Geeks and Anti-social people...


So I have aspergers syndrome... and I just graduated with an BA Architecture degree from a London University.

I like to hang out on my computer, do abit of web design, drawings, and enter architecture competitions.

I generally dont like to socialise becuase to me and my aspergers self... I find it nihilistic, tedious, somewhat pretentious and a waste of time. Meeting people and having to change the way you are for the sake of impressions ...etc .. especially in europe, it seems very ponsy.

What i find disappointing is that the architecture industry seems as though it runs on such attributes.

My question is how much socializing do you have to do to be an architect. and work for an architects office.

I completly have no idea, i passed the degree on my artistic skills not socializing.

please help.

May 31, 09 4:46 pm

it's like role playing......

May 31, 09 5:15 pm

The socialization required depends greatly on you aspirations. If you want to just sit in your booth and draw, there probably will be a space for you if you're any good ... and you might be reasonably successful, up to a point.

But, real success in a firm depends on becoming something of a leader - of both clients and a team. If you don't offer basic social skills (and don't want to develop, or are inhibited from developing, those skills) your career potential - measured in terms of increasing authority and financial rewards - will be severely limited as you age.

Architecture, in the real world, is a team sport.

May 31, 09 5:56 pm

Unfortunately - in architecture a certain degree of sophistication is expected of the architectural aspirant. In architectural school, we were expected to achieve a highly sophisticated level of verbal ability - I was better at performing design in Maya + Revit than talking about it.
At the architecture office I worked in, those who could talk, received the better assignments, and those who had good computer skills, worked for those who could talk. When it came layoff time, the geeks were the first to go. It's that way in all professions, verbal ability is 98% of the game. In the U.S., on the Architectural Registry Exam, the verbal portion separates the architects from the aspirants. I agree with you 100% Sway, but after 7 months of unemployment in San Francisco - where sophisticated architectural aspirants are a dime a dozen now, It's either start talking or start packing. Like it or not, architecture is 98% communication. e.g., fake it till you make it.

May 31, 09 6:00 pm
Living in Gin

I have Asperger's as well, and I've been working in architecture offices for about 12 years. I wasn't diagnosed until last year, though, so I've spent most of my life feeling like a square peg stuck in a round hole, and without understanding why. In this regard you have somewhat of an advantage over me, in that you have a better idea of what makes you tick, and you can therefore find more effective ways to deal with it early in your career.

The good news is, if the architecture profession were limited to only those with stellar people skills, there would be far fewer people in this business. I've worked for a few bosses who go beyond anti-social to downright psychopathic. If these people can somehow run successful offices, then there's always hope for the rest of us. In looking back at the great architects of the past, I can't help but wonder how many of them were on the autism spectrum.

That said, there are certain aspects of working in an office that I find very frustrating. Like many Aspies, I have an extreme sensitivity to noise and I find it almost impossible to filter out background noise. What most people perceive as the normal murmur of an office often sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I also have very little patience for office politics and gossip, and I have a hard time dealing with people who can't get to the point and tell me specifically what they expect of me. But these would all be problems in any office setting, and aren't specific to architecture. Your mileage may vary.

You will also face the dilemma of whether or not to inform your boss of your condition. If the boss happens to be an understanding sort, he/she might be able to make some minor accommodations that might help make life easier for you. But then, there's also a lot of ignorance and misinformation about autism and Asperger's out there, and letting your boss in on this part of your life might make things more complicated than they need to be. So far I haven't felt the need to tell my bosses. As long as I can get my work done, I figure it's none of their business.

Unfortunately, the ability to schmooze is important when looking for work and trying to bring in new projects. I can fake it to a certain extent, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. I'd much rather spend my free time with one or two close friends than trying to be a social butterfly at some cocktail reception, but I accept that sometimes I need to play the game. If you don't want to spend your career pigeonholed as the Render Guy or the Building Code Guy, you'll have to do likewise. If you're okay with being Render Guy or Building Code Guy, that's fine, but your future career options may be limited. (As for me, I'd like to own my own firm someday, but I've pretty much accepted the fact that I'll most likely have to partner with somebody who is much better at working the cocktail circuit than I am.)

Also, if you're in London, you have the advantage of being in a large city where people are generally more accepting of other people's differences and eccentricities. I live in NYC and that's my favorite thing about being here. Other aspects of life in a large city, such as the constant noise and lack of personal space, can make life a living hell for an Aspie... You'll have to find your own balance.

