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Does Sheldon have Asperger's Syndrome?


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No, I think Sheldon is just Sheldon. I don't think he has any specific disorder or mental illness, because if he did the doctor his mother took him too and tested him would have said so. He does sometimes seem to distribute characteristics of several different syndromes including aspergers, tourettes, obessisive compulsive disorder, Ornithorophobia, mysophobia etc, and he has a higher than average IQ, but I think its way too simplistic and mean to just label Sheldon a sociopath.

He obviously cares for his friends and his family and he is falling in love with Amy rather he wants to admit it or not. I think the more exposure and time he gets around other people that do not just cave in to his demands the more he is changing and adapting and learning to be more socialable, polite and understanding to folks. He will always have his quirks, but he can also learn from his past mistakes not just repeat them over and over like an insane person would that is what makes him such an interesting character that he is weird sometimes and may "act crazy" sometimes, but he is DEFINITELY NOT CRAZY!

If he were truly crazy than he could just use that to explain away all his bad behavior and get away with it by saying its part of some mental disorder or illness. The fact that he insists constantly that he is not crazy shows that he does want his friends to tell him when he's doing something to offend them so he can try to explain that he's not doing it to be mean to them he is doing it because its how he honestly feels at the time and he thinks it will help them in the long run rather they like it or not.

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I agree with SheldonCooper Fan. Sheldon has OCD (his knocking, his spot, his weekly shedule etc.)

But Sheldon wouldn't be any less Sheldon with Asperger's. Even if the doctors who tested him as a child did diagnose him, it doesn't mean he's "crazy" - a term which I think implies that a person is deemed a possible threat to themselves and those around them. But Mary Cooper admits to regretting that she didn't follow up with a specialist in Houston (which has a very extensive and highly regarded medical district, -I had my first child in the Women's Hospital there.) A specialist that would probably have met with Sheldon every so often and helped him understand his condition and how to better navigate the "neurotypical" world around him. - And yeah, then he wouldn't be the Sheldon we all know and love. So while I think if he were a real person, he could easily have that diagnosis, it's better left unsaid or un-addressed for the sake of the show.

And the more I think about it, the more Zoey Deschanel's character in New Girl (Jess) strikes me as someone who probably has the female version of Asperger's, and not Amy Fowler. That comparison makes the difference pretty obvious I think.

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Recently I asked my sister about this, obviously still a newbie here, and she said that she's been thinking about it too. Both she and my mom have been working with kids with asperger's for years and he's so much like them in some areas. But ummm, I guess we'll never know? I mean, it wouldn't make that such big difference.

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The question only came up because professionals and those with aspergers saw the comparisons. The writers had to give an answer because it kept being asked. The answer was NO. I understand why, Sheldon has to be free of all restraints so they can do what they will with him. For all intensive purposes he is just 'sheldony' but this list explains why people asked the question in the first place...

Some male asperger traits...

Repetitive routines or rituals

Flat, or blank expression much of the time

Strong sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell

Eccentric personality

Idiosyncratic attachment to inanimate objects

Being "in their own world" / Preoccupied with their own agenda

Highly gifted in one or more areas

Single-mindedness

Likes and dislikes can be very rigid

Limited interests / Intense focus on one or two subjects

Unusual preoccupations

Collects things

Non-verbal communication problems: difficulty reading body language, facial expression and tone

Excellent rote memory

Distant physically and/or emotionally.

Can be very critical

Very loyal to one person

Often will make no motions to keep friendships going

Need to withdraw and have solitude

Men in particular find emotions messy and unquantifiable

Shuts down in social situations

May avoid social gatherings

Lack of interest in other people

Lack of empathy at times

Difficulty understanding others’ feelings

Has an urge to inform that can result in being blunt / insulting

Positive traits

1. Focus and diligence – The Asperger ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive is legendary.

2. Internal motivation – as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, bills or acceptance. This ensures a job done with conscience, with personal pride.

3. Independent, unique thinking – people with AS tend to spend a lot of time alone and will likely have developed their own unique thoughts as opposed to a ‘herd’ mentality.

4. Higher fluid intelligence – scientists in Japan have recently discovered that AS children have a higher fluid intelligence than non-autistic children. Fluid intelligence is "the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems. It is the ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge.†(Wikipedia 2009) Experts say that those with AS have a higher than average general IQ as well.

5. Visual, three-dimensional thinking – some with AS are very visual in their thought processes, which lends itself to countless useful and creative applications.

