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How prevelant is Autism/Aspergers Syndrome in the IT field.

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How prevelant is Autism/Aspergers Syndrome in the IT field.

Locrian_Lyric
I've been wondering this for some time now.

I am an individual with AS (Asperger's Syndrome).

On some autistic/AS sites I am on, I noticed that many folks (I'd say upward of 60%) with these conditions who are functional, work in the field of IT.

Looking at this from the other end, I'd like to know how many of you either have these conditions or work with people you do?

I'm just curious, though I have my suspicions.
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    edwardwstanley

    Currently the studies to even prove such a condition (AS) is real, are few and non definitive.

    Futher, making someone's personality a medical condition seems a slippery slope.

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    tdambra

    I had not heard of "AS" until I saw the TV show, Boston Legal, which draws a very sympathetic and accurate portrayal.

    Giving a set of behaviours a clinical name is not a bad thing, as it allows the sufferer to make sense of a pattern of very distressing behaviours and social dysfunction, which of themselves can lead to further personal trauma.

    In Boston Legal, Allan Shore's nuanced and sympathetic pr?cis of the condition, places the condition in context. Jerry Espinsen is a loner, with a strong technical bent, a genius with archane detail, and a perfectionist, who feels most comfortable alone at his PC, studiously avoiding any social contact. Sound familiar?

    So, I am not surprised that this issue would be raised in the IT context, and the conceptualisation is not new. Harvard researcher, Michael Maccoby, in his seminal 1976 book on corporate personality types, "The Gamesman", identified "the craftsman" persona, and found it mostly in technical departments: "the craftsman does not compete against other people as much as he does against nature, materials, and especially his own standards of quality" (p. 53).

    To his credit, the creator of Boston Legal, David E. Kelley, has developed the Jerry Espinsen character so roundly and sympathetically, and assisted in no small measure by the actor who plays the role, that Jerry has become a pivotal character, whose idiosyncrasies are seen as essential and engaging aspects of his personality. It is the true person within who is befriended by Allan Shore, the lovable guy with a strange walk and demena, but technically brilliant and with a heart of gold, who survives the cut-throat world of a big Boston legal firm on his own terms.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    But thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    I belong to several AS/Autistic groups. Autism and autistic traits run through my family, as do a proclivity towards technical fields with a high degree of natural talent.

    I put forth my query to see if we are as prevelant among the IT community as I suspect we are.

    I did not intend this to become a debate on whether or not this is an imagined condition. Personally, I wish it weren't. My life would be far easier.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    I guess I must just be imagining my sensitivity to stimuli, face blindness, lack of social skills, inability to pick up social cues.

    I must also be imagining the stimming that I have little to no conscious control over.

    But it seems that not only have I been duped, but the psychological community has been duped into placing Asperger's syndrome in the DSM IV

    http://ani.autistics.org/dsm4-aspergers.html

    Thank you for correcting my obvious delusions.

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    peggy

    I work in the field of disabilities (am a professional). I know first hand that Asperger's syndrome is a true condition. There is no debating the issue if you have EVER been around someone with it for more than a few minutes.

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    rcugini

    Recently, I worked with a boss who I'm convinced has it. I had to leave that position because the fellow was a genius with machines and horrible with people. The fellow was pathologically withdrawn, paranoid, and his wife had to explain him to me constantly.

    Basically, I'm saying play to your strengths not weaknesses. If you don't have social skills or care about people, don't manage them. Insist that a management type be hired instead.

    I'm more of an introvert myself. I flat out tell people in interviews that I don't want any sort of sales or manegement positions. Honesty will actually get you hired faster.

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    GSG

    It is a very real condition. There has been some speculation (an article I read a couple of years ago) that Bill Gates has a form of it. It went on to state that the IT industry probably has a statistically higher percentage of people with Aspergers than other industries.

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    KMacNeil

    I guess we can all agree that edwardwstanley has shown his true colours...and his true ignorance. Saying that AS is not real is like saying that global warming is not real. Even though there is all kinds of proof, many people will deny its existence.

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    Yep

    Locrian_Lyric

    Stimming is not a personality trait. Face blindness is not a personality trait.

    The research has even shown that there are significant differences in brain function between people on the autism spectrum and NT (neuro-typical) individuals.

    For one, our brains have no 'resting state'. Neurologists suspect that this is perhaps the underlying cause of sensory overload and meltdowns that so many of us deal with.

