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Nomic
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25 Oct 2006, 11:06 pm

Okay, so basically what we have here is a social forum for people with Asperger's Syndrom. The only common trait, by definition, is that they have a diagnosis of being "dissabled" due to their challenges in socializing with others. How is this suppose to work? Or rather, what does "work" mean in this context? Isn't it simply doomed to failure by trying to construct a contradiction? If the web site is at all successfull as a social forum, it is truely made up of people with AS?

And what's the point of labeling yourself an "Aspie"? Some people seem to wear this as a badge of honor; as though it makes them better than the NT's who think they are jerks and characterize them as "dissabled" because of NT's inability to understand AS mentality. But by labeling yourself, aren't you saying that your social identity is defined by a diagnosis that you have serious difficulty in relating to others? Then, by getting any better at socizliating, does this astricize you from your identity? Then isn't it entirely counter productive to identify as an Aspie?

I might suggest that a diagnosis of having serious trouble relating to other people isn't what's special and interesting about AS. It's the other qualities; the way your mind works and has positive outcomes. But the diagnosis is not defined in positive terms; it is defined by a dissability that severly impacts your ability to function in the world around you.

I'm really quite curious and would like to hear people's honest opinion about this.



Sophist
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25 Oct 2006, 11:10 pm

There is a difference between having socializing difficulties and being completely asocial. No human on earth is completely asocial unless they're a vegetable.

And it seems that "Aspie" forums have worked so far. So as far as a contradiction, I don't see one other than if you take a "social disability" as an absolute.


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Ticker
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26 Oct 2006, 2:23 am

The forum works because it allows people who are intelligent and often lonely and isolated a chance to communicate without the problems of eye contact and body language that usually gets in our way. That said I'd say there are people on here that aren't AS, but are just lonely, bullies or like to stir up a little trouble.

Aspergers is a very large spectrum. For some people it is an ability and for others it's a disability. One could say the same thing about being hard of hearing or any other medical, mental or developmental problem. People are affected differently by it.



stripey
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26 Oct 2006, 5:03 am

Let's not forget how serious AS is, many AS people try and commit suicide,self mutilate,suffer from severe depression,many will also go on to develope secondary traits such as OCD,Tourettes, bi-polar.

So if you want to wear AS as abadge of honour and it helps you cope so be it.



MrMark
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26 Oct 2006, 5:44 am

I'm mildly impaired, but I'm not disabled.


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Nomic
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26 Oct 2006, 9:10 am

Sophist wrote:
There is a difference between having socializing difficulties and being completely asocial. No human on earth is completely asocial unless they're a vegetable.

And it seems that "Aspie" forums have worked so far. So as far as a contradiction, I don't see one other than if you take a "social disability" as an absolute.


Fair enough. So might I conjecture that the social difficulty is with NT's -- people who have seriously different ways of perception from AS -- that there exists a problem. That is, AS to AS is perfectly fine in relating to eachother and in general a peson with AS desires social interactions. Thus it makes sence to gather in a forum where a 1 in 1,000 condition can be considered the norm.

Yet when I browse the section on computers and math, I find it's turned into more of a help desk. People post mundane questions about their computers or homework and have others diligently explain the specific answers and why they are correct. Is this really a social forum? Again, is it "working"? And again, what does it mean for an AS forum to work? Possibly this could mean that if the AS people who participate feel that they have achieved social connections with eachother on the forum, then it works. Is it really working for you? I don't mean to be critical; I'm curious. This is important to me. I expect it does work for you, otherwise you wouldn't be here so often to have gone beyond "emu egg".

In my mind this enitre forum seems contradictory. It's mere apparent existance then is an anamoly. This suggests that my understanding that leads me to believe its a contradiction is wrong in some important way (this is usually the case when I encounter problems), or this forum isn't actually a social forum. That is, people don't actually have the social interactions they desire, but at least have little badges that make them feel better. Certainly parcicipating in a technical help desk is of little social value if it only leads to more mundane technical questions.



Nomic
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26 Oct 2006, 9:34 am

stripey wrote:
Let's not forget how serious AS is, many AS people try and commit suicide,self mutilate,suffer from severe depression,many will also go on to develope secondary traits such as OCD,Tourettes, bi-polar.

So if you want to wear AS as abadge of honour and it helps you cope so be it.


You have no idea how well I understand that.

But what happens as the person with this badge of honour learns how better to cope with the NT world? By portraying better social skills thus betray them as no longer belonging with their social group? Then I expect this badge has really become a time bomb. Eventually it becomes your own worst enemy.

I'm sorry; I'm talking from personal experience. I've had many friends who distanced themselves from me when I no longer "fit" with their concept of norm. You think its depressing being alone? Try having a large circle of friends only to discover that not one of them would stick around when life changed. I'm not trying to talk you out of something that is working for you. I want to understand better why it is working for you.



fernando
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26 Oct 2006, 10:03 am

On the one hand, the forums work because aspies are not 100% socially impaired, there are still many social skills we can handle very well, especially for those who spend all day isolated, like me, and thus have a lot of social enery unspent.

On the other hand, the forums are very weird. You could almost say they don't work. There are barely some conversations a day, the rest of posts are aspies trying to impose their opinions like they are the law, missunderstandings happen every minute and no one seems to notice them, (and might I add that aspies suck at giving advice), I've been to forums for NTs and it's definively a different thing. I get the feeling here we are all equal (save for Alex The All-Mighty), while on NT forums there is always a social hierarchy and a sense of belonging and everytime a new guy gets there the locals get defensive... To sum it up: NT forums are like social conversations among living people, Aspie forums are like reading a book with many authors.