6. Attention to detail – sometimes with painstaking perfection.

7. Honesty – the value of being able to say “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.â€

8. Logic over emotion – although people with AS are very emotional at times, very logical in their approach to problem-solving.

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If Sheldon had Aspergers then they would have said so. Something like a glaring mental disorder that would explain his behavior would have been mentioned in the first episode. Another reason that I think that he doesn't is that if he did it would excuse much of his behavior that annoys those who interact with him so much. The main excuse that the show seems to go out of it's way to make obvious is that it is just Sheldon being Sheldon.

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I have Asperger's myself. I am on the very mild end of it, and was not diagnosed until I became an adult, so most of my life, I had no clue that I had it, which in many ways was helpful to me, but I digress.

I don't tell most people in real life that I have it. In cases where I have, I've been told that they "can't tell", which I take as a compliment.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about giving characters Asperger's. I think that it's becoming "trendy". People will sometimes think that a character has Asperger's just because he/she is quirky or weird, and that is a bit annoying to me because you can be that way without having Asperger's.

Another reservation that I have is that variations within Asperger's are often ignored. The "quirky oddball" type--like Sheldon--is what is most commonly seen and is what I think most people think of when they think "Asperger's". However, there are many other types. Some people will have more of the traits than others. Some people will have the traits more severely than others. Some are better able to correct their issues and learn how to culturally assimilate than others. Some people do succeed with therapy/other means of correcting habits that are socially off-putting. Some are more socially aware than others. Some are more intuitive than others, and this can help correct (though not erase entirely) social misunderstandings. Some learn to fly under the radar and can have Asperger's without "being caught" or "detected" as having it. On the opposite end, some are actually worse (as in, more severe and more limited, and even more inappropriate) than Sheldon, which brings me to another point: not everyone with Asperger's is some kind of lovable nerd, and people like Sheldon (or worse) in real life tend to not be as well-liked as Sheldon is by the fandom. Again, there is a wide range.

I also get super-annoyed when people describe Asperger's as being "a form of autism" and even more annoyed when some Aspies call themselves "autistics". Asperger's is on the autism spectrum, but there are major differences between us and autistics and we have different abilities and needs. I don't feel like these misconceptions are helpful. I think that they only add to us being seen simply as a puzzle piece and not as actual people. I think that there is sometimes a tendency to romanticize "special" people on TV and that this detracts from recognizing such people as being as human as everyone else.

Really, we Aspies are like the rest of you in the sense that we are imperfect, we have flaws and good points like any other group, and our 'unusual' status doesn't make us people to be pitied. I really hate the "flag-waving, puzzle piece" approach, by which I mean flaunting our oddities or soap-boxing about our differences: it feels very segregating and disconnecting to me. It makes me feel like we're some kind of aliens or something. We're normal people who struggle with a few specific things. Nothing more, nothing less.

Me, I just want to be liked for who I am. I don't want to be treated differently--understood, perhaps, but not treated like a special snowflake, nor do I want people to be kind to me just because it's politically correct or because they feel like they have to be nice to unusual people. I just basically want to go about my life like anyone else would, and I don't like making a big deal out of Asperger's.

I would only want a character to have Asperger's and being explicitly described that way if the writers/creators did the research and treated it in a respectful and realistic way. If not, I'd prefer to have it left open or only implied rather than stated directly.

This makes sense to me. The writers have said Sheldon is not aspie for many of the reasons you have listed above. The potential for offence is too great and you have explained this extremely well. I personally think it's positive that Sheldon's character brought up this issue but as you have stated, you see this as stereotyping and that I can understand. Everyone is different.

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I have Asperger's myself. I am on the very mild end of it, and was not diagnosed until I became an adult, so most of my life, I had no clue that I had it, which in many ways was helpful to me, but I digress.

I don't tell most people in real life that I have it. In cases where I have, I've been told that they "can't tell", which I take as a compliment.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about giving characters Asperger's. I think that it's becoming "trendy". People will sometimes think that a character has Asperger's just because he/she is quirky or weird, and that is a bit annoying to me because you can be that way without having Asperger's.

Another reservation that I have is that variations within Asperger's are often ignored. The "quirky oddball" type--like Sheldon--is what is most commonly seen and is what I think most people think of when they think "Asperger's". However, there are many other types. Some people will have more of the traits than others. Some people will have the traits more severely than others. Some are better able to correct their issues and learn how to culturally assimilate than others. Some people do succeed with therapy/other means of correcting habits that are socially off-putting. Some are more socially aware than others. Some are more intuitive than others, and this can help correct (though not erase entirely) social misunderstandings. Some learn to fly under the radar and can have Asperger's without "being caught" or "detected" as having it. On the opposite end, some are actually worse (as in, more severe and more limited, and even more inappropriate) than Sheldon, which brings me to another point: not everyone with Asperger's is some kind of lovable nerd, and people like Sheldon (or worse) in real life tend to not be as well-liked as Sheldon is by the fandom. Again, there is a wide range.

