GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Simon Tam = Asperger's?

POSTED BY: MIKU
UPDATED: Sunday, October 13, 2013 18:10
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 3:29 PM

MIKU


Hi, I'm new here, love Firefly.

Anyway, when I watch Firefly, sometimes I think Simon might have Asperger's Syndrome ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_Syndrome ).

I'm thinking chances are Joss just made up the character from scratch, and it happened to end up resembling someone with AS.

From his mysterious appearance when first introduced, to his difficulty in communicating with other characters, etc. . .

What do you guys think?


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 4:15 PM

LAUGHINGMUSE


Firstus: welcome in!!! All fans of the 'verse cheerfully welcomed!

I don't know. When he's in his element, he has no problem relating to people. We also haven't really seen him under "normal" circumstances, either. He's constantly been stressed out about keeping his sister safe. That could make him even less open, less outgoing, than he might be under normal circumstances.

I also think I remember reading a bit more about Simon and River's upbringing: raised under the system of not-too-benign neglect. That's got to warp a person even further, but I honestly don't know if it's Asperger's Syndrome. Trying to prove that someone has Asperger's is like trying to prove a negative.

---------------------------------
Mankind makes tools; we use them to augment our hands, arms and legs.
The computer augments the brain and this makes it very unpopular with totalitarians. - Charles J.C. Lyall

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 6:59 PM

FLAUTISTFIRST


I don't think Simon has Asperger's. Sure, he doesn't do so good with communicating with Kaylee. But that is just because he gets so tongue tied by her beauty and grace.

I think he does just fine relating to the others. Someone with Asperger's probably couldn't ask Mal why Mal came back for him even though Mal doesn't like him. Nor could he form a tenious trust with the one person who actually tried to hurt him (Jayne).

I think any trouble Dr. Tam has with communicating with and fitting in socially with has to do with a cultural barrier. He is very "core planets" while Serenity and crew are definitely outer rim.

Interesting idea though.



There's no place I can be since I found serenity.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 7:28 PM

JACQUI



I doubt very much that Simon has Asperger's Syndrome. Sure, he's a little socially backwards, but that doesn't make him impaired in any way.

Especially when you consider his seemingly isolated and emotionally distant upbringing, his rigid application to study and his career. He wouldn't have had much time to form many strong social bonds outside of the family home before he left it.

You'll notice in OiS, he tells Kaylee about his graduation, when he and a whole group of his peers got drunk and the police came. That's extremely normal social peer to peer interaction.

Quote:

Someone with Asperger's probably couldn't ask Mal why Mal came back for him even though Mal doesn't like him. Nor could he form a tenious trust with the one person who actually tried to hurt him (Jayne).


I have to disagree with this statement.

My 10 year old nephew has Asperger's and would be quite capable, not only of asking that question, but of forming it in his head in the first place.

He'd also be quite capable of manipulating another person likely to bully him into a tenuous bond of sorts where the relationship might not be strong, but would allow a measure of trust between them.

*~*~*
"He's hurting a woman, he really *is* a bad guy... and I wouldn't call him a gentleman."
- Kyle, 9, watching 'Serenity'.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006 9:48 PM

SAMEERTIA


I don't see Asperger's in Simon. The social retardation that comes from being a genius child in a very constrained social-system, perhaps, but not Aspergers.

Simon is a trained surgeon- his motor skills must be above and beyond average, not below.

His movements are spare and contained, and he has no difficulty making eye contact and holding it.

We don't see Simon 'fiddling' with things- he's not fascinated with how something works (except maybe the human body).

Those with Aspergers are often extremely literal- we see Simon often using irony and dry humor. ("I'm thinking of growing a mustache. I'm a traditionalist")

Simon doesn't show signs of panic or inability to cope when circumstances change suddenly: Reavers are coming? Studied calm as he takes care of River. Kidnapped by hillfolk never to be seen again? Angery, but calm. He doesn't react like an Aspergers sufferer in these kinds of situations.

Now-
- however, he does wear fine clothes, perhaps prefering the feel of finer cloth against his skin.
- We often see him making a face when tasting foods (except the berries River brings him)- perhaps a demonstration of flavor sensitivity.

But I really think both of those last two are due more to his rich-kid society upbringing than anything as a mental condition.

Besides, do you think the Tam's would have a child with Aspergers? Of course not, not in that future. He would have been carted off to the genetics lab and had that corrected by the time he was five!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:15 AM

CYBERSNARK


Simon doesn't have Asperger's.

He's just a boob.

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:21 AM

CALLMESERENITY


Well said.

Wasn't that well said?



One day.
One mission.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.
http://serenityjune23rd.com/

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.



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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:43 AM

SOFI


had a kinda poetry to it

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:43 AM

SOFI


had a kinda poetry to it

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:43 AM

SOFI


had a kinda poetry to it

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:43 AM

SOFI


had a kinda poetry to it

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:43 AM

SOFI


had a kinda poetry to it

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:43 AM

SOFI


had a kinda poetry to it

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:49 AM

SAMEERTIA


roflmao!

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:59 AM

LISSA


Quote:

Originally posted by SameErtia:
He doesn't react like an Aspergers sufferer in these kinds of situations.



