Quote from: alancalverd
I've never met a scientist who I would call remotely autistic.Until around the 1980s (perhaps, until the release of Rainman, in 1988), autism was commonly seen as a development problem of infants, who were often locked up in institutions. Since virtually all scientists are adults, they could not be autistic, by definition.
Now it is recognised as:
- occurring in adults too (usually children who grew up outside an institution, and learned to adapt)
- occurring in a spectrum, from very mild to very severe
- more severe cases often being seen as children of parents with mildly autistic tendencies (ie a strong genetic contribution) - with Silicon Valley being a particularly intense hotspot
We can now look back and see scientists who were almost certainly autistic, eg
- Cavendish, who was brilliant, but could never talk directly to people, but used correspondence.
- Mendel, who spent years breeding peas
- Darwin, with his intense childhood focus on collecting bugs
- Even many of the early researchers into childhood autism! (in one case, because they had an autistic child themselves)
- It is that often-introverted focus on collecting information in some specific area, often with a numeric focus that means someone with autistic tendencies is more likely to become a scientist, engineer, musician or perhaps an artist (in contrast to movie star or a socialite, for example).
- A text-based forum like this one is likely to attract people with some of these characteristics...
Quote from: Neurotribes by Steve Silberman
You spend your whole life trying to find something you enjoy, and then everyone tells you to shut up about it.
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