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PDD, Asperger, and Geek Syndrome? 97

brainWaves asks "Recently I found out I have some Pervasive Developmental Disorders, especially Asperger disorder or a 'PDD-Not Otherwise Specified' (PDD-NOS). Doing some research on the web pointed me to some Wired pages, like the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ (where I scored 35, average being about 16). At the end of the test, there is a link to a 6 pages article entitled The Geek Syndrome which basically discusses the Asperger Syndrome, relating it to geeks. The article is somewhat old, but in a recent news, autism in California has increased 100%. Do 'geeks' have a higher tendency toward conditions like PDD/Asperger? I saw a lot of me in the Wired article, and was wondering if others on Slashdot have the same problem in their life, or if they have been diagnosed with a PDD?" Note that Asperger Syndrome is not the same as ADHD but methods useful for coping with one may be useful in coping with the other. Also, please don't take an internet test seriously when attempting to diagnose any kind of mental instability. Instead, if you are worried about such results, share them with your family doctor.
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PDD, Asperger, and Geek Syndrome?

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  • by revmoo ( 652952 ) <slashdot@m[ ].ws ['eep' in gap]> on Friday June 20, 2003 @04:38PM (#6257459) Homepage Journal

    My roomates and I took that test in Wired a while back(I have a subscription). They scored between 20-25, I scored a 32.

    I think the test can help show autistic people(or those with asperger's syndrome), but I think it shows too many false positives. I'm a relatively social person, I live a pretty normal life, I'm just known as 'the geek' in my circle of friends.

    • by __aatgod8309 ( 598427 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @10:03PM (#6259458)
      There's an alternate use for the test, that came to light in discussion with others on the autistic spectrum (I have Aspergers myself).

      Basically go through the test, and count how many questions you can't answer because they're so ambiguously worded, offer personally inappropriate questions, or lack suitable choices. The higher the total, the more literal, pendatic, or just plain difficult you are. (Hmmm, maybe even autistic!)

      For example, Question 2 - I prefer to do things the same way over and over again. What kind of things? There are things i enjoy that i do the same way each time... Others i do differently each time. (Both ways intentionally)

      Or Question 9 - I am fascinated by dates. Dates? The dried fruit? Pre-mating social rituals? Or those things on the calendar?

      Question 13 - I would rather go to a library than to a party. Um, what if i don't like libraries or parties? (And what kind of library? What time of day - ie, how busy/crowded/noisy is it? What kind of party? Tupperware party? Aromatherapy party? Dinner party?)

      Question 16 - I tend to have very strong interests, which I get upset about if I can't pursue. If someone loves, say, Baseball. Or Gridiron and the Superbowl. Or some traditionally non-geeky or social activity... Is that as valid as, say, a fascination with (and encyclopedic knowledge of) doorknobs? (as an example...)

      Ok, my post is slightly tongue-in-cheek, but my point is that often autistics use very precise language, and any test that indicates it's designed to detect autistic inclinations (for lack of a better word) should be very precisely (and specifically) worded. And without the cultural bias or preconceptions in this test. (Question 24, for example. I don't like the museum *or* the theatre, but there's not 'None of the above' entry, so that any answer i make will be wrong, and skew my results)

      Why am i making such a fuss about this? Why, because i'm autistic myself, and dislike such crass inaccuracies...
      • I scored a 10. A freakin' TEN! I know I'm a geek. I'm sure of it! But a ten is not something geeks should be getting. I was hoping for a little bit of Aspegers just so I could explain and excuse some of my behavior, but it can't!
      • I was thinking the exact same thing. I was reading the questions thinking the more autistic you are the the harder it would be to answer some of those things.

        I got a 35 and consider myself on the normal side of geek, not really even a very good geek.

        I think it is a crappy test. It seems to weight the slightly agree desagree as much as the strongly. But O well.
      • I scored 24.

        1 I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
        Strongly disagree. I can get along royally with damn near anyone, until I have to start working closely with someone on a mentally intensive project.

        11 I find social situations easy.
        What social situations? Some, yes. Others, no. Being kind of shy, I'm uncomfortable with strangers, but I can be the life of the party with a small group of friends.

