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Dr-David-Banner

Are Aspies Really "Thick"?

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Dr-David-Banner

Excuse the thread title - that's just me making an "attention grabber" with a bit of humour. However, I wanted to say that in psychology there's an assumption that runs thus: Those with Aspergers gather lots of information about their special interest but show no genuine understanding of the overall subject. To quote:
"They may also have difficulty thinking around problems and predicting what might happen next in subjects such as science.While they may often excel at memorising fact in a specific subject, people with Asperger syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways. This can cause problems for children in school where they may have difficulty with certain subjects..."
It's taken me ages to figure out what causes this perception but now I can relate to it. I recently joined another electrical engineering forum - this time an American one. I got kicked off others I joined in the past as I stood out somehow. Anyway to get to the point: Yes, I do gather and gather information about my topic of interest. I also do this in a very disjointed fashion with no organised system - systems bore me. I've worked out actually the other forum members always tend to approach the same subject less theoretically. They build a lot more things than I do. They tend only to learn what they need. On the other hand, I will build less stuff and spend a lot of time visualising, using theory, maths, diagrams and graphs. There are occasions too where I've neglected basics and had to backtrack. However, I'm finding if you ask a complex question on these forums, people don't seem to know. If it's to do with, say, modulation indexes, there's either silence or irritation.
Thus, I've worked out my whole approach to learning is theoretical and will give you a simple example: Suppose two people decide to learn a language. Student A sets about learning to speak to others, actively communicating and learning only what is needed. Student B doesn't get actively involved but becomes engrossed by theory and structure of the language. In fact student B would make a good student of dead languages.
Conclusion: it's not the case student B is simply gathering information with no core understanding. It's more a case of a theoretical, isolated approach to the subject.

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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Asgardian

No, I get fed up with generalisations about people on the spectrum and this is yet another one. Actually, I get fed up with generalisations about anyone, on the spectrum or not.

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Ben
Quote

"They may also have difficulty thinking around problems and predicting what might happen next in subjects such as science.While they may often excel at memorising fact in a specific subject, people with Asperger syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways. This can cause problems for children in school where they may have difficulty with certain subjects..."

Who said this? Mr Bean? 

Thinking around problems is a basis of what I do! Abstract thinking, again, what I'm pretty much paid to do... if I couldn't do either of those I wouldn't get very far. 

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Miss Chief

I don't know where you got that from, I would say the complete opposite is true, people on the spectrum tend to be logical, they are organised lateral thinkers (thinking outside the box, seeing the big picture) they have an analytical approach, all of this contributes to us often being more intelligent than those around us.

However, a lot of people on the spectrum also have learning disabilities (I assume you do based on posts you have made, the math one springs to mind where you said you had to approach it differently to how you were taught it... the very definition of a learning disability) and that can mean that they struggle to grasp theories during education and if they cannot find a way around it and this might give the perception that they are stupid when in fact it is just that they need to learn differently to others. People with learning disabilities are not stupid.

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Nesf
13 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

They may also have difficulty thinking around problems and predicting what might happen next in subjects such as science.While they may often excel at memorising fact in a specific subject, people with Asperger syndrome find it hard to think in abstract ways. This can cause problems for children in school where they may have difficulty with certain subjects..."

Yes, actually I did have difficulty with abstract thinking, and difficulty with certain subjects. However, the subjects I had difficulty with were not sciences, which are often based on a knowledge of facts and understanding of processes, but English lierature and algebra. I did well at subjects that require you to learn facts and understand processes and theories, and badly at those that needed a degree of interpretation and abstract thinking. Take poetry for example - I could learn poetry and quotes, when the teacher gave us notes on the correct interpretation of the notes, I did fine because I could just parrot what the teacher told me, but if I had to provide my own interpretation and understanding, that was a different matter. One skill which was required of us was to read and interpret an unseen poem, and I did really badly at this, I couldn't do it at all. I also couldn't organise my ideas into an eaay, couldn't write fast or think fast - it was a disaster. The best I could manage was a D. And yet, for physics, chemistry and biology I could get As no problem. Also, I had difficulty summarizing texts - I used to get caught up in the details and unable to prioritise which details were important and which weren't - for me, everything was relevant and important. So my essays just consisted of long lists of facts, with no summarizing and not organisation. Actually, I did well to get a D even.

Another thing I had difficulty with was algebra, again because that requires abstract thinking and problems can't be solved by memorizing facts. I was not able to work round the problems or improve at it. Yet, in geormetry, which relies on visual thinking and memorising formulae, I did well. So: loved geometry, hated algebra.

