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Some perspective...and a few References for those that care. Answered

John Elder Robinson,  the author of  "Look Me In The Eye:  my life with Asperger's" writes this: 

"Many descriptions of autism and Asperger's describe people like me as 'not wanting contact with others' or 'preferring to play alone'. ...I;d like to be VERY clear about my own feelings: I  did not ever want to be alone.  And all those child psychologists (1960's) who said 'John prefers to play by himself' were DEAD wrong.  I played by myself because (at the time) I was a failure at playing with others...As a young adult, I was lucky to discover and join the world of musicians & soundmen and special-effects people.  People in those lines of work expect to deal with eccentric people. "

Elsewhere he writes:  "I suspect that grown-ups drew me out enough as a child to keep me engaged and on a path with my conversational limitations better than children.,,,my inablility to read body language or appearance meant--in a world rife with discrimination-- that I treated everone the same."

"I have learned to begin conversations with a question,  like 'How are you?' ...now I realize that many normal people are acting in a superficial and often false manner.  So rather then let them make me feel bad, I'd express my annoyance...Fortunately, I had enough satisfactory exchanges with intelligent grown ups to keep me wanting to interact.  No one would have looked at me thirty years ago and foreseen that I'd have the social skills I have today, or the ability to express the emotions, thoughts, and feelings you read in this book. "

From Tony Attwood's book:    "The person may actively seek and enjoy solitude, be a loyal friend and have a distinct sense of humour."

As for the Co-Morbid anxiety that occurs with many AS persons;  try this.....

Reading the book may help....

References given in the book for your entertainment......

The OASIS Guide to Asperger's Syndrome

Look Me In The Eye

Asperger's Syndrome

Temple Grandin's site

Passing as human....

The curious incident of a dog in the nighttime....summary

And finally, The world needs ALL kinds of minds.....Temple Grandin.

a blog that is aplicable......

How about one on rerouting brain function

And other then ADAM,   and Temple Grandin,  Thinking in Pictures,   you also should consider seeing Mozart and the Whale.

I have had it indicated to me that maybe it was not a good idea to start a conversation about the demonstations of mental and cranial plasiticity, and that it would be better served elsewhere.    


A syndrome is not hard-wired. Don't be held back by diagnoses, they will if you waste your time on them.


This really is a neurological condition i.e. brain developement, type of syndrome; 


"No one cause has been found-", "It is thought that there might be-" "-not really sure why."
If you can rewire it (done so) it must be "soft" in some way?('cos you ain't been DIY bran-surgery)


Cause? No, except for genomally, i.e. it is inherited. But even the vascular system can "rewire itself". I have seen it done ! Not just in myself, but in my father-in-law's case. Nothing, not even hardwired portions of ourselves are static. :-)

This one IS specifically hard wired. They have demonstrated this with brain scans, consistently.

This DOESN'T mean I can not "rewire it" myself, I have done so, having gained some social amenities and have learned to pause and make every attempt to "use them" despite my more innate nature to just blurt out what I know.  

Fascinating. Condescending. Self-righteous.

And also irrelevant to the clinical standards for the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome.

Maybe not central for diagnosis, but it is crucial for treatment/help/support of people with Aspergers that their social needs are not denied by those who diagnose them. The psychiatrist is supposed to guide the person to the skills he/she needs, but that can't be done if that psychiatrist is convinced that personal social interaction (as friendship opposed to formal situations) isn't one of these needs. It seems to be one of the most important parts of life most of the aspies feel deprived of.

So all those doctors are crazy or quacks? Everyone needs a hug now and then.

....as for the hug, keep it short. After about 15 seconds or so, we tend to become uncomfortable with the sensory overload.

I am hoping I am not "made completely destitute" by then :-) The fine line between helping and enabling is hard for me to see sometimes....

This one IS specifically hard wired. They have demonstrated this with brain scans, consistently.

This DOESN'T mean I can not "rewire it" myself, I have done so, having gained some social amenities and have learned to pause and make every attempt to "use them" despite my more innate nature to just blurt out what I know.  

