Events, which made me to start to think about it (story about the Internship in corporation)
At summer, I spent PhD Internship (semi-developer, semi-researcher role) in big overhyped IT corp... I had ups and downs during it, but eventually I developed them a ML model, which performed well (which was the main goal of my Internship). My host and a couple of other specialsts, to whom I presented, told that it even exceeded their expectations. They also decided to continue research in the same direction (i.e. to continue to develop a models, basing on mine).
Despite of this, I wasn't accepted to full-time role.
Feedback, which I received, said, that they can't deny my expertise in ML, math and algorithms, and these things were estimated high. My performance and coding quality were estimated as slightly less than average (by their standards). But the main thing is... my communication skills and ability to work in team (so-called "soft skills") were estimated as low, and that was the main reason why they didn't want to work with me.
To be honest, it really hurted me.
I heard many times, that when you apply to work, they estimate not only your professional skills, but also is this easy and pleasant to interact with you or not. In other words, do they want to work with you and see you everyday around or not. And this case has shown that sometimes even your expertize in complicated fields is not enough to make other people to want to work with you, if you're too unpleasant person.
My friend from the same corporation also was upset about those events. He told me, that from his opinion, I have some strongly expressed Asperger features. So I had to diagnose it and show to host before the start of my internship, because their corp "gives accomodations for workers with disabilities". And if they would know my pecularities from the beginning, they'd interprete my behaviour, taking "Asperger" into account. And that interpretation would be more positive, because they would understand that I'm not a jerk, but just need more individual approach in communication and problems statements.
Actually, he wasn't only one, who told me that I have these pecularities.
Many people independently told me that I have Asperger features during my life. Firstly, when I learned, what is it, I felt very curious and started to read materials on this topic. I discovered, that I really share some of these features and I was glad that I'm not the only one who has them. But I was disspointed, when I realized, that nobody knows what causes them or what to do with them.
So now I personally don't find a diagnose "Asperger" anyhow useful for me and don't want to make a screening for it and get such a diagnose. Do I have Asperger syndrome or not, it will not change anything in my life.
People, who like me, don't turn away from me, if I'm behaving "weirdly" in their opinion or fail social interactions, anyway. They try to understand why am I doing some things differently and discuss misunderstandings. Sometimes they give a good advices, which help to communicate better in the future.
For example, when I got specialist degree in University and had individual talks with my scientific adviser and other teachers, they often repeated me the same things for several times. Also they asked from time to time: "Are you listening?". I didn't understand why they are doing it, because I actually understood the most of things from 1st or 2nd explanation and didn't need further explanations. However, I listened patiently, to be polite, because I respected these teachers. But from some point, it started to annoy both me and them. I started to ask, why are they repeating the same thing for a several times. They told that they did it because they thought that I don't understand from the first time.
Since then, I started to interrupt them as far as I understood with the words "yes, yes, I understood", but I made it too abruptly (in their opinion), and it was awkward.
I discussed this situation with the friend and asked, why people think that I don't understand them, when I actually do. Since he also tried to explain me math things from time to time, this situation happened between us, too, so he knew what I'm talking about. He answered, that it's because I don't react on their words in the way, in which people, who understand, react. He said, that every time when he explained things to me, I was looking randomly at different things around with a poker face, or was showing emotions, which are inadequate to the situation. Also I sometimes closed my eyes during this (actually, I was doing it to concentrate), and he thought that I want to sleep. I asked, what should I do instead to let people know, that I understood them.
He started to think about it and finally made the follow observation:
Usually, when person is listeting to a teacher, they look at teacher's eyes and face regularly. And when they understand, what a teacher says, they nod slightly or/and say "uhum", but not loudly and without interrupting. So, when teacher sees these reaction, they understand that student is listening to them and is understanding. I remembered it and started to do it.
Since then people started to understand better, do I understand them or not. I will not lie, sometimes I still forget to look at person's face and to nod, and they start to repeat the same thing again. But when it happens, I start to look and nod, and it immediately helps, no jokes .