I was also very slow to finish tasks, the last to finish - I don't process quickly, and want to do things well and take my time over them, and won't move on until I know that they are perfect or correct. I was also easily distracted and likely to go off on a tangent. I also had social difficulties, meltdowns and other behavioural issues, or AS-related issues that were interpreted as behavioural issues. I was bottom of the class and the school decided that I was slow, and wanted to put me in the slow learners' class, or go to a special school, so basically yes, they thought I was 'thick', but I certainly am not thick, I just go at a different speed and process things in a different way.

I most certainly disagree with the idea that I might have no real understanding of a science subject I study. I really don't know where they get this from. If I only gathered facts and had no overall understanding of the subject, I would not be able to understand the concepts and probably wouldn't be interested in sciences, and would have done badly at science subjects at school. It makes no sense.

 

 

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Sanctuary

Many people with AS are high achievers and almost are all at least average in terms of academic ability so any general argument that they lack abstract or higher order thinking is misplaced. However I do think there is tendency for those with AS to be drawn to (and sometimes distracted by) details and a desire to be comprehensive in their knowledge of a subject. This can be an asset in terms of rigour as they can be very skilled in spotting patterns and anomalies. However it can sometimes mean losing sight of the bigger picture. I have tended often to get bogged down in the details of a topic and too exhaustive in dealing with it, losing sight of the need to be more selective and concise. I'm not skilled in terms of portraying ideas in an imaginative and accessible way. Overall I think it's more accurate to say that those with AS can have an excellent eye for detail but not always to adept at pulling it altogether or communicating it in an accessible way. However there is no shortage of sophisticated thinking on the spectrum - the problem is often in expressing it to others. 

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Not here

Only question i have is how is that title humourous? :wacko:

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Dr-David-Banner
On ‎11‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 3:20 AM, Miss Chief said:

I don't know where you got that from, I would say the complete opposite is true, people on the spectrum tend to be logical, they are organised lateral thinkers (thinking outside the box, seeing the big picture) they have an analytical approach, all of this contributes to us often being more intelligent than those around us.

However, a lot of people on the spectrum also have learning disabilities (I assume you do based on posts you have made, the math one springs to mind where you said you had to approach it differently to how you were taught it... the very definition of a learning disability) and that can mean that they struggle to grasp theories during education and if they cannot find a way around it and this might give the perception that they are stupid when in fact it is just that they need to learn differently to others. People with learning disabilities are not stupid.

"I don't know where you got that from, I would say the complete opposite is true, people on the spectrum tend to be logical, they are organised lateral thinkers (thinking outside the box, seeing the big picture) they have an analytical approach, all of this contributes to us often being more intelligent than those around us."

All very much open to debate. More than likely, Paul Cooijman knows more than most about Aspergers and intelligence. This is because he creates intelligence tests for all people, autistic or otherwise. Even then, to be honest, I doubt he'll ever accurately be able to test intelligence - there are too many aspects to it.
With Aspergers too, what I find over time is (worryingly) nobody seems to be able to agree on what the stereotype is. I heard the famous character Mr Spock in Star Trek was based upon the stereotype of Aspergers. They wanted to create for TV a purely logical and unemotional Vulcan who had bypassed emotion. In many ways, that does fit me as I believe I have Alexithymia (except this latter does not apply to animals where I can be very sentimental). 
Anyway, as to the thread itself, I feel pretty sure psychologists from the outset have misunderstood the way people like me gather information in ways that always seemed irrelevant. Mine is simply a more theoretical approach and less active or applied. I may also spend time on material that's very much by-passed by the majority as they feel they don't need such information for what they do. In fact it really angered people on websites and got me kicked off a few. Did you know, for example, an FM transmitter operates at one 4th of the power of an AM transmitter and how you can illustrate this mathematically with a calculator? People will say, why on earth do you need to know that but it's not information I don't understand. I do understand, but it's a curious desire to keep on absorbing facts without any particular order. Some may say this shows a lack of understanding of the overall subject but I'd say it's more a case of theoretical.

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Dr-David-Banner

I won't be online as much perhaps till I can sort out a new mobile phone. Mine got soaked in a downpour and is still not working. It did boot up this morning for a minute. I tried rice and am hoping it might come back in a few days. Right now I'm at a library and when it shuts in 5 minutes, I'll be without internet and phone till I don't know when. I may have to get a new phone in the end although sometimes they do come back to life after a few days.

