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Old 7th-January-2017, 05:38 PM   #1
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Default Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Discuss.
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Old 7th-January-2017, 06:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

I ask because he was likely INTP.
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Old 7th-January-2017, 06:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

I've never heard/read about him displaying Asperger's symptoms. What's brought this question to your mind?

It might be useful to note that Asperger's Syndrome, as a diagnosis has been discontinued. Now, there are Level 1, 2, & 3 Autism Spectrum Disorders and Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (which most Aspys fall under).

The diagnostic criteria really haven't changed so much as the name, and the clarification that it remains distinct from other ASDs (something that was getting wobbly at the end of DSM IV's regime). They are as follows:

Quote:
A. Persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication as manifested by all of the following:
1. Deficits in using communication for social purposes, such as greeting and sharing information, in a manner that is appropriate for the social context.

2. Impairment of the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the listener, such as speaking differently in a classroom than on the playground, talking differently to a child than to an adult, and avoiding use of overly formal language.

3. Difficulties following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, rephrasing when misunderstood, and knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interaction.

4. Difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meanings of language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation).
B. The deficits result in functional limitations in effective communication, social participation, social relationships, academic achievement, or occupational performance, individually or in combination.

C. The onset of the symptoms is in the early developmental period (but deficits may not become fully manifest until social communication demands exceed limited capacities).

D. The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition or to low abilities in the domains or word structure and grammar, and are not better explained by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), global developmental delay, or another mental disorder.
Keep in mind that deficit =/= choice. For example, a functional limitation in communication as described in item 1 isn't the same as a preference for avoiding pointless chatter.
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Old 7th-January-2017, 06:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
I've never heard/read about him displaying Asperger's symptoms. What's brought this question to your mind?
Spoiler:
Soap
Spoiler:
He had only one kind of soap
Spoiler:
He didn't use shampoo because he thought 2 types of soap was one too many
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Old 7th-January-2017, 06:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
A. Persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication as manifested by all of the following:
1. Deficits in using communication for social purposes, such as greeting and sharing information, in a manner that is appropriate for the social context.

2. Impairment of the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the listener, such as speaking differently in a classroom than on the playground, talking differently to a child than to an adult, and avoiding use of overly formal language.

3. Difficulties following rules for conversation and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, rephrasing when misunderstood, and knowing how to use verbal and nonverbal signals to regulate interaction.

4. Difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated (e.g., making inferences) and nonliteral or ambiguous meanings of language (e.g., idioms, humor, metaphors, multiple meanings that depend on the context for interpretation).
B. The deficits result in functional limitations in effective communication, social participation, social relationships, academic achievement, or occupational performance, individually or in combination.

C. The onset of the symptoms is in the early developmental period (but deficits may not become fully manifest until social communication demands exceed limited capacities).

D. The symptoms are not attributable to another medical or neurological condition or to low abilities in the domains or word structure and grammar, and are not better explained by autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder), global developmental delay, or another mental disorder.
I can see myself fitting most of these criteria, however, this is due to my actual diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorder (as far as I am aware its type is ambiguous). The reason for this is that I have disorganized thinking on a regular basis.

Anyways, back on topic: Yellow, do you think there is a decent chance he had Aspergers? What is telling (or not) is whether he did those oddity things by choice or compulsion.
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Old 7th-January-2017, 06:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickTwist View Post
Spoiler:
Soap
Spoiler:
He had only one kind of soap
Spoiler:
He didn't use shampoo because he thought 2 types of soap was one too many
That is certainly an idiosyncrasy. Though, it can't be too uncommon, considering the popularity of this product.



Edit: No, I don't think he had it. Being odd or having strange preferences isn't the same as having an issue of "abnormal psychology", which is what a mental health diagnosis comes down to. I don't think there was any dysfunction or deficit in his ability to communicate, understand social context, or engage in social learning. I've heard of the his delayed onset of speech, but that happens in cognitively normal children too. The fact that he didn't have any recorded issues after the delay suggests that, that too was a preference.
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Old 7th-January-2017, 07:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
That is certainly an idiosyncrasy. Though, it can't be too uncommon, considering the popularity of this product.



