Gatsby, typically an energetic and well read 19-year old, dragged himself onto the internet one afternoon. When I asked him what was wrong he stated, "Those stupid kids on the destructoid forums are slowing down my brain cells and then I'm the one who gets in trouble for it!"
When I probed a bit further about the situation, Gatsby stated that most of the kids on destructoid.com aren't as smart as him in anything and he was just "stating a fact" when he announced this to the whole internet. Gatsby has a history of arguments, ridicule, and consequences for his comments and actions in the forums.
While willing to work for rewards in the short term, Gatsby doesn't easily connect how his words and actions affect the thought/emotions/actions of others and so he reacts to others from his own perspective.
It has taken Gatsby several interventions to help him understand how others might have been thinking about his comments and then why they reacted the way they did.
Gatsby still struggles with this concept but is now willing to think about what others are thinking.
Most people think that "Gatsby is just an asshole" or jokingly state "That's Our Gatsby" as they try to downplay his condition. Sadly Gatsberger's Syndrome is a real threat to our social calm. Rather than ignore the condition, we should take action to embrace these so called "Gatsbies" and let them know they are truly special.
Characteristics of Gatsbergers
1. Difficulty with Reciprocal Social Interactions
Those with Gatsberger's syndrome display varying difficulties when interacting with others. They may want to lecture you about LOST or they may leave the room in the midst of a Game of Thrones discussion. They do not comprehend the verbal and nonverbal cues used to further our understanding in typical social interactions.
2. Impairments in Language Skills
Those with Gatsberger's syndrome have very specific problems with language, especially with pragmatic use of language, which is the social aspect. That is, they see language as a way to share facts and information (especially about special interests), not as a way to share thoughts, feelings, and emotions. They may also have difficulty problem solving, analyzing or synthesizing information, and understanding language beyond the literal level.
3. Narrow Range of Interests and Insistence on Set Routines
Due to the a Gatsberger child's anxiety, his interactions will be ruled by rigidity, obsessions, and perseverations (repetitious behaviors or language) transitions and changes can cause. Generally, he will have few interests, but those interests will often dominate. The need for structure and routine will be most important. He may develop his own rules to live by that barely coincide with the rest of society.
4. Motor Clumsiness
Many individuals with Gatsberger's syndrome have difficulty with both gross and fine motor skills. The difficulty is often not just the task itself, but the motor planning involved in completing the task. Typical difficulties include masturbation, running, and ball skills.
5. Cognitive Issues
Mindblindness, or the inability to make inferences about what another person is thinking, is a core disability for those with Gatsberger's syndrome. Because of this, they have difficulty empathizing with others, and will often say what they think without considering another's feelings.
Understanding the condition is half the battle. With just a little forethought and careful planning, you can make a difference for a Gatsbie you know.
So please - take a moment of your time and contribute today and, like Janet here, you too can brighten a Gatsbie's day.
Thank you for your support.