DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Bookworm in Montana," who can't grasp simple connections and obvious answers in spite of her high intelligence. I'm a kindred spirit, and I may have the answer.
I'm pretty smart—people comment about it sometimes—but I miss "obvious" clues all the time. It drives me crazy, and I used to wonder what was wrong with me. I have learned that, really, nothing is wrong with me. I think differently because I have Asperger Syndrome.
I can't remember names, including my own mother's once, for the life of me. It is not just a matter of not having the right system or not trying hard enough; it is a synapse misfire. Given enough time, I can do it—but that might be minutes to hours. I read fiction and with rare exception I am unmoved. Give me a book about astrophysics and I am over the moon with excitement about what I've learned.
I've learned to tell colleagues and friends to be direct with me; I will not pick up on subtleties at all. Hinting around will not lead me to act, because I need a concrete "do this, please." My friends grin at my uniqueness, but I have to explain sometimes to those I must work with anew.
"Bookworm" wants to improve. I want her to know she's just fine as she is. We all have strengths, and she can use her intelligence to learn about this different kind of thinking. I love who I am and try to help people understand me. "Different" doesn't mean "less than equal."
-- FELLOW ASPIE