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[url]http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&...

This was a good article on the abundance of people suffering with Asperger's in IT roles. NO, THIS ISN'T A SHOT AT IT PEOPLE!

Asperger's is a form of high functioning autism that leads people to have huge problems with interpersonal interactions. They often resemble the High C people on the DISC spectrum. If you deal with a "Mr. SpocK", this article may explain some things and help you to understand a little better.

drinkcoffee's picture

Thanks for this, Tool. Asperger's does seem to be widespread in IT based on the anecdotal evidence I've seen. Those of us who know that "it's all about people" must recognize the uphill battle that these folks are fighting.

jhack's picture

Tool,

Thanks for posting this. The article consolidates memes* that have been circulating for a few years on the net and elsewhere.

It is important to treat people as individuals, and to embrace diversity not just in the common categories (gender, national origin, …) but to also embrace “neurodiversity” (Down Syndrome, Autism, etc)

Ascribing labels to socially awkward or introverted individuals provides a way of putting them into neat categories. In the absence of a proper diagnosis by a qualified medical or psychological practitioner, however, it is inappropriate for managers to label their folks, even if only in their mind.

A danger lies in letting the Asperger employee off the hook for improving their relationship skills. Diagnosis or not, people can learn, people can be more effective, and it is our job to coach them, to give feedback, to find roles for them where they can shine…

Those interested in models to explain their coworkers might check out “Multiple Intelligences” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences).

John

*I have resisted the strong temptation to deconstruct the article; please be aware that it is rife with speculation alongside solid facts. (Dr. Temple Grandin is a truly amazing person. Albert Einstein or Bill Gates would not fit the diagnostic criteria.)

BJ_Marshall's picture

The son of a couple we know has Aspergers. Once he and his parents discovered he had Aspergers, they were able to deal with that competency more effectively. I've gotten to know him: he's a cool kid and amazingly gifted.

This isn't, however, a blanket statement that everyone with Aspergers should be able to, with a little self-knowledge, interact like a non-Asperger person. Like "First, Break All the Rules", their social interaction may forever be a nontalent: You can mitigate the risk all you want, but it will never be a strength.

Funny thing is: I don't think you can ever know. Unless one of my directs came to me and told me flat-out, I would have no way of knowing.

Thanks for pointing this out. There's a staff member we hired (well, I didn't want to...) who is really socially awkward - painfully so, at times. This is yet another gentle reminder that I should check my assumptions at the door.

BJ