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Asperger's and IT

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Asperger's and IT

Somewhere on the autistic spectrum or just interested in joining the discussion? Let's talk

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Holmes

Re: Asperger's and IT

hehehehehe. Yeah. Sounds quite a lot like me.

The days and weeks I've lost to seeing if I can make some piece of code or script that much more efficient or easier to run.

Joy of joys my role now involves how the source control is arranged, used, the naming conventions, the change control processes, the release process, the testing process and the code auditing process.

And designing and writing the inter-process document exchange specifications and the user interface design (but not the styling because who gives a crap about what it looks like? Except I got to come up with a method of divorcing design and implementation of content from design and implementation of style) and database design and how to increase coding efficiency (can you believe that people don't understand why duplication is bad?!)

And how to get multiple developers to work on the same project AND talk to each other AND not try to kill each other! It's like herding cats!

Holmes because the devil's in the details and I don't care what you think about how long it's going to take

So yes, I may be somewhere on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

Quite honestly, what was described in the article could easilly be applied to any IT guy that is worth his salt. I reckon that most of us know the pains and pleasures of coding all night long, skipping meals and social life. It is very easy to become addicted to coding or to any other practice and completely ignore all around you and I would not consider that as any reason to believe that someone has Aspergers Syndrome.

I find that this Aspergers Syndrome has become an ecxuse for some IT guys not to spend the effort in developing their social skills. Most of this will be seen later in life that same person loses interest in that particular activity.

Reading some of the comments on ElReg about Aspergers really make me believe that some of you guys actualy "want " to be diagnosed with this problem. This article is a fine example of this case.

The definition of Aspergers is so vague and so large that it is almost impossible to really define who suffers and who doesn't. Aspergers is a syndrome, therefore ii is a collection of symptoms, and most of the articles that I read on El Reg only appear to discuss very individual symptoms on a very singular basis.

Some of the symptoms : difficulty with speech, anxiety, depression, sensory deficiency. narrow interests, delay in motor skills.

So unless there is a unusally high proportion of El Reg readers displaying several of the above mentioned symptoms, there must indeed by a problem with people wrongly diagnosing themselves..

I think it is about time that Aspergers Syndrome stopped being brandied about as though it was some kind of medal to earn.

Those that truly suffer from the problem will recieve less help due to it becoming a banality.

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Meh

Re: Asperger's and IT

Well at least awareness is increasing, my girlfriend was diagnosed late in her educational career and had a *VERY* unpleasant time before that.

From what I've learnt over the years it seems to be something like this:

It's a spectrum, or scale. Starts at zero (I guess?) and goes all the way up to Rain Man.

Everybody's on it and that's why EVERYBODY associates with it.

Now, a syndrome is defined as "The association of several clinically recognizable features, signs, symptoms, phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one or more features alerts the healthcare provider to the possible presence of the others." (wiki) and I've read more (which I can't find ref to) which states that when dealing with autistic spectra and important criteria is that it "affects the individual's quality of life"

Got a few of the symptoms? Having a nice life though? Good for that person.

Wait, it's probably a bell curve isn't it?

Er, so if Rain Man's on one side who's over on the other side?

Some sort of person who can't focus but is some kind of empathic psychic?

There's a comment a few blocks down about Cancer Research UK.

That's makes me want to find those people give them the full Rage o'Clock.

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Gold badge

Re: Asperger's and IT

I find the Aspergers discussion difficult. Because I've dealt with 'Rain Main', but don't know anyone who's diagnosed as having Aspergers, although several who might be there-or-there-abouts - depending on how widely you draw the net.

But it makes it hard for me to comprehend, because it's supposed to be a spectrum. But when you've dealt a lot with someone who's profoundly autistic, it's hard to see much cross-over. Rain Man had the courage not to have a happy ending, but still had that hope of improvement running through the story. That hope is depressing by it's absence when you're dealing with autism every day. Also you're liable to find yourself getting punched/kicked/bitten/scratched a lot more than that film, and in my experience playing a lot more piano...

