Asperger's Syndrome: Myth or Reality?

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  • Thread starter zoobyshoe
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In summary, Asperger Syndrome is a disorder characterized by deficiencies in social skills, repetitive behaviors, and a strong interest in one specific topic.
  • #106
I took http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/Faces/EyesTest.aspx" , and once again, I score as being more able to read facial clues than the average human.
Which I guess means that nearly everyone around me must have AS, and I don't.

There must be something wrong with me.

I wonder how accurate these http://www.psychforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=18065&sid=bdb34ce890aaf9c906e1b656fe59aecd" are?

But looking over the following criteria, I can't imagine not having AS:

http://www.aspergers.com/aspcrit.htm"

1.Severe impairment in reciprocal social interaction
(at least two of the following)
(a) inability to interact with peers
all my peers are idiots. how can I interact with them? it's like interacting with rocks.
(b) lack of desire to interact with peers
see (a) above
(c) lack of appreciation of social cues
So I'm supposed to act like an idiot because everyone else does?
(d) socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior
I do not consider turning my back and walking away from an idiot inappropriate. I call it self defense.

2.All-absorbing narrow interest
(at least one of the following)
(a) exclusion of other activities
It's call work. You have to work to pay the morgage.
(b) repetitive adherence
If you don't go to work everyday, they will fire you.
(c) more rote than meaning
That's why they call it work!

3.Imposition of routines and interests
(at least one of the following)
(a) on self, in aspects of life
I'm not supposed to be interested in the things I'm interested in?
(b) on others
I'm not supposed to share my interests with others?

4.Speech and language problems
(at least three of the following)
(a) delayed development
How am I supposed to remember? I was 3!
(b) superficially perfect expressive language
Now that is just stupid
(c) formal, pedantic language
Only after I look up "pedantic" in the dictionary so I'll know how to do it.
(d) odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics
prosody? I think the author of this test exhibits the characteristics of (b) and (c)
(e) impairment of comprehension including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings
Ok. I didn't understand that statement. I have AS...

5.Non-verbal communication problems
(at least one of the following)
(a) limited use of gestures
So there are no Italians with Aspergers.
(b) clumsy/gauche body language
So everyone with cerebral palsy has Aspergers.
(c) limited facial expression
And Joan Rivers has it.
(d) inappropriate expression
And George Bush.
(e) peculiar, stiff gaze
Dead people.

6.Motor clumsiness: poor performance on neurodevelopmental examination
Klutz's all have it.

(All six criteria must be met for confirmation of diagnosis.)

I think AS is the creation of a bunch of bored psychiatrists.

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  • #107
OmCheeto said:
I took http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen/Faces/EyesTest.aspx" , and once again, I score as being more able to read facial clues than the average human.
Which I guess means that nearly everyone around me must have AS, and I don't.

There must be something wrong with me.

I wonder how accurate these http://www.psychforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=18065&sid=bdb34ce890aaf9c906e1b656fe59aecd" are?
The AQ and rdos tests aren't bad. I score around 41 on the AQ test. Don't remember the rdos score, but it was definitely pretty strongly in the AS range. The eye expression test isn't really for AS specifically, but IIRC I did quite badly on that one. I don't have a good enough grasp of Spanish to take the other test there, or at least not while I'm as tired as I am now.

But looking over the following criteria, I can't imagine not having AS:
The Gillberg criteria aren't officially recognized anywhere that I am aware of. In the US we have the DSM-IV and elsewhere there is the ICD-10. Anyways, your subsequent analysis of Gillberg's criteria is rather shallow and petty; obviously you can find a number of people who satisfy any given trait, but for a diagnosis you would have to meet a certain number of traits from each category, and exhibit them in sufficient intensity that you are markedly different from what is considered typical. Most of your comments appeared to be simply an attempt at deliberately misinterpreting the diagnostic criteria for an attempt at humor. If this was not the case, then you simply lack basic reading comprehension.

I think AS is the creation of a bunch of bored psychiatrists.
And you're wrong.
 
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  • #108
Hi there everyone.

I'm new to this forum and I thought Id join seen as I like physics and am planning on going to university to study it eventually.

I stumbled across it after searching for information regarding Asperger's Syndrome. I thought it would be a good idea to start on this thread because I have aspergers syndrome myself and was wondering if there is anyone else on this forum who has it because it would be interesting to talk somebody who is in the same boat as me.
 
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  • #109
Marcus3141 said:
Hi there everyone.

I'm new to this forum and I thought Id join seen as I like physics and am planning on going to university to study it eventually.

I stumbled across it after searching for information regarding Asperger's Syndrome. I thought it would be a good idea to start on this thread because I have aspergers syndrome myself and was wondering if there is anyone else on this forum who has it because it would be interesting to talk somebody who is in the same boat as me.

I've got HFA. Is that close enough?
 
  • #110
tgt said:
I've got HFA. Is that close enough?

I normally consider HFA and Asperger's to be the same thing, for all intents and purposes.
My diagnosis is Asperger's.
 
  • #111
In social interaction, many people with Asperger's syndrome demonstrate gaze avoidance and may actually turn away at the same moment as greeting another...

when I look into other people's eyes while they are talking to me, I become 'entranced' and highly distracted and cannot pay any attention to what the person is saying. Additionally, sometimes it causes me to spontaneously have a spasm or something, like I'll pass by a mirror and see my reflection and then I'll freak out and fall on the floor...
it has happened. I only glance at people's eyes while talking to them, for less than half a second, if at all. it is easier to listen if there is no unrelated imagery in my view. so I stare at a wall or something to listen the best and be undistracted while listening.

but the eyes thing... it just feels weird to know that someone else is looking at you. I mean, if I looked at someone else's eyes and they weren't looking at mine, it would be easier actually. but when they are locked... its like a hole of blackness...

thank goodness none of that stuff is there in online communications! complete focus on the text that you are writing.
 
