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musicians with Asperger's Syndrome

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sed 10 Feb 03 - 01:46 PM
Lepus Rex 10 Feb 03 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Diva 10 Feb 03 - 02:08 PM
Mrrzy 10 Feb 03 - 02:10 PM
vindelis 10 Feb 03 - 02:34 PM
Schantieman 10 Feb 03 - 02:36 PM
Schantieman 10 Feb 03 - 02:38 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Feb 03 - 03:20 PM
Lepus Rex 10 Feb 03 - 03:30 PM
Schantieman 10 Feb 03 - 03:50 PM
nutty 10 Feb 03 - 04:22 PM
Morticia 10 Feb 03 - 05:15 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 10 Feb 03 - 05:26 PM
Lepus Rex 10 Feb 03 - 05:35 PM
Morticia 10 Feb 03 - 05:46 PM
Gloredhel 10 Feb 03 - 06:09 PM
harvey andrews 10 Feb 03 - 06:42 PM
Sorcha 10 Feb 03 - 07:33 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 10 Feb 03 - 07:49 PM
mack/misophist 10 Feb 03 - 07:56 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 10 Feb 03 - 10:02 PM
harpgirl 10 Feb 03 - 11:50 PM
Mark Cohen 11 Feb 03 - 12:36 AM
GUEST,Jonathan Betz-Zall 11 Feb 03 - 12:41 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 11 Feb 03 - 02:17 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Feb 03 - 04:03 AM
daithi 11 Feb 03 - 04:14 AM
Gurney 11 Feb 03 - 04:50 AM
harvey andrews 11 Feb 03 - 06:47 AM
harvey andrews 11 Feb 03 - 07:00 AM
Steve Parkes 11 Feb 03 - 07:22 AM
harvey andrews 11 Feb 03 - 08:31 AM
Jeri 11 Feb 03 - 08:39 AM
Bagpuss 11 Feb 03 - 09:11 AM
harvey andrews 11 Feb 03 - 09:46 AM
Thomas the Rhymer 11 Feb 03 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,Claire 11 Feb 03 - 01:30 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 11 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM
Schantieman 11 Feb 03 - 03:41 PM
JudeL 11 Feb 03 - 03:52 PM
Llanfair 11 Feb 03 - 05:58 PM
Joe_F 11 Feb 03 - 06:05 PM
open mike 27 Feb 03 - 04:36 PM
Barry Finn 27 Feb 03 - 11:10 PM
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Blackcatter 28 Feb 03 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,Noel 28 Feb 03 - 02:44 AM
Blackcatter 28 Feb 03 - 11:05 AM
Blackcatter 28 Feb 03 - 11:15 AM
Blackcatter 02 Mar 03 - 01:30 AM
winterchild 02 Mar 03 - 03:21 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Mar 03 - 07:00 AM
Blackcatter 02 Mar 03 - 10:46 PM
Mark Cohen 03 Mar 03 - 01:44 AM
Dani 03 Mar 03 - 08:50 AM
MAG 03 Mar 03 - 02:11 PM
Blackcatter 04 Mar 03 - 01:01 AM
sed 04 Mar 03 - 05:16 AM
Blackcatter 04 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM
Mark Cohen 05 Mar 03 - 01:36 AM
Blackcatter 05 Mar 03 - 10:40 AM
Gurney 06 Mar 03 - 03:49 AM
Blackcatter 06 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Ely (at Mom's) 11 Jun 03 - 10:17 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 12 Jun 03 - 06:01 AM
Gurney 12 Jun 03 - 06:57 AM
Steve Parkes 12 Jun 03 - 12:08 PM
Blackcatter 13 Jun 03 - 12:29 AM
Homeless 13 Jun 03 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,O.J. Malm 29 Apr 04 - 11:22 AM
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freda underhill 31 Mar 05 - 08:07 AM
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Lizzie in beautiful Sidmouth 06 Apr 05 - 02:48 PM
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Subject: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: sed
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 01:46 PM

I have been reading about a developmental disorder called Asperger's Syndrome or Disorder. Are there any well-known or not so well known musicians in our field who have overcome or tried to overcome this setback?

Here is some info on it. I think when you read it you may see the connection with some folk musicians.

from this source: http://www.geocities.com/aspergifted/WhatisAsperger.html

What is Asperger Syndrome?


ASPERGER SYNDROME: is a neurobiological disorder named after a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger. In 1944 he published a paper describing a pattern of behaviors in several young boys exhibiting autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills who otherwise had normal intelligence and language development. AS can range from mild to severe. Among the variety of characteristics individuals often have deficiencies in social skills and reading non- verbal cues, hypersensitivity to certain sounds, tastes, smell, sights and touch,
difficulties with transition preferring sameness, obsessive routines, preoccupation with a particular interest sometimes exhibiting exceptional skill or talent in this area, and motor clumsiness. In 1994 Asperger Syndrome was added to the DSM IV.

Aspergers Syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) characterized by severe and sustained impairment in social interaction, development and repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. These characteristics result in clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning.


It appears to be more common in males. Onset is later than what is seen in Autism, or at least recognized later. A large number of children are diagnosed between the ages of 5 and 9. Motor delays, clumsiness, social interaction problems, and odd behaviors are reported. Adults with Asperger's have trouble with empathy and social interaction - the disorder follows a continuous course and is usually lifelong.


Aspergers is not easily recognizable - in fact, many children are misdiagnosed with other neurological disorders such as Tourette's Syndrome or Autism. More frequently, children are misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit (and Hyperactivity) Disorders (ADD & ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).


Such mistakes in diagnosis lead to a delay in treatment of the disorder, though changes in diet, many pharmaceuticals and natural remedies are used to treat multiple neurological and pervasive developmental disorders. No single medication or remedy works for everyone - and AS cannot be completely cured.

Because it is so new and so difficult to diagnose, our society is ill-equipped to deal with the special needs of children afflicted with Asperger's.

-------------------------------------------------
Diagnostic Criteria For 299.80 Asperger's Disorder

A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

1. marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
2. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
3. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity

B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

1. encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
2. apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
3. stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
4. persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g., single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia

----------
PS This is not a joke, but a serious inquiry!
-Steve Sedberry


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 02:01 PM

I think Asperger's is a load of shit, personally. The pharmaceutical companies must have creamed their pants when they noticed the huge, untapped parents-disappointed-with-their-nerdy-kids market. On NPR, I heard one of the symptoms was "playing D&D." Fucking please.

And like it's going to help these poor dweebs by diagnosing them with something called "Asperger's." You just wait. "Ass-Burger" will be in the dictionary in 20 years.

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Diva
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 02:08 PM

My daughter has been diagnosed with AS and there is nothing pharmaceutical involved in her every day care.....just coping strategies. Especially when faced with narrow minded and ignorant individuals.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Mrrzy
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 02:10 PM

Seems like a mild autism from what I've read - and the one person I met who has it, is not exactly a nice person (good luck, Diva!) and probably would not be into music as a SOCIAL thing. Maybe as a solitary thing, though, don't know.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: vindelis
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 02:34 PM

I know a young lady with Asperger's Syndrome. She was not diagnosed until she was twenty-three years old. My sister-in-law, who has an autisic son, confirmed that she had the condition. I don't know about the USA, but I do know that in the UK Autism is not covered under the Mental Health Act, which means that you can have people who, in practice, cannot comunicate with the outside world, deemed 'normal' and fully capable of making decisions for themselves.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Schantieman
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 02:36 PM

I did wonder, when I read about this a year or so ago, that I might suffer from it. Difficult to tell, but I nearly fit the criteria above!!!!

Mudcat (and other changes in my life recently) has made a big difference though - and whether I have this or not, I seem to be coping!

A shame that you don't have a more open mind, Lepus Rex!   I used to think like that about things like this too, but more recently I have realised that (a) there is more to life than meets the eye and (b) if one has a point of view different from that of others one is more likely to persuade them of it without violence of language.

Steve


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Schantieman
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 02:38 PM

Blimey- was that me talking? I have changed!


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:20 PM

Ride the Ferris wheel of life
Through all it's ups and downs
See the sights, feel alive
Though mundane are the towns

Interplay and social grace
Are for the chosen few
When power occupies a place
That goodness ought to do

Exposure and abuse you see
Endemic as they are
Watch confidence turn into plea
And near to very far

Vulgar is as vulgar does
We've got so much you see
That people wish the is that was
Are things we'll never be

So hope is best, and work and rest
Acceptance is the key
But gang behavior fails the test
I'd rather just be me.
ttr


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:30 PM

Well, my point was this, Steve: Even if there are legitimate Asperger's cases, the majority of these poor "victims" are simply nerds. This push to medicate people who are merely different from the percieved norm is troubling and offensive to me. It wasn't long ago that treating, for example, homosexuality as a mental illness (sometimes with forced castration) was a common practice, and this feels like that to me. (Uh, not that I have any weird urges to sleep with nerds, or anything...)

I, too, probably fit the Asperger's criteria, at least when I was younger: Clumsy; socially awkward, nay, retarded; obsessed with primatology and little else; assorted other "symptoms" and general dorkiness, etc. And although most of that smoothed itself out once I got older and started getting laid, I've grown into a somewhat eccentric adult. Thank fucking god. Who knows, if I'd been treated for so-called Asperger's as a boy, I might be reading popular fiction and listening to Top 40 shit.

