The Big Bang Theory has helped me straighten out some separate but overlapping labels. Here’s how I figure it.
Sheldon and I share these 4 labels: 1) Asperger’s Syndrome 2) Geekiness 3) Excessive Intelligence and 4) Science Fiction fan. Leonard, Howard and Raj share 2-4. Amy and Bernadette share 2-3. Stuart shares 2 and 4.
I define “Geekiness” as an interest in something most people find boring. Most often it’s Science Fiction, computers or science, but there are geeks who are into art, history or poetry, too. What crosses the line into an Asperger Special Interest is a desire for exhaustive knowledge of a subject, which can get confused with obsession. The difference is that obsessions are fear driven; an escape from something else. A Special Interest is pleasure-driven; it’s a lot of fun. Yeah, it’s weird because anyone else would find it boring, but it’s fascinating to us.
I figure, if you like Star Trek, it just means you have good taste. If you REALLY like Star Trek, you’re probably a Geek. If you memorize Star Trek episodes, watch it at every opportunity, and lip sync the words, that sounds like AS. That was me once. It drove my mother crazy. I don’t think I could do that anymore, but I was watching Blake’s 7 yesterday and lip syncing, which reminded me. I’m not much into SF anymore, but I have an annual B7 marathon. We once played a Star Trek trivia game with me vs. the rest of the Tradition crew. At a convention, I won a Blakes 7 Trivial Pursuit Ship tournament. I may still have the certificate.
I don’t know how typical this is for AS, but, in addition to long-term Special Interests, I have a lot of Sporadic Enthusiasms. Before the internet, they started with an interest leading me to read every book my library had on the subject. Some of mine were one-time things, lasting a few years, some keep flaring up, but then disappear for years. Only Science Fiction fandom and animal rescue have been long-term, continuous interests.
Another test I use is: Can I bore everyone to death talking about this topic? If I can find other geeks who would find me interesting, that’s geekiness, not necessarily Asperger’s. But you’ll regret it if you get me started on animal shelter statistics, media adaptations of books, or the early Roman Empire. My current thing is variations of The Sweet Trinity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sweet_Trinity