I guess I need to read up on it more. It's hard to deal with these graduations on a scale. Rather like ADHD and just not having much of an attention span. For lack of any physical/chemical means of diagnosis we're stuck with trusting the head-pshrinkers to get it right.

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Pint

Re: Asperger's and IT

Seems to affect cops, too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

Umm, before we roll off this track we need to distinguish between functional and non-functional autism.

Non-functional means not being able to interact with society at all, but Aspergers is on the functional side.

I have it too. I'm crap at relationships, but *seriously* good at electronic security and counter surveillance, to the point where I just look at something and see the flaws, like a picture. When I say "good", it's the observation of others who keep telling me this. For me, it's not that easy or a reason for pride because I have no real control over this - it's who I am. I don't have some switch I can throw - I am always on. The moment I walk in somewhere, the moment I get a design, it happens all the time.

Sometimes I think I actually would like to switch things off for a while.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

Let's bring in some logic to the thread.

I don't like people, I am shy, I am not great at conversation, I am ugly, fat, or both and I feel awkward around people, and any of a thousand others reason for not being social. ( This subset probably represents at least 70% of the population, if not more ).

Because I do not spend time with people I spend time doing my favorite hobby. IT, Electronics, watching TV or whatever eats your fancy.

What this then means is that I have the time, very few distractions, I can read up, educate myself, thrive on internet forums and becoem good or even very good at my chosen subject etc etc etc .

I presume by now, any of the intelligent readers know where I am going with this.

Then I read the something about someone that I can relate to, Garry McKinnon for example. Before Garry McKinnons case Aspergers Syndrome was never ever spoken about in the IT community. It just so happens that is becomes Garrys principal line of defence.

Suddenly we have IT guys / geeks / nerds who are popping out of the woodwork stating that they too must have Aspergers Syndrome simply because they themselves feel as though they are in the same situation. Sorry guys you are not in the same position.

Well guys sorry to say this but is is time you grew up and broke out of your shells because what you are really suffering from is another problem more commonly known as "Shyness". And your apparent skills are nothing more than the signs of someone who has studied a little more than usual within a particular field.

Garry McKinnon was certainly no ace in IT by the way, he was on par with a script kiddie, so he is not even a good role model.

Also before any of you go on about what you "THINK" you might suffer from, please take my advice. NEVER ever diagnose a psychiatric or psycological problem of this nature on your own. Either you go get analysed by a professional, and they are not easy too find ou cheap, or STFU.

This thread is like reading a ME TOO or an "attention seekers" forum. I find it strange that so many of you are very open about your problems in a public forum and seem almost pleased to annonce yourselves as being sufferers of AS. If Gary McKinnon had severe schizophrenia I am sure that there would be a lot less of you spouting on about your pretend problems.

Some your commetns are absoultely lamentable, go back an read some of them, it's like reading the "help me Doctor Ruth" column of those 1970s women mags.

As mentioned earlier, you are making the world a hell of a lot more difficult for those that really do suffer.

Either you really have been diagnosed by a professional or you haven't, if you haven't then let those that have do the talking.

This may come as a suprise, there are actually vey few people that are comfortable and that don't feel awkard speaking/standing in front of others. It takes courage to break down those barriers and it sounds as though a lot of you are lacking the balls to grow up. There might be one or two in this forum who actually do have a recognized case of AS and of those that are, I can easilly imagien how pissed of they must be whilst reading some of these comments.

I ain't Spartacus hint the nail on the head when he mentioned having worked with a real Rain Man. I am convinced that if most of you met someone who truly suffered from AS you would most likely crawl back into the woodwork.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

Just to add to the above comment, here is a little YT video on a text book case

PBS Independent Lens Asperger Syndrome

And you guys really want to make us believe that you are similar to this guy, I very much doubt it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

Regardless of someones actual medical condition, we all have pain and problems to deal with. If your going to pull the "your not suffering as much as the next guy" card, at least do so politely and with a little care.