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Sanctuary

Where I think the statement might have some limited validity (not the "thick" part though) is with those with AS whose intelligence is around average levels. They may have remarkable levels of factual knowledge but not be able - or not particularly interested - to develop it to higher levels. Most with AS are able to do this but a minority in a sense "don't live up to their promise". This might be as much to do with their broader circumstances or teaching as any real lack of deep intelligence. 

A related issue might be the small number of autistic savants. They may show extraordinary skills, most notably in calculation, music or art. Being able to calculate correctly and instantly two huge numbers or produce a picture of stunning accuracy are examples of such skills. However these savants often lack the really high level, creative skills in those areas. The mathematical savant may not be able to do higher level maths and the musical and artistic savants may not be able to compose their own works - at least not with any great skill. They may also be unable to explain their skills which seem to come instinctively. In this sense the savants don't live up to their initial promise. However most on the autistic spectrum are not savants and are very skilled in the areas they pursue although they may approach them in ways that strike others as unconventional.

PS I hope your phone gets back to working order David.

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Dr-David-Banner

I came to see fairly recently, how big is the disadvantage initially with Aspergers or HFA or autism. I can explain this through personal experience. I figure I can do this very well as I experienced autism not just as high-functioning but as low-functioning. Here, I do take into consideration Miss Chief's point that I could have had co-morbid learning difficulties which is one possible angle. Anyway:
If we consider education and learning evolved by evolution to be centred around other people, their language communication, family, school, ethics and so on, we can conclude that anyone who is handicapped in social/verbal communication runs a strong risk of lagging behind. Put even more simply, if a child somehow can't connect, understand or relate to family, school and environment, he (or she) is going to face obstacles in education, development, grey areas such as empathy with the resultant possible depressions, tantrums, meltdowns.
Question: What happens if an individual is so withdrawn and isolated neurologically that the early education process takes place at only a low percentage? At a time when the brain is most geared to learn information quickly? Well, here's what I winded up with: Delays in mathematics, poor educational performance in most subjects, poor concentration with regard to verbal communication, delays in emotional development, difficulties relating to others and even delay in sexual maturity development.
What is strange here is I think the brain is amazingly well -geared to adaptation. There may be a few other autistics like myself who gradually developed alternative learning processes. We already know people with HFA often have what's referred to as visual learning. This is where the brain needs image in order to process information. By the way, when I say "alternative learning processes", let's recall Dr Tony Atwood has pointed out how well those with AS learn to act. That is, many autists can't really connect with others but they can learn to fake it. So, the brain can also find alternative ways to develop intelligence and learn maths, languages, economics and so on.
The big point I want to make  about disadvantage is pretty much everything is geared up for NTs. The school process works for NTs (it didn't work for me). Books are geared up for NTs (I find with so many of them it's assumed a teacher will be around to more fully explain points). Employment is geared for NTs (with the main emphasis on reputation and "knowing people".
The reason I had problems on a lot of sites as it somehow stood out I didn't work with groups or go out of my way to respect people who had been mounted on pedestals. By that time I'd learned to stick purely to facts and digits. It became an advantage to not be misled or held back from progress, simply due to some expectation you're supposed to bow and scrape to those who think respect doesn't have to be earned. So, strangely enough, the one big flaw NTs face (and its a massive flaw) is they almost always compromise their science if it means they can "fit in" In fact, you can see this in the movie Contact where scientist Jodie Foster loses the opportunity to travel into space because she wouldn't lie and tell the panel she believed in God. Her honesty cost her her reputation.
To sum up, autism can be overcome but it's really hard work and you need to be aware pretty much all teaching media is geared for groups. If you have audio issues, you need to start to use visual. You have to accept a learning process may take longer.

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Dr-David-Banner

"PS I hope your phone gets back to working order David."

It was poorly made by comparison with the old tube radio receivers I work on. The thing is modern electronics are heavily processed and manufactured. Use of plastics, miniscule semiconductors. The vintage stuff I work with is simpler but very definitely engineered. Plus the further back in time you go (with less industrialisation), the more you see the use of wood, point-soldering (not printed circuit boards), bullet-proof germanium transistors and just check out the wire by comparison. I mean, modern wire you can cut with plastic scissors. And printed circuit boards from the onset were prone to wear and broken tracks.

in my view a very good time for real electronic engineering was 1980's in Japan. These were not like the cheap, digital stuff made today. Japanese cameras, cassette players, VCR's and CRT TV sets were very well made.

