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Washington Post Service

“It’s sort of like being the absent-minded professor times five,” says Tim Page. After a lifetime of struggling to relate to fellow human beings, he received a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome at age 45. Seven years later, Page, then the music critic for The Washington Post, revealed his condition in an essay in the New Yorker, which he has expanded into a new memoir, Parallel Play: Growing Up With Undiagnosed Asperger’s (Doubleday, $26).

Page is scheduled to discuss his book at 2 p.m. Sunday at Miami Book Fair International (www.miamibookfair.com).

Asperger’s is one of several autism spectrum disorders. Symptoms may include an inability to understand people’s feelings, clumsy motor movements and repetitive behavior. Many patients have an unrelenting interest in a single topic — in Page’s case, music — and “an encyclopedic memory for dates,” Page says.

“The diagnosis was helpful in a lot of ways — mostly in explaining some of the things that had proved difficult, sometimes even impossible, for most of my life,” he says. “And I didn’t exactly `give in’ to the condition, but being aware that I had it helped me make smarter choices.

“It also helped to explain a weird childhood that included an easy mastery of all sorts of data — the dates of every president and president’s wife, which I could recite forwards or backward upon request . . . — yet also included an absolute inability to concentrate on subjects that didn’t interest me. It was also enormously difficult for me to make friends, and overstimulation would send me into fairly frightening meltdowns.”

Read in Full:  http://www.miamiherald.com/living/story/1324940.html



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