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Old 11-10-08, 08:51 AM   #1
Al Downie
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Asperger's Syndrome - high % among cyclists?

I really hope nobody's offended by this, but... in the past I've made casual observations that there seems to be a higher-than-average percentage of left-handed people in the scientific community where I work currently, and a higher-than-average percentage of dyslexic people in the Art School where I worked before. And now, having spent some time in the company of other cyclists, and watching the goings-on in some cycling forums, I'm wondering if there's an unusually high percentage of individuals with Asperger's Syndrome in the cycling community. Perhaps the recumbent cycling community specifically?

Before you all spill your beer and start spewing vitriol and venom, have a look though the following list of criteria for diagnosis, and see if any bells start ringing. I can think of a few people who tick most of the boxes, all cyclists, but i think in my life I've only ever come across one obvious case outside of the cycling community.


GILLBERG'S CRITERIA FOR ASPERGER'S DISORDER

1.Severe impairment in reciprocal social interaction
(at least two of the following)
(a) inability to interact with peers
(b) lack of desire to interact with peers
(c) lack of appreciation of social cues
(d) socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior

2.All-absorbing narrow interest
(at least one of the following)
(a) exclusion of other activities
(b) repetitive adherence
(c) more rote than meaning

3.Imposition of routines and interests
(at least one of the following)
(a) on self, in aspects of life
(b) on others

4.Speech and language problems
(at least three of the following)
(a) delayed development
(b) superficially perfect expressive language
(c) formal, pedantic language
(d) odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics
(e) impairment of comprehension including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings

5.Non-verbal communication problems
(at least one of the following)
(a) limited use of gestures
(b) clumsy/gauche body language
(c) limited facial expression
(d) inappropriate expression
(e) peculiar, stiff gaze

6.Motor clumsiness: poor performance on neurodevelopmental examination

(All six criteria must be met for confirmation of diagnosis.)
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Old 11-10-08, 10:14 AM   #2
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"Motor clumsiness"?!?
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Old 11-10-08, 10:38 AM   #3
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This just cracks me up

I have wondered the same thing, reading forums, but to generalize a population based on those who hold forth upon a topic which interests them is not, I think, going to be accurate.

Speaking for myself, and only for myself, I am a fairly high function(that means that I do not wear and anorak and hang out at the train station with a clipboard)Aspy.

and I f-----g hate recumbents.

thing is, I have no real idea if we can smell our own or not outside of the comic book/star treck/Sci Fi convention.

So my advice is, unless you get a grant to study this(in which case I really want to know about the results)it may be best to just drop it. Otherwise some dark night you may be made to dissapear by a bunch of shadowy figures who make no eye contact and use strange vocal tones. Wearing anoraks.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:45 AM   #4
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I like to watch the wheels go around and around. I didn't develop speech until 4 so according to DSM IV, the criteria in the US, I cannot have Aspergers. I've suspected I have high functioning autism.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:48 AM   #5
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So my advice is, unless you get a grant to study this(in which case I really want to know about the results)it may be best to just drop it. Otherwise some dark night you may be made to dissapear by a bunch of shadowy figures who make no eye contact and use strange vocal tones. Wearing anoraks.
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Old 11-10-08, 10:52 AM   #6
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As the father of a child that is on the autism spectrum with aspbergers tendencies, I am intrigued by this idea! I guess that the need to focus inward while cycling and the repetitive nature of the sport could be appealing to aspies.

Most of the others that I have ridden with are technology/engineering types. From my experiences with volunteering at a school for autistic children and meeting many of the parents of other kids on the spectrum, I have seen that these types of careers are especially appealing to aspies.

Hmm... I will mention this to an occupational therapist that I know and will see what she thinks.
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Old 11-10-08, 11:09 AM   #7
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I meet a few of those criteria, but not enough to be "diagnosed". I ride a recumbent, but that's a recent thing. I am a software developer.... draw your own conclusions.
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Old 11-10-08, 11:18 AM   #8
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Perhaps I'll set to work making frames for recumbents: Aspergers' Frameworks.
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Old 11-10-08, 12:33 PM   #9
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I haven't noticed any trends in that direction, to be honest.

I think people just naturally have a certain desire to be popular and to be like everyone else. But when you get into activities that are somewhat or very unusual, there is a tendency for the participants to be somewhat or very unusual as well. I think this applies to cyclists as a group, particularly serious cyclists. Perhaps more so to recumbent riders, unicyclists, tall-bike riders, etc. But the differences don't seem to be along the lines of the syndrome listed.

