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Asperger's and self-acceptance. 
19th-Apr-2009 01:14 pm
slanty, martha
So I found this post about Asperger's and how it presents differently in men and women, to be extremely thought-provoking, even though I'm not sure how much of it I'm in agreement with.

One paragraph that really got me thinking was this:

The "treatment" I was to undertake now, under Jane's tutelage, consisted of understanding that this was the brain I had, it was what it was, and learning how to explain myself to people when the situation called for it and stop expecting myself to function like a neurotypical (NT) person -- that is, someone not at all autistic. Because I'm not like them, and no amount of TRY HARDER HARDER HARDER was going to make me become like them. And of course, learn to appreciate the unique and special ways in which my mind did work, and understand that I was not a failure,...

I think it's good advice for everyone, Asperger's or no Asperger's. The idea that the vast majority of people have "Neurotypical" brains that work exactly the same way, and only a few of us are different, is wrong. Everyone is different, and everyone should try not to spend their lives beating themselves up about it, but instead to focus on ways to accept and celebrate and cope with our differences and the differences of the people around us.

Oh, and thanks to tb for pointing me to this post.
19th-Apr-2009 08:21 pm (UTC)
The idea that the vast majority of people have "Neurotypical" brains that work exactly the same way, and only a few of us are different, is wrong.

There is a sense in which you are right and a sense in which you are wrong. People on the AS are very much a minority being held to a majority-promulgated standard of conduct which is somewhere between dificult and impossible for them, in a way it isn't for that majority. To say, "well, people in that majority differ amongst themselves, too!" in reply to them asserting the reality of their oppression is minimizing of the scale of their difference and the scope of their suffering.
20th-Apr-2009 06:23 am (UTC)
I think you're right, both when you say I'm right and wen you say I'm wrong. I did not mean to trivialize or belittle the difficulties that people on the AS face, and I apologize to anyone who felt that I did. While I haven't been officially diagnosed, it's pretty clear that I'm somewhere on this spectrum myself, so I was less careful than I should have been about whether what I said could be viewed as trivializing the differences between Aspergers's and NT people. While I do think that the advice I quoted is good advice for everyone, there's a point where quantitative differences grow large enough that there's a qualitative differene, and I didn't mean to imply that the problems faced by someone with severe Asperger's are anything like the situation of somoene who is close to NT.

The one place I think I might disagree with you is that your post seems to me to read as though there is a sharp line between the "people on the Asperger's spectrum" on one hand, and NT people on the other. On a scale where the prototypical Asperger's person is 1, and the aboslutely neurotypical person is 0, I think there are people at every point on this scale, including values like .1 and .01. I agree 100% with your comments as applied to those who are at 1, or .8, on the scale. But for those who are at .01, only very slightly non-NT in the Asperger's direction, the majority standard of conduct is closer to possible and the scale of the difference and scope of the suffering is less. All I meant to say is that the advice of self-acceptance and other-acceptance is good advice for those at .1 as well as those at 1.
19th-Apr-2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
I took the test the article links to and scored a 34.

I must say this doesn't surprise me at all.
20th-Apr-2009 02:33 am (UTC)
I got a 13. Not sure what this means though.
20th-Apr-2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Well, as long as what makes "you" be "you" isn't swinging your fist at anyone whose looks you don't like... People still have to live within societal limits. Something Perry has trouble with. "But I WANT to leave my things where you will trip on them!"
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