So, Steve, I agree with you, that people should have an open mind. But not open to excessive, mind-altering drugs. Open your mind and accept the differences that make you and I unique. I say enjoy your supposed "disability," as it probably makes you a more interesting person. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Schantieman
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 03:50 PM

Nice pome, TTR. Your own?

Thank you for that more reasoned response, LR. I agree about 'treating' with drugs people who are a bit different . In fact I'm not keen on using any drugs, even when I'm ill, if I can help it. That way madness lies. And antibiotic resistant bacteria.

There are a lot of us folkies who are a bit strange - it goes with the job!   I've found that in the folk world people are far more accepting of all sorts of strangeness than in the general population. That may be why I stayed once I discovered it at 15.

I agree about things 'smoothing out', too. I can now, in middle age, actually detect myself 'growing up' and being more aware of other people's feelings, sensibilities etc.   For example I wouldn't (at least in public) make violently blasphemous comments.    Don't get me wrong - I'm a devout atheist, but I think a lot of people might be greatly offended.

Individual differences are fine.   You're right too about my 'characteristics' (shall we say?) making me a more interesting person.
;)
Steve


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: nutty
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 04:22 PM

The problem in diagnosing Autism, and in particular Aspergers Syndrome, is that each person is individual ...... they can have some or all of the symptoms listed above ...... these can be from very mild (almost unnoticable) to very severe where the individual is completely incapable of normal communication.

To answer your question sed ..... Mozart has always seemed to me a prime candidate for diagnosis as suffering from Aspergers ..... as indeed many of these individuals are extraordinarily talented at an early age.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Morticia
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 05:15 PM

I can confirm that AS is a real condition...(good grief, Lepus, talk about tactless) and causes huge distress to many of its sufferers, whilst others believe the problem is with the outside world not them.

It is NOT a mental health problem and it isn't usually a learning disability either, in fact many people with AS are exceptionally intelligent..... which means many people don't get help because they don't fit in any category for service. The main area of impairment is often to do with the inability to empathise or understand any viewpoint other than their own. Social functioning on any level becomes a nightmare for them. Resistance to or huge anxiety about change is common and this is often coupled with an intense focus on a project or interest, sometimes to the exclusion of all else.

As for musicians, well I know of one AS sufferer at least who is immensely creative and talented. That may be because the guitar seldom left his hands for years and years (see intense focus). By the way Lepus, there are NO treatments or drugs, people with AS rely on the the outside world (which is how they see the world) to accept them and value the difference, which I think may be what you are saying in your own inimitable style :)


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 05:26 PM

My son has AS. He was diagnosed at age 9 and is now 17. We have never used any kind of medication as part of his treatment. Lepus, I assure you, when I say "treatment" I don't mean any attempt to brainwash him into conformity of any kind, but to teach him basic social skills (like not throttling the kid who cuts you in line) and help him cope with the constant hateful and sometimes violent teasing he gets at school. He is very intelligent- tests at the top percentile in most areas. He is extremely musical and composes intricate pieces on his computer, and almost constantly has a soundtrack running through his head. He has no interest in sharing these compositions, by the way, and gets very irritated when I put in a cd when he's working on something in his mind. He's getting to the point where I have some hope that he will be able to go to college, get a job, an apartment, and live as a contributing member of society. I had my profound doubts about it in the past! If it were just nerdiness, which his father and grandfather and I all suffered from (as does his sister), it wouldn't be an issue. Asperger's Syndrome is a real condition, with some similarities to autism, and although it may be a dumping ground for some diagnosticians, that doesn't diminish its reality.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 05:35 PM

Dammit, OK: What I was trying to say with my first two comments, but failed miserably, apparently: Yeah, I know Asperger's is a real disorder, etc. But I think that most of the people currently being diagnosed with it do not have it. They are being treated with drugs, such as Prozac, and I think that this is another case of pharmaceutical companies successfully marketing a disorder to psychiatrists. Which is, yanno, wrong and shit.

And, seriously, it does need a new name. :)

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Morticia
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 05:46 PM

Lepus, could you be thinking of ADHA disorder? That, I know, has often been used as a catch-all phrase for kids who don't fit in to the 'norm' (whatever the hell that is)....and is usually treated with ritolin or resperidol...I have never heard of anyone 'treated' for AS, although they are sometimes treated for associated conditions such as anxiety and/or depression. Also it is worth noting that AS has sometimes been mistaken for schizophrenia and vice versa and people can wind up on a whole bunch of psychotropic meds that actually make them worse in the long run.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Gloredhel
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:09 PM

I know that my grandmother, who is a nurse, worried for a time that I had this disorder or something similar. I was extremely unsocial for much of my childhood, had few friends, and exhibited some obsessive behaviors. Thankfully, I do not have Asperger's, and my grandmother has finally been convinced of this by the fact that I'm never home when she calls. Always out with my friends, now that I actually have some. :)
However, I have met at least one person who definitely does suffer from this, and one more who I wonder about sometimes. They are interesting people, if you can engage them in conversation.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: harvey andrews
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 06:42 PM

On the outside looking in.
I have a list of "symptoms". Seem to sum up most creative people I've met over 40 years.I score ten out of ten on three of these and seven to eight on the others.
Social situations confusing
hard to make small talk
Good at picking up details and facts
hard to work out what other people are feeling and thinking
focus on something for long periods
perceived as rude when it was not intended
strong, narrow interests
inflexibility and repetition


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 07:33 PM

Thank you, Animaterra. I knew someone's son here is Aspergers but couldn't remember who. Problem is that these people don't know HOW to be "nice". It's just not hardwired into them.

And, our son is a real ADHD case. We medicated, but not to the point of Zombie-ism, and it did help a lot!! And, I also belive part of what Lepus says about medicating anybody who seems somehow "different". Very prevelant with Ritalin, the preferred ADHD drug.

Big article in last Sundays (US) newspapaper magazine about Aspergers, and how the patients/famlies cope.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 07:49 PM

Gosh... I can imagine why children would exibit these qualities noted by Asperger ... in Vienna in 1944... How would you have reacted? ttr


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: mack/misophist
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 07:56 PM

The original question was about musicians with Asperger's. The great Canadian classical pianist, Garry Graffman is usually cited as having had it. There was another, a french horn player named Barry Tuckwell, whom I've never seen named. But from the stories I've heard, I wouldn't be surprized.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 10:02 PM

It's the old A-equals-B-but-B-does-not-necessarily-equal-A syllogism: Not all kids who exhibit Asperger's symptoms have the condition, but this doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I teach harp in a one-to-one environment in a music school, and one of my boys, aged 10, has Asperger's, which includes a lot of characteristics and behaviours that can't be lumped together into any single definition. "Nerdy" really isn't an apt description of these kids, who can astonish you with their contradictions. The issue is not dorkiness, it's how information is processed by the brain and how the outside world is perceived.

In doing some research on this subject so I could find guidance with regard to teaching this boy, I came across a publisher who specialises in books on this and related topics: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (www.jkp.com) whose website is a very useful source of information with a lot of helpful links, and I urge anyone who is dealing with an Asperger's child to take a look at it. You might also sniff out Temple Grandin on the Amazon site or in Google: she's an adult high-functioning autistic who has been able to articulate what it's like living on (as I think of it) the wrong side of the mirror.   It seems to be as hard for them to understand us as it is for us to understand them.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: harpgirl
Date: 10 Feb 03 - 11:50 PM

I would venture a guess that Neil Young has Asperger's...


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 12:36 AM

Lepus, I agree with you that there is way too much "drug-pushing" on people who are perceived to be different. Nevertheless, as Bonnie points out, that is generally not the case with Asperger syndrome. Nor is it the case with autism: there is no universally effective drug treatment for either one. The treatment for both autism and Asperger's, which are two of the conditions now known as "autistic spectrum disorders", focuses more on helping these children and adults to develop the kind of socialization skills that the rest of us -- even most of the nerds -- understand and use without thinking much about them. If you have Asperger's syndrome, you may have to be taught what do do when, for example, someone approaches you with a smiling face and an outstretched hand, and says hello--since his or her smile does not give you the normal feeling of pleasure and reassurance. (Yes, I know, depending on the context -- a used car lot, for example -- it might not be reassuring to me either. But you get the idea!)

When I was a medical student and a pediatric resident in the 70's, I was taught: "If a child makes eye contact with you, that means he's not autistic." Now we know that autism is a complex disorder that varies in severity, that it probably has to do with a problem in the way the brain and its connections were put together during the embryonic period, some of which may be related to genetics, and that many people with autism spectrum disorders can be helped to function better within their families, their classrooms, and the world, if they are recognized and treated (again, NOT with drugs) early on...preferably before age 4. This is not about trying to make people conform; it's about helping to ameliorate a serious condition which can in some instances be almost totally disabling.

For many families of children with Asperger's syndrome, making the diagnosis can bring significant relief: most of them have known for a long time that there was something different about their child, and now they know what it is, know that there are other people who have it, and know that there are ways to improve the child's chances of having a productive life.

For more information, including links to fascinating articles by the remarkable Temple Grandin, check out the webpage of The Autism Society of America.

By the way, there is still controversy about whether Asperger's Disorder is the same thing as "high-functioning autism," or something different. Most experts are in the "something different" camp, but there are lots of opinions out there.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Jonathan Betz-Zall
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 12:41 AM

My friend Jesse Kleinman, who plays with our group Greenwood Family Sing!, has lived with AS for many years. We have learned to live with this difference as with those of many of our other members, and he's an excellent fiddler.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 02:17 AM

Thanks Mark, for the in depth information. I feel that in light of the seriousness inherent in this issue, I should in part apologise for my light heartedness... the reality of this condition must be a real challenge for family, friends, loved ones, and professionals... I am not experienced in these matters.

