A lot of the descriptions fit me.
When I take this test on wired magazine's site (http://www.actionpam.com/cgi-bin/aq.cgi
) I get a score of 42.
For the most part, I function well enough to get by. I had at one point worked as a circuit designer for on of silicon valley's big players (though not in silicon valley). I am now pursuing a PhD in a scientific field.
I have had three relatively long term relationships. The first time, I allowed myself to get attached, but the other two I refrained to avoid the heart ache of being left. Unfortunately, it also means that these relationships were less meaningful than the first.
My friends, for the most part, like me a lot...or at least I believe they do.
Still, if I filter my situation through the lens of Asperger's, I believe my research adviser has become frustrated with my lack of executive function.
I am horrible at multi-tasking, which seems to be an integral part of grad student life (teaching, classes, research, and meetings in horrible one to two hour blocks). Although, corporate America can get bad if they schedule a ridiculous amount of meetings, it was never as bad as my first two years as a grad student.
I have always called myself a "high inertia" person. It takes a lot to get me going, but once I do, look out, because you won't be able to stop me.
The problem unfortunately, is now, I am having a hard time getting enough inertia to get me rolling.
I also do have trouble with birthdays, calling family members, and so on. My calendar and smartphone (which reminds me of the birthday of everyone on facebook--really the only reason I have facebook) has helped a lot in this arena.
I am also rather messy and people have often commented that my self care is poor. Ironically, once in a while, people with remark that I am "highly organized" and this will take me by surprised.
People often complain that I often don't provide enough context or motivation for my work. They also often say I am too focused on the details. Some even remark that I am "ridiculously" detail oriented.
But I don't think of myself that way (especially considering how disorganized I can be). I, in fact, think of myself as a pattern and "big-picture" person. It just so happens that the big picture I see tends to be quite different from most people.
If I can think of something in mathematical terms, I will. I can, at this point, do this in practically every situation--math is the science of patterns, and what situation does not have patterns?.
Sometimes, however, the mathematical conception adds little of importance to the situation, and at other times adds something that is difficult to relate in world that has increasingly failed to teach mathematics properly to people.
Theory of Mind:
This is the most painful for me to express because I have tried hard to overcome this. I so desperately want to know what others around me are feeling.
I have read on NLP, modalities of learning, books on body language and tone of voice, books on making conversation, books on conflict resolution, books on developing leadership skills, sociological research papers, and much much more. I have also tried out many of the techniques, and use web sites that can help me improve how well I read people. I've also had a coach help me make better eye contact, put more intonation in my speech, open my mouth better while speaking, and to breathe deeply from my diaphram to project better.
I felt like this was helping. But, perhaps, I was building up an overconfidence in something I am still quite poor at.
I say this because I have to teach a little bit every week, and nothing exposes a lack of theory of mind than having 15 to 20 students looking back at me and making expressions that I have no way of deciphering at the moment.
I ask things like "does this make sense" or "do you understand", and of course they all say yes or nod their heads up and down (which even I know means yes, in the US). Other instructors are often able to pick up the fact that some students are just saying yes to save face (there is a deep furrowing of the eye-brows that I have learned to mean confusion, but there is little else). Usually, I have to follow up with a "test" example at which point, I will get students asking for clarifications.
Perhaps, more painfully, is my mistaken reading of romantic interest from a very close friend of mine. To be honest, I had initially thought it was too good to be true, and perhaps I should have trusted that initial reaction.
It seemed like she was getting jealous any time my attention shifted to another friend who came by, or she would get jealous when I talked about my dates. It seemed like she was ridiculously happy, and even giddy near the end of the night. She was talking about romantic movies, calling me a prince, talking about being true to oneself...that night, I felt like I fell in love, and I thought she felt the same way.
But all this was based on reading about body language and practice on facial expression pictures and videos on websites...and frankly a little outside of the range of emotions they had you practice on. Perhaps, loneliness, combined with overconfidence in my learned ability to read people lead to my error in judgement.
Worse, now, my lack of executive function is having me acting really strange towards her. I am acting in ways that are very unlike myself, and rather impulsive (though I would not say "spontaneous").