My sped professor would shoot you for saying "Asperger's sufferer"
I'm not actually complaining though! Very well thought out post:) That just popped out at me hehe

~lissa, retired spwhore

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:10 AM

CALLMESERENITY


Quote:

Originally posted by Sofi:
had a kinda poetry to it



It's so nice to have people around that know the cues!

One day.
One mission.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.
http://serenityjune23rd.com/

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.



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Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:15 AM

UNREGISTEREDCOMPANION


Mild aspergers could very well result in a person like Simon. Very brilliant, but somewhat socially stunted. (In fact, a lot of people with aspergers are not diagnosed)

I think a lot of you other posters just don't have the experience to say yes or no.

(I have an autistic son...further down the spectrum from aspergers.)

I say it is possible that Simon has mild aspergers.

~~~~~
"Funny and sexy. You have no idea. And you never will."

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:21 AM

SAMEERTIA


Quote:

Originally posted by UnregisteredCompanion:
Mild aspergers could very well result in a person like Simon. Very brilliant, but somewhat socially stunted. (In fact, a lot of people with aspergers are not diagnosed)

I think a lot of you other posters just don't have the experience to say yes or no.




That may be so, but I've worked rather extensively with Aspergers kids.My nephew is Aspergers and attends a summer camp that I aid for every year. (I also believe firmly that ALOT of Aspergers and Autistics are mis-diagnosed, but we won't go into that.)

I don't see it in Simon. Social retardation from a stilted upbringing, yes. Aspergers, no.

And yes, I debated about using the term 'sufferer". They are not victims. They are capable human beings who just happen to percieve the world differently than some of the rest of us.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:30 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Simon doesn't have Asparger's at all. He's just a product of his upbringing and too much time spent in a Core hospital like most doctors in training.


My 16 year old daughter has mild Asparger's and is so literal that most jokes go over her head. Everything is black or white and there are no shades of gray. If something interests her there is no stopping her but if it doesn't there is no hope. I wish you could see her report card. Every grade from A-D depending on the subject.

She jumps at loud sounds-like the air conditioner coming on, don't even mention thunder storms-lives in sweats, gets more than a bit preterbed when her schedule changes, gets uncomfortable around more than 2 people and her best friend is the computer.



One day.
One plan.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:35 AM

GRIZWALD


As a digression (my specialty!), I sell on eBay and have for several years now, and I cannot believe how many people I have "met" through eBay who have Asperger disorder. They've found their niche: They are able to handle the communication as long as it is online and they have time to think through how they should respond to input without the stress of reading normal social cues. Most of them seem to do very well there.

____________________________________________________
They could not take the sky from them -
Our Big Damn Heroes made a film!
I'm gonna see Serenity then
go back the next morning and see it again.
Cuz no one at Fox knew this show had no equal
C'mon Universal, and greenlight the sequel!

Click on my profile for my Annoyingly Long List of Firefly Links.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:50 AM

NCBROWNCOAT


Now that I've had a few more minutes to think about it Simon really does seem to be a product of his upbringing. If anyone has ever been to a small Southern town, especially 15-20 years ago or more, there is a long list of societial expectations and pressure especially for the wealthy of the town.

The sons can act up away from town and at college but once they return in their 20's they are expected to be at least as successful as their family or more so, marry into a "good" family and raise their children the same way.

I expect Simon was raised with "Core" values that were similar, to be a success at his profession, have a suitable marriage, and have "perfect" children.

I'm not going to mention the expectations for women of that class but they are similar.

One day.
One plan.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:26 AM

KELLYOFLUTHIEN


As a licensed Master Social Worker (also with a BA in Psychology) who has exerience in diagnosis AND who has worked extensively with children on the Autism spectrum, including Asperger's, since 1998, I can say that I truly doubt that Simon has Asperger's.

Based on the DSM-IV criteria, Simon would have to show a clinically siginificant impairment in social interactions AND restrictive or repetitive stereotypes of behavior or interests, both of which cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of life.

Simon does NOT show these impairments. He is capable of developing and maintaining relationships (as shown with River, Kaylee, Inara and even Mal), understands empathy (feeling bad when he discovers River's amygdala has been stripped), engages in social reciprocity (the give and take of flirting with Kaylee, and general conversational skills (i.e. knowing when it is his turn to speak, not always having to command the conversation, etc.)), and is able to enjoy (and seeks out) the company of others (going to Inara in the pilot for counsel, hanging out with Kaylee in OIS, etc.). He does not perseverate on only one subject (for example, he is able to focus on the safety of his sister while also performing doctoral duties and forming a relationship with Kaylee and the rest of the crew). He is not inflexible to changes in routines (for example, when Zoe gets hurt in OOG, he doesn't say "No, this is my birthday and it's time to blow out the candles," he is able to adapt to a new and unplanned situation with ease). He most certainly doesn't show repetitive movements or lack of eye contact, or strange body postures, or preoccupation with parts or objects.

Simon may be socially awkward at times (and who isn't?), but he does NOT meet the criteria for Asperger's.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my Captain



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Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:29 AM

KINROEDARKSTONE


Quote:

Originally posted by LaughingMuse:
