Does Michael Phelps have Asperger's? I've heard this question more then once today. I even asked it myself as I listened to an interview his mother gave. But what put me over the edge was when someone asked the same question over on Yahoo! Answers and the dearth of uneducated responses, ("how can he like have that? he talks in interviews... he interacts with people") prompted me to jump out of my usually quiet shell and give a somewhat more educated response. I've copied it below, in case anyone else may be interested...
You know, I heard the interview with his mother and I thought the same thing. The way she described how he focuses and what happens to him psychologically when he is in the pool is very reminiscent of how those with Asperger's interact. My 19 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD back in the 90s when it was the diagnosis du jour (and the same time Phelps would have been diagnosed). I never felt that he was properly diagnosed, but there was never a better explanation for his behavior. Fast forward to today, my youngest son has severe autism. I have learned tons about both autism and Asperger's through my volunteer work with the Autism Society of America. Now I am convinced that my oldest son actually has Asperger's, not ADHD, even though it was never diagnosed.
For those of you who made some uninformed statements, let me tell you a little about kids with Asperger's. They are usually smart, very smart. They can hold conversations, in fact they can talk & talk & talk if the subject interests them. They do make eye contact, if they chose to. They have problems with social skills, they are never quite sure how to appropriately interact with their peers and are often bullied throughout adolescence. They are often dyslexic. They tend to hyper-focus, find a topic that interests them and then become experts on it, the best at it, pioneers in their field. Most of them go to college, get married and have families. Many of them work in the tech sector or in other highly involved, complex fields.
I don't know if Michael Phelps has Asperger's or not. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he did, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. He is an amazing young man who has done amazing things and has made an entire nation stand up and cheer. Which lots of people with Aspeger's have done in the past & will continue to do in the future.
Learn more about Asperger's here: http://www.aspergers.com/
See a list of famous people with Asperger's or Autism Spectrum Disorder here: