Thursday, June 02, 2011

Autism and the Hypocondriac

Steve Silberman from Wired magazine wrote a seminal paper in something like 1993 about autism. It's definitely worth a read. It's not the last word on the subject. He knows this, otherwise, he wouldn't be writing a book on the subject now.

You should know that i'm an Engineer, and furthermore, one who has pursued a career in computer programming. Since i've done both, i'm qualified to say that computer programming is like engineering, only much, much more difficult. My ex wife has accused me of having autism. OK, so being obsessive compulsive is something one needs to be a halfway decent computer programmer. And since the computer does exactly what you tell it to, no matter how stupid that might be, having the attention to detail to spot the most minor of flaws is something one needs. These skills, and others, can be viewed as symptoms of autism. One expects that all such people must have at least some bits of the autism spectrum. Still, i thought the idea was silly. These skills can be learned.

The article above has a link to an autism test. The test itself is not diagnostic. That is, it won't tell you if you definitely have or do not have autism. But a control group who took the test averaged 16.4 - and 80% of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. My score was eleven. One of the common symptoms of autism is an inability to tell lies. It's not that the autistic person avoids untruth. Telling an untruth isn't thinkable. It doesn't make any sense. So, either this is a lie or it's not. Either way suggests i'm not autistic.

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