        17 I enjoy social chitchat.
        Strongly agree.

        22 I find it hard to make new friends
  • WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

    by legLess ( 127550 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @04:50PM (#6257575) Journal
    Note that Asperger Syndrome is not the same as ADHD but methods useful for coping with one may be useful in coping with the other. Also, please don't take an internet test seriously when attempting to diagnose any kind of mental instability. Instead, if you are worried about such results, share them with your family doctor.
    Am I hallucinating, or is this a /. editor practicing something resembling responsbile journalism? Jesus, Cliff, get with the program!
    • Cliff can't last long. He does his job as well as he can, with at least a modicum of professionalism. I don't think he's ever hijacked a website, nor told a user of /. to 'get a life'. He also has some non-editors on his friends list, and has been known to participate in various journals. I'm sure he's the pariah of the /. ruling junta.
      • Whether you want to believe it or not a good proportion of Slashdot users really DO need to "get a life". This IS just a website after all but the way some folks get so worked up over it you would think they were in some sort of company meeting that was deciding arbitrarily the fate of their employment.

        Then again if most Slashdot users are geeks and most geeks have some form of autism it would really explain their inability to just "let go" of an issue and not argue it into the ground.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just took the test and scored 40 - yes I know that this is only a simple test etc etc however it does not surprise me as every test of that nature I take gives similar results.

    I believe that I have "Asperger's" which is a conclusion I came to this year after it was reported on in the press prompting me to carry out my own research - yes I am very aware of the self diagnosis thing, however it was one of those things that just explained everything. My directness (rudeness), my obsession with computers whi
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:25PM (#6257876)
      In reading your post, I happened to notice that the 32-byte CRC of your comments is divisible by 31.

      I am curious what you thought about that?

      • I loved you comment, whoever you are.
      • In reading your post, I happened to notice that the 32-byte CRC of your comments is divisible by 31.

        That's a joke - right? ;)
        • Aspergers/autismus people have trouble with humor. I heard of one college math luminary - who was a bit on the far side of the autism spectra - being told a silly joke: "Cats always land on all four, and the toast always lands buttered side down. The way to build perpetum mobile is to tape a buttered toast onto the cat's back and throw it out from a window."

          The poor autism guy did not get it and was working for hours trying to figure it out.
    • Yep, you've got Asperger's all right.

      As a fellow Aspie, I can tell these things.

      It's kinda like gaydar, but with autism.
  • I scored a 36, but I'm nothing like autistic. (Geeky, yes, but not
    in that way.) Raw scores based on simple questions are inherently
    simplistic; the complexities of human character and personality
    don't break down that simply. A given answer to one of those
    questions can mean different things, depending on why you selected
    it. If you really want to know if you have Asperger's, consult a
    psychologist or two.

    • Come on bro, a 36 and you can't see the writing on the wall? 80% of those diagnosed with (pick one) scored 32 or higher.

      First of all you managed to almost perfectly full justify (right and left sides) your freehand post.
      You used perfect spelling, grammar and punctuation.

      Not that I should talk. Scored a frigging 40. Definitely scored a 40. I would stick around to discuss it more but there are only 4 minutes until Wapner.

      I always suspected I was a little 'touched' ... this is just supporting material.
      • > Come on bro, a 36 and you can't see the writing on the wall?
        > 80% of those diagnosed with (pick one) scored 32 or higher.

        The converse is not necessarily true, however.

        I'm geeky, in the sense of being different from a lot of other
        people, but I'm geeky in very _different ways_ from someone with
        Asperger's. I do have one major trait in common with them,
        though: focus. I'm very focused, way more than average, pretty
        much the diametric opposite of ADD. This manifests itself in
        a lot of ways and played
  • Yeah, right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pmz ( 462998 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @04:57PM (#6257635) Homepage
    Instead, if you are worried about such results, share them with your family doctor.

    Family doctors are generalists and are not qualified to answer specific psychiatric questions or, really, specific questions of most any kind.

    I'd trust a doctor to provide misdiagnoses at least as frequently as correct ones. Doctors also have financial conflicts of interest that lessen their ability to provide honest opinions. Sometimes, especially at nursing homes, doctors will kill off less profitable patients, just because.

    Now, I certainly do go for an annual physical, to the dentist, etc., but this article and the one about ADD, recently, just reinforce--irreponsibly--the notion that there are diseases where there usually aren't ones, that people should see doctors unnecessarily, and that people should consider prescription drugs needlessly.

