Friday, July 30, 2010

Asperger's in popular culture

Andy from the television show "Weeds" talking about the 5 abortions he helped his girlfriends to get: "It's no big deal. For me. The ladies tended to get a little weepy. Except for Deirdre. But I found out later she had Asperger's."


  1. Asperger's or just a case of being overly rational?

    Are people born with it or do they develop it in response to environment?

    Could it in any way be beneficial or is it a burden on the subject?

  2. Hahaha. This piqued my interest because I had an abortion with no sadness, regrets or emotional or physical turmoil of any kind. Pretty sure I'm working with some degree of sociopathy, though.

    But this quote should be taken with a grain of salt because mentally "normal" women don't necessarily feel guilty about abortion (unless they've been conditioned to think it's evil until they've internalized it, I suppose). It's an easy decision for many. I once found a study claiming the most common emotion felt after abortion is relief. However, there's pressure to *act* guilty when discussing it and there's a stigma against the "evil sluts" who have abortions and don't seem sad and regretful. (Even in pro-choice communities, there's an undercurrent of pressure to prefix talk of abortion with crap like "it's always a very hard decision, and should be avoided whenever possible" as if it's sad and traumatic for everyone.)

    Thus maybe many women who act "weepy" about it only do so because they want to talk about it and know acting sad is the only socially acceptable way to talk about one's experience with abortion without being negatively judged - and the hypothetical Asperger's woman simply didn't know or care if she would be negatively judged for not acting sad. I personally just told the story and joked around about it with people I already knew would approve of my attitude. "Weeping" about it? Nah, only if I were trying to scam a Christian charity or something.

  3. Asperger's is genetic. The next town over from me has a higher than the average percentage of children with this condition and autism than anywhere else in the country. The town has housed a big pharmaceutical company for decades so it could be from that…but who knows for sure. With all the information on these conditions and adhd, none of the kids are normal around here. Any little thing that’s not normal with a kid, especially boys, gets labeled one thing or another. Instead of guiding these kids, parents try to control them with disorders and meds and all that. Some kids are just different and some parents don’t like that.
    Abortion is a whole other problem/situation.


  4. Ha Grace, abortion is not a problem - it's a solution. And an interesting one, as I got to see for myself what all the political fuss was about.

    Much like ADHD, I don't find the label of Asperger's as useful as others because it's overdiagnosed and trendy. Sure, there are people who meet the criteria and the now-overplayed stereotype, but how many of them actually have a lifelong unchangeable condition that's on the autism spectrum? I suspect many people labeled Asperger's by professionals or themselves aren't in that camp, as there's more than one potential reason for the behavior they exhibit (anxious awkward phases, limited practice socializing coupled with anxiety, etc.).

    But that's the problem with DSM diagnoses based entirely on outward behavior, like ASPD and Asperger's. Taking the woman in the Weeds quote as an example: her behavior could be sparked by drastically different motivations. Maybe she was genuinely clueless that her reaction would be considered socially inappropriate, as is assumed of someone diagnosed with Asperger's. Maybe she didn't care what he would think or do. Maybe she had a reason for it and was trying to shock or unsettle him with her "callousness." But it seems a lot of psychologists these days have no insight into motivations and merely tick off boxes based on behavior, which cannot really tell us what causes the behavior and how long it will persist.

  5. Special little snow flakes.

  6. I heard of the show but never watched it so I don't know anything about the characters. If Deidre's reaction comes from lack of emotional intelligence then the abortion would be the least of her problems…it’s just a byproduct of it. What's Andy's deal with getting so many women pregnant? Maybe he's got Asperger's.


  7. I have Asperger's myself and Yes, Ive had it all my life. It cant be Asperger's if one hasnt had it all ones life. There has been times in life thou where ive copped better than others as with Asperger's one often learns how to become an "actor" in ones attempts to blend in with a society one truely dont really inside fit in with. When under stressers, acting is harder to do and the Asperger's starts to more show.

    The not being upset due to being told to have an abortion.. I'd like to say that cause of no tears, dont mean at all that that Asperger's women was not upset. Many with Asperger's dont cry, they cant cry or they dont know how to cry. Crying dont come naturally to many with Asperger's, I sometimes loose my ability to cry, but that dont at all mean that I are not feeling very distressed and upset inside.

    So many equate not crying with not being distressed. This is very wrong as far as Asperger's people go. (its the same for us with smiling.. some of us dont know how to smile, that dont mean thou that we arent happy). Psychologists have told me I sometimes have all my facial expressions wrong.

