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Seminar on Asperger's

I attended a live-webcast-seminar on dealing with Asperger's syndrome at the college level. I went into it thinking "I have an unfair advantage, because Aspergerish behavior is almost normal in my field; what's to deal with?" But I figured there would be some useful tips for recognition, accommodation, and referral.

On recognition: one slide showed kids fighting with boffer swords and shields; another showed a table of the Klingon alphabet; another mentioned odd clothing "such as a cape, elaborate jewelry, scarves or embroidery"; D&D, WoW, LARP, and anime were mentioned by name, as were "odd interests" such as car motors, Victorian door hinges or vintage toys. The presenter hastened to point out that not ALL Aspergerians do these things, and some are offended by being lumped in with those people. Notable by its absence was any suggestion that not ALL people who do those things have Asperger's.

[I'm trying to think of people I know who don't do any of these things....]

On accommodation: six slides in a row on being clear, concise, and consistent. Each slide was illustrated with a "do" statement of 5-10 words, and a "don't" statement of 40-60 that said the same thing wrapped in a lot of qualifiers and softening particles. Seriously, would anybody prefer the latter? I guess this is the old tact-filter phenomenon again.

We're past the one-hour mark, I can't think of anything substantial I've learned yet, and I have to catch a train. I guess I'll have to skip the "referral" section.

On my feedback form I expressed a wish that the webinar itself had been more clear, concise, and consistent. :-)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


I live in a house with an adult aspie and two kid aspies. Maybe this will be of use to you:

One thing I've learned is that an irritating noise (or whatever) does not diminish its vexation with time, as it does for a neurotypical person. It's like being constantly and unexpectedly jabbed with forks. Endlessly.

This means for you as an instructor, that your Aspie students could easily get extremely upset by normal regular noises, like paper rustling.
I can't speak for everyone, bit if it's something smallish and isn't going to damage people or property, yes, I can ignore it easily.
I have never in my life made a study of Victorian door hinges.
They're really pretty!
They are! I *think* I first learned about them on a tour of the old Studebaker mansion back home, but they were a talking point in college, with the motley crew of gamers/Scadians/CS majors who shared a nineteenth-century vernacular house. It was free of the usual "Victorian" flourishes (e.g. shingles, fretwork, stained glass) but it had nice woodwork, and nice door-hinges :-)
Me neither, but now I'm worried that I've been missing out.
If you already haven't taken a gander, here's a selection.
What about sheet-brass aiglets on fingerlooped cords?
Useful, but not as pretty as Victorian door hinges :-D
Too busy studying early Italian patchwork.
another mentioned odd clothing "such as a cape, elaborate jewelry, scarves or embroidery"

Let me get this right. Your presenter is arguing that Asperger's Syndrome is characterized by a fashion sense inclined to elaborate decorative accessories[*]?

I suppose it's a valid hypothesis that can be confirmed or not by experimental evidence. It will certainly come as a surprise for a lot of psychiatrists and psychologists.

Of course, it could just be that the speaker was calling all geeks Aspie, as a way of denigrating them (implying simultaneously that Aspergers is a bad thing to have and that people with tastes the speaker doesn't like must have it: i.e. "Isn't it tragic how Asperger's causes a fixation on polyhedral dice and diaphanous gowns.")

[* I've certainly heard people with Asperger's often prefer tactilely pleasing garments, and will dress accordingly. But that's something notably different from picking garments on how the look.]

ETA: There's an old technical term for using one demographic's identity label as an insult towards another demographic. Back when someone did that on Usenet, we called it "trolling".

Edited at 2012-02-10 09:27 pm (UTC)
I'm assuming that by "scarves" he means "Dr. Who costumes"; by "a cape" he means either medieval, steampunk, or superhero; etc. In short, fen of all stripes. Plus anything else that you would call "the Archipelago of Weird".

Is this guy's powerpoint available on the web anywhere? I need to cite it.
I've asked, and will let you know.
Um -- the recognition portion was all about tastes and appearance? Nothing about behavioral or interpersonal symptoms? Good grief.

Educators of the world, which of the following might indicate that a student is on the Asperger's specturm:

(a) Difficulty parsing other people's facial expressions;

(b) Presents a "blank" affect;

(c) Wears boffer weapons and a cloak to class (and isn't on hir way to the annual Activities Carnival).

Edited at 2012-02-10 10:58 pm (UTC)
I used to wear a cloak to class at Smith, and I still think cloaks are more practical than jackets in certain situations. I *may* be mildly ADHD, but Aspie? If anything, I'm way too sensitive to facial and verbal cues.
Well, the behavioral and interpersonal stuff showed up mostly in the "accommodations" section: how do you keep the Asperger's student from asking too many questions in class, how do you keep other students from teasing him/her, ...?

(I can count on the fingers of one hand the students I've ever taught who asked "too many questions".)
I think I'd be much happier and more comfortable in a roomful of aspie's than with your instructor there.
Did the lecture cover things such as 'how to present material to aspies so that they can understand it best?'
Now that you mention it, no: no mention of course content whatsoever -- only behavioral and interpersonal issues. An SF vs. NT mismatch?