Or there’s a simpler explanation

Kevin Beck on Asperger’s Syndrome:

The most interesting thing about Asperger’s syndrome is that its “discoverer” decided he had it and named it after himself, which he might have done even if not “suffering” from this “disorder.” Maybe.

Asperger’s, like too many other mental illnesses, is in effect an almost whimsical diagnosis of exclusion: If someone is really smart, arrogant beyond measure, and tends to be an asshole or otherwise impossible to converse with in a normal way, then he must have a form of autism. It’s not treatable, but hey, labels are always fun and interesting.

And inevitably, there is a quick-and-dirty test online, consisting of 50 questions on a four-point scale (there is no Neutral). The cutoff point:

Scores over 32 are generally taken to indicate Asperger’s Syndrome or high-functioning autism, with more than 34 an “extreme” score.

Well, isn’t that special.

There is, of course, a limit to how seriously I’m going to take a mere 50-question inventory of this sort, but then I’m really smart and arrogant beyond measure.

(Via the kindly James Joyner.)


  1. rita »

    3 August 2007 · 8:51 pm

    Apparently I need a t-shirt which says “I’m not autistic, I’m just ignoring you.”

  2. Res Ipsa Loquitur »

    3 August 2007 · 8:53 pm

    MIssed It By That Much

    I took this quiz found over at Dustbury, and only scored a 30….which apparently means I should wear a t-shirt…

  3. McGehee »

    4 August 2007 · 8:47 am

    I didn’t take the test. Judge Wapner is on.

  4. CGHill »

    4 August 2007 · 8:58 am

    I always thought he was on something.

  5. Gradual Dazzle »

    4 August 2007 · 9:15 am

    As a former SPED teacher, I’ve worked with dozens of Aspergers kids. I could always spot them because they had a flat affect and didn’t laugh or get jokes. They usually realized this, though, and some of them would make the effort to be sociable with mixed results.

    My personal operating theory is that the autism spectrum is quite a bit broader than is commonly known, and that there are LOTS of functioning adults who have very good jobs and are even married with kids, but who are actually mildly autistic. Has nothing to do with “being really smart, tending to be an asshole, etc.” but seems more to do with varying degrees of social awkwardness or lack of social awareness.

  6. Tatyana »

    4 August 2007 · 9:44 am

    InterWeb, apparently, is not that wide. I came to the same test from a different source, had a similar reaction.

  7. CGHill »

    4 August 2007 · 10:17 am

    And there’s always the question of whether someone merely shying away will be thought of as aloof, which these days is considered just a step or two below full assholery.

  8. Andrea Harris »

    4 August 2007 · 3:29 pm

    Oh great. Now “social awkwardness” is signs of a disease? Well, all babies got to eat, I guess, but sometimes I wonder how psychiatrists can live with themselves. (Oh right — therapy.)

  9. Winston »

    4 August 2007 · 4:56 pm

    I wish they explained what my negative score means…

    Get me one of those T-shirts that Rita wants.

  10. aka_monty »

    5 August 2007 · 10:05 am

    I tried to take the test but I got bored of it and distracted halfway through. What do you suppose that means?

  11. CGHill »

    5 August 2007 · 10:21 am

    Whatever you’re suffering from, it isn’t Asperger’s. :)

  12. Silflay Hraka »

    6 August 2007 · 9:22 pm

    27 out of 50

    Ok, so maybe I don’t have Asperger’s after all. Dammit. Again, via dustbury.

  13. triticale - the wheat / rye guy »

    6 August 2007 · 10:56 pm

    I Can Has Aspergerz?

    Going thru my regular not added to the blogroll reaads, I stopped by Rita’s before getting to Chaz. Thus she gets the blame for sending me to this quiz. I’m right on the borderline now, and answering as best I…

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