I have had a rather wide exposure to brilliant and talented people, and many of them are musicians... and most of these people (myself included) have some or all of the 'symptoms' mentioned above... soooooo, there must be some confusion going around... I think the question is relevant and interesting, but I'm not sure what to make of it.

I would venture to say that intense spiritual devotion, long term study, work-a-holic behavior, perfectionism, political reactionism, and long term emotional abuse, can bring forth characteristics that appear similar but are environmental conditions... I think some of us are concerned about the pharmaceutical takeover of life as we knew it... *BG*

ttr


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 04:03 AM

I heard recently (maybe on BBC R4?) a suggestion that the increase in cases of AS and autism, although partly due to fewer undiagnosed cases, is also partly real. As there are more successful nerds (for want of a better word) like, er, me for instance -- having computer skills which didn't exist a generation ago -- who are less good at social interaction, they tend to marry each other. The combination of "nerdy" genes is likely to result in "nerd-squared" children. I'm being deliberately simplistic here, but you can follow the reasoning.

My other half is talented in wildly different directions from me, so our kids are creative and bright, but much better with their social skills than me, thank goodness. On the other hand, I don't believe we can take much blame or credit for the inherited characters of our kids: you'd have to have a great many children to make up a statistically meaningful sample.

Steve


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: daithi
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 04:14 AM

I think the late Canadian pianist Glenn Gould also probably suffered this condition. One of the symptoms quoted in the original posting was hypersensitivity to sights, sounds , touch etc. It was reported of Gould that he could hear the difference between recording decks in the studio - identifying which tracks were recorded using which deck whilst cutting his albums - much to the bafflement and amusement of the production crew. He also was able to handle nearly boiling water and so appeared to have a compensatory lack of sensitivity in his touch. Obsessive behaviour? Just listen to him play Bach ....
Dáithí


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 04:50 AM

I've been thinking of putting this topic up myself, and thinking about the problem. I'm pretty sure that I'm mildly AS, my wife shows mild symptoms too, and our son is a little worse/better than both of us. I'd say Steve Parkes has hit the nail on the head. I'd also say that someone with AS is more likely to end up a millionaire or musician than the average social animal, because of the single-mindedness.
My 17YO is not social enough for my taste, adults or children no problem, peers no way.
Further symptoms: High skill with maths, matched with an inability to break the log-jam of ideas in english. Loud noise causes pain, roller coasters make you nauseous. Daydreaming. Going off on a conversational tangent. In exams, if the question can be interpreted in different ways, you pick the wrong one! All tips for coping gratefully received. Chris (& Judy!)


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 06:47 AM

Jessica Kingsley published "An asperger marriage" last year. It's by Gisela and Christopher Slater-Walker. He's the one with Aspergers. I bought it having heard them discussing it on the radio. My wife and I both agreed I had a lot in common with the man! It's not as good a book as it could have been but it certainly gives insights. Do these points ring any bells folks?

GISELA
"It is the individuality, the lack of a need to conform to some male norm that is one of the Asperger man's strengths. Chris does not seem to understand prejudice, let alone show it; to discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, disability or sexual preference would be an illogical and moral anathema to Chris. To show disgust at someone's perceived (by Chris) untidy or raucous behavior, however, is perfectly justifiable to him, even if it does cause an uproar."

"..he has a good memory for words and a fascination for language structure"

"Chris enjoyed being part of a group, but always seemed to sit..on the edge"

"...we would often walk in silence, and I used to drop back to see how far ahead he would walk before he noticed he was alone. It was often two or three hundred yards.."

"people with Aspergers are far more likely to read non-fiction than fiction"

"he seems to be anxious about unexpected interactions with people he does not know"

"Chris finds small talk very dificult.."

"he finds it painfully difficult to understand other people in a setting where there is a lot of background noise.."

"..even a fairly small dinner party is..exhausting for Chris..on occasions he gives up and disappears.."

CHRIS
"I wanted mostly not to have to sit with anyone to eat or generally to interact at all. I found these times particularly irritating.."

"I've heard people say that they don't like small talk. Nevertheless after so many years of watching people indulge in it, I'm sure that it's essential to oil the wheels of human interaction. Only in my case not only do I not like it, I feel that I'm completely at a loss for an appropriate subject..there is a whole world of inconsequential conversation I'm missing out on...I wish I could partake...in some situations I often feel that I'm watching myself trying to deal with it.."

"I will know within less than a minute of entering a house or room whether or not I'm going to find it a comfortable or uncomfortable experience."

"One specific problem which I know affects me is that in a noisy environment I find it almost impossible to separate the sound of someone's voice from the background noise..this just adds to the general level of distress and anxiety which these social situations produce..it is impossible to concentrate on something, regardless of its importance, in a very noisy environment."

"Social occasions..are things to be endured rather than enjoyed."

I know most people would see aspects of themselves in these quotes. But for some, and I include myself in this, these traits can become crippling. My dear friend Rick Fielding has had the experience of having me stay with him and has seen the distress trying to find somewhere quiet to eat causes me, distress that builds until I just have to flee the situation. (Both he and Heather were brilliantly understanding). I have eaten in restaurants with earplugs firmly in place and travel with them handy all the time. The paradox is that someone who can feel so trapped in social interactions can get up on a stage and "control" audiences of hundreds of people. I read as many biographies and autobiographies of all sorts of performers as I can, and the nearest I can get to it is that so many explain it as "putting the performer on and taking the performer off when the performance is over".

Next time you find someone "difficult" it may help to try to understand that they might be finding what you find easy quite terrifyingly daunting. P


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 07:00 AM

Perceived rudeness may just be panic bubbling up. It's all marginal I know, but if I don't have Aspergers I certainly have sympathy with those who find certain aspects of life more difficult than I do!!

Is how the previous posting should have finished.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 07:22 AM

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it's not necessarily Asperger's, as Bonnie pointed out earlier! I've wondered occasionally if I fit the bill; but, although I'm often thoughtless, it's because I'm absent-minded, not because I lack empathy. Maybe a lot of us musos are like this, and spend so much time inside our own heads that we don't always connect with the folks in the rest of the world? I think the ability to write sensitive or funny songs as you do, Harvey, shows an awareness and understanding of others, the ability to out yourself in someone else's head that's lacking in autism and, to a lesser degree, in AS.

Steve


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 08:31 AM

Agreed Steve. Not everything fits. However i have taken a certain comfort from the fact that behaviour and reaction to situations that was beginning to make life difficult not just for me but for those who were close to me was explicable, and understood. I don't say to people "Oh by the way I've got Aspergers" I don't believe I have, but on the scale of one to a hundred with Autism being 80-100 and Aspergers 60-80 I think many creative people would put themselves between 50 to 60.
I had a marvellous moment recently when staying with another singer/musician who could be classed as eccentric. We went out together with a group of people and both made for the "Gunfighter" seat. This is the seat at the furthest edge of a group, generally against a wall so there is no one behind, and facing the rest of the room.We found we both were obsessed with getting this seat in any room or gathering and eventually he thought I was more obsessed than he was and let me have the seat. On the outside looking in. This marvellous man also admitted to an obsession when parking the car. The more spaces available the less his chance of picking one. He would drive from one empty space to another until he felt comfortable with where he was. This could take a considerable time.Plus a hugely understanding wife. His wife and mine had a great time exchanging stories of such difficult eccentricities in their husbands.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Jeri
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 08:39 AM

Harvey, most of what was said in your quote from the book fits me, and I don't have Aspergers. For example I can get along fine at social functions but I often don't feel comfortable simply because I don't want to put on the 'public' face - not because I can't read non-verbal clues. I don't think they're the actual symptoms but how the symptoms can manifest. Some of the signs in the article sed posted also fit. I think the diagnosis comes about because of the combination, the permanance, and the degree of the signs.

I'd imagine it would be difficult for a musician with Asperger's to play in a group setting. They do have to read an awful lot of non-verbal clues. I also believe that there are plenty of ways to remedy that which depend not only on the individual with Asperger's but on band members' awareness and willingness to treat the person honestly and not get angry if clues are missed.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Bagpuss
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 09:11 AM

I think if you read the signs and symptoms of many emotional behavioural etc disorders, most people would find one or two that seem to describe them well. This is because most of these disorders are characterised by normal personality traits and behaviours and the difference is in the degree and extent to which they are experienced. Therefore diagnosis needs to be done by a skilled practitioner who can assess whether the degree of the symptoms fit with the diagnostic requirements, and who have greater knowledge of the norms against which any symptoms are measured.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: harvey andrews
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 09:46 AM

yes Jeri I agree with your points. But would you put yourself towards that higher 50-60 score I suggested so many of us would fit into?I think it's probably classed as "eccentric" and "unpredictable"!!


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 12:56 PM

Woe betides the ordinary
An unchallenged buffoon
Who requests of the apothecary
Please please calm the moon

The thrill of genius calls enthralls
As jesters juggle walls and balls
And don't forget the truth sublime
Activates more subtile time

ttr


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 01:30 PM

I am very sorry to hear the furthering of the myth that medicating is bad for children, or anyone.