  • #112
Welcome to WrongPlanet , fellow Aspie here!
 
  • #113
I have major performance anxiety and GAD and there was a suspicion I might have Asperger's primarily because of my intense interests/obsessions (?), sensory issues (misophonia) and inward focus. I don't think my social skills are particularly lacking but I do have trouble understanding what purpose a lot of social activities have (e.g. unecessary social interaction, weddings, funerals, graduations, ceremonies, handshakes, greeting cards, calling people by names, clapping, obsessions with celebreties, friends beyond mates and family, etc.). In my research in this area I do think there is some overlap in symptoms between Social (Performance) Anxiety Disorder, Introversion and Asperger's (AS). Here are some of the most interesting stuff that I found:

A grand unified theory of autism?

A physicist famously wanted to find the grand unifying equation behind the laws of nature, in a form that you could put on a t-shirt. Neuroscientists Kamilla and Henry Markram have proposed a grand unifying theory of autism, and the key to it is in this picture. I wouldn't want to be seen wearing it quite yet, but if the theory pans out, I'm sure we could come up with a more torso-friendly diagram. So what does this mean? The Markrams call their idea the Intense World Theory. Essentially, they propose that all of the diverse symptoms of autism are direct or indirect consequences of the autistic brain's being hyper-responsive to stimuli.

http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2011/01/grand-unified-theory-of-autism.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010743/pdf/fnhum-04-00224.pdf (full article link-very interesting)

Is There an Up Side to Autism?

In certain settings, autistic individuals can fare extremely well. One such setting is scientific research. For the past seven years, I have been a close collaborator of an autistic woman, Michelle Dawson. She has shown me that autism, when combined with extreme intelligence and an interest in science, can be an incredible boon to a research lab.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7371/full/479033a.html

And then the more speculative, but interesting thesis paper:

Introversion and Autism: A conceptual exploration of the placement of introversion on the Autism Spectrum

To advance the understanding of introversion, I propose that it is a continuous segment of the non-clinical part of the autism spectrum, and that it is not the same as the inverse of extraversion. When introversion and autism are placed on the same continuum, the nature of the relationship of the traits becomes more apparent, and new possibilities are available for exploration of both autism and introversion.

http://etd.fcla.edu/CF/CFE0003090/Grimes_Jennifer_O_201005_MA.pdf

And then the much more speculative (read: highly questionable) but interesting article proposing an advantage for ASD in our past evolutionary history:

Conceptualizing the Autism Spectrum in Terms of Natural Selection and Behavioral Ecology: The Solitary Forager Hypothesis

Solitary animals are thought to eschew unnecessary social contact as part of a foraging strategy often due to scarcity and wide dispersal of food in their native environments. It is thought that the human ancestral environment was often nutritionally sparse as well, and this may have driven human parties to periodically disband. Inconsistencies in group size must have led to inconsistencies in the manner in which natural selection fashioned the social minds of humans, which in turn may well be responsible for the large variation in social abilities seen in human populations. This article emphasizes that individuals on the autism spectrum may have only been partially solitary, that natural selection may have only favored subclinical autistic traits and that the most severe cases of autism may be due to assortative mating.

http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP09207238.pdf
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110603122849.htm
 
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  • #114
Thanks for posting all that. I read the first article but it could be some time before I can read all the links.

In response to the "unified theory" take a look at this short article:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autistic-males-have-fewer

which focuses on the amygdala, alone.

I suppose if someone could demonstrate how having fewer neurons in the amygdala would lead to it becoming hyperactive, then this study would support the "unified theory".
 
  • #115
zoobyshoe said:
In response to the "unified theory" take a look at this short article:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=autistic-males-have-fewer

which focuses on the amygdala, alone. I suppose if someone could demonstrate how having fewer neurons in the amygdala would lead to it becoming hyperactive, then this study would support the "unified theory".

That in itself would probably argue against their "Intense World Hypothesis" but the authors do discuss that study and pretty well every study on the relationship betweem amygdala and autism but they arrive at some seemingly surprising conclusions:

The proposed deficits in reading other people’s feelings and thoughts and the lack in empathizing with other people have been commonly used to explain the impairments in social interactions and communication as well as inappropriate responses in social encounters even in high-functioning forms of autism such as in an Asperger. It was suggested that these deficits are mediated by a not sufficiently activated amygdala. These and other data, such as post-mortem examinations of amygdaloid morphology , amygdala lesion studies in non-human primates , as well as comparison between amygdala- lesioned patients and autistics have led to the Amygdala Theory of autism . In its current version it implies that the amygdala is hypo-functioning, thus the autistic person does not “feel” enough or does not process socio-emotional cues sufficiently .

On the other hand there is evidence that the amygdala may be overly activated in autism. First, structurally the amygdala is enlarged in autism as early as 18 months of age and this enlargement persists throughout childhood until about 12 years of age. In adolescence the enlargement disappears and by early adulthood the amygdala may even end up smaller than in control subjects . These changes may reflect an over-activation of the amygdala in early childhood. Second, functional hyper-reactivity was demonstrated when autistic subjects are confronted with socially relevant stimuli, such as faces and eyes . For example, Kleinhans et al. (2009) showed that compared to controls the amygdala of autistic subjects exhibits attenuated habitation to facial stimuli and that increased amygdala- arousal in autistics was associated with increased social impairment. Monk et al. (2010) recently showed that right amygdala activation is enhanced in autistic subjects during face processing when controlling for attention, that is when the autistic subjects pay attention to the stimuli. Dalton et al. (2005) revealed that high-functioning autistics showed greater activation in the right amygdala when viewing familiar and unfamiliar faces and greater activation in the left amygdala and also in the left orbito-frontal cortex when viewing emotional faces. Both areas form part of the emotion circuit of the brain and increased reactivity to faces in these areas means a heightened emotional response to these stimuli.

