross a threshold.
When have you been over to my house?!

Quote:Think about having AS and having everyone around you say that you're broken in some way when you don't feel like you are, and, in actuality, you probably aren't by definition since most of the "brokenness" comes in the context of social interaction with non-Aspie people (Aspies seem to interact just fine amongst each other from what I've seen).
Yes, people with AS interact with each other just as fine as NTs do (meaning, we all don't get along by default)

The tentative title of my book is "A Different Normal: An Asperger's Personality".

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(07-27-2009, 02:37 PM)Rosarium Wrote:
(07-27-2009, 12:43 PM)QuisUtDeus Wrote: Say you're an American and you travel into the jungle to some tribal culture.  You think you're normal, but because of the social and cultural structure, all the tribesmen think you're weird.  Why do you keep sticking out your hand like that when someone new comes up (handshake)?  Why don't you spit twice over their shoulder like the tribesmen do?

Likewise, you think they're kinda weird.  Like how they grab their groins twice and mumble "mumbabay" every time they cross a threshold.
When have you been over to my house?!
:rofl:
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(07-27-2009, 02:33 PM)Satori Wrote: I'm sorry, but although I understand the example given, I'm not convinced that this describes the situation between "NT" and "AS" people. The desire for human companionship and the ability to communicate with other people are very important parts of being human; they aren't just extra frills that most people have, they have contributed to the survival of the human race as a whole. Of course they are traits that vary to some degree, but if you have people who are so different in this way that they need a name for their condition, that's a real problem for them, and not just because they live in a world dominated by people who aren't like them. It might not be a big problem in modern Western society, but imagine AS people trying to survive in a "primitive" situation where you need to rely on the goodwill of others and on having a family. I also can't see how people with aspie traits would be inclined to clothe and procure food for themselves if they didn't have an "NT" to teach them of the necessity of doing so and how it is to be done. This may be a misunderstanding of how these traits play out in real life, but if someone is truly obsessed with a narrow category of interests and engages in repetitive, ritualistic behavior and doesn't react well to change, I don't see how they would adapt very well to independent living without a lot of specialized help from people who don't have that problem.

This is not to say that AS people are inferior overall, at fault, or have nothing special to offer the world.

That is rather demeaning...people with AS have families and can care for themselves just fine.

The diagnostic criteria is just that. A diagnostic criteria. That is the danger of the DSM...

People with AS aren't obsessed with anything. I have skill and knowledge of programming computers, studying other languages, fixing electronic things, fixing computers, making rosaries, ancient history, etc.

There is no characteristic of AS which is not found in NTs. Do not NTs have collections and habits? Most of the descriptions of behavior is a result of AS reacting to the world. How would you (presumably NT) react to a world where everyone doesn't quite communicate the same way you do? An NT would have drastically worse reactions to such a society because your social lives are more complex and more important. People with AS almost always have some sort of depression or anxiety especially when they are teenagers. If a different world can cause people who are relative not social to such problems, how would a person who needed socialising react?

Also, those diagnostic criteria describe the behavior of AS in an NT world when it is not known. I know a person who has AS, but no one ever addressed it, and he grew up without any assistance. He has a master's degree in physics, lives alone and has a good job (although, not related to his academic study). I don't know if he knows about AS, but he seems happy enough now (he wasn't always I hear) so it doesn't matter. He never had someone telling him how society works. He never had someone helping him deal with emotions. He also fulfills those criteria fully. That is the danger of using them alone without training or knowledge.

If you want a real life example of AS, imagine a computer geek with no significant social life. While the characteristics of AS are not unique, you'll find them strongly in the fields of computers and academia (probably other places too). The absent minded professor, the walking encyclopedia, etc are all stereotypes of AS.

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(07-27-2009, 02:33 PM)Satori Wrote: I'm sorry, but although I understand the example given, I'm not convinced that this describes the situation between "NT" and "AS" people. The desire for human companionship and the ability to communicate with other people are very important parts of being human; they aren't just extra frills that most people have, they have contributed to the survival of the human race as a whole.

No one is saying that asperger's people lack those traits.  Do you think they want to be alone?  No, they don't. And they communicate differently in some ways, that's all.

Quote: Of course they are traits that vary to some degree, but if you have people who are so different in this way that they need a name for their condition, that's a real problem for them, and not just because they live in a world dominated by people who aren't like them. It might not be a big problem in modern Western society, but imagine AS people trying to survive in a "primitive" situation where you need to rely on the goodwill of others and on having a family. I also can't see how people with aspie traits would be inclined to clothe and procure food for themselves if they didn't have an "NT" to teach them of the necessity of doing so and how it is to be done.

Well, you are missing the gist of things.  Really, someone with aspergers would probably be teaching the "NT"s how to clothe and procure food.  AS people are found in all cultures, including primitive ones.


Quote: This may be a misunderstanding of how these traits play out in real life, but if someone is truly obsessed with a narrow category of interests and engages in repetitive, ritualistic behavior and doesn't react well to change, I don't see how they would adapt very well to independent living without a lot of specialized help from people who don't have that problem.

Well, one doesn't necessarily have to have Asperger's to have those traits or meet the DSM criteria at some level: people such as Newton, Einstein, Bill Gates, Edison, Turing, Tesla, etc. have or had those traits.  So, Asperger's or not, people that have the traits you describe can function just fine in society if they are in the proper environment.  I'm in software and I work with tons of people who either have Aspergers or exhibit those traits, and they do just fine.  They wouldn't do so great in customer service, but then again, neither would I. :)
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Unless somebody is diagnosed as having these sorts of syndromes etc. by a professional, lists of symptoms/attributes aren't all that helpful. Otherwise, it just comes down to differences in personality and the way we each live our lives; which is all this seems to be about anyway.
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