If you're not already familiar with it, Wrong Planet is a good site for support and information for those on the spectrum. It can also be sort of like a feedback loop, though, and it's important to maintain connections and friendships with those who aren't on the spectrum.

Welcome, and good luck...

May 31, 09 7:57 pm

So, wait... you find white lies and being phony too hard.

"I generally dont like to socialise becuase to me and my aspergers self... I find it nihilistic, tedious, somewhat pretentious and a waste of time."

Considering the prevalence of AS is 2-in-1000 on a good day... are you absolutely 100% sure you're just not an asshole? I'm not trying to diss anyone who is clinically diagnosed but your assumptions on high society fall slightly outside the range of Autistic Spectrum of understanding.

And if you find social mores to be too troubling to yourself, I can of find it a little discomforting to know that you're using a completely aware disability to be a self pronounced geek. Someone with anti-social behavior (ie, someone not socializing at all [making a division here between anti-social and chav anti-social]) and someone who calls himself 'the geek' just doesn't mesh too well.

It seems like you've assumed a culture, are mildly content in that culture (geeks have limited expectations) and are now upset that *GASP* you'll stop having to be a geek?

May 31, 09 8:44 pm
Living in Gin

Speaking of assholes with shitty social skills....

May 31, 09 8:49 pm

1.) I find social situations confusing.

2.) I find it hard to make small talk.

3.) I did not enjoy imaginative story-writing at school.

4.) I am good at picking up details and facts.

5.) I find it hard to work out what other people are thinking and feeling.

6.) I can focus on certain things for very long periods.

7.) People often say I was rude even when this was not intended.

8.) I have unusually strong, narrow interests.

9.) I do certain things in an inflexible, repetitive way.

10.) I have always had difficulty making friends.

Besidse all that I scored as having Aspergers on the University of Cambridge, Self Diagnosing test.

@Hill and rock, whats worse is being an asswhole without having aspergers...

May 31, 09 9:10 pm

har - proper term is "asshole". Haven't they hauled you off to jail yet, deadbeat?

May 31, 09 9:15 pm
Living in Gin

or "arsehole" if you're a Brit.

May 31, 09 9:18 pm

Hey, he's self-diagnosed which is what I figured he was.

Successful troll is successful. Get a clinical diagnosis.

May 31, 09 9:26 pm
Living in Gin

What the fuck difference does it make if an Aspie is self-diagnosed? The vast majority of adult Aspies are, and studies have shown that the self-diagnosis turns out to be accurate over 80% of the time.

A professional diagnosis isn't a viable option for most adult Aspies, especially in the US. (I don't know what the situation is like in the UK.) A professional evaluation can cost several thousand dollars, which likely won't be covered by insurance, and that assumes you can even find a specialist who deals with adult cases. And then you run the risk of being blacklisted from future health insurance coverage because you're now on the record as having a chronic pre-existing condition. Besides, I don't need an astronomer to tell me the sun rises and the east, and I don't need a shrink to tell me I have Asperger's.

So kindly take your ill-informed armchair psychology and go fuck off, as you don't have the slightest clue what you're talking about.

May 31, 09 9:36 pm
liberty bell

Wow - outside of #9, that list describes my husband to a T. But wait, it does say only "certain" things require that inflexible approach, and while he'll try any new approach under the sun when it comes to artmaking, god knows I've never wrapped up a extension cord to the man's satisfaction, so what do you know, my husband's an Aspie!

But, while this may touch slightly on hillandrock's exceptionally obnoxious comment, my husband has certainly not been diagnosed as anything. Like the very wise LiG said, if you know you have this diagnoses that puts you in a better position to manage it, for sure.

I'm 100% with stone: you can find jobs and probably have a fairly decent career in architecture if you're OK with being deskbound with a specific set of skills that most others don't have (rendering, certainly, but even moreso knowledge of codes or a specific building type, construction method, historic preservation area, etc.). You'll do even better in this regard in a firm that is somewhat understanding of a quirky personality with mad skills - so I would suggest a big corporate firm might not be the right way to go, while a smaller niche firm just might be.

Back again to hillandrock's post: perfect evidence of how many people will ignorantly castigate you if you meet them and announce "I have Aspergers" right off. I would think once you have been in a job for a little while you can be upfront about not really enjoying office happy hours because you just prefer to work hard - beg off the social events with a polite smile on your face, and no one should be offended.

At the beginning of your career you may have to look around a bit for a firm where you feel somewhat comfortable, but most likely after you've been there awhile - like ten years, remember it's a slow profession - you'll be very comfortable with your role and everyone else there will be comfortable with you.

