Sunday, April 28, 2013

Aspie Techs at the Helm

Interesting article involving the high percentage of tech geeks who are at the helm of the technology industry, yet share many characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome--some diagnosed, some not. One of the defining features being a social awkwardness, which presents as rudeness and aloofness. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy, was described this way. And maybe he is a bit aspie. But in order for a thing to be an issue, to be a diagnosis, it must intrude upon the person's life in such a way that it prevents that person from accessing an education, or funtioning in society. If there is simply a blunt, rude, gifted genius who has poor hygiene, wears the same shirt every day, refuses to wear shoes, and fixates on technology, but who can navigate college, basic living, etc., then there is a minimal level of affliction--maybe no diagnosis is necessary.

Here's what I believe based on theory, experience and reading on the subject: Three areas of a person's life determine the level of functioning, degree of affliction and overall emotional health (especially if a child is born on the spectrum):

1. socio-economics
2. parental advocacy and support (education level of parents)
3. IQ

That's all I'll say on it.

Of course anyone who fixates or fascinates in one area will, eventually, become an expert in that field. But when comorbid conditions crop up such as OCD or depression or anxiety, then it complicates matters. Or when the fascination is discouraged or removed altogether(often happens when formal schooling begins) this causes an imbalance, increased anxiety, and behavioral issues ensue. The balance is tricky and often difficult to discern and regulate with a child on the autism spectrum. Communication related to desires, difficulties, confusion, and other emotive expressions come much later and have to be learned--communication is not natural or intuited, initially. I do believe it can be learned because it is inherent, and there is the desire to reach out and connect to others. It is powerful, the need to relate, to be part of society. Hence, the aspies natural inclination to excel with technology, which allows for attention to finer details, and also a connection in a safer realm.