I too bought into this myth, but having seen my 9 year old daughter's transformation from a stress filled limited existence filled with obssessive compulsions, into the blooming child that she is, after only weeks of starting the medication, I was converted. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is especially treatable with a mild dosage of antidepressant. Not all disorders are so treatable. But when you are looking for a way to allow your child, or yourself, to be a fully developing person, how can you ignore these possibilities?

If you are out there reading these messages and thinking medication is wrong without even knowing much about it....please, I implore you to reconsider and at least explore what help might be out there for you, or your loved one.

Claire


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 02:13 PM

Claire... with all due respect, ...that was the saddest post I have read in a long time, and now I'm crying. No *BG* about it. Bless you and yours, ttr


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Schantieman
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 03:41 PM

Fair enough Claire - you have a good point.   I suppose I was just speaking for myself - and I may even be wrong there!!

Steve


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: JudeL
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 03:52 PM

It is not that those with Asperger's cannot learn to interpret non verbal forms of communication it is more that they learn it in the same way as an adult tends to learn a foreign language. Instead of being something that is absorbed almost unconsciously, it is something that requires thought and practice and even then if something is even slightly different it won't be recognised. Again the empathy bit, identifying that other people are different , with different wants and knowledge is an idea, which even though they may have accepted it as true is still something that they usually have to consciously think about. Prioritisation of tasks tends to be a major problem as does taking an idea from the specific and applying it to a general situation. Sheer frustration can sometimes lead to what has been termed "a meltdown", an explosion of temper. Changes in routine can cause near panic, as they have to deal with something different and unfamiliar.

Try helping the child learn to approach situations and problems by taking a deep breath and instead of panicing at every thing that they don't know, to try to find just one thing that they recognise, to help them feel safe, before moving onto another bit they recognise. As someone else said it's not so much treatment as coping mechanisms and enough time and support that they feel safe until they are ready to deal with that one thing on their own.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Llanfair
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 05:58 PM

I have worked with a number of adults with Aspergers, and it is the awareness that there is an unspoken language they don't understand that is the first step towards dealing with distressing social situations.

Many have genius level skills......probably because their single-mindedness isn't cluttered with all the complexities of social interaction.

Patrick Moore, Einstein, and many others are thought to have this condition, but, going back to the original thread heading, after seeing the programme about Michael Jackson, it struck me that this guy could well be A.S. His social skills, such as he has, were beaten into him by his father, he has obsessions, and does not appear to understand people's reactions to what he does.

Just a thought!!!

Cheers, Bron.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Feb 03 - 06:05 PM

Like some other people on this thread, I recognize in myself all the symptoms listed for the syndrome, but don't have them as bad as some.

An English cartoonist, from Newcastle, named Colin Warneford, was diagnosed with it. He tells his own story in Harvey Pekar's _American Splendour transATLANTIC COMics_ (Dark Horse Comics, 1988). It gives a good idea of what he has to deal with.

I suspect that *all* current terminology for mental difficulties is pretty crude. Some years ago I bought a book called _The Society of Mind_ by Marvin Minsky. I found it unreadable, but it did give me an idea: The human brain is not properly one organ, but maybe a couple of thousand specialized ones that have to manage to work together because they are locked up in the same skull & coupled to the same nervous system. So there are maybe a couple of thousand different ways to be a mental cripple, and everybody is one in at least a couple of dozen ways, and uses other modules to work around the ones that are missing or damaged. If that's the way we are, the notion of normality doesn't make much sense.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: open mike
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 04:36 PM

for an interesting read about some patients with disorders
and syndromes such as Tourette's,Asperger's syndrome
and Autism check out this:
Oliver Sachs, Anthropologist on Mars, with case studies of
7 patients who saw the world differently than most.
http://www.oliversacks.com/
sach's books


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:10 PM

My brother's kid has severe Autism. She's 3 now & her parents are still in denial (she's very fond of her toy piano). My son has Tourette's along with this as, in many, there are other disorders which can (or not) accompany or go hand & hand with each other. Under my son's umbrella (Tourette's) he has BiPolar. Sometimes these combinations masks one disorder making it very confusing to get to the bottom. Lepus, stay at my house for a week & all those notions will quickly fade. I've lived with having ADHD (I'm medicated, thank God, tried self medicating, what a diaster) never knowing I had anything (but those of us with disorders are the last to see them in ourselves) until exploring my son's condition. The feeling of realizing that all along that there was an explanation for the things other people saw in you that you were blind to.

Talk to those that live these disorders, it may open your eyes & cause your heart to melt.

For the new parent this hits like a ton of bricks & there's no way to brace yourself for what's coming.

A great analogy I've heard for the parents is:

Imagine all your life you've been getting ready to make the last big move. You've read all about living in the tropics, you know the culture inside out, you've already shipped ahead everything you own & discarded what wasn't needed, you've just boarded the plane dressed in your colorful printed short sleeve shirt & your fancy swim trunks. The pilot says the weather is beautiful & the temp is just what you envisioned, you're hitting the beach life. You get off the plane & found that you're in Alaska it's dark, no sun & freezing & you can't go & move back. This is it.

For the kid it's worst, you can't imagine what they live with. To know what they go through & put up with it'd near kill you & your marriage. You never know what's around the corner, will they survive never mind will they make it? You know they're smart but the education system can't be bothered with the burden. In the early stages of parenthood the parents are mostly alone. Your family blames you. You get all the advise except what's of value. You're forever fighting to advocate for them. This is the family's life.

If a pill could wash, even a tiny bit of that away (& it does for the luckier ones) don't think for a second that you & the kid wouldn't feel as if you've just been saved from the continuous drowning since day one & have just sucked in your first breath of fresh air. All to often this relief never comes for many. This is not psychobabble, too often it's like Bedlam.

Barry


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Feb 03 - 11:21 PM

I should've added to the above. "You get off the plane & found that you're in Alaska it's dark, no sun & freezing & you can't go & move back. It's not that Alaska is a bad place to be it definitely has its bright days too, it's just not what you planed or expected. Barry


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 12:27 AM

Greetings all,

I was disgnosed with Asperger's Syndrome last year. I am 36 years old. Luckily, I am mildly affected, but ironically, sometimes that proves to be the biggest hurdle. Most people don't notice my limitations and have a harder time understanding that they exist.

As for the medication issue brought up by Lepus - Asperger's is not treatable with medication. It is a physical problem with the brain, not a chemical one. Aspies (some of us like to refer to ourselves with that term) sometimes have additional disorders such as ADHD, anxiety, etc. which can be treated with meds (or not).

Personally, I don't have any regular treatment. I belong to a support group in my area, talk to the professionals who manage the support group and rely on my understanding friends to help me when needed.

A perfect example is that recently my car died and I need to purchase another one. I don't have much money, so used is the way to go. I've asked a couple friends to help me out, so that when I talk to car sellers I don't get screwed because I have a lot of trouble understanding non-verbal communication. Also, a friend has written out exactly what I need to do to transfer my tag, etc. I can follow instructions really well, but I really need them written down so I can go step-by-step.

As for music, I sing and play the tin whistle. I put a lot of emotion into my music, which is something that surprises people who have just learned the basic Asperger's info. Aspies have emotions (as do people with autism), we just don't always express them the same way and they aren't as universal as the average person.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Noel
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 02:44 AM

This thread took me completely by surprise. My wife was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at the age of 35. I do not have the problem so you can imagine the confusion in our house from time to time.
She has been an active singer for many years, mainly in choirs. This was in a sense a haven for her as she found somewhere she could fit in and understand the rules. My background has been a heavy involvement in the Australian folk scene for the last 33 years (since I was born) and although I had never heard of the Syndrome until recently i can see the such a person would fit right in as folkies/musos/choristers in my experience tend to be a very accepting bunch and are all used to being seen as a little weird by the 'normal' people
With regards to the drug issue, I am not aware of any possible treatment for Aspergers (high functioning autism) but many people i know with AS also have severe depression (possibly brought about by the constant trial of living in a world that doesn't make sense) and they may be prescribed Prozac etc for that. In Australia AS is little known by the medical profession but i detect some cynicism about diagnoses that parallels my feelings about ADD/ADHD diagnoses in Oz. overdiagnosed and used as an excuse.

My god, I seem to have rambled on forever. still in shock at finding this thread.

I would love to hear from anyone out there in the folk etc scene with an interest in AS.

Noel Kenny
noel@littlefolk.org
www.littlefolk.org

Hope this works, not a member and never tried posting before.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:05 AM

Welcome Noel,


There's a few AS people at the Mudcat and a few more, like you, who have a partner or family member with it. I believe we have discussed AS before on a thread or two, though not in a thread specifically dedicated to it. I'll try a search as see what turns up.

Glad to see other singers are AS people too. Choral singing, with it's structure is pretty conforting to me - I kind of need to know my role in any activity, unfortunately, I rarely like much of the music choral groups perform around here. That's why I do my own stuff.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:15 AM

Hello,

Just put Asperger in the seach box at the top of the page. That'll give you a list of messages to read.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 01:30 AM

Aw come on - am I actually the last person to post here?


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: winterchild
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 03:21 AM

Nope!

For posting this thread, thankyout-thankyou-thankyou!!!

I've been wondering for the last two years if anyone knew which famous people might have or have had AS.

I am a high-functioning sufferer of AS. There is no doubt about it; before I realized what the problem was, I tried very hard for ten years (!!) to teach myself to "read faces" and communicate more smoothly with folks. The results were sort of like a deaf person learning to lip-read. (And when I get it wrong, I can be so very, very wrong!). Over the years, at different stages of my life, I have had kind people explain the things most folks learn nonverbally. I even had a librarian employer coach me on "Conversational Skills" - fellow Aspies, there are _articles_ out there on that subject!!

