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Carl Lindberg from Lahti, Finland writes:

I have been thinking a lot about Vincent and Autism. Was Vincent autistic and could you say that he did have Aspergers syndrome?

Aspergers syndrome, or high-functioning autism is a form of autism. The causes of autism are contrary to what was believed up until the nineties solely biological. It is a neurological disease and basically an emphatic handicap. The autistic person has problems grasping the unwritten laws of how to socialise with people and problems understanding the feelings of other people.

I would not like to say that Vincent was autistic, but I think that it is quite evident that he did have what you call autistic traits.

Having autistic traits can be quite an advantage in some respect, it can make you really concentrate on ONE thing, and make you spend all your time on that one thing. If you have autistic traits you also care less about the opinions of other people and therefore are able to think and do what ordinary people don't. You could even go as far as saying that all the progress made, is made because of a certain dose of autism. So if we would find a gene that caused autism, we would not want to exterminate it.

I have seen many severely autistic people, people so handicapped that they are unable to communicate with the outside world and even to differ between the self and the world, to know the difference between you and I. This is very sad but you might say that this the other side of the coin, the first one containing great artists, scientists, writers, etc.

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