    People genuinely affected by this PDD and ADD stuff, in truth, are very few and far between. Most of you, believe it or not, are normal, plus or minus a little.
    • Sounds like you need to find a better family doctor. Christ, what kind of quacks are you dealing with? No, they aren't psychiatric specialists. But they are probably more in tune with the local docs, and can suggest a good one for you to work with. Also, in the case of some other things that might be misdiagnosed as psychiatric in nature, the generalist can rule out and/or treat other diseases that will adversely affect treatment by a shrink.

      I agree with your assessment that those who truly have ADD and/or
      • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mr. Piddle ( 567882 )
        Sounds like you need to find a better family doctor. Christ, what kind of quacks are you dealing with?

        I don't think the grandparent post was referring to personal experience so much as the frequency of people diagnosed with depression, ADD, etc., when there are truly better reasons for the patient's search for some diagnosis--any diagnosis--that might dissolve their own insecurity about why they don't fully live up to whatever imagined idealism they have.

        It takes practically no effort to get an anti-depr
        • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:3, Informative)

          by gmhowell ( 26755 )
          Sounds interesting. Also sounds like you're speaking from ignorance (the correct definition, meaning you just don't know or have incomplete knowledge. No offense intended). The bulk of excessive medications lies not with physicians, but rather, with adamant patients. First is the problem that most people can't accept that if they sit on their ass, eat improperly, don't excercise, etc, they aren't going to be 100% every minute of every day. They want every little inconvenience taken care of with a 'magic pil
          • You've got part of the problem figured out ('gimme') But that is only one sign of top to bottom problems with health care and health care delivery in the US.

            Fair enough. Perhaps the main pervasive problem is one of financial conflicts of interest, where there is lots of money to be made in treating patients as much as possible and avoiding curing them when the disease isn't terminal. This would be the path to maximum revenue potential, but not necessarily the path to greatest general health for the pati
          • > Also sounds like you're speaking from ignorance (the correct definition, meaning you just don't know or have incomplete knowledge. No offense intended). The bulk of excessive medications lies not with physicians, but rather, with adamant patients.

            Ironic; apart from semiregular checkups, I've tended to avoid doctors for part of this reason - unless there's something wrong with me, I'm likely to misdiagnose and ask for something I don't need, and I'm worried that the doc will acquiesce.

            I miss my o

            • Modern medicine has yet to define what pain (or the general cause of) is.

              The FDA is bankrolled by pharmaceutical companies.

              Think about that before you pass judgment on other solutions. They neither know what in fact they are treating, nor do they care.
  • Two things (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:04PM (#6257690) Journal
    1) These conditions (autism, Asperger's, ADD) are extremely slippery in non-extreme cases. They're poorly understood and the sweeping statements about their pathology and prevalence are far less clear-cut than they're made out to be. Like in the Wired article you linked, the idea that they increase in autism is due to increased diagnosis is always dismissed, but there's never an explanation of why it's not possible.

    2) Not to dismiss anyone's problems, but to offer perspective -- paying attention is HARD. Getting along with other people is HARD. Understanding people is HARD. Having relationships is HARD. They're hard for all of us and require a lot of work. Calling yourself a "geek" doesn't let you off the hook.

    (Oh, and I got a 20 on the test. If being able to remember phone numbers and birthdays is a disease, I'm the picture of health.)

    • Well, in the case of Asperger's, it's only been defined in the US literature since DSM-IV, which, IIRC, came out in 1989. So with Asperger's, it's a case of only in the last decade or so have any psychiatrists and so forth known about it to make a diagnosis.

      It's kind of like saying that the number of systems running Mandrake 9.0 has increased dramatically over the past 12 months...

    • A few thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

      by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Saturday June 21, 2003 @01:09PM (#6262132) Homepage Journal
      First, I'm diagnosed Aspergers, so I've done some studying on the subject.

      First, don't take a diagnosis as being necessarily correct. Self-diagnosis is rarely accurate and autistic-related conditions are so poorly-understood that most psychs are not equipt to diagnose it properly, either.

