He believed that because Sam's IQ levels were so high, we needed an outside force to control or contain him in ways that would make society feel safe. Outraged at such fear-based and extreme measures for containing rather than treating my child, I reviewed line by line the behaviors in Sam's evaluation sheet that could be found in the volumes of literature relating to Asperger's syndrome and PDD. Refusing to be discouraged in my search for help, I persevered. A different psychologist who had served as one of my professional advisors told me of an expert, Dr Peter Tanguay, who had spent over twenty years researching autism and who had been the technical advisor for the movie Rain Man. I called him immediately. He calmly asked me why I believed my son has autism. Because I gave birth to Data, I blurted out, referencing Temple Grandin's comparison to an android from Star Trek. This archetype is so lacking in nunchi that they pontificate without bothering to find out whether they are speaking to the world specialist. Take Nimrod, for example, who gave an unsolicited dinner party lecture to Nikola about how a computer's RAM makes it run faster. Nothing too weird about that, except that Nikola had a PhD in computer science from MIT and had worked on the IBM supercomputer project that defeated Garry Kasparov at chess. Nikola was too polite to embarrass Nimrod by revealing her credentials, but the reactions of the others around the table should have been a clue that this situation was excruciating for everyone involved. If Nimrod had asked Nikola even a few questions about herself, if he had thought more about observing and less about speaking, he would have made a much better impression on everyone. No-nunchi archetype 5: The ones who think everyone is just playing hard to get My favorite literary example of good and bad nunchi would be Lizzy Bennet and Mr Collins from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Lizzy has wildly quick nunchi, picking up on body language and always able to grasp the absurdity of a situation (even if she cannot speak it aloud). Mr Collins has no nunchi; Observe your dog, cat, bird, or other pet, and note below what they teach you about how you might live your own life more fully: Pet's Activity What My Pet is Teaching Me Don't Wait Until You Wish You Had Done It

One of the most powerful ways to deepen the quality of a relationship is to imagine that today is the only day you have with that person. When feeling upset with a friend or family member, ask yourself how would you be feeling and acting differently if you knew that you would not see this person after midnight tonight. You would probably experience more appreciation for the gifts they brought you, and be less interested in the things they did which disturbed you. And you would probably tell them of your love for them. Don't wait until someone is on their deathbed before you express your love for them. I learned a tremendous lesson in priorities when my mother was passing on. During her life she had a number of habits that annoyed me. I also married Spock, I exclaimed, unleashing years of frustration with a single statement. Last night I had the same argument I've had with my husband one thousand times. He can't put himself in my shoes. He just doesn't get two-way social interaction. So I told him to get a dictionary, look up this word and then write it, memorize it, do whatever it takes to understand it. What was the word? Dr Tanguay asked. I nearly screamed. Fortunately, Dr Tanguay was in the mood to listen to a frantic, frustrated mother. He invited me to his office that very afternoon. For those who don't know the story, Lizzy and Mr Collins are distant cousins; As with many no-nunchi unfortunates, Mr Collins is a well-meaning person, but that almost makes it worse: Lizzy hates herself for hating him, which makes her resent him even more. This leads to the most awkward proposal scene in all of English literature.

In typical no-nunchi fashion, Collins has severely overestimated his attractiveness as a partner. Despite Lizzy's clear signals and the fact that anyone else could see she is appalled at the proposal, Collins assumes she is playing hard to get, and tells her: As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females. This is a spectacular failure of nunchi, as it manages to ignore both Lizzy's words and her physical discomfort. It is clear that anyone who is so impervious to the reactions of others must be thinking more of themselves than they are of the other person. Don't be Mr Collins. If you have any doubt at all about how your message--in love or in anything else--is being received, back off and try to read the room instead of pushing your own agenda. No-nunchi archetype 6: She was a heavy smoker, and in spite of my objections, she would ask me to go to the store to buy her cigarettes. She criticized my eating habits, accusing me of living on bird food. When we went to the supermarket together, she would stand at the check out counter and check each item against the receipt to make sure she wasn't overcharged. As my mother lay before me during her final days, the life force waning from her tired body, all of my upsets seemed so trivial and unimportant in the face of the depth and breadth of my love and appreciation for her and our relationship. I would have traded everything in those last aching moments for the chance to take her to the supermarket or sit down to one of her homemade meals. I would have gladly gone to the store to get her some cigarettes; Later, when I saw the movie Ghost, I was touched by Patrick Swayze's final line before he merged into the light: It's amazing. We take all the love with us. Right now there are perhaps many more things you would like to say to those who are or have been close to you. You may have all kinds of reasons and rationalizations about why you cannot be fully in your truth with them now. Tom accompanied me to the meeting for the autistic diagnostic interview, which usually lasts two hours. Ours lasted four! You see, when Dr Tanguay would ask specific questions about Sam's behavior, Tom often replied, I'm not so sure about him, but how did you know that about me?

