Asperger’s syndrome is briefly explained in PBS’s episode of Arthur When Carl Met George. A recent Live From Seattle interview did not allow sufficient time for an in-depth response to how accurate this explanation is. It is accurate for children. Aspergers may not be as obvious in adults, especially women. Aspergers is who one is; not what one has or does. A swimmer is a swimmer because he swims. An Aspie is an Aspie regardless of what he or she does.
In this kid’s show George said,
“One of the reasons I like Carl is that he is really honest. He’s also an amazing artist.”
We get an idea of why it is Aspie males are seen as professors. Arthur has no female version of an Aspie. Few know Aspie females are seen as philosophers. Both genders may be gifted in creativity.
Once an Aspie starts explaining something, it becomes challenging for him to know how much is enough. One suggestion is for the neurotypical person to put up an index finger to let him know when the message has been comprehended, or when there is no desire to hear it. It’s only fair to allow the same courtesy in reverse. Unfortunately, NTs prefer to not respond.
Carl kept on gushing out his knowledge about trains to George when George waved his hand for him to stop. It wasn’t that Carl lacked empathy towards George. Carl was excited and wanted to share his excitement. His intent was not to impress. George did not make Carl feel nervous. George knew Carl was not negatively judgmental. He knew Carl looked for the good things in others and appreciated them, even though George didn’t understand Carl. George respected Carl’s different way of thinking.
Many adult Aspies do get nervous around NTs. Realizing you’re being judged, along with knowing it will likely create misperceptions and future problems, triggers frustration. This may be the main reason Aspies have to devote nearly every ounce of processing energy they have to decoding the words others say to them. NTs don’t seem to bother to try to understand. Judging and labeling is easier and faster than putting effort towards understanding how Aspies think differently than NTs. Aspies crave to know why for many things. NTs generally don’t.
Aspies learn to expect being ignored by NTs, along with figuring out they’re usually not interested in anything Aspies have to say. An exception to this may be when a NT has a loved one who is an Aspie. This isn’t always the case. There are plenty of NTs with a beloved Aspie in their life who have no desire to hear input from a non-loved Aspie. Those are the ones likely to shove their misguided assumptions about Aspies onto others without any thought or care towards the destructive consequences of their actions. There may be some NTs who are interested in what an Aspie has to say, but they may be too embarrassed to let on they don’t understand.
In this Arthur episode about Aspergers, George is an exceptional friend to Carl. It’s an example of how children can be more accommodating than adults sometimes. In the adult world, George most likely would not like Carl. Adults are more set in their ways. When a NT adult is pushed out of his comfort zone by an Aspie, he most likely will unwittingly build up reasons to dislike the Aspie. This helps him avoid feeling guilty for treating an Aspie in a way he would not like to be treated. Given that most people are NT, this is easy to do.
Also in this episode, Aspies desire,
“You wish the scientists back on earth had given you a guide book to the strange planet but they forgot to pack one so you have to try to learn things all on your own.”
Aspies are constantly trying to figure things out on their own, especially the older generation. The Golden Rule is confusing to Aspies. When an Aspie treats a NT as he would want to be treated, he may be shunned. Carl was honest about his thoughts on George’s picture of a lion when he told George he doesn’t like brown. Aspies don’t get hints. NTs love them. Even a NT 3-year-old will be far superior with regard to his ability to understand the pretense of others. Aspies need things direct. That’s why it’s easy for NTs to manipulate Aspies and bully them.
Attractive Aspie girls are particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of by NT boys, especially if they’re not trained up by the words of scripture. God’s word in the Bible is an Aspie’s best hope against a life filled with mistakes. This is no different for NTs. The truth of the gospel has the power to set character disturbed manipulators free. It also can set victims of bullying free from becoming increasingly neurotic. If the show Arthur was a Christian one, they would have said the scientist who created earth did pack a guide book to the strange planet we live on. The Bible is a guide book for everyone.
The message we need to remember is this:
If we personally reject God’s unmerited love, it will be evident by our contentment to find fault in those whom we don’t like. Whoever would rather forfeit eternal life than give up being self-righteous, foolishly trusts in himself and privily despises others. Only the humble will say, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”