I have family who are in the Aspergers spectrum, and damn, people like you saying "oh, your not as bad as that other guy on tv" are the WHOLE problem that prevented them getting help in the first place.

So no, we are not all suffering from cancer, but that's no reason to kick someone who says "I might need help in some areas too" on occasion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

TL;DR

I agree with you but if you had read my post carefully you would have read the following

"As mentioned earlier, you are making the world a hell of a lot more difficult for those that really do suffer."

I am not arguing about those that really do suffer, I am arguing about those that think they suffer without having any real idea of what they are talking about.

And no, I am not kicking anyone that does truly suffer. I am kicking the "me too " crowd, those that don't suffer at all, those that abuse the very very very low end of the spectrum.

Most of us actually fit in the lower end anyway. I personally do not know anyone that does not suffer at some point from a variety of the symptons, although only for short perdios of time, it's actually normal for normal people. I also dont know anyone that does suffer "continually" ie a true AS.

People need to stop looking for reasons to be treated as suffering from one thing or another. We all suffer from at least one psycological problem or another, . I consider this situation as a manifestation of just how sick our society on a whole has become. Those that truly need help have difficulty getting it, those that can probably help themselves are jumping about all over the place seeking attention.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

Well, you don't have it.

Too many typos. No attention to detail.

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Boffin

Re: Asperger's and IT

I don't know why you would post anonymously.

I do agree that there is a difference between functional and nonfunctional autism.

My wife would swear that I'm borderline autistic. While I would laugh it off, she was the one who made me take an ADD test and when talking to her doctor, it became apparent I do have ADD which went undiagnosed for 40 years. (While I do exhibit some traits of Aspergers, I also exhibit traits that show that I don't have it. And yes, I did speak to my wife's doctor about it.)

To your point, because you can recognize a pattern that no one else sees, doesn't mean that you have it.

I don't mean to belittle you, because I think its important that you recognize that you are you and it appears that you are comfortable in your own skin.

However, I think that we shouldn't trivialize autism. Many of us have some of the traits, but we would never be classified as having been diagnosed with Aspergers.

If you think you have it, you probably don't but it would be wise to talk to a mental health professional. (Read Psychiatrist) They can then make the correct diagnosis.

I share your pain, but its not Aspergers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

However, I think that we shouldn't trivialize autism. Many of us have some of the traits, but we would never be classified as having been diagnosed with Aspergers.

If you think you have it, you probably don't but it would be wise to talk to a mental health professional. (Read Psychiatrist) They can then make the correct diagnosis.

I share your pain, but its not Aspergers.

Diagnosed. I wasn't talking about a me-too Aspergers (there's also OCD and ADHD, but that's mild enough not to be too much of an issue), I was talking about what it does that bugs me most. I have learned to live with not being able to form relationships and being "odd", but the inability to switch off the analytics is sometimes a pain.

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Gold badge

Re: Asperger's and IT

I must dissent. ADHD is not "mild." It may manifest as mild in the overwhelming majority of patients...but the very same thing is true of Asperger's. ADHD can be a crippling, life-altering mental illness that sets you apart from everyone in the world and prevents you from living a normal life. Undiagnosed and untreated it can - and does - lead to depression and suicide.

I have very severe adult ADHD. I was incredibly lucky to have recieved novel, experimental treatments as a child. They changed my life...and the lives of millions of others.

First was a series of therapies that introduced to me meditation - first guided and then unguided - which allowed me to be able to attain a level of functionality that someone with ADHD like mine rarely achieves at such a young age. (I couldn't stand Ritalin or Dexedrine; they made me feel emotionally deadened. They changed my personality and I didn't like it.) This lead to being one of the people testing the early prototypes of the neurofeedback equipment that would eventually go on to become a front-of-line treatment for ADHD that now helps most people manage the illness.

Combined with ritual abuse of coffee (you still need stimulants, damn it!) I am a relatively high-functioning ADHD adult. But I am not - and I never will be - "normal." There's something just slightly "off" about me. I don't follow a single train of thought, certainly not with the intense focus of an Aspie. Instead, I follow hundreds or even thousands of trains of thoughts simultaneously. I examine all outcomes to an event at the same time.

