American Normal: The Hidden World of Asperger Syndrome by Lawrence Osborne

By Lawrence Osborne

Asperger's Syndrome, frequently characterised as a sort of "high-functioning autism," is a poorly outlined and little-understood neurological disease. the folks who are suffering from the tend to be very smart, and as usually as now not able to outstanding feats of reminiscence, calculation, and musicianship. during this wide-ranging record on Asperger's, Lawrence Osborne introduces us to those that be afflicted by the syndrome and to people who take care of them as sufferers and as family members. And, extra importantly, he speculates on how, with our have to medicate and categorize each possible psychological kingdom, we're might be including to their isolation, their experience of alienation from the "normal." -This is a publication concerning the situation, and the tradition surrounding Asperger's Syndrome rather than a consultant approximately tips on how to deal with your baby with Aspergers. -Examines American tradition and the confident and detrimental views at the situation. a few mom and dad wish their baby would be the subsequent Glenn Gould or invoice Gates, others fear that their baby is irregular and overreact.

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A picture of a child dialing inside a telephone booth had appeared on the screen. Dialing 911, of course. Elizabeth shrugged. “Prozac works wonders for me. It helps me contain my obsessive thoughts. ” By now we knew that Asperger Syndrome was indeed a long haul. Of course, Asperger’s was biological, not developmental. The bad old days of blaming Bruno Bettelheim’s refrigerator mothers were long gone. A kind of low gasp of contempt swept across the audience as the word “Bettelheim” was spoken, and I was glad he was not present—or 41 42 l aw r e n c e o s b or n e : AMERICAN NORMAL even alive.

Nowadays, would we even have faith in any expert who was not narrowly and obsessively specialized? We demand that our doctors be technicians. But to someone like Asperger, the pretension of claiming to heal minds would have seemed bogus in a doctor not familiar with manifestations of human nature over a wide spectrum. As it happens, Hans Asperger and his colleagues expressed the values of a typically Viennese pre-World War II–culture: skeptical and humane, logical and accessible, wary of obscurantist expertise and fashionable sentimentalism.

What could a series of paving stones do to me? Vaguely, I thought that it might simply be a kind of animist displeasure. Another fixation of a similar nature: Before the age of ten I would say goodnight to every object in my room, beginning with the lamp shade above and ending with individual nails in the floorboards below. Over time, this goodnight taking became so fanatical that it encompassed motes of dust on the windowsill and the tube of toothpaste sitting on the edge of the basin. What mattered to me was not to leave anything out, because every object had its tender feelings.

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