    It also explains why many of us love the dark or go to dark/quiet places to 'recharge'.

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    faradhi

    I have a nephew that is now diagnosed with mild autism. The diagnosis will like change to AS when he gets older. There is no doubt that this is a medical condition. He has had intensive schooling and therapy just to be able to start kindergarten on time.

    Try going to WebMD and do a little research before spewing dung.

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    Parrish S. Knight

    I'm not aware of any formal research, but from what I've
    seen, I'd guess you're right. I also have Asperger's
    Syndrome and am employed in the IT field (for a
    networking consulting firm). It's one of the few areas that
    offers a good fit for me, particularly in terms of keeping
    human contact to a minimum. Spending too much time
    around non-autistics is problematic for me in quite a few
    ways because they're so different from us. Oh, and to the
    individual who said that it isn't conclusively settled that
    autism even exists... holy smoke. Apart from being
    startlingly wrong, that's also highly insulting to autistics
    like myself. What are you going to do for an encore, go to
    a women's support group and say that childbirth is
    painless?

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    maecuff

    comments regarding ADHD. I have a husband and a son with ADHD. It's a very real condition.

    On what do you base your assertion that AS isn't real? Perhaps the Scientology website?

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    TBBrick

    Most often, the very things that irritate you in other people and/or the issues you are the most vehement in denying/pooh-poohing are the ones you have yourself and usually are deep in denial about.

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    jtealer

    I say NAY, you are very wrong , my son has the conditon and we have the medical records to prove it. The article was just stating that it could be possible that some people in IT could have the condition because lets face it they show some of the same characteristics, that all it was stating. But AS is real.

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    rickburger

    My ex wife feels the same as you. Even though everyone around her can see she has the symptoms of AS she just thinks she is shy.

    I stayed with her for 14 years as she spent all her free time reading romance novels. I knew she liked RPG's and bought her wow. She ended up playing 70-80 hours a week and neglecting the family. Finally she met a guy in game, married him in game, etc. She told me I no longer made her happy and left. When she met her online bf they spent their time playing wow together at his apartment.

    I knew something was up when I met her but thought she just needed to grow as a person. Plus I took my marriage vows seriously.

    The hardest part is he ignoring our two children. Never calls them except to pick them up for rare holidays and family get together. The kids tell me she doesn't interact with them at the gatherings.

    She lived two miles away and my little son had to beg to visit. When he did he would play in the sink or be bored while she played wow.

    I feel bad for her. Now she is going to school to be a nurse. She is ignoring the college counselors who tell her it is not a good fit. She didn't nurture or sooth the kids when they were hurt, just told them to stop crying and go to their room.

    Out of this whole thing is a very big positive. Unlike most men the children now live with me. I wish her the best and now advise people to take the jung personality test and as test before getting to serious in a relationship. At least you will know where you will have differences even if just personality. Love will blind you to these for about 4 years.

    Here is a good test from Cambridge University:http://aq.server8.org I scored a 4. I never heard of AS until our divorce. If I had the money I would start a IT company full of AS people who I would treat very well.

    We need people with AS I think. Or we'd all still be pooping in the woods and eating raw meat. But I do know from personal experience that NT and AS people probably should avoid romantic relationships.

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    rclark

    I admit that the symptoms are suspiciously like most of the good techs I've known, but just because all poisionous snakes have no legs doesn't mean that all legless animals are snakes, much less that they are poisionous.

    Similarly, just because people who devote large amounts of time to technical interests are more undeveloped socially, does not mean that they are unable to develop socially, just that they have not.

    A.S. seems to be a very new field of study, and the field will mature with time. Just as every kid with a discipline problem was diagnosed as A.D.D. and put on ridaline, nerds will be misclassified until more is known about the actual causes. Just take it all with a grain of salt until more is known.

    Misdiagnosis is very dangerous, and should be left to those who can tell the difference between social disability and physical disability. The difference is that those with physical disability can't be anything other than they are, those with social disability won't be other than they are.

    The difference may seem meaningless, but the physical causes may be treatable with therapy or drugs, where as the Social causes require will and work.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    ..with everything from ADD to tourette's

    I understand that AS is now the new disease du jour, and I agree with your snake analogy.

    I'm merely curious because, as I've said, I have it, and many people who I know who have it have gone into computers.

    To use your analogy, consider me a poisonous snake looking around to see how many of those legless animals are also poisonous snakes. I'm not looking to make every legless animal a poisononess snake, just looking for more of my kind....

