Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Could the Outgoing President of Harvard Have an ASD?

This article theorizes that it could be so. An excerpt:

"People with Asperger's may be unnervingly smart in specific modes of thinking but have trouble functioning in rudimentary social situations. They have difficulty handling change and transition. They don't work well on teams. One on one, they won't make eye contact, instead staring at a wall or into space. While they may have excellent vocabularies, they can also be linguistically tone-deaf and use words that convey a different meaning than they intend, which can result in their sounding brusque, dismissive, or simply as if they're not listening.

To some campus observers, (Lawrence) Summers regularly manifests all of these characteristics. No one on campus has raised the issue publicly, but to a number of faculty members -- who do not appear to have spoken to one another -- Asperger's explains virtually everything about Summers that seems otherwise inexplicable, including his now-famous dressing-down of Afro-American studies professor Cornel West. Half gossip, half scientific speculation, and fueled by an intense bewilderment over the president's behavior, the Asperger's theory has bubbled beneath the surface of Harvard life. "

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