This makes me particularly good at research but terrible in large groups. Understand me when I say I cannot block out stimulus occurring around me. That's the true pain of someone with deep ADHD. The average person can stand in a crowded room and focus only on the conversation they are participating in; look only at the person speaking. I cannot do this.

If you put me in a room with 50 people having 25 conversations then I will hear and simultaneously process all 25 conversations. Worse; my brain will run rampant, running predictive analytics on the conversations around me, analyzing body language, dress, social moores, even lighting cues to see how all of the affects everything from an individuals breathing to their choice of words. Show me a flock of birds and my mind will attempt to establish trajectory and velocity for each member. I can not turn this off. I am lacking that portion of my brain.

Conventions for me are physically painful. This year I am going to PuppetConf, VMworld and Spiceworld. I cannot describe in words how much I do not want to go to these events. They will beunending migraines that I can guarantee you will quite literally reduce me to weeping by the end of each day.

And yet, it's part of the job. This is part of living and working in a "normal" world. I am considered a "high functioning" ADHD individual, so much so that most people would never know that I had it. So for me, it isn't bad. It is something I can live with. Many others have it much worse, often because it went untreated.

ADHD isn't "mild." Not at all. It is something you can learn to live with...but someone with ADHD will never be "normal." That - and the stigma that goes with it - is the most damning thing of all.

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Silver badge

Re: Asperger's and IT

I'm sorry that you're fat and shy.

But yes, I do agree with your point.

If you had Aspegers, you're not shy. Shyness implies that you're afraid of reaching out. People with Aspergers don't feel the need to reach out and relate to others. They don't think in those terms. Its not important to them.

BTW, I may be wrong, but the real rain man that the character was based on, wouldn't be classified as a high functioning autistic individual.

There are high functioning adults with Aspergers that probably hadn't been diagnosed because they are capable of living on their own and functioning in society.

And again, to you point, yes one should talk to a Psychiatrist if they feel that they have any mental health issues.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

I have very severe adult ADHD. I was incredibly lucky to have recieved novel, experimental treatments as a child. They changed my life...and the lives of millions of others.

My own son had ADHD so badly that it was getting to the point where we were considering the whole chemistry set and I can tell you that that is a devastating position to be in as a responsible parent. Because I had already started confirming my theories and development with 3rd parties (and because the treatment has been confirmed non-harmful to people who do not have ADHD - always plan for misdiagnosis) I took in the end the decision to help my own child, with good results. We're now 10 years further and there is still no sign of remission.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

The vast majority of aspies have never been diagnosed because the diagnosis service is not available. I like the UK's NHS it does a lot of things really well. Adult psychological assessments are not one of those things. I've requested an evaluation and been referred to community mental health teams in two different London boroughs. In neither place could they offer me anything more than a warm handshake and a smile. Neither borough had any facilities for assessment of adult autism or Asberger's.

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Re: Asperger's and IT

Agreed on the patchy nature of the diagnosis service:

My (then 12-yr-old) daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers some 5 years ago, but only because someone at school noticed the effects it was having on her in class, so she was referred to a suitable centre and the rest is history.

I had a (brief) conversation with my doctor at the time about what I could do about being assessed myself: I was having a "me too" phase if people insist on calling it that (but I prefer that they didn't) as I share some of her traits, but all he could say was that I'd have to arrange it privately (not that he knew of anywhere local in any case) - so I left it at that, other than to sign us up with the Autism Research Centre to help them with their research.

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Thumb Down

Re: Asperger's and IT

I think you are wrong on several points, and why do you even care if people are self-identifying as having Aspergers?

While I work in IT and may exhibit some of the characteristics you'd classify as part of the 'trendy' diagnosis of Aspergers I know that I don't qualify for a diagnosis. I have two young sons that have been clinically diagnosed as having Aspergers and I have experienced exactly why their disabilities are different from mere introversion with a touch of arrogance and social indifference or awkwardness. It also means I'm pretty sure I have worked with some Aspies in IT, and have encountered them more often in technical roles than otherwise.