Edit: No, I don't think he had it. Being odd or having strange preferences isn't the same as having an issue of "abnormal psychology", which is what a mental health diagnosis comes down to. I don't think there was any dysfunction or deficit in his ability to communicate, understand social context, or engage in social learning. I've heard of the his delayed onset of speech, but that happens in cognitively normal children too. The fact that he didn't have any recorded issues after the delay suggests that, that too was a preference.
Asperger's was not a diagnosis they were doing when he was alive, which is the reason there is debate over this.
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Old 7th-January-2017, 07:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickTwist View Post
I can see myself fitting most of these criteria, however, this is due to my actual diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorder (as far as I am aware its type is ambiguous). The reason for this is that I have disorganized thinking on a regular basis.

Anyways, back on topic: Yellow, do you think there is a decent chance he had Aspergers? What is telling (or not) is whether he did those oddity things by choice or compulsion.
Focusing on criteria can obscure things. Autism is a neurological problem which gives certain symptoms. But what symptoms manifest depends on various things. People with higher intelligence tend to be better at compensating, meaning they can become pretty good at their work/ job and develop a good social understanding. What I see a lot is people's tendency to focus on symptoms and not understanding the deficiency that is underneath (this applies to various conditions in general). Not sure how to explain it, but there's a difference between looking for the neurological deficit and looking for symptoms. If you can understand how the neurological error function, you can recognize the illness even in people who are good at masking it or manage to live well despite it.

Anyways, Einstein never seemed that interesting a person or even as smart as people portray him to be (?), so I haven't read about him in depth. Meaning I have no answer to your question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
Edit: No, I don't think he had it. Being odd or having strange preferences isn't the same as having an issue of "abnormal psychology", which is what a mental health diagnosis comes down to. I don't think there was any dysfunction or deficit in his ability to communicate, understand social context, or engage in social learning. I've heard of the his delayed onset of speech, but that happens in cognitively normal children too. The fact that he didn't have any recorded issues after the delay suggests that, that too was a preference.
I see your point. I tend to think if you have autism you have autism even if you're doing well in life and will never get a diagnosis. Erm, I mean, like if you had diabetes without needing meds you'd still have diabetes but never a diagnosis. The error would still be there, however.

I wont advocate labeling people on a whim, though. Even if we collectively decided Einstein had autism, what for? To validate autistic people?
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Old 8th-January-2017, 01:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Setting the pragmatism of diagnostic criteria aside (which, is still the only way to justify a diagnosis)

I can't say for sure that he wasn't, but we have samples of his writing, we have him on film, we have accounts of how he was, and there are no real signs of it.

I'll use my 30 yo brother for an example of Asperger's-like issues.

He technically a genius, he's amazing with puzzles and mechanical workings, and he has two degrees. He still lives at my parent's house, and his best job was working in a factory processing vegetables. Now, he's doing alright stocking shelves at Walmart overnight.

Last year, he was living in my parents' [unsellable] spare home without supervision, but he let his two homeless "friends" live there, both of whom were registered sex offenders (not following procedure), and at least one was stealing stuff from around the house. My brother didn't understand why my parents disapproved of these men (and ousted them, of course) until the situation was explained to him rather brutally.

When he was 17, I had to explain to him that he can see over little kids, so maybe he could try stepping back so they can see the zoo animals too.

At 15, we had to explain that it's not appropriate to take the entire bowl of mashed potatoes at family gatherings regardless of how much you like to eat it.

We had to convince him in high school that a phone call wasn't the right forum for long periods of silence (he still struggles with this one).

Also, not following strange men to their cars when they offer you pokemon cards (this was an ongoing issue until he as about 17 years old [late bloomer]).

He didn't understand the difference between our 6-8 year old cousins and himself as a 14 year old, and would get explosively angry when they wouldn't play nice with him.

That's some solid, high-functioning Asperger's behavior.

Thomas Jefferson: a solid, high-functioning historical Aspy. He was noted as being unaware of the extent of his awkwardness, he rewrote the Bible because it annoyed him, and he didn't understand that it was inappropriate to openly have affairs with his slaves as if they were his lovers..

I just don't see it with Einstein.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 02:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Yellows description of her brother leads me to think my mom is ISFJ not Autist. She still thinks the earth was created in 6 days, likes church allot. I try to tell her stuff she just says "That's nice" or nothing at all. I try to talk to her about adult things but it never works out. Si dom vs. Ne dom?
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Old 8th-January-2017, 02:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
Setting the pragmatism of diagnostic criteria aside (which, is still the only way to justify a diagnosis)

I can't say for sure that he wasn't, but we have samples of his writing, we have him on film, we have accounts of how he was, and there are no real signs of it.