Moreover, in autistics, but not in controls, the amount of eye gaze fixation was strongly correlated with amygdala activation when viewing both, inexpressive or emotional faces (Dalton et al., 2005). This suggests that that eye gaze fixation is associated with emotional and possibly negative arousal in autistics and this could explain why autistics have “trouble looking other people in the eye.” Eye contact and watching the facial expressions are one of the first signs of cognitively healthy infants, are natural to people, and serve to build the basis for successful navigation through a social environment. For an autistic person however, these stimuli may be just too intense or even aversive to cope with and hence they are avoided. The Intense World Theory proposes that amygdaloid hyper-reactivity and hyper-plasticity may in particular provoke a dis-proportional level of negative emotions and affect in autism, such as elevated stress responses and anxiety as well as enhanced fear memory formation. Enhanced phobias and anxiety levels were first noted by Kanner himself in his original case studies and later confirmed by population studies on children with autism. However, contrary to the deficit-oriented or disconnected Amygdala Theory and Theory of Mind of autism, we propose that the amygdala may be overtly active in autism, and hence autistic individuals may in principle be very well able to attend to social cues, feel emotions and even empathize with others or read their minds, but they avoid doing so, because it is emotionally too overwhelming, anxiety-inducing, and stressful.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010743/pdf/fnhum-04-00224.pdf

Also, note, it has been suggested that there are 2 types of empathy (cognitive and emotional empathy). I think they are receptive to the idea that there is imbalance between the 2 types in empathy in autism (high emotional empathy combined with low cognitive empathy) as suggested here:

The Empathy Imbalance Hypothesis of Autism: A Theoreti cal Approach to Cognitive and Emotional Empathy in Autistic Development

http://cogprints.org/6799/1/TPRVol59No3-SMITH.pdf

I don't understand this stuff very well but this "intense world hypothesis" is interesting and arguably counter-intuitive but it is consistent with some of the phenomena including some of the major sensory issues which is being considered in the new DSM-V guidelines as 1 of the criteria of ASD:

Hyper-or hypo-reactivity to sensory input or unusual interest in sensory aspects of environment; (such as apparent indifference to pain/heat/cold, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, fascination with lights or spinning objects).

http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=94
 
  • #116
I apologize in advance for just skimming all of the posts in this thread and for just clicking on some of the links. By doing so, I hope that I am not repeating any thoughts expressed in this thread.

However, have there been recent research developments in identifying genes or chromosomal regions that may potentially aid in the diagnosis/treatment of Asperger’s syndrome?
 
  • #117
Soaring Crane said:
I apologize in advance for just skimming all of the posts in this thread and for just clicking on some of the links. By doing so, I hope that I am not repeating any thoughts expressed in this thread.

However, have there been recent research developments in identifying genes or chromosomal regions that may potentially aid in the diagnosis/treatment of Asperger’s syndrome?


Given that there are proposals to eliminate Asperger's syndrome as a separate disorder, and instead merge it under autism spectrum disorders (ASD), I'm not sure what that will mean? Here is their justification for eliminating Asperger's from DSM-V:

http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/Pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=97# (click the link "Rationale")

Many genes have been implicated with respect to ASD/Autism. I'm not sure about how that relates to Asperger's because the latter is seen as a "milder" form of autism/ASD. See 2 links below. The problem though is that even ASD may be a heterogeneous condition and maybe researchers/psychiatrists don't have the right categories? It would be the equivalent of trying to find the link between neurosis and genes? Neurosis may have had some usefulness at one time but it was too broad of a category to be particularly useful. I'm not sure if the same can be said for ASD?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heritability_of_autism
http://www.intechopen.com/source/pdfs/17278/InTech-Genetic_heterogeneity_of_autism_spectrum_disorders.pdf
 
  • #118
bohm2 said:
Given that there are proposals to eliminate Asperger's syndrome as a separate disorder, and instead merge it under autism spectrum disorders (ASD), I'm not sure what that will mean? Here is their justification for eliminating Asperger's from DSM-V:
That was done almost 2 years ago. (Feb 2010)

February 10, 2010
Asperger's Officially Placed Inside Autism Spectrum

Asperger's syndrome is really just a form of autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis, according to a panel of researchers assembled by the American Psychiatric Association.

Even though many researchers already refer to Asperger's as high-functioning autism, it hasn't been listed under the autism category in the official diagnostic guide of mental disorders, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM. The DSM serves as a guide for mental health professionals and government agencies.

But a new draft fifth edition released Wednesday moves Asperger's officially into the autism category, provoking a wide range of responses among people with Asperger's — some of whom say they do not want to be labeled as autistic.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123527833
 
  • #119
Evo said:
That was done almost 2 years ago. (Feb 2010)

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123527833

No. It's not yet official (in draft, yes). But I'm guessing there aren't likely to be many changes before release in 2013?

The DSM-5 Task Force and Work Group members have spent much of 2008-2010 formulating their proposed draft criteria. This includes conducting extensive literature reviews, performing secondary data analyses, and soliciting feedback from colleagues and professionals. Although DSM-5 will not be published until 2013, the revision experts have several important tasks ahead of them in finalizing the development of this volume. Below is a detailed summary of the DSM-5 timeline leading up to the May 2013 deadline.

http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Timeline.aspx
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
 
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  • #120
bohm2 said:
No. It's not yet official (in draft, yes). But I'm guessing there aren't likely to be many changes before release in 2013?



http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Timeline.aspx
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
Do you have anything that particularly states that the decision that was made to include aspergers under autism will be changed? I have found nothing that says they are considering reversing that decision?
 
