|May 27, 1994 (age 24)|
|OxFord Mills, ON, Canada|
|Algonquin College, Carleton University|
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we begin to take another look at the good(?) doctor Hans Asperger, albit this time a more positive approach. If you remember, the last time we took a peek at him, we read a rather unflattering article, stating that Dr. Asperger had a rather interesting collection of skeletons in his closet. Rather, it claimed that he was a loyal Nazi, and all the connotations that came with it, with an odd view of some of the very kids he sent to their deaths. This time, however, we will look at an article that sees him not as a collaborator, but rather, in his own way, part of the resistance.
Considering how he was in Vienna, deep in Nazi Austria at the time, he must have had one major pair of cojones to take on the Nazis.
Please welcome to the stage, Asperger-Syndrome.ME.UK (cue entrance music). ME.UK has a more positive approach view of the doctor who, the article claimed, “published the first definition of Asperger syndrome in 1944” (asperger-syndrome.me.uk/history), there are no paragraphs in the article, per say, but rather one big, long paragraph. Remember kids: spacing is important). In his tests, he found four boys who had the Asperger condition or, as he called it back than, the Autistic psychopathy, which the article says means “autism (self) and psychopathy (personality disease)” (asperger-syndrome.me.uk/history), a small part of the world just learned of our conditions existence and already it’s being labeled a disease. Ahh, the good old days).
Fun fact: the article says that it is commonly assumed that Dr. Asperger used only 4 children in his tests, but a Dr. Gunter Kramer, who reportedly knew Hans, the article claims that he stated Dr. Hans tested more than four hundred children in his experiment, and I guess only those four boys showed whatever behavioural patterns or such he was looking for. Dr. Asperger also called them “little professors” (asperger-syndrome.me.uk/history) because they would go on and on about their special interests/passions/obsessions in great detail. No fact was to small or insignificant to pass over.
Towards the end of the war, Dr. Asperger opened a school for children on the spectrum with a Sister Victorene (though whether it was sister, as in a nun, or sister sister, as in his actual sister, the article does not clarify). But, as is the norm in war, the school was bombed out. Killing Sister Victorene, and destroying much of Hans Aspergers early work. The article claims that the bombing of the school “delayed the understanding of Autism spectrum conditions in the west” (asperger-syndrome.me.uk/history).
Will, that has been this weeks post of the Audacious Aspie. Next week, we will continue to look at the brighter side of Dr. Asperger, arguing against him being a Nazi collaborator. Regardless of how you see Hans Aspergers, one thing is certain: He was conducting his work at a time, and place, where brutality and murderous anger was the norm. And it is such situations that either makes you, or breaks you. And on that happy note, it’s time left. But until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
Always gotta keep a smile! Even when talking about a time of destruction, mass murder, and war in general.
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! Today we finish up looking at the Respectfully Connected article on the low-down of the passions/obsessions/special interests of people with the Autism/Asperger condition, written by someone with Autism (the author), and now being covered by someone with Aspergers (me). That’s a lot of A’s surrounding one article. The article itself is huge, a love letter to the authors obsession (and why not?) while also educating people on the what and how of Autistic/Asperger passions. While I would love to cover the article more, I must move on to other topics to keep things interesting, but if you wish to read more, search respectfully Connected and Special Interests.
Back to the topic, the author mentions that his obsession’s acts like, for the author, a release. Merely physically touching the authors lego is a stress release, not to mention the clacking sound of block hitting block. When the author starts building, the world just melts away, until it’s just him/her and the blocks. However, there are days that the author does not have a passion, and those are the worst. The author would feel a loss of interest, focus and nothing exciting to look forward to.
To get out of the rut, the author would try to revisit old obsessions, seeing whether they would stick or not, perhaps going as far as to fill up a tub or pool of the particular passion, dive in, swimming around smiling and laughing (that's how I would imagine it anyways, hopefully there would be nothing sharp or bony involved). Sometimes it will stick, other times not. That is when the author plays the waiting game, waiting for another passion to paint itself purple, slap the author in the face and sing happy days are here again.
Imagine filling up a tub as long and wide as this one with your favorite passion. Heaven right? Unless it’s knives, or swords, or construction materials. But other than that...
But until then, the author would just wait patiently, knowing that another special interest would soon come along, new or old. And without fail, one always did. The author does not find his/her special interests “restricted, fixated or abnormal” (Paragraph 10), rather, they are “energizing, restorative and serve an important function” (Paragraph 10). They allow the authors brian to do what it does best. What would that be? Don’t know, but if it’s anything like my brain, it’s fretting, worrying, and telling me that my stomach is empty.
Will, that does it for this post, and for the article as will. Next week, we will go back to look at a topic that will have a big impact for the Autistic/Asperger community, either good or bad. This time though, we’ll take a look at it from a different kind of light. Should be interesting. Until then, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
University lesson number 1: always, always use multiple sources to back up your argument on, or to research, a topic. Or at least aim for the minimum amount of sources allowed by the professor, but don’t tell the professor that.