And... there was no talking about "Asperger" thing. I just realized communication problem, discussed the problem with a friend and learned how to fix it. That's all.
Also when I read stories of people with Asperger syndrome and advices for them, I dislike and disaprove many of them.
For example, an advices from the category "to rely on your family in almost everything". In my opinion, it's much better to learn how to rely on yourself and to live by your own. Even if it's hard sometimes, learning to live by your own is very good and worth efforts. Not saying about "explaining your family your condition". It's also not always the best thing to do, to say the least... it depends on you and your family, does it worth it or not.
For example, my close female relatives are deeply convinced that I'm totally nuts. When I dropped a link about Asperger thing to one of them, she said "oh, we always knew that you are... special "(the word "special" was said with a typical short giggling). And that's all.
But stories and advices about romantical and sexual relationships are the most irritating... It seems like, from opinion of the most of people, who knows about the topic, people with Asperger syndrome MUST be total and irredeemable losers in it. So they should attach to the first long-term partner, who will accept them (i.e. who condescended to pick them up) and rely on her/him in everything.
Of course, these stereotypes didn't appear from nothing. Of course, pecularities of people with this state lead to some problems in these fields. My own abilities for these kinds of interactions were low at the beginning. But I learned it with time, and now I'm able to find a partner to hang out for a while, when I want it. Because, for a moment... people are learnable!
I suppose that I mostly understood, what do guys like and what they don't like in beg in general, after several years of practice. Also I started to recognize much better, if they like something in particular which I'm currently doing in the process or not, looking at their reaction. Maybe I learned it slower, than other people, but I did it, because I tried to be attentive and understand them, and after some time it started to work.
But... well, to be honest, I still have some problems. The main one is: at first several meetings, guy finds it very difficult to understand what I'm feeling during sexual interactions and If I do like what's going on or not. Even if he himself is happy about what's going on, he doesn't understand if I'm happy or not. Of course, if I strongly like or dislike something, I tell about it directly. From time to time I also take intiative or, initiate changing the process in a way, which I like. But they say that the most of the time I just have a weird facial expression, which they don't understand, and it is very confusing.
However, if meetings continue, a guy starts to adjust to me and learns to recognize my expression and feelings (well, to be fair, if I see that he doesn't try to do it and is not attentive to my reactions and explanations, I just don't continue meetings anyway). And after some time, he starts to understand my "weird" expressions and reactions. I think it's fair and in this case I also make a steps towards him, to understand better what he feels, too. It's fair in my opinion, when both people in the couple put some efforts to understand each other. No matter, is anyone "Asperger" or not.
But of course, I don't think that this problem makes me ineligible or not desirable. Every partner I met had their flaws, too. And why I must think that my flaws are more horrible than theirs?
So, what I'm talking about. I'm trying to say, that people are learnable. If you develop your intelligence and make an efforts to analyse behaviour of other people, and to discuss your communication pecularities and ask, how to interact correctly, you make a progress, sooner or later. Even if person's brain have pecularities, while the person understands logic and critical thinking and is able to talk with other people, I suppose that they are not irredeamable.
So, I don't think that Asperger sydrome (or moreover, it particular parts!) is a "disability". Because difficulties and misunderstandings, which it causes, can be overcomed by analysing, thinking, reasoning and discussing. Both brains of "normal" people and of people with Asperger's syndrome are Turing-complete, so there is no theoretical obstacle for them both to learn the same things (i.e. to implement needed algorithms, in essense).
Saying that people, who find it hard to understand social interactions, are disabled, is the same that say that people, who find it hard to understand mathematics, are disabled. Both is equally ridiculous. People just have different inclinements, but if they have enough intellegence, they can redeem their flaw and learn things, which seemed to be hard for them at first, if they don't give up and put an efforts into it.