I'll use my 30 yo brother for an example of Asperger's-like issues.

He technically a genius, he's amazing with puzzles and mechanical workings, and he has two degrees. He still lives at my parent's house, and his best job was working in a factory processing vegetables. Now, he's doing alright stocking shelves at Walmart overnight.

Last year, he was living in my parents' [unsellable] spare home without supervision, but he let his two homeless "friends" live there, both of whom were registered sex offenders (not following procedure), and at least one was stealing stuff from around the house. My brother didn't understand why my parents disapproved of these men (and ousted them, of course) until the situation was explained to him rather brutally.

When he was 17, I had to explain to him that he can see over little kids, so maybe he could try stepping back so they can see the zoo animals too.

At 15, we had to explain that it's not appropriate to take the entire bowl of mashed potatoes at family gatherings regardless of how much you like to eat it.

We had to convince him in high school that a phone call wasn't the right forum for long periods of silence (he still struggles with this one).

Also, not following strange men to their cars when they offer you pokemon cards (this was an ongoing issue until he as about 17 years old [late bloomer]).

He didn't understand the difference between our 6-8 year old cousins and himself as a 14 year old, and would get explosively angry when they wouldn't play nice with him.

That's some solid, high-functioning Asperger's behavior.

Thomas Jefferson: a solid, high-functioning historical Aspy. He was noted as being unaware of the extent of his awkwardness, he rewrote the Bible because it annoyed him, and he didn't understand that it was inappropriate to openly have affairs with his slaves as if they were his lovers..

I just don't see it with Einstein.
In other words, Einstein is not Autistic because he didn't freak out?
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Old 8th-January-2017, 03:23 AM   #12
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuickTwist View Post
In other words, Einstein is not Autistic because he didn't freak out?
Your summary confuses me, as that wasn't my point at all.

However, yes, I suppose that's another clue for me. I'm not sure a person with ASD can have as much attention as he did without at least one famous or otherwise "outed" breakdown or freak out.

Like, Newton might have had Asperger's (by the traditional criteria). Lots of freakouts. Same with Jefferson.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 01:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Asperger is/was largely a trash bin diagnosis for logical types.

Just read about it in online and look logical inconsistence in diagnosis and its description. You'll find plenty.

Just to underline its pseudo scientific classification they have the ultimate cop out: if you have met one person with aspergers then you have met one person with aspergers. They are all different with different personalities. Still they diagnose based on personality characteristics.


I'll jump out of that boat. When your classification is too wide then you end up just pointing out individuals with certain set of remotely similar problems without understanding root cause at all. Because the whole issue of having something is highly questionable and causes vary.

This diagnosis really needs depth and rigorous definitions not width . If you are fine with approximate external expressions and societal support then it is fine because of system rigidity but putting a person under it who never needs extra help from society: STOP IT!
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Old 8th-January-2017, 01:45 PM   #14
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

OP, what's your goal?

Do you seek to understand asperger behaviour if people confirm Einstein was one?

If that's it, then a brief look at Einstein's life shows that he didn't really struggle with much anything. He held a stable job for years, he was reliable, he created a family, he was successful academically, had close academic colleagues who supported his theories and aided his research. I'm not an expert on his past but there's nothing overly dysfunctional as to what you'd expect from the autistic spectrum of issues.

Or do you seek to understand the genius of Einstein by categorising him as aspie?

That's a common trope, the Achilles' heel. If someone was so excellent it is natural to assume he lacked in some other regard.

I don't see how Einstein being an aspie or not, or being on the autistic spectrum would provide new insights into one or the other assuming you know what autistic deficiencies are and how it differs from the lonely genius archetype. He was alienated culturally in the US, due to his German origins and also in the fact that he was preoccupied with work.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 03:05 PM   #15
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENTP lurker View Post
I'll jump out of that boat. When your classification is too wide then you end up just pointing out individuals with certain set of remotely similar problems without understanding root cause at all. Because the whole issue of having something is highly questionable and causes vary.

This diagnosis really needs depth and rigorous definitions not width . If you are fine with approximate external expressions and societal support then it is fine because of system rigidity but putting a person under it who never needs extra help from society: STOP IT!
Exactly. It's a very specific set of neurological issues affecting one's social cognitive development that manifests as an inability function normally. In mild cases, it's what people still call Asperger's. In more extreme cases, they're accompanied by other organic intellectual disabilities and they are far more pronounced.

