This is a bit of a personal post, so if you're looking for interesting geology, come back tomorrow.
My ten-year-old son has displayed some Asperger's-like symptoms in the past that have concerned his mother and me. Even a pediatrician we saw when his regular doctor was unavailable wondered, out of the blue with no mention of it from us (he was in for being sick), if he might be somewhere on the autism spectrum. So, we ended up taking him to a pediatric neurologist expert for a consult; she talked to him for a while and said she didn't think there was anything to worry about. Since we homeschool anyway, it's not too big a deal in his day-to-day life (I do think that if he went to public school, however, he'd be a target for bullies as I was at his age). So, we're taking her expert advice and not worrying about it for now.
Anyway, there are these screening tests you can take (for adults or children) to see if you might have Asperger's Syndrome. My son, at least when me wife and I fill out the test for him, seems to score pretty high. I also score amazingly high as well (my wife, a paragon of normality, does not).
A typical screening test for Asperger's is the AQ (Autism-Spectrum Quotient) test developed by psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre (here's one online version you can take). It has 50 statements that you either have to definitely agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, or definitely disagree with. The average score in the control group was around 16.5 while 80% of those with autism (or a related disorder) scored above 32. I score between 37-40. I took it more than once on different days, hence the spread in scores and when my wife took it for me, she also came up with a comparable score.
Well, I obviously don't have autism but I definitely have some of the characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome. As a child, I was shy, liked to read, and was curious about everything (my mother tells me they nicknamed me "the little professor" when I was young). I much preferred talking with adults rather than with kids my own age and didn't have many friends. Never liked loud abrupt noises (even today) or changes in my routine. In school, I was frequently targeted by bullies. As a tween, I was very into electronics and taught myself basic DC/AC circuit theory, how to read schematics, and built a number of electronic devices (if computers had been around then, I'm sure I would have been into them).
As a teenager, my social awkwardness peaked, never had a girlfriend, almost no friends (usually other socially awkward geeky males), and spent much of my time skipping school and reading books or walking alone in the woods. School did nothing for me other than threaten me and my parents for my bad attendance (if I ever ran into one of those teachers today, I'd be hard pressed not to kick the shit out of him since he was such an asshole to me - but I digress!).
So I ended up dropping out of high school at 16 (I really stopped attending when 15). Not because I couldn't handle the work, I've taken proctored IQ tests and easily qualified for Mensa, but because I hated the environment so much. I mostly stopped being bullied because I grew larger when I hit puberty (adults always asked me if I played football) but I really couldn't stand the other kids my age.
So, I eventually went to work, started hanging out with people several years older than me, learned to drink beer (and other things) but still never really connected well with people - especially girls. Started going to community college (which is why I'm such a big supporter of the community college mission) and, after a number of years, transferred to a four-year school, got my degree and went on to graduate school (the process was not a smooth one, I couldn't attend college every semester because there were some times I had no money to pay for it).
Even though I despised middle and high school, I loved college. Hell, I'd go back to school now and study something else if I could! Still mostly a loner, most of my friends were computer geek types (by then I was heavily into computers and knew several programming languages). Shameful for me to admit, my first real girlfriend wasn't until graduate school. The bad thing about social awkwardness, whatever its reason, is that it does tend to turn males into misogynists - especially when you're a lonely, but painfully shy nice guy and women you like are dating complete douchebags and complaining that there are no good men out there (but I digress again).
So, long story short, I'm still socially awkward, don't really have any close friends, and spend an awful lot of time reading (nonfiction primarily) or walking in the woods by myself as I did as a kid. I pursue lots of eclectic interests and feel I have little in common with most people. I've learned to compensate though, get married, and fool a lot of people into thinking I'm "normal" (of course, now I've just blown my cover). I never thought about it as a "syndrome" just the way I am (fucked up). I certainly don't have all the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome, and self-diagnosing from an online test is foolish (although I think my wife really believes I have Asperger's). Bottom line is that I don't really give a shit at this point in my life.
So why share all of this? No idea. I find it interesting to think about and it's my blog and I write about things that interest me. So, if you find yourself talking to me some day and the conversation seems awkward, it's not because I don't like you or am bored, it's because the wiring in my brain is likely fucked up. Or maybe I don't like you and am really bored out of my mind with your incessant chattering. Who's to say?