      In other words, validate any diagnosis, before trusting to it. Go to your local bookshop and check the DSM-IV - the manual psychs use for diagnosis - and verify that you meet the criteria. DON'T DO THIS FIRST! It's almost impossible for a person to not find themselves in the manual, somewhere. Remember that the DSM uses technical terms, so if you're even vaguely unsure how a term is intended to be used, check with your psych.

      Second, even if you do meet all the criteria, there is an enormous overlap between different conditions, and there is also a risk of certain personality types creating the illusion of meeting a specific diagnosis. There is no easy way to tell these possibilities apart. Psychs generally do this by experimenting on you - trying different treatments, noting the reaction, and then re-moulding the diagnosis to fit the treatment that works.

      IMHO, this is a hack-and-slash method, and not one I trust much. So far, though, no cause for Aspergers is known and no neurological tests exist. Given that a possible side-effect for a number of the treatments is "death", I really do strongly recommend making sure your psych knows exactly what they're doing, and that you don't isolate the first time you try these remedies.

      Third, here is a short list of typical traits exhibited by Asperger people. I've tried to avoid the over-generalizing I've seen elsewhere, but this is NOT to be taken as a diagnostic tool, but rather as a quick reality-check if you and your psych disagree on a diagnosis.

      • Recognition of facial expressions and body-language is difficult to impossible. This one seems to be fairly universal, and most "therapies" that exist for Asperger people concentrate on this.
      • A classic symptom of the entire "autistic spectrum" (and one of the reasons it's considered a spectrum) is a phenominal level of sensory data and especially visual data. (I don't know why visual in particular, but it's the one that gets repeatedly documented in case studies.) Autistic people don't like crowds, not because they don't like people (they often do), but because they become super-saturated with data and reflexivly retreat to a more tolerable level. For a better description of this specific symptom, I recommend the book "Somebody, Somewhere". It's the second in a series, but ignore the ones before and after.
      • Asperger people think "visually". They picture things in their mind, and respond to those pictures. (Again, note the emphasis on visual data, even if this is in the mind.) If they cannot picture things, or if the picture is self-conflicting, an Aspergers person will typically not respond well.
      • Asperger people will tend to resemble bipolar people, with two exceptions. First, the mood swings won't fit any of the bipolar patterns. Bipolar people will have (roughly) oscillating moods. The median can be anywhere, so don't assume that a person isn't bipolar if they never show mania, or never show depression. The key is that oscillation. Asperger people will (often) also have larger mood-swings than normal, but these won't (necessarily) be periodic. They can be completely random, and that's one clue as to whether it's an autistic or bipolar phenomina.
      • Asperger people are often pattern-oriented. Anything that disrupts routine will produce a feeling of panic. (The routine can be "change", but that change will typically be at a constant rate, or have some constant component. The problem is not change, per se, but the "failure" of -some- constant, at -some- level.) On the other hand, anything that involves patterned thinking (eg: programming in a re-usable style, cooking/baking/brewing, architecture, etc) are all
    • If being able to remember phone numbers and birthdays is a disease, I'm the picture of health.

      Interesting that I don't know how to characterize my memory. I forget some of the most obvious things all the time and I generally don't remember phone numbers or birthdates... unless I try to.

      I think I have some mild form of porn^H^H^H^Hphotographic memory; if I visualize a phone number for a moment (and sometimes also attach a mnemonic association to a pattern in the numbers) I can recall it months or years
    • I couldn't agree more and would like to add that most people considered 'normal' have a very hard time interacting with geeks and will frequently avoid them.

      People just seem afraid of what's different.

      I know a few Physics and Maths professors with whom it is very difficult to keep a conversation (usually because they take a looong time to develop their ideas). I make an effort to listen
      because I know I can expect interesting ideas from them.

      If children were simply taught to make the best
      out of interactin
  • It is worth remembering that there is a significant body of opinion that if you have successfully made it to adulthood, hold down a job and are married (or at least capable of long-term relationships) then you can't really be said to have AS but Residual Asperger's Syndrome as an Adult.

    If you are married and self-diagnose or suspect; get a diagnosis and if necessary, get counselling - it could save your marriage.

    • There is no such thing as Asperger's Syndrome "residue". Asperger's Syndrome does not go away. Asperger's Syndrome is a part of the way your brain is constructed. Asperger's Syndrome is who you are.

