Writer needs to spend time with an Asperger's. In Belgium.
July 6, 2009 2:19 PM   Subscribe

Writing an Asperger character : how can I get to know enough about Asperger's syndrom ? Please bear in mind that I live in Belgium.

I'm in the research phase of a writing project. One of the characters must be an Asperger's. Now...

Research so far : I've read "I was born on a blue day" and "The curious incident of the dog". But words on a page are one thing, meeting a breathing person, getting to ask questions, discovering what kind of non-verbal language they is much more interesting to me.

Now, bearing in mind that I live in *Belgium* and that most of yo are living in US/Canada i.e. an ocean away from where I live, does the hive have generic advice on how to spend some social time with an Asperger ?

I don't want to betray the Asperger and I'm not centering the text around that characteristic. it's a narrative obligation that my character is an Asperger.

Oh, and if Barry - Rain Man - is lurking here, can he please direct-message me ? (I tried to contact him through Gersher agency's email address.
Standard MeFi caveat : english is not my mother tongue.
posted by Baud to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
See if you can find some of the books written by Temple Grandin who writes about Asperger's from a first-person perspective (i.e. she has Aspergers).
posted by GuyZero at 2:32 PM on July 6, 2009

Barry Levinson is on MetaFilter? I owe him a drink.

Anyway, there are many Aspergers support groups with forums, most of which are full of first-person accounts from "real people" that might be useful for you. ASD UK Online Forum was the first I found, but there are hundreds.
posted by rokusan at 2:40 PM on July 6, 2009

Rainman was based on autism, specifically an autistic savant, not Asperger's.

Asperger's is an autism spectrum disorder, but last I checked, it's not nearly as debilitating as full blown autism.
posted by foooooogasm at 3:28 PM on July 6, 2009

Foooooogasm has it right.

You can watch episodes of The Big Bang Theory online. I'm pretty sure Sheldon has Asperger's syndrome. At least a mild version.
posted by necessitas at 3:35 PM on July 6, 2009

Bram Cohen, who created BitTorrent, has Asperger's. There are lots of videos of him on YouTube.

I haven't watched them, but there might be something there that will help you.
posted by foooooogasm at 3:36 PM on July 6, 2009

I found the book Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robinson to be a good autobiography of someone with Asperger's Syndrome.

Also, wrongplanet.net is a website for people with Asperger's Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders. You might find someone to speak with on those forums.

Finally, since English isn't your native language, in English you say that someone "has Asperger's Syndrome," not "is an Asperger's." I know some people with Asperger's who refer to themselves as "an Aspie" but some people consider it disrespectful if someone else refers to them that way. The most courteous way to phrase it is, "a person with Asperger's Syndrome." Just so you know :-)
posted by christinetheslp at 3:40 PM on July 6, 2009

Google videos has some documentary-type videos of kids with Asperger's that might be helpful.
posted by caroljean63 at 3:45 PM on July 6, 2009

Best answer: Having met a number of people who have Aspergers - there is infinite variation. As much as if, oooh, they were real people with personalities and not just stereotypes!

Sorry, a little harsh there. But why do they have to have Aspergers? Are you looking for 'savant' abilities? Because that's a tiny subsection of people on the autism spectrum.

Non-verbal language? People with Aspergers are verbal, often highly so - I believe it's one of the diagnostic criteria that separate it from an autism diagnosis. However, some people with Aspergers who have good verbal skills may be more comfortable communicating by, for example, e-mail. People with autism are often verbal; those who are not may use augmentative sign language like Makaton, or picture exchange systems like Picture Exchange Communication System, or any one of dozens of others. Others have great difficulty communicating their needs at all. As I said, variation and unique people.

The first blog you should read is Ballastexistenz. The author has autism, not Aspergers, but is excellent on calling people on their prejudices, stereotypes and any other bullshit.

Another blog of note, though widely on autism is LBRB. Then there is autistics.org (please consider donating, they really need the money!). Unfortunately I don't know of any Dutch/French autism blogs (sorry, don't know which you speak).

Then go and volunteer with your local autism charity. The ones in the UK are usually wanting volunteers for befriending and social groups; I suspect Belgian ones will be the same. But washing out any Rain Man type prejudices first is A Good Thing.
posted by Coobeastie at 3:57 PM on July 6, 2009

Maybe it doesn't need to be said, but note that if you are doing your research online, you will find forty-six self-diagnosed 'Aspergerserians' for every one actual diagnosed case, especially in America. It's a bit of a fashionable thing to claim in some geeky circles, like when everyone who was tired claimed to have Epstein-Barr in the 1990's.

Many are merely antisocial nerds.
posted by rokusan at 3:58 PM on July 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Check out the discussion boards at Wrong Planet. It's an international site and you may be able to connect with someone online if not in the flesh.
posted by Daily Alice at 4:07 PM on July 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed Mozart and the Whale but I'm no expert on Asperger's and I don't know how people in the know feel about it.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:37 PM on July 6, 2009

Heh. Someone on that imdb board suggested that Edward Scissorhands had Aspergers Syndrome, which is a perspective I will have to think about.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:43 PM on July 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all ! wrong planet is indeed a forum worthy of my interest. This Daniel Tammel video may prove useful too !
posted by Baud at 7:45 AM on July 7, 2009

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