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Dear Reader

David Byrne from the band Talking Heads indicated in a blog that he believes he was "borderline Asperger's" as a young man (Byrne, 2006). In discussion with Daniel Levitin (Levitin, 2007) who says "I think that about myself sometimes" he suggests that "maybe I grew out of it. When I read this I thought, "rubbish - you didn't grow out of it , you got used to it - like I have".

I saw an interview with Byrne made in the late eighties (Benz, 1989) and another much more recently. The signs are still the same - wooden expression, inconsistent eye contact, black and white statements. This idea that autism is something you can grow out of seems a bit incongruous. Temple Grandin was originally diagnosed autistic, but is now described as Asperger. It would appear that the diagnosis is partly based on the idea of impact on a person's life, rather than a true cognitive profile. The additional caveat Asperger's Syndrome (residual) makes more sense to me. For example, my scores from the Cambridge EQ / AQ tests (Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Robinson, & Woodbury-Smith, 2005) and the IRI (Davis, 1980; Rogers, Dziobek, Hassenstab, Wolf, & Convit, 2006) indicate very low empathy (9 on the EQ scale and very low in the pre-cognitive affective dimensions of the IRI), I work very hard on being a compassionate person. My ability to recognise emotion in other through cognitive means has almost certainly fine-tuned over the years, for example I studied body language texts - Alan Pease (Pease, 1981) and Desmond Morris (Morris, 1977) in my teens, long before I knew about Asperger's.

This is likely to be an ongoing process. I'm still Aspie - but I'm alright.

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  2. Grunts: Revelations on my non-verbal communication skills.
  3. Psychological stress: Asking people to observe and report on their cognitive selves can pose ethical dilemmas
  4. Theory of Mind: Theory of Mind is a term that describes the spontaneous abilty to adopt the point of view of another person.
  5. Social Communication: Social communication deals with the sharing of affect that forms relationships and oils the wheels of conversation sharing.
  6. Pathetic Empathic: Empathy in Asperger's is affected in complex ways, with partial impairment but significant differences in experience.
  7. ASD and Asperger's Literature: A brief overview of the major literature on Asperger's Syndrome