By Lawrence Osborne

Asperger's hasn't ever been truly outlined, bordering autism on one aspect and excessive intelligence and verbal eccentricity at the different. The ailment is a type of cultural lightning rod. First, it is a situation onto which we undertaking the very genuine and well-founded fears of social isolation inherent in psychological ailment. but in addition hooked up to it's a type of admiration and envy and (among those that be afflicted by Asperger's) one of those elitism, a feeling of being one of many go with, in a global quite often peopled via neurotypicals.

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Extra info for American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome

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The most interesting part of the intelligence tests that Asperger set for his young charges was what are called comparison exercises. The child is asked to explain the differences between two simple elements such as stove/oven, stairs/ladder, or fly/butterfly. The replies of Harro to these questions particularly intrigued Asperger because they mixed up objective observations with personal memories and feelings in a seamless, dreamlike way. Harro’s answer to the fly/butterfly contrast is well worth quoting in full, because it shows what Asperger means when he talks about his children differing in their perceptions from normal children.

They were complete humanists, as interested in art and culture as they were in science. The notion that a doctor, or any scientist for that matter, should also be a man of culture at a high level, permitting these domains to filter into each other, now strikes us as quaint, if not downright inappropriate, even bizarre. Nowadays, would we even have faith in any expert who was not narrowly and obsessively specialized? We demand that our doctors be technicians. But to someone like Asperger, the pretension of claiming to heal minds would have seemed bogus in a doctor not familiar with manifestations of human nature over a wide spectrum.

Had he been like Fritz or like myself? Had he been fractious, malicious, or pedantic, or had he obeyed every rule to the letter? And I then recalled that when Darius McCollum’s mother was asked what she remembered most about Darius’s childhood, she had replied that another boy had stabbed him at school so badly that during class he had to sit with his back to a wall—in other words, at the back of the class. It was clear, of course, that the riddle of the Mindblind lay in their childhoods. For it was as children that they first developed their special sense of apartness and separation: the pursuit of the mystery of Asperger’s, therefore, would not only be a quest for the elusive nature of normality, it would simultaneously be a pursuit of the mystery of childhood.

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