I don't know. When he's in his element, he has no problem relating to people. We also haven't really seen him under "normal" circumstances, either. He's constantly been stressed out about keeping his sister safe. That could make him even less open, less outgoing, than he might be under normal circumstances.




I agree that when Simon is "in his element" he can relate to other people fine. Remember in "Ariel", when he was guideing River to the examination room, he came across a young doctor who had administered the wrong drug to a patient. The way Simon jumped in and took control to save the patient is a true example of Sime Tam in his element, IMHO.

--------------
Wash: Closing in.
Zoe: Planet's coming up a might fast.
Wash: That's just 'cause I'm goin' down too quick. Likely crash and kill us all.
Mal: Well, if that happens, let me know.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:35 AM

SAMEERTIA


Thanks KellyofLuthien.
You said it far better than I did. :)

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:50 AM

BROWNCOATDUDE


I am a child psychiatrist and deal with individuals with Asperger's on a daily basis. While a good thought, I would have to say that he does not meet criteria for the diagnosis. I tend to agree that his social awkwardness is due to his intelligence and his social upbringing. . . . for what it is worth :D


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Thursday, April 20, 2006 1:59 PM

MATTCOZ


He doesn't have Asperger's, he's just a geek, although there's not much of a difference.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:14 PM

LISSA


Quote:

Originally posted by mattcoz:
He doesn't have Asperger's, he's just a geek, although there's not much of a difference.



um...that was just a tad offensive...

~lissa, retired spwhore

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:15 PM

MIKU


There's a world of difference..

And, I'm not necessarily trying to argue with anyone by saying this, but a lot of you are saying either you know aspie children or your child psychologists.. It is important to keep in mind that aspie children act a lot different from aspie adults. My parents thought I was autistic when I was young, but now I can almost pass as normal, if I try.

And yeah.. decreased motor function doesn't necessarily mean inability to do anything that involves hands and is difficult. For example, I suck at all kinds of sports, however I am a talented pianist and typist.

Anyway, mental 'disorders' aside, I can't help but feel like most Firefly fans don't like Simon much. Why? I think he's awesome. I especially love that speech he gives to Jayne after he tries to sell him and River to the feds.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:25 PM

MIKU


Sorry for the double post, but, hold on:

"understands empathy (feeling bad when he discovers River's amygdala has been stripped),"

That's not empathy, not in the sense we mean when we say aspies 'lack empathy.' We're not robots, we have emotions. We're just impaired in the subtle forms of communication that are not taught to anyone (i.e. body language and vocal inflection), making us less likely to know when something's wrong with somebody when they don't say anything to indicate it. It does not mean we don't care about others.

"He is not inflexible to changes in routines (for example, when Zoe gets hurt in OOG, he doesn't say "No, this is my birthday and it's time to blow out the candles," he is able to adapt to a new and unplanned situation with ease)."

I wouldn't call somebody who says that in that situation an aspie, so much as I would call him an unreasonable jerk. But you're the one with the BA in Psychology who knows that people with Asperger's don't have emotion and don't care about others. =P So what do I know.. I'm just the person with Asperger's itself. But maybe you'll reply to this telling me I don't have it because clearly I'm using sarcasm, and that's impossible for aspies to do, right?

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:33 PM

KELLYOFLUTHIEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
Sorry for the double post, but, hold on:

"understands empathy (feeling bad when he discovers River's amygdala has been stripped),"

That's not empathy, not in the sense we mean when we say aspies 'lack empathy.' We're not robots, we have emotions. We're just impaired in the subtle forms of communication that are not taught to anyone (i.e. body language and vocal inflection), making us less likely to know when something's wrong with somebody when they don't say anything to indicate it. It does not mean we don't care about others.




I think you misunderstand me. What I was trying to say is Simon was able to easily put himself into River's situation and imagine what it would feel like to have his amygdala stripped. I'm not saying that ALL people with Asperger's can't feel empathy or understand how others feel, but the vast majority of those who I have worked with have have to learn those skills. The ability to have empathy does not come as naturally to those with Asperger's as to "typically developed" individuals. Now, this is not to say that ALL people with Asperger's have difficulty with empathy, but this is only one example I used to prove that Simon's social skills were up to par with "typically developing" peers. Simon does not meet the criteria for Asperger's.


Quote:

"He is not inflexible to changes in routines (for example, when Zoe gets hurt in OOG, he doesn't say "No, this is my birthday and it's time to blow out the candles," he is able to adapt to a new and unplanned situation with ease)."

I wouldn't call somebody who says that in that situation an aspie, so much as I would call him an unreasonable jerk. But you're the one with the BA in Psychology who knows that people with Asperger's don't have emotion and don't care about others. =P So what do I know.. I'm just the person with Asperger's itself. But maybe you'll reply to this telling me I don't have it because clearly I'm using sarcasm, and that's impossible for aspies to do, right?



I wouldn't say you were only using sarcasm, I would say you're intentionally insulting me, but that's just a matter of opinion.

I never once said that people with Asperger's are incapable of using sarcasm. Never once. I'm not sure where you're getting that from.

What I said was that Simon does not meet the criteria for Asperger's as indicated in the DSM-IV.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my Captain



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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:38 PM

BITTERBIERCE


Not only does it not fit, it doesn't fit at ALL.

Asperger's is a maladaptation of social interaction that primarily includes a lack of empathy, something he CLEARLY has in abundance. He feels a lot.