Also, just to be clear there are actual clinical distinctions between Aspergers, Autism and ADHD (and its variants). Just because you don't understand them (e.g. 'difficulty with speech' is *not* characteristic of Aspergers) doesn't mean they are not real.

I don't give a toss whether some social inverts use 'Aspergers' as a convenient label, I'm glad for my sons' sake that awareness of Aspergers in society is improving and they might be treated more kindly in their lives than was the case in the past.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Asperger's and IT

"The vast majority of aspies have never been diagnosed because the diagnosis service is not available. I like the UK's NHS it does a lot of things really well. Adult psychological assessments are not one of those things."

Have you tried contacting NAS, the National Autistic Society? Pretty sure they can help. You're mistaken when you say the diagnosis service is not available, it is.

http://www.autism.org.uk/about-autism/all-about-diagnosis/diagnosis-information-for-adults/how-do-i-get-a-diagnosis.aspx

Their contact number is 0808 800 4104

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Silver badge

Good article

Good article. Good writing. I am wondering what are the prejudices mentioned, and how they could affect clients business ?

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Re: Good article

Hi Jim,

Thanks for reading. Like most IT Professionals I've encountered situations where they have a bad experience with a particular piece of hardware or vendor. Unlike most IT professionals I have a tendency to hold a grudge. Fortunately I'm more self aware than most with Asperger's so I understand that this can happen.

For example: I loathe Sony. I don't have any reason to loather Sony, other than that I had a bad experience with a Sony Mobile phone in 2007. Unfortunately because of that I will never buy anything Sony produces. Ever. This is bad for my clients because it means that even if a Sony product was the best solution to a particular problem, I am highly unlikely to recommend that product because of personal issues. I don't forgive easily and I don't forget. The Sony issue is just an example though. They don't make hardware or offer services that my clients are likely to use so its one that I don't have to give up. ;-)

Having said that I have developed checks and balances that are designed to defeat my personal prejudices. So far it's always worked. I won't ever rule out a product, service or vendor simply because of my personal prejudices. Regardless of how I feel I will always do whats best for the client. After all, they are paying.

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Re: Good article

If it helps I'm happy to list other reason why Sony are shit.

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Rol
Bronze badge

Re: Good article

I agree, great article.

I see IT has having opportunities a plenty for disabled people, especially those who's social skills would crack under the strain when placed in a customer facing role or worse, a boss who measures your prospects with a social yard stick and not a competence metric rule.

I spent several years battling through my role as A&E receptionist and dreaded every shift as nothing can prepare you for the socially negligent bursting into your face with all manner of self importance.

I was "affectionately" referred to as the "human computer" as regardless of what was ranting in front of me I would continue to enter their details on the computer while talking on the phone to a consultant and taking delivery of several xrays from a passing porter. Only after I had completed my shift would the negativities of the day take their toll, negativities I had managed to suppress so I could continue providing a service for the many who relied on me doing my job. Obviously the time bomb was ticking and the inevitable breakdown occurred.

Today I work for a disability charity, I earn a lot less, but I have never been happier.

I get to do what I'm good at in an environment I have defined for myself, I don't answer phones, I don't cover reception, I'm expected to get everyone's name wrong at least once a week and because my IT skill set is beyond most, I am allowed to get on with it unchallenged. Happy days indeed.

It's a shame our tertiary economy throws up millions of jobs where on a low pay you are expected to have the social skills of a saint when confronted by the usual disrespect shown by the general public.

IT has opened doors for those of us that yearn to be successful at work, but are not adept at the social graces necessary to advance a career.

Thank you Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace and all for giving me the opportunity to be happy at work.

..and although I have not been diagnosed with Aspergers I certainly do find the article very relevant to my experiences and probably must accept I am somewhere along the curve.