Actually, what else is there EXCEPT what one experiences? Of course, one of the crucial parts does come from direct observation, which I have gone through also (and so did John).

What bothers me is when others "take a spectrum" and try to fit it into a neat little box, a title that covers everything and all of it must be just "so" or it is not true.  Asperger's, as you well know, is not a mathematical formula that balances to 0 every time. It is a tremendously large variable. But all this has wearied me.  I am no longer trying to "prove or disprove" the diagnosis I received, but trying to parcel out information to those that "care".  As I mentioned in my original post; Tony Attwood's book records this:  "The person may actively seek and enjoy solitude, will be a loyal friend and have a distinct sense of humour."
Some of the many attributes that NT's claim we do not have.

His experiences, though, are not definitive, authoritative, or evidentiary. I mean, you can go on asperger's forums and find personal experiences that directly counter his, including explicitly saying "I don't feel empathy" or "I don't really like being around other people."  It's why anecdotal evidence stinks. His experiences are great to share, but they don't really provide perspective on the disorder in general, just of the way some people with the disorder feel - because his experience isn't the same as that of everyone else with it.

Now you are the one overgeneralizing - about "NT's." I have no idea who or what you are talking about when you say "NT's claim we do not have" a sense of humor, ability to be a friend, or whatever. I certainly made no such claim.

(And please - stop trying to guilt trip me for having a different view of the whole situation. I'm sorry we don't see eye to eye, but I'm not doing anything wrong here. I am not "discounting your opinions, experiences, background, youth, knowledge, your very being, your life.")

His alone, no but as a whole in all the many books on the many persons diagnosed with this condition show, even from Mr. Attwood's book, we find a lot in common (not carbon copies of one another certainly).

As for the over-generalization, that was misworded:  it should have read "several NT's claim.....".  

And I am tired of the dance,  I don't dance well to start with, and so I posted this in the Asperger's group for a purpose. One that has not been realized since nearly NONE of those I was looking for comment from, posted. It may be that they are afraid to post. 

And, as I mentioned before, it isn't so much we don't see eye to eye,  you see me and what I choose to share,  and I see my entire life, and everything else in it, including my diagnosis.  But, as I wrote elsewhere, you are under no obligation to "believe" me or take me as being honest in any way. 

BTW:   one more week and I get to BE A KID again :-) .....teaching a youngster about scorpion anatomy and volcanoes, and electronics.....she is so much like I was at that age, reading 3 levels above her age, and using the scientific names for the dinosaurs etc.   She's a lot of fun to teach.....most other students want to go off an play with trucks or dolls.....she is fascinated by ideas though... and like me, on melatonin to quiet the late night "ever rambling thoughts" that keep us awake.  'elam

The plural of anecdote is not data. Whether you have one of 'em or a million, anecdotal evidence remains just that.

Yeah, well, I'm so terribly sorry you weren't looking to hear from me in comment form. I failed to notice the sign saying "Clubhouse - NTs not welcome," so I in my ignorance assumed that it was OK for a lowly NT to post. Whoopsie.

But if anyone is - excuse me, if the "right people" are - afraid to post, it sure isn't rational. There's nothing on this thread to be afraid OF.

As for "the dance"? If posts that disagree with you constitute a "dance," I guess we've been dancing. Otherwise, I again have no idea what you are talking about.

Re: BTW - it's awesome that she'll have a mentor. I Hope that goes well. (But what the heck is wrong with trucks or dolls? They don't denote inferior intelligence, but different interests - a diversity which you claim to celebrate.)

no it isn't that I wasn't looking to "hear from you" (communication again), I was looking for understanding rather than argument .

lowly is your word your idea.

as for the dance, a discussion becomes a dance once evidences and diagnoses are ignored in favor of argument, and no amount of presentation changes anything. 

munditiaexcelsior !

*sigh*  dolls are not intellectually stimulating....the one I am mentoring doesn't find them as fun as dissecting a dead animal or learning the Latin designations of dinos Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species.   A normal 7 year old. :-)  And, I have been warned before:   If you choose to explore taxonomy with your students it is wise to avoid too many absolutes and to encourage a questioning environment in your discussions.