In fact, I would go so far as to say he has a (psychologically speaking) opposite problem. He has, what is reffered to as Nerditis*. He's a nerd. Smart kids who are shy. He's just out of his element socially speaking. He's in with a rougher crew than his childhood brought up, and most likely fit very well where he grew up.


*- this is a joke. There is no actual malady named nerditis. I remind people this because...sigh... some people need to be told.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:44 PM

SAMEERTIA


Quote:

Originally posted by KellyofLuthien:

I wouldn't say you were only using sarcasm, I would say you're intentionally insulting me, but that's just a matter of opinion.

I never once said that people with Asperger's are incapable of using sarcasm. Never once. I'm not sure where you're getting that from.




Whoa, Miku. Defensive much?

And Kelly, I think Miku is referring to what I and a few others mentioned about one of the typical symptoms of Aspergers- taking things literally- ie- irony. I used the arguement that Simon does, indeed comprehend and use irony. I didn't, however, say anything about sarcasm.


I think we all understand that those who are Aspergers don't ALL demonstrate ALL symptoms all of the time. I think the diagnosis on my nephew was "distributes 15 of 22 pointers".

Nobody said that people with Aspergers don't have feelings. That would be ludicrous, especially to those who have soothed those feelings.
Lack of empathy, however, is something vastly difference, (and I might add that we've just seen a beautiful example of it here.)

Anyway, the real point being- Of all of the pointers, I don't Simon really doesn't exhibit any of them. *shrug*

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 2:54 PM

MIKU


"I think you misunderstand me. What I was trying to say is Simon was able to easily put himself into River's situation and imagine what it would feel like to have his amygdala stripped."

I haven't seen the episode in a long while, so if what I'm about to say doesn't apply for overlooking of something that happens in the episode, ignore this.

His reaction to hearing it was "Jesus" in Chinese, right? Does that necessarily indicate he's feeling her situation in an empathetic way? Or could it mean A) he's a doctor and knows what an amygdala is and why it's a bad thing to have stripped, and B) something bad happened to her and he cares about her, so of course he's going to be upset.

Like I said, haven't seen the episode in a while, so maybe something happened that indicated he was reacting empathetically, and not rationally.

But.. I don't even think an aspie would necessarily NOT be able to imagine/understand the badness of having one's amygdala stripped. It's more commonly in situations where the facts aren't so clearly laid out and unambiguous, where people with AS tend to show a lack of empathy.

I just keep seeing people talking about autism and asperger's in a way that takes certain symptoms, and assumes they exist in every situation regardless of.. anything. There are reasons for all our quirks, and there are plenty of situations where the quirks don't manifest because there's no reason for them to, and of course a lack of anything happening rarely is noticed as something relevant from an outside perspective.



EDIT: For clarification, I'm not trying to argue that Simon has Asperger's right now; Just have some minor issues with some people's means of deciding he doesn't. I agree with the following: 1. there are other factors which very well can explain his personality, and 2. he does talk with a lot more emotion than at least i tend to, from time to time (case in point, his monologue explaining River in episode 1, just rewatched it last night).

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:03 PM

KELLYOFLUTHIEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
"I think you misunderstand me. What I was trying to say is Simon was able to easily put himself into River's situation and imagine what it would feel like to have his amygdala stripped."

I haven't seen the episode in a long while, so if what I'm about to say doesn't apply for overlooking of something that happens in the episode, ignore this.

His reaction to hearing it was "Jesus" in Chinese, right? Does that necessarily indicate he's feeling her situation in an empathetic way? Or could it mean A) he's a doctor and knows what an amygdala is and why it's a bad thing to have stripped, and B) something bad happened to her and he cares about her, so of course he's going to be upset.

Like I said, haven't seen the episode in a while, so maybe something happened that indicated he was reacting empathetically, and not rationally.

But.. I don't even think an aspie would necessarily NOT be able to imagine/understand the badness of having one's amygdala stripped. It's more commonly in situations where the facts aren't so clearly laid out and unambiguous, where people with AS tend to show a lack of empathy.

I just keep seeing people talking about autism and asperger's in a way that takes certain symptoms, and assumes they exist in every situation regardless of.. anything. There are reasons for all our quirks, and there are plenty of situations where the quirks don't manifest because there's no reason for them to, and of course a lack of anything happening rarely is noticed as something relevant from an outside perspective.



Again I think you misunderstand me. That one incident in 'Ariel' was just ONE example of Simon's use of empathy. He is easily able to do so in many situations. One can tell by his facial expressions, his tone of voice, and what he says to others.

Like you said, not all individuals with Asperger's behave in the same manner in every situation. Situations are different, there are new experiences and things that have been learned, etc. I've never said that ALL Asperger's people act the same way or have the same symptoms. I've merely pointed out the diagnostic critera for Asperger's as indiciated in the DSM-IV and refuted those criteria based on Simon's behavior. Perhaps because I only gave one example of refuting behaviors, you think that that's the only one I could come up with. Please believe me when I say that Simon's patterns of behavior indicate that he does not fit the criteria for Asperger's.

I really feel as if you are arguing about one tiny detail and missing the bigger picture here. The REAL point I am trying to make is that Simon does NOT consistently meet the criteria for Asperger's, as I've said numerous times now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my Captain



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Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:47 PM

LISSA


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
"
