My articles have two purposes, to help those like myself with Asperger’s to become better writers and to help people to better understand me as an Aspie writer. I’m hoping this glossary, especially my interpretation of many of the words, will do both. I’ve included a link for each term to provide a more formal interpretation.
This is a list of words and phrases that will help those unfamiliar with the jargon associated with Asperger’s. It is presented in the order of a lesson on Asperger’s so it needs to be read in order the first time.
Neurotypicals (NT) a.k.a. Average People: People who do not meet the requirements for conditions listed as developmental disorders in the current edition of the DSM. Neurotypical does not necessarily mean mentally healthy. http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/neurotypical
Asperger’s Syndrome: A complex condition often characterized with extreme rationality, high intelligence, powerful creativity, radical truthfulness, uncompromising moral code, and an inability to understand the lack of these traits in average people. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/asperger/asperger.htm
Aspie: A term used by some with Asperger’s to describe themselves. Due to the occasional use of “Aspie” as a slur against people with Autism it is highly recommended that those without Asperger’s not use the word “Aspie” especially in a workplace setting. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/aspie
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A complex condition encompassing a diverse range of people who express themselves, experience emotions, display emotions, and learn differently than average people. Asperger’s falls under the ASD umbrella. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/facts.html
Flockers: Those who go along with the majority even when they believe the majority is wrong and who condemn those who do otherwise.
Anti-Flockers: Those who do what they believe is right with little or no regard to popular opinion. Includes whistle blowers, writers, agitators, and most Aspies.
Special Interest: A topic of passionate focus often boarding with, and sometimes crossing the line into, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). http://autism.wikia.com/wiki/Special_Interests
Asperger’s Quotient (AQ) Test: A multiple choice exam used to determine the likelihood a person may have Asperger’s. An exam by a psychiatrist is also necessary for a formal diagnosis. http://aspergerstest.net/aq-test/
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): The mental health handbook. It lists all mental health disorders recognized in the United States of America as well as the methods of diagnosing them. https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm
High Functioning: A person with a psychiatric condition who is able to hide it from the majority of average people well enough that it rarely disturbs them. Used to describe some with Autism, Alcoholism, as well as other conditions. Also, often meant to be a compliment by average people on par with “you are a credit to your race,” or “but you look normal enough to pass as a heterosexual.” https://www.verywell.com/what-is-high-functioning-autism-3896828
Feats: Special abilities people have due to training or innate ability (a Dungeons & Dragons metaphor). http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats
Drawbacks: A disability or hindrance that is the side effect of a feat (a Dungeons & Dragons metaphor). http://www.d20pfsrd.com/traits/drawbacks
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): An inability to consistently maintain focus on a boring topic or person. Those suffering from this disorder often find themselves daydreaming about unique and original stories even when they do not wish to. https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/adhd
Apraxia of Speech: A common condition with Autism suffer from that includes, but is not limited to, the inability to verbally communicate when experiencing strong emotions. https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/apraxia-speech
Coping Skills: Techniques for stress reduction and emotional management. https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/How_Do_You_Cope
Mind Blindness: The inability to naturally read body language and facial expressions. This leads to difficulty in those with Asperger’s ascertaining if average people actually mean the literal words they say, if they are using sarcasm, or if they are telling lies to lessen emotional impact in an attempt to be polite. This is the reason people with Autism have a constant problem talking to average people. http://www.kmarshack.com/_blog/Kathy_Marshack_News/post/Mind_Blindness_and_the_Disconnect_in_Asperger_Syndrome_Relationships/
The Three Emotional Empathies and Asperger’s: For years educational and other professionals have falsely taught those with Asperger’s lack the ability to feel and express empathy. People with Asperger’s very often express emotions differently than average people and this leads average people to believe that since they cannot see the emotional reactions that they expect then those with Asperger’s must not feel emotions, like the Vulcans on Star Trek.
Actually those with Asperger’s often experience emotions at heightened levels in comparison to average people, especially in regard to the emotional pain and joy of those around them (see Emotional Empathy below). The false narrative that those with Autism do not have empathy is rooted in the fact that most people with Autism lack the innate ability for Cognitive Empathy however when this concept is taught the word “cognitive” is often omitted which alters the entire meaning.
Emotional Empathy: The ability to feel emotional pain due to another’s emotional pain. People with Asperger’s often have a heightened sense of Emotional Empathy, sometimes feeling physical pain themselves due to another’s emotional pain, similar to how average people sometimes feel sympathy pains if they are emotionally close to a pregnant woman.
Compassionate Empathy: The ability to actively attempt to relieve another’s emotional pain solely for the sake of making a person in emotional pain feel better.
Cognitive Empathy: The ability to intuitively interpret and predict the emotions of others by observing body language and facial expressions. People with Asperger’s frequently cannot interpret or predict emotions of those they do not know very well based on non-verbal clues.
© 2016 Glenn Hawkins. All Rights Reserved.