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    rclark

    But that would be too geekie.

    No disparagement meant by snakes, just a visual image that everyone can relate to.

    I have met autistic people, and my nephew has CP (wheelchair bound). So I understand the concepts and the frustrations envolved. I don't think that the tech talent is necessarily tied to A.S., but A.S. may be tied to tech talent. In other words, the field of tech, in all its many facets is more willing to allow people with these particular attributes to exist within its ranks than other fields.

    So people with A.S. may gravitate to tech fields because they can express themselves without ridicule and can live a fuller more productive life within that community.

    Who better than geeks to sympathize with another geek? Granted that the two may not be exact matches, one with a social and the other physical cause, we are still in the same boat. The only real difference I see is that the geeky nerd that is a nerd by preference can leave the boat if he wants to badly enough.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    I think I agree with your asessment.

    This field attracts us both for the interpersonal and skillset matches.

    I find that, in general, 'techie' types tend to be less judgemental of other's appearance and interpersonal skills, with the one noted exception above.

    Personally, I have a savant skill that helps me in the tech world. I can recognize patterns and disharmony. This makes me very quick to spot bugs.

    I have found that I am very comfortable around techie types, even neurotypical techie types because of the general lack of judgemental qualities.

    I think that tech types also tend to be very straightforward in their approach to things, which removes some of the strain of trying to figure out what someone REALLY means.

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    rclark

    In dealing with "NORMAL" people, I have to watch what I say because they read things into it that I don't mean. I mean exactly what I say in context and concept, but people are always taking it either out of context or concept.

    I've eaten a lot of words in my time. Most of the people that know me just grin and laugh at my sometimes inappropriate comments. I don't mean anything by it, but sometimes I wish I knew how it would sound before I start talking.

    My main problem is that I don't have time to play nice, I'm too busy doing, and that gets me into trouble.....

    Fortunately, so far, I have always been so valuable that they ignore my gaffs....

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    Locrian_Lyric

    Always gives me fits...

    I meant what I said and said what I meant...

    no more, no less.

    I do have a hard time conceiving why someone would do otherwise.... aside from obvious sarcasm, which I am beginning to 'get', though I have had bad experiences with sarcasm in the past.

    I tend to take things VERY literally.

    There was that one time someone told me to 'drop everything'....

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    rclark

    My wife just grins at me when I do something that makes perfect sense to me but obviously is not the right thing to do.

    She has such a cute grin, and I've come to recognize that particular grin from all the others. It's her "you are being a dork grin".

    I try not to earn too many, but sometimes I'll yank her chain, just cause she needs to take life less seriously.....

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    Big Ole Jack

    in under 5 seconds flat. My dad has seen me do this and was amazed by this. Is this just a skill I acquired throughout the years of working in IT, or can this be a mild form of autism that allows me to see patterns and focus on specific things within a random mess of numbers and letters? I don't exhibit any of the typical signs of autistic people, but my abilities to quickly spot details has me questioning my mental state of health because it reminds me of that professor character played by Russel Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind", although I am not schizophrenic in any way.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    It's called "pattern recognition". I have it as well.

    Not all savants are autistics and not all autistics are savants.

    1 in 100 neuro-typical individuals are savants, 1 in 10 autistics are savants.

    Savant skills are not unique to autistics, merely more prevelant.

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    aniedelman

    just learned about AS recently not sure but would explain alot

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    JackOfAllTech

    I had never heard of this before today but all the things you are describing fit me. I have never been altogether comfortable around 'normal' people, I have a very high I.Q., and I am extremely good at recognizing patterns. I've always excelled in technical/scientific studies and I love math because it's so logical.
    Is this something I should discuss with my doctor?

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    Locrian_Lyric

    You would need to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist who is skilled at diagnosing AS.

    Since my DX, I have been attacking the 'down' sides of the syndrome, while playing to the strengths. There are some medications that can help the difficulties.

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    fixit

    Is there a reason to have it diagnosed? Can they do something about it? Or is it the old 'it's nice to know' thing?

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    Locrian_Lyric

    Treatment will at least kick you up a notch on the functioning scale.

    If you're high functioning, you can go to fully functioning.

    I've had help recognizing social cues and behaviors.