I just keep seeing people talking about autism and asperger's in a way that takes certain symptoms, and assumes they exist in every situation regardless of.. anything. There are reasons for all our quirks, and there are plenty of situations where the quirks don't manifest because there's no reason for them to, and of course a lack of anything happening rarely is noticed as something relevant from an outside perspective.



EDIT: For clarification, I'm not trying to argue that Simon has Asperger's right now; Just have some minor issues with some people's means of deciding he doesn't.



Are you saying that you take issue with people saying that Simon doesn't have Asperger's because he doesn't display the symptoms?

~lissa, retired spwhore

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:49 PM

MIKU


"I really feel as if you are arguing about one tiny detail and missing the bigger picture here. The REAL point I am trying to make is that Simon does NOT consistently meet the criteria for Asperger's, as I've said numerous times now."

I'm not missing the big picture, it's just that your details in support of your big picture aren't convincing. I'm aware of what your big picture is, and aware that it's quite likely to be correct (remember what I said in my first post about his personality likely being something made up with no reference to asperger's, but ending up resembling it in some ways? that's still what my stand is).

Unless there's some body movement or vocal inflection that means "the negative way in which i'm reacting is not only because i have every reason to be upset, but also because i'm experiencing it as if i were in her place," then I don't see how you can conclusively use his facial expressions/vocal inflections etc to determine that he has fully fledged empathetic skills. If he feels her pain, his facial expression will look sad/angry/upset. If he knows her pain, his facial expression will likely look the same. This is like employers' obsession with experience. I've never worked as a data entry keyer before, but I do type over 100wpm with no errors.
Feeling someone's situation is not required to react accordingly.

It's not that I assumed this example is your only example, it's that I assumed it's one of your best, or at least one that you believe works. I showed why I think it doesn't work as proper evidence for what probably is very correct. And you gave me that one example for empathy, so one example that strikes me as inconclusive and insulting at a time.

While I do agree that he couldn't properly be diagnosed with asperger's, I don't think that's any reason to shrug off criteria that he does meet.
Whether they are actually the result of something else (like his upbringing) or not, there are things about him that resemble someone with AS.

There's nothing wrong with details any more than there's anything wrong with the big picture. Details are what make up the big picture, so they have to be addressed in order to address the big picture.


Sorry if this is all annoying to you, but do you see what I mean about the empathy thing? Someone acting (nonverbally) as one would expect them to if they are empathetic is by no means proof that they are empathetic, if the very same way of acting would also be expected in that situation of someone without the same empathy.
I'm not saying that your judgment of his facial expression looking sad or upset is wrong; I'm saying that the assumption that it can only be sad if it's because of empathy, is wrong.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 3:53 PM

MIKU


"Are you saying that you take issue with people saying that Simon doesn't have Asperger's because he doesn't display the symptoms? "

I don't get it... Why did you quote me (saying that I don't take issue with those people), asking me if I do?

EDIT: I figured out where you misunderstood. You didn't read the word "means." So what I said came out as "Just have some minor issues with people deciding he doesn't." Not what I said.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:12 PM

KELLYOFLUTHIEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
Sorry if this is all annoying to you, but do you see what I mean about the empathy thing? Someone acting (nonverbally) as one would expect them to if they are empathetic is by no means proof that they are empathetic, if the very same way of acting would also be expected in that situation of someone without the same empathy.
I'm not saying that your judgment of his facial expression looking sad or upset is wrong; I'm saying that the assumption that it can only be sad if it's because of empathy, is wrong.



And again you are missing my point. It's not that I don't believe Asperger's people can't feel empathetic towards others, it's that "typically developed" people are NATURALLY able to do this. They are naturally able to put themselves in another's shoes.

Simon's ability to easily show true empathy in a variety of situations and not just behave like he feels empathetic is what led me to believe that he is an empathetic individual. This is my own personal judgment based on my analysis of his behaviors. As an empathetic person myself, I "felt" Simon's reaction to his sister's amygdala being stripped was one of empathy, not a cold analysis of how a stripped amygdala functions and a resulting decision to "behave" empathetically. It is easy for me to tell when a person is simply "acting" like they feel an emotion, and when they actually "feel" an emotion. One other way of telling that Simon is emotionally moved by this discovery is the way he explains the amygdala's functions to Jayne. "She feels everything, she can't not." There is pain in his voice, you can hear it if you listen. Again, this is my own analysis of the situation.

You may disagree with me if you like, but we will have to agree to disagree. I can name numerous other examples that I feel prove his ability to show empathy, but I really don't think that's necessary.

And, once again, even if you disagree that he is empathetic, this is only ONE of many, many criteria for Asperger's. Regardless of whether Simon shows empathy or not, he does not meet the criteria to be diagnosed for Asperger's when one looks at the DSM-IV. This argument about the amygdala scene is like arguing whether or not a person has a hangnail when they're dead of a gunshot wound to the head. It doesn't matter in the long run: the person's still dead. Just like it doesn't matter whether Simon shows empathy in that scene: he still doesn't fit the criteria for Asperger's.

At some point in time, I would argue that we all might meet one part of the criteria for Asperger's or other diseases. It's frequently known as "Psychology Student Syndrome:" you read about an illness and suddenly you think you fit all the symptoms. Just because he meets one of the criteria (which I would argue against anyway) doesn't mean that he has Asperger's. Heck, I'm perseverating right now on trying to get my point across. Does that mean I have Asperger's? No.

