More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do You Have Asperger Syndrome?

Until recently, I had never heard of Asperger's Syndrome until a work mate said that he thought some engineers might suffer a mild form of this, including themself.

Asperger's Syndrome has quite a few characteristics, and one of which is difficulties with social behaviour and being unable to see the subtexts of social interactions. I must now say that I think of it, some engineers do suffer this syndrome. Stereotypical engineer's behaviour may be mistakenly seen as just being nerdy and so into a particular topic, but it might actually be a physical problem.

I think I know a few people who may suffer a very mild case of Asperger's. I say this because they just seem to not be able to read the social signs at all. I know that when a particular person I know starts talking, I completely shut off now and don't hear a single word. I've learnt to do this due to experience. When I first met them, I actually talked to them, but as more and more time passed by, I found that the stories just kept getting repeated. The person loved to talk, but would not hear much of what I said back, which I thought was very rude at the beginning. This person is able to talk through a whole lunch time non-stop while no one else said anything. They did not even seem to notice, switching to new topics all of a sudden when no one had said anything. I just got so bored and hence now just switch off.

I avoid talking to this person now as I don't really want to be bored by endless topics that I have no interest in. I don't start conversations but still find that they will talk to me. I think I am displaying all the signs of disinterest that I can possibly think of, but they just don't seem to see the signs. I'm not making eye contact at all, I've got my body turned away, I don't acknowledge that I've heard what they say with any sounds at all, but none of these signs seem to get through. Even when I turned away to talk to someone else, the person tapped me on the arm and wanted to finish what they were saying even though I'm clearly not interested. When I'm in conversations with other people, they will just interrupt and totally hijack the conversation and I would not get a word in. Usually I just walk away now.

It's not the person's fault. A work mate told me that they suspect that they have Asperger's syndrome because they will just keep talking and not even realise if people are listening or look bored. They said they just don't see the signs at all and therefore doesn't feel self conscious that they are boring someone. Generally, you can pick up very quickly whether someone is really listening to you or already lost interest in a topic, but Asperger suffers don't seem to have this skill. Hence they may actually seem rude to other people because they will keep going even when the other person has shown total disinterest.

I talk a lot too, but hopefully I don't have Asperger's syndrome. I think I know when people are looking bored and I will stop. Although sometimes when I talk about topics that really interest me, I do keep going on because I'm so enthusiastic about it that I may be possibly boring people. Hence, after finding out about Asperger's, I now ask people "Is this boring you, tell me if it is, I won't be offended", to which people will say yes or no. Fortunately it seems to be a lot of nos, so I think I don't have Asperger's syndrome.


Blogger afrobev said...

Hmmm, I think I can think of one person then who has Asperger's syndrome, thanks for that Thanh. You may have just explained one or two things.

You obviuisly dont have it though because of your awareness of it...I assume that's how it works?

9/29/2006 6:20 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

That is exactly how it works. If you are aware that you are boring people, then you definitely don't have Asperger's. It's only when people keep talking without even realising that the other person is showing all the signs of boredom, even walking away yet you still follow them and keep talking.

9/29/2006 9:00 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My son is almost five, and we are in the beginning stages of having him evaluated for behavioral disorders, Asperger's being one of them. He definitely lacks the ability to "read" another person's body language. He appears to most to be rude, loud, obnoxious, "in your face," etc. It's as though there is a wall there that we can't quite tear down. It's actually quite frustrating, and I have to remind myself that yelling does no good. It's a lesson in patience, for sure.

Funny you mention engineers. I know a rather "eccentric" engineer myself - a good friend of the family in his 60's. We joke that he's not all there, but possibly it could be something more.

My son and this man are intelligent beyond belief, so it's hard to imagine they could be so lacking in social skills.

9/30/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger afrobev said...

Following them while they are walking away and still talking to them? Yep, that's one more person that I used to work with who is likely to be a sufferer.

9/30/2006 8:49 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Melissa, hopefully your son doesn't have Asperger's and its just a phase he is going through. If he does have it, being diagnosed properly will make his life easier as people will be more forgiving.

James, I'm serious when I say that they actually follow you.

9/30/2006 1:20 PM  
Blogger afrobev said...

I believe you Thanh. Honest I do and that's what worries me. This guy who I have in mind used to bore the shit out of you but literally follow you to the point where you were thinking "Get Out Of my face before I kill you". He had no idea that he was bringing tears to your eyes and that's the scary thing.

10/05/2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Well I guess that's why its a syndrome. It's something that people have cannot control. They just do not see the body language exuded by other people. Even direct comments such as "This is boring" doesn't register as a signal to stop talking. I guess you have to be even more direct and say "Can you please stop talking".

10/05/2006 11:42 AM  

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