I read this article from WIRED about Dan Harmon’s writing process for Community a few months ago, I may have shared the article in the DB thread. Harmon uses these circles in which he maps the path of a character throughout an episode, the stages of development are fairly standard. The writer of the article, Brian Raftery, uses Harmon’s circles as a way to tell Harmon’s story. It’s a well written piece and you should read it if you haven’t.
At one point in the article, it is revealed that Harmon, at the outset, felt like Jeff Winger was the character that he related to the most. It wasn’t until fans started to point out that Abed had characteristics of someone with Asperger’s that Harmon started to research what Asperger’s was. He had no intention of having a character portraying the syndrome, but after researching he started to identify with Abed. Harmon now feels that he may fall in the Asperger’s spectrum. I don’t think he went so far as getting an official diagnosis, but he said writing Abed is much smoother for him.
The first time I’d heard of Asperger’s was watching a claymation-animated film, “Mary and Max“, about a man and his pen-pal relationship with a young girl from Australia. It’s a pretty good film. Max has a more severe form of Asperger’s than what Harmon may have, and it was interesting to see the portrayal of the characteristics of the syndrome. I remember looking up more about Asperger’s after watching the film and identified with some of what I read. I had put it out of my mind until I read the WIRED article.
A few weeks ago I started looking up more about it and came across this online test on WIRED’s site. It’s not very scientific, but I thought, “Why not?” The average score from a test group is 16.4 and, “Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.” I took this test twice. The first time was a few weeks ago and I scored a 34. I felt like I answered as truthfully as I could, but I was questioning that score thinking that maybe I had skewed my answers a bit having an idea of some of the characteristics of Asperger’s were and acting like a mental hypochondriac. I took it again today and I feel like this was a pretty honest go through. It kind of felt like taking the second test of a college course, you have a feel for the way your professor presents the test and you’ll do better this go around. I scored 37.
I’m not worried about it, I don’t think I’ll even bother with a diagnosis since I function fairly well day-to-day (I hate going to stores to run errands though). I’m just curious what other people might score. The test is from 2001, so I’m sure the wording of the questions have changed or the test may even be obsolete.
I looked for other online tests, but they were just as old, if not older, than the one I linked to. Most of the sites I came across simply had characteristics of Asperger’s and what-to-look-for-in-your-kid reading material.