According to Simon Baron Cohen, I can´t have AS!

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marshall
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16 Apr 2009, 4:44 pm

My theory is this - people on the autism spectrum are generally less "well rounded" than NT's. We tend to be specialized thinkers while NT's are more likely to be the "jack of all trades" type. We have both strengths and weaknesses in different areas of learning but the specific areas in which the strengths and weaknesses occur aren't directly related to the autism spectrum. Being on the spectrum simply amplifies our natural predisposition to be a certain type of thinker. If we weren't on the spectrum we would still have our strengths and weaknesses but they wouldn't be as extreme. Savant abilities are the most extreme manifestation of this phenomena.

Another issue I have regarding creativity is this notion that you're either creative or uncreative. It's a bit of a false dichotomy when there are so many different areas of creativity. We just have more specialized creativity.

Being good at describing general settings/moods but unable to come up with dialog is something I can relate to.



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16 Apr 2009, 4:51 pm

Morgana wrote:
AmberEyes: thanks a lot for your post! Yes, that´s the sort of thing I´m talking about. In many ways, this person you wrote about sounds like me. You´re right; someone who´s main interests are in the arts and humanities is going to present differently, with different talents and deficits. (Like your friend, I am also really bad at math).

In my case, I really think I´m on the spectrum...it just explains too much about me, and it´s like a missing piece of the puzzle...suddenly, everything makes sense. When I did the Aspie Quiz, I got a "you are most likely an Aspie".

And yet, when I read a book that describes AS in a very conventional way, I realize I don´t fit the stereotypes at all, though I see some of the general tendencies. It´s like I don´t really fit into any "box", not even that one. Not that that´s such a big deal, it just confuses me. It makes me curious about how much (how little?) we really know about autism. Rather than focusing on finding a cure, I wish- and I really do hope- that someone is studying these things. I sometimes wonder if I have "atypical Asperger´s Syndrome", or some other kind of non-specified version.

Then again, maybe I´m just a weird person.... :lol:


Look up PDD-NOS.


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16 Apr 2009, 5:03 pm

You can practice dialogues. You can come up with your own style. I see people do this:

He was lying on the floor when she peeked through the crack in the door watching The Mentalist.

"Knock knock," she murmured, not sure if she should disturb.

"Hey. What's up" he said startled a bit. His face seemed relieved she was there.

"I just thought I'd tell you I went to the doctor," she sighed. He could tell this was tremendously hard for her.

"He told me my test came back positive."

He saw the moisture in the corners of her eyes. Subtle at first. The tears were welling up. She coughed softly, melting them away best she could.

That's one example of dialogue.

What I like to do, maybe because it's easier and sometimes I am a bit lazy about things, is this:

He was lying on the floor when she peeked through the crack in the door watching The Mentalist.

"Knock knock,"

She spoke the words instead of knocking.

"Hey. What's up?

He looked up and caught a flashes of concern in her wrinkled brow.


"I just thought I'd tell you I went to the doctor,"

"And? What did he say? Come on, tell me! Don't leave me on pins and needles here. I hope everything's okay, Jessy."

"He told me my test came back positive."

Her hand went across her mouth, she looked up, searching for the familiar line in the uneven bumpiness of the ceiling. The knot in her throat like a jawbreaker.

You can experiment and come up with your own. Do you want to rely mostly on the dialogue itself or do you want to add all that extra descriptive information? It's fun playing around and seeing what I can come up with. This is just basic stuff too. I am sure you could come up with something more creative. I need to work on it and see where it goes.



elderwanda
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16 Apr 2009, 10:11 pm

My 11 year old son is diagnosed AS. He's been writing funny, complex, imaginative stories since he was six. In fact, that's one of his special interests, I think.



ToughDiamond
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17 Apr 2009, 5:19 am

Morgana wrote:
I just read, in a book about AS and relationships, that Simon Baron Cohen has devised a list of 10 important features of AS. Apparently, ALL 10 of these features need to be present in order to have AS. In looking over the list, I find that I do not have one of these important, required features. That is:

"I did not enjoy imaginative story writing at school"

Well....I did enjoy creative writing assignments; in fact, that was one of my favorite things to do! So, I guess I am exempt...(?)


What were the other 9 criteria?