Later, Tom confided in me that he had never felt so understood. Throughout the interview, Dr Tanguay seemed as interested in Tom as in Sam. I knew we were onto something. I'd always suspected a genetic link between Tom's and Sam's behaviors, a link that autism research bears out. At the conclusion of our interview, Dr Tanguay diagnosed both my husband and son with Asperger's syndrome. He believed Sam's very high IQ had clouded the previous autism expert's opinions. In addition, he pointed out that Asperger's was a fairly new diagnosis and that there was a lot of controversy about how to define it clearly. The ones who take all compliments too literally Let's say you're a writer who is having trouble getting published, despite the encouragement of friends and family, who tell you they love your writing. Do you keep trying? One the one hand, you might be the next Stephen King, whose first novel, Carrie, was rejected by thirty publishers before Doubleday bought it. Maybe your next attempt will be successful, just like King was with his thirty-first publisher--the legendary and the rest is history moment. On the other hand, it is also possible that your friends and family love your writing because they love you, and that means they aren't best placed to judge your talent. How can you know whether you should keep going? What makes it even more confusing is that successful people often say in awards speeches, Never give up. And your friends will echo that advice. I, too, would encourage not giving up on your craft. But we never really know how much time we have with a dear one. Quality living is a paradox: to make this moment last forever, act as if it is your last. Don't wait until someone has left your life before you recognize the importance of communicating with them.

The telephone call you have been putting off, may be the most important call you will ever make. The Door Is Still Open In my seminars I do a lot of work with people who wish to complete communications with loved ones who have left their life through death or separation. Some of the most powerful healings I have observed are those which occur when we speak from our heart to those who are important to us - even if they are not physically present. Because the real issues of relationships live within us rather then between us, it is possible to heal incomplete relationships even after the other person is physically unavailable, or departed. Since we are spiritual beings, it is possible to call anyone to us in spirit at anytime and communicate with their essence. Remember that life is not so much about bodies as it is about soul. Exhausted but elated, I knew we finally had the correct diagnosis for Sam and could get him the help he so needed. I wasn't permitted to enjoy my victory for long, however. One of my closest friends, Shannon, has toddler twins, one of whom was experiencing developmental delays in language as well as temper tantrums related to changes in her environment. I began to recognize in this little girl some of the same symptoms I'd seen in both Ben and Sam. Needless to say, I urged Shannon to read about Asperger's syndrome. She told me that while she could certainly see her daughter described in the research, like Tom, she saw more of herself explained. Diagnosed with ADHD, she had been placed on Ritalin, but she knew the diagnosis and medication did not address her deeper issues. Armed with descriptions of Asperger's, however, she felt confident she'd found the missing component to understand her behavior. In an attempt to avoid this confusion for her own child, Shannon took her daughter to Dr Tanguay. However, he concluded that her daughter was not autistic; One important component of nunchi--and, thus, of success--is to be unafraid of the truth, even if it's not what you want to hear. The late musician John Lennon went to art college as a teen, and looking now at his remaining drawings, it seems he was reasonably talented. But if he'd stubbornly insisted on being the next Van Gogh just because his mother put his pictures on her fridge, then he'd never have been a Beatle.