Like LiG said, he's hoping to find a more social a partner someday - odds are many. many partnerships are exactly the scenario he decribes, and if you can get tight with (a comfortably distant tight, that is) and valuable to the non-cocktail-chatter partner, you'll excel.

May 31, 09 9:41 pm

As someone who also has aspbergers, I have found that (at least for me) there is a difference between socialization for its own sake (small talk etc.) and socialization in academic/professional settings where I have a goal that I want to achieve.
I can do well in the latter situation ... we are supposed to be good at understanding patterns and systems, and to me that kind of social interaction is just one more system. I enjoy participating in my classes, and I have been able to build a really strong relationship with one of my professors. In high school was on a debate team and ran for student council president. I also have “verbal ability” - my writing skills are considerably stronger than my social skills.
However, the systems behind trivial everyday social interactions still leave me confused – I can't seem to get my brain to understand small talk, and trying to make friends is a slow and painful process. But I have found that it seems as though it is possible for me to adapt to the social situations where it matters the most ... I see my situation as something that can be improved with practice, and hopefully you can figure out a way to work the system and find a situation that is in your benefit as well. From what I have seen (although I am still a student so I have not seen the whole picture) I think that architecture does have an element of pretentiousness to it, but it also seems to be in some cases relatively more tolerant of eccentricities than some other less artistic professions. As was said before, architecture history shows that there are ways to live a little bit outside of the box.

May 31, 09 9:43 pm
liberty bell

Hey, where do I find this self-diagnose test? I'm going to take it for my husband - after 15 years I'm sure I can answer for him, and our partnership is more proof of that notion that a socially shy person and an outgoing, overly chatty person can be a good match!

May 31, 09 9:44 pm
liberty bell

Oh, and (see this is how I have so many posts, scattered and enthusiastic mixed) evilplatypus: are you pregnant? because I've only ever heard of pregnant women getting restless leg syndrome ;-)

May 31, 09 9:46 pm
Living in Gin

There's a few online tests out there, but this one seems to be the most comprehensive and widely-used.

May 31, 09 9:55 pm

i really don't have any good advice on this topic, but
I think it's great that SOME are offering useful feedback.

May 31, 09 10:15 pm

thanks to everyone bar the nob above (kill&rock), thanks to the aspeis especially. Thanks to LiG, iv been on WrongPlanet before, its a good place.

as a fresh graduate with aspergers, im going to do a few competitions off get the portfolio going and then hopefully my dream is to leave and work in a exotic country where being a stranger would involve less lathargic social contact. Somewhere like Malaysia, they smile alot, which helps :)

after that ill do what LiG wants to do... Find someone who can chat void till getting a deal.

i also agree with liberty bell, a chatter and a shy person like positive and negative goes well. and whether they like it or not a chatter and a shy person by nature are forced with each other for there own survival. reference: my mum and dad.

The goal of an aspie is to not be a waste of living matter. whilst normal people like to waste their existance on self satisfaction and money, I want to keep ticking and never stop ticking. keep working. and yeahs i would love to do the rendering job or the codes job. I will find systems that will automate it, my hobby is Computer programmer by the way. I just need to work and improve the work, but without stupid obstacles like having to take 5 minutes with the smokers outside to talk and "BOND" over a session of bitching.

da vinci, newton and the likes of einstein all had aspergers, their syndrome made it natural for them to be that good, becuase their minds were wired by nature, to expel lathargic notions of getting attention, or impressing someone. lucky for them they had funded lifestyles to persue there passions and hobbies, which helped them get rid of pleb like social rats.

i guess the syndrome is about having genetics that ingrain a certain set of priorities. luckily the world is evolving to accomadate the aspergers, like computers, formalitiy, sophistication, and the venus project looks good, but note, the normal people are the degenerative, its a case of perspective when asking the question of who actually has the degenerative problem.

i will end this slur on normal people, by saying thanks to everyone.

i also agree very much with non-neutrol.

May 31, 09 11:45 pm

asperger's runs in my family. i wasn't aware of the link between ADD and asperger's til my depression peaked and i sought treatment.

two of three aunts have children showing symptoms of one or all 3. it's a little weird, for sure.

Jun 1, 09 12:04 am

Has anyone actually seen a therapist for all of this diagnosing going on? I mean, online tests are all fine and good but a professional can tell you if you have a syndrome or if you are, in fact, an a**hole. I'm just saying.

