Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm an Aspergler

At least that's what my girlfriend just called me.  I think she's right, at least according to my self diagnosis I have Asperger Syndrome (AS).  How can I be 39, have most symptoms, and not realized or been diagnosed until this week?  Tyler Cowen, author of Create Your Own Economy, which is largely about the autistic spectrum, was my dissertation advisor.  The book came out a few years ago.  I was aware of the subject matter, but it did not really interest me.  Obviously, it does more now.  I'm full of puns now and I will tend not to stop (another symptom). framework a coincidence giving the concentration of AS in software development?

I'm amazed how so many of my most emotionally trying experiences can be explained by understanding my affliction:
1. Thinking winning at all cost was most important when young.
2. Loosing friends as the result of 1.
3. People saying my name is a long drawn-out plead of annoyance when I was behaving selfishly.
4. Not understanding that I was behaving selfishly.
5. Social problems in general such as not being invited to the "boy/girl" parties that started in 5th grade.
6. Asking a girl to "go" with me in 5th grade despite hardly having had a conversation with her.
7. Speaking out of turn.
8. Offending.
9. Discussing inappropriate topics.  Humorously, I recall more than one occasion late in a dorm room drunk with my friend and a couple of girls ready to do us.  Low and behold I ask about their views on religion and politics.  That's bright.  I did not get laid.
10. If in a bar I feel awkward just being there but am very at home if focused (very focused) on the table.
11. I don't get along with 90 something percent of people.  Those I do get along with I value and they tend to value me.  I think that I learned (though not in a conscious sense) to avoid acquaintances because unless their is mutual trust, because I cannot read them, I am at a disadvantage.  Accordingly, I am fortunate to have several good friends but spend almost no time with people to just hang out.  I play a lot of basketball, but I rarely interact with the other players off of the court.  My athletic ability is my quality most at odds with being AS, though I tend to do best in situations that are least planned (as expected).  I have known for a while that the uglier my shot the more likely it is to go in.  I also excel most in rebounding despite only being 5' 10".
12. Despite understanding the material and impressing professors with my ability to explain it logically, enough so that I was the first Ph.D. student in my year of my program to teach a class, I was utterly unable to lecture successfully to a large class--terrible evaluations.  In one instance, because I had two back to back sessions of the same class and I let students come to either session the latter of the two only had about 10 student in most meetings (the earlier has 150).  My evals for this second session were my highest ever by a wide margin--about 4.3 to about 2.5 average.
13. Women have been attracted to me despite complaining that I am unemotional.  My responses have been: "Horny is an emotion." and "What do you mean I'm not romantic, I'm naked?"  Yes these are are rude and funny.

More posts about my discovery process are likely.  Comments welcome.


  1. I'm not terribly surprised, to be honest. The few inferences that I can make about your cognitive profile, based on the content and style of your blog, would point in that direction. It's nothing to be ashamed of.

  2. I hope you are well...!

  3. Thanks for the positive vibes. All is well. I plan to write an update post on this subject shortly.