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Monday, January 16, 2017

A few more Aspergers traits

I was speaking with two people who have family members with Aspergers Syndrome recently, and was struck by something both said: one of the annoying things about both was that neither would ever turn off lights or close doors or carefully screw tops back onto jars.

I don't know why that would be, but it seemed more than coincidence.

A couple of other things I've noted:

If they don't get the answer they want, they just keep on asking you, as if you're going to change your mind the next time they ask.

It recently struck me that one really telling thing is that Aspies simply never, ever rave about other people. You'll never hear an Aspie say, "That guy is sooo cool!"

Or, "Man, is he ever tough!"

Or, "That guy is an absolute riot! He had me in stitches!"

Neurotypicals -- how people without Aspergers are referred to in Aspie-land -- may be wrong when they rave. They may be naive, or misguided, or even completely out to lunch. But they do rave, at least on occasion. Aspies simply never do.

There seems to be a weird sense of jealousy at work there: the Aspies seem to feel that if they rave about someone else's ability, it's as if they're confirming that they don't have those same abilities. And since they have a hard time ever admitting anything is wrong with them, they don't want to give others credit.

It may also be partly because others are a mystery to them. Imagine you've suddenly been placed into a colony of space aliens: would you be inclined to rave about how one of them is just so incredibly intelligent, or funny, or tough?

No, the thought would never occur to you. Just as it doesn't to Aspies who've been situated among the neurotypicals.


Steven said...

The kid (he's about 18) I told you about who I've been told has Asperger syndrome does something similar to raving about people. He writes to them on facebook in way that is over the top full of love and compliments. He's really friendly too. Granted I'm not close to him but I'd swear he was a nice kid.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I wouldn't argue for a second that Aspies can't be "nice." In fact, I've said elsewhere that they are not bad people, but simply annoying. And they tend not to be good manipulators, and generally aren't purposely dishonest. But the kind of raving I was talking about in the post was about specific personal qualities, as with the examples given. "Over the top" love and compliments given directly to the recipient is a somewhat different thing, and if the kid has Aspergers, my guess is that his compliments wouldn't be particularly accurate.

Samuel Nock said...

>John does post on Aspergers


John Craig said...

Samuel --
Ha, I guess there's no hiding my lack of patience with them. Oh well, I originally started this blog with the idea it would give me an opportunity to vent, and I definitely still use it for that purpose.

Samuel Nock said...

I was referring not to your post but to the, well, 'spergie comments that will come raining down in ... 3 .. 2 .. 1... Run!!!

John Craig said...

Samuel --
Aha, gotcha. That makes sense. Most of those comments seem to be confined to the original post on Aspergers which I linked on this post. For some reason they haven't commented much on the more recent posts on Aspergers.

(I guess it was sort of 'sperger-ish of me not to understand what you were saying in your previous comment.)

Anonymous said...

My ex-boyfriend -- who I now realize has Aspergers -- never used to screw the tops back onto jars, even though he knew that it caused problems. There were at least two times I took something out of the refrigerator and it spilled all over the floor because the cover was barely on.

The Ambivalent Misanthrope said...

OMG, yes! Not turning off lights, not closing doors, not screwing the tops back on to jars or bottles -- yes! Not putting things away in general, not sealing food containers and baggies, not putting away the clothes from the dryer -- however, doing the laundry compulsively... It leaves the impression of utter carelessness and selfishness, though I am not sure it is that, necessarily. I've never thought those things were particularly relevant to Asperger's, but since others chime in with a note of recognition... interesting...

John Craig said...

Ambivalent Misanthrope --
Thank you. Once I'd heard about these two who had the same weird trait, which at first glance wouldn't seem to be related to Aspergers (which is thought of mostly as an inability to read people, as you know), I was struck by the "coincidence," and wondered if others had noticed the same thing. I had a feeling they might, so thank you for the corroboration.

Fled The Undertow said...


After teaching for a few miserable years at a private "Christian" school (the principal relabeled Aspies as "quirky" so as not to have to provide us teachers with extra support staff), I'm equally as annoyed with them as you are.

The worst ones are, of course, the narcissistic big mouth kids who never know when to quit, even when much larger NT upper classmen are about to knock their teeth in. One of my classes had over half the students on the spectrum, and after the Christmas break when I found I was stuck with that same group of kids three times a day, I quit.

The principal/owner of the school to this day denies that she accepts Aspires because of guaranteed tuition from the state for each one, yet she believes she's a victim of "spiritual warfare" because of the unbelievably high turnover rate of her faculty.

One Aspies trait I'm not sure if you mentioned was the odd intonation/inflection of their speech. Many of them, aside from avoiding eye contact, have a monotone or overly-formal way of speaking. They also tend to have easily-over-stimulated senses and cannot tolerate certain textures, sounds, loud noises, people touching them, etc. One kid I knew could only have his temperature taken on his forehead, since he couldn't tolerate the thermometer under his tongue. When he got butter on his hands during a class cooking activity, he freaked out.

One more thing: they often are accused of having no creativity, in that they prefer simple worksheets to having to do anything artistic or creative. They avoid those assignments at all costs, or if forced to create one, they copy one off the Internet and pass it off as their own.

John Craig said...

Fled --
I don't blame you for quitting; they are incredibly annoying. And I guess a large portion of the faculty agrees with you. I get the impression that a lot of Aspies end up at schools like that which ostensibly aren't for kids with special needs, but are in fact refuges for them since they get picked on in public schools. I suppose it's good that these kids have a place they can go where they can be safer, but I don't envy their teachers.

