Asperger’s Links


Having Asperger’s Syndrome has been described as feeling like you are from another planet, or suffering from culture shock in your own culture.

Until my mid-40s, I had no explanation for why I never seem to fit in. Due to Asperger’s Syndrome, I find all relationships difficult and confusing, and can be counted on to say something inappropriate despite my best efforts. I have been bullied, and have also hurt people I never intended to hurt. I live in a constant state of anxiety/hypervigilance beneath a veneer of impenetrable calm, obsess about a subject until I know absolutely everything there is to know about it, yet struggle to concentrate on subjects which do not interest me. I am too uncoordinated and overwhelmed for any sport except solitary walking, running or swimming. I never understood why I was so bright in primary school yet could not cope at all with high school and eventually dropped out, why I was fired from a few jobs, and yet why I have gifts that keep me in work. Asperger’s brings with it many difficulties but sometimes also some excellent gifts.

Discovering this later in life (there were no diagnoses until the early-mid 1990s) meant a degree of confusion, suffering and isolation in my younger years, but it also meant I had to keep up with the “neurotypical” world, having no diagnosis to fall back on as an excuse for not trying. Things that seemed to come naturally to most people, I had to learn from scratch. My experience of life was like being the only person on stage who was not given the script. Non-verbal means of communication were not only a language I did not speak, it was a frequency I was almost totally unaware of. The kinds of misunderstandings now common in online communication were a constant source of bewilderment for me in live social situations.

Autism is described as a “spectrum” disorder which includes Asperger’s, but Asperger’s differs from it in a couple of major respects: Language skills are not impaired, and in many cases are well above average; and whereas those with autism often have no desire for interaction, those with Asperger’s do, yet find it exhausting, difficult, or even impossible in the long term. A meeting or some other social engagement most often requires a period of recovery in isolation. However, the human brain was built for further development, so even with such a developmental disorder, in most cases a great deal of change and improvement is possible.

Chances are you know somebody with Asperger’s (you know, the one who rarely makes eye contact, or with whom conversation is a bit like a one way download of information on their obsessive interest). Males are easier to spot, since females “present” very differently, an area which is only now coming to be understood. If you do, here are some links to articles and videos related to the syndrome, focussing mostly on adults, which I have found helpful or interesting.

This quiz uses the same questions many psychologists use in diagnosis. If you are older, like me, and have had some success adjusting to the “neurotypical” world, you might want to answer the questions as “then” (your childhood) and “now.” Of course, an actual psychologist is better able to rule out other possible causes.

Tony Attwood – ‘Australian Story’ (video)
Professor Tony Attwood believes the “out of the box” thought processes of people on the autism spectrum will solve the world’s big problems. He is credited with being the first clinical psychologist to present Asperger’s syndrome not as something to be “fixed ” but as a gift, evidenced in many of the great inventors and artists throughout history. But while Professor Attwood has reached the top of his field, he reveals in this episode of Australian Story the personal cost of a missed diagnosis in his own family. Early in his career, he didn’t see the signs of Asperger’s in his son Will. The consequences were devastating for everyone.

CATALYST: The World of Asperger’s (video)
Professor Baron-Cohen: “Well, the theory is that autism may be an extreme of the male brain; And the idea is that people on the autistic spectrum may simply be an extreme of the typical male profile such that their ability to empathize may be below average, but their ability to focus on systems may be above average.”

Could It Be Aspergers? (video)
Presented by Professor Tony Attwood at the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People Seminar in Sydney.

Clay Marzo: Just Add Water (video clip)
Dr. Tony Attwood and Dr. Chitra Bhakta

In His Element
Clay Marzo is a prodigy in the water, but on land he struggles to keep up.

The Benefits of Asperger’s Syndrome
It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential” – Hans Asperger

Living with Asperger’s Syndrome – Adults
Many adults with AS appear to have a very high level of functioning—but what does that actually mean? How is it that some adults can present so well? Adults with Asperger Syndrome grew up before the diagnosis existed in the United States; it appeared in the DSM-IV in 1994. The diagnosis may not have existed but the adults did—and they needed to find ways to survive.

German IT Company Hires Autistics (video)
People with Asperger’s syndrome often have above-average mental skills but problems in dealing with other people. It is a form of autism that can make it difficult to hold down a job. But that’s not the case at one company in Germany. They are being hired out to work as IT consultants and especially to use their gifts for concentration and logical thinking to correct mistakes in new computer programs. Al Jazeera’s Nick Spicer reports from Berlin.