Jun 1, 09 12:38 am

okay I suspect something must be wrong with me, but I've re-read 's post and really don't find it that offensive, asides of course from the belittling. I'm a strong believer that if you suspect you have whatever go and get tested for it. Gin speaks of an 80% accuracy of self-diagnosis but I'm more concerned about the remaining 20% who just got it wrong and as was said before are seeking association or even an justifable excuse to be rude and antisocial. In fact much of comments by hill&rock would lend me to believe he too (sorry to call you out) may have an undiagnosed pervasive developmental disorder.

Oh and by the way, in chatting with a few family physicians about that self aspie test most of said it's crap because of one of the measures used to "calculate" which is the similar/repeat questions. Similarly people with ADD wouldn't pass the 10th question (typically where I stop when I try this quiz). Anyway my own fears about that test has more to do the conditions it sets up at the introduction - the source of my origin I don't believe has any bearing of my ASC/D

Anyway Hans Asperger described the condition as "[those] who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy"

so if you read this far in my post and are either annoyed or worried just visit your local clinic and get tested, it's painless - and you might be surprised by the results. You MAY just be an asshole after all.

oh and by the way being a geek and having a social disorder are non-synonymous

Jun 1, 09 12:39 am

jinx @ wonder K!

Jun 1, 09 12:53 am
liberty bell

I generally prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt that if they say they have a particular condition or problem, they do, and that they are honestly seeking helpful advice regarding that issue.

Actually, perhaps it's not a preference, but a conscious decision on my part to be accepting, helpful, and compassionate. Call it Human Syndrome - though yeah,admittedly, it's self-diagnosed ;-)

Jun 1, 09 1:07 am

i got tested by my Doctor who did the test with me. I wouldnt go to a psychologist becuase it was too expensive. The test was sent on paper format, from The National Autistic Society.

Asperger is very hard to detect, and most normal people assume that im anti-social when i dont want to talk to them, there is a difference between being a mean "asshole" and hating everyone, and between someone who has aspergers and cannot face the challenge of talking to someone who im not familiar with face to face.

It is hard to identify, especially over this website.

For those that have doubts about people, please please please, research on what this actually is. Becuase its this mis-judgment that is an aspergers worst nightmare.

I have been accused of being a snob, arragont, moody, becuase i dont/cant talk to people face to face and have a normal conversation with a large group of people like in a studio. I am ok with 2-3 people that i know very well...

please doont mis-judge, please research the symptoms.

Jun 1, 09 2:02 am

Dear, The_Geek,

I think that you're dealing with it quite well least with us. I think that honesty is always a good policy. If you are as honest with your employers and/or colleagues as you've been with a bunch of total strangers online, then people will understand when they are dealing with you why you are different. And maybe with understanding, things will be a bit easier for you.

Of course, this doesn't mean you should put a big neon sign on your head announcing what you have, but perhaps be forthcoming with the people that count, i.e. your boss.

Good luck.

Jun 1, 09 2:20 am

"In fact much of comments by hill&rock would lend me to believe he too (sorry to call you out) may have an undiagnosed pervasive developmental disorder."

I'm actually a byproduct of the other special ed program... that being "gifted."

What I actually "suffer" from is very similar to Asperger Syndrome. It's called "positive disintegration." To people like me, the anxiety and tension are vital to my well-being... This is a condition I intentionally-- unbeknown to my actual self sometimes-- that I create.

Unlike Aspies, my issues are intentionally created, planned and executed. In short, positive disintegration is almost necessary sociopath behavior for individuals like me.

Jun 1, 09 4:20 am

we must forgive Second City for his; me man, you fag comments. it's part of being from or living in a "lesser" city; i mean the cubs suck, the white sox suck, the blackhawks blow, da bears suck and blow, and the da bulls have blown and sucked a little for more than a few years, so oral difficulties are bound to cause one to have a bit of the diarrhea of the mouth.

wait, i get it, all that sucking and blowing has worn off on you.

that's what's so obvious about you and why men love you and women hate you...

be a man. take it.

Jun 1, 09 6:48 am
vado retro

EP What is your Major Malfunction?

Jun 1, 09 8:13 am

this has been a somewhat interesting thread to wade through ... but, about all it really taught me is that many people find it difficult to have empathy for individuals who can't empathize with other people.

Jun 1, 09 8:58 am

dig, makes you wonder who the afflicted really are, doesn't it?