What I was trying to show in my example was a failure to process social context and an inability to progress without assistance or instruction. It's different from choosing to live alone, or choosing to skip small talk, or choosing to use only one soap. It's an genuine deficit in one's mirror neurons.

Once you know what to look for, you can spot the symptoms a mile off, but you can't just have "some" or "most" symptoms. It's ALL symptoms (in addition to a lack of other symptoms that would better fit a different issue). Because they all come together and point to an incredibly specific developmental abnormality.

<rant>This is why B/MSW's and B/MA's shouldn't be allowed to go anywhere near diagnoses. Without some kind of scientific context, these fuckers just run around slapping stickers on everyone. Sure, the Psychiatrist says no, but by then, counselor fruitcake has convinced the family, and they decide the doctor "just hasn't spent enough time with Timmy to get the big picture, he definitely has it."</rant>
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Old 8th-January-2017, 09:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
Setting the pragmatism of diagnostic criteria aside (which, is still the only way to justify a diagnosis)

I can't say for sure that he wasn't, but we have samples of his writing, we have him on film, we have accounts of how he was, and there are no real signs of it.

I'll use my 30 yo brother for an example of Asperger's-like issues.

He technically a genius, he's amazing with puzzles and mechanical workings, and he has two degrees. He still lives at my parent's house, and his best job was working in a factory processing vegetables. Now, he's doing alright stocking shelves at Walmart overnight.

Last year, he was living in my parents' [unsellable] spare home without supervision, but he let his two homeless "friends" live there, both of whom were registered sex offenders (not following procedure), and at least one was stealing stuff from around the house. My brother didn't understand why my parents disapproved of these men (and ousted them, of course) until the situation was explained to him rather brutally.

When he was 17, I had to explain to him that he can see over little kids, so maybe he could try stepping back so they can see the zoo animals too.

At 15, we had to explain that it's not appropriate to take the entire bowl of mashed potatoes at family gatherings regardless of how much you like to eat it.

We had to convince him in high school that a phone call wasn't the right forum for long periods of silence (he still struggles with this one).

Also, not following strange men to their cars when they offer you pokemon cards (this was an ongoing issue until he as about 17 years old [late bloomer]).

He didn't understand the difference between our 6-8 year old cousins and himself as a 14 year old, and would get explosively angry when they wouldn't play nice with him.

That's some solid, high-functioning Asperger's behavior.

Thomas Jefferson: a solid, high-functioning historical Aspy. He was noted as being unaware of the extent of his awkwardness, he rewrote the Bible because it annoyed him, and he didn't understand that it was inappropriate to openly have affairs with his slaves as if they were his lovers..

I just don't see it with Einstein.
To be fair, this almost sounds like high-functioning autism, rather than Aspergers, which could be considered mild, as it's a spectrum disorder now. Though I guess it's trivial to talk about as ENTP Lurker pointed out.

But from what I've vaguely read (which may be true or not because internet) Einstein did have some issues growing up. Supposedly he talked to himself a lot, was a bit of a loner and eccentric, and had issues with traditional learning. He eventually got past most of that (he was said to give poor lectures as a teacher later on, something that he had issues with doing), but it doesn't rule out something like Aspergers, which can sometimes be categorized as a developmental delay, something that becomes mild over time, but is still there to some extent. Course, it does leave a lot of questions about the meaning of a diagnosis, but if Einstein did have some kind of autistic traits, I'd imagine he either had most of the good traits with little bad or it was rather mild that it didn't matter much for him.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 10:11 PM   #17
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

FWIW, I think my uncle has Aspergers and I don't think he comes across as overtly dysfunctional and in fact, he has a job that no one else in the world can do working for 3M. I've talked to him a number of times and he strikes me as relatively normal. I mean, sure he has a bit odd sense of humor and comes across as and odd intellectual, but really, he doesn't come across as super weird and I have never seen him really freak out or anything.
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Old 8th-January-2017, 11:34 PM   #18
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Again, the example was provided for illustration, not evidence. It's just that the actual criteria were dismissed/ignored, so I assumed something "softer" would help communicate the point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reluctantly View Post
To be fair, this almost sounds like high-functioning autism, rather than Aspergers, which could be considered mild, as it's a spectrum disorder now.
As I mentioned before, it's not fully integrated into the spectrum, as there are marked differences between Social Communication Disorder (mild-moderate Apsergers) and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Spoiler:
Quote:
Diagnostic Criteria
A. Persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts, as manifested by the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive, see text):
1. Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity, ranging, for example, from abnormal social approach and failure of normal back-and-forth conversation; to reduced sharing of interests, emotions, or affect; to failure to initiate or respond to social interactions.