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    fixit

    I didnt know what Aspergers Syndrome was until I read the thread heading and went looking.
    I have never seen a doctor or even thought I might have something like this, but it fits so well it makes me wonder. I would almost look at being diagnosed with it as a relief. It would explain so much. LOL

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    Locrian_Lyric

    They caught bits and pieces of it while I was growing up, but they never put the pieces together until I was in my 30s

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    Big Ole Jack

    I know what Autism and ADD is, since it has gotten a lot of attention in the news, but I have yet to hear about Asperger's or know anything about it and its symptoms.

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    faradhi

    The simplest explanation for AS is a form of Autism where the individual is very high functioning (compared to other autistics).

    Another way to state it is an extremely mild form of autism. Again the word extremely mild is relative to Autism. It is not intended to minimize the effects of AS.

    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/Aspergers-Syndrome-Topic-Overview

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    fixit

    I liked this explanation myself:

    http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/aswhatisit.html#LOIS

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    rcugini

    A/S is having Autistic tendencies without every severe classic symptom listed with the textbook definition of autism.

    It is sort of like having an upset stomach and skipping lunch versus being unable to even leave the restroom at your home.

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    bblacklock

    I don't know as I have ever worked with anyone with AS, but many of the behavior patterns discussed are commonplace in the IT fields. Generally I find that on the technical side that most behavior patterns (however eccentric) are tolerated as we often don't tend to interact with other people. As for a tendency to take things literally, we work with computers which do EXACTLY what you tell them to, NOT what you wanted them to do. This is a useful job skill if not a job requirement for anyone in the field.

    I did work with a network admin with a fairly severe form of Tourettes and while it was occasionally a bit disconcerting when you walked by his lab, it wasn't an issue most of the time. He tended to keep to himself, but so did the rest of us. He preferred to communicate by email most of the time and this made it difficult to remember his "handicap" unless you were face to face. Actually his outbursts were milder than some of the behavior that came from the other labs/offices from people who were theoretically "normal".

    Our bosses were far more interested in results than our lack of interpersonal skills, so they just kept the rest of the world away from us. Worked fine for us.

    I suspect that certain personality types tend to gravitate to the IT fields and I do know at one time that the government retraining programs for the newly handicapped (amputees and paraplegics in particular) often directed people to the IT fields. The logic was that if you worked with your brains and hands, your legs and general appearance wasn't that important.

    What I have experienced is that there are a fairly large number of "differently" abled people working within IT and most of us don't care if you aren't particularly "normal" as long as you can do the job.

    Coincidently, has anyone met the standard "normal" or "average" person that the statisticians talk about? I haven't and it might be interesting to study the phenomenon.

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    drbayer

    I maintain that there is no such thing as a "normal" person - there's nothing to base it on.

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    rcugini

    I question how a fractional person could exist. Wouldn't they have more serious problems then those related to IT?

    I haven't seen one either and not sure that I WANT to see one.

    Of course "average" just means near the mean on whatever bell curve is the fashion of the day.

    The main thing is to play to your strength. Those who are good with machines should focus on them, not managing people.

    I'm way to introverted for that myself. If I knew nothing about the project, I'd let them run wild. If I knew the subject, I couldn't back off and let them do it. I'd have my hands in it all the way./

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    Locrian_Lyric

    to thoroughly prove the "peter principle"

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    GSG

    Not sure if this is still true, but way back in the dark ages, if you saw a psychiatrist, there was no diagnosis code for normal, or for the patient to not have any psyciatric issues. Therefore, if a person was normal, they were given the diagnosis code for depression on the grounds that we all get depressed at least occasionally.

    So, by definition, it was impossible for any person, anywhere, to ever be normal.

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    jtealer

    My son has Autism and has been placed in the Aspergers group. As a child he could play alone for hours on end. He likes gamming and plans to be a game designer, he was working on learning java at one time and Japanese but stopped for a bit. I myself could work with pc rather than people but I do have social skills, but some of the descriptions you metioned my son has and my wife and i noticed this when he was around two years old. Now he is fithteen and still shows signs of Autism. I know he is going to be successful in the feild. I think there may be something to this article and thats why I have responded to it otherwise you would not see this long winded reply. Thank you for reading this.

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    timelords

    I am sorry but when i started in the age before internet, it personal were more well rounded in all aspects of business and that includes dealing with people. Stop blaming things on diseases and start looking at upbringing.

    Today?s it group are only concern about the tech not the human aspect.

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    tutortina

    I have a bf who is Aspergers. He is mechanically talented and enjoys fixing things, taking them apart and the whole "how it works" thing. I def think there is a connection for IT people.