Why am I NOT disabled, despite of some Asperger-style communication problems (Captain Obvious)
I lived alone for a several years, solved everyday problems, went to shops, to caffes, to gym, to pool; I took care of cleaness of my clothes, body, hair. I get rid of body odor and undesireable hairs, I'm able to do simple makeup. When I do it, people says that it's fine or even make compliments (however, I rarely use anything besides toner, or even walk without makeup at all, because I find wearing makeup every day inconvenient). Many people noted my good taste at clothes. I lived in the dormitory for a long time. When I needed, I also found a flat for by myself, paid for it and lived in it without quarrels with a hostess. I'm able to move from place to place without a help. I traveled to another country and settled up there. Moreover: when I've come there for a first time, a roaming on my phone didn't turn on automatically, so I reached my destination point by downloading offline maps in the places with Wi-fi and then, using them on my way... (then I bought a new sim, and also after some research, I found out how to turn roaming on the old sim manually).
I finished a Colledge and University successfully. I worked on several jobs, including ones with a high salary (well, I obviously have some problems there, as you can see from the beginning of the post, but I'm thinking over my mistakes and I'm moving surely toward resolving them and I'm NOT going to give up on them. For example, after that Internship, I worked at freelance project as a developer and during it, I activelly supported stable connection to colleagues and discussed with them things I was doing, wherever possible, to exclude misunderstandings. As a result, I ended the project successfully. People confirmed that it was what they wanted and invited me for another project.).
My work experience in general is nearly 2.5 years on high-qualified jobs. My experience on low-qualified jobs is hard to estimate, because they were highly irregular. But it was quite for awhile, too. I also received grants and scholarships from time to time.
I admit that frome time to time I become crushed by illness or mental breakdown, and it becomes hard to me to do my everyday thngs. So I need to ask for other's help to overcome these states. But so what? It still doesn't last forever. Even in my hard times, I'm autonomous enough to visit a doctor, get a receipt, understand a scheme of therapy and follow it. Sometimes it's hard to recover. But, sooner or later, I do it and am ready to fight again.
The corp, I told about at the beginning of the post, is known for supporting diversity, being open to people (workers) with disabilities and blah blah blah. And again, I said at the beginning of the post, my friend told me that I should diagnose and show diagnose to HR, to be counted as "disabled" worker and receive more specific approach, which will help me to get that job and keep it the next time. But I don't want to do it by the price of being branded as "disabled", because I refuse to be treated as disabled person.
More thoughts about job and colleagues...
I think that if you make a steps to understand colleagues, and they will make steps toward the same goal, it will work sooner or later. Just like it works with lovers and friends. I think I just should work more on it and learn more how to keep myself inside of acceptible boundaries of communications.
And I'm affraid, that if the first thing your colleagues will know about you, will be that you are d i s a b l e d, their first impression of you will not be an impression of a professional, but impression of someone "s p e c i a l". I don't know about other people, but I want colleagues to communicate with me on equal footing, like with a normal person, not like with someone "disabled" and needing "special treatement".
It's fine that they'll learn my pecularities with time, if I'll let them understand that I'm a good professional and I will make steps toward them instead of being grumpy, as I did before (cause it's a mistake). I suppose, that in that case I'll still be perceived adequately.
It's nastily when a person talks with you slowly and sugaryly, like with an idiot, prattling, trying to console you with condescending tone and facial expression and hold your hand gently. I met one psychologist like that once. So disgusting. Eww
That corp is super-picky, because it's spoiled by literarly millions programmers, eager to get there. But many other, smaller corps are not so picky. Besides, as I said, I even feel better as a freelancer or contract worker. So being rejected by that one corp is frustrating, but it's not a big deal in truth.
I saw many people at this forum, who were interested in topics of authism and Asperger syndrome. Even the topic about autism awareness day is arised again. So I think you have to say something about it (if you had enough patience to read an info dumps). Of course, I suppose that some will argue, but it's fine.
Anyway, I wanted to say all what I think about this topic for a long, long time already, and I'm glad I finally did it.