      An Aspie and Asperger's Syndrome are inseperable. There is no such thing as a cure for autism, and what the parents who want to "cure" it really want are to have children who are normal. The parents really just wish they had different kids. Bastards.
      • I think the residual part refers to the compensation that happens on its own over decades of adulthood. You don't apparently exhibit some particular AS trait (like the inability to make small talk) any more, but the trait was there before you learned your way through it.

        By way of analogy, my right eye pretty much doesn't work, so I have essentially no natural depth perception. But I can still drive a car, catch a ball, hit a badminton bird, etc., because my brain taught itself depth perception by mechani
  • by Hallow ( 2706 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:38PM (#6257965) Homepage
    I scored a 40, which would be consistent with my Myers-Briggs personality type - INTP [](introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving). It would seem this "tool", if you could even call it that, is biased against particular personality types. I certainly wouldn't consider my personality type to be a disorder. ;) You might actually find more relevance in taking the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Inventory).
    • I'm an INTP too. It's like 2% of the population yet I bet 25% of sites like slashdot and k5 are INTPs. So, out of curiosity, do you start new challenging "hobbies" all the time and get into them just far enough to realize that you could do it if you wanted to and... oh, here's another interesting subject... I'll become that master of that instead...
      • I'm not the original person you were replying to but I'm INTP as well. and yes I do.

        Though lately I'm trying hard to alter that behavior slightly, mainly by picking a few things as longer term activities.

        It's a rough urge to fight though.

      • What do you mean just enough to know I could finish it if I wanted to? I will finish that project I started 3 years ago, someday, unless I die first. First though I have this new project that is more important...

        Seriously, yes. It is a big problem, I know several open source programs I have the smarts to contribute to, and they have the need. I just don't have the motivation to get far enough along with any of them to do make a contribution. I once got so far as to not crash when I compiled my stuf

      • by Boglin ( 517490 )
        Yet another INTP here. I, of course, am the same way, except I never expect mastery of what I start. I've always wanted to be a Jack of all Trades, so I'd be a master of none. Besides, mastery seems boring; if I'm truly the master, then everything left is trivial. No fun in that
        • Also, INTP here *grin*... does that make 5 on all slashdot???
          Also Jack of all Trades....
          "Striving for Mastering" is not same as Mastery." Its not being satisified with the "first glance" simple, dumbed down, rounded down take on something.. Just about anyone else learns by over-simplifying ( which seems faster ) then learning all the special cases and conditions, and gotchas, by messing it up...aka "school of hard-knocks" If your like me to don't dumb it down... you struggle w/it until you "grok" it.
          • INT here, and I think you will find that the proof positive is distinct from the P/J distinction.

            For example, before I got married, my father warned my wife about me... about that very thing, he said "He is always right" not in a judgemental, or you can't talk to him sense but exactly as you put it. INT's won't take a stand until it is carved in granite, and sometimes you know I'll have bad info, and go off on a tangent, but until I get contrary evidence... like a wall.
      • Over the years I've done that, yes. But as I've gotten older I've been following things through more an more.

        I've been doing home winemaking for almost a year now. I've done freshwater aquria for about 5 years.
  • Causality (Score:3, Insightful)

    by genomancer ( 588755 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:39PM (#6257975)
    Do 'geeks' have a higher tendency toward conditions like PDD/Asperger?

    FWIW, that's totally backwards. The question is if people with slightly different ways of thinking tend towards becoming geeks because of aptitude, etc. (Looking at it the other way might be an interesting sociological experiment w/r to diganosis, but it's certainly not the main question).

    Sorry if that's nitpicking, but people getting hypothesis backwards like this is way too common in pop-science.


  • My experience... (Score:4, Informative)

    by singularity ( 2031 ) * <> on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:43PM (#6258005) Homepage Journal
    I work with a few students diagnosed as suffering from Asperger's Syndrome.

    If you suffered from it, more than likely you would know it by now. The symptoms are not as obvious as autism, but they are not far off. The students I have dealt with were all diagnosed in early to mid childhood.

    I have seen Asperger's described as a "workable form of autism." I would agree that is pretty close to the mark. Note that the people that suffer from this have to work to do a lot of tasks you and I probably see as normal.

