Asperger's, Neurodiversity, and technical workers

Was at an event where I had to give a 3 minute speech as a training exercise. I settled on a story of a struggle when I started a machining business and identifying the Asperger’s traits that both helped and hindered. My “Story” deviated from the advice of my coaches and created a discussion about the different way I perceive the world as someone with Asperger’s than they do. 

The short discussion with questions being asked by many in the group was enlightening. It made me realize most people think of someone with Asperger’s as being and thinking just like themselves, but with challenges in some areas. It was a revelation that my pattern of thinking and approach to processing bears no resemblance to the process which occurs in their minds. I explained it is a totally different processing strategy that gives us abilities allowing us to be the people that take ideas and work with them every day as if they were tangible items. With this gift I know I have some areas I just don’t get as well as challenges interacting in the normal world with the concepts of my Asperger’s world.

This discussion and the interest in it, a conversation with an investment banker about the topic of understanding Asperger’s and the technical worker for executive, and the encouragement of the CEO of a company have all lead me to make my focus and create my story about Asperger’s prevalence in the technical areas of a company from the IT department to Engineering and what my thought processes as someone with Asperger’s are. 

I have been struggling to illustrate how someone with Asperger’s foundational thinks differently. There is not an underlying similarity in thought pattern. It finally dawned on me the basis of the though processing difference go all the way to the fundamentals of what Plato called Forms and now are referred to as Universals. The basic idea is how do we recognize a table as a table and that there must be some abstract form or concept of what embodies tableness. It is at this basic level where I think the person with Asperger’s interacts with the world differently.

It is not that the person with Asperger’s doesn’t have a concept of tableness just as the person without, but the criteria and method the Aspie uses to relate the object in front of them with the abstract idea of tableness. My approach is very rules driven and has tight definitions. Does it have legs? If not is there a support that would hold it steady and level to serve the purpose of legs. Does it have a largest area that is a flat surface which would sit parallel to the floor if set up as intended? Because of the tight definition the specific meaning of every single word is important. Just a slight change in wording could mean something is an entirely different form. I think this is part of why us Aspies don’t like rules that change. It undermines the logic our world runs on.

I think you can easily imagine the confusion that can occur when you are talking to another person about something you both agree is the same item, but everything you mention seems either irrelevant or just not the same thing the other person seems to be talking about. This is the confusing communication gap between the person with Asperger’s Syndrome and the rest of the world. But it becomes most obvious in the work place and in relationships.

Going forward my major thrust will be speaking, writing, training, coaching and consulting on this issue. Will be looking for some bold executive that are willing to consider a new way to envision and communicate with the technical worker then out in the effort to change their company culture. I will continue to develop “Geeks Guide to Interviews” both as a training system for the recruiting industry as well a training for the individual tech worker.

Tim Goldstein

www.TimGoldstein.com

( Problem of universals. (2016, June 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:19, July 30, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Problem_of_universals&oldid=724083820 )

 © Wiser Ltd 2017

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