Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Asperger's Syndrome = Engineer?

Read the description:

By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ and many individuals (although not
all), exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their
high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed
as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. While
language development seems, on the surface, normal, individuals with AS often
have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily
rich and some children sound like "little professors." However, persons with AS
can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.

Now, take the test!

Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the
extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test,
the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those
diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not
a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even
meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty
functioning in their everyday lives.

And what did I manage to score? Yeah - 32 (out of a maximum of 50).

Yeah, this has been a thought of mine for awhile. It was also a pop-culture theory in the late 90's. It turns as uber-smart software engineers met up with other engineers of the opposite sex, married and had kids, they noticed a statistically significant number of kids showed signs of AS/Autism. Is is nature or nurture, no one said. Oh and then they tested the parents and they noticed they suffered from varying degrees of AS. This led to the theory that intelligence may have a genetic link to personaility disorders. Specifically, it was theorized that AS is a shade of grey of autism. The theory was that if you put to grey together you get black (full on autistic).

Anyway, at 27 you beat me out. Obviously I'm far off the mean, but probably still normal. So ther you sick-o.

I don't know if I ever brought it up while I was back here, but the engineers at Lockheed noticed that almost everyone (save some managers) ended up drifting more and more into the AS-type realm. Many engineers remarked that "so-and-so" was an easy-going personable guy/lady when they started but since have become reclusive and/or developed some sort of nervous disorder: ticks, inabbility to focus on a conversation, obsession about small details that had nothing to do with overall project. They were all a bit off and it was not a fate we wished to share.
Unfortunately, the work force is not kind to people like this these days. As soon as engineering became an "in demand" job people who shouldn't be engineers managed to graduate and failed upwards into management. Those people hired more "normal people" and the pattern duplicates.
It's pretty simply wierdo's don't get hired by female HR recruiters and "Hey there guy" managers. Why should they, there probably more trouble that they're worth.
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