Tony Attwood speaks at the 2013 AAIC Conference, Canberra (video)
Terrible sound but informative and very entertaining lecture.

The Growing Concern of Suicide and High Functioning Autism
Stephanie C. Holmes, MA, BCCC, Certified Autism Specialist

Hugh Ross – Advice for Adults with Aspergers (video)

Asperger Syndrome in Adults: Let’s Look through a Broader Lens
By Jamie Freed, MSW

Asperger’s and Depression: Inside a Common Paradox
By Nomi Kaim

Asperger’s 1944 article summarized
Paul Cooijmans

Adult Asperger’s: The Relief of A Diagnosis
By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Did Jonathan Edwards Have Asperger’s?
Blog post by James Bradford Pate

Why This Startup Hires Employees With Autism
Research suggests they can have heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, but many adults living with autism and Asperger’s are thwarted by job interviews that test their limited social skills and workplace environments that are unprepared for their literal-mindedness and unrelenting attention to detail.

Prof. Tony Attwood in conversation with Autism Care UK (video)
A chance to hear from a world leader in Autistic Spectrum Conditions. Tony discusses Autism Friendly Environments, Transitions, and what he would do to make society more Autism Aware.

Interview with Tony Attwood in Rome (video)
Questions are in Italian, but answers in English with subtitles. Worth putting up with for the answers.

How Cognitive Theories Can Help Us Explain Autism (video)
Uta Frith, Professor in Cognitive Development at the University of London, looks at a whole causal chain of step-by-step explanations for autism.

Autism: The First Fifty Years | Mind Brain Behavior Distinguished Lecture (video)
Uta Frith, Harvard University

Paul Erdos: N is a Number (video)
The man made of maths

Autism and Visual Thought
Chapter 1 of Temple Grandin’s Thinking In Pictures.

Temple Grandin: The Autistic Brain (video)
Grandin’s most recent book, “The Autistic Brain,” presents the latest physiological research and charts the shift from neurological to genetic approaches to the condition. Grandin shares this new work with her trademark intelligence and accessibility.

Adult with Asperger’s Syndrome (video)
Michelle Vines present the feature talk “Life as an Adult with Asperger’s Syndrome” at the Houston Oasis Gathering on June 8, 2014.

Approaching Autism Theatrically: Stephen Volan at TEDxBloomington (video)
Until Stephen Volan was diagnosed in 2002 with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 37, he had no way to address his difficulties navigating the minefields of society and the workplace. Holding jobs, maintaining close relationships, or reading faces and body language were all exercises in paralysis-inducing doubt and frustration.

Michael John Carley: The Comic/Tragic Politics of the Autism/Asperger World (video)
Complete video from April 12, 2011. The event was for Columbia University Center for Bioethics’ 9th Anniversary Herbert G. Cohen, MD, DOS Memorial Lecture in Neuroscience.

Simon Baron-Cohen: Scientific Talent and Autism (video)
Various claims have been made that Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein had autism. How valid are such claims? And leaving aside these two specific giants in the history of science, is there any truth to the idea that autism and scientific talent are not wholly independent of one another? That is, that scientists as a group have higher rates of autism than one would expect from chance, or that people with autism have a facility for thinking scientifically? In this talk, evidence is considered from experiments with both scientists and people with autism spectrum conditions. The connection between autism and scientific talent is discussed in relation to a psychological theory, an endocrine theory, and a genetic theory.

Autism, Sex and Science: Simon Baron-Cohen at TEDxKingsCollegeLondon (video)
Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the Director of the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge University and a Fellow of the British Academy.

Why is Autism More Common in Males (video)
Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge and is also the Director of the Autism Research Centre (ARC) in Cambridge. His current research is testing the ‘extreme male brain’ theory of autism at the neural, endocrine and genetic levels.

Interview with Lorna Wing (video)
Prof. Christopher Gillberg talks to Lorna Wing, founding member of The National Autistic Society, about her thoughts on autism.

The Hidden Autistics – Asperger’s in Adults
Cary Terra, M.A., LMFT

The Hidden Autistics II – Asperger’s in Adults and Empathy
Cary Terra, M.A., LMFT

Asperger’s Lecture (video)
Lynn Mitchell of Asperger’s Association of New England talks about Asperger’s Syndrome, how to recognise it and how to live with someone affected by this syndrome.

Jo Case on Asperger’s Syndrome: Identity or Illness? (video)
Articles and commentaries on Asperger’s Syndrome are rife with references to the ‘condition’, ‘sufferers’ and ‘disability’. But many people who live with an Asperger’s diagnosis — for themselves or their families — experience it as a difference, not a disability. Jo Case, author of Boomer and Me: A Memoir of Motherhood, and Asperger’s, tackles some myths head-on and tries to untangle the knotty issues around Asperger’s, drawing on personal experience.

