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For someone with Asperger syndrome, it is completely logical to wear rubber boots to a party when it's raining, according to the two researchers Maj-Britt Posserud and Hege Aarli.

 Image: Dreamstime (with licence)



The two authors have co-written an informative piece on autism spectrum disorders in the Norwegian news outlet BT.no.

In addition to being a researcher, Maj-Britt Posserud is a doctor associated with mental health care for children and young people, Haukeland University Hospital, while Hege Aarli is a specialist consultant at the Department of Autism, Pedagogical-Psychological Center Zone North, Bergen. 

They write:

Autism is a developmental disorder that varies in degree and includes everything from people who are disabled by their autism to people with so-called high-functioning autism (HFA) and Asperger's syndrome (AS). The last two terms are used when one can do well in school academically, have a fairly well-functioning language, but have challenges with social understanding.





 

More people than previously thought have autism

In their article, they shed light on what autism can mean in practice, and they point out, among other things, that there has been an increase in how many people are considered to have autism in recent years. They write.

From being a disorder that only affected 2 to 4 out of 10,000 children, some recent studies show that over one percent of all children have Asperger's syndrome or autism. The latest Norwegian study showed that 0.6 per cent of Norwegian children were registered with an autism diagnosis. The reason for this apparent "epidemic" is that the definition has been changed so that many more now meet the diagnostic criteria.





 

What is it like to have autism?

Some of the things that the researchers point out as particularly characteristic of having autism are the following:

 

  1. The autistic brain interprets impressions in a different way. It is difficult to filter the information in a good way, and you are left with too much information. At the same time, this very "lack" or difference can be one of the reasons why people with autism are often good at details and dislike changing routines.
  2. The filtering problems can also help to explain another common difficulty for people with autism: Watching what is happening, for example in play. Understanding non-verbal signals, communication through eye contact and body language, or having to interpret ambiguous statements, can be so difficult that in practice one is left "one step behind" in social interaction. The experience of not getting to the social can help to provide a breeding ground for isolation, dissatisfaction and depression.

There are several other characteristics of autism also mentioned in the article at BT.no .

 

Depictions of autism in popular culture

The two researchers point out that having Asperger's syndrome does not mean that you are a genius, but that there are some ingenious people throughout history who are suspected of having just had Asperger's. Mozart, Wittgenstein and Einstein are mentioned here as examples.

In addition, it is not uncommon for depictions of autistic people in popular culture.

"The strange incident with the dog that night" and Sheldon in the TV series "The Big Bang Theory" provide relatively realistic insights into what it can be like to live with Asperger's or autism.

 

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