  • #121
Evo said:
Do you have anything that particularly states that the decision that was made to include aspergers under autism will be changed? I have found nothing that says they are considering reversing that decision?

No, nothing major except for the one noted below. I doubt they will make any major changes by 2013 despite some opposition by researchers like Tony Attwood and Simon Baron-Cohen and opposition groups like "Keep Asperger's Syndrome in the DSM-V".

Recent Updates to Proposed Revisions for DSM-5

Below is a list of updates made to this Web site, including changes in draft criteria and other proposed revisions, since its initial launch in February 2010. Between now and June 15, 2011, we welcome your comments and questions on these changes. Work group members will review all comments, and after completion of the DSM-5 Field Trials later this year, a third round of revisions will be made, followed by a third opportunity to submit feedback. At that time, this page will be updated to orient visitors to areas of the Web site that have changed.

With respect to ASD the only change since Feb. 2010 is the following:

Autism Spectrum Disorder – reinstated examples in criteria to add clarity and changed wording in most criteria to add clarity; added severity

http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/RecentUpdates.aspx

Surprisingly, some psychiatrists aren't even aware of the proposed changes. Mine wasn't.
 
  • #122
Ok...so now I'll drive everyone nuts. I am a speech/language pathologist. I have worked with children and adults who have been diagnosed with some degree of autism ...it is a spectrum of disorders.

This is an open-to-the-public page I got while searching on my ASHA site (American Speech Langauge and Hearing Association).

http://search.asha.org/default.aspx?q=asperger

At the end of the day, in over thirty years of work often involving people with some form of autism, I have never found two children or adults alike in terms of their "symptoms." The key is to simply work on those aspects that present difficulty to the person in terms of day-to-day functioning. Simply put. Don't really need to pinpoint where on the spectrum, but does help to understand all of the characteristics a person might manifest. In my experience, areas of metacognition, involving the person's understanding and/or use of figurative language, can often present a difficulty. Emotional needs and responses, especially in social setting outside the famliar safe day-to-day setting offers a challenge to a team working with a child. Adults pretty much know where their difficulties lie. Intelligence measurements, as we now know, are really a composity of measurements of a variety of abilities and skills, many of which are not tested by traditional I.Q. batteries.

I just started a marathon-watch of the Big Bang Theory, since I have always found the study of physics fascinating, and since I love the characters that have been created so fondly for this show. Sheldon, in my books, would be classic as a person with Asperger. Yet, the producers and writers, when asked that question, just blew it aside, and said, what does it matter? He is who he is and he has these idiosyncracies, and the wonder of the show is how the main characters interact and develop relationships, with Sheldon being the extreme on one end, and Penny, their neighbor, being the clueless, yet lovely and loving neighbor who becomes part of the "gang." I guess after all of my years of work, I find it wonderful that this show is such a big hit!

Hey, we can all see some of the traits in ourselves for just about anything. I have been accused of being obsessive when I "get into" something. I admit it. I am. I am less rigid and have many fewer rules about the minutiae of day-to-day living.

Glad to see this discussion here. I have to back up, since I read a good portion of the posts, but not all, so forgive me if I repeat what has been said, but I wanted to weigh in on Asperger! I love it that the thread started out defining it as Asperger Syndrome, Not as Asperger's, although, I may be telling on myself by making that distinction public.

This forum is fabulous! I am finally, at almost 70 years of age, reading books on physics, learning about special vs. general relativity, quantum physics, string theory.

Everyone here is AMAZING! I so admire the minds that can do all of this, especially the MATH. I may have graduated Magna Cum from Northwestern Grad school. Langauge and linguistics have always been my forte, but math? physics? Wow! Thanks everyone, for all of your sharing here. terri
 
  • #123
BTW, when it comes to working with people who have had strokes, while we have to find a DX for medical billing, we learned years ago, as SLPs, to do functional testing right in the hospital. Easy then, to know what the person can and can't do, compare it to pre-stroke behaviors and Voila! we have a treatment plan. As years have gone on, SLPs chuckle because before MRIs and PETs and CTs, we could say...oh ...yes...S(he) has primarily Wernicke's Aphasia, with all of the classic symptions, except... Then when scans came in, we could tell the doctors exactly what areas of the brain were affected, just from our functional and or formal bedside testing. So...while diagnoses are necessary when people need treatment or special considerations, for me, for us, they are what we have to do to be able to work with our client. Very hard to find the person who fits almost any profile "classicly" and in all areas listed as "required" for a diagnosis.

That being said, Sheldon presents as a person with Asperger. I don't see real motor issues, although I haven't focused on that aspect of the show that much. Isn't it great that none of us fit a real mold that someone tries to create in order to give designations so that people can get the help that want or need??

I have loved my work all these years! This particular area of discussion is only one small part of what I do, but what a journey and what wonderful children, adults and families I have had the good fortune to get to know over a period of time, sometimes years.

Since there were SO many pages when I did the Asperger search at ASHA, I plugged in 2011 and came up with more recent articles and topics.

http://search.asha.org/default.aspx?q=asperger#s=~_d0!2!1!0!1!1!8!2!0!1!_d1!_d5!asperger+2011!75!zqyqtqvpapxrusrwrppqvpppqsq!_d3!_d0!2!6!3!4!_d2!HqbqtCpDpvpGppupvpupEppFpppwpypxpzpBppApqwpspqrq!

Thanks again, everyone!
 
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  • #124
Happy you are enjoying your venture into physics!