And yes, that principal is obviously being dishonest.

I"m familiar with the easily-over-stimulated aspect of Aspergers. I've heard one yell out, "Too much chaos!" because two people were doing different things in the room at the same time. (Hardly chaos.) And yes, they don't like too much noise, or crowds, or violent movies. If you go to the link I provided in this post (about how they can't admit they're wrong) that leads to a much longer post I wrote about Aspies. For some reason that post got a lot of attention in the Aspie community, and a lot of them wrote in to tell me what a horrible person I am for describing them that way.

We do have to remember, though, that they can't help but be the way they are, and despite the propaganda we get from the Aspergers advocates, none of them would willingly be that way if they had a choice.

Fled The Undertow said...

Of course not, and it must suck to be them. But the principal absolutely was complicit in taking advantage of a loophole in state law which guarantees tuition to ANY private school willing to accept special needs kids regardless of whether or not the private school had any special needs teachers on staff. The parents wanted their kids to "not be labeled", so we had Aspies whose parents still haven't accepted the reality of their kids being on the spectrum, and we teachers were told to do whatever necessary so no kid went below a B average. In this way, the school catered to parents desperate to believe that their child was really NT.

I suppose if I'd had appropriate support staff for those kids, my experience would've been a lot more positive. That principal is still in business, in a much-reduced school capacity. Word has gotten out about her scam. Shame on her.

John Craig said...

Fled --
Couldn't agree with you more, a "scam" is exactly what she was operating.

I'm wonder, though, how she could get full tuition from the state for kids who'd officially been labeled as Aspies, while the parents of these kids could still be in denial. Was it that the public schools which diagnosed these kids didn't inform the parents as to their diagnosis? Is that legal? Or did the parents simply not accept the state's diagnosis?

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I need to bring a good dose of reality to everyone here.
It seems enjoyable to vent or poke fun at autistic people but that is completely missing the bigger picture of the disaster coming to this world.

There has to be early intervention as soon as possible. The costs of autism alone may reach 450 billion us dollars by 2025, to give some perspective on just how huge a number this is, this is almost as much as the cost by smoking and nearly half as much as diabetes. The sooner intervention happens, the better the results. I am not talking about one special ed class lasting an hour for every week, we need 20-40 hour intensive therapy beginning when the child is still a toddler lasting several months. We cannot afford to let another aimless generation loose into the world as we have done before. A person with aspergers is more likely to become a drug addict or alcoholic, 10 times more likely than the general population to commit suicide, and female people with autism are 5 times more likely to be raped or sexually abused.

And to add to that, don't just assume it is all inherited genetics and autism is something that has always existed as it did and will continue to exist. There are cases where an identical twin may be autistic but the other isn't. 50% of people born with autism/aspergers are from de novo mutations into a family with no history of autism. But these families are likely to have a history of heart disease or cancer. The predisposition is needed, but something has to activate it.
My grandfather who was a doctor never saw a single autistic patient until the 80s and even then there were only a few, he saw plenty of patients with other mental illnesses and retardation, but not a single one with autism. He didn't just write off autistic people as retarded, he knows the clear differences between classic mental retardation and autism.

It isn't just that, my grandfather also never saw a single elderly patient with alzheimers either in the earlier days. Soon in some countries 25% of the population will be eldery and more and more are developing dementia at a rate never seen before. Also of the people diagnosed with aspergers in their 50s who ended up with children also with aspergers, their children display more severe cognitive difficulties and symptoms than their parents. It isn't mendelian like hair color, you can't draw a punnet square for autism. Even some people with aspergers who have children may have neurotypical children. It iss complex and nobody and I mean nobody truly understands it now, no single expert right now has it nailed down. Autism doesn't run in families the way hair color does, a person with autism might have one or two cousins with it, but there has never been an unbroken line of autistic people breeding more autistic people like some of the posters above claim. It is around 2/3rds genetic, but not the inheritable kind, and people with genes for autism won't always have it. Other mental disorders are on the rise too, denmark has seen an increase by 40% of bipolar patients and schizophrenic patients as well. We also see physical disabilities like ALS and deformities on the rise as well.

Society has to take some goddamn responsibility for causing all this to happen with our pollution, toxins, chemicals, and radiation. We can't just take all mentally and physically disabled people and shove them away, snubbing our noses at them, laughing about their suffering, forgetting about them, and leave it at that thinking all is well for us normies like the guys on reddit or 4chan wish. Some serious shit is going down. We have to research new solutions, we have to own up for causing this, we have to take action before it is too late!

John Craig said...

Anon --
You make a lot of good points but one thing you don't mention is that Aspergers was not widely recognized until the 1980's, and starting shortly thereafter it became advantageous for parents in certain school systems to have their kids classified as that as it meant more time for tests etc. But had it been more recognized earlier, it would have been more widely diagnosed, too, obviously. I don't think it's all a matter of pollution, etc.; as you say, nobody really has firm handle on what causes it.

Anonymous said...

How do you explain though that 50% of autistic people are from spontaneous mutation? Or that one twin can be autistic but the other not? It's not all inherited dna. Something is going on.
But yes, nobody has a firm handle yet. But I do believe it has gone up, maybe not 5000x more like 10-20x, and if not frequency then severity. Leo Kanner's patients (only 11 patients, ONLY 11) in 1943 he saw did not display the super severe forms of autism we see today.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Can't explain it, but I don't have a good sense of the numbers myself. However, I was talking about Aspergers more than autism, people recognized severe autism well before they recognized Aspergers.