Program Contents: 55 minute DVD
Copyright Date: 2008
AVAILABLE IN THE UNITED STATES ONLY
Einstein, Beethoven, Mozart, Van Gogh: all displayed symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. But not every person with Asperger’s is a genius. This program follows a self-described eccentric who, after discovering he matches up with the general Asperger’s profile, sets out on a quest to learn all he can about the disorder—and whether he truly does have it. Along the way, he speaks with author Michael Fitzgerald, Professor Temple Grandin, Professor Alan Snyder, Wired magazine’s Steve Silberman, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, and a number of children and adults with AS about topics ranging from Asperger’s traits, to possible causes of the condition, to “Geek Syndrome” and the AQ Test. A warm and understanding look into the very different world of autism spectrum disorders.
Segments in this Video - (33)
1. Am I an "Aspie?" (01:29)
The subject of the film takes a newspaper quiz to determine whether he, along with many talented well-known people, has Asperger's Syndrome
2. Aspergers "Little Professors" (01:28)
In the 1940s Austrian psychologist Hans Asperger identified high functioning autistic children who had a single focus. The autism spectrum includes Asperger's Syndrome.
3. Personal Quest for Answers (01:01)
Am I sick or impossibly eccentric? The subject of the film prepares to travel and get answers.
4. Asperger's Geniuses (01:24)
Psychiatry Prof. Michael Fitzgerald of Dublin believes that many of history's geniuses owe their gifts to Asperger's. Among these are Hans Christian Andersen and Samuel Beckett.
5. Asperger's: Through the Eyes of a Child (01:38)
Fitzgerald says that the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier; The Little Mermaid; The Emperor's New Clothes; The Snow Queen; and The Ugly Duckling each describe a different aspect of Asperger's.
6. Aspberger's In Action (01:29)
Five year-old David Twamley has just been diagnosed with Aspberger's. A visit to his home illustrates typical behaviors.
7. Investigating Aspberger's Behaviors (02:41)
His parents take five year-old David Twamley to Dr. Michael Fitzgerald's to discuss his behaviors, including unusual eye contact, hyper-focus, controlling behavior, and an inability to understand the rules of games, leading to social isolation.
8. Steadfast Tin Soldier (01:26)
Andersen's hero, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, has Asperger traits. He's an outsider. He has communication problems with the other toys. Like Hans Christian Andersen, the tin soldier's disability undermines any chance of a relationship.
9. Asperger's Support Group (02:39)
Geologist David Jordan started a group for people with Asperger's. Members share insights about their disorder.
10. Hyper-Focus and Asperger's (01:25)
A member of David Jordan's Asperger's Syndrome group demonstrates the sort of single-minded persistent focus that is typical of those with Asperger's.
11. Insight: Recognizing One's Own Asperger's Traits (00:59)
Host Stephen Ramsay experiences some distress as he recognizes his own behaviors in the young Asperger's men he interviews.
12. The Emperor's New Clothes (01:55)
Psychiatry Prof. Michael Fitzgerald says those with Asperger's syndrome have no choice but to tell the truth as does the little boy in The Emperor's New Clothes. Fitzgerald says many whistleblowers have Asperger's syndrome or a high-functioning autism.
13. Whistleblowers and "Aspie's" (02:29)
Deborah Locke is an Aspie. She’s also a retired Sydney cop, and a police whistleblower. She has accumulated a room full of evidence about police corruption in case her credibility is ever attacked.
14. Whistleblowing Award (02:28)
Debbie has Asperger's. She is about to receive Australia’s first award for whistleblowing. She feels quiet uncomfortable knowing that she is disliked by many in the force.
15. Schoolyard Whistle Blowers (01:44)
At school kids with Asperger's don't understand the code of silence among students and are quick to point out those responsible. Eleven year old Brett is looking forward to being a hall monitor at school.
16. Alone With Asperger's Syndrome (02:01)
Thirteen year old Brett is tired of being the only kid at school with Asperger's syndrome and and diabetes. He calls himself an "extinct child" and says he is sometimes bullied. His parents describe the first indications that he was different.
17. Communicating with Asperger's (01:08)
Thirteen year old Brett often responds to questions with phrases from televisions shows or video games. Like many autistic or Asperger kid, as he grew up, Brett started thinking not with words but with pictures.
18. Thinking in Pictures (00:58)
Professor Temple Grandin has been diagnosed with autism. She has pioneered humane methods for handling livestock and designed over half the cattle-handling facilities in America. She is able to think in full motion video.
19. Trouble Forming Concepts (02:02)
Professor Temple Grandin explains Asperger’s is a big continuum and only a subset of the group will be geniuses. She cannot think without a picture in her mind.
20. Can Brain Damage Explain Extraordinary Skill? (01:11)
Scientist Allan Snyder says maybe savant-like extraordinary skills are due to brain damage or are brain impairment. Someone with autism or Asperger’s syndrome may have brain damage that’s affecting their left temporal lobe.
21. Concept Formation Experiment (02:33)
Alan Snyder invented a machine that partially turns off the left temporal lobe using magnetic stimulation. His theory that the left temporal lobe is the key to understanding autism and Asperger’s is supported by experiment.
22. Thinking in Black and White (01:31)
Research by Dr. Bruce Miller found is that in certain types of Alzheimer’s patients with frontal temporal lobe dementia, art and music ability comes out of a person that has no previous interest in art or music before the disease destroys the entire brain.
23. Nobel Prize and Asperger's (00:39)
A person with Asperger's syndrome or high functioning autism is more likely to win a Nobel Prize than a well rounded individual.
24. Controversy over Aborting Asperger Babies (01:55)
Along with Francis Crick, James Watson won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA and decades later he kick-started the human genome project.Watson has discovered that late in life he’s the father of an autistic son.
25. Autism Epidemic in Silicon Valley (02:18)
Steve Silberman from Wired magazine talks about the high rate of autism in Silicon Valley. He spoke with someone who trains software de-buggers at Microsoft, and he said, quote, ‘All of my best de-buggers have Asperger’s syndrome’.
26. Plane Spotters (01:03)
People with Asperger's or autism are in universities, libraries, and laboratories, and anywhere specialist fixations flourish, such as bird watching or plane spotting.
27. Self-Testing for Asperger's (01:07)
Silberman’s article included a do-it-yourself test, designed by Cambridge professor Simon Baron Cohen who has hard science about kids with autism to back up what Steve Silberman said in the Wired magazine article.
28. Undiagnosed Asperger's (01:15)
It may be that many people would score high on an Asperger's test but have not pursued a diagnosis. People with autism may simply be an exaggeration of the male profile.
29. Outsider Forever (01:06)
Hans Christian Andersen was a classic Asperger’s syndrome person. He had difficulty with empathy and emotional communication. His story "The Little Mermaid" reflects his feelings about his inability to communicate with others.
30. Disconnected Heart and Mind (01:02)
In Hans Christian Andersen’s birth-place there’s a museum dedicated to his stories. There school children come in and re-enact The Snow Queen. In this story a boy is kidnapped by the cruel snow queen and loses the capacity for empathy.
31. Socializing with Asperger's (01:29)
Three men with Asperger's discuss their fixation with the Beatles and their ability to talk about other subjects. They also open up about experiences with bullying.
32. Social Interaction with Asperger's (01:44)
The subject of the film talks about learning to act sensitively in social situations. His wife says that meditation and walks at the dog park have helped him
33. Asperger's in the Modern World (02:35)
People may be building a world in which people with some autistic traits are actually better suited to thrive than people who don’t have them.