Max said it in a nutshell "Aspies for freedom", well he didn't say it, he wore it and if you don't know what I'm talking about, you need to find the animation Mary & Max, a quiet couple of hours to yourself and a box of tissues..... (for your tears you sick people)

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Pint

Re: Good article

"...I would continue to enter their details on the computer while talking on the phone to a consultant and taking delivery of several xrays from a passing porter..."

@Rol and the OA

I raise my glass to the pair of you.

Enjoy your work!

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Meh

Re: Good article

In IT, having Aspergers isn't really a disability. (Assuming you're talking about high functioning individuals)

They may have difficulty in communicating with the pointy haired types and non-IT folks, but they are 100% capable of getting the job done, if not 150% capable.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but if the guy/gal can do the work, fit in to the team... that's enough for me.

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Re: Good article

Lucky you. In my job it has always been nigh-on impossible to avoid users and managers completely. Fortunately my case is quite mild(1) so I very rarely tell people to their faces just how bloody stupid they are. (And that's just one way that an Aspie can screw up a social interaction.)

But I have to admit, IT is the best you can hope for if you have high-functioning autism, because you can get to spent the majority of your time working with hardware and software not "wetware".

(1) Mixed blessing, that mildness. I am very high-functioning, which makes my life easier. But that very mildness makes it difficult to spot, so I went 38 years without a diagnosis(2), when early diagnosis would have improved my life significantly.

(2) As mentioned up-thread, a proper medical diagnosis is vital. Without it, you may only be suffering from "Assburgers", which is a condition where a self-diagnosis of Aspergers is used as an excuse for otherwise-unacceptable behaviour.

(3) Can I petition the Forum Management Gods to allow superscripts in postings. Footnotes are more fun with them! (Or is there a way and I'm just missing it? <sup>1</sup> doesn't work, as you can see.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good article

Current thinking within the disability sector is that people aren't disabled. Society is disabled to the extent that it fails to accommodate the needs of some people. So if in some teams an Aspie would be unable to function that team is disabled. A team should be expected to make "reasonable adjustment" to adapt its way of working to find a role for the Aspie.

I am now at the point where I recruit and manage coders. I know that there are significant benefits to be gained by hiring some high-functioning Aspies. But they have to be managed differently from other team members. (Well actually every team member needs to be managed differently to every other team member.) If I can keep the rest of the organisation off of their backs some Aspies I know have done great work.

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Gold badge

Re: Good article

Current thinking within the disability sector is that people aren't disabled. Society is disabled to the extent that it fails to accommodate the needs of some people.

That's a dangerous line to take. Often bordering on the delusional, or sometimes a genuine case of 'PC-gone-mad'. For example, there have been cases of deaf parents trying to argue that the they shouldn't teach language to their non-deaf child, because deafness isn't really a disability, the problems are caused by an uncaring society.

Similarly the whole differently-abled thing.

If you can't walk, and need a wheelchair to get around, then you have a disability. No mealy-mouthed use of language gets around that. It shouldn't define you, nor does it make you any less valuable as a person, but you have a physical impairment meaning that you can't do the same things as most other people.

In my case, I can't read the top letter on the eye-chart. My eyesight is so poor that technically I count as blind, or at least used to (they've changed the way these things are defined in the last ten years - so I don't know). I have somewhere between 5-10% of average vision, I understand it's not possible to be more precise than that with current measuring methods. By any sensible measure, that's a disability.

Society could do more to help, like making things clearer, not using brown text on a brown background, not writing menus and train timetables in tiny letters 20 feet up on walls, etc. But it's my problem as well as societies. I have to deal with the fact that I can't drive - which isn't society's fault. You could argue that it is equally society's problem, and so I should be given massive amounts of cash for free taxis or something, but then that's nice for me - but arguably rather unfair on other tax-payers.

Equally with other disabilities, compromise is needed. Society needs to improve, and is improving somewhat. Prejudice needs a lot more squashing, and facilities need to improve (and are, slowly). But should we hack historic buildings up in order to get wheelchair access? Or should disability rights take second place to heritage? Similarly people with Aspergers need understanding from society, but also need to learn (and make the effort) to integrate as much as they can. It's not going to be easy for either.

