Aspergers - Day to day thoughts & lots of topics

In no particular order!

Getting people to understand symptoms

Aspergers has a whole smorgasbord of symptoms; an aspie could have any number
of them, and may not have many of them. The most difficult ones for other people to understand are the social ones; physical characteristics are easier for others to accept. 

In society at large, some people are insensitive,  anti-social, annoying, selfish and, excuse my language, damn-right a**eholes. Those people are entitled to be derided and treated with contempt.  There are some characteristics within many aspies' behaviour which could match that list, and for the lay person, it's really difficult to conceive that  an aspie exhibiting them really can't help himself.  If you are wired  differently, you can't imagine anything else.  It's like asking a
cat what it feels like to be a dog Smile

Avoiding using Aspergers as an excuse

I think one problem is that an Aspie who is aware of his/her issues doesn't want it to become an excuse for everything. Everyone, Aspie or  not will have bad days and days when they are rude, insensitve, intolerant, accidentally offensive etc. and an Aspie, like anyone, has a  concience, so will want to try to distinguish between 'normal' offences and those which he really couldn't avoid.  The alternative is just to put EVERYTHING down to Aspergers which is lazy and selfish, and does the condition a great dis-service and will harm other's understanding and tolerance of it.
Liken it to a physical disability. If someone has a wheelchair but some days can walk just fine with no harm or problem, but is just lazy so asks to be pushed around on those days, he's being selfish and 'abusing' his rights, which will lose sympathy for him and others who need help etc.

The missing manual

I'm not sure where I read it, but I found one great description worth sharing.  "Life for an aspie can sometimes seem as if everyone got a memo, apart from them" (actually, I think the original quote was better put, but hopefully you get the idea).  Liken life to  buying a new DVD player - you can read the manual, or just figure it out, knowing you're probably doing half the stuff wrongly :-)

Aspergers self-entertainment

An aspie can often find humour where others don't. It's not always appreciated, but
other times, an aspie can amuse himself with something which other people simply
cannot 'see' and take great entertainment from it.  Even finding something funny
which no-one else does can be amusing for the Aspie!  Even things like precision and literal use of language can provide an aspie with pride, amusement and confidence.  That said, correcting someone on the use of 'less' vs. 'fewer' for example, can just be annoying!    An aspie is wired differently, and that can give them a unique and special view of the world, including insights that other people just can see. This is a real pleasure for aspies who become aware of it.

Acting Normal

Many (most) aspies are experienced enough to pick up on social etiquete even if their subconcious isn't telling them what to so they deliberately and consciously 'act normal'.   This might include knowing when to laugh, shake their head or act in a certain way according to the environmental clues they have learnt to recognise, whereas a neurotypical would just naturally do it.  This 'acting normal' can be exhausting mentally, without even realising it, and provides a continuous distraction, or 'underlying active task' for the aspie.   As an aspie may be very good at acting normal, it's often more difficult for other people to accept they have any problem at all.

Gary McKinnon - More Good than harm ?

It was never quite clear from the news whether he won his appeal against extradition because the USA incarceration would have been unreasonable, because of his Aspergers, he had a suicide risk, because of his aspergers, or that his crime should be excused because of the aspergers. 

The main issue is that the US/UK unilateral extradition agreement is hugely unpopular in the UK and that McKinnon was a far more attractive poster-boy for the campaigners than, say, the Natwest 3 ('autistic victim' vs. 'greedy bankers'), so McKinnon got a huge amount of support, initially because of the vast number of people who are against the extradition law, but actually, that got lost somewhere, and nothing was achieved in getting that agreement repealed, so the next person who the US demand be handed over without evidence will gain nothing (even other Aspies haven't had the same benefit, such as Talha Ahsan).

The papers always showed an awkward picture of him biting his nails; there were many other pictures of him they could have used, but that one always made him look 'vulnerable'.  The home secretary felt under pressure so made nice political capital by halting the extradition of McKinnon (good!) but then also decided he didn't need to face trial in the UK, even though he had volunteered all along to stand trial here (and admitted the crime).   On the issue of his 'suicide risk' - he faced being held on remand in a US jail for years without trial - that would make many people depressed or suicidal - you don't need to be an aspie to fear that - it's wrong for anyone, just just aspies! Other fallout from the McKinnon tale is that whilst many aspies are obsessive, they don't generally illegally hack into government factilities and do huge amounts of damage and destroy (delete) data. If people think he can't help himself then what damage has that done for other Aspies' work prospects?   We can't employ you because of your disability - you might hack our computers.  Aspergers itself does not make you a criminal. You might have a higher propensity to have isolated hobbies, but it's several jumps to what he did. He was a hacker who happened to had Aspergers.   I wish the whole story had been about an unjust extradition law and that it had been overturned for all.


I mentioned understanding earlier; i.e. getting regular people to really understand the symptoms and accept that the aspie really can't control  them in the way that other people can (but the aspie can always  try to exercise some level of control, and should do their best!).  For someone in regular close contact (family, co-workers, friends), it can be very taxing or difficult to cope with sometimes. We all have different tolerance levels and patience.  The aspie needs to accept that sometimes people will have a hard time coping with them - people don't have infinite tolerance or strength, even parents whose love is unconditional. An aspie must be realistic; they can hope that people will accept and cope with them, but remember that the world doesn't revolve around them and people should make some allowances, but not allow for everything.  (Actually this
probably applies to any kind of difference or disability - a wheelchair bound person might like or request step free access to a building, but not demand every building everywhere gets it... ).