For me, it was electronics.....and chemistry. ;-)

Well, I suspected that you merely desired validation and therefore resent posts which do not provide it, but it is always helpful to have suspicions confirmed.

No, lowly is the implication in your words, including the ones in which you talk about this girl. Don't get me wrong, I think it's wonderful that she has interests that you share. But you go much, much too far in asserting that because they are different and more "adult" or "technical" or "sciencey" that she must be smarter than all the other kids. She very well may be, but not because she is interested in the things she is. What she's (or anyone else) is interested in has little if nothing to do with intelligence.

Besides, which is it? Is she superior in some way to the other kids, or is she "[a] normal 7 year old"? It's either one or the other. It cannot be both.

>dolls are not intellectually stimulating

The arrogance and inaccuracy in this statement is nothing short of astounding. No. Just...no.

"Pediatricians should emphasize the benefits of “true toys” such as blocks and dolls, with which children use their imagination fully, over passive toys that require limited imagination." (http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/119/1/182.full)

"Several aspects of psychological theory appear to describe part of the relation between social-cognitive development and use of toys. These include cognitive developmental theory (Piaget), theory relating learning and development (Vygotsky and Feuerstein), script theory (Bretherton), theories of intrinsic motivation (Berlyne, Bruner, and Yarrow), and theories relating play to development (Mueller and Dunn)." (http://tec.sagepub.com/content/5/3/11.short)

"Toys enhance cognitive behavior and stimulate creativity. They aid in the development of physical and mental skills which are necessary in later life." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toy#Child_development)

The importance of play in the development of children is so firmly established in the field of psychology that it is not seriously questioned. Nor is the importance of toys in that play. The types of play engaged in with such toys - for example, a doll - include play in which children act out fantasies, simulate social situations, work through emotions. Your trite dismissal has neither the backing of psychology nor the testimony of personal parental experience to prop it up - and it shows.

The notion that a 7 year old playing with dolls is a child who is playing with toys that are "not intellectually stimulating" and that a "smart" child of the age of seven will of course be dissecting animals and learning Zoology is patently, definitively, offensively false. A 7 year old playing with dolls is playing in a developmentally appropriate manner, not engaging in activities that are "not intellectually stimulating." But even if seven was "too old" for play with dolls to be developmentally appropriate (a proposition that I guarantee would get you laughed out of the office of a child psychologist) the assertion that "dolls are not intellectually stimulating" is simply untrue.

For example, a doll, like many/most other toys, often serves as what Vygotsky called a pivot - an object which serves to separate objects from thought. This decoupling is something which you and I learned to do so long ago that we don't even consider cognition patterns in which objects and thoughts are essentially inseparable. This mental leap must be made before the advancement can be made to concrete and formal operational thinking. Before advanced or abstract thinking patterns begin to take shape later in life, children have to make some fundamental discoveries about the world and their thinking patterns must change. Symbols, representational thinking, hypothetical "working it out in your head first" - these cognitive advances are made through play, importantly including with toys.

But dolls are not merely good for the development of symbolic thinking. With her doll, a child pretends to be a mother, a doctor, a police officer, a doctor. She gets several dolls and simulates a tea party or a day at school or a fantastical adventure. She talks to it and generates responses for it to "say" back. She pretends to feed it a cookie by holding a block to its mouth. She shares it with a peer as they play side by side. Through such play, children develop and hone cognitive/intellectual skills, social skills, and emotional skills. They develop creativity and imaginative thinking skills through role play, social play, and representational play - all of which are done both with peers and with toys. It is vital to their cognitive development. Passion for formal learning or for specific scholastic subjects is wonderful, but it does not - cannot - subsume or replace the vital role of play, particularly in this developmental stage.

It's fine that children have different interests, but to assert that playing with toys indicates a child that isn't advanced, or the converse, that NOT preferring to play with toys indicates advancement, transcends mere asininity and approaches the obscenely wrong.