I also get super-annoyed when people describe Asperger's as being "a form of autism" and even more annoyed when some Aspies call themselves "autistics". Asperger's is on the autism spectrum, but there are major differences between us and autistics and we have different abilities and needs. I don't feel like these misconceptions are helpful. I think that they only add to us being seen simply as a puzzle piece and not as actual people. I think that there is sometimes a tendency to romanticize "special" people on TV and that this detracts from recognizing such people as being as human as everyone else.

Really, we Aspies are like the rest of you in the sense that we are imperfect, we have flaws and good points like any other group, and our 'unusual' status doesn't make us people to be pitied. I really hate the "flag-waving, puzzle piece" approach, by which I mean flaunting our oddities or soap-boxing about our differences: it feels very segregating and disconnecting to me. It makes me feel like we're some kind of aliens or something. We're normal people who struggle with a few specific things. Nothing more, nothing less.

Me, I just want to be liked for who I am. I don't want to be treated differently--understood, perhaps, but not treated like a special snowflake, nor do I want people to be kind to me just because it's politically correct or because they feel like they have to be nice to unusual people. I just basically want to go about my life like anyone else would, and I don't like making a big deal out of Asperger's.

I would only want a character to have Asperger's and being explicitly described that way if the writers/creators did the research and treated it in a respectful and realistic way. If not, I'd prefer to have it left open or only implied rather than stated directly.

Hi, what would you say are the main differences between people with aspergers and people with autism?

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Guest I'm not dead Cheryl

I have Asperger's myself. I am on the very mild end of it, and was not diagnosed until I became an adult, so most of my life, I had no clue that I had it, which in many ways was helpful to me, but I digress.

I don't tell most people in real life that I have it. In cases where I have, I've been told that they "can't tell", which I take as a compliment.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about giving characters Asperger's. I think that it's becoming "trendy". People will sometimes think that a character has Asperger's just because he/she is quirky or weird, and that is a bit annoying to me because you can be that way without having Asperger's.

Another reservation that I have is that variations within Asperger's are often ignored. The "quirky oddball" type--like Sheldon--is what is most commonly seen and is what I think most people think of when they think "Asperger's". However, there are many other types. Some people will have more of the traits than others. Some people will have the traits more severely than others. Some are better able to correct their issues and learn how to culturally assimilate than others. Some people do succeed with therapy/other means of correcting habits that are socially off-putting. Some are more socially aware than others. Some are more intuitive than others, and this can help correct (though not erase entirely) social misunderstandings. Some learn to fly under the radar and can have Asperger's without "being caught" or "detected" as having it. On the opposite end, some are actually worse (as in, more severe and more limited, and even more inappropriate) than Sheldon, which brings me to another point: not everyone with Asperger's is some kind of lovable nerd, and people like Sheldon (or worse) in real life tend to not be as well-liked as Sheldon is by the fandom. Again, there is a wide range.

I also get super-annoyed when people describe Asperger's as being "a form of autism" and even more annoyed when some Aspies call themselves "autistics". Asperger's is on the autism spectrum, but there are major differences between us and autistics and we have different abilities and needs. I don't feel like these misconceptions are helpful. I think that they only add to us being seen simply as a puzzle piece and not as actual people. I think that there is sometimes a tendency to romanticize "special" people on TV and that this detracts from recognizing such people as being as human as everyone else.

Really, we Aspies are like the rest of you in the sense that we are imperfect, we have flaws and good points like any other group, and our 'unusual' status doesn't make us people to be pitied. I really hate the "flag-waving, puzzle piece" approach, by which I mean flaunting our oddities or soap-boxing about our differences: it feels very segregating and disconnecting to me. It makes me feel like we're some kind of aliens or something. We're normal people who struggle with a few specific things. Nothing more, nothing less.

Me, I just want to be liked for who I am. I don't want to be treated differently--understood, perhaps, but not treated like a special snowflake, nor do I want people to be kind to me just because it's politically correct or because they feel like they have to be nice to unusual people. I just basically want to go about my life like anyone else would, and I don't like making a big deal out of Asperger's.