This is an area where compromise and discussion are needed. But woolly and wishful thinking doesn't get us very far in doing it.

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Coat

"my lack of functional empathy it is like juggling chainsaws over a pit filled with crocodiles while it rains acid."

Why not use the chainsaws to fashion a nice crocodile skin coast to keep the acid rain off?  Good article though!

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Unhappy

Coat! Damn you, COAT. Stupid predictive text and an eye infection make for bad spelling.

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Happy

@Red Bren

I've had the predictive text correction algorithm uploaded to my organic interface so I read it as COAT anyway until I saw your correction. So it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

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Trollface

Ironic

Of course, the description from the Wikipedia article is not quite correct. The symptoms it describes include physical clumsiness which is a product of a similar condition called dyspraxia. Also, Asperger's Syndrome is no longer a recognised diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders version 5 (DSM 5, the latest version).

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Big Brother

Re: Ironic

"Asperger's Syndrome is no longer a recognised diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders version 5"

From what I have heard, that merely indicates there are not profitable drug therapies for it.

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Facepalm

Re: Ironic

Really?

After 40 years of not quite getting 'life' I was finally diagnosed with Asperger's last year. And was promptly sacked when I told my employer. (that's dealt with, amicably).

So now I'm back to square one with '...[he has] no valid excuse for his behaviour and actions other than being a bloody minded, stubborn hellion of a child who will find no place at this school or in society if he doesn't buck his ideas up very quickly indeed..." as one teacher so eloquently put it when I was 7.

It's too hot for a coat, I'll just go, then, shall I?

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Thumb Up

Re: Ironic

Hear! Hear! Upvoted many, many times.

The inclusion of a condition in or its exclusion from DSM 5 has everything to do with economics and nothing to do with therapy.

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Bronze badge

Re: Ironic

........... and fashion.

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Go

Re: Ironic

Most of the similarity is that they're both caused by faulty wiring. In that sense, most brain disorders are similar. My opinion on this is that the co-diagnosis of dyspraxia with autism is likely to be just an artefact of the diagnostic criteria rather than a feature of the disorder. That is, the dyspraxia symptoms are actually just symptoms of autism that fall into the bracket of dyspraxia. The more things you get diagnosed with, the greater your priority for learning disability support.

Autism tends to cause problems with whole-body coordination, like playing the drums. That might be a manifestation of the diminished capacity for multitasking that autism causes or it might be problem with filtering the neural impulses used for muscle control; autism impedes your ability to attenuate sensory inputs down to a level where your brain can interpret them so it might be the case that it has a similar effect on neural output. Anyway, enough waffle and conjecture.

Being a consultant sounds like a pretty dire role to be in if you're autistic; you're constantly dealing with people you don't know and, more importantly, who don't know you. The only 2 positives I can think of are that autistic people tend to be pathologically honest and some actively enjoy dishing out knowledge day and night. Maybe someone else has the biggest car but you'll have the fullest brain in the room when it comes to the subject(s) that you deal with.

The Trevor Potts article mentions that IT purchasing tends to be preventative; you go for the thingy that seems the least likely to blow up and take a chunk of your business and capital investment with it. The same applies to the suppliers supplying the thingies; you'll lean towards ones who seem like they'll remain in existence for the duration of the support contract and who will be able to provide useful support rather than belming down the phone at you.

At this point struggling with reading social cues, emitting some weird social cues yourself and panicking or blanking when you get into a social situation where you've no idea what the appropriate response is will make it difficult to build a rapport with the client and gain their trust. Not making appropriate eye contact (a classic autism symptom) will actively make them subconsciously distrust you if they haven't dealt with you for a long time.

However, autistics can have an inadvertent advantage; they're crap at bullshitting so they tend not to try, thus preventing them from setting off people's bullshit detectors. Over time, that can create a rapport based on the client's perception of you as a last bastion of truth.

Feck, that was long.

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Re: Ironic

(Thanks for the thumbs ups!)