Jun 1, 09 8:59 am

The_Geek, my 18 year old cousin, who I've grown up with and consider one of my best friends, has Aspergers. He has nearly a photographic memory, extremely good reading comprehension, vocabulary, and an incredibly active imagination. On the other hand, he has no social skills or graces - much like what you described for yourself, except moreso. He's heavily medicated, as he can become very emotional and volatile without it.

Look, you may not have Aspergers. If you do, I'm sure it's such a slight case that it's almost negligible. Really. The fact that you graduated with a BA degree in architecture pretty much assures me that you don't have a crippling case of this pseudo-autism.

If you want a career, you need to grow a pair and pursue it, right? You can become a great designer without yakking it up at the golf course every week with your firm principals. Anyways, best of luck!

Jun 1, 09 9:41 am

It's disconcerting how much the term "asshole" is being thrown around in this thread. Not having the best social skills myself, I'm ok thinking that I'm just not being noticed or that people see me as a little weird, but knowing some of the more gregarious people in the bunch are thinking I'm an asshole as I stand nervously in the corner nursing my drink at the next cocktail party won't make things easier.

In my efforts to reach out to more outgoing/"normal" people I often find I'm dropped like a rock by such people after a few too many pop culture references float over my head or the awkward silences get a little too long. Being cast away so readily, before the chance for a connection even has a chance to get out of the gate, makes me wonder who's the asshole.

Jun 1, 09 9:52 am
liberty bell

4arch, that is so well-stated it makes me want to cry. The world is making me freaking angry this morning and people's inability to have empathy for others and approach them with kindness amazes me.

By the way evilp you KNOW you've crossed a line by using the word "fag" like that - your attitude has become nearly impossible to defend.

Jun 1, 09 10:13 am

@EVILPLATYPUS: you fucking idiot, AUTISM is different to Aspergers... DO SOME RESEARCH BEFORE YOU SPREAD YOUR HATE! sorry for bad language, but its a suitable expression.

OK, uhm, this has gone too far. Every aspergers case is different in each person, so i hope i havent disreputed other aspies here, in dealing with people like evilplatypus.

But @evilplatypus ... I have learnt to defend my self with people like you, and if you really did act like that to me, id probably knock your head off.

And its got nothing to do with whining and nor has it got anything to do with seeking empathy (on the internet?).. sorry if it sounded like that to you. Its about teaching you the next time you see someone whos seems like he doesnt want to talk to you even if the social situation demands it, is to consider ASPERGERS SYNDROME!!!

4arch, pretty much sums it up. Im going to leave this thread now, in hope others will read it and not for the sake of SEEKING EMPATHY? (why would i do that on the internet?) but too get ASPERGERS SYNDROME out there and let people know what it is. Just as wheelchair disability is always taken into consideration, i want aspergers to be too.

Jun 1, 09 10:27 am

I changed my name to Aspergers Syndrome from the_geek.

I had it as a Geek, becuase i find it helps when declaring your self as a geek in the real world, so as to lessen the symptoms.

Jun 1, 09 10:40 am

actually, calling yourself a Geek made it more likely that people would take you less seriously and gave ammo to the crap that got posted.

Jun 1, 09 10:43 am

@Digger, yeahs, The spectrum ranges, there are people with different cases of Aspergers...

I have aspergers syndrome but more milder than your cousins.

Its not about EMPATHY, and its not about giving more empathy to more severe people.

Its just simply about understanding, i might sound & look normal but if you SAT ME NEXT TO YOU, and "socialised" i would not be considered normal. I wouldnt want empathy from you, i would just want to be understood that i would want to be alone even if I TRIED TO TALK TO YOU, I would FAIL thats why!

look at some youtube videos before

People with mild aspergers look and sound normal, but again this is hard to detect for normal people, only people with it know.

please no hating and comments like "empathy" and "seeking attention"

Jun 1, 09 10:48 am

more youtube links:


AS and bullying:

Jun 1, 09 10:53 am

I was always told that Asperger's was a form or relation of autism by my aunt and uncle. Is that not true?

Jun 1, 09 11:00 am

its a spectrum,

so its like this:-

Neorollogically Typical People
- <----- I am about here, on the spectrum..
Severe Autism <------ Dustin Hoffman in Rainman was here

Jun 1, 09 11:17 am

I'm slightly less normal than some, and more normal than others.

Where's (who's) the benchmark for these so called disorders anyhow?

I have been positively diagnosed with panic disorder, depression/bi-polar and have all but given up on treating it conventionally with medication and therapy. After a while, with a little effort, I think it's possible to understand yourself and your 'disorder' well enough to begin cognitive self-treatment. I wouldn't necessarily advise the severely ill to go off their meds, but I do believe I have a fairly severe case myself and handle it relatively well.