You dismiss as "not intellectually stimulating" the most basic and important impulse of all children. This is damagingly wrong. I would strongly recommend learning more about child development if you are going to be working with children. To scoff at and pooh-pooh simple toys such as a doll as "not intellectually stimulating" is to clearly demonstrate a devastatingly impoverished understanding of the subject.

The only thing I sought was a discussion on the subject of the experience. It is difficult for one that hasn't experienced something to speak of the experience.

So, I will address only a few points:

You wrote: >dolls are not intellectually stimulating

The arrogance and inaccuracy in this statement is nothing short of astounding. No. Just...no.

#1: those words I used are those of the child's.  They are not providing enough stimulation for her mentally.   The psychiatrist agrees with her.  
#2: The mother finds that, providing a more "cognitive" rather then "imaginative" solution works better....she needs outside stimulation until she can develop a better imagination.  In other words, it works....
#3:  so  I am sorry you feel the need to assume so much...you seem to have taken a negative approach to me now, despite nothing having been changed.

Every book I've read on the subject on Asperger's refers to "age inappropriate interests".  

That is a different proposition entirely than the earlier blanket assertion that "dolls are not intellectually stimulating." You did not qualify that at all or indicate that *for this child* that was the case. You instead scornfully spoke of "other children" who played with them.

Let's review the conversation.

GoodHart: "most other students want to go off an play with trucks or dolls"

Lithium Rain: "But what the heck is wrong with trucks or dolls? They don't denote inferior intelligence, but different interests - a diversity which you claim to celebrate."

GoodHart: "*sigh* dolls are not intellectually stimulating...."

I assumed nothing. We spoke of playing with dolls in general - not just as concerns this girl, but comparatively as contrasted with her peers.

An individual may indeed have interests that her peers do not, but that does not mean that her peers' interests are inherently not intellectually stimulating or signs of inferior intelligence or development - which you implied in your unqualified statement.

Sorry that I was not pristine in my communication; I assumed you knew "who" I was talking about (i.e. "those"). In the case of many with AS, they are a bit slower in the "imagination out of the blue" dept. (being informationally/logically focused) So dolls do not stimulate. Although an "interest" in anatomy can stimulate interest in dolls, they are not the normal dolls one finds in the dept. store :-)

Hmmm, just as others have finally got me to not 'over examine' myself and my missives, and stop apologizing for everything....it appears there will always be those that I can not drop back and punt anymore around. Y'all are a very confusing bunch. ;-)

He takes much of what he knows from Tony Attwood's book on the subject.

He was diagnosed at the age of 40,   and as I mention above he wrote:

No one would have looked at me thirty years ago and foreseen that I'd have the social skills I have today, or the ability to express the emotions, thoughts, and feelings you read in this book

For those that do not experience it, it is hard to accept, in fact, I know of at least 2 persons that do not accept it as valid a condition at all.  But denial of a diagnosis  has a name too:   anasognosis.   ;-)

But  I am finally getting quite accustomed to having my opinions, experiences, my background, my youth, my knowledge, my very being, my life, and the diagnosis given me all discounted......I am not sure WHY  I thought it would be different here (except for among those that "do" understand).   Thanks for the fish anyways.....

But I am finally getting quite accustomed to having my opinions, experiences, my background, my youth, my knowledge, my very being, my life, and the diagnosis given me all discounted......I am not sure WHY I thought it would be different here (except for among those that "do" understand). Thanks for the fish anyways.....

Maybe you shove it on people too much ?

Only when I get flack from the minority that can not conceive that the diagnosis I received is actual.....but I should know better, I can't prove anything "over the internet". But, I do apologize if I am being irritating with this.

So people in those lines of DIY work expect to deal with eccentric people...
< looks in mirror > fair enough.

stupid cache.....reloaded my last post......anyways, yeah being it is so much a continuum or spectrum, there are most likely many MORE on the spectrum the realized......maybe we are the next step in human evolution as this is not a disease, it is a logical advantage in many cases.

Ha ha.

It can't be passed on, almost by your own definition.

