Good Book re: Autism/Asperger's
Temple Grandin's "The Way I See It"
Definitely check this book out. It's basically a first-hand account of what it's like to be inside the head of someone with Aut./Asp's.
I found many similarities between the things she wrote about (i.e. don't like loud shopping malls, huge crowds of people) and myself. There's a good bit on "sensory issues". Loud noises, too much stimulation (talking, listening) etc. can really cause a person with A/A to become uncomfortable. I find that I can only take large groups of people "in small doses". 2 - 4 hours tops, depending on the noise level and how much freedom I have. If i space to kick around a soccer ball (like a family reunion) then I can handle it (as exercise decreases the hypersensitivity A/A people have to their environment: the book talks about this: in my case, whenever I'm playing a sport, jogging, whatever I forget about the world and who's thinking what about me and so on). So I totally agree that SA fits in there somewhere. Whether or not all people with SA are cut and dry cases of Asperger's - I doubt it. But they do say that everyone runs the spectrum - for example OCD fits in there, as does ADD - and so we're all a little dysfunctional in one way or another.
One important thing to remember is that most people with Asperger's (and high-functioning Autistic people) are quite intelligent. They think Albert Einstein was and Bill Gates is. I know in my own experience there seems to be a direct correlation between the socialization of a person (a person with a high degree of socialization would talk a lot, chatter away, get loud and boisterous whereas a person with lower socialization would be more reserved) and their intelligence. Think of the smart people you know - they're usually quiet, reserved people. So in that case there's nothing really wrong with having SA or Asperger's or being socially awkward. One important thing that Grandin mentions in her book is that it's REALLY important for people with SA/Asperger's to find jobs that ALLOW THEM TO WORK INDEPENDENTLY. I've stumbled upon this reality for myself only recently and so I'm slowly picking out career plans for when I'm done university where I can work by myself.