    The not crying thou also could of indicated that she wasnt all that upset. Those with Asperger's can be very black and white. Her brain may of been thinking "I had no choice but to do this, it wasnt really wanted, it's gone now so Im just moving on with life". Aperger's person may of seen no reason to cry after the fact.

    1. My very first thought (as one of those possible-auties who never got a professional label) was that it's pretty presumptuous of the guy to imply the Aspie girl was not distressed because she showed outward signs different from the neurotypicals.

      Sometimes my mother tells me about the clients whose records she had to process at the drug counseling center. She tells me about all the horrible things that happened to them that made them turn to drugs. She tells me, "I thought I'd heard everything, but when I read that, I broke down and cried." I just sit there. I don't cry hearing the stories. I don't think my face even changes. I feel depressed and helpless and infuriated about the things I just heard, but I just sit there. Sometimes I feel like there's something wrong with me for not crying, but there's nothing I can do about it.

  8. It also does not tell us if the behavior is an adaptation to environment that may be desirable. To call it a syndrome is to call it an undesirable adaptation.

    Abnormal yes, but it may be necessary to be abnormal to survive in todays environment. To be average usually means you have no specialized skill, talent, ability, but you are the center of the bellcurve. Anyone who is not at the center of the bellcurve is abnormal and can be diagnosed with something.

    The only time I see it as a problem is when their behavior negatively affects their life and they want to change their behavior but can't. I don't think ASPD, ADHD, or Aspergers fit into that category because these people would be perfectly fine if other people weren't telling them something is wrong with their behavior (their inability to conform). I think with autism you have some kids who can't read and write, or can't talk or communicate at all, this is very different behavior because not being able to talk is a fundamental problem and not the same problem as not talking enough, or not talking to enough people, or talking too much.

    About not crying, I don't cry either. I don't see how it's a big deal as a lot of men don't cry. It seems to be expected that women (and men) are supposed to cry in certain situations, this is part of a social ritual that you should go along with, but how you feel has nothing to do with what you display. I don't think thats a syndrome, I think it's just a way of thinking about human interaction that isn't very common. You can see that it's all an act, I can see it's all an act, part of an elaborate ritual with no real purpose, but most people enjoy these acts on an innate level and if you don't enjoy acting then something might be wrong with you.I see it as being unnecessarily dramatic unless you can gain in some way by shedding tears.

  9. The only way to know what someone feels is to ask them. And maybe scan their brain through polygraph or fmri lie detector device.

  10. Savagelight: "I don't think ASPD, ADHD, or Aspergers fit into that category because these people would be perfectly fine if other people weren't telling them something is wrong with their behavior (their inability to conform)."
    I agree 100%! But raising these children can be very difficult. My generation is the one raising them and I can tell you that we are dealing with a new kind of parenting. All of these disorders have surfaced more in the past 20 years and we still don't have a good education system set up for these kids and how to parent them can be a mystery. There is help available but it's expensive...counseling, special activities and so on. Not to mention the extra time a parent must give to them so they are not made to feel less loved or different. There is so much more to it and it's a shame that a good majority of these kids will grow up not realizing their potential and their gifts will never be recognized. If they are treated like a duck then they become one. My son has a seizure disorder so he has some quirky behaviors; he’s growing out of it, though. He is in private school and then tutored after school because he needs some more time to learn the material..with the exception of math. He just gets it more than the other kids, he is 7, but reading comprehension takes him time. I never tell him he's bad because he's not. I'm the one who has to stop and rethink my approach. It’s hard though because I see how the other boys are and how easy their parents have it. Bottom line…If I don’t believe in him then he will not believe in himself either.

  11. Grace it's not parenting that has changed, it's the lack of time spent being a parent that has changed. Previous generations had a full time parent who was always home to deal with these sorts of problems. Mom was always there to look after the kids and solve these kinds of problems, it is/was a full time job back then.

    Now there is nobody. Parents expect the school to solve these problems or people other than themselves because they have to work. It's really simple, it takes time, effort, and adaptation to raise a child. Each child is different, thinks different, learns in a different way, and the one sized fits all education system does not fit every child, it's designed only for the children who fit in the center of the bell curve which means not so talented that they are a genius and not so dumb that they are retarded, but right down the middle.