I would only want a character to have Asperger's and being explicitly described that way if the writers/creators did the research and treated it in a respectful and realistic way. If not, I'd prefer to have it left open or only implied rather than stated directly.

Hi, what would you say are the main differences between people with aspergers and people with autism?

Aspergers IS considered Autism. Autism is a "spectrum", a "range" that goes from High Functioning Autism to Classic Autism. Asperger's is closer to HFA, but still within the Autism Spectrum

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Guest I'm not dead Cheryl

I have Asperger's myself. I am on the very mild end of it, and was not diagnosed until I became an adult, so most of my life, I had no clue that I had it, which in many ways was helpful to me, but I digress.

I don't tell most people in real life that I have it. In cases where I have, I've been told that they "can't tell", which I take as a compliment.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about giving characters Asperger's. I think that it's becoming "trendy". People will sometimes think that a character has Asperger's just because he/she is quirky or weird, and that is a bit annoying to me because you can be that way without having Asperger's.

Another reservation that I have is that variations within Asperger's are often ignored. The "quirky oddball" type--like Sheldon--is what is most commonly seen and is what I think most people think of when they think "Asperger's". However, there are many other types. Some people will have more of the traits than others. Some people will have the traits more severely than others. Some are better able to correct their issues and learn how to culturally assimilate than others. Some people do succeed with therapy/other means of correcting habits that are socially off-putting. Some are more socially aware than others. Some are more intuitive than others, and this can help correct (though not erase entirely) social misunderstandings. Some learn to fly under the radar and can have Asperger's without "being caught" or "detected" as having it. On the opposite end, some are actually worse (as in, more severe and more limited, and even more inappropriate) than Sheldon, which brings me to another point: not everyone with Asperger's is some kind of lovable nerd, and people like Sheldon (or worse) in real life tend to not be as well-liked as Sheldon is by the fandom. Again, there is a wide range.

I also get super-annoyed when people describe Asperger's as being "a form of autism" and even more annoyed when some Aspies call themselves "autistics". Asperger's is on the autism spectrum, but there are major differences between us and autistics and we have different abilities and needs. I don't feel like these misconceptions are helpful. I think that they only add to us being seen simply as a puzzle piece and not as actual people. I think that there is sometimes a tendency to romanticize "special" people on TV and that this detracts from recognizing such people as being as human as everyone else.

Really, we Aspies are like the rest of you in the sense that we are imperfect, we have flaws and good points like any other group, and our 'unusual' status doesn't make us people to be pitied. I really hate the "flag-waving, puzzle piece" approach, by which I mean flaunting our oddities or soap-boxing about our differences: it feels very segregating and disconnecting to me. It makes me feel like we're some kind of aliens or something. We're normal people who struggle with a few specific things. Nothing more, nothing less.

Me, I just want to be liked for who I am. I don't want to be treated differently--understood, perhaps, but not treated like a special snowflake, nor do I want people to be kind to me just because it's politically correct or because they feel like they have to be nice to unusual people. I just basically want to go about my life like anyone else would, and I don't like making a big deal out of Asperger's.

I would only want a character to have Asperger's and being explicitly described that way if the writers/creators did the research and treated it in a respectful and realistic way. If not, I'd prefer to have it left open or only implied rather than stated directly.

Hi, what would you say are the main differences between people with aspergers and people with autism?

Aspergers IS considered Autism. Autism is a "spectrum", a "range" that goes from High Functioning Autism to Classic Autism. Asperger's is closer to HFA, but still within the Autism Spectrum

I stand my ground.

I hate when people with Asperger's are called "autistic" because we really are different. "Autism spectrum" doesn't bother me, but "autistic" does because it is not an accurate description of what I am like, what my needs/struggles are, and who I am as a person.

The big differences between Asperger's and autism:

--people with Asperger's are usually highly intelligent or at least high in the average range of intelligence; people with autism are not--on the contrary, they are usually mentally retarded

--people with Asperger's do not have the same degree of difficulties that autistics have, and can live independently/have normal lives

--we are able to communicate; people with autism have language delays that we typically don't have, though we may use language in unusual ways

--people with autism are typically not interested in social interaction; some people with Asperger's are that way as well or find it exhausting, but many do want to interact, but have difficulties (often due to not picking up social cues)

High-functioning autistics are in the middle between low-functioning autistics and Aspies.

I have Aspergers myself and I am engaged to a High-Functioning autistic person, so I know, that clinically, we are both considered autistic. Even though we are at different places of the spectrum. He is capable of a normal life, his IQ is higher than average like mine (we are both members of Mensa International, that's where we met).