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    tutortina

    I know someone who is very mechanically inclined. He is Aspergers and knows how a lot of things tick. He is amazing so I don't doubt that IT people have some form of Asperger's .

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    edwardwstanley

    Currently the studies to even prove such a condition (AS) is real, are few and non definitive.

    Futher, making someone's personality a medical condition seems a slippery slope.

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    tdambra

    I had not heard of "AS" until I saw the TV show, Boston Legal, which draws a very sympathetic and accurate portrayal.

    Giving a set of behaviours a clinical name is not a bad thing, as it allows the sufferer to make sense of a pattern of very distressing behaviours and social dysfunction, which of themselves can lead to further personal trauma.

    In Boston Legal, Allan Shore's nuanced and sympathetic pr?cis of the condition, places the condition in context. Jerry Espinsen is a loner, with a strong technical bent, a genius with archane detail, and a perfectionist, who feels most comfortable alone at his PC, studiously avoiding any social contact. Sound familiar?

    So, I am not surprised that this issue would be raised in the IT context, and the conceptualisation is not new. Harvard researcher, Michael Maccoby, in his seminal 1976 book on corporate personality types, "The Gamesman", identified "the craftsman" persona, and found it mostly in technical departments: "the craftsman does not compete against other people as much as he does against nature, materials, and especially his own standards of quality" (p. 53).

    To his credit, the creator of Boston Legal, David E. Kelley, has developed the Jerry Espinsen character so roundly and sympathetically, and assisted in no small measure by the actor who plays the role, that Jerry has become a pivotal character, whose idiosyncrasies are seen as essential and engaging aspects of his personality. It is the true person within who is befriended by Allan Shore, the lovable guy with a strange walk and demena, but technically brilliant and with a heart of gold, who survives the cut-throat world of a big Boston legal firm on his own terms.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    But thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    I belong to several AS/Autistic groups. Autism and autistic traits run through my family, as do a proclivity towards technical fields with a high degree of natural talent.

    I put forth my query to see if we are as prevelant among the IT community as I suspect we are.

    I did not intend this to become a debate on whether or not this is an imagined condition. Personally, I wish it weren't. My life would be far easier.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    I guess I must just be imagining my sensitivity to stimuli, face blindness, lack of social skills, inability to pick up social cues.

    I must also be imagining the stimming that I have little to no conscious control over.

    But it seems that not only have I been duped, but the psychological community has been duped into placing Asperger's syndrome in the DSM IV

    http://ani.autistics.org/dsm4-aspergers.html

    Thank you for correcting my obvious delusions.

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    peggy

    I work in the field of disabilities (am a professional). I know first hand that Asperger's syndrome is a true condition. There is no debating the issue if you have EVER been around someone with it for more than a few minutes.

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    rcugini

    Recently, I worked with a boss who I'm convinced has it. I had to leave that position because the fellow was a genius with machines and horrible with people. The fellow was pathologically withdrawn, paranoid, and his wife had to explain him to me constantly.

    Basically, I'm saying play to your strengths not weaknesses. If you don't have social skills or care about people, don't manage them. Insist that a management type be hired instead.

    I'm more of an introvert myself. I flat out tell people in interviews that I don't want any sort of sales or manegement positions. Honesty will actually get you hired faster.

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    GSG

    It is a very real condition. There has been some speculation (an article I read a couple of years ago) that Bill Gates has a form of it. It went on to state that the IT industry probably has a statistically higher percentage of people with Aspergers than other industries.

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    KMacNeil

    I guess we can all agree that edwardwstanley has shown his true colours...and his true ignorance. Saying that AS is not real is like saying that global warming is not real. Even though there is all kinds of proof, many people will deny its existence.

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    Yep

    Locrian_Lyric

    Stimming is not a personality trait. Face blindness is not a personality trait.

    The research has even shown that there are significant differences in brain function between people on the autism spectrum and NT (neuro-typical) individuals.

    For one, our brains have no 'resting state'. Neurologists suspect that this is perhaps the underlying cause of sensory overload and meltdowns that so many of us deal with.

    It also explains why many of us love the dark or go to dark/quiet places to 'recharge'.

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    faradhi

    I have a nephew that is now diagnosed with mild autism. The diagnosis will like change to AS when he gets older. There is no doubt that this is a medical condition. He has had intensive schooling and therapy just to be able to start kindergarten on time.