I have not been formally diagnosed, but there is no reason to doubt that I have it (I didn't want to believe it at first, but I've learned to make myself face hard facts when it is needed). I had already identified some of my problems before I found that article posted at the beginning of this thread on an autism site, and so many of the rest I had just thought were personal quirks. I still can't figure out why people consider me "weird" - I've learned all the rules and copy them carefully! (That's a joke).

One of the things that one learns; groups with understandable and structured conditions are the best ones to deal with (but not crowds -crowds will have you rushing out of the room with your hands on your head or over your ears, and a feeling of "too much!".

There seems to be a high concentration of AS-type people in Science-Fiction clubs and in the SCA and historical re-enactment groups. These groups have well-defined rules for interactions, which makes things easier. I am not surprised to find a fair sprinkling among musicians, where we can always hide in the music.

I was interested to find new things in this thread, and some of my suspicions confirmed. (For instance, that problem I have with rollercoasters and other rides... I've always wondered...).

Thank you Sorcha (and others) for sources of books; I hadn't been able to find ANY literature for adult Aspies.

Sorcha, WHICH sunday paper had that AS article?

Jade - you have it so right!

Blackcatter - yes, I've often thought about how, if I had an obvious handicap like blindness, people would believe me and remember to compensate. They don't even realize how much they communicate non-verbally. Did it take you years to realize that most people actually do read each other's faces, like it did me? I used to think that folks couldn't _really_ see expressions in the eyes of others... but I think I really did, not too long ago, in the eyes of a dying relative. Just last month, a specialist at a convention claimed that one can use biofeedback to learn facial expressions - if one has the money for it. So maybe I can, eventually. Do you think it's likely?

WinterChild


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 07:00 AM

Click here, winterchild, for online support as well. I go to the parents forum from time to time, but there are places for people with AS themselves.
I wonder of some Aspies find SCA and Renfaires so appealing because they are so used to having to adapt to another form of reality anyway- why not pick and choose the reality to suit?


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 02 Mar 03 - 10:46 PM

winterchild,

I haven't a clue about the biofeedback. I don't know enough about it.

I have learned some techniques, but don't really know how. When I look into peoples eyes, I don't see anything. I still misinterpret peoples feelings to me. I've given up trying to figure out women. I've dated and even been engaged once, I can't say that any of my relationships have been successful. Plus, I've completely misread many women's messages towards me. At this point, I am learning to accept that a longterm relationship may be impossible for me to have. It's not only the problems I have with understanding people, but my "secondary" AS symptoms make it difficult as well. One big thing is that its basically impossible for me to lay still. I have to move some part of my body, and that is not easy to do without waking a loveone in the same bed. All the time of my relationships, I have spent more time sleeping on couches and the floor than ever sharing a bed.

I don't know how I've learned to cope, but one thing that helped was to find a community of people who accept me (and others) as they are. I fit in ok when it came to Science Fiction groups, but didn't fit in with the SCA. I sort of fit in with Pagan groups, but there was a fair amount of shallow people who were there because Paganism was (and is) trendy. Where I found my home was at the Unitarian Church. It's not for everyone, but my congregation has accepted me so well that I'm in my second year on the Board of Trustees, I lead a couple Sunday services a year, and am considered one of the persons who knows "everything" that goes on around the church - an Aspie trait that has benefits!

Only one person in the church has ever questioned my AS when I've talked about it (and while she's mistaken, she's just trying to help, but she doesn't know me very well).

I've been sort of accepted in the folk music scene in Orlando, but I don't mix with it too much. Part of the limitation is that there continues to be a prejudice against musicians who primarily sing. I've tried to play guitar, dulcimer, etc. but find that I can't sing and play at the same time. It helps that I play the tin whistle, but the fact that I like singing trad. Celtic songs without accompaniment still seems to confuse many people.

I don't really interact with other Aspies on the Internet, haven't found a group that keeps me coming back. Mudcat is the only discussion group I go to regularly and it's because of the variety of the topics. I'm on a few email lists - all tied to the Unitarian Church.

Well, I've run on for awhile.

Maybe someday we could put together an Aspie Band.

Pax yall


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 01:44 AM

It's encouraging to me to hear much of this discussion. I'm a developmental pediatrician, and a sort of Rip Van Winkle as well, since I did my developmental fellowship in 1982-84 but have only been practicing as a full-time consultant since August of last year. The result of this is that I am newly learning all about the autism spectrum disorders, which include autism and Asperger syndrome (which appears to be something different from "high-functioning autism"). Even as I'm learning the "new" DSM-IV diagnostic classification system for these disorders, I'm sure that it will soon look very different, as our understanding is so limited and is changing so rapidly. The biggest difference I see between twenty years ago and now is that there are support systems and intervention programs that can provide real benefit for many children and adults with these disorders. But we still have a LONG way to go. I admire the strength of people with autism and Asperger syndrome who persevere in making their way in a world that is so often ignorant, unforgiving, and even hostile.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Dani
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 08:50 AM

Now I'm really confused. I looked at a lot of the information you all have shared, because many of these traits described things we have observed and wondered about in our daughter.
So I followed one of the links, and took the "AQ" test, and lo and behold, scored a *35*. The test notes say, "In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher."
Plenty to think about here, not the least of which is that I'm thrown into a self-analysis unlike any I've ever known!!

Dani


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: MAG
Date: 03 Mar 03 - 02:11 PM

I know a young young lady with AS and the most observable thing to me is what is described as the "flat" interaction, the apparent lack of emotion. This young lady is quite intelligent, and has many interests, and exhibits the need for consistency many of you describe. Thank you for the insight that she is not emotionless, just expresses/experiences emotions differently.

We seem to have an epidemic of very young children with Autism where I live and work. In the past mild autism was often missed, but it is hard to miss severe cases. Personally I suspect environmental factors, since neonatal development is involved.

ADHD (among other things) runs in my family and I can say they are not the same thing at all. I am grateful for the concerta which enables one young relative to be a happier, more successful person.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 01:01 AM

MAG: You're right ADHD and AS / Autism are very different. Problem is that they sometimes both occur in the same person. Some parts of Aspergers can look like ADHD, but it's actually more to do with how the Aspie person is dealing with his or her situation.

Dani: Feel free to describe some of your symptoms here. Those of us who are experience can then share if we have, or know of similar conditions.

Mark C.: It is wonderful to see someone in the field learning about this. Three years ago I was being helped by a psychologist through Vocational Rehab and about 6 months into meeting with him, I learned about AS. I brought the info to him, and he pretty much dismissed it. He was a good person, but knew little and probably wasn't sure how to handle the situation.

One of my biggest "AS moments:" Several years ago I was the membership director for a local museum. I got a call from the front desk one day that there was someone there to see me. In my mind, this was possibly someone on our board, or a political person or something like that. When I went downstairs to the front desk, I immediately saw an aquaintance from my church. As I was looking past her to try and see the person I was 'supposed" to meet, I said "Hi, I'm here to meet someone important." This aquaintance did not know me very well and didn't know of my AS. Several months later, after getting to know me better and learning what AS is, she told me how hurt she felt during that experience. And I didn't have a clue.

The only jobs I've held for very long are ones where my boss is already a friend before I start working for him or her.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: sed
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 05:16 AM

Thanks for all the responses to this subject idea.

Being a professional musician is very strenuous. It involves much interactive public relations.

I wonder how successful musicians with Asperger's are able to manage? Do they delegate all but the performing roles to people who can better interact with the public? Or does someone who is capable of such dealings essentially hire the musician to perform while handling all the other essential work him/herself? That seems more likely. How I'd like to find or be found by such a 'normal' person to manage my intended career in music.

Steve Sedberry


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 04 Mar 03 - 10:09 AM

I know that I have difficulty with running my own business, but oddly enough it's not dealing with people where the trouble often lies. I own a one-person tour guide service with which I lead historical tours. I interact with people all the time, but most of the interaction is structured. Aspies like structure. I would think that much of the interaction that a professional musician has would be similarly structured.

I know how to interact with the people who take my tour, I know how to tell people about my tour. There's not much more to it. Aspies often rely on their knowledge of facts to carry on conversation. That's why conversing with an Aspie can be frustrating, many times, the casual 'give and take' that average people enjoy is difficult or even impossible for the Aspie person.

I don't typically ask questions like "What do you do for a living?" "How are you feeling?" "Are you married?" It's hard for me to remember to do so. It's not that I don't care, I do want to know these things, it's just that there is a disconnect. Even when I'm asked my profession, I rarely reciprocate. Just last night that happened. I met a nice couple who are new to my church. I had dinner directly across the table from them at a local restaurant within a large group of people. They asked me what I did for a living and I told them. They showed interest (I've at least learned a little about when to give more than the bare minimum of what I do) so I talked a bit about Orlando's history. A little later I realized that I had probably talked enough and stopped. I never asked what they did. It never occured to me to ask.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 01:36 AM

Blackcatter, this is the first time I've heard these kinds of stories from anyone besides Temple Grandin (I've only read her articles, never met her), and I'm grateful to you for sharing them. I'm curious...you said it "never occurred to you" to ask what they did. But it obviously occurs to you now. Does that mean that the next time you're in a similar situation, you might ask? Or is that too difficult to do in the "middle of things"? (I know every person and situation is different, but I'm interested, in a general sense, in how tough it is for you to learn these things, and to put them into practice in a "live" situation.)