Secrets of the Creative Brain
A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness.

Andy Warhol Documentary (video – adult themes)

David Finch’s life with Asperger’s through the lens of a news camera
By David Finch, ‘The Journal of Best Practices’

Dan Harmon talks about Asperger’s Syndrome (video)
Dan talks about his relationship with aspies Community fans and the meaning of Abed’s condition within the show. (Some course language)

Accurate Assessment? Asperger’s Disorder, and Other Common Misdiagnoses and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children – James Webb, PhD (video)
Many gifted children are incorrectly diagnosed as having emotional disorders. Other diagnoses are actually more common among gifted children, but are often overlooked. Because few psychologists, pediatricians, or other health care professionals receive training about gifted children, this session offers information about characteristics of gifted children, frequent issues that arise, and guidelines to distinguish whether a child is simply showing gifted behaviors or suffers from disorders such as ADHD or Asperger’s Disorder. Because some disorders are more frequently found in gifted children, additional focus is given to these dual diagnoses of gifted children.

ABC Science Show – Living With Asperger’s
Radio documentary including analysis of the link between Asperger’s and whistleblowers.

Life After Diagnosis (video)
Dr Richard Smith discusses some common Dilemmas for Adults with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASCs).

Could Your Boss Have Asperger’s?
By the time she learned of her disorder, she’d been fired repeatedly. How did someone with such poor social skills develop a thriving career?

3 Things you need to know about people with Asperger’s
Asperger’s remains a useful way to categorize people with very low social skills and very high IQ — and a high rate of manic-depression and suicide.

Somewhere Inside, a Path to Empathy
It wasn’t working, any of it. Our third year of marriage threatened to be our last. I’d become cynical and withdrawn, obsessive and preoccupied, dismissive and unhelpful.

Parallel Play (video)
Tim Page discusses Asperger syndrome and his book Parallel Play.
Asperger’s Association of New England.

Tim Page: Living the Classical Life (video)
Tim is a Pulitzer-winning music critic, the leading authority on the American author Dawn Powell, an omnivorous consumer of music in all forms, a film buff and a professor at the University of Southern California. He is also an articulate, acutely self-aware struggler with Asperger’s Syndrome, a symbiotic biographer of the late Glenn Gould, and a lovely man who collects friends with the greatest of ease.

Paddy Considine On Asperger’s Syndrome (video)
Actor/director Paddy Considine talks about having Asperger’s Syndrome, BBC Radio Front Row December 2011.

Paddy Considine: Knowing I have Asperger’s is a relief
Award-winning actor Paddy Considine talks for the first time about being diagnosed with Asperger’s – at the age of 36.

Autism: How anxiety affects everything – Sarah Hendrickx (video)
Autism and Education Conference, 12th December 2013.

The Power of Autism (PDF)
Recent data — and personal experience — suggest that autism can be an advantage in some spheres, including science, says Laurent Mottron.

Asperger’s and the Emotional Cage
People with Asperger’s can seem emotionless, but in truth they often find themselves unable to express their emotions.

My Inner Life with Asperger’s (video)
Alix Generous is a young woman with a million and one ideas — she’s done award-winning science, helped develop new technology and tells a darn good joke (you’ll see). She has Asperger’s, a form of autistic spectrum disorder that can impair the basic social skills required for communication, and she’s worked hard for years to learn how to share her thoughts with the world. In this funny, personal talk, she shares her story — and her vision for tools to help more people communicate their big ideas.

Steve Silberman: The forgotten history of autism (video)
Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism. In 1975, 1 in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum. What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to “a perfect storm of autism awareness” — a pair of doctors with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test. But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944. Because it was buried in time, autism has been shrouded in misunderstanding ever since.

Does Our Teen Have Autism-related Catatonia?
In mild and moderate cases, parents often describe their teens “slowing down” or appearing depressed. Sometimes, they become “stuck” when trying to initiate a movement. For example, a teen might walk up to a doorway then freeze when it’s time to step over the threshold.

The Neurodiversity Case for Free Speech
Censorship kills creativity, truth, and progress in obvious ways. Without the free exchange of ideas, people can’t share risky new ideas (creativity), test them against other people’s logic and facts (truth), or compile them into civilizational advances (progress). But censorship also kills rational culture in a less obvious way: it silences the eccentric.

Share Button