DaveCp30 and I had a debate about Sheldon. I don't think he is a good example of someone with Asperger's. Although he is socially inept in a plethora of ways, he converses with appropriate give and take, he makes significant eye contact with no difficulty, and he deliberately communicates subtext by facial expression. The character is additionally perplexing to me because, while he's not supposed to be gay, he has a very noticeable effeminate edge to his manner of speech that has nothing in particular to do with Autism or Asperger's. Dave's contention was that, for comedic purposes, it was necessary to make the character a caricature of Asperger's, which explains the inaccuracies in his mind. To me, Sheldon's a thing unto himself that doesn't bear any diagnostically useful resemblance to anything found in nature.

I find the character of "Bones" in the TV show of the same name to be a much better depiction of Asperger's, (although, she, too, has no apparent trouble with eye contact). While Sheldon says what he has to say and then stops, "Bones" is always prone to launching into lectures that have to diverted back to the point by the other characters. Sheldon is prone to throw out funny remarks that demonstrate he's vastly more tuned into things than he let's on. "Bones" insists she's got everything sized up, while doing or saying things that demonstrate she's missing something. Bones shamelessly toots her own horn, announcing her accomplishments as bald facts, with no sense that might seem in bad taste. Sheldon is more apt to know and acknowledge his limits. "Bones" is single and talks about dating and relationships a lot, but always in incredibly clinical, Darwinian terms.

The earlier you go back in the series, the more Asperger-y she is. She has warmed up and become more human with each progressive season from contact with her co-workers.

Bones lacks social skills and has trouble understanding jokes and sarcasm. Her portrayer in the television series, Emily Deschanel, commented that Bones' Brennan "is a lot younger and different" from the Brennan in Kathy Reichs' books. Deschanel remarked, "Not that there aren't certain similarities, but it's a kind of a mesh." According to Deschanel, she and the show's creator Hart Hanson discussed that her character "almost has Asperger's Syndrome".

 
  • #125
Speaking of TV, and also of the differences between Aspies, there's a whole other world of Aspies that has never been discussed here at PF, for obvious reasons, and that is the faction of them that are attracted, not to math and science, but to theater, radio, performing. Tony Atwood talks about these Aspies on his site, and I ran into a few myself when I was a theater major in college. Memorizing lines and performing in scripted situations where everything is planned and rehearsed is very appealing to a lot of Aspies. It's "safe": no surprises usually, and the same each time.
Adrian Bye: Do you have many people that end up in acting?

Tony Attwood: A lot, yes. It is a coping mechanism; if you are not very good at socializing just watch them as another species in a way. Those with ASD can be very good at detail, observing and absorbing the persona and movements and actions of someone.

There is a gentleman that I know in his 70s with Asperger’s who is a successful theatre actor, and people used to say to him how do you cope on stage? He said it is relaxing because I know what I’m going to say, I know what is going to occur, I can relax in that situation.

http://meetinnovators.com/2011/10/14/tony-attwood-aspergers-syndrome/

One guy I know had memorized hours and hours worth of jokes out of joke books, and it was impossible to stop him once he got started. His life is playing a pirate character in some sort of Renaissance Fair. A lot of Aspies have a marked penchant for mimicry and have a repertoire of impressions they'll do for you. Some concentrate on developing announcer voices, just by imitating radio and TV commercial announcers.

This blog is enlightening, and the comments at the bottom from Aspies who have gotten into some form of acting/performing are also worth a look:

http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot.com/2010/11/aspergers-syndrome-and-acting.html
 
  • #126
Thanks, zoobyshoe! about my foray into physics. I think you made my point about Aspeger, though, with your examples. The codes for DX are so specifically set out, yet, many of those I have met with the DX don't really have traits in all the areas. The characters on TV we are discussing, too, have enough that many of us would consider them as having Asperger. Years ago, Temple Grandin, as HFA, would probably be Asperger now. Anyhow, yes. Sheldon has some qualities that don't fit that show his ability to interact and respond more in a socially appropriate way. Jim Parsons, the actor, is gay. Maybe some of that is just coming through?

HAHAHA...I started out as a Drama major...on scholarship, for acting. Yes...I could be anything on stage. I am much more outgoing now all the way around, but...When Speech/Langauge Pathologists get together and chat, conventions, e.g., surprising, (or not) how many of us, had roots in theater work and drama.
 
  • #127
Bones is beginning to "get it," though, now that she and Booth are together. More sarcasm. More understanding of figurative language. She makes more jokes.

I love it when Sheldon puts on his laugh. It is clearly contrived...I'm sure that is scripted as such. Bones has a more natural laugh in response to appropriate comments or situations...sometimes , at least. I love both shows.
 
  • #128
Sorry, couldn't open the links, bohm2, even with cookies enabled. Not sure why.

When we had to come up with a diagnosis for children who were eligible for Special Education services, we found that rarely did children (and probably adults who need DSM codes) fall neatly under a category. So we had to select the most predominant issue, in order to get services and/ or give treatment. I love it that we can't usually place people in a box of characteristics that fits only when all areas are covered.
 
  • #129
tmgrl2 said:
Thanks, zoobyshoe! about my foray into physics. I think you made my point about Aspeger, though, with your examples. The codes for DX are so specifically set out, yet, many of those I have met with the DX don't really have traits in all the areas.
An "official" diagnosis is not a medical/neurological consideration, as you know, it's an insurance/public welfare consideration. The point is to get the person access to financial help. Fitting them to the codes in a plausible way in the time frame allowed is probably more important than a complete and accurate assessment, which could take a while to sort out.
The characters on TV we are discussing, too, have enough that many of us would consider them as having Asperger. Years ago, Temple Grandin, as HFA, would probably be Asperger now. Anyhow, yes. Sheldon has some qualities that don't fit that show his ability to interact and respond more in a socially appropriate way.
"Bones" obviously has Asperger's, and Sheldon could easily be fit somewhere on the spectrum, but neither would be diagnosed in real life because they're both functional. "Bones" is remarkably successful, and Sheldon copes well enough to get by in his circumstances.
Jim Parsons, the actor, is gay. Maybe some of that is just coming through?
I believe you have just solve the mystery. I had no idea. It would certainly explain that edge.