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 10:40 AM

Hi Mark,

I'm happy to share my experiences and my thoughts - that's the best way to learn about something like this.

When I said it never occured to me, that's a regular situation. Rarely do I think of asking such a question when in conversation. Part of me wants to make a list of possible questions to ask and carry it with me, but imagine how that would look in conversation - It would be like I'm interviewing people.

I don't ask a lot of questions in general. Aspies' conversations are typically very topic driven. For example, if you were to ask what I do for a living, I would talk only about that until you or someone else adds something else to the conversation. A new topic means that I will change topics, but I'm often left feeling like I didn't say enough about the first topic (I've learned it's good that I feel that way, because if I didn't, I'd be like may other Aspies and keep talking about the first topic).

If we're talking about the weather, I probably won't be the person who eventually changes the subject to something else. I can, and do sometimes, but not often. So sometimes, the conversation just dies, when the other person has nothing left to say on the subject and I have realized that I've probably talked long enough on the subject (rarely do I ever run out of things to say, however). :-)

If I do find out what a person does for a living, I have the ability to refer to that in conversation. My life is one of constantly searching for connections amongst all the random facts that are in my head. So when I found out that one of the persons I was talking to was a children's librarian (the person sitting next to her asked) I was able to ask her if she liked storytelling and invited her to our church's open mic night to do some storytelling. Now that I know she's a librarian, I will never forget it and will try to connect with that in some way occasionally.

Conversation is a exercize. I talk only about stuff I know, but if I know stuff about my friends, I can use that in conversation to make it appear to be 'average' conversation.

pax


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Gurney
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 03:49 AM

Blackcatter, your thoughts on relationships strike a chord, as my wife, myself, and our son are all mildly AS. J & M get nauseous on rollercoasters, all of us have trouble interpreting unspoken language, and we all turn a conversation into a lecture. There is also the point that 'Men are from Mars, Women from Venus' anyway. The book is worth a read.
With regard to sleeping together, a large bed with a pillow/bolster DOWN the middle works for us, but we have given thought in the past to separate beds, in the same room. We've been married 30years!


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM

Gurney - that gives me hope!

It's tough in relationships because #1 - my natural sleep pattern is going to sleep around 2 am, get up around 10am. My work schedule fits into that fine, but most girlfriends have to get up by 6 or 7 am. #2 - unless I'm exhausted and fall immediately to sleep, some part of my body needs to be moving - a leg usually. I feel that most girlfriends get the message that I'm uncomfortable and don't really believe my explanation.

Funny thing is that I don't get nauseous on rollercoasters, but I don't really care for the feeling of the big dips. I like the "Disney" type better - big fast turns at the like.

Do you find yourself eventually realizing that you've probably talked on a subject enough?

take care


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Ely (at Mom's)
Date: 11 Jun 03 - 10:17 PM

Sorry, but [refresh]

I missed this thread while my computer was down but since somebody else brought up ADD . . .

I have Asperger's (my father has Asperger's, his mother probably had it, and her father almost certainly had it); I was diagnosed when I was 23. As a kid, I always maxed out on intelligence and skills tests but struggled in school. My school system agreed that I had problems but couldn't help because their bylaws did not allow "help" unless I was formally diagnosed. However, if I had been diagnosed, the only "help" available was to put me in remedial classes. I am not developmentally disabled--I did not need remedial classes. The fact that lots of Asperger's kids are smart almost makes it worse--how can we be so smart and so DUMB at the same time?

I suppose I would not be who I am if I didn't have AS--as has been pointed out, it's not a mental condition, so my personality doesn't exist separately from my "disorder", but it has made life hard. I managed to graduate from college but my academic record was spotty. I'm a hard worker but part of succeeding in the job market involves interpersonal skills and "competitive spirit", and these are foreign to me. I'm hopelessly single; it's hard to make yourself appealing when you don't know how to project your personality.

I cannot possibly imagine myself as a professional musician. I have no confidence in my ability to interact with an audience and I can't bear the thought of dealing with the politics and business details.

I've learned to compensate a lot, but I don't know if I'll ever catch up. Meanwhile, AS limits my access to higher education, a decent living, and companionship. I'm not on medication and I don't agree with medicating every undisciplined, out-of-control child for the sake of convenience, but AS is a much bigger problem for me than just "nerdiness".


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 06:01 AM

Thanks so much for sharing this, Ely- now you know you aren't alone here! No apologies needed for refreshing this.
I know that my son also balks at the idea of performing. He has been able to learn to be brave in certain situations- he's learned to drive a car, for instance- so I wonder if there's a way to learn to overcome the insecurities and fears of performing. There has to be a desire to do it, of course.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Gurney
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 06:57 AM

Ely and Animaterra, Would you consider a performance as 'interacting?' I'd say it is nearer to a lecture, and most Assies can lecture better than anyone!
If you work out a floor-spot programme, with intro's, jokes etc, the interaction is fairly minimal, because it seeems to me that it is then the audience interacting with the performer. Does Billy Connolly interact? Not so that you would notice, he just rambles about getting side-tracked. Have you ever heard him deal with a heckler? Not that I'm diagnosing him, you understand, just observing.
I'd say, from personal experience, shyness is as big a drawback as AS.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 12 Jun 03 - 12:08 PM

Performing with another musician helps a great deal, especially if s/he is good at handling the audience.

Steve


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Blackcatter
Date: 13 Jun 03 - 12:29 AM

To me,performing is easy compared to a lot of what I do in life. I'd much rather be responsible for an hour set on stage than talk to someone on a subject I don't know much about such as auto mechanic stuff.

I have a lot of trouble calling people who I don't know on the phone, especially if I need info from them and I'm not on the same level of knowledge.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Homeless
Date: 13 Jun 03 - 11:57 AM

*Ping* ... and a little light goes on. I'd heard about AS a while back and strongly suspect that this is me. *All* of the symptoms listed here describe me. But in reading this thread (even before I got to the last few posts) it just dawned on me why I have incredibly anxiety when I have to speak with someone I don't know, but put me in front of a group of 25 or more people I don't know and I'm perfectly comfortable... In the group situation, I'm not interacting with anyone - I'm usually presenting in one form or another. Geez, this has had me confused for ages.

I've always lived in a world apart from the rest of the population. I just don't fit in anywhere.

Two years ago, my grandad died. He was found to have lung cancer, had the lung removed, and never recovered dying a week after the surgery. Needless to say, the two weeks preceding his death were stressful for the whole extended family. A lot of us spent a lot of time in the ICU waiting room. A couple days before they pulled the plug (there was still a little hope), I spent about 6 hours writing a letter to him, telling him all he'd meant to me over the years. While I was writing this, I cried. Really cried for the first time since I was a small child. And somewhere in that time something happened and I could read people's faces. I could look at someone and tell what they were feeling. I could see when what they were saying didn't match what they believed or felt. I could tell what someone was feeling even if they didn't say anything. I actually took part in a couple conversations, and passed out hugs to people who I could tell needed them. I don't know how I knew these things - I just knew them. And I can't explain what it was like. It was the weirdest sensation I've ever experienced. Over the following couple of months, that ability went away, and I'm now back to my old self. I've often wondered if that was what it is like to be 'normal'


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,O.J. Malm
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 11:22 AM

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/disorderlymetal/


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Tracey Dragonsfriend
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 08:26 AM

Hmmm.. this is really interesting stuff, and so descriptive of many of the people I know. (I'm an IT consultant.) And maybe myself, too - I tried that test, and scored 33. But I never thought of this is being a medical condition, rather as just part of the way people are, especially in the IT world.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Sandra
Date: 20 Jun 04 - 09:28 PM

My husband is un-diagnosed AS and played his bass all the time, isolating himself from his family. He and I are divorced now. I do not think he realized that isolating himself from his family had a very negative impact. Just for the record, I respect diversity and persons with Asperger's. I also dislike the term "suffering" from Asperger's. I think it is disrespectful and degrading.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Gurney
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 02:40 AM

There is, in the booklist of Autism New Zealand (Auckland Branch, at least) a small paperback autobiography by a lady named Jen Birch. She has quite pronounced Asperger's and has learned to cope, bravely, in my opinion, with this condition. Worth a read, if you are interested in this thread.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: sed
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 03:59 PM

A logical reason why we can't do something isn't much of a friend, but finding our way makes life worthwhile.

Someone once advised that I should be as creative with my life as I was with my songwriting.

Who said that? I don't remember but the words have stuck with me for twenty or thirty years. The conversation took place in Birmingham, Alabama where I was raised.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Muttley
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 07:47 AM

Found this thread by accident and boy is it a beauty!

Like Winterchild, I am an Asperger person and I play guitar (badly these days due to head injuries from an accident - but that's in another thread)

My eldest son is a VERY mild Asperger - you can't tell unless you REALLY know what you're looking for and my youngest boy is a fairly severe Asperger.

I am somewhere in between: much higher functioning than my youngest lad but more socially inept and profound in symptomology than my eldest one.

Like other "Aspies" (which is how we prefer ourselves to be called, generally speaking) I, too have great difficulty reading social situations, people's moods and emotions / faces etc. Like virtually all Aspies I am TOO trusting; (Aspies rarely lie so it's difficult for them to detect one!)

