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While a boy with Asperger’s will present as ‘agitated, clumsy and immature’, says Attwood, an AS girl will be far better at covering her condition through imitation.‘An avid observer of human behaviour’, she will learn what to do or say, how to copy others and so go unnoticed; unlike the AS boy, she will ‘apologise and appease’. Her social awkwardness has been evident since she shot to fame in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, but she has tried to fit into the ‘normal’ world – smiling for photo shoots, making TV appearances.Your Aspie Mate Could Be Waiting for You Online Right Now!
But the good news is that, by understanding the way an AS man’s brain is wired and making the most of his qualities, it is possible to bring out the best in him – and have a fulfilling, or certainly less frustrating, relationship.During the last US presidential election, both candidates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, had the term thrown at them when they made awkward gaffes.And tech bigwigs Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates – who seem more at ease interacting with computers than humans – have also been labelled ‘Aspies’.So much credence has been given to his point of view that it now has its own official name: the Extreme Male Brain (EMB) theory of autism.So should the partners of AS sufferers wring their hands in despair? This realisation that so many men have some form of AS – something they can’t control and did not choose – goes a long way towards explaining the stereotypical Mars-Venus dichotomy between sensitive, feelings-oriented women and tuned-out, facts-oriented men, and should come as a great relief. ‘I felt liberated,’ says my friend Tess of the moment she realised, after reading up about Asperger’s and how many men it affects, that her husband Peter wasn’t just being rude when he failed to realise he was meant to look up from the television when friends they’d invited round turned up for lunch. I accept that now, so I subtly let him know what I want him to do, whether it be helping around the house or trying to tune in to a conversation, and most of the time he then does it.’The writer Toby Young, though he remains officially undiagnosed, is convinced that he has AS, as is his wife Caroline, who likens him to Homer Simpson and has come to see his ‘total disregard for social etiquette’ – he recently failed to see what was wrong with trying to re-sell a cheese sandwich his child didn’t want to eat to other customers in a café – as ‘more innocence than arrogance’.
Many cases, according to the NAS, never receive a formal diagnosis – largely because it can be hard to know where maleness ends and AS begins.