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we continue to look at our Aspie/Autistic obsessions/passions/special interests or whatever you wish to call them. We all have our own fierce passions about any number of topics, changing, like everyone else's, as we age (horrible thought I know, but we are not everlasting...until science comes up with a solution, if science comes up with a solution, debate), or get recycled (Human obsessions: the only source of energy that is 100% green). For example: if you loved trains as a child, your passions might change the older you get and the more worldly knowledge you gain as you go from child, to teen, to adult. I’m sure you lost your passion for all things My Little Pony around the age of 10 right? No? Oh, ummmmm.
Anime: not only for depicting infinitely-surprised humans, vampires, humans with animal traits (ears, tails and such) or hamsters (Hamtaro), and not as good as Manga (my opinion), but also has horses.
Any-ways (ahem), the author has gone through a number of passions through the author's lifetime, sometimes becoming a passion again and again. And, like a true person on the spectrum, those obsessions have been...weird at times: learning Hindi, espionage (don’t tell the C.I.A., F.B.I. or Big Brother. Or the pig called Napoleon, never Napoleon) or jigsaw puzzles just to name a few (as someone who has experience with jigsaw puzzles, and puzzles of any kind, the author must like pain). Of course, his passions changed as he changed as a person, but sometimes one passion or another would return. But, while what the author has said is true, least from my experience, the author seems to have forgotten one extra special interest: those that last a lifetime.
Mine, is military history and war games. I became interested in such things when I was a wee lad, wanting every weekend to go to the Canadian War Museum, bringing Risk and Axis And Allies to my school, and reading about such subjects as soon as I could. Of course, it has at certain point been superseded (not completely) by other passions through out my life (pokemon, zombie horror, and now currently airsoft).
But regardless, i have never lost entirely my thirst for all things military history, particularly British and Canadian. But even now, as an adult still in my early 20’s (but not for long), I still have a burning passion for the topic. I was able to satisfy such obsessions or interests or such in different ways throughout my lifetime. First it was trips to the Canadian War Museum, than board/video games, than war/sports games (paintball and airsoft).
Images like these, of military history, excite me more than images of cars, or motorcycles, or iphones. My sister would say the same thing, except for horses.
As for the author, he/she has experienced a new special interest: lego. Starting small by purchasing a tiny lego set for the authors small child, soon morphed into, to put an understatement on it, a rather fun pastime of creating buildings with piles and piles of lego. And, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, it continued to grow from there, as every Aspie obsession/special interest does. Even to the point of what music the author listens to, getting really excited about new lego sets that the author had his/her heart set on and, of course, saving up those lego coupons.
Will, that has been the post for this week. Next week we will continue to look at the topic as usual, diving deeper into the authors lego obsession and how it is important to the author and, perhaps, other Autistic and Asperger people as will. How does your special interests affect you? Is it important to you? These are some of the questions that, I know, are running through my head when I am reading this article. Until than, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.
I’m sure that if you asked, the author would agree that he/she lives, breaths and thinks lego. What do you live, breath and think of? Like purple anime cats, try not to think about purple anime cats. Okay you can stop now, that's weird.
Welcome back to the Audacious Aspie! This week, we will be looking at the special interests of Autism/Aspergers. No, not the same kind of special interests like oil industries or big wind power (or so the small-town oil barons tell me), but special interests like sci-fi, history or the like. In other words, our Autistic/Aspie obsessions through the eyes (and touch, and ears) of a fellow Autistic/Aspie. What better way to get over the visceral nightmare of staring, wide eyed, into the dating world for a third time than to reminisce about our favorite obsessions?
Obsessions, or special interests, could be as wide, like sci-fi, horror, comedy or such. Or it could be as narrow as sci-fi horror, vampire horror, dark comedy or the like. See a link there?
Please welcome our next guest, Respectfully Connected (cue talk-show music) and it’s article “An insider's view of ‘Special Interests’ (cue crowd cheers). King DSM the Vth (DSM-V or The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual), which the article says is used when diagnosing someone (in America? Canada? Narnia?) with autism, has a weird definition concerning our obsessions. Namely “Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (article’s authors notes: e.g., strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interests. Paragraph 1).
Respectfully Connected draws the reader's attention to the wording, specifically: Restricted, Fixated, Abnormal, Preoccupation and Excessively. What's with all the focus on words? Is it grammer? Nope, rather, it’s a focus on the meaning, and message, that you might gleam from reading these words. Advertisement is worth its weight in gold, and what these words advertise, so Connected believes, is that our obsessions are weird and rather unhealthy. So unhealthy, that it might be better to rid everyone of them completely.
But really: who would really want to freely give up their fiercely burning passions? I see these passions like the window art in religious buildings: Each one blindingly beautiful and awe-inspiring in their own right.
So, with the help of Respectfully Connected, lets put a different, albeit still true, spin on the presentation of our obsessions or special interests, however you choose to word it (as if the lesson is not already obvious enough, be careful of what word, or words, to choose). Throughout the article, the author uses his/her experience as an autistic adult, pointing out that they are important in the lives of those on the spectrum, plus “foster and celebrate with your Autistic child” (Paragraph 2). Assuming you have any kids (I’ll save the “why does society think we will all have brats!” rant for another time).
Throughout the whole thing, I will add some if my own experiences as will throughout the posts, and encourage you to reminisce on your own (not that that’s very hard). Has your own obsessions or special interests helped you throughout your life? What are those interests? Until than, this continues to be, the Audacious Aspie.