    Try going to WebMD and do a little research before spewing dung.

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    Parrish S. Knight

    I'm not aware of any formal research, but from what I've
    seen, I'd guess you're right. I also have Asperger's
    Syndrome and am employed in the IT field (for a
    networking consulting firm). It's one of the few areas that
    offers a good fit for me, particularly in terms of keeping
    human contact to a minimum. Spending too much time
    around non-autistics is problematic for me in quite a few
    ways because they're so different from us. Oh, and to the
    individual who said that it isn't conclusively settled that
    autism even exists... holy smoke. Apart from being
    startlingly wrong, that's also highly insulting to autistics
    like myself. What are you going to do for an encore, go to
    a women's support group and say that childbirth is
    painless?

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    maecuff

    comments regarding ADHD. I have a husband and a son with ADHD. It's a very real condition.

    On what do you base your assertion that AS isn't real? Perhaps the Scientology website?

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    TBBrick

    Most often, the very things that irritate you in other people and/or the issues you are the most vehement in denying/pooh-poohing are the ones you have yourself and usually are deep in denial about.

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    jtealer

    I say NAY, you are very wrong , my son has the conditon and we have the medical records to prove it. The article was just stating that it could be possible that some people in IT could have the condition because lets face it they show some of the same characteristics, that all it was stating. But AS is real.

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    rickburger

    My ex wife feels the same as you. Even though everyone around her can see she has the symptoms of AS she just thinks she is shy.

    I stayed with her for 14 years as she spent all her free time reading romance novels. I knew she liked RPG's and bought her wow. She ended up playing 70-80 hours a week and neglecting the family. Finally she met a guy in game, married him in game, etc. She told me I no longer made her happy and left. When she met her online bf they spent their time playing wow together at his apartment.

    I knew something was up when I met her but thought she just needed to grow as a person. Plus I took my marriage vows seriously.

    The hardest part is he ignoring our two children. Never calls them except to pick them up for rare holidays and family get together. The kids tell me she doesn't interact with them at the gatherings.

    She lived two miles away and my little son had to beg to visit. When he did he would play in the sink or be bored while she played wow.

    I feel bad for her. Now she is going to school to be a nurse. She is ignoring the college counselors who tell her it is not a good fit. She didn't nurture or sooth the kids when they were hurt, just told them to stop crying and go to their room.

    Out of this whole thing is a very big positive. Unlike most men the children now live with me. I wish her the best and now advise people to take the jung personality test and as test before getting to serious in a relationship. At least you will know where you will have differences even if just personality. Love will blind you to these for about 4 years.

    Here is a good test from Cambridge University:http://aq.server8.org I scored a 4. I never heard of AS until our divorce. If I had the money I would start a IT company full of AS people who I would treat very well.

    We need people with AS I think. Or we'd all still be pooping in the woods and eating raw meat. But I do know from personal experience that NT and AS people probably should avoid romantic relationships.

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    rclark

    I admit that the symptoms are suspiciously like most of the good techs I've known, but just because all poisionous snakes have no legs doesn't mean that all legless animals are snakes, much less that they are poisionous.

    Similarly, just because people who devote large amounts of time to technical interests are more undeveloped socially, does not mean that they are unable to develop socially, just that they have not.

    A.S. seems to be a very new field of study, and the field will mature with time. Just as every kid with a discipline problem was diagnosed as A.D.D. and put on ridaline, nerds will be misclassified until more is known about the actual causes. Just take it all with a grain of salt until more is known.

    Misdiagnosis is very dangerous, and should be left to those who can tell the difference between social disability and physical disability. The difference is that those with physical disability can't be anything other than they are, those with social disability won't be other than they are.

    The difference may seem meaningless, but the physical causes may be treatable with therapy or drugs, where as the Social causes require will and work.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    ..with everything from ADD to tourette's

    I understand that AS is now the new disease du jour, and I agree with your snake analogy.

    I'm merely curious because, as I've said, I have it, and many people who I know who have it have gone into computers.

    To use your analogy, consider me a poisonous snake looking around to see how many of those legless animals are also poisonous snakes. I'm not looking to make every legless animal a poisononess snake, just looking for more of my kind....

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    rclark

    But that would be too geekie.

    No disparagement meant by snakes, just a visual image that everyone can relate to.