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pluto
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26 Oct 2006, 2:53 pm

[quote="Nomic"]Okay, so basically what we have here is a social forum for people with Asperger's Syndrom. The only common trait, by definition, is that they have a diagnosis of being "dissabled" due to their challenges in socializing with others. How is this suppose to work? Or rather, what does "work" mean in this context? Isn't it simply doomed to failure by trying to construct a contradiction? If the web site is at all successfull as a social forum, it is truely made up of people with AS?
quote]

It depends on how you define the term 'social'. Many people with AS are friendly and have no particular problems relating to others in situations where we feel comfortable
(like this forum). If however we are placed in a crowded,noisy bar or we are thinking of
taking relationships to a more intimate level,then that is where we don't have the same
'pre-programmed' natural abilities.That's not to say we can't cope,things just have to be done intellectually rather than instinctively and it often seems like an awful lot of effort.
As it's a spectrum condition,we all have varying degrees of difficulty in coping with different situations.In the past I've found myself going from a fairly normal,charming
person into a blithering idiot depending on the circumstances !
As for accepting a label like 'Aspie' ,the fact is that due to AS being a lifelong condition
there is little to be gained by trying to pretend it isn't there.In my experience that only
causes more anxiety.In the same way that bipolar can be managed by medicines,AS can be managed by trying to take a positive attitude as much as possible.One of the reasons I think this forum works is that Aspies find writing much easier than talking
face to face.There are no distracting facial expressions or hand movements to try and interpret.



Fraya
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26 Oct 2006, 3:01 pm

Quote:
NT forums are like social conversations among living people, Aspie forums are like reading a book with many authors.


I think that pretty much sums it up.

Also you should keep in mind that while AS does make verbal communication difficult, paradoxically it often causes hyperlexia as well.

In short the communication problems dont apply much at all to a written medium.

I believe if aspies come here and feel comfortable speaking without fear then its working just fine. The how or why doesnt matter. AS is in itself a contradictory condition so contradictions are pretty normal for us. Only NTs seem to have some sort of need to reconcile them while we seem to be able to leave them as is. At least I know I can believe two mutually exclusive things at the same time without a problem but NTs seem to have a problem with it *shrug*.

As for the computer subforum its populated by people whos obsession is computers. They enjoy talking about them, explaining solutions to problems and generally utilizing their knowledge.

There may be little value to it from a socializing perspective but to the aspies who frequent it, its a valuable outlet where they can let loose with the AS stereotypical rambling on about their favorite subject without any complaint (and actually using some of this obsession-derived knowledge to help people is strangely satisfying and perhaps vindicating?).


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walk-in-the-rain
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26 Oct 2006, 3:19 pm

fernando wrote:
To sum it up: NT forums are like social conversations among living people, Aspie forums are like reading a book with many authors.


I also think that is a good observation.

There are alot of people on this site who post regularly so it must be working in some way or else that wouldn't happen. NTs are by nature more sociable - conversation friendly - and so even their posts on message boards tend to reflect that. If you post facts or comments without all the fluffy sentiment than they can get distressed thinking that you are "implying" some sort of dislike. Also - there is often a certain heirarchy that a person with AS might not understand or might not have an interest to try and fit into. So I think an Aspie forum works out quite well - even for NTs who are looking for a break from all "validation" that seems to be needed when a group of them get together to talk.



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26 Oct 2006, 5:20 pm

This is the perfect "medium" for me to connect with other humans.I am actually interested in what people think,their life experiences,their opinions.I have a very strong need to express myself,also.
I have tried the chat room but it often moves to fast for me and I still feel "nervous" about saying the wrong things.I like watching topics and seeing how they evolve and I find several people here either insightful or amusing.I am one of the least social people I know but I enjoy answering and reading others comments.

When I first heard about AS I assumed that it was people who didnt want to connect with others.Now,I see it as wanting to connect without losing "yourself "in the process.As far as sharing "information"....that is also connecting and showing caring for others.It doesnt matter if your sharing information about your past to show that the person is not alone with their problems or sharing how to reboot their computer...it comes from the same desire to "help".Whats wrong with that?


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markaudette
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26 Oct 2006, 6:54 pm

I have a social phobia. And it's so bad that I am on disability because of it.

When I'm out in the public, I might as well be on Mars. The only thing I can do is pay devout attention to what I'm doing. That's the only way I can stay focused.

Being out in the public can be very, very taxing. I can't relate to a damn thing.



MishLuvsHer2Boys
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27 Oct 2006, 2:15 pm

Nomic wrote:
In my mind this enitre forum seems contradictory. It's mere apparent existance then is an anamoly. This suggests that my understanding that leads me to believe its a contradiction is wrong in some important way (this is usually the case when I encounter problems), or this forum isn't actually a social forum. That is, people don't actually have the social interactions they desire, but at least have little badges that make them feel better. Certainly parcicipating in a technical help desk is of little social value if it only leads to more mundane technical questions.


Then if it makes no sense to you, why would you bother? I come here to interact with others and learn more about myself through others that share similiar challenges and all. This isn't the only forum of its kind for those on the autism spectrum, there are at least 3 or more easily I know of. Making assumptions and generalizations often lead to being misinformed and generates a misplaced bias as well. Seeking knowledge is part of being social... some seek knowledge, some seek companionship, since you're here you must be seeking something as well as most won't seek out forums if they aren't looking for something that they may partake in and take from the forums for their own benefits.



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27 Oct 2006, 2:30 pm

It is different here to other (NT) forums I've visited, but I feel much more comfortable here.
I like the way people give each other space...no-one jumps down your throat if you don't perhaps put things accurately, or just want to add a small comment. You don't have to justify your comments all the time and no-one laughs at you. It's free and easy and it's the only forum I've ever felt comfortable posting to.