2. Deficits in nonverbal communicative behaviors used for social interaction, ranging, for example, from poorly integrated verbal and nonverbal communication; to abnormalities in eye contact and body language or deficits in understanding and use of gestures; to a total lack of facial expressions and nonverbal communication.

3. Deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to absence of interest in peers.
B. Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, as manifested by at least two of the following, currently or by history (examples are illustrative, not exhaustive; see text):
1. Stereotyped or repetitive motor movements, use of objects, or speech (e.g., simple motor stereotypies, lining up toys or flipping objects, echolalia, idiosyncratic phrases).

2. Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines, or ritualized patterns or verbal nonverbal behavior (e.g., extreme distress at small changes, difficulties with transitions, rigid thinking patterns, greeting rituals, need to take same route or eat food every day).

3. Highly restricted, fixated interests that are abnormal in intensity or focus (e.g, strong attachment to or preoccupation with unusual objects, excessively circumscribed or perseverative interest).

4. Hyper- or hyporeactivity to sensory input or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment (e.g., apparent indifference to pain/temperature, adverse response to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual fascination with lights or movement).
C. Symptoms must be present in the early developmental period (but may not become fully manifest until social demands exceed limited capacities, or may be masked by learned strategies in later life).

D. Symptoms cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning.
E. These disturbances are not better explained by intellectual disability (intellectual developmental disorder) or global developmental delay. Intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder frequently co-occur; to make comorbid diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, social communication should be below that expected for general developmental level.
Now, I'll grant that more severe Asperger's belong in the ASD now, but there's still a difference. The absence of physical behaviors and OCD-like symptoms preclude the ASD diagnosis.

I'm actually having fun imagining Einstein happy-flapping...
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Old 9th-January-2017, 01:37 AM   #19
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yellow View Post
Again, the example was provided for illustration, not evidence. It's just that the actual criteria were dismissed/ignored, so I assumed something "softer" would help communicate the point.

As I mentioned before, it's not fully integrated into the spectrum, as there are marked differences between Social Communication Disorder (mild-moderate Apsergers) and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Now, I'll grant that more severe Asperger's belong in the ASD now, but there's still a difference. The absence of physical behaviors and OCD-like symptoms preclude the ASD diagnosis.

I'm actually having fun imagining Einstein happy-flapping...
meh,

Einstein was a poor orator, had obsessive interests in mathematics and physics, which helped lead to his theory of relativity, had a speech delay as a child, and felt alienated and out of place in school.

His autobiography says he felt alienated in elementary school. Was later tutored by a medical student that sparked his intelligence and got him interested in physics. But later was so afraid of military duty that he claimed nervous exhaustion (which probably wasn't a lie) and dropped out of school. If it wasn't for his family to help him, he would have been in trouble. Then later, he gets into a good school because he was excellent with mathematics and physics, achieving his goals, only to later be unable to get an academic position because he preferred to do things in solitude, alienating his professors. So he works in a patent office where he can be...in solitude until his theory of relativity gives him fame. And even after that, he was always considered a very poor lecturer.

Sorry, but Einstein was obsessive, isolated, and alienated a lot of the people around him. And he did not seem to understand the importance of socializing and giving face. But did he hand-flap? No, but lol, that doesn't matter. We're not talking about whether or not he was classically autistic or fits a rigidly defined diagnostic criteria, we're talking about whether or not he might have had a milder version of autism. It's about asking whether or not someone with very mild autism could be like Einstein. And I definitely see that he had enough social idiosyncrasies to qualify.

so whatever, that's what I think anyway.
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Old 9th-January-2017, 02:54 AM   #20
Pyropyro
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Default Re: Did Albert Einstein have Aspergers?

@QT hand-flapping iz serious business. We autists use them to hasten the coming of the great Cthulhu

Anyways, according to this article, Einstein's brain lack parts of the sylvian fissure . Dysfunctions in this brain area were associated with autism. Do note that this article cites Wikipedia as one of its sources so take it with a grain of salt (seriously researchers who cite Wikipedia in their papers should be flogged with a dildo).
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