HAHAHA...I started out as a Drama major...on scholarship, for acting. Yes...I could be anything on stage. I am much more outgoing now all the way around, but...When Speech/Langauge Pathologists get together and chat, conventions, e.g., surprising, (or not) how many of us, had roots in theater work and drama.
That makes perfect sense about Speech/Langauge Pathologists. It hadn't occurred to me before. That makes you, me, and PF Mentor, Math Is Hard who are here by the strange, circuitous route of theater to physics.

tmgrl2 said:
Bones is beginning to "get it," though, now that she and Booth are together. More sarcasm. More understanding of figurative language. She makes more jokes.

I love it when Sheldon puts on his laugh. It is clearly contrived...I'm sure that is scripted as such. Bones has a more natural laugh in response to appropriate comments or situations...sometimes , at least. I love both shows.
Tony Attwood maintains that girls with Asperger's usually do a lot better than boys. Boys tend to shun odd boys, but girls are more likely to adopt and take care of a clueless girl, he says, so girls with Asperger's end up better socialized. Whether or not they intended it, "Bones" follows that principle, which makes the show more realistic for me.
 
  • #130
zoobyshoe...I was trying to make the same point in my round-about way earlier. We need diagnoses to get the ball rolling for insurance and/or service provision. Absolutely. Diagnoses given are not always text-book DSM codes. Many disorders cross-over and fall under several headings. Bottom line is to find main issue needing treatment and get going. I was merely trying to say, once that is done, then, we can move on with the individual as such, an individual.

I agree with you on your other comments...but, yes, we must get the ball rolling with a diagnosis if treatment is required. As to what constitutes "functional," that is a whole new area of discussion. Take stuttering, for example. A student might not qualify for special education services in some schools, because they are doing well academically, passing all tests, in all senses to an outside observer, "functioning." Yet many people who stutter, are not fully participating within the educational environment, hence perhaps educationally, not academically, impaired. These students may fall under the umbrella of Speech/Langauge support services as a designated student in special education, hence entitling them to the full range of services (if needed) that a student with academic impairments would receive. Some of these children won't volunteer in class, sometimes being marked down a bit in grades for non-participation, often having teachers who don't know that they stutter. The good thing in today's educational environment, is that we have teams who come together to discuss the performance across all areas so that students don't fall between the cracks as they did years ago.

So, functional, yes. Many are functioning but not, perhaps, to their potential. While schools need only offer a free and appropriate education (FAPE) not optimal, some functioning students can still benefit from some services to help them in certain areas, often in pragmatics of communication and/or in areas of social interaction.

I also have an advanced degree in Educational Administration and have worked for the New York State Education Department of Education, as one of six regional associates responsible for monitoring special education services to more than 120 school districts. We also assisted private schools and grandfathered in pre-school programs under the special education umbrella of the state + school system.

I loved both of my careers. They worked together. Over the years, I feel privileged to have been able to work with students and adults with such a diversity of needs. This is a great discussion on Asperger!

Sheldon and Bones are functioning in their work settings. Each has some difficulties, however, with personal relationships. Dear Sheldon really hasn't had (until this year, which I haven't seen yet) a relationship with a significant other. Bones is only now hooking up with Booth in a real relationship. Of course, some of the tension comes from the writers having to stretch out the shows over years. So, only now, is Bones in a committed relationship, which is presenting both of them with unique challenges given her ways of "functioning." I love it!
 
  • #131
I'm not sure how common this is but I describe myself as relatively "school-successful" (somewhat) but "real-world/practically-challenged". Despite doing fine in school, I had trouble doing any practically-oriented work. The only job I was okay at for was as an assembly-line worker and cleaner. I actually liked working on the assembly line. I wish I knew back then what I know today: that this was probably the best job suited for me.

I failed in most other jobs. What's so weird is I had success in university so I spent years hiding/searching in school/university, I think. I went through more fields than anybody I've ever come across. I either finished or spent some time in each of these fields:

Physics/math, geology, neuroscience, dentistry, law/mba, medicine, philosophy of science/physics, nutrition, exercise science, radiation science, pharmacy. And I did okay in all of them except for lab work. I could not follow/understand instructions very well. And I hated participating or talking/group work.
 
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  • #132
tmgrl2 said:
zoobyshoe...I was trying to make the same point in my round-about way earlier. We need diagnoses to get the ball rolling for insurance and/or service provision. Absolutely. Diagnoses given are not always text-book DSM codes. Many disorders cross-over and fall under several headings. Bottom line is to find main issue needing treatment and get going. I was merely trying to say, once that is done, then, we can move on with the individual as such, an individual.
I understand.

I agree with you on your other comments...but, yes, we must get the ball rolling with a diagnosis if treatment is required. As to what constitutes "functional," that is a whole new area of discussion. Take stuttering, for example. A student might not qualify for special education services in some schools, because they are doing well academically, passing all tests, in all senses to an outside observer, "functioning." Yet many people who stutter, are not fully participating within the educational environment, hence perhaps educationally, not academically, impaired. These students may fall under the umbrella of Speech/Langauge support services as a designated student in special education, hence entitling them to the full range of services (if needed) that a student with academic impairments would receive. Some of these children won't volunteer in class, sometimes being marked down a bit in grades for non-participation, often having teachers who don't know that they stutter. The good thing in today's educational environment, is that we have teams who come together to discuss the performance across all areas so that students don't fall between the cracks as they did years ago.

So, functional, yes. Many are functioning but not, perhaps, to their potential. While schools need only offer a free and appropriate education (FAPE) not optimal, some functioning students can still benefit from some services to help them in certain areas, often in pragmatics of communication and/or in areas of social interaction.

