mplsindygirl (mplsindygirl) wrote in asbp,

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Myths about Aspergers

Taken from the GRASP website: Myths about Asperger Syndrome

People With AS Cannot Have Normal Relationships or Live Independently.
While it is true that most people with AS/HFA do not marry and do not live independently, many do. As intelligent people, many of us are able to compensate for our handicaps through sheer force of will and determination.

—Allen Markman

What he neglects to point out is that the people he refers to are those with a clinical diagnosis. Many more people live with AS that have no idea what it is, much less any kind of diagnosis. I not received a formal diagnosis, but I certainly fit the profile for most of my life. Any one who has known me for any length of time will attest to the fact that I have willed myself to learn to compensate for my social deficits. Most of the time, my determination to keep my world from shrinking involved moving forward through intense anxiety attacks. I have learned to love travel - new places always fascinated me, yet the actual travel was overstimulating, uncomfortable and often made me ill. I spent most of my teens and twenties learning to cope with my sensitivities in new situations. One of my effective tools, challenging to learn and use I admit, was to be willing to speak up for my needs and desires. Whether teaching in a classroom as an adult, wandering through a foreign country as a teen or through my own neighborhood as a kid, panic could strike at any moment I began to feel unsure of myself, of my destination, of my surroundings, of my audience. I have learned to take written directions with me, often refer to maps at every turn just to reassure myself, give myself extra time, make sure I am well fed and have water with me, etc. These may seem like common sense to most people but they were difficult tools for me to learn to use.

I encourage anyone facing Aspergers Syndrome, or any other kind of social anxiety to keep your world as wide open as possible. It will be difficult, sometimes it was enough to make me puke. I can now say, as a 41 year old, the efforts of all those years are paying off. Since my son was diagnosed with AS a couple of years ago, and I self-identified as a person with AS, I realized that I have been taming the monster of social anxiety/deficits day by day, year by year for as long as I can remember. I like most of my quirks, but that one got in the way of being myself.
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