Very thoughtful article. I too am the offspring of an undiagnosed aspie mother who has strong artistic skills and a high IQ -that served her well. Her parents and she attributed her oddness to giftedness. She had no interest in her siblings-especially the socially competent ones-who she dismissed as superficial/shallow. For her offspring, particularly those NT, her symptoms were difficult to deal with. She had and continues to have intense all consuming hobbies that became "little jobs" for her-her veggie phase when she spent the day preparing elaborate veggie dishes for dinner-served in a messy disgusting kitchen to children longing for normal. In her knitting period she dressed her 4 offspring in ugly outfits about which they were teased by peers. In her plant period she stopped cooking and knitting but attended only to her green house. In her shoe period she spent hours looking for the most elaborate shoes but otherwise dressed as if a bag lady. The oddest thing is that, once out of a "thing", she seems not to think twice about previous obsessions. She has no need to put the hobby in any context-her interest is in a detail with no interest in the whole. She can collect period chairs but put them in a room piled high with clutter and debris-and her interest in furniture is not linked to an interest in having a nice well furnished home. She would corner people in supermarkets and chance encounters-and after an hour conversation she knew nothing about them-but they knew everything about her in detail. When asked, she would exclaim that to ask them anything would be prying. Her NT offspring grew up as fast as possible. She talks to one Aspie daughter every day . She has little interest in 4 of her grandchildren but intense interest in one-a NT. Except for this one, she was quick to criticize the poor grand-babies almost before each was born. By one week, she complained they wouldn't smile at her or they were not cuddly enough and she has all kinds of justifications for why they deserve the criticism.They don't dress the way she would like, although her own clothes are disheveled and her self care is atrocious. She is oblivious to the hypocrisy. The grandchild she has as her "thing" lives hours away while the others are all within a few miles of her. She can't heap enough praise on the "thing"grandchild and there is no end to the criticism of the others. She says and does things that are so rude that none of the in-laws want much to do with her-as was the case for my fathers family and her own parents relatives. She hated them all but held out one slot for a relative that she elevated to almost god status. She can't stand music, movies, theater, art except her own. To say she is a kill joy would be an understatement. At a recent party for one of her grandsons, while everyone else complimented the very accomplished 16 year old, she went around making sure everyone knew she disapproved of his suit selection. She has one Aspie offspring that has bizarre hobbies that she supports and approves of. She views herself as having many friends and being social but most people view her as odd and strange--maybe interesting from afar. She has not perspective taking ability. If in her veggie period, she could have talked for hours to someone starving on the street about the veggies without thinking about how that would impact. She sees herself and her husband as far better than normal or typical and sneers at others with what she views as pedestrian interests. I viewed her as cold and cruel before I realized she fit the Aspie dx to a T. Now I view her as impaired but not cruel. She is sort of the Anti-family. She has alienated every family member so that there are few family gatherings and when there are any, she ruins them but making it a point to say nasty things about family members. When pressed, she says that whatever she said was the truth. Horrible and sad for the grandchildren. Her father was clearly an Aspie. They scuttlebutt then was that he was too intelligent to engage in small talk. Now we know. He simply couldn't engage in normal conversation--the poor man. Now that I finished this 20 page rant I guess it is safe to say, I have no strong feelings about the topic. Ok, maybe a few.