Friday, July 20, 2007

A Realization...

Been busy these few weeks dealing with work, mostly marking. I've also started training for the Army Half Marathon, and the first few sessions were torture on my legs, due to my not having run seriously for the past 4 weeks. For much of the week, I was limping in school. And when I train, it's intense. It was only last night that I realized why I would behave this way. As somebody asked me in the staff room today: Why torture myself?

So last night, while I was just surfing the web and reading some of my regular sites, I came across Kim Du Toit's wife's entry on autism and education. Since there were some students in school having a CIP to sell CDs to raise funds for an autism school, my interest was naturally piqued, since I never really sat down and found out what autism was(and to think I'm in education!). It was a very moving summary of one couple's struggle to raise their child to adapt to the world.
David had to learn (what he had never learned and was not innate) was that language was powerful. It was the way to get anything and everything, and without it, he’d get nothing.

It nearly killed me. I had to watch him cry, have tantrums, sit frustrated and hungry (I KNEW he was hungry), and I had to do all of that, for his own good. I had to learn to be cross or insistent, when all I wanted to do was giggle and smile with my sweet baby boy. And it was HARD.

I have nothing but the utmost of respect for Kim and his family.

Then there was a poster below who commented on having Asperger's Syndrome. Again, I was curious, so I looked up Wikipedia. There was a long list of characteristics that describe this particular developmental and behavioral state, which is closely related to autism.

As I went down the list, I mentally checked off each symptom. To my growing consternation, almost every item on the list applied. So it came down to a quick scan for a self diagnostic quiz on whether I had Asperger's. Simply put, a score of 32 indicates a high probability of Asperger's. Any score lower than 26 rules it out. A score of 27-31 is the 'error region'. For comparison's sake, the average score of normal people was 16.4.

While such diagnostic quizzes are not, and never, conclusive, and contain a significant amount of error, depending on the self-awareness of the individual, the fact that I got 30 marks means that there is some likelihood of my having this syndrome. Since mental states are not binary sets, but rather spectra of a wide variety of behaviors from mild to extreme intensities, it is certainly possible that I'm suffering from the mildest form of Asperger's. Perhaps not sufficiently to be clinically diagnosed with it(I don't trust clinical psychologists much anyway), but enough to explain so many things that I do.

As an interesting aside, the scientist who developed the quiz, one Simon Baron-Cohen, is the cousin of Sacha Baron-Cohen, better known to the world as Ali G and Borat.