And with that, I'll agree to disagree with you and move on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my Captain



Check out my Big Damn FF Icons at http://www.livejournal.com/community/bigdamnfficons/

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:49 PM

LISSA


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
EDIT: I figured out where you misunderstood. You didn't read the word "means." So what I said came out as "Just have some minor issues with people deciding he doesn't." Not what I said.



I read the word "means." You said that you just have some minor issues with the means by which people are making their cases, or something to that effect. They way I understand it, you don't like that people are pointing to specific symptoms to "prove" that Simon doesn't have Asperger's because these symptoms are not universal. My point, however, is that there is no reason to diagnose Simon with Asperger's other than our own observations of his symptoms. As far as I am aware, this is the first place this discussion has taken place. Therefore, each refuted symptom is part of the larger case against Simon having Asperger's.

It is possible that I mistook your argument against Kelly's point about the amygdala scene for a broader issue with the means people have been using to refute the Asperger's theory (i.e., picking out specific symptoms to refute). If this is the case, then I take back my assertion. However, whether or not Kelly's point is true does not matter in the long run anyways because Simon does not display enough symptoms to be diagnosed with Asperger's.


~lissa, retired spwhore

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 4:56 PM

ELEKA


I like your idea about this, since, yes, Simon is a bit shitty at the communicating thing, but I don't think he has Asperger's.

My little bro has Asperger's (he's at the high functioning end of the spectrum), and there is too much that Simon does, which not display as Asperger's, even if he was in the highest functioning rangr of the spectrum.

He's secretive, and bad at communicating because of his upbringing and initial position on the ship. This fades with the crew as the show and movie progress, and continues with Kaylee because of his lack of lady charmin' skills.

From experience, I can say that someone with Asperger's would always stay withdrawn even after a lifetime of knowing someone. They may eb comfortable around someone, but they communicate in a way that is withdrawn, and almost like they are still talking to a stranger. They may focus intently on one think they are incerdibly interested in and, despite Simon's doctor babble, he can easily be stopped. That is his defensive mechanism, a safe place for him to go. Those with Asperger's typicaly speak this way because they either do not know how to react in their current situation, or they are narrowing focusing in on somehting that they are devoting all of their attention to. They will intently speak about that one subject, and while they may stop when asked to, will pick the conversaiton up at a later time from the exact same place. Literally, I have stopped my brother mid sentance, and he has picked it up mid sentance hours later. The focus ould be something like thei work or a school subject, but often times is somethign that the generla population would consider trivial such as a T.V. Show, a video game or facts about Big Horned Sheep (again, personal experience with these three). There is often little patience for things that do no pertain to their current focus, and I have seen my brother talk for hours about one level of Kingdom Hearts and then throw a fit when asked to get dressed, or even eat a meal. They often have trouble in school, since general academics are most likely not going to be their focus, and from what we've seen Mr. Top 3% had no trouble in school, and also enjoyed some non academic persuits such as singing nekkid. However, some may say Simon's intense drive to bust River out was his focus after his focus from doctor land faded, I would have to disagree since I have a younger sibling and when he is in any danger, no matter how small I do everything to make him safe. The sibling instinct is stronger then all, and the Tams had an espically close relationship that justifies Simon's non-focus a disregard for persoanl safety.

They do often have above average intelligence, again like Simon, but usually do not have the social skills to apply it to something like trauma surgery. The atmospehere of a trauma ward, and crowded operating room would be overwhelming for them, and would most likely cause them to shut down, not flourish as Simon did. They would pull a River, and curl up in the corner, covering their ears or act out aganist those that may be trying to help them.


Having had daily personal experience with Asperger's, I can say that the written reports of difficult with non-verbal communication are 100% accurate. Simon is able to use his face and his body to accuratly express what he is feeling, if he says so or not. You can tell if he is mad or scared just by looking at him. People with Asperger's typically do not communicate these nuances in body language. They may sit, stand, move, ro look the same way when they are both mad and happy. If they do communicate nonverbally it is usually with a full body gesture such as hand or posture, instead of subtle face nuances since they are not as aware of what they are doing with their face as neurotypical individuals. Even if they learn to control their face better, and begin to use these nuance; they are usually exaggerated and may appear almost comical to an individual not familar with this symptom of Asperger's.

This is written purely from the personal experience I have with Asperger's and the basic research I have done. If someone sees my case a deviation from the norm, please tell me as knowing this would greatly help me better understand my brother's inner workings.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jayne! Try not to steal too much of their shit.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:18 PM

MATTCOZ


Quote:

Originally posted by lissa:
Quote:

Originally posted by mattcoz:
He doesn't have Asperger's, he's just a geek, although there's not much of a difference.

um...that was just a tad offensive...

I didn't mean it to be, sorry if I offended anyone. Just trying to say that the traits that I see in Simon that could be considered symptoms of Asperger's are simply geeky characteristics. We simply don't know him well enough to diagnose this.

Btw, I took that Autism-Spectrum Quotient test linked in the wikipedia article and I scored a 30, which seems high, whatever that means.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 5:31 PM