I also have an advanced degree in Educational Administration and have worked for the New York State Education Department of Education, as one of six regional associates responsible for monitoring special education services to more than 120 school districts. We also assisted private schools and grandfathered in pre-school programs under the special education umbrella of the state + school system.

I loved both of my careers. They worked together. Over the years, I feel privileged to have been able to work with students and adults with such a diversity of needs. This is a great discussion on Asperger!

Sheldon and Bones are functioning in their work settings. Each has some difficulties, however, with personal relationships. Dear Sheldon really hasn't had (until this year, which I haven't seen yet) a relationship with a significant other. Bones is only now hooking up with Booth in a real relationship. Of course, some of the tension comes from the writers having to stretch out the shows over years. So, only now, is Bones in a committed relationship, which is presenting both of them with unique challenges given her ways of "functioning." I love it!
The nature of "disability" comes up over and over in threads here. A lot of people resist the label aspect of any diagnosis, and it's often suggested that it boils down to one element of society socially stigmatizing another element just because they are different. Conversely, it's sometimes suggested that some diagnoses are fads ("Everyone's dyslexic nowadays", or "Every kid has ADD nowadays") or exaggerations ("You feel disappointed because you lost your job and suddenly you're psychiatrically 'depressed'"). In response to all that I find it necessary to point out that the make or break factor in someone getting diagnosed is almost always whether or not they are dysfunctional. That suddenly puts it into perspective for most. Functional vs dysfunctional is dichotomy that rebuts the objections of people with a superficial notion of what's going on.

What you're talking about is, of course, incredibly important. What's the point of being classed "functional" when you actually have an extremely poor quality of life? Calling someone "functional" because they can hold down a job, when, at the same time they are socially alienated by lack of communication skills, does them a disservice. When someone could be doing much better with access to the right training, then the standard of functional or not has to be chucked in favor of a more realistic and humane look at how much closer they could be brought to their potential. So, it's fantastic there are people such as you and your colleagues out there thinking in those terms and doing that work.
 
  • #133
bohm2 said:
I'm not sure how common this is but I describe myself as relatively "school-successful" (somewhat) but "real-world/practically-challenged". Despite doing fine in school, I had trouble doing any practically-oriented work. The only job I was okay at for was as an assembly-line worker and cleaner. I actually liked working on the assembly line. I wish I knew back then what I know today: that this was probably the best job suited for me.

I failed in most other jobs. What's so weird is I had success in university so I spent years hiding/searching in school/university, I think. I went through more fields than anybody I've ever come across. I either finished or spent some time in each of these fields:

Physics/math, geology, neuroscience, dentistry, law/mba, medicine, philosophy of science/physics, nutrition, exercise science, radiation science, pharmacy. And I did okay in all of them except for lab work. I could not follow/understand instructions very well. And I hated participating or talking/group work.
I think this is common. Academic excellence has to be understood as a solitary endeavor, and Aspies usually have no problem with that. Add a lot of other people into the mix and there's often too much social confusion to sort out.

That might seem to contradict the case of those who go into theater, but the rehearsal of a play, from start to finish, is about following the script, and getting everyone doing the same thing on time at each run through. Everyone's working toward the elimination of surprises and unknowns, so to speak. It's a very different atmosphere than the normal workplace, with different goals.
 
  • #134
Interesting thread. I haven't read it all, but I wanted to ask a question:

How important do you think it is that if someone has Asperger, that he is diagnosed as such?
 
  • #135
I found this an interesting classification system of different social communicator types primarily because 1 of the types (Emerging Social Communicator-ESC) mentioned kind of described me. But I'm not sure about the validity of these categories in ASD?

Individuals within this profile often do best academically in the early years of school when their attention to detail makes them strong rote learners. However, they can excel as they age in the areas related to their interests. Some higher level or solid ESCs can become wonderful students as they are devoted to following routines, which include studying. If born to a temperament or encouraged to develop a pattern of engaging in hard work and tenacity, the individual may become quite successful at meeting academic course requirements, even if unable to fully understand the work. There are many high level adult ESCs who live most of their life achieving different university degrees. They may be good at studying information but not as able to apply it outside the classroom and, when unable to find employment, they return to the university to seek another degree. This subgroup of ESCs can excel at learning in a structured environment.

Social Communication Learning Styles as a Guide to Treatment and Prognosis: The Social Thinking-Social Communication Profile
http://www.socialthinking.com/images/stories/pdf_files/st_scp_1.26.10.pdf

What is kind of disheartening (if accurate) is the hi-lited part. I'm not sure I buy that. I thought this was an interesting scheme from DSM-V site for hi-liting severity and for those who feel like they can relate to ASD but not sure if they meet all the criteria of ASD:
Symptom severity for ASD could be defined along a continuum that includes normal traits, subclinical symptoms and three different severity levels for the disorder...
Report of the DSM-V Neurodevelopmental Disorders Work Group
http://www.psych.org/MainMenu/Research/DSMIV/DSMV/DSMRevisionActivities/DSM-V-Work-Group-Reports/Neurodevelopmental-Disorders-Work-Group-Report.aspx
 
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  • #136
I've always loved the Curious Case of the Dog! There is another which is not a novel but very much real life. Written by a 13 year old: Geeks, freaks and Asperger's syndrome. This is a beauty and if most people on PF don't recognise some aspects of their own existence, I'll eat my hat!:redface:
 
  • #137
Asperger's is about the most hyped thing on the planet. I can't think of much good neuropsychological research that ties autistic traits to creative ability. In fact, it usually imputes the opposite.

