BBC’s Sherlock, Asperger’s Syndrome and sociopathy
At Aspblogosphere, we’re looking for commentary on popular culture and its increasing readiness to embrace (or at least acknowledge) Asperger’s and autism. This essay by Christine Hughes considers Sherlock Holmes, protagonist of the BBC TV series, who identifies himself as a “high-functioning sociopath.” The writer protests that, more likely, Sherlock has Asperger’s, and spells out the critical differences between these two neurological conditions.
“Many people confuse autism and sociopathy because they know people with both conditions have trouble interacting and empathizing with others…” writes Hughes. “However, the social problems of autistic people and those of sociopaths are not just different but almost opposite. As when Sally Donovan claims that Sherlock ‘gets off on’ crimes and is ‘a psychopath’, people may see a person’s autistic behavior and mistake that person for a sociopath, falsely believing that someone who may be extremely moral and principled is actually dangerous and lacking a sound conscience.”
Check out the readers’ responses for examples of real people who have struggled with the same identity issue, underlining the importance of a correct diagnosis. For example: “I’m a 65-year-old Aspie. For many years, I feared that I was sociopathic. It was only fairly recently that I learned that my symptoms, behaviors, etc. indicated something perhaps more benign, Asperger Syndrome. Like many, now that I have a name, something to grasp onto, I can understand myself better and deal better with life. In short, it was a relief.”