This post was originally published at http://www.aspiekid.net/2012/04/aspie-kid-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers-autismpositivity2012/ and is reprinted here with permission from the author. If you would like to comment on this post, the Author would prefer that you do so on the original post. Thanks 🙂
To whoever searched google for “I wish I didn’t have Aspergers”,
By now, you probably know that you’ve become a celebrity in the community of autism and Aspergers bloggers. The news of your google search spread around the autism community quickly, and you have become sort of a folk hero, and a mysterious one at that. We have no idea who you are. None of us knows how old you are. We don’t know if you are male or female. We have no idea what country or culture you come from. To tell you the truth, we don’t even really know if you have Asperger Syndrome at all. The only thing we know about you is that you searched google for “I wish I didn’t have Aspergers”. But why?
The first thing I thought when I heard about your surprising search request was that you might be a teenager, still in school, forced to spend your days in a building where you aren’t even allowed to leave, and where they let the other kids pick on you all day. And if that is the case, I totally agree with you that they should not make school compulsory unless they can guarantee safe passage with no bullying. But that’s still no reason to wish you didn’t have Aspergers. Bullying is a societal problem. I mean, you can’t blame something as wonderful as Asperger Syndrome for other people’s meanness.
I also wondered if you were just having an identity crisis. But you should never let the public perception of autism define your identity. Too many people still think that every single thing an autistic person does is because of autism, and autism is to blame for everything that happens to them. They fail to realize that autistic people also have personalities that affect their behaviors too. And for some reason autistic kids are held to a higher standard. Neurotypical kids get away with almost anything. But everything an autistic kid does is scrutinized and analyzed in the context of autism. If they don’t perform well in school, autism gets blamed. If they throw a tantrum, autism gets blamed. If they act like normal rambunctious kids, autism gets blamed. If they become moody or rebellious as teenagers, autism gets blamed. If they have a bad day, autism will probably get blamed for that too. If you are on the autism spectrum, there is no way to have a personality without it being overshadowed by the dreaded autism. Is it any wonder that autistic kids are ashamed of the way they are? Autism is like the ultimate scapegoat that can be blamed for anything.
And autism gets blamed for anxiety problems too. Autistic kids are attacked and ridiculed and picked on at a very young age. It’s almost like we inflict autistic kids with social anxieties when they are too young to know what is going on, and then we blame the victims. We destroy them before they even have a chance to develop, then we diagnose them with an anxiety disorder, feed them drugs and pretend like we are here to help them. Here to help them do what? Help them be ashamed of who they are just so we can help them pretend to be something they are not? Well, I fail to see how that is helping anybody.
You should never let society’s expectations define who you should be, just like you should never let society’s definition of autism define who you are. The terms “high functioning” and “severely autistic” have much more to do with society’s expectations of people than whatever abilities people actually have. But if people are going to have unreasonable expectations of you, then you should make sure they are disappointed and that their expectations are never met. Stand up to the conformity police and the social tribunals they use to find you guilty of being an individual. A man is no less male if he doesn’t live up to society’s expectation of what it means to be “masculine”. And a person is no less human if they don’t live up to society’s expectation of what it means to be “normal”.
Imagine an NT guy who has anger management problems, did poorly in school and wound up in prison. There are probably thousands of neurotypicals who fit that description. Should we blame all of that stuff on being born neurotypical? Should we assume that only people who suffer from being neurotypical would meet such a disgraceful fate? Perhaps NTs who don’t succeed in life should be called “severely neurotypical”, whereas successful NTs should be called “high functioning neurotypicals”. Imagine if we divided the neurotypical spectrum in that way. What effect might it have on the minds of neurotypical kids and adults?
I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard anyone on the spectrum say that they wished they weren’t. The only times I’ve ever heard anyone complaining about autism or Aspergers was when it was neurotypical people talking about it, as if they even know what it is like. Lately there seems to be way too many people spreading negative messages about autism. It’s like Spiro Agnew once said, “We have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism“. The most negative thing about autism is the way society treats people who have it. Other than that it is a wonderful way to be. Besides, if you were neurotypical, you would be susceptible to groupthink mentality, peer pressure and No Soap Radio jokes.
So I guess I’m not sure what I can tell you to snap you out of your feelings of self doubt. Yeah, life is hard for autistic people. But life is hard for neurotypical people too. And guess what. Life is hard for millionaires and kings and queens and celebrities too. They all have a different set of problems in their lives. If you gave up Asperger Syndrome so you could be neurotypical, you would only be giving up one set of problems for another.
But anyway, congratulations on becoming famous in the autism world. We’ll never be able to verify who you really are, because dozens of people will probably contact us claiming to be you. And that only adds to your mystique. So, just like all the other bloggers in the online autism community, I’m reaching out to someone I’ll never know, wondering why in the world you would search the Internet for that.
This post is part of the Autism Positivity Flash Blog Event organized by “Thinking About Perspectives” and Autism Positivity.