[Ed: Our experience is that many people with AS are drawn to medicine and especially psychiatry. Often they have been bullied and despised, yet their high IQ in science opens for them the door to the highest status profession of all. They chose psychiatry because they hope it will give them insight into human nature, into their own exclusion, and sometimes, because it will give them power over the people who formerly lorded it over them]
My father was a paediatrician and medical researcher, respected within his profession, but his behaviour in social and personal situations is peculiar to say the least. He drove my poor mother crazy with his
literalness and rigidity and completely inability to relate to her on an emotional level.
5 or 6 years ago, I happened to ask Dad what had led him to a career in medicine.
In response he told me a remarkable story. He said that, when he was about ten or eleven years old, his mother said to him one day, ‘The trouble with you is that you have no empathy for other people.’
This remark troubled him for a long time, he told me, and he puzzled over what he might do about it. Eventually, at about fifteen, he decided that doing medicine and becoming a doctor would teach him empathy, and that is what he did. This story led me to begin looking into Asperger’s Syndrome, wondering if this could be what is wrong with my father. I’ve been researching Asperger’s on the internet and am becoming more and more convinced that Dad fits the profile.
Dad was extremely cruel to me in my childhood and adolescence. I was a bed-wetter as a child and he took delight in raising the subject and teasing me about it in front of other people. I was profoundly ashamed and embarrassed about my bedwetting (which continued till I was fourteen or fifteen — you can imagine dreadful how it was for a teenager) and I went to enormous lengths to keep it a secret from my friends and relations.
I still cannot forgive his deliberate humiliation of me over this problem especially as he was a specialist pediatrician. He, on the other hand, found this a hugely entertaining pastime.