    I have met autistic people, and my nephew has CP (wheelchair bound). So I understand the concepts and the frustrations envolved. I don't think that the tech talent is necessarily tied to A.S., but A.S. may be tied to tech talent. In other words, the field of tech, in all its many facets is more willing to allow people with these particular attributes to exist within its ranks than other fields.

    So people with A.S. may gravitate to tech fields because they can express themselves without ridicule and can live a fuller more productive life within that community.

    Who better than geeks to sympathize with another geek? Granted that the two may not be exact matches, one with a social and the other physical cause, we are still in the same boat. The only real difference I see is that the geeky nerd that is a nerd by preference can leave the boat if he wants to badly enough.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    I think I agree with your asessment.

    This field attracts us both for the interpersonal and skillset matches.

    I find that, in general, 'techie' types tend to be less judgemental of other's appearance and interpersonal skills, with the one noted exception above.

    Personally, I have a savant skill that helps me in the tech world. I can recognize patterns and disharmony. This makes me very quick to spot bugs.

    I have found that I am very comfortable around techie types, even neurotypical techie types because of the general lack of judgemental qualities.

    I think that tech types also tend to be very straightforward in their approach to things, which removes some of the strain of trying to figure out what someone REALLY means.

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    rclark

    In dealing with "NORMAL" people, I have to watch what I say because they read things into it that I don't mean. I mean exactly what I say in context and concept, but people are always taking it either out of context or concept.

    I've eaten a lot of words in my time. Most of the people that know me just grin and laugh at my sometimes inappropriate comments. I don't mean anything by it, but sometimes I wish I knew how it would sound before I start talking.

    My main problem is that I don't have time to play nice, I'm too busy doing, and that gets me into trouble.....

    Fortunately, so far, I have always been so valuable that they ignore my gaffs....

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    Locrian_Lyric

    Always gives me fits...

    I meant what I said and said what I meant...

    no more, no less.

    I do have a hard time conceiving why someone would do otherwise.... aside from obvious sarcasm, which I am beginning to 'get', though I have had bad experiences with sarcasm in the past.

    I tend to take things VERY literally.

    There was that one time someone told me to 'drop everything'....

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    rclark

    My wife just grins at me when I do something that makes perfect sense to me but obviously is not the right thing to do.

    She has such a cute grin, and I've come to recognize that particular grin from all the others. It's her "you are being a dork grin".

    I try not to earn too many, but sometimes I'll yank her chain, just cause she needs to take life less seriously.....

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    Big Ole Jack

    in under 5 seconds flat. My dad has seen me do this and was amazed by this. Is this just a skill I acquired throughout the years of working in IT, or can this be a mild form of autism that allows me to see patterns and focus on specific things within a random mess of numbers and letters? I don't exhibit any of the typical signs of autistic people, but my abilities to quickly spot details has me questioning my mental state of health because it reminds me of that professor character played by Russel Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind", although I am not schizophrenic in any way.

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    Locrian_Lyric

    It's called "pattern recognition". I have it as well.

    Not all savants are autistics and not all autistics are savants.

    1 in 100 neuro-typical individuals are savants, 1 in 10 autistics are savants.

    Savant skills are not unique to autistics, merely more prevelant.

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    aniedelman

    just learned about AS recently not sure but would explain alot

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    JackOfAllTech

    I had never heard of this before today but all the things you are describing fit me. I have never been altogether comfortable around 'normal' people, I have a very high I.Q., and I am extremely good at recognizing patterns. I've always excelled in technical/scientific studies and I love math because it's so logical.
    Is this something I should discuss with my doctor?

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    Locrian_Lyric

    You would need to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist who is skilled at diagnosing AS.

    Since my DX, I have been attacking the 'down' sides of the syndrome, while playing to the strengths. There are some medications that can help the difficulties.

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    fixit

    Is there a reason to have it diagnosed? Can they do something about it? Or is it the old 'it's nice to know' thing?

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    Locrian_Lyric

    Treatment will at least kick you up a notch on the functioning scale.

    If you're high functioning, you can go to fully functioning.

    I've had help recognizing social cues and behaviors.

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    fixit

    I didnt know what Aspergers Syndrome was until I read the thread heading and went looking.
    I have never seen a doctor or even thought I might have something like this, but it fits so well it makes me wonder. I would almost look at being diagnosed with it as a relief. It would explain so much. LOL

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    Locrian_Lyric

    They caught bits and pieces of it while I was growing up, but they never put the pieces together until I was in my 30s

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    Big Ole Jack

    I know what Autism and ADD is, since it has gotten a lot of attention in the news, but I have yet to hear about Asperger's or know anything about it and its symptoms.

