This post was originally published at http://mom-ology.ca/wordpress/mom-ology-to-i-wish-i-didnt-have-aspergers-autismpositivity2012/ and is reprinted here with permission of the author.
Mom-ology to ‘I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers’: #AutismPositivity2012
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his speech, ‘I Have A Dream’ calling for racial equality and the end to discrimination.
This well known speech was referred to at an autism conference that I was at, calling for equality for all and still an end to discrimination. It affected me greatly as I sat thinking about those words that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke approximately 50 years ago.
As I look at this speech, I too have a dream. I have a dream that one day we can all live in a place where individuals won’t be judged based on labels, but based on their character. One day I hope to live in a place where society sees the ‘abilities’ in disabilities. One day I hope that society is accepting enough so people don’t feel the need to explore phrases like ‘I wish I didn’t have Aspergers’ on the internet.
To ‘I Wish I Didn’t Have Aspergers’… There are so many amazing qualities in individuals diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). Tony Attwood, based on his clinical experiences, says those with AS have a ‘different, not defective, way of thinking’.
Individuals with AS are known to be creative, intelligent, detail oriented and honest. They are also known as loyal friends with a good sense of humour. I don’t know about you, but these are amazing qualities! I wish there were more people in society with these traits.
There is a long list of well-known individuals that are diagnosed, or are believed to have/had Asperger’s Syndrome. Some of these are:
- Woody Allen
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Alexander Graham Bell
- John Denver
- Bob Dylan
- Thomas Edison
- Henry Ford,
- Jim Henson
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Thomas Jefferson
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Charles Schultz
- Steven Spielberg
- Andy Warhol
- Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon Creator)
- Albert Einstein
- Bill Gates
- Keanu Reeves
- Dan Akroyd
- Robin Williams
- Tom Hanks
I expect that you will know most if not all of those on that list. Both in history and present day, this is an impressive list of very successful individuals. They have contributed a great deal to society as a whole and to be honest, I expect there will be a lot more to come in the future.
I would never look at Asperger’s Syndrome as being something that was going to limit someone’s possibilities in life. Though there are a number of societal challenges, in time, with individual advocates and self-advocacy skills, this will change. We have come a long way and though there is still a long road ahead of us, things will improve.
Be proud of who you are! As an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome, you have a lot to offer society. Those that don’t acknowledge that are the ones that are going to lose out in life. Ignorance is a terrible thing, but rather than letting it affect you, use the opportunity to educate those around you… and make a difference!
Having Asperger’s isn’t the tragedy… Ignorance is the tragedy!
Until next time…