February 6, 2016
Too many places I visit online are bringing up a troublesome sentiment: That having Asperger’s is only a way of thinking differently. I don’t like it when Autism Speaks claims to speak for me, and I don’t appreciate the Neurodiverse movement doing so, either.
If you experience very mild communication and sensory issues, that’s great, but do remember that that is your experience, not the entire experience of those with Asperger’s.
I would hate to see supportive services lost due to a public awareness campaign that says having Asperger’s isn’t a disability.
Having AS alone didn’t get me services. I had to put first my generalized anxiety, OCD and a few others like PMDD first before getting any services. I had to describe how the general public as well as myself aren’t safe unless I have services.
My social service agency uses a special code denying service to someone who has Asperger’s as a solitary diagnosis. My guess is that it is a cost-saving procedure to direct funding toward those conditions considered disabling.
It is not a SHAME to acknowledge I have a disability. It is liberating. It is an honest assessment. It is not all of me, but does take a lot out of my life. Fortunately, there is support for that, but How can I have support if I don’t acknowledge that I have a disability in the first place? How can I expect help with sensory overload and transportation if I refuse to admit I have painfully sharp hearing and cannot drive due to the distraction of other drivers?
If you don’t need supports, fine, that’s a blessing for you. You are one part of the spectrum but do not need to speak for the whole by saying across the board that it is only a way of thinking differently.
Not everyone who thinks differently has Asperger’s. I’m sure those who are non-Asperger’s who are noted creative thinkers wouldn’t want to be linked to having Asperger’s if they didn’t have it.
Using that logic, every painter, musician, scientist and employee of Silicon Valley would have Asperger’s, and that simply isn’t realistic.
Those who lessen the humanity of the disabled have a sickness; a disability. Instead of being angry with them and seeking to move away from the disability “label”, maybe we should try to be patient and show them that those with disabilities can and do lead meaningful lives, and that isn’t limited solely to bringing home a paycheck.
I hope this message resonates with those who are tired of being marginalized once again by a growing majority.
January 20, 2016
Autism isn’t one sided. It’s not all bad, nor is it all good. There are challenges. There are strengths. Some on the spectrum are fine with disclosure in part or in whole. Others are not. Some struggle with sensory issues. Others do not. Some struggle intensely overall while others struggle mildly to moderately in one or two areas. Still others (like yours truly) struggle intensely in one area and only mildly to moderately in others. This is why autism is depicted as being on a spectrum. A spectrum is not black and white. It encompasses primary and secondary colors which make up all the colors there are.
Let’s keep an open mind, agree to disagree at times and be supportive of one another. Enough with what we think we know and berating those who don’t share our sentiments. Let us share our experiences without fear of judgement. Let us not fall apart if someone corrects an error in thought, especially when done with love.
I notice there is a bit of debate regarding people on the autism spectrum over using the words disorder or disability. While I understand personally the negative labels non-autistic society can place on those with the d-words (burden, lazy, manipulative ,selfish, etc…), I believe that the blame and resulting negativity rests on the labeler.
I have OCD and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder-very very bad PMS), and generalized anxiety disorder. These are managed with medication and therapy.
I also suffer from chronic migraines (fewer than 14 a month..about 5-10 depending). This disorder is fairly managed by medication.
My point is, that there are positives that come from having disorders. I am more patient as a result of the trials I have gone through at the hands of impatient people. My faith has played the biggest role, acting as the filter through which my experiences go through.
I am intensely sensitive to vocal inflection in people’s voices even if I don’t pick up on subtle body language. This makes me more compassionate. Even when a person tells me they are okay and may ask why I detected something that turned out not to be there, I remind them that I do care about people and they are accepting.
This trait may well occur in the heart of any photographer, but when my mind’s eye sees a photograph, I literally go on point like a hunting dog. I stiffen my shoulders and straighten my back by instinct. I can picture the photo before framing it in the viewfinder.
I can often think out exactly what I want to write in a post or other form of writing along with selecting images in my brain before searching for them online if composing a blog or social media post. I only have to do minimal rewriting and spell checking.
I believe these are positive aspects of my disorder. I am sorry and apologize to the autism community for too often dwelling on the negatives. I want balance, but I do not want mainstream society to lose sight of the struggles, especially when it comes to services and funding them. That’s why I’ve spent more time on the problematic side.
We live in a fallen world. We all struggle to some degree with something as a result of being citizens of this world. God does work out for good what was meant for harm. He has done so in my life. Some of that good I have discussed in this post.
I struggle. Sometimes I even revisit a struggle until I have practiced moving past the stumbling block in my brain. Faith and therapy have aided my progress. Being able to forgive and maintain forgiveness is one thing I have learned how to achieve through practice.
I slip, stumble and sometimes backslide, but I continue. God commands me to do so. I am incomplete-my full nature and character will not be complete until the day the Lord takes me to heaven-and that’s okay.
Please use the rating stars to let me know what you thought of this post. Do you relate to it? That is what I am most looking for the deciding factor in your rating.
God bless you.
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