I'm not diagnosed, but scored high on the AQ test (also designed by Simon Baron-Cohen).
For what it's worth, I used to love writing stories in my primary school, though on reflection I can't recall a single one that was much more than a verbatim re-hash of stuff from my favourite televison programmes and comics. For some reason the teachers still gave me very good marks (I think they had me typecast as a brilliant "little professor"), though I do recall being criticised for heavily stretching the remit when I wrote a story on the set title of "garden birds" in which a couple of starlings were flying around in Gerry Anderson's "Supercar" trying to catch an evil spy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3k_DdaxWTd4
Totally obsessed with this ground-breaking series, I used starlings as characters instead of Mike Mercury, Doctor Beaker et. al., and that was the only deviation from what was otherwise a wholesale theft of my favourite plots from the show. When the subject matter was up to me, the title of my story was always "Space" 8)



Morgana
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17 Apr 2009, 3:01 pm

marshall wrote:


Being good at describing general settings/moods but unable to come up with dialog is something I can relate to.


Me too. I used to write just very general, basic dialogue. I was good at "getting inside the head" of my characters, though- (often based loosely on myself), and would describe their thinking processes and internal world well. I was also good at descriptions/details. Often, my creative stories were done in the writing style of whatever books I was reading at the time.


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Morgana
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17 Apr 2009, 3:06 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:

What were the other 9 criteria?


Check out the bottom of page 2, that´s where I wrote the other 9.


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millie
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17 Apr 2009, 3:23 pm

^ i do not think Autism/AS prevents one from writing meaningful dialogue. It is all about training oneself in analysis and observation of human interaction. Because we are often outsiders, sometimes we are best equipped to do this.

we can train ourselves to overcome our deficits cognitively...not all of them...but we can give it a go and i know it has worked in my case.

I do agree with Marshall's summation re types of people with AS or autism. we are individuals with strengths and weaknesses. My thing is painting - as most here know - and is has been my main obsession since infancy and continues on today as my special interest and career. It is my main life focus. What is intersting however, is that my particular approach to my work and my learning and my investigations as a painter are quite different from many other career painters I know. My approach is far more individualised and i am disinterested in "current trends" such as the present mania for hyper-realism! Apologies to any WP artists who are into that...perhaps you learned that at art school!

My point is, a more pronounced autistic person is going to pursue their own thing more doggedly and aggressively than those with a milder presentation. That is my suspicion anyway. It is the same with someone who has strengths in computers or maths. the real gems for me are those who buck against the constraints and find alternative and new ways of doing something - of exploring their special talent in a manner that is truly free and individualised. I see wonderful people with autism doing this all over the place. LabPet and Zonder and Inventor to name a few (and there are many more who access this site.)

Baron-Cohen is quite narrow about his interpretation it seems. But then, I am an artist and i have a very novel AND systematic way of learning my craft as a painter. I learn in seemingly disparate blocks and pursue an internal logic that makes utter sense to me (and luckily to my art dealer) and to very few else. I learn absolutely systematically and i tackle problems and weaknesses in my work in a systematic and hyper-focused manner - so my work reveals very disparate shifts - in accordance with my need to learn. So i do fit the bill in terms of what Baron-Cohen is saying, even if my special interest is not the geeky maths kind. (My maths extends to basic addition and multiplication and division. BUt give me a painting by any artist and i will systematically critique it and break it down for you, explaining the colour theory and mixing, the composition, the form, the content and historical context in a manner that is a little more pronounced than that of the average painter of punter! i think it is called fanaticism and verbosity in relation to one's special interest. :lol: THis ability gets me paid gigs to talk on art.)



Last edited by millie on 17 Apr 2009, 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ToughDiamond
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17 Apr 2009, 3:41 pm

Morgana wrote:
ToughDiamond wrote:

What were the other 9 criteria?


Check out the bottom of page 2, that´s where I wrote the other 9.


Thanks......I should have spotted that :oops:

2ukenkerl wrote:
Morgana wrote:
Weird, an extra emoticom appeared on my last post...don´t know how that happened...

I could have sworn I wrote an "8", but it came out as a face. :?: :?: :?:


WP, like most such forums, doesn't have dedicated emoticons. When you try to insert an emoticon, it REALLY inserts a code for it. LATER, that code is processed as the emoticon. The 8 : and ; DO look like eyes, and could be part of an emoticon code. Likewise, 0 O ) ( could be mouths.


That's the way it happened. The code for the face with sunglasses is the character "8" followed by a ")" It seems strange that the programmer didn't realise that sequence of characters was likely to be used in a numbered list. There's no perfectionism these days.