LISSA


Quote:

Originally posted by mattcoz:
Quote:

Originally posted by lissa:
Quote:

Originally posted by mattcoz:
He doesn't have Asperger's, he's just a geek, although there's not much of a difference.

um...that was just a tad offensive...

I didn't mean it to be, sorry if I offended anyone. Just trying to say that the traits that I see in Simon that could be considered symptoms of Asperger's are simply geeky characteristics. We simply don't know him well enough to diagnose this.

Btw, I took that Autism-Spectrum Quotient test linked in the wikipedia article and I scored a 30, which seems high, whatever that means.



It's ok, I agree that Simon is a geek. It just sounded like you were saying that there's not much of a difference between people with Asperger's and geeks...I'm taking sped right now so I'm a little bit nuts about political correctness as far as this type of thing goes lol.

I just took the test...I scored a 4. I don't know what that means...lol

~lissa, retired spwhore

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:37 PM

FLAUTISTFIRST


Interesting discussion here.

I have a daughter with "autistic like behaviors". She has what is called Lennox-Gaustaut Syndrome, a epileptic specific encephalopathy. She is developmentally disabled, so it is hard to tell what is the result of what.

At any rate, this journey of life took a path I didn't expect after she was born. I've learned a lot of things about a lot of things. Mostly, I've learned that all people are beautiful, wonderful, miracles.

And I think Simon, like me, has 'nerditis'. Not necessarily a painful condition, but unfortunately it is not curable, and likely to be aggravated when one is under stress.





There's no place I can be since I found serenity.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 8:24 PM

NOSADSEVEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
"I think you misunderstand me. What I was trying to say is Simon was able to easily put himself into River's situation and imagine what it would feel like to have his amygdala stripped."

...

His reaction to hearing it was "Jesus" in Chinese, right? Does that necessarily indicate he's feeling her situation in an empathetic way? Or could it mean A) he's a doctor and knows what an amygdala is and why it's a bad thing to have stripped, and B) something bad happened to her and he cares about her, so of course he's going to be upset.


Does anyone else see the irony here?

Miku, if you have trouble seeing the subtle social cues that Sean displayed in his portrayal of Simon in the "She feels everything, she can't not," scene, then certainly it makes sense to suggest that his reaction could just as likely be rationally based, or simply an expression of his personal loss. But for those of us who pick up the cues easily, it is not even a consideration that he is reacting in any way other than empathetically.

It reminds me of when I was in biology class and my colorblind lab partner just had to trust me when I told him that he had colored the plants orange instead of green on his photosynthesis display poster.



~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ain't. We. Just.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006 8:28 PM

NOSADSEVEN


Quote:

Originally posted by flautistfirst:
At any rate, this journey of life took a path I didn't expect after she was born. I've learned a lot of things about a lot of things. Mostly, I've learned that all people are beautiful, wonderful, miracles.


Welcome to Holland.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ain't. We. Just.

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Friday, April 21, 2006 3:27 AM

FLAUTISTFIRST


Thanks.

I've read that essay too. It is a very accurate description I think.

I take it you are in Holland as well?



There's no place I can be since I found serenity.

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Friday, April 21, 2006 3:46 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


Honestly, I think we're blowing Simon's occasional spaziness around Kaylee way out of proportion. Simon has never struck me as being emotionally impaired in any way. He may be a little socially awkward around the crew, but that's because they're not the kind of people he's used to spending time with.

We've never seen Simon with the people he grew up with (except flashbacks to his family life) but he seems to have had a full social life. Heck, he got arrested for singing on top of the statue of Hipporcrates while wearing a fetching outfit of nothingness. Sounds like he knows how to party with people he's comfortable with!

Desktop Hippie: at one with the 'verse

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Friday, April 21, 2006 5:03 AM

ZOID


Miku:

I don't think Simon has Asperger's. I believe that the symptomatic behaviors described in the article are probably shockingly apparent to even an untrained observer. (I did love the "Is Paul there?" example given in the article, though.)

Part of the deal with mental/behavioral disorders is that they resemble the normal range of behaviors that almost everyone exhibits at some point or another, but are exaggerated to the point of pathology.

As such, I think Simon is merely a "geek", not dysfunctionally 'ill'/'gifted'. The good news is, he's got an experienced and enthusiastic physical therapist working his 'case', now...



Diagnostically,

zoid

P.S.
On a personal note, it's possible that I'm an undiagnosed sufferer of Asperger's Syndrome. But, I'm utterly disinterested in the notion, since it lies outside the focus of my "narrow but intense interests", specifically: Firefly, computers, and building locomotives made entirely of matchsticks and earwax.

P.P.S.
According to the "Geek Test" homepage, 90% of people with Asperger's scored 25 or higher. I got a 23 (concentrating on being very honest and not giving 'idealized' answers: what I really do, as opposed to what I'd like to think I do). For example: Do you value friends more than hobbies? I'd like to say 'friends', because it's clearly the socially correct answer; however, in reality, I much prefer quiet time with my interests than with my acquaintances. People are just so... icky... (NB: I would never belong to any club that would allow someone like me to be a member. Gotta have standards.)
_________________________________________________

"I aim to misbehave." -Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity, a.k.a. 'the BDBOF'

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Friday, April 21, 2006 5:52 AM

MATTCOZ


Quote:

Originally posted by zoid:
The good news is, he's got an experienced and enthusiastic physical therapist working his 'case', now...