And ps that goes for math and science, too. The list of mathematicians with a reasonable Asperger's diagnosis (i.e. not retroactive diagnosis based solely on "this person was weird") is rather short but the list of mathematicians who had some kind of affective and/or psychotic disturbance is rather long. Georg Cantor, Norbert Wiener, Kurt Gödel, Bertrand Russell in fact (in his youth, he lived in fear of going insane, having seen some relatives do so and had a mystical experience that suddenly converted him to pacifism), John Nash of course, and so it goes...

IMO putative Asperger's traits seen in people in STEM fields are better interpreted as signs of negative schizotypy
 
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  • #138
M65 said:
Asperger's is about the most hyped thing on the planet. I can't think of much good neuropsychological research that ties autistic traits to creative ability. In fact, it usually imputes the opposite...
You might be right about the hype of AS but there was an interesting recent study looking at relationship between academic interests and neuropsychiatric/mental disorders:
From personality to neuropsychiatric disorders, individual differences in brain function are known to have a strong heritable component. Here we report that between close relatives, a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders covary strongly with intellectual interests. We surveyed an entire class of high-functioning young adults at an elite university for prospective major, familial incidence of neuropsychiatric disorders, and demographic and attitudinal questions. Students aspiring to technical major(science/mathematics/engineering) were more likely than other students to report a sibling with an autism spectrum disorder (p = 0.037). Conversely, students interested in the humanities were more likely to report a family member with major depressive disorder (p = 8.861024), bipolar disorder (p = 0.027), or substance abuse problems (p = 1.961026). A combined PREdisposition for Subject MattEr (PRESUME) score based on these disorders was strongly predictive of subject matter interests (p = 9.66102). Our results suggest that shared genetic (and perhaps environmental) factors may both predispose for heritable neuropsychiatric disorders and influence the development of intellectual interests.
Familial Linkage between Neuropsychiatric Disorders and Intellectual Interests
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3266915/pdf/pone.0030405.pdf

Blog version discussing this study:

Science majors are from Mars
http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2012/02/science-majors-are-from-mars.html
 
  • #139
This disease is becoming a scape-goat for too many people who view themselves as socially awkward.

Just because you don't have friends (probably because of an unattractive personality) doesn't mean that a disease makes you that way. In the very first post of this thread, Mathwonk was exactly right. People are afraid to post here because they think they might have it. Social skills are just that. A skill. In order to improve a skill, you need to practice it.

Most people who are successful in academia (who somebody pointed out earlier, is a lonely process to achieve) aren't spending time hanging out with friends, partying, or even talking with others. They're sitting at home reading books. Tell me how you expect to improve how you act with others by not talking with people. This obviously relates to mathematicians and physicists, because they're more than likely spending their free time studying and working as opposed to being social and talking with others.

My dad, when he was my age, told me (when he noticed I was doing the same thing) that he basically spent all of his time alone in his room. If you met him, you would have absolutely no idea that he was an introvert as a kid, was quiet, shy, and didn't like talking to others. Hell, since he owns his own business and also helps other people sell their businesses as somewhat of a second job, he makes money by making people want to do business with him by getting them to like him. Basically, just because you're antisocial now, and feel like you're an awkward person, doesn't mean that you can't become socially capable through actually talking with people.

I have no doubt that some of the people in this forum have Asperger's Syndrome. What I'm hoping that people can realize is that self-diagnosis of this disease will get you nowhere. It's so much easier for somebody to say, "oh yeah, if you think that I'm weird, it's because I have Asperger's Syndrome. I can't help it that I'm weird and different, because I read this disease on the internet, and I'm socially awkward, so I probably have it", as opposed to coming to the realization that they need to actually work to try and make friends and become more socially capable.

I don't walk around and say that I have a tumor in my brain because I read on the internet that I have one of the symptoms of it. And if I did legitimately believe that I had a tumor in my brain, I would go to a doctor (somebody who is actually qualified) and see whether or not I do have one.

It's the same way with Asperger's. If you think you have it, go to your doctor. Don't just tell yourself that you probably have it (which is the vibe that I am getting from the posts in this thread) because it's a solution to your social awkwardness, and because it puts all of the blame away from yourself, and onto this disease that is becoming more and more popular to have.
 
  • #140
bohm2

Thanks for the links.

However, argh, p-values. Those don't tell us a lot. So 3% family incidence of autism for technical majors versus 1% for non-technical, effect size between the two samples assuming Bernoulli distribution for one go, as measured by Cohen's d, when I give the author the benefit of the doubt by using the smaller standard deviation, is 0.2. I.e. between "small" and "medium". That's not terribly impressive.

Not to mention the Baron-Cohenesque EP fluff. I like his cousin more.

AnTiFreeze3 said:
It's the same way with Asperger's. If you think you have it, go to your doctor. Don't just tell yourself that you probably have it (which is the vibe that I am getting from the posts in this thread) because it's a solution to your social awkwardness, and because it puts all of the blame away from yourself, and onto this disease that is becoming more and more popular to have.

Myself I don't have Asperger's. In fact I got that diagnosis "appealed" successfully because I thought it was nonsense based on glib generalities and at the time I sought a second opinion I was beginning to have serious psychological problems of an altogether different nature.

That being said, blaming others for your social awkwardness can be entirely acceptable.

The way I see things, since the Earth is overpopulated and being, in a manner of speaking, sent into ruin by human activity, I don't see any problem with being as discriminating among people as I like. Society's own collective actions have cheapened the value of human life and in doing so necessarily expanded the category of people who are riff-raff ... there simply aren't enough resources to support an industrial lifestyle for everyone, so you may as well be discerning about who is and isn't worthy.

And it certainly isn't my fault that other people are greedy, vapid, myopic, etc.

As Jiddu Krishnamurti (who, in all fairness, undoubtedly had something else in mind when he said it than what I have) put it: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
 
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