    If you have a child who has talents along with ADHD or Aspergers these talents will go ignored while the school and system focuses on syndromes, problems, and disabilities. The only person who can recognize your childs talents are you, you are the one who is around your child, who raises the child, and you are the one who has to spend the necessary time or money to teach your child to take advantage of his or her individual talents regardless of what the school, the society, the system, or other parents have to say. If your child is aspergers for example but a genius at math, it's you who must tell your child to focus on what they are most talented at. Some people aren't ever going to be good as all around students, in fact most people who are talented aren't well rounded, but to not be well rounded isn't a problem, the problem is not being talented because in the real world if you are exceptionally talented you might actually invent something or do something great, while if you are well rounded but mediocre you may not have any talent besides getting good grades and conforming, and this can take a person far but it wont make a person great.

    So what I'm saying is ultimately your childs education is entirely up to you. Nobody else loves your child but you. So don't rely on other people to look after your childs best interest, either you will do it or nobody will.

  12. Yes Savagelight I believe what you're saying. My son is great company…we do fun together. I do spend time with him especially to help him stay at the same pace as his classmates. Without a good education…forget it. The private school he goes to has made some effort to work with him....because his math scores contribute to their terra nova marks. I'm broke because any money I have goes into him. He's a competitive swimmer and a black belt in taekwondo and he's only 7. I'm doing what I can to give him a good sense of selfworth. He knows how proud I am of him. I hope it all works for him...he says he wants to be a chef when he grows up and I'm all for it.

    I just don't see many other parents with kids like my son doing the same and they think I'm nuts.


  13. @Grace you should push your son to be better than his classmates. The fact that he's a blackbelt is a good start as this will prevent him from being bullied. If hes good at math it might be helpful to introduce him to physics, computer science, engineering, or other books and videos so that he can watch the video, work out the math problems, and teach himself.

    You have to figure out what hes interested in and describe it in the language of math, if you cannot describe it in the language of math then find out what hes interested in and find a video which can explain it. Never assume he has any intellectual limitations, just feed him as much information as he can absorb at an unlimited pace so that only his own ability and motivation is the limit.

    It might be a good idea to introduce him to computer programming for example. You can start with a language like basic. Don't worry about what other parents think, only worry about what your child thinks.

    At 7 your child is capable of becoming anything, there are no limits. If your child can understand the language of math this is the language you train/education with. If your child is not good at reading, videos will work. If you want to provoke the imagination, audio tapes work for this as it will teach the child to visualize in the minds eye. Most of all you want to make sure the process is fun, when a child is 7 their learning potential is unlimited as long as the learning style is that of a game and not the style adults learn. I would recommend video games that require different kinds of thinking, and that which could be competitive so your child builds confidence based upon intellectual competition outside of the classroom setting. Tetris, Chess, Real Time Strategy, Role Playing Games, Fighting Games, anything which can get your child to develop his thinking while also activating the parts of his brain associated with fun.

  14. Thanks for the suggestions! I like the audio suggestion..that sounds fun for him. I never thought to expose him to computer programs! That's interesting. I will check it out.

    He loves video games but I don't let him play anything violent. Jaws has been on a few times this summer and he has been asking me about sharks. Then he had a few nightmares about it. I have to watch this kid because he has a temper and he isn't the most social boy either. But he sure is lots of fun.

    He has this funky behavior issue I can't quite get. For example: if you opened a door to walk into the store and he were on his way out he would just push his way past you and he has no idea that he just committed a very rude act. He doesn’t seem to consider there are other people around. I have tried to teach him these manners but he doesn't get it. In other situations he's fine..has good restaurant behavior, he orders his own cute…sharing can be tricky sometimes. It's like Deirdre in the post. I tell him and he says oh..sorry...but he still does it. This silly little thing concerns me for some reason.


  15. "But this quote should be taken with a grain of salt because mentally "normal" women don't necessarily feel guilty about abortion (unless they've been conditioned to think it's evil until they've internalized it, I suppose). It's an easy decision for many. I once found a study claiming the most common emotion felt after abortion is relief. However, there's pressure to *act* guilty when discussing it and there's a stigma against the "evil sluts" who have abortions and don't seem sad and regretful. (Even in pro-choice communities, there's an undercurrent of pressure to prefix talk of abortion with crap like "it's always a very hard decision, and should be avoided whenever possible" as if it's sad and traumatic for everyone.)"

    You are correct that not everyone is negatively affected by abortion, or by any other kind of experience that everyone is supposed to find traumatic such as rape.

