Congradulations. You are now officially the first person on Earth to make a joke of Asperger’s Syndrome in a webcomic (or likely anywhere else) Unfortuntely, as I am one of the 10% of the population who either has, or has heard of the Syndrome, that leaves 90% of the people reading this comic completely not getting that joke.
I hear ya, man, but I still don’t get the joke. Must be because I’m an oddball among us Aspergians (I think that the term the rest of us chose).
Actually, after an episode of House there’s a chance it’s more well known now.
Also, there’s a relatively important character on Boston Legal who also has Asperger’s.
Asperger’s seems to be quite well known from what I’ve seen.
Yeah, I’m ADD (Which I knew) and apparently borderline aspbergers. Leave it to my dad not to tell me that and have to find out through my mother.
Maybe it’s more commonly known in America, but I’ve been diagnosed for years and I’m still having to explain what it is to everyone.
I think it is pretty well known as mental disorders go, but to most people who do know of it, Aspergers means “socially awkward”. So, lots of people have heard of it, but not many people actually understand what it is. Like pretty much any mental illness, now that I think of it; I wonder how many people actually know what schizophrenia is?
Bobthecheesecake, you’re right and it’s rather sad, really.
My fiancée is a psychologist and so I know about all sorts of fascinating/disturbing disorders through her, but you’re absolutely right in that there are loads of people who have no clue about psychological disorders.
To my knowledge, AS isn’t per say a mental disease, or handicap, but more of a condition. which is also why there isn’t many people trying to cure it.
Also, there seems to be some controversy on AS, in that many also say that it isn’t “a real thing” but rather something society has created, so that it can describe social awkwardness, with something other, than people just being plain weird. Note that I’m not saying that this is my opinion, I just wanted it on the page, so that people also got that side of it.
Unfortunately, this way of thinking exists mostly because of the sheer number of socially awkward individuals, mostly young males, mostly on the internet, who CLAIM (without any kind of diagnosis, usually) that they have it basically to excuse themselves from any responsibility in social interactions and to lay claim to a “special” condition that in real life sometimes results in geniuses (Asperger’s folks are very logically-oriented as pretty much a trademark of the condition, which quite often overlaps with skill in engineering, electronics, programming or other techy pursuits).
It is a real condition, and it is a biological condition, as the brains of Asperger’s patients have in studies been shown to literally function a bit differently from other folks; specifically, they appear to have a lot more trouble with the parts of the brain that give us the ability to simulate others’ emotions in our heads – the empathy parts, in other words – even though the parts of their brains that deal with logical thinking are fine if not exceptional. It’s for this reason it’s considered part of the higher-functioning end of the autistic spectrum of disorders; though it can result in brilliant engineers and mathematicians, it renders social functioning difficult and non-intuitive, as they often have trouble reading others’ facial expressions or understanding what other people are emotionally focused on. (see: “The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty” book by Simon Baron-Cohen, which has a whole section on what the author calls “zero-positive” conditions, namely, conditions in which there is “zero” instinctive empathy skills, but there is a replacement of empathy as it were, with other, positive traits; he contrasts this with sociopathy/psychopathy, which does not have positive traits and can which can more commonly result in cruelty. Very interesting book, coincidentally, I recommend it if you’re interested in neuroscience and behavior).
There’s at least anecdotal evidence that brains are plastic enough to get over these initial difficulties under the right circumstances (I base this one the memoirs of an Aspie, “Look Me In The Eye” by John Elder Robison), and often life itself is perfectly fine with it, with many people going years without knowing and being perfectly functional, just seen as “odd”, which is why a lot of Aspies prefer to refer to themselves not as having a “disorder” but as being “neuro-atypical”.
But it can be very hard to diagnose as behaviorally it can emulate other disorders (it’s often confused with ADHD for instance), and generally even when there is a diagnosis, there’s no brain scans (as they are expensive and also, nobody realized at first that there would be any noticeable difference), so… well, long story short, it’s very easy to just claim you have it, even if there’s no evidence. I mean, if there even were a diagnosis, your psychologist or psychiatrist, and all of your other doctors, are bound by medical privacy laws, so it’s not like you can randomly track down the medical records of every jerkhole who tries to claim they have it.
Funny thing is a lot of them will even admit they do not have a diagnosis from a professional; they just “know” they have it, from reading the description on Wikpedia or taking an internet quiz and saying “yep, that sounds like me!”. Barnum effect is particularly bad when it comes to disorders that can simultaneously give you an “excuse” for insensitive behavior while allowing you to claim you’re secretly a genius of some sort.
