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LisaFiene
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12 May 2013, 11:33 pm

Hi everyone,

My husband's been diagnosed with Asperger's, and I don't know how I feel about it! I mean, where do you draw the line on individual differences?



Fnord
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12 May 2013, 11:34 pm

Draw what line?



LisaFiene
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12 May 2013, 11:38 pm

Well, John's "John" to me - I don't know how I feel about a label. Why can't we just say that everybody's different?



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12 May 2013, 11:39 pm

We already do.

Welcome to WrongPlanet.



LisaFiene
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12 May 2013, 11:43 pm

Thanks Fnord.



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13 May 2013, 12:16 am

LisaFiene wrote:
Well, John's "John" to me - I don't know how I feel about a label. Why can't we just say that everybody's different?


John isn't any less John because his brain is configured in such a way as he qualifies for a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. You might ask which parts of John are caused by his AS and which are 'just John' and I could understand that question. I could rephrase a little and ask "which parts of Lisa are caused because she is neurotypical (i.e. she has an "average" brain) and which are 'just Lisa'?" and I would be asking an identical question which would be equally valid. What I'm trying to say is that the fact that some of a given person's personality traits are caused by them being neurologically atypical does not mean they are any less a part of the whole person that in somebody who is neurologically typical and displays traits associated with being neurologically typical.

You are correct in stating that "everybody's different" and I understand your reluctance in applying 'labels'; that is a very common reaction, people often think that a label will stigmatise the individual. Labels can, however, sometimes be useful. One of the criteria for being diagnosed with Asperger's or any kind of autism is having lifelong difficulty in certain areas. These difficulties are often enough for somebody to be extremely stigmatised without a label. It can be important for the person who has AS to recognise that their difficulties are caused by the way their brain is wired. Having the label, the sheet of paper saying "John meets the diagnostic criteria for Asperger's syndrome" can help a lot with allowing the person to forgive themselves for their lifetime difficulties. This isn't to say that it relieves the person of the responsibility for self-improvement, it just means that attempts at self improvement can be directed in ways which are more likely to work. The label can also help in getting other people to understand. People's attitudes to this vary immensely; some people never or rarely disclose, some people routinely do so. For those who do choose to tell others the fact that the person actually has a diagnosis, a 'thing' which the person being told can build their understanding around, can sometimes be helpful. Sometimes additional support or accommodations can be made at work, school etc and in some places government financial support is available (I will even continue to receive the disability benefit I receive (I live in the UK) if I started work tomorrow).

So to summarise: John is still John, nothing has changed except he now knows why he has certain difficulties. It might be a while before both him and you come to terms with it but in the end it's probably a good thing that this was established for certain. There are a lot of simple things which you can do (you may already have been making some of these accommodations without having realised or discussed it) which will make your life together easier. I'm talking about things such as you clearly and explicitly explaining what is required of him in some situations rather than expecting him to know. For example: "John, I am too busy to perform task x but it needs to be done today. Could you please do it before 9pm?" is probably much more likely to result in task x being done today than "John, task x needs doing". If you want to know more about this kind of thing it might be best to make a different thread or do some searching on the site.



LisaFiene
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13 May 2013, 12:31 am

Hi, you're right you know. When John received the formal diagnosis he was kind of relieved, as it explained a lot for him - all of his life's difficulties etc. I just found myself feeling very protective of him, because I love him.



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13 May 2013, 4:28 am

LisaFiene wrote:
Hi, you're right you know. When John received the formal diagnosis he was kind of relieved, as it explained a lot for him - all of his life's difficulties etc. I just found myself feeling very protective of him, because I love him.


Now that your husband has a diagnosis, remember the old Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times."


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13 May 2013, 6:22 am

LisaFiene wrote:
Well, John's "John" to me - I don't know how I feel about a label. Why can't we just say that everybody's different?


Being recently diagnosed as an adult (and being married) this is how my wife has responded as well. Bravo.


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13 May 2013, 7:16 am

I understand feeling protective, but just so you know, this site isn't about attacking anyone or making anyone feel labeled. It's a discussion forum, so people talk about that stuff, but the rules even explicitly state that people are not to make derogatory statements about AS or NT as such.

So don't worry, people can be plain spoken but there's no real need to feel as if someone is out to put him down so to speak - not here.

JMO



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13 May 2013, 7:28 am

LisaFiene wrote:
Hi, you're right you know. When John received the formal diagnosis he was kind of relieved, as it explained a lot for him - all of his life's difficulties etc. I just found myself feeling very protective of him, because I love him.



I think my husband may be an aspie but there's not much chance of him being diagnosed- partly because of where we live, his heart health issues and perhaps because of our ages. We are struggling to get him back to good health. I really understand how you feel when you say about the labeling, as well as I've been feeling really protective of him and and also feeling very sorry for him. I understand him much better now. I also feel regret that I haven't been as patient as I might have been and that we didn't know anything about Aspergers and that I'm alone with this knowledge - at least for now.
Anyway all the best! :) Good luck w/the journey you are both on.



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13 May 2013, 7:30 am

I didn't see any attacks or any derogatory words.


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13 May 2013, 7:32 am

No there haven't been any, League_Girl. But she said she felt protective of him so I wanted to reassure her it is safe in the forums.

I've noticed a lot of the new members who are NT wives with AS husbands flinch if they perceive anyone has criticized, and they react a bit defensively, so I was hoping to deflect some of that in advance I think.