Have you ever wondered if the creative, artistic, eccentric, recluse, types are hardwired differently? What about the people who seem to avoid social situations and prefer to work alone? Why do you think some people seem to enjoy being alone or prefer animal companions over human interaction? Why do some people get so upset if their planned activities are changed by circumstances beyond their control? Why do they plan everything and prefer advance notice even to visit them? Why do some people seem uncaring, yet they spend months making handcrafted gifts for loved ones. Why do some people seem to prefer seeing pictures and communicating on the internet rather than actually attending a gathering? Why do some people seem to say the most uncaring things at the most inappropriate time, yet they seem oblivious to why others think they are insensitive? When Don Tillman, the protagonist, in “The Rosie Project” is speaking at a presentation, and calls on the woman who has her hand up to ask a question, he says, the fat woman, sorry, the “overweight woman” in the back of the room; he realized the faux pas of saying “fat” but thought ‘overweight’ was OK.
Don Tillman, who is an Associate Professor of genetics at the University of Melbourne, seemed familiar to me; and as I read the book I could relate so easily to his quirks, as well as laugh at the irony of his lack of understanding as to why others regarded his habits and interactions as inappropriate behaviour. Although undiagnosed, all his friends suspect he has Asperger syndrome (AS) which is currently considered to be in the Autism Spectrum. I can relate and think many of us, especially the ones people call eccentric, quirky, non-traditional, and yes even irreverent, may be wired that way too!
I’ve only begun my research on Asperger Syndrome (AS) and it will take more research for me to form a complete definite opinion, but I think that what many people call eccentric, and quirky may actually be a matter of how the brain is hardwired in a different way than others. Society may confuse narcissistic personalities or sociopaths with people who have Asperger Syndrome. I read an interesting article recently at globalcomment.com written by Christine Hughes, about television characters and how they could cause viewers to confuse sociopaths with people who have Asperger’s. The article begins, “As awareness of autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome, in adults increases, characters with autistic traits are becoming increasingly common in television and other media. Temperance Brennan of Bones and Sheldon of Big Bang Theory exemplify this phenomenon, as does Sherlock from the BBC show of the same name.” and this article ends by saying, “The confusion between autism and sociopathy lets people like Sherlock be maligned as lacking conscience and compassion, even when they actually have a keen sense of morality. Sherlock and other people with autistic traits do not always demonstrate empathy in the ways that society expects, yet they may still care deeply for others. People with ASDs, not sociopaths, stay “on the side of the angels” and sacrifice their reputations for their friends. While many people cannot distinguish between autism and sociopathy, people creating autistic or sociopathic television characters should understand the difference.” To read the entire article, see the citation here and below. (citations-from-GlobalComment)
Below are some good reference sources to do research as well as citation source for some quotes above in this article.