Huh? I was saying it is not only being passed on, but is on the rise.

"On the rise" only because there's money in it. Like ADHD and dyslexia.

So how do these hypothetically superior anti-social instincts mesh with the requirement to be social, in order to breed ? Its hardly a survival trait.

The definitions of Aspergers seems to me to contradict successfully breeding in this "next stage of evolution". Not interacting with people ain't a helpful strategy.

Those of like "interests" would be suitable for each other.

So, true, not interacting with people that are "less loyal", insincere many times ("hi how are you? they DON'T want to really know !) and some of which have difficulties figuring out that she had pulled the plug out of the mouse, which is why it was no longer working persons....I don't see the disadvantage :-) .

We have very little difficulty interacting with one another that have the same syndrome however.

Sorry, that's not supported by the definitions of the condition you claim to have !

we are not defining a word nor an element but a SPECTRUM which has a wide ranged definition

I am not saying his experiences are not valid. I am saying that they do not and cannot provide a perspective for anything except for his personal life story.

Actually, that is not what anasognosis is. Anasognosis is a condition in which a person is actually unaware of (not "denies") the diagnosis - which is her *own*.

Anosognosia is a condition in which a person who suffers disability seems unaware of or denies the existence of his or her disability (or feigns ignorance of).  Also see Med definition where "denial" is used.

And I am not saying "I" have diagnosed anything on my own or by way of experience. Denying the diagnosis given me would be ludicrous of me at best and bizarre at worst.
  But it's ok,  I understand "why" you "feel" the way you do.  But it does sadden me a bit.

I have no idea why I continue to try to "burn water" though..... *sigh*.

Different kinds of denial. Yeah, people with this condition deny that they have some other condition. But that doesn't mean that it's the name for "denial of a condition." It's completely different from the defense mechanism of denial, which is what I was trying to say.

it certainly can and does _include_ statements contradicting the reality of the diagnosis. But it's not just a name for that denial. It is not the denial that is definitive of the condition, but the (to all perceivable measures) ignorance or lack of awareness of one's condition. This is often expressed in denial, and the denial - the patient's self-report - is about all there is to go on in diagnosis (there might be some somatic tests with reflexes and the like to test their awareness, I dunno).

If you look at that medical dictionary's definition, it's technically correct to say that the word "denial" is used in it. However, as the context demonstrates, the denial is an expression of disbelief based on perception, not of simple doubt in a diagnosis - they literally have a physiological problem so that they do not perceive the symptoms which they undeniably have. The condition is ignorance of another condition; the manifestation of the condition is the denial. Denial of any kind ("I don't have cancer/autism/diabetes/whatever")by itself does not necessarily anosognosia make.

The distinction to be made is somewhat picky, but it's the difference between saying "I don't have autism. I can't have autism" and "I literally am unable to perceive the change in my depth perception that is objectively shown to exist." It 's a specific thing, not all-emcompassing of any denial of a diagnosis. It's not defined by denial so much as a lack of awareness rooted in physical (not mental) causes - which often leads to denial, but the definitive pathology here is the lack of awareness, not the denial.

(Additionally, it's specifically your own diagnosis - not the diagnosis of someone else)

feigns ignorance of  or denial...whatever.  I was using it a bit tongue in cheek anyways .  

I have to admit, it is a little bit droll if not jocular that sharing things with friends produces this kind of feed back. As Spock would say: Fascinating.

Error is inherent in all things, even vulcanization :-D
All too often, I have found less forgiveness among those that are "completely  typical" (maker, shakers, and artists are not typical). It is illogical to hold a grudge 

I am an Aspir, and I love this book. Wanting friends, and knowing how to acquire them, are very different animals.

Yes, but it IS a learned skill.....just a lot harder for us. John had many of his down pat by age 40, the writer of "Freaks, Geeks and Asperger's Syndrome" is getting better at age 13, I was closer to 50 when I started to "get it". BTW: if you experience the co-morbid anxiety, which many do, here is a GREAT book on the sujbect suited JUST for us.