However, growing up in a society (I am 46) which knew nothing about us except for a few obscure journals: was horrendous. I never knew WHY I was different. Why other kids avoided me - I was simply too weird! I didn't understand their play and when I tried, I got it wrong. These days I can pass for normal but to get to that point has cost me a LOT of punches in the face in order to learn NOT to say the wrong thing at the wrong time (or even the RIGHT thing at the wrong time); I still get agitated when my 'routine' is broken - even going to the supermarket and finding the shelves rearranged can render me almost catatonic with panic. I get agitated and jittery because "It's different".

Those who do not know an Aspie or who are not one themselves will never understand how confusing this world is to us - it simply operates on rules too subtle for us to understand. We tend to be straightforward and the world is just not like that!

I am lucky though - my parents loved me despite my awkwardness: though I can now understand why my mother used to say "Now don't show me up" whenever she took me to a social function (Christmas Party etc) for her work - even though she never could! I am married to a wonderful woman who supports me and has learned to help me compensate when the routine goes off the rails.

I was also a more fortunate Aspie in that, though I was physically awkward, I was never unco-ordinated: I played soccer at State level, cricket at turf standard, Indoor Cricket at representational standard; swam at Olympic trial speeds (back-stroke) and am a black-belt in Shotokan Karate. I also have an IQ of about 160 - I could read and write by the time I went to school at 4yrs 7 mnths.

Famous Aspies have included: Mozart & Beethoven. Bill Gates is an Aspie and if you watch CSI (the one set in Las Vegas, Gil Grissom, the head of the Vegas CSI team exhibits CLASSIC Asperger traits. The most obvious is that he tends to obsess about odd things (bugs) and his propensity to say the wrong thing at the wrong time (though bluntly and blatantly honest) and hurt the feelings of those around him - and then wonders why they go off hurt!

I would also say that Aspergers is NOT a condition which can be medicated and it is NOT a catch-all nor something made up for convenience. Lepus Rex you are an ignoramus for even suggesting that it might be so. Get informed before you open your big mouth. However I shall now take the advice I give others in this situation: "Never argue with an idiot - he will just drag you down to his level and beat you with experience!"

BTW - my obsessions are: 1:48 scale models - World War 2 Tanks (German); WW2 aircraft (fighters and some bombers - all nations; allied and axis) and some German
artillery - anti-aircraft and anti-tank. But they MUST be 1:48 scale!

Dinosaurs: Books, models, toys

General Knowledge of the above

Trivia

Collecting "Yowies" (a toy found in a chocolate snack in Australia)

If you want to know a little about the positives of being an Aspie try reading Dr.Tony Attwood's site and an article entitled "The Discovery of Aspie Criteria". I have a copy of it on my computer - if you wish I can send it to you via email. contact me via this thread and I will email it to you if you wish


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: freda underhill
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 08:07 AM

tony attwood's website


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 10:01 AM

If you haven't read it yet, for anybody who'd like to get a bit better understanding about Asperger's Syndrome (or in fact for anyone), read Mark Haddon's splendid book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (And here is a site with an extract.)


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lizzie in beautiful Sidmouth
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 02:48 PM

The repeated thing that comes across in this thread is a deep sense of intelligence. All these emotions that struggle to come out physically, seem to pour out when so many of you write.

If it wasn't for the 'gift' that you have then I probably would not be listening to such amazing music, probably wouldn't even be able to sit here typing on my computer, for they may never have been invented and we would all be deprived of so many other marvellous things as well.

I'm very glad this thread has been resurrected, well done 'Muttley' above.

I do hope it will stay up in Mudcat for many months to come and that it will help many more people. Thanks to everyone else for all the various links.


Lizzie :0)


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Gurney
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 01:42 AM

On the 11th Feb, Harvey pointed out a book about Aspies in relationships. I've just read a newer book by the same author, on the same theme, but maybe more widely researched. As several posters have mentioned the difficulty, it might be of help, particularly if the significant other isn't Aspie.

'Aspergers in Love' by Maxine Aston, Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

It was available in my local library, so maybe you could try yours first.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Clare
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 01:54 AM


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Larree
Date: 15 Jul 08 - 05:16 PM

I'm a musician with Aspergers Syndrome and no one ever tried to sell me pharmaceuticals!


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 02:34 PM

While I was in St. Louis recently, I had some long conversations with an old friend about her son, age around 25, who was recently diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome.

That diagnosis was added to other diagnoses. He was already taking antipsychotic and antidepressant medications, and they seem to be working—he has been restored to the condition he was in before his psychotic episode began, a year or so ago. But the Asperger's symptoms remain. He probably always had them; it's probably just that, before he became psychotic, they went unrecognized, because he had never seen a psychiatrist.

This will give you some idea of the difficulties this young man is having:

He is taking some college classes, and one of them makes heavy use of an educational software package called Blackboard. It works something like a discussion forum. The teacher posts a question and the students post answers. The students can read one another's answers and comment on them.

The teacher deleted his first post and then commented: "Please read my policy on insulting, abusive, and demeaning language…." (my paraphrase). His second post resulted in his being banned from the forum altogether, and his mother promptly had him withdraw from the course. (That was in part a financial decision; it was nearing the deadline for getting a partial refund of tuition.)

His mother showed me the answers he had written. Frankly, they didn't seem THAT bad to me. I thought the teacher had overreacted. But I could also see what the teacher found objectionable. The subject was rhetoric, and he had said something like, "If I were arguing with a neo-Nazi, or a person who believed the earth was created in seven days…."

His mother speculated that the teacher was a Creationist. Maybe so, or maybe she was just concerned that some other students might be Creationists, and she was trying to prevent the whole discussion from being sidetracked.

Certainly he didn't NEED to bring Creationism into the discussion—or neo-Nazism either, for that matter. He could have made his point about rhetoric equally well, or better, by saying, "If I were arguing with someone who believes the earth is flat…."

I didn't read the policy on objectionable language; perhaps it makes that very point. Certainly it's a point that ought to be made somewhere along the line in a class about rhetoric: if you're trying to make a logical argument, you don't want to be pushing your audience's emotional buttons.

What it boils down to is this: This kid repeatedly gets in trouble because he doesn't know how to be polite. (He also has some other, more benign characteristics: obsessive interest in certain hobbies, high intelligence, and a very good memory for details.)

FINALLY, I HAVE A QUESTION: How do support groups work, for people with Asperger's? I suggested a support group to my friend, the young man's mother, and she was skeptical. She thought it wouldn't work, because if you got a group of similar people together, none of them would be interested in helping the others, or would know how. I hope she's wrong.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 02:53 PM

'Look Me In The Eye', Jim.....a truly wonderful book, written by John Elder Robison.

It is the uplifting, often humorous, often tear inducing story of his life with Aspergers, which went undiagnosed for most of his life. In there you will find the world where so many people live, confused, befuddled, bereft and alone.

They live that way *only* because those without Aspergers don't understand well enough.

You will read about his reaction to a neighbour's death. The one where he smiled...and those around him thought him evil, because of his expression. Yet he ONLY smiled because his mind had already raced through something along the lines of:

"How awful! Poor lady! I hope that never happens to me!" before he arrived, in a split second, at "I am so lucky to not have what she had happen to me!"

...then as he got to his final thought of utter relief....he smiled.

He did not understand their reaction, because his smile had been the correct reaction to his last thought, one of relief and thankfulness.

In later years he began to realise that he thought differently to others and started to learn to answer in a way 'they' expected him to, not in the way he actually wanted to answer.

He became, through his extraordinary engineering skills, one of the special effects guys for Pink Floyd and KISS, designing guitars that belched smoke or exploded into fire....designing lights for huge gigs, the likes of which people had never seen before.

Eventually, he started up +his own business, repairing expensive cars...and to this day people still ship their cars to his firm, from around the world, so highly thought of are his skills.

His book is inspiratvoicesional and enlightening..and he also describes the terrible fears, the voices which tell him he's a failure, even to this day.

Look Me In The Eye - Amazon

John Elder Robison talking on Youtube

He is proud to be an Aspergian, as he calls himself, and OH, HOW we need to promote such pride!


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 03:03 PM

And....there's another great book called 'An Asperger Marriage' where husband (asperger) and wife (non-asperger) write alternate chapters, but on the same subjects. It's so interesting to see how they view the same situations from a very different perspective.

Even though they are married, they go into different rooms and communicate via emails, because the husband can get his feelings, his words, his emotions, out so easily when he writes, rather than when he is right next to her. In this way, she is able to realise and understand how much he loves her.

a href="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asperger-Marriage-Gisela-Slater-Walker/dp/1843100177">An Asperger Marriage - Amazon


The support lies in his Mum going into his 'world', seeing it from his perspective and then talking to him about her world. He is an intelligent person, most Aspergians are, and he will start to realise where he can make things easier for himself.

What makes me angry is that it is put upon those with Aspergers to adapt to 'our' world, when in should be that we are all taught, from a very early age that many of us think differently to others. That way we'd be able to meet each other half way with deep understanding and empathy.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Stephanie P. Ledgin
Date: 08 Mar 10 - 03:23 PM

My dad, Norm Ledgin, has written 2 books on Asperger's, forewords by Temple Grandin (my 1/2 brother has AS). In Asperger's and Self-Esteem, he discusses such musicians as John Hartford, Oscar Levant, Mozart, among others. See http://normledgin.com; he has spoken extensively around the country on this subject.