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    faradhi

    The simplest explanation for AS is a form of Autism where the individual is very high functioning (compared to other autistics).

    Another way to state it is an extremely mild form of autism. Again the word extremely mild is relative to Autism. It is not intended to minimize the effects of AS.

    http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/tc/Aspergers-Syndrome-Topic-Overview

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    fixit

    I liked this explanation myself:

    http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/aswhatisit.html#LOIS

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    rcugini

    A/S is having Autistic tendencies without every severe classic symptom listed with the textbook definition of autism.

    It is sort of like having an upset stomach and skipping lunch versus being unable to even leave the restroom at your home.

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    bblacklock

    I don't know as I have ever worked with anyone with AS, but many of the behavior patterns discussed are commonplace in the IT fields. Generally I find that on the technical side that most behavior patterns (however eccentric) are tolerated as we often don't tend to interact with other people. As for a tendency to take things literally, we work with computers which do EXACTLY what you tell them to, NOT what you wanted them to do. This is a useful job skill if not a job requirement for anyone in the field.

    I did work with a network admin with a fairly severe form of Tourettes and while it was occasionally a bit disconcerting when you walked by his lab, it wasn't an issue most of the time. He tended to keep to himself, but so did the rest of us. He preferred to communicate by email most of the time and this made it difficult to remember his "handicap" unless you were face to face. Actually his outbursts were milder than some of the behavior that came from the other labs/offices from people who were theoretically "normal".

    Our bosses were far more interested in results than our lack of interpersonal skills, so they just kept the rest of the world away from us. Worked fine for us.

    I suspect that certain personality types tend to gravitate to the IT fields and I do know at one time that the government retraining programs for the newly handicapped (amputees and paraplegics in particular) often directed people to the IT fields. The logic was that if you worked with your brains and hands, your legs and general appearance wasn't that important.

    What I have experienced is that there are a fairly large number of "differently" abled people working within IT and most of us don't care if you aren't particularly "normal" as long as you can do the job.

    Coincidently, has anyone met the standard "normal" or "average" person that the statisticians talk about? I haven't and it might be interesting to study the phenomenon.

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    drbayer

    I maintain that there is no such thing as a "normal" person - there's nothing to base it on.

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    rcugini

    I question how a fractional person could exist. Wouldn't they have more serious problems then those related to IT?

    I haven't seen one either and not sure that I WANT to see one.

    Of course "average" just means near the mean on whatever bell curve is the fashion of the day.

    The main thing is to play to your strength. Those who are good with machines should focus on them, not managing people.

    I'm way to introverted for that myself. If I knew nothing about the project, I'd let them run wild. If I knew the subject, I couldn't back off and let them do it. I'd have my hands in it all the way./

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    Locrian_Lyric

    to thoroughly prove the "peter principle"

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    GSG

    Not sure if this is still true, but way back in the dark ages, if you saw a psychiatrist, there was no diagnosis code for normal, or for the patient to not have any psyciatric issues. Therefore, if a person was normal, they were given the diagnosis code for depression on the grounds that we all get depressed at least occasionally.

    So, by definition, it was impossible for any person, anywhere, to ever be normal.

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    jtealer

    My son has Autism and has been placed in the Aspergers group. As a child he could play alone for hours on end. He likes gamming and plans to be a game designer, he was working on learning java at one time and Japanese but stopped for a bit. I myself could work with pc rather than people but I do have social skills, but some of the descriptions you metioned my son has and my wife and i noticed this when he was around two years old. Now he is fithteen and still shows signs of Autism. I know he is going to be successful in the feild. I think there may be something to this article and thats why I have responded to it otherwise you would not see this long winded reply. Thank you for reading this.

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    timelords

    I am sorry but when i started in the age before internet, it personal were more well rounded in all aspects of business and that includes dealing with people. Stop blaming things on diseases and start looking at upbringing.

    Today?s it group are only concern about the tech not the human aspect.

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    tutortina

    I have a bf who is Aspergers. He is mechanically talented and enjoys fixing things, taking them apart and the whole "how it works" thing. I def think there is a connection for IT people.

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    tutortina

    I know someone who is very mechanically inclined. He is Aspergers and knows how a lot of things tick. He is amazing so I don't doubt that IT people have some form of Asperger's .