Anyway, all I know is my phone got very wet. The battery is testing at 3 volts but should be 3.7. The charge process isn't working and the phone won't boot up now. Unlike my old 1950's radio sets, these little phones are often glued together with tiny circuit panels and all the circuits mass produced to a single pattern. Basically it's a buy and throw-away culture. The engineering skills I have are too retro to apply to mass produced items. Of course, many basic still apply. If the charge light isn't coming on then it could be either a burn-out or simply grime or moisture cutting off a circuit. I will leave it a while yet as I've known phones dry out over many days and come back. The main worry over it is the very latest pics of my dog are saved on the phone and I wanted to preserve them.

Edited by Dr-David-Banner

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Miss Chief

First of all you shouldn't have tried to boot or charge the phone, you should have left it somewhere warm and dry like a south facing windowsill over a radiator for 7-10 days, even using a bag of rice (or cat litter or even better silica gel if you have it) to absorb the moisture takes a good few days, now that you have tried to boot/charge it you may have done irreparable damage.

Don't charge/boot it again, take as many components out as you can without breaking it (battery, SIM, memory card, back cover, case, etc.), leave the bits lose so there are gaps where the water can evaporate, place it in the aforementioned drying agent (rice, cat litter, silica gel) for 3 days, then move it to a dry warm place (like a radiator or south facing windowsill but not a damp one) and leave it there for at least a week, once that is done reassemble it and try booting it.

As to the photo's if it's a smart phone (I assume it is since you seem to be suggesting it's how you browse the internet), is it an Android? If so it may have backed up to Google Photos or some other backup location, they could also possibly be stored on the memory card if it has one. Even if the phone won't boot you might be able to connect to the HDD on the phone if you connect it to a computer and get the photos that way but don't do that until you have already tried drying it out properly as above, any power running through the phone while it's damp can kill it permanently and fry the drive so the photos can't be retrieved.

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Dr-David-Banner
15 hours ago, Miss Chief said:

First of all you shouldn't have tried to boot or charge the phone, you should have left it somewhere warm and dry like a south facing windowsill over a radiator for 7-10 days, even using a bag of rice (or cat litter or even better silica gel if you have it) to absorb the moisture takes a good few days, now that you have tried to boot/charge it you may have done irreparable damage.

Don't charge/boot it again, take as many components out as you can without breaking it (battery, SIM, memory card, back cover, case, etc.), leave the bits lose so there are gaps where the water can evaporate, place it in the aforementioned drying agent (rice, cat litter, silica gel) for 3 days, then move it to a dry warm place (like a radiator or south facing windowsill but not a damp one) and leave it there for at least a week, once that is done reassemble it and try booting it.

As to the photo's if it's a smart phone (I assume it is since you seem to be suggesting it's how you browse the internet), is it an Android? If so it may have backed up to Google Photos or some other backup location, they could also possibly be stored on the memory card if it has one. Even if the phone won't boot you might be able to connect to the HDD on the phone if you connect it to a computer and get the photos that way but don't do that until you have already tried drying it out properly as above, any power running through the phone while it's damp can kill it permanently and fry the drive so the photos can't be retrieved.

 I very much got caught out because that rain was beyond normality. I'd been shopping at Asda, was a bit scatty due to stress over the dog and I guess I'd just shoved the phone into my raincoat pocket. It wasn't raining at all so I didn't give it much thought. Then, just a few paces down the road rain just bucketed at me. I'd only been in it 5 minutes or so and somehow my raincoat pocket had a small pool of water inside. The phone was lying in it and had gone dead. I did take the battery out and used tissues and a fan. I also tried WD40 as this drives out moisture. Yesterday, it did seem to boot up O.K. but the battery was low so the phone gave the usual "shutting down low battery" notification and powered off. As it happened my charger at the time was also faulty as the lead had half-broken. I bought another charger but the phone at the moment doesn't either light up (red lamp) or respond. So, really, it doesn't look good at all.
I never work on modern electronics but I have found the battery is low. It tested below 3 volts. The charger in the phone itself at the pin (input to battery) only registered 50 millivolts. That seems odd as when I charge car batteries, you get a good 13 volts on trickle charge (more than the battery). There is a small chance that if I put a fully charged battery into the phone it might just power up. Otherwise, I'd probably have nothing to lose by attempting a repair - even if just to access those photos one time and save them.

 

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Dr-David-Banner

Update: Phone still dead and no red light. I did find the battery won't charge over 2.7 volts which is low. May be some battery damage as it was an old battery. It's best I don't give up without a fight. A friend found a tutorial that shows how to dismantle the phone.

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