Personally, as someone who takes neuropsychology seriously and as someone who has a similarly disbelieved, widely misdiagnosed disorder (ADHD), people like that piss me off. They make everybody think that either it isn’t real or that everyone who has it is an ass, and neither of those things is true. Even worse, I don’t get to claim to be a genius because of my disorder; you try making the argument “oh, that behavior wasn’t really my fault, I’m ADHD!” sometime, it doesn’t tend to fly well. But they seem to think that by labeling themself an Aspie they can be excused of being a dick on the internet… even if they’ve actually got no idea if they’re an Aspie or not. Sigh.
I think Asperger’s is probably a bit, socially at least, like ADHD to some extent, in the sense that the public became aware of it through less than ideal circumstances and now it’s made it harder for people who actually do have the condition, because instead of the blank slate of an unknown condition, they have to deal with all the preconceptions people now have about it, many of which are negative. >.>
JW. You and your walls of text.
I am almost the only person in my friends group to not have assburgers.. the other one that doesn’t have it has Borderline instead. I’m a schizo. We’re special.
I’ve never seen Asperger’s in a webcomic either. Finally, some (slightly dubious) representation.
People who just suck at socializing and claim to have it, when they don’t even rank on the scale deserve to be mocked. Mercilessly.
I’m proud of my asberger’s, thank you. :3
I’m not >:3
Well, the comic isn’t really making fun of people who actually have it. Rather, it’s making fun of the number of young males online who claim to have it to make themselves appear “special” while excusing any behavior of theirs that is less than ideal. “Oh, you don’t understand, I have a CONDITION! Which conveniently I have no professional diagnosis for, and which conveniently implies I’m brilliant at like engineering and stuff!”
Outside of actual forums for Aspies, I rarely see a person loudly and repeatedly claiming to have it, who show much sign of actually having it… I’ll be frank, I don’t disbelieve nightingale up there, because he or she just simply states they have it and don’t mind, which is very different from the whinging that a lot of other self-described “Aspies” do.
It is interesting though. Both from a neurological standpoint, and from the social standpoint… it is definitely true that people can be high-functioning enough that it is more “condition” than disorder. After all, “disorder” is generally defined as something that causes mental and emotional distress, and/or causes you to be a danger to yourself or others, and/or causes problems with attempts to live a normal life.
I sort of liken the higher-functioning Aspies to my bf; he has every sign of having ADHD… except that he CAN focus, like mad, in fact, even doing mental switching between multiple tasks (for instance, watching the news, holding a conversation, and playing WoW all at the same time). He’s even the only person I know capable of actually talking on the phone and driving at the same time. He’s like, practically superhuman in his ability to manage his attention. Clearly, though he can be occasionally irritating and has a bit of a constant need for sound, he’s not actually got any kind of “disorder”, because in fact, he functions better than NORMAL people do.
I actually kind of like the label that I think Aspies came up with, which is “neuro-atypical”. I think that’s the only way to describe folks like him, and like the Aspies who get by with little to no problem. They’re not typical, no, but they may well just be “differently-adapted” as it were.
Is that Robin’s Mom?!
Huh, interesting timing. Asperger’s is getting removed from the next DSM.
While Aspergers is part of the autism spectrum, I think that it’s unique enough to deserve its own diagnosis. I would hope even if Aspergers got put under the broad umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders that it would have it’s own subheading and still be a diagnosis. If the DSM becomes too broad with its diagnoses, then it will cease to be useful.
I’m not so sure I’m happy with the next DSM. :\
They seem to be adding a lot of disorders like shopping addiction, that really are just different versions of other, more straightforward diagnoses (compulsive or addictive disorders for instance).
It is true that some do need to be added or clarified with newer, more up to date information (neuroscience has come a long way!) – but they still, last I checked, were ignoring evidence for known conditions like synestheia… synes… crap, I can’t even spell it and spell check is no help. There’s a condition where the senses are sort of cross-wired, like you always associate apples with the color red or sounds have a color or a shape to them in your head. IIRC, they aren’t planning on including that in the next DSM, and they aren’t planning to include a recently-researched disorder where the senses all are oversensitive and out of whack (which is terrible, because without it being a “real” condition, nobody wants to fund the very necessary research into it, and it can be hell on kids that have it ). I also have yet to hear anything about whether fibromyalgia will be included, which is bothersome, since it seems to have psychological roots or correlations (fibro is pretty terrible; it’s basically constant pain for no damn reason, because of overactive nerves, and also it’s more common in women, especially older women who are depressed, so it’s taken forever for it to even be remotely considered a “real” condition since it’s hard to diagnose and some don’t even believe it happens and assume patients are, I dunno, making it up or something. But it definitely happens, even if there’s no obvious physical cause. Thing is, there is indeed no obvious physical cause, and antidepressant medications tend to alleviate it much more than painkillers, implying that it’s definitely a neurological condition and thus within the purview of the DSM).