I was positive for all those things except that I don't think anybody has ever called me rude. I also had it pretty much knocked out of me when I was young. I think I can be seen as rude sometimes but people hardly ever tell me what they think of me. I don't understand why SBC thinks that everybody with AS gets called rude all the time. If you avoid judgemental people (or just avoid people) and keep fairly quiet as a rule, it's not likely to happen on a regular basis. I think he's got that one wrong.



protest_the_hero
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17 Apr 2009, 4:03 pm

I like those and I was diagnosed.



Morgana
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17 Apr 2009, 5:35 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:

I was positive for all those things except that I don't think anybody has ever called me rude. I also had it pretty much knocked out of me when I was young. I think I can be seen as rude sometimes but people hardly ever tell me what they think of me. I don't understand why SBC thinks that everybody with AS gets called rude all the time. If you avoid judgemental people (or just avoid people) and keep fairly quiet as a rule, it's not likely to happen on a regular basis. I think he's got that one wrong.


Yes, I think so too; why would ALL AS people be rude?

I have been called abrasive and "too direct" before- (though this was in the past, not anymore)- but not "rude" specifically. I think it´s odd how that is worded. People have different opinions of what´s rude, and, as you say, it depends on what types of people you hang around. In addition, it could happen that someone thinks someone else is rude, but they don´t say it. I remember that was also on the AQ test.


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18 Apr 2009, 3:59 am

Morgana wrote:
it could happen that someone thinks someone else is rude, but they don´t say it..

Indeed, if the host community's standard of etiquette were so lofty that it saw the behaviour of any Aspie as rude, then it's that very standard of politeness that would more than likely inhibit them from actually calling the Aspie rude, for that in itself would be a rude thing to say. The British middle class are notorious for their reserve in such matters. Among some elements of the working class, rudeness is pretty much an essential feature for acceptance - they'd simply return the rudeness, most likely in greater measure than it was first given out, possibly commenting on the Aspie's weirdness, but in my experience, the "gutteral" end of the working class are rarely so blatantly hypocritical as to call anybody else rude.

Anybody religiously using this list of 10 things in that way to screen for AS is going to end up with a lot of false negatives. That would mean that their invisible impairments could remain invisible for good, leaving them to face impossible expectations from society.

Perhaps Simon Baron-Cohen has been misquoted? It would be interesting to look at the primary source, or even email him and ask what his view really is on this......I find it hard to believe that somebody so obviously able and intelligent could score such a spectacular own goal. His peers would surely be quick to point out the weakness of his approach, if it is indeed his approach.

EDIT: On reflection, I now recall that I was called "very rude" once. I accidentally clipped a lady's hand with the handlebar of my bicycle while riding too fast in a spontaneous race with another cyclist. (well she was swinging it out somewhat widely as she walked). I remarked at the time that I wasn't rude at all, just a tad burlesque.. :roll: ..but in hindsight, maybe it was a fair cop. These days I try harder to resist the temptation of racing against other cyclists.



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18 Apr 2009, 3:41 pm

ToughDiamond wrote:

Perhaps Simon Baron-Cohen has been misquoted? It would be interesting to look at the primary source, or even email him and ask what his view really is on this......


It could be possible that he was misquoted. It was in a book written by a "layperson": an NT woman in a relationship with an AS husband. Actually, a lot of the information in books seems to be unofficial, and mostly from NT women writing about men...(there seems to be very little information on AS women, unfortunately. I read "Asperger´s Syndrome and Girls", but it was too short and not particularly detailed).

I was wondering if I should email him sometime, mostly because I´m particularly curious about his ideas on AS and imagination. Even in the AQ test, the questions and their answers seemed to rule out the possibility of artists having AS, or at least lowering the percentage. In addition, that question about rudeness also appeared in the AQ test, written exactly that way. So- at least based on the AQ- he must be holding to at least some of these beliefs.


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18 Apr 2009, 4:12 pm

I recall that list was on an advertisement a few years ago asking the public whether they had all these traits. If they did, it said they could get a free assessment (for AS) at the CLASS clinic, Cambridge. I think all 10 criteria were requested simply to ensure that only the very likely "aspies" would make an appointment.



Morgana
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18 Apr 2009, 5:09 pm

outlier wrote:
I recall that list was on an advertisement a few years ago asking the public whether they had all these traits. If they did, it said they could get a free assessment (for AS) at the CLASS clinic, Cambridge. I think all 10 criteria were requested simply to ensure that only the very likely "aspies" would make an appointment.


Interesting: put in that context, it has a whole other meaning. Maybe the woman who wrote the book just misinterpreted that then.

Although I´d still like to ask Simon Baron Cohen about the AQ test, as I don´t always agree with it.


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