    The problem with the rest of what you're saying is that it makes no evolutionary sense, because human instincts to continue pregnancy evolved naturally (just think of how a pregnant woman naturally holds her stomach when she falls).

    The fact that many hunter gatherer populations used abortion and infanticide when it was ecologically neccessary to control their numbers, as well as the obvious similarity of human abortion and infanticide to the infanticide that occurs in other animals when they're under stress, merely confirms that if it were not for an inborn revulsion to certain acts then humans would have gone extinct long ago.

    Not surprisingly people promoting abortion have had to resort to Orwellian language to disguise the act, something which was noted by George Orwell himself. If people had no innate revulsion to the behaviour then there would have been no need to persuade people that abortion is not unnatural. Its pro-abortion principles that have to be internalised into women by human societies, not the other way around.

    I'm diagnosed as Dissocial and when I first learned what abortion actually meant, it just seemed unnatural to me IMO. And that was a pure gut instinct, not just some social norm I picked up. Of course God knows what I'd feel afterwards if I literally needed one for medical reasons, though. Relief?

    As for post-abortion feeling relief... well what do you think people feel after killing anyone who is a problem to them? How many killers feel remorse before the police catch them? The ones who felt genuine remorse hand themselves in, so as abortion is legal with no consequences, I'd expect most women successfully internalised to override their gut instincts actually won't feel remorse.

    As for Aspergers people, its been said they don't show it but they can be 'crying inside'. I assume that relates to how people don't seem to recognise my feelings either until I explode lol.

  16. It's interesting I found that I started learning new subjects very fast as an adult when I turned them into games.

    Why do we change the format to make it more bland? Even if not consciously thought about there truly is no such thing as "it's just what we do". Could there be someone who has an interest expressed subconsciously here in people being fixed in their potentials by adulthood? Thank God, I learned how to cheat it.

    One simple thing to do would be to create text-variation in everyday textbooks as far as size and font style goes in order to catch and keep the reader's attention. It's been proven this grabs people's attention in advertisements, so why not use it for education?

    Back to the abortion issue, and to some of the other comments. Yes, Aspies can cry. Although likely having Asperger's myself there's been many times I wanted to cry and the tears just didn't flow, conversely I sometimes go off fantasizing and tears start flowing for entirely different reasons.

    Also, we can be pro-choice or pro-life but what ever position we take we're less likely to be conflicted about it as we have very low tolerance for cognitive dissonance and try to resolve that and make our views logically consistent. This is not to say we aren't open-minded(though some of us aren't just like NTs sometimes aren't), it's to say that for example someone is unlikely to say something like "I believe it takes a life, but it should be her choice"(as this translate directly into "I believe abortion is murder, but in this case of murder it should be legal". If an Aspie has an abortion you can bet they have no fears about abortion being "murder" at least in that point of the pregnancy, and if it's not a "person" entitled to rights then it's just a clump of tissue and nothing to cry about. When we think it's a person with rights we don't go to the abortion clinic in the first place, unless it is as one of the protesters.

    There's also another factor. Maybe the other women were socially crying, they cried(and maybe even felt bad) because they were socially expected to do so. Deirdre wasn't aware of it(may have encountered it or even observed it at points though, sometimes we have trouble recalling social information even when we've already learned and even practiced it, what matters is whether it comes to mind at the right time, there's been many times when I've realized I have committed a faux pas far after the fact) or was aware but didn't care or cared the other way(she may have been thinking, they will expect me to cry obviously, over what? a piece of tissue, crying just helps the religious right in its quest to ban abortion, no way am I going to cry).

  17. Aspies should be aborted before birth. You are doing them a favor if you do. My cousin has it and has had a miserable life. The very few people who have aspergers that do succeed are not the norm.

  18. I am working with a guy who says he has Asperger's, and while he does appear to have some of the symptoms (ie. doesn't concentrate well in public places, lacks facial expression, talks in a monotone), it seems like most of his quirks are more typical of socios: seeks control over others (the ones who work with him well are co-dependent), succeeds in high-stress sales jobs, manipulative, lies... what makes him impossible to work with is that it's his show. If you're not bowing to his greatness and letting him make decisions (ie. if you have a brain of your own) he hates it.

    He's not socially awkward, doesn't have obsessive hobbies (except work, I suppose), is a good communicator. He has a good sense of humor and tells jokes, which I've heard is unusual for Aspies.

    Can anyone shed light on whether this seems like Asperger's or sociopath? Or both? Thanks!

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