    Note also that most DSM diagnoses require the patient to have lifestyle problems as a result of certain mental problems. "Depression" is not DSM diagnosable until you start getting into problems where you do not do previously pleasurable activites and so on. If you feel sad but do not let it get in the way, it is not diagnosible. What that means is that a condition that does not manifest itself as hinderance from a "normal lifestyle" is not valid reasoning for a diagnosis.

    This is a long way of saying that if you are living a relaticely healthy life right now, you are not going to be diagnosed as sufferring from "Asperger's Syndrome". I find that people that seek things out like that most of the time do it to brag about, or use an excuse for other problems (laziness, not wanting to socialize, etc.) If you were having actual socialization problems on the level of Asperger's, you would have seeked out professional help a long time ago.
    • Re:My experience... (Score:4, Informative)

      by grunthos ( 574421 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @07:06PM (#6258541) Homepage
      If you suffered from it, more than likely you would know it by now. ... The students I have dealt with were all diagnosed in early to mid childhood.

      Not necessarily. My daughter is 17 and only got diagnosed 2 years ago. We always knew she was different, but didn't really know why. It didn't become a problem until high school age as the pressure (academic and social) increased. We struggled through quite a bit getting the proper diagnosis and care for her. There can be many intermingled things that muddy the diagnosis.

      Asperger's has a set of components including sensory integration dysfunction, language processing issues, rigid thinking patterns and social issues, the extent of which vary in each person. It also can come along with other disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD/ADHD, and clinical depression. Sorting through these and figuring out which thing is contributing to which symptom can take a long time to sort out.

      And it can all be dependent on adequate availability of child and youth mental health resources in your area. In many parts of the country, there is a shortage of teen-specific mental health help, which really can have much different needs than either younger children or adults. Heck, it's tough enough being a teenager without Aspergers or OCD or ADHD.

      Once you have a good diagnosis, you can then know what kind of coping skills will help. The coping skills for ADHD and OCD and sensory integration disfunction are not all the same.

      Interestingly, once a family member has been accurately diagnosed with Asperger's, you start to recognize small pieces of the constituent parts in other family members.
      • I want to get a T-shirt that says, "Asperger's is hereditary -- you get it from your kids."

        I know many adults who got AS diagnoses when they had themselves evaluated after their kids were diagnosed.
    • While some of what you say is accurate, the age of diagnosis is not necessarily. There are plenty of people who genuinely have Asperger's or autism who went undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in childhood and/or adolescence because of ignorance.

      There are also people who would never seek professional diagnosis because, while they have difficulty with a lot of things, they don't see that difficulty. Often people around them are the ones who diagnose them.

      As for me, despite a fairly typical "HFA" (not AS, techn

    • If you suffered from it, more than likely you would know it by now.

      Wrong. Very, very wrong. I was thrown through many incorrect diagnoses before I was dxed Asperger's. People with Asperger's are obviously different, but many and many of them are never diagnosed. Many adults with Asperger's do not know they have it.

      This is a long way of saying that if you are living a relaticely healthy life right now, you are not going to be diagnosed as sufferring from "Asperger's Syndrome".

      Untrue. Many adults living

  • by Mensa Babe ( 675349 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:44PM (#6258015) Homepage Journal
    I personally find A Portrait of J. Random Hacker [] by Eric Raymond, especially the part entitled Weaknesses of the Hacker Personality [], very interesting. A Portrait of the Hacker as a Young Man [], from Free as in Freedom [] by Sam Williams is also certainly worth suggesting. Most of people don't know that, but Richard Stallman [], the author of GNU [], considers himself afflicted, to some degree, by autism, which makes it difficult for him to interact with people. I can honestly say I understand him.
    • I guess he and I don't disagree about everything. ;-)

      (Don't take this post too seriously, those of you who consider Stallman your messiah. I'm definitely not a fan of his and can personally attest to his difficulty interacting with people, but I do consider some of his opinions to be insightful.)

    • And I agree with the psuedo-diagnosis on RMS. But then again I got that vibe from Linus's autobiography too :) .
      I consider those with these traits or syndromes who are doing well in their spheres as both fortunate and gifted.
      I have close family who are *much* more afflicted, but I'm not really on the spectrum myself (except as a geek and introvert).
  • ...and I scored 40. I've never been diagnosed with asperger's, but I've been suspecting to have it, ever sice I read about it on - it was just like reading about myself. After all the thing that matter is not what the doctor says you have, it's what you have to live with.