If you are a fan of Big Bang Theory, Sheldon very realistically portrays those w/ A.S., insofar as many of his "quirks" and lack of recognition of social cues. for example. There is an organization started by a young man still in college w/ A.S. that speaks to what Lizzie Cornish just posted about understanding we are all different. Go to http://www.autisticadvocacy.org.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,murrbob
Date: 09 Mar 10 - 01:57 AM

I have two grandsons with AS. As has been mtntioned, AS is often found in combinaion with other factors: the oldest boy, just 10, has AS, non-verbal learning disorder, sensory deprivation and who knows what else, while the younger, age 8, is AS, ADHD and anxiety disorder. Both tested as "profoundly gifted," with IQs over 150.

    The older boy loves Irish folk music. He will stand in the center of the room and do a complete rendition of "Rocky Road to Dublin," "Brennin on the Moor," or any song hat has booze in it. He is an exceptional poet; because he lacks fine motor abilities, he cannot write or keyboard. He will twirl around for 20-30 seconds when a poem comes, and within 5 minutes will dictate and 10 verse work. Some are humerous, many are profound. He will never play a guitar like I do, but his love of folk music is evident.

Great thread -- bob --


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,stringsinger
Date: 09 Mar 10 - 11:21 AM

I think it has been institutionalized and renamed "Libertarianism".


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 04:25 AM

Well (just wondering if anyone is still interested in this thread). Not sure why I decided to post in here, but I'm not really a musician (I'm an amateur singer who sings even when she's supposed to be doing other stuff), even though I'm learning to play the piano. And about what Lizzie Cornish said about how some people (like the man she mentioned who wrote the book about his marriage) find it easier to communicate in writing? It's easier to talk online or in writing because if you accidentally make a mistake, it's not as immediate as talking to someone face to face. At least, that's how I've experienced it personally.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 07:21 AM

I am at present time teaching a lad guitar who has this condition, its eye opening.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 08:25 AM

Interesting thread. At the risk of talking complete nonsense....

I think there may be a fair number of people in the folk music world who have AS in as much as it seems to be a characteristic of people with AS to be preoccupied with detail, categorisation, a preoccupation with structure and so on. To that extent, as well as the (apparently) very solitary nature of some people with AS (which often makes it comfortable for them to spend long periods of time on their own practicing instruments, model-making, messing around on computers and so on) the world of folk music may be something that a person with AS may well be comfortable with on an intellectual level.

Also, the folk community is, for all its faults, a very accommodating and non-judgemental one. The fact that so many people in the folk scene work in teaching or caring professions doesn't hurt either. Not something to be ashamed of.

I don't know about self-diagnosis. I don't think I have it - I suspect if I did I'd be a better musician!

I've worked with a couple of musicians who perhaps might be decribable as having AS. Having said that, some of them could also be described as just being downright rude on occasions. Bad and difficult behaviour is just that whatever the reason but I think as a community we do a fairly good job of accommodating people who might struggle in other creative or social environments.

Of course, if I am talking complete bollocks please say so.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,zeptepi
Date: 06 Jul 11 - 08:36 PM

Not a folk musician of course, but Gary Numan has aspergers. He's been very open about talking about it too.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Whistlinghen
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 03:19 PM

"I think the late Canadian pianist Glenn Gould also probably suffered this condition"
I know someone who went to Glenn Gould's high school (not at the same time)but who knew someone who did go at the same time. That person described Gould as "the weirdest person they'd ever known". That aside, as a longtime Bluegrass musician I've know several banjo players (no jokes please) and more than one fiddler that fall into this category. I think this is one of those subtle conditions which shares symptoms with other conditions but is primarily distinguised by its cause(s). Simply being "anti-social" or very introverted (most of the Aspies I know are quite "social"-they're just rather inept at it)or obsessive-compulsive does not make you an Aspie.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 04:10 PM

This has nothing to do with music, but possibly a lot to do with Mudcat.

I have a friend whose son was recently diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She described some of his difficulties. He was enrolled in a college writing class where students' essays were posted online and available to be viewed and critiqued by other students, as well as by the teacher. Despite warnings, the kid kept getting into discussions of controversial topics and using language that others construed as disrespectful and offensive. Early in the semester, he was banned from online participation and practically forced to drop the course.

His mother has some strong political opinions that she expresses, sometimes angrily, or sarcastically, in private, to friends who mostly agree with her, but she is discreet enough to avoid making enemies. The son has apparently inherited his mother's opinions but not her discretion.

She reports that he has been banned from several web sites. I think they mostly concern his favorite hobbies—auto repair and online game-playing. He can't even discuss his favorite cars without getting into verbal fights with people who like different cars!

Now you might be surprised that a web site devoted to car repair would have to ban people, but hey, you might think a web site about folk music wouldn't have that problem, either.

I know it's dangerous to generalize from one case, but I wonder....


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:17 PM

Whoa! I didn't realize I had previously told part of this same story in this very thread, over a year ago.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Lec Zorn
Date: 01 Sep 11 - 07:51 AM

Yes, Gary Numan is open about having it. So is Dan Aykroyd. Of course, he's better known as an actor, but he's recorded several albums with "The Blues Brothers." Prince probably has is and Michael Jackson probably did. And I'm a musician and fairly certain that I have it - http://www.myspace.com/leczorn.

I've always had an extremely good memory and I had social interaction problems growing up but have largely overcome them. It helped immensely that I worked for a Target store for three years, from ages 21-24. Forcing me to interact with strangers every day was great therapy. And over the years I've picked up on a lot of ways to assess people, including non-verbal communication and figures of speech. And I've learned to overcome my lack of time management by making daily schedules for myself.

There are still certain substances and sounds that are disturbing to me, but I have a very healthy social life and many wonderful friendships. When Aspies have trouble socially, it's not merely because of AS but rather because they haven't been given the right structure.

Any questions/comments, just ask!

Lec Zorn
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
theleczornproject@yahoo.com


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Lox
Date: 01 Sep 11 - 08:22 AM

I've taught extreme cases of Aspergers and there was no confusing them with "nerds".

But I guess its easier to be judgmental than it is to become informed.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: tonyteach1
Date: 01 Sep 11 - 02:04 PM

I taught a lad for 3 years who had this - no problem with his playing just could not cope with life BUT he got better as he got older Not helped by having policeman father who was a total git who took every opportunity to humiliate him


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Galloping Gwdihw
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 02:45 AM

@Lepus Rex... Are you a doctor /neurologist? If the answer is no then clearly you are not qualified to diagnose Asperger's or to judge whether or not someone "Really Has It" so I, and I'm sure other commenters on this thread, would be grateful if you keep your judgmental and cynical remarks to yourself. People on the autistic spectrum, as well as those with other "invisible" disabilities (eg, mental illness, M.E) face enough suspicion and condemnation from society at large as it is, which causes an immense amount of suffering and does nothing to help make their lives easier. This is particularly the case here in the UK at the moment, where sick and disabled people are being persecuted by the Government and 73 sick and disabled people a week - including paraplegics and cancer patients - being driven to suicide by being stripped of their benefits after being declared fit for work, when clearly they are NOT. Fuelled by propaganda from the Government and the right wing press stating that all benefit claimants - even those claiming disability benefits - are workshy scroungers, disability hate crime has gone up since the Tories got in AGAIN (people never learn... *sigh*) and attitudes like yours are contributing to this and encouraging people to think it's OK to persecute and shun disabled people. So, if you have no other interest in Asperger's Syndrome besides coming on here to spout your ableist views... Please go away. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 05:42 AM

Famous Aspies have included: Mozart & Beethoven.

I have just finished reading H.C. Robbins Landon's "1791", a very thoroughly researched book on the last year of Mozart's life.

It's obvious from the information there that Mozart was nothing of the kind. Just read some of his letters to his wife, for a start.

Somebody's been watching too many crappy mythologizing movies.


Are you a doctor /neurologist? If the answer is no then clearly you are not qualified to diagnose Asperger's

The implication of the US medical system eliminating it as a diagnostic category is that (American) doctors will be the only people NOT permitted to use the word. The rest of us will still be able to ignore DSM-V and we probably will.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 06:45 AM

The term 'Asperger's Syndrome' is no longer being included in the new DSM-5 next year (it's first major update for 20 yrs). It's being absorbed into the general autism spectrum. Read it yesterday in The Guardian (UK).


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 07:47 AM

Yes, that was what I just said. We had another thread about it: here.

The DSM has no formal status in the UK anyway so it has only an indirect influence here.

I often play with a musician who has unmistakable autistic symptoms and has been diagnosed with AS - but unlike typical AS people he has a sense of humour, so it seems "high functioning autism" fits better. One odd problem he has is that he's really crap at figuring out the key other people are playing or singing in. For someone with the other skills he has, that is a bit odd. But maybe it's part of the general failure to get what other people think and feel.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,999
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 08:45 AM

Lepus Rex hasn't posted to this thread for NINE years.


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 11:39 AM

Lepus Rex and an number of others that posted to this thread were Mudcat regulars who have since disappeared. Fings Ain't Wot They Used To Be...


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Subject: RE: musicians with Asperger's Syndrome
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Dec 12 - 05:35 PM

For me this has been a very interesting thread with lots of information and resources to check out. I thank everyone who participated, no matter when. I have one friend who has been diagnosed after a major blow up at the prison job where he was working. Another certainly has some of the symptoms but who knows she may be just like me, unusual and queer in how I see and interact in the world. The Sensory World site was also very interesting and I forwarded it to a teacher friend. My youngest nephew and I and his mom all have extreme corn allergies or sensitivities and some of our reactions are neurological as well as immunological. The sensory overload and sensitivity definately applies to us when we get a dose of corn in some food. I feel for those kids and adults who live with it every day.
Di


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