Autism/Aspergers: A Gift or God's Cruel Joke?

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Are Autism Spectrum Disorders gifts or curses?
Gift 56%  56%  [ 59 ]
Curse 44%  44%  [ 47 ]
Total votes : 106

AceOfSpades
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15 Apr 2009, 8:05 pm

I have a realistic view of AS. My difficulties with communication are a real disability and not some corny BS like "Ooh it's a part of who I am". That's one thing I'm always trying to overcome.

However, AS does have it's advantages. Obsessions for example if the energy directed properly. Like not just hoarding knowledge, but using that passion to apply it. That's what I consider a part of who I am.

I do wish society was more understanding and accepting towards AS, but I've gained a lot from adversity and this has made me a better person.

I don't consider AS a gift or a curse, it has it's pros and cons. I don't know any different, so I'm not gonna jump into conclusions lol.





@ Giftorcurse: I know there are people who tend to have a militant attitude towards AS and justify real weaknesses of AS as "part of who they are" or weigh their self-worth heavily on the advantages they have due to AS, but you are also engaging in black and white thinking.

I understand how hard it can be to live with AS in a society which doesn't understand us. You're probably feeling worthless because of this. AS doesn't make us superior, but it doesn't make us inferior either. Try to look at it from a more balanced point of view.

I would've normally insulted you for that comment, but I'm feeling generous right now, so I wanted to enlighten you in a non condescending way



Giftorcurse
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15 Apr 2009, 9:37 pm

What the hell is wrong with me? I have a negative outlook on life and my problem, which you say is a "difference"... I'm...
I'm so messed up...



zeppelin123
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16 Apr 2009, 12:45 am

I belive it is both a gift and a curse. It is a unique profile of strenghts and weaknesses that in the right circumstances can create one of the world's great thinkers, and in the wrong circumstances can create someone very frustrated with life.

In My case:

Strengths
-exceptional memory (good for academics)
-intense ability to focus on topics of interest (good for science, specifically research)
-viewing things from a different perspective (good for new scientific ideas)
-understanding of autistim (good for helping other individuals on the spectrum with more severe challenges)

Weaknesses
-Communication skills (affects work and relationships)
-Sensory issues (puts limitations on places you can go/sometimes on work)
-Coordination problems (affect some employment and daily life situations)
-High risk of co-morbid disorders such as anxiety and panic attacks

My career goal is to be a researcher/professor in educational psychology/special education (specializing in autism research). My AS will both help and hinder me on my path to this dream.



zeppelin123
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16 Apr 2009, 12:52 am

I also needed to mention that I do not like the diagnosis of mental retardation being used as an insult. I have friends and a family member who have this diagnosis. They have severe challenges with academics and some daily life skills, but it does not make them less worthy people. They also have their unique strengths as well. For instance, one of my friends with this diagnosis has very strong charisma/interpersonal skills which is something I am weak in.

I believe the key to life is living it to your full potential (helping others and learning as much as possible). For some individuals their top achievement may be learning to smile at their mother, for others that may be finding the cure for cancer. I don't see any constructive value in comparing onself to others.



Dussel
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16 Apr 2009, 2:12 am

Giftorcurse wrote:
What the hell is wrong with me? I have a negative outlook on life and my problem, which you say is a "difference"... I'm...
I'm so messed up...


Hey! You are 15; trouble with live in general and particular is common. You are not the first one and only one how goes through this difficult phase of live and you will be not the last one.

So: Don't take it seriously; it isn't worth!



Prosser
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16 Apr 2009, 2:45 am

I'd say curse. NT's have strenghts but don't have to put up with AS disadvantages.


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sunshower
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16 Apr 2009, 3:04 am

Prosser wrote:
I'd say curse. NT's have strenghts but don't have to put up with AS disadvantages.


But I wouldn't want to swap my AS strengths for NT strengths no matter how many excess disadvantages came with them. I guess I'm just biased. :lol:


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zeppelin123
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16 Apr 2009, 3:17 am

I think AS is a disability but a cure would destroy the individual in the process and make them someone entirely different (a can of worms I would not want to open).



JeffJ
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16 Apr 2009, 3:37 am

Frankly I see it both ways. On one hand, Jesus Christ I wish I could communicate with actual peers. I wish I could hook up with women and go on dates without having to make an elaborate plan. that would be swell. Imagine, being able to intuitively understand what other people are thinking or feeling, almost automatically. Knowing when to shut up or when to keep talking. knowing the subtle bodily signals that mean different things. Knowing how to deal with emotional social situations without feeling like an outsider. How could that aspect of aspergers possibly be enjoyable?