I also fit perfectly with 10 out of 10 of those criteria on the above list. Some of this I think is just part of each persons personality. I'm not going to pretend to understand psychology. But I think at some point it is beneficial to learn to accept your 'out of order' personality traits and embrace them. Thank God we're not all wired exactly the same!

Hill and Rock is obviously an ignoramous and should be ignored him or herself in this instance. Finding difficulty in socialization doesn't make a person an asshole.

I think sometimes it's just a matter of facing your unique situation with all it's adversities head on. Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed, but you keep moving forward. I have no idea at this point how or where I will fit into an office being a recent graduate myself, but I've lived enough up to this point to know that it's probably most important to do what makes YOU happy first, ie working in an office where you feel comfortable and have room to grow doing stimulating work. You may surprise yourself when you find yourself in the right situation and become that social talkative rainmaker guy. Give it time and allow yourself to fail and be average now and then

If only I could heed some of my own advice...

good luck..

Jun 1, 09 11:32 am

i like ppl and i like to talk to strangers especially female... i consider that as part of my architectural practice...

Jun 1, 09 11:40 am

i like ppl too, but its different when you have a barrier there.

watch this guy:

Jun 1, 09 11:49 am


homophobia FTW!

Jun 1, 09 11:54 am

I would like to meet those people that are "Neurologically typical" because they don't seem to exist (not to take away from the difficulties of living with Autism).

Isn't the spectrum for SOME mental disorders - and some physical too - defined somewhat arbitrarily? And if everyone's condition is so varied, I don't see how labeling someone or yourself as part of that spectrum can be helpful. To me, it seems even the use of "spectrum" is innaccurate since it is more like everyone has multiple spectrums of varying degrees and interconnectedness. Which in the end, make up the personality and uniqueness of every person anyway. Its like you're looking at a complex painting and defining it by one single color. How do we know if it is "normal" to empathize with everyone in every situation, and be able to tune out all background noise, and focus on multiple things?

Let me be upfront - I'm speaking from ignorance here.

Jun 1, 09 12:06 pm

Well I really do not know where the notion of Empathy has come from...

The Autistic Spectrum is not just a measurement of the personallity.

Aspergers come in all types of personalities, just like everyone else.

The case is that the more sever you are the more locked up in your own world (best way to describe it)..

Jun 1, 09 12:11 pm

aww, did EP gt banned?

Jun 1, 09 12:16 pm

Why is calling me an asshole okay but not the gadfly comment?

Really, how one sided is this? It's pretty low to keep comments that paint me as a demon but to delete ones with some actual validity?

I should also point out that this thread should be legally deleted because it is illegal to dispense mental health counseling in any form without a license... in all 50 states and at least half-a-dozen European countries.

Jun 1, 09 12:48 pm

If selective editing, not limited to things bordering on hate crimes, is permitted...

Then I will gladly paypal Archinect 100 dollars to delete everything I've ever written.

Jun 1, 09 12:49 pm
Living in Gin

If ep got banned, then good riddance. IMO, it should've happened a long time ago.

The_Geek has done a decent job of describing AS. Wikipedia, while hardly authoritative, also gives a decent overview.

I think the whole "neurotypical vs. Aspie" language implies an either/or, black-and-white scenario when the reality is that there are many shades of gray. Asperger's and autism spectrum disorders aren't like being an amputee where you clearly have or don't have the condition. As with most syndromes, AS is defined by the "association of several clinically recognizable features, signs, symptoms, phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one feature alerts the physician to the presence of the others."

That said, I don't buy into the whole "everybody's unique and we shouldn't label our differences" argument. While probably well-meaning, I think it demeans and trivializes the real challenges that people with AS face. Despite the nebulous nature of the condition and the wide range of personality types among those who have AS, there are some pretty specific traits that many Aspies do seem to have in common, even if they're manifested in different ways.

As the now-deleted comments on this thread prove, you certainly don't need to be an Aspie to exhibit a lack of empathy or general jerkish behavior. I would argue that although many Aspies can unintentionally display an apparent lack of empathy, that doesn't mean they don't have any. (A person without any empathy is generally referred to as a sociopath.) Aspies also tend to have a highly-developed sense of inherent fairness and social justice, and we sometimes get in trouble for being "too honest".

Regardless, having AS or any other condition shouldn't be used as an excuse for treating other people like shit. Some behavior is unacceptable, period.

Jun 1, 09 12:54 pm

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