Er, long story short, DSM seems to be trimming and adding in weird places, leaving a lot of holes in the next edition. I’m concerned about it for that reason. :\
Especially since the thing the DSM is used for is basically for medical billing coding nowadays. See, every disorder listed in it has a code associated with it; if the insurance company or your family doc needs to know what your condition is, your psychological professional will use those codes to tell them that, and all billing and all that is based on those codes.
As far as the medical industry and insurance industry are concerned, if it doesn’t have a DSM code, it’s not a condition.
This is why the thing actually matters.
actually people with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to be smater than most people they just have problems socially and I should know afterall I am one of those people
Actually, Chrisleech, that effect is simply the result of the Asperger’s diagnosis itself – as Diztrakted has mentioned, it is being removed from the next DSM. The reason for this is Asperger’s is essentially a way of saying “autism without cognitive impairments” – given that, of course people with AS would appear smarter as a group, because that group is defined by excluding those who aren’t of at least average intelligence.
They might be experts on certain areas (for example, knowing the serial numbers of all hard drive) because that’s their special interest, but in turn be shite at something that’s actually related to the subject that interest (for example, not knowing how to construct a computer with said hard drives)
uuuummm… Pretty sure almost everybody doesn’t know how to construct a computer with hard drives…
I used to be prescripted with Aspergers. Now it’s Schizo-typal for me… Though the person who labeled me “schizo-typal” says they’re similar. In my opinion, I want to be considered both.
I have Aspergers…. That guy (in the comic, not the artist, hes awesome) has no idea what Aspergers is, does he?
Ding ding ding! Indeed.
A lot of the dudes on message boards who claim to have it, seem to be talking out of their asses.
It’s the latest “in vogue” disorder, basically. A few years ago it was OCD, before that it was ADHD. All of which don’t get taken seriously by the public because of idiots who don’t know what the conditions are actually like. Though OCD has less of those problems than Asperger’s or ADHD, on account of even the ridiculous portrayals tend to show it being kind of a bitch (Monk, anyone?).
Considering how many people online claim to have Aspergers, I have come to two conclusions; one, the percentage of people suffering mental disorders are increasing or two, many of the people who say they have Aspergers are big fat liars.
Or, it’s entirely possible that as a society we’ve decided to diagnose every little thing that used to be a personality quirk as a disorder. To better prescribe drugs to them.
Frankly, if a large segment of the population tends to behave a certain way, at that point I’d no longer argue it’s a disorder, but within acceptable parameters for humanity.
The definition of a disorder is something that causes problems for the person and/or those around them.
Something can be enormously common, and still be a disorder because it causes problems in their life. Which is not to say all disorders should be treated with medication, of course, but they can still be a disorder.
A really, really good example is depression; it’s so enormously common in reaction to severe stress and loss, and so common in particular with “social stress” triggers (breakups, deaths, etc.), and in fact seems to be possible for EVERY human being, it’s to the extent that some psychologists think it may have a valid evolutionary purpose, for dealing with problems. See, depression causes rumination – obsessive focusing on your misery – and this comes at the, well, depression of other things, such as appetite or urge to get out of bed or well, urge to do anything other than sit around thinking about how miserable you are, really. Which if you are dealing with a social problem… well, sometimes thinking on it obsessively might actually help.
However, that doesn’t mean that the depressed state isn’t a disordered one; it very obviously causes problems in one’s life (for instance, not wanting to get out of bed to go to work), and when severe enough, can lead to self-destructive or even self-harming behavior or suicide. Calling it “acceptable parameters for humanity” would cloak the possible risks and definite problems of depression.
Thing is, most depression is temporary, a reaction to direct circumstances. And almost all treatments – including “mere” talk therapy – seem to help a majority of cases. So yes, we definitely over-medicate for depression.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not a disorder when it happens.
It’s also possible for one disorder or symptom to be mistaken for another; for instance, the number of adult ADHD diagnoses has skyrocketed… but, unfortunately, it is very hard to tell ADHD apart from the effects of sleep loss! So, probably, we have a lot of adults who are on stimulant medications that sure do counteract the symptoms – but who would be better served by getting regular rest instead.