    In the last few years I managed to learn how to read people's emotions, but I still have troubles with some of them, though - anger, for example. Not being able to "read" people, having strong interests, etc. are some of th
    • I have allway had severe trouble with angering my bosses, colleagues and advisors. I could not see why was all this happening, why my single-minded determination to do something would make them ballistic. I did not want to upset them, just get them out of my way.

      You can learn by experience. I would say the best approach in dealing with people is to be completely sicere and natural. If they don't like you, it is at least easier on you since you do not have to pretend. Small talk and polite flattery - screw
    • You're the 3rd or 4th person whose posts I've seen indicating a score of 36 or more. You achieve that score, you've got to be fairly "anti-social" according to that quiz. For the record, I answered fairly anti-socially per the quizz too.

      So why are we being so social here at /.? Is this just a topic of specific interest or is it more because this is a discussion environment over which we control the information flow (ie not much 2 way, real-time interaction)?

      • First, I'm a 16 year old Aspie.

        I'm not that social in real life, but I've found myself to be VERY social on the Internet. The same thing goes for the telephone.

        I've always found it hard to talk to my peers in the real world, but I've found a great abstraction method that takes away the face-to-face elements of conversation that greatly reduces my nervousness and shyness: the telephone. When I talk on the phone with someone my age (especially a girl), it's always MUCH easier to converse, and thus I have mu
      • The internet strips away all the tiny clues usually present in a conversation. I believe this is the reason why many "normal" people get extremely confused when trying to chat on IRC.
        Also, emoticons help a lot - it's pretty hard to misunderstand them. :)
    • As the author of one of the writeups in the Asperger's syndrome node at E2 (look at my email and guess which one), I scored a 42.

      Going through school was hell, and forced me to learn about how normal people actually work. Like you have, I know when someone's lying through their teeth. Not being able to naturally (dontcha love split infinitives?) "read" people, I learned that skill the hard way, through much trial and error, against my own will.

      I've had strong interests. My special interests right now are
      • Thanks for the link - it really made my day. :)

        It's nice to see that other Aspies percieve "normal" people the same way I do. And no, I would not want to become one of them, even if I could. After all, with some practice and determination, I can still fake being like them, but I doubt they can ever be like me. There is just one problem - I can't stand pretending. :(

  • One thing I noticed about the test was that it had a lot of social interaction questions on it. I would suspect someone with strong antisocial tendencies, and few other markers for autism et al, would show up as positive. That could include a fair number of geeks.
  • by John M Ford ( 653329 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @05:53PM (#6258066)

    "Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher." != "If you score 32 or higher, you are eighty percent likely to be autistic."

    Just a thought before you run out and take the test.

    • As I have someone with autism in my life, and I have spent 100+ hours reading, researching, and talking to teachers and doctors I would say that this test is more for fun than to even start to indicate autism in a person. The first note that I would like to make is that to be autistic you MUST have specific traits before the age of three. One of the large parts of autism that they donâ(TM)t really talk about at all here is sensory issues, which are the cause of many of the traits that you see in this
  • According to my psychologist i am "contact disturbed". However, autistic persons can communicate perfectly with each other. I scored 32 points on the test.

    Autism is a spectrum ranging from very slight autistic to severely autistic.There are different diagnoses: pdd, asperger, high functioning autism. The same person might get a different diagnosis from another psychiatrist, so it could be better to say someone "is on the autistic spectrum".
  • by occamboy ( 583175 ) on Friday June 20, 2003 @08:53PM (#6259151)
    I've done a lot of research on the whole spectrum autism area recently. (By way of background, I've worked in the medical field for some years - I've authored papers, run clinical trials, and so forth).

    Here's a short synopsis of what I've found, through reading journal articles and books, and interviewing psychologists:

    Autism is a real disease, terrible and sad. However, it is wildly overdiagnosed in youngsters.

    Aspergers syndrome is probably also a real disease, related in some ways to autism. It is also wildly overdiagnosed in youngsters. It also seems to get pinned on nerds. But people with real Asperger's aren't simply nerds - they have profound and obvious problems.