I should point out that far from being the abject failure the (now deceased) teacher predicted, I'm IT Manager at a large company and am doing pretty well for myself.

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Re: Ironic

I can vouch for the Dyspraxia. It exists, is real, and is at times, quite frustrating.

As for being a consultant (I loathe the term quite honestly) you would think that it would, in and of itself, be totally wrong for me. Sometimes I wonder that myself. If I was an Enterprise Consultant, where ego stroking is everything, well frankly I'd be S**T out of luck. But I work with SME's. One thing I've learn't about SME's is that they don't have the time, inclination or money to reject me simply because I'm a bit different. All of the clients that I have are willing to look past my quirks because, up until recently, all of my new business has come from word of mouth referrals.

We Aussie's have a peculiar tolerance for the (somewhat) brash, blunt and excruciatingly honest. I haven't had any complaints about that yet, at least not from clients. Dodgy IT firms on the other hand...

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Re: Ironic

It's the general opinion of most actual scientists in the field ( as opposed to educational psychologists and Ritalin salesmen) that the DSM is about as sceintifically accurate as the Malleus Maleficarum and about as clinically useful

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Re: Ironic

@wigginsix,:re Ironic

hear,hear. Never work for yank multinational. Their PHBs hate anyone not a craven bootlicker and willing to shade facts.

Always was odd child, and when I discovered nerds and geeks, after years of being of a loner, not by choice, bang, a peer group. IT was a natural fit, despite none of the multiple aptitude tests I did over the years ever suggested computing as a career. On the upside, as I got older social interaction got easier. Perhaps working in small non-western cultures helped as they seemed to have the same difficulties in dealing with the white clerks too.

Thanks for well written article. My feelings about work precisely.

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Boffin

So how would one request you to cease speaking on a topic?

In as polite and effective a manner as possible?

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Re: So how would one request you to cease speaking on a topic?

Thats usually that way yes. :-)

It sounds quite bizarre, but I've noticed while self-assessing that the more uncomfortable I feel in a given social situation, the worse the one-sided verbosity can be.

I'm getting better at recognising it which allows for some measure of controlling it, but everyday is different.

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Re: So how would one request you to cease speaking on a topic?

I tend to tell people that if they want me to stop/change subjects to tell me firmly that 'That's enough of that subject". I'm not going to be offended as I KNOW I go on but you have to be clear about it and say what you mean as if you use a euphemism or just hint at it I'm really unlikely to notice.

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Re: So how would one request you to cease speaking on a topic?

Hope things go well Woodgie. It's hard to work against such false labeling. By brother taught himself to read once out of school. So a lot of good they did for the "misbehaving" child. If just one person actually sat down to help him, as they did with my dyslexia, he'd of been in a much better situation.

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Re: So how would one request you to cease speaking on a topic?

I had an interesting variant of that problem. As a student I was a high-achiever, so as long as I got good marks I was excused as just being "high-strung" and "eccentric" instead of "a troublesome brat".

It might have been better if someone had paid more attention, because then they might have spotted the Apergers, or even the epilepsy that was the root cause of the violent temper-tantrums. Or not. 30 years ago, in a backwards country like South Africa, I doubt anyone would have spotted it anyway.

Today it seems schools have swung the other way, by over-diagnosing and prescribing Ritalin at the drop of a hat. But if you can achieve a proper balance, the correct administration of medication, coupled with cognitive and/or occupational therapy, can improve the lives of so many children.

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Real-lifers

My missus works with kids that have Aspergers and all sorts of degrees of Autism.

One kid couldn't do maths well, but he could tell you about design principles, load structuring, heights, spans, just about everything about all the major bridges in the world. Fixation indeed.

Another kid was very stressed/upset, but you can't just sit down and talk to them, they just don't like eye-to-eye contact, so she put 2 chairs back to back, 1 facing the wall in which she placed the child. She then got a Post-It, draw a smiley face on it and stuck it on the wall at eye level of the child and sat down in the other chair. "Talk"she says and he did.

Everyone is different and therefore 'strange'. These people are just more different.

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