I need to get me one of those.

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Friday, April 21, 2006 9:37 AM

ZOID


mattcoz wrote:
Quote:


Quote:


Originally posted by zoid:
The good news is, he's got an experienced and enthusiastic physical therapist working his 'case', now...



I need to get me one of those.


Oughtta help with his 'stiffness', one way or the other...



v/r,
-zed

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Friday, April 21, 2006 2:53 PM

MIKU


"As an empathetic person myself, I "felt" Simon's reaction to his sister's amygdala being stripped was one of empathy, not a cold analysis of how a stripped amygdala functions and a resulting decision to "behave" empathetically. It is easy for me to tell when a person is simply "acting" like they feel an emotion, and when they actually "feel" an emotion."

Before I say anything, I'll repeat I'm not arguing that Simon has asperger's.

But you're still doing that thing where you think if someone isn't reacting because they are imagining being the other person, then it must be "cold" and "emotionless." Reason isn't the antithesis to emotion.

The tendency to 'feel the situation from their perspective' is what triggers the emotional reaction. Knowledge of what happened and why it's bad is another trigger to the emotional reaction. The knowledge of what's going on will invariably send our emotions into a fray (if it's something that matters to us), just as a mystical feeling of being one with the person in pain would also rile up the emotions.

Your choice of language strongly implies (actually, more like clearly states) that someone acting in a nonempathetic way, simply makes a choice to pretend to be emotionally affected. That offends me.

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Friday, April 21, 2006 3:17 PM

KELLYOFLUTHIEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
"As an empathetic person myself, I "felt" Simon's reaction to his sister's amygdala being stripped was one of empathy, not a cold analysis of how a stripped amygdala functions and a resulting decision to "behave" empathetically. It is easy for me to tell when a person is simply "acting" like they feel an emotion, and when they actually "feel" an emotion."

Before I say anything, I'll repeat I'm not arguing that Simon has asperger's.

But you're still doing that thing where you think if someone isn't reacting because they are imagining being the other person, then it must be "cold" and "emotionless." Reason isn't the antithesis to emotion.

The tendency to 'feel the situation from their perspective' is what triggers the emotional reaction. Knowledge of what happened and why it's bad is another trigger to the emotional reaction. The knowledge of what's going on will invariably send our emotions into a fray (if it's something that matters to us), just as a mystical feeling of being one with the person in pain would also rile up the emotions.

Your choice of language strongly implies (actually, more like clearly states) that someone acting in a nonempathetic way, simply makes a choice to pretend to be emotionally affected. That offends me.



You're completely missing my point yet again. You asked how I knew he was feeling empathy so I explained it. I'm not saying that ALL Asperger's people cannot feel empathy or that they "pretend" to feel emotions. What I SAID was that I could TELL that Simon was NOT pretending to feel empathy. I felt that he was TRULY feeling it. And I said this was my own personal judgment and you could disagree with me if you like. I was NOT attacking you or trying to offend you, so please do not take it in that manner.

But this is completely off topic. The topic is whether or not he has Asperger's, and we've already established he does not fit the criteria.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my Captain



Check out my Big Damn FF Icons at http://www.livejournal.com/community/bigdamnfficons/

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Friday, April 21, 2006 3:50 PM

MIKU


This time, you missed my point. I'm sure it's possible to tell whether someone is acting through typical empathy or not, but it's not the difference between reacting with emotion and reacting without emotion. It's a different difference than you seem to think it is.

Look, just read what you said here:
"It is easy for me to tell when a person is simply "acting" like they feel an emotion, and when they actually "feel" an emotion."

We're talking about judging whether someone is reacting out of empathy or not, not whether they feel an emotion or not. Do you understand that empathy and emotion are two situationally connected but completely different things?

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Friday, April 21, 2006 3:54 PM

KELLYOFLUTHIEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Miku:
This time, you missed my point. I'm sure it's possible to tell whether someone is acting through typical empathy or not, but it's not the difference between reacting with emotion and reacting without emotion. It's a different difference than you seem to think it is.

Look, just read what you said here:
"It is easy for me to tell when a person is simply "acting" like they feel an emotion, and when they actually "feel" an emotion."

We're talking about judging whether someone is reacting out of empathy or not, not whether they feel an emotion or not. Do you understand that empathy and emotion are two situationally connected but completely different things?




Dude. I'm tired of trying to explain myself to you, so I'm just gonna drop out of this conversation now. I believe Simon shows empathy, you continue to argue completely different points with me.

Anyway, I've proven to my satisfaction that Simon does not meet the criteria for Asperger's, so I have nothing more to say on the subject. Whether you like my wording is completely your problem, not mine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love my Captain



Check out my Big Damn FF Icons at http://www.livejournal.com/community/bigdamnfficons/

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Friday, April 21, 2006 4:07 PM

NCBROWNCOAT


Eleka,
You're right on. My daughter is on the high end of the Asparger's spectrum too. I once asked her psychologist where he would place her and he said about 8.75 out of 10 with 1 being the worst.

Still there are lots of distictive characteristics that she has that makes her "different". She has learned, with maturity, to embrace her geekiness but put her and Simon together and it's very obvious that he would not have Asparger's. As you said she would have more in common with River than Simon.

One day.
One plan.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.

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