This is Part 10 of 10 of My Venture Into Asperger’s. This post is primarily about my closing thoughts of what I have learned about myself and the Asperger’s Syndrome in general.
When I discovered that I might be an Aspie I searched the web for info about this condition and found that I share many characteristics with the neurodiverse population. Before I get into personal details about this topic lets look at the idea of neurodiversity from Wikipedia:
Neurodiversity is an approach to learning and disability that suggests that diverse neurological conditions appear as a result of normal variations in the human genome. This portmanteau of neurological and diversity originated in the late 1990s as a challenge to prevailing views of neurological diversity as inherently pathological, instead asserting that neurological differences should be recognized and respected as a social category
I take the phrase to mean that neurological conditions are for the most part just the normal spread of what makes us human. Of course I realize that the severe cases are anything but normal. In past ages those with Aspergers were often called being eccentric or maybe “marching to the beat of a different drummer”. Yes, I had difficulties in my early years that I could not understand but for the most part I developed ways to compensate for many of my shortcomings and just avoided others whenever possible. Don’t we all actually do that to one extent or another?
Do my Asperger’s characteristics need fixing? That is the basic question here and my answer is NO. My unique characteristics which might be related to Aspergers are what makes me who I am. It makes me different from others. Except maybe for my early years I have never felt the desire to be “normal” even if there is such a thing..
In my studies I came across lists of people who are likely Aspies. Since this syndrome was not even defined until the late 1990s most adults today have never have been diagnosed as Aspies. Even since then the thrust of the work in Aspergers has been in the field of childhood amelioration, adults are for the most part outside the current study of this condition. But given the characteristics that are contained in the study it can be deduced who might be catalogued with Asperger:
- Bill Gates
- Abraham Lincoln
- Al Gore
- Bob Dylan
- Mark Twain
- Charles Schulz
- ….. the list goes on and on
I am proud to maybe be included in this list even if it is of my own account. I just don’t think that characteristics that fall outside of what might currently be considered normal is something that needs fixing. Instead it, like racial diversity, is what makes us a valuable mix of people and views of the world. It is what makes each of us unique.
So I will keep in mind my apparent neurodiversity and continue talking about it here at a background level on RJsCorner but I won’t fixate on it as somehow being a central part of my life. It, like my deafness, is simply part of who I am. I do this because I don’t particularly like labels, they are more restraining than facilitating to me.