    There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that there is an autism spectrum (beyond the narrow spectrum of those that truly have a serious, serious disease). The best evidence indicates that the "autism spectrum" is simply a speculation by a few psychologists that people who are shy and introspective are somehow related to people who have a profound problem.

    PDD-NOS is an interesting diagnosis developed by the folks that are pushing the idea of a wide spectrum of autism. The diagnosis is very arbitrary - yes there are criteria, but these are very subjective. Applied to young children, it has little if any no prognostic value.

    Finally, there does not seem to exist even one controlled scientific study that demonstrates that the outcomes of any of these conditions can be changed - even if they do exist. All treatments are purely speculative.

    Commentary time - I know I'll get modded down, but this might actually be useful for someone:

    What's interesting is that for all of the loud chatter from the spectrum autism crowd, they totally avoid doing scientific studies. They do studies, but never controlled ones, which are the basis of science and medicine.

    As far as I can tell, autism and its "spectrum" have become the "next big thing" in psychology, following in the footsteps of lobotomies, electroconvulsive therapy, repressed memories, and ADHD. Like its predecessors, the "autism spectrum" has no basis in science, and will likely, over time, go the way of other medical diagnoses and procedures that are based on speculation rather than science.

    • Is Asperger's something you can 'work through' and learn to control it, recognize it when it is affecting your social interaction, and work to become a socially viable entity, or is being able to grow more socially viable an attribute that one could point to as proof that he is not affected by Asperger's?

      And personally I prefer the term 'photographic memory for the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, coupled with the ability to remember numbers and other quantitative values pretty much forev
      • Asperger's is definitely something you can work through. However, it isn't about "controlling Asperger's." What it is is simple:

        Pretending to be neurotypical.

        The thing about Asperger's is that quite a lot of us, never truly understanding them neurotypical (Aspie-speak for 'normal'), learn how to bullshit our way through everyday life by emulating neurotypicals. Many young and impressionable Aspies have taken or are currently in social skills classes. I had for about 8 years. The benefits of social skills
    • I would mod you down if I were able. If you had really read up on the subject you would know that Autism is not a "disease" -- it is not communicable, etc.

      And your comments along the lines of "there is no scientific evidence that autism is a spectrum" are also baseless. My son has been diagnosed as high-functioning autistic (which is obvious if you talk to him) and he has genetically inherited traits from both me and my wife that demonstrate a scale. I am easily distracted, have the ability to intensly
      • From disease: a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning

        A disease can be communicable, but it doesn't have to be. Actually, to truly capture the meaning, examine the word: dis-ease. Not at ease.

        Just because a person has traits that are similar to those found in a certain well-documented disease or syndrome does not mean that this person has some low-grade form of the disease. For example, nerds (and musicians) and their children do
  • I have asperger's Syndrome. I read the wired article a while ago. I think that this geek link is very valid. Of all the people with AS that I know, most of them are geeks in some way because of the nature of the disease. I wrote an article about it when I was 15 and it is posted on a website:
  • Some who may see themselves in a description of Asperger Syndrome may also want to take a look at the so-called schizoid personality disorder.

    Here's a link: [Link] []

    There is some controversy about this. Many are inclined to speak of a "schizoid personality type" which encompasses many of the tendencies of the "disorder", but doesn't have the unhealthy connotations. Some refer to the INTP Myers-Briggs type as "Schizoid". My advice is to read it, and think about how it compares to your personality, but d

  • Here []. Citing a paper in the New Scientist that says autistic infants have less mercury in hair samples than "normal" children.
  • What are peoples top coping strategies in life,
    do you play to your strengths or fight to be average?

    For example:
    If you only work one to one, should you seek one to one opportunities or practice working in groups?

    Smart ass answer: do both.
    Ignore me, I'm bipolar.
  • I guess this possibly indicates that we can't go too far up the geek/science intelligence tree without toppling over and falling out and hurting your head. It would be nice to just keep going up and up in geek intelligence but apparently that doesn't happen. ~ ~ I wonder what happens when two realllllly word oriented people breed, or when two of any other really intense type breed. You'd think there'd be some sort of result of any kind of concentration like that. ~ ~ I won't be contributing since I

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison