From the opening scenes of The Social Network, the movie about the creator and creation of Facebook, it’s obvious to those of us immersed in the culture…founder Mark Zuckerberg has Asperger’s syndrome.
Asperger’s is the latest frontier of public and medical community awareness on the autism spectrum frontier. The syndrome only landed in the medical books in about 1981, though recognized and eponymously named by German psychiatrist Hans Asperger within about a year from when Leo Kanner gave the constellation now known as autism a name.
Often what keeps family members, teens and adults from recognizing and accepting the diagnosis is several things. First, the word autism. In reality the disorder encompasses a huge continuum of functioning. Secondly, the stigma of disAbility. While the intellectual capacity of Asperger’s is average to often gifted–the individual communicates with words, so, what’s the problem? A lot. Until autism and markedly in Asperger’s, where people often may seem otherwise normal–sometimes.
Do not be misled by the assumption that children who did/do have some speech challenges early on or who as children or adults are OVERLY social do not fall into the Asperger’s diagnosis. Such misbeliefs have kept many family/child/adult from receiving needed services. Remember, there is a constellation of symptoms across the entire spectrum. Society, as we are learning weekly, is packed with people who have Asperger’s and who’ve never been diagnosed, and who are either having difficulty meeting the demands of a typical workplace-pace or, who have somehow managed to finesse an arsenal of coping skills….
Bless Temple Grandin. Her following paraphrased proclamation makes it into every interview and speech I’ve heard her deliver in her endearingly odd-inflected voice. If it weren’t for Asperger’s syndrome, she declares, we’d have no engineers, NASA scientists. And, Einstein plus Mozart and more, would today be diagnosed with the disorder.
As I am learning from someone to whom I am very intimately connected–causing me to really put legs onto the words from 14-years of the disAbility journey with my daughter–the key is to see disAbility as a difference….Not a deficit….
As for The Social Network, the movie? Go see it. Entertaining, engaging, fascinating and exploding with layers of irony….A social network created by someone with a social…challenge….
Have you seen The Social Network ? What do you think…does Mark Zuckerberg have Aspergers?