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(offtopic) Geekery may lead to autistic children

by deprecated (Priest)
on Dec 17, 2001 at 20:11 UTC ( #132542=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

This was linked off slashdot this morning. I find it to be more relevant to this community. I also found it rather alarming, and wanted to make sure the perl geeks here saw it.
    High tech hot spots like the Valley, and Route 128 outside of Boston, are a curious oxymoron: They're fraternal associations of loners. In these places, if you're a geek living in the high-functioning regions of the spectrum, your chances of meeting someone who shares your perseverating obsession (think Linux or Star Trek) are greatly expanded. As more women enter the IT workplace, guys who might never have had a prayer of finding a kindred spirit suddenly discover that she's hacking Perl scripts in the next cubicle.

    One provocative hypothesis that might account for the rise of spectrum disorders in technically adept communities like Silicon Valley, some geneticists speculate, is an increase in assortative mating. Superficially, assortative mating is the blond gentleman who prefers blondes; the hyperverbal intellectual who meets her soul mate in the therapist's waiting room. There are additional pressures and incentives for autistic people to find companionship - if they wish to do so - with someone who is also on the spectrum. Grandin writes, "Marriages work out best when two people with autism marry or when a person marries a handicapped or eccentric spouse.... They are attracted because their intellects work on a similar wavelength."

The full text can be found at wired. Sorry for the off-topic post.

Brother deprecated.

Laziness, Impatience, Hubris, and Generosity.

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Re: (offtopic) Geekery may lead to autistic children
by cacharbe (Curate) on Dec 17, 2001 at 21:19 UTC
    I actually made a couple copies of that article, and sent out links to it last week when I got my issue. It's a fascinating topic.

    Look at people like John Nash (another good link, here) (A Beautiful Mind - His book is worth a read, as are some of his papers...WOW). The deeper into mathematics he went, the more paranoid-schizoprehnic he became. He says that some of his greatest ideas came during some of his lowest mental moments.

    It has always been said that there is a fine line between genious and insanity, and perhaps Asperger's is a beginning to defining that line, or at least helping us to understand it.


Re (tilly) 1: (offtopic) Geekery may lead to autistic children
by tilly (Archbishop) on Dec 17, 2001 at 21:51 UTC
    Thanks for the interesting link. My favorite line, though, was this piece of unintentional humor:
    Mrs. Smith, here are the results of your amnio. There's a 1 in 10 chance that you'll have an autistic child, or the next Bill Gates. Would you like to have an abortion?
    Was one of those options supposed to be good? :-)
Re: (offtopic) Geekery may lead to autistic children
by Anonymous Monk on Dec 17, 2001 at 21:54 UTC
    I saw this article on Slashdot too. I think maybe my dad - who worked in IT (it was DP then of course) - has Asberger's. He thinks it's a possibility too, although he's never been diagnosed as such. But he shows some of the symptoms.

    We've talked about it - in an intellectual way, naturally! I'm sure I don't (have it), but then my mum's completely different to my dad. Luckily my girlfriend's personality also shows no tendency towards Asberger's.

    Asberger's Syndrome, by Tony Attwood, is good.

Re: (offtopic) Geekery may lead to autistic children
by kko (Scribe) on Aug 03, 2003 at 02:50 UTC
    After reading this article on /., I decided to pay a couple of visits to a psychologist who is a friend of my mother's. She has not given me a definite diagnosis yet, and she says I might have to go through more ['sessions', 'tests', 'doctors'] before I get a final diagnosis. But she says that from what she has seen, I'm quite "aspergerish".
    That would explain a lot of things about me, and though it's only been a short trip, it's been an interesting one, and it's only going to get more interesting. It would explain why I was reading books on the evolution of the human species from tiny hominids at age 4, fooling around with BASIC at age 7 (on an osborne, mind you), yet still completely socially inept even now at age 22.
    It would explain why I can lose myself and lose track of time when I sit down to program (my workday feels like a mere 5 minutes) yet I can't manage a simple conversation with anybody without the other end of the conversation managing some sort of gross misunderstanding or somehow feeling offended by something I said because of my poor nonverbal communication skills and lack of tact.
    It would explain why I always carried the "stigma" of being very, veeeery "different" from everybody else in ['school', 'college', 'whatever'].
    I used to think that I was just an idiot, but now it kind of makes me feel nice knowing there's a medical term for my kind of idiocy.

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