[Air-L] trolls and Aspergian "sufferers"
maggie_laidlaw at live.co.uk
Mon Aug 6 09:54:13 PDT 2012
Hi everyone, I am new to posting in this group, although I do read through and use many posts for helping my own research into various subject...
Firstly, Elijah...I apologise for replying directly to you... but I wasnt sure how to post my reply to everyone so this post isn't directed at you, it is to everyone who has contributed to this thread.... OK here goes with my contribution.
I have read through almost every post concerning this topic...and being a mother of a grown up son with Asperger's (diagnosed severe Asperger's bordering cassic Autism) I have to say I have found some of the posts quite upsetting....and many comforting - thank you to those who understand a bit more about Asperger's than others.While I can, with as much non bias as I can muster, see where some might, at a push, relate the lack of empathy found in trolling with a lack of empathy found in many individuals with Asperger's, I have to point out that is where any kind of similarity ends. Asperger's is a much more complex condition than that of lack of empathy or social awkwardness and to merely describe it as such or to have the name associated with a modern trend of internet behaviour shows a great ignorance of the condition and a great lack of respect to the individuals who live with this disorder every single day. Although individuals with Asperger's are just that...individuals, and no two are alike just as no two non- Asperger's individuals are alike, I do not know of any...(and I know a great deal), who troll or who make, nasty, hateful speech to others with the deliberate intent of causing harm.... something which internet trolls are known for.
Do not misunderstand me... I 'get' what is being suggested... that being 'how the lack of social body clues - tone of voice and facial expression etc in internet fed communication is similar to the difficulty those with Asperger's and Autism have understanding body language, tone of voice and facial expression and how this might effect one's ability to empathise', but.. individuals with Asperger's and their lack of or limited empathy does not derive solely from the denial to understand these social clues... their lack of empathy comes from theory of mind related problems... often diagnosed through simple tests - one known as the 'Sally/Anne test'...a test using dolls with no words/body language or facial expressions...There are probably more tests now, but my son was tested using the sally/Anne test many years ago. There is therefore a world of difference between lack of empathy found in those with Asperger's and lack of empathy found in internet fed communication due to the denial of social clues in the written word.It might also be an idea for the researcher to look up research being done into mirror neurones and how they work in helping us empathise.If Tom or anyone else would like to forward the research link to me (as I deleted the original email with the link) I would be most happy to pass it onto a few Asperger's and Autism websites, organisations and experts to enable them to decide just what they think. I'm sure the consultants at The Scottish Centre for Autism at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow - some of the best leading experts in the field, would be most interested to read this research. I apologise if I have at any time during this email come across harshly or offended anyone at all... It is not my intention to do so. I only want to try clear up some of the misunderstandings there obviously are regarding Asperger's and the ability to empathise.Yours,Maggie Laidlaw
> From: elijah.wright at gmail.com
> Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2012 10:04:22 -0500
> To: tajone02 at syr.edu
> CC: Air-L at listserv.aoir.org
> Subject: Re: [Air-L] trolls and Aspergian "sufferers"
> P.S. to Tom - I know I can be a jerk, and hard to deal with, and
> sometimes suck at communicating - but I 110% mean well to and for
> everyone, and want you to be happy with me, the other people on the
> list, and the world.
> Happy-go-lucky-pre-coffee-me is kinda different than the me that
> snipes at people late at night ;-)
> best (with ponies and rainbows, even!),
> On Mon, Aug 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM, Elijah Wright <elijah.wright at gmail.com> wrote:
> >> Oddly, the behavior demonstrated throughout this discourse closely aligns to
> >> cyber bullying, and on an email list of professional academics and
> >> researchers no less. This is not the solution; this is the problem.
> > Starting over: Hi Tom, welcome to the list! :-)
> > Tom - what you possibly don't know - there are several people on the
> > list with Aspergers or coming from some other location "on the
> > spectrum" who've been vocal about it.
> > I deal with someone with Aspergers-ish issues *every day*. He's 15,
> > not an internet troll, and having a direct comparison made between
> > internet trolling and what Aspergers is like is just painful to me.
> > Being an 'jerk' or a troll and having Aspergers or other
> > autism-spectrum symptoms are pretty different. :p
> > There are a lot of researchers in the area of disability studies doing
> > interesting work - I'm not really very aware of anyone doing work that
> > crosses disability studies with internet research, but I am going to
> > go ask a friend now if they do know of some - it seems to me that
> > there's a nexus of interest there that someone should be exploring.
> > You're right to point it out, and I want to acknowledge that I see the
> > value in having you point to it, even tho I don't really agree with
> > how you went about it.
> > best,
> > --elijah
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