I don't see why you would be offended for being called "autistic". Is not an accurate description, I know, but it is the general classification on the DSM, so, technically, it is right to say "autistic".

I do understand where you are coming from though, most people associate the "autistic" term with classic autism (I have been asked too "but you can't be autistic, you don't rock back and forth on a corner") but that is mainly because of the main public's ignorance, not because of the term itself.

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  • 1 year later...

thanks for posting this!

I was also diagnosed with Asperger some years ago, with an OCD comorbidity and I do see Sheldon (and Amy as well) as Aspies, even though they are not diagnosed on the show, and in a way, I think is better that they don't (I have said this already on the past, but is because of avoiding first, the stereotyping of Aspergers as well as how limiting it would be for the writers to actually label them as Aspies, but I disgress).

And also, I really relate to Sheldon's "I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested" since, my mother had me tested as well LOL.

The thing is, I was born on 1982. As a baby I barely cried and I didn't speak a word until I was 4 years old, and only started talking in sentences by the time I was 5. My mother had me tested. A LOT, because of this, she thought I had a mental disability, but they could never find anything, and actually, my IQ turned out to be pretty high (I am a member for Mensa International). When I started elementary school they found out I was also dyslexic. Still they found nothing. Why? because Asperger's was not known in the medical area until the 1990's and it was included in the DSM-IV just in 1994. I was diagnosed when I was 21 in 2003 when my sister (who is now a Psychiatrist and was at that time in College) was studying the subject and realized I fit all the criteria. So she made me see a Psychiatrist and a Neurologist and I went through several tests until they diagnosed me.

And I agree with you, Asperger's is not a disablity, it is just "different wiring". The way I usually explain it to people is "we run on different Operative System, you run Windows, we run Linux - we are not user friendly" LOL

But back on the show, yes, Sheldon (& Amy) fit the criteria, but I do think is better that they NEVER label them as such in the show.

 

 

Thanks for your testimonie.
I think there exist diferent kinds of Asperguer's levels, as well as persons who has been diagnosed.
Your experience it's really important to realize that to be or not Aspie, it's not relevant in the serie or in the real life (except to be more empathic)
And I think too, they (Sheldon & Amy) are Aspies, and i think they can't be classified as Aspies in the serie, cause they are just what they are.
 
So... I'm been wandering, Why they are not members of MENSA!! they are so inteligent?? 
 
Saludos!! =D

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  • 3 months later...

One of the reasons why I love this show so much is because Sheldon reminds me so much of my 9-year-old son. He's like the grown-up version of my son, who has Asperger's. The mannerisms, social clueless-ness, inability to lie, lack of eye contaI 

 

I disagree... I think his behavior stems from severe OCD. 

 
I am pretty sure this is all due to him being OCD. People with OCD believe in rituals and procedures they must do to keep themselves safe. He displays this in every single action he performs like "Thats my spot", "We cant have 4 dumplings since we only have 3 people", his food needs to be right but stacked and arranged in the correct order, the fact he knocks on the door 3 times, the fact he made a room mater agreement(most defiantly), His having sanitizer hidden all around the house. I think he fears if he does not do all this something horrible might happen. People with OCD get like this and he displays all the symptoms of someone with OCD to a very Severe level.  I think the reason he acts this way isnt a cantious effort but based on some irrational fear he has. He even has trouble with relationships for this reason as he doesn't like people touching him and he likes his personal space. He is a germophobe so of course hes going to find the idea of sex disgusting. For this reason he also seems to isolate himself before meeting Leonard which could be a way of coping for him. Since he has cut off anyone who might destroy his perfect world. OCD can account for every single action he does. Even Amy points out he has signs of OCD and attempts to try and fix his disorder. Which seems to ultimately fail since he has to finish everything in the end of the episode anyways. 
Edited by SheldonCooperFan

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I think the key is that officially they will never say he has anything. They will go in and out of having him do various things, depending on whatever joke the writers want to make at the moment. They won't be pigeonholed, nor will they be beholden to any group of people getting offended how Sheldon is portrayed in any given episode. 

 

So officially he doesn't have Asperger's, OCD, or anything else. He is just quirky. 

 

Unofficially, he obviously has Asperger's. Amy likely does, too. He's also got other diagnosable problems such as OCD that seem related to his Asperger's. 

 

I don't blame the writers. Not just because they don't want to be confined by any labels. Can you imagine what outrage there would be by advocates for Aspies and others if Sheldon was officially deemed one of their group? People would be getting offended every week. If Sheldon is just wacky, they avoid all those problems. 

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