As far as I can tell by reading, practically ALL recumbent riders either still ride upright bikes or used to. And perhaps the majority of upright bike riders are either going to quit riding at some age, or switch to recumbents. I assume the syndrome described is not something that onsets with age.
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Old 11-10-08, 12:36 PM   #10
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Yeah, I have Asperger's
but that why I'm a Computer Programmer, not necesarially why I'm a cyclist.

I don't see a link between tech industry and biking really... tho with the software companies tending to be in nice neighborhoods I guess there a good chance of people biking. Plus lots of them provide those yellow 'company bikes' for getting around large facilities...
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Old 11-10-08, 12:38 PM   #11
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You might be onto something..

I was beginning to believe recumbent owners were primarily Star Wars fans. Simply because most of the ones I see look like Jabba the Hut..

-R
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Old 11-10-08, 12:40 PM   #12
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Interesting, my son just turned two a few days ago and we just got back from an eval. We have been aware of him having issues for a while and have been working with OTs, Speech Therapists etc. They just decided to put him in the "Autism Spectrum" category and possibly Aspergers down the road.

Hopefully the positive side to this will be that he enjoys cycling with me. He already likes the trailer and baby seat.
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Old 11-10-08, 12:44 PM   #13
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I've never heard of Asperger's Syndrome but I am interested in finding out more (like if there is anything "cool" about having it)...I can personally relate to a lot of the criteria.
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Old 11-10-08, 12:46 PM   #14
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You might be onto something..

I was beginning to believe recumbent owners were primarily Star Wars fans. Simply because most of the ones I see look like Jabba the Hut..

-R
Hey!
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Old 11-10-08, 12:47 PM   #15
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I've never heard of Asperger's Syndrome but I am interested in finding out more (like if there is anything "cool" about having it)...I can personally relate to a lot of the criteria.
I think the only "cool" thing is that they are generally brilliant, often especially intelligent in one certain area.
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Old 11-10-08, 12:51 PM   #16
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(b) superficially perfect expressive language
(c) formal, pedantic language


Reminds me of a poster or two over in P&R.
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Old 11-10-08, 01:09 PM   #17
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You might be onto something..

I was beginning to believe recumbent owners were primarily Star Wars fans. Simply because most of the ones I see look like Jabba the Hut..

-R
Hey! That's why I started cycling!
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Old 11-10-08, 01:21 PM   #18
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I have always wondered what was wrong with me, and now I know. I have a particularly virulent strain called Trekatocitis Meadreous, which causes me to ride only Trek products in concentric circles until I actually crash into myself!
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Old 11-10-08, 02:15 PM   #19
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I've never heard of Asperger's Syndrome but I am interested in finding out more (like if there is anything "cool" about having it)...I can personally relate to a lot of the criteria.
Its basically the sterotypical 'geek' disease.
Awkward about socialization.
Overly focused on interests to the point of excluding other things. (helps with becoming really good at technical stuff, since that kind of career already fits this tendency)
OCD-like habits.
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Old 11-10-08, 04:26 PM   #20
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Cyclists come from all walks of life and I generally find them to be very socialable. Except for bikeforums, of course!

Cycling is addicting and cyclists like to ride their bikes a lot. It is because of the greatness of the sport not the people that are attracted to it.

This is such a silly post I am not sure why I responded to it.
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Old 11-10-08, 05:58 PM   #21
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(b) superficially perfect expressive language
(c) formal, pedantic language


Reminds me of a poster or two over in P&R.
There is at least one poster there with Asperger's--and probably not the person/s you think.

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Old 11-10-08, 06:04 PM   #22
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I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence. I don't have any of these symptoms except repetitive adherence.
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Old 11-10-08, 06:40 PM   #23
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I like to watch the wheels go around and around. I didn't develop speech until 4 so according to DSM IV, the criteria in the US, I cannot have Aspergers. I've suspected I have high functioning autism.
Who doesn't?
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Old 11-10-08, 06:45 PM   #24
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Who doesn't?
Neurotypicals?
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Old 11-10-08, 07:07 PM   #25
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Personally, I think you're onto something. Reading down that list sounds a lot like the story of my life. Lot of motorcyclists seem to fall into the same category, also.

I also believe that if weren't for bikes, motorized & not, I'd be living under a bridge or in a garage, wondering what the hell was going on.
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