This doesn’t mean there’s not something wrong or that the symptoms are “acceptable” – quite the opposite, as whether it’s sleep loss or ADHD, the symptoms can be outright dangerous in the wrong circumstances; it just means that the symptoms might not be best treated with medication and might be masking an underlying problem that’s mistaken for some other problem.
Also, there ARE conditions that appear to be influenced by epigenetic factors – which means they could easily become “really common” in a particular generation or two, while still not being normal for “humans” as a whole, or a good thing. Epigenetic you see, refers to effects on the epigenome, a biochemical layer that lays on top of the the genome and tells it how to turn genes on and off and to what extent. The epigenome is environmentally-impacted, and the impact on it can be transferred for up to two generations past the original.
ADHD for instance? Much more common in children whose parents have it. But also much more common in children of mothers who were VERY stressed during their pregnancy. So a single stressful period of history – say, the Great Depression – may well lead to a couple generations or so which have a solid up-tick in legitimate ADHD cases. You know, like the current large number?
In other words, while you probably aren’t wrong to question whether medication is always the best treatment, that doesn’t mean that a condition can’t be super common and yet, still a problem enough to require awareness or even treatment.
I mean jesus, sleep loss is a major issue for our times. You going to tell me we should just ignore it because it’s common behavior? I would assume not.
Common doesn’t and shouldn’t mean “acceptable”. Evolution just simply doesn’t work that way, and frankly, neither does human nature.
I’d say it’s a mix of those two, plus 3. people with Asperger’s are much more likely to be online than people without it, since online social interaction is much easier for them than offline.
Erm, scratch that, I mean it’s a mix of 2. and 3. And to some extent what Tekno said.
Aspergers: The single most self-diagnosed condition on the Internet.
No, you’re thinking of hypochrondria
While I agree that there are many out there who only think they have aspergers’, there are also those who actually need the pharmaceutical and psychological treatment in order to control the disorder.
My awesome fiance, for example.
It’s funny, I might have heard of Asperger’s before, but this comic was the first time I really became aware of it (I looked it up after reading the last panel). 2 years later I was diagnosed with it and suddenly my entire childhood made sense.
Asperger’s: Not as bad as ass-burgers.
but ass burgers is so much fun to say. especially when some useless douche is telling you it’s ok for him to be said douche.
Because he has ass burgers. >:)
I’ve been professionally diagnosed, and am considered highly unusual in that I can be social when I want to and highly talkative and friendly, even without my meds
=/ The guy who diagnosed me is apparently a leading expert so I have no idea what it means when I have Aspergers yet have little trouble socializing
Actually, that’s not unheard of! Assuming you hypothetically ever run across this (or assuming anything similarly wondering how that could be does)… you should read the book “Look Me In The Eye”, by John Elder Robison. First because it’s just an awesome book, but also because it kind of shows how it’s possible to have Aspie symptoms, but to grow into more normal emotional behavior as well.
Though it’s obviously anecdotal, I see that memoir as basically a case study in neuroplasticity. You have a guy who in his early life, is absolutely a pitch-perfect example of what “Asperger’s” is, and has social difficulties because of it… and yet, later in life, as he develops closer social relationships, those social difficulties gradually lessen.
So, basically it’s not unheard of to be an Aspie who’s social! It’s just that normally they have a lot of trouble, at least as kids, figuring out human behavior because it’s so non-intuitive.
It’s also important to not confuse “socially adept” with “talkative and friendly”; as anyone who has worked retail knows, those two things are very different traits that don’t always overlap. Plenty of Aspies are friendly and talkative; the part of social interaction they usually have difficulty with is reading others’ behavior and expressions or reacting in ways a “normal” person would, because they start out wired more for logic than empathy, so it’s usually more difficult for them to figure out others’ thoughts and emotions if they differ from their own. Also, sometimes they will focus on physical objects more than faces, which can be an issue as it’s the opposite from what most others focus on.
But like I said… neuroplasticity gives your brain more flexibility in learning those things than a lot of people give it credit for.
Do I see Robin in the photo in panel 3?
This idoit is truly an insult to anyone who has Aspersers.
Keep in mind, folks, the person in this comic is a (only slightly exaggerated) caricature of an actual Transformers wiki user, and is not intended as an actual representation of those with Asperger’s or of anyone but said user. His name is in the tags.
… I kinda want to know details about this. But then I realize this guy creeps me out enough as is just from the caricature.
http://www.allspark.com/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=52183&view=findpost&p=1049682 You want details?
How can people not know about Aspergers? Satoshi Tajiri has it, therefore, everyone should know about it.
I actually have an official diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome, and really all it is is an excuse to behave badly. And this is among people who actually know what it is.
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