On the other hand, I am gifted with high intelligence and the ability to reason and plot my way through life. It will no doubt get more difficult, but Im up for the challenge. I feel mentally able to deal with it and it has given me a very realistic outlook on things. My intense preoccupation with certain subjects has gained me a lot of knowledge, some of which can be quite useful. It makes me feel great about my abilities and the fact that Im not just walking around like a blind sheep sucking in every dose of BS that society wants to feed me. I feel liberated in a way.

So my answer, is all of the above. It is both Gods great gift that I am able to function on this level and a great curse that I have so much trouble communicating this gift to others.



JadedMantis
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16 Apr 2009, 5:01 am

Prosser wrote:
I'd say curse. NT's have strenghts but don't have to put up with AS disadvantages.


No, because they have their OWN disadvantages. These might just be less noticeable because we are too busy trying to fit into their world to notice, but don't think that NTs are all cruising through life either. There are a lot of them with some serious issues too.

I know we don't feel other people's emotions but that is not an excuse for us to ignore the fact that they also have problems. In fact that should make us even more alert to realising we need to be explicitly thinking of the fact that others have their own experiences that differ from our own because our mirror neurons sure are not going to give us that message automatically.

No, everything is not just great. But lets not be so busy wallowing in selfpity that we use our problems as an excuse to behave like selfobserved jerks. Our neurology makes this easy to do but we cannot use the fact that it is hard to consider other people's perspective as an excuse.



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16 Apr 2009, 8:06 am

Oh JadedMantis, I didn't mean to imply that NT's are set for life, or do not poccess their own disadvantages. I simply meant that they don't have all the same disadvantages that someone diagnosed with AS might have and that IMO it is preferrable to have personal disadvantsges that people are more likely to be accepting of (Neurotypical ones) than the ones that come autism and aspergers...

If that makes any sense... I hope it does.


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AnnePande
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16 Apr 2009, 8:21 am

JadedMantis wrote:
I know we don't feel other people's emotions


NTs don't either. They feel their own emotions, even when the emotion is empathetic.
A relevant question also would be: Which "other people" does one talk about? Even NTs apparently don't "feel the same" / empathize with every other single person. Especially if they're not like themselves.
"Having" empathy isn't necessarily the same as using it for what it's supposed to be used for, it seems - some might use it as a decoration sometimes. (I've seen women do that towards men also. When that happens, I get embarrassed on behalf of my gender.)



Dussel
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16 Apr 2009, 9:31 am

Prosser wrote:
I'd say curse. NT's have strenghts but don't have to put up with AS disadvantages.


The NT-receptors for emotional messages leave also the vast majority of NTs open to all kind of manipulation: Starting with "false friends" (I saw this often enough with) till to mass manipulation (a Tupper-ware-party works here on the same mechanisms like religious services or Hitler's propaganda machine). I saw this immunity always as positive.



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16 Apr 2009, 12:05 pm

Dussel wrote:
Prosser wrote:
I'd say curse. NT's have strenghts but don't have to put up with AS disadvantages.


The NT-receptors for emotional messages leave also the vast majority of NTs open to all kind of manipulation: Starting with "false friends" (I saw this often enough with) till to mass manipulation (a Tupper-ware-party works here on the same mechanisms like religious services or Hitler's propaganda machine). I saw this immunity always as positive.


Good point.


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JadedMantis
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16 Apr 2009, 12:30 pm

Dussel wrote:
Prosser wrote:
I'd say curse. NT's have strenghts but don't have to put up with AS disadvantages.


The NT-receptors for emotional messages leave also the vast majority of NTs open to all kind of manipulation: Starting with "false friends" (I saw this often enough with) till to mass manipulation (a Tupper-ware-party works here on the same mechanisms like religious services or Hitler's propaganda machine). I saw this immunity always as positive.


I agree and sometimes wonder if its not this immunity that has some wanting to "cure" this condition.
They would happily have the other aspects about us if they could just add this vulnerability so we react "appropriately" to the media inputs.



samtoo
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16 Apr 2009, 12:52 pm

Well... it's difficult, but it's not a curse.

I'd say it's a gift, but that doesn't mean I think it's easy.


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