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 River of Words

October 19, 2009 , 11:00 am

Aspies and Auties

Terms used to describe those with Asperger’s syndrome and autism, respectively.

On her New York magazine blog about television, Surf, Emily Nussbaum described a recent thematic trend – “Asperger’s everywhere”:

As far as I can tell, it started with the character of Chloe on 24, but then there was that model on America’s Next Top Model, there’s a contestant with Asperger’s on the Amazing Race, and of course, there’s the magnificent Sheldon on the wonderful Big Bang Theory (which I’m so happy has been getting attention lately).

Later, Nussbaum wrote:

Following up on my Asperger’s post from last week, I’ve noticed two more examples: Brennan and Zach on Bones and the quirky youngest kid on The Middle (who doesn’t have Asperger’s, but seems to be potentially on the spectrum). While Googling to confirm that the writers do indeed intend Brennan to be mildly Aspie, I came across Aspies on TV, an interesting blog by Sarah Abrahamson. Abrahamson notes that Aspies are natural comic foils, given that “much of comedy is based on social interaction and the errors in interaction.”

The author Liane Holliday Willey claims to have coined “Aspie” in her 1999 book “Pretending to be Normal”; she later explained:

I intended for it to connotate images of kind and caring individuals who live lives wrapped in different colors and fluffed with different stuffings.

Although some of those with Asperger’s use the term to refer to themselves, the UK National Autistic Society cautionsaspie.” journalists against referring to someone as “an aspie”.

The word “autie” is similarly used by those with autism. Urban Dictionary credits the term’s prominence to the autistic Australian author and artist Donna Williams, who calls herself the “Artie Autie.”

Read in Full:  http://schott.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/aspies-and-auties/



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