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Charlotteman

Aspergers and urbanity

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It was mentioned in another thread re: the issue of people who fit somewhere in the Aspergers/Autism spectrum being intensely interested in urban affairs and urban development.

In that thread, some of us "came out" as being in the spectrum. And it sounds to me like Aspergers could certainly add the obsessive quality it takes for the urban enthusiasm felt by so many of us here. Let's face it, many of us are obsessed by the EXACT number of floors of a skyscraper, the EXACT height to the inch, etc :lol:

It's becoming known real fast that Aspergers can contribute to human brilliance. It would be interesting to know if any prominent architects or builders have been diagnosed as on the spectrum.

Any comments or ideas?

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Hans Asperger himself said, "It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential." So in the infancy of his research into this new-found "autistic psychopathy" back in the 1940s, it was quite apparent to him just how brilliant high-functioning autistic minds can be. Now it is only fair to point out that most people with Asperger's syndrome and high-functioning autism have average to above-average intelligence as far as a typical IQ test is concerned, but where these types of people typically stand out is in their special interests. In my case, autism, urban development, city/metro populations, music, art, and architecture. I have seen architecture, urban development and populations (statistical, rote memory) mentioned on many AS and ASD related forums. And in fact on my last visit to my psychologist, she told me that I am not alone in having those interests.

People with AS and ASDs (or PDDs) tend to become experts on their special interests, which is why Hans Asperger first coined the term "little professors" when talking about such children. He could see how, though they were lacking in some areas of academics, they were remarkably brilliant in others due to their special interests. I personally couldn't do math worth a crud, but I was an awesome speller. And the only reason I didn't accept my invitation to the Scripps National Spelling Bee as a child was because of my social deficiencies. I was simply afraid of all the attention. Instead, I let some other kid go in my place and I have never let myself forget that. In middle school I developed an interest in architecture, and my interests in development and populations followed shortly thereafter. I was the only kid I knew who collected house plans magazines, newspaper clippings, etc; and while my friends were outside doing whatever, I was inside drawing house plans and designing master plans for my hometown, Shreveport-Bossier. But after a while, people began to take notice, and this is where I began to fall in with the wrong crowd and get into trouble. It was only because (1) they made me feel as if I belonged, and (2) I needed a tough facade to end the bullying. There seems to be no better way when you're 14 or 15 years old than to have a tough street gang on your side.

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By the way, anyone wanting to understand Asperger's, or the autistic spectrum in general, you have to see Mozart and the Whale. It shows people from so many different points along the spectrum and how they differ in many ways but are still alike in others. My stereotypies (stimming) speak for themselves, but other things such as my laughing when I am supposed to cry, disorganized thoughts and speech, etc made my parents fear when I was a kid that I might have been schizophrenic. I'm just as glad as they were to discover that I wasn't schizophrenic, but instead high-functioning autistic. I'm proud to call myself autistic, but I wouldn't have been proud to call myself schizophrenic because of the social stigma. The social stigma from autism is bad enough, but schizophrenia is worse from that standpoint.

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