Do people really know what Asperger's syndrome is??

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obsessingoverobsessions
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28 Apr 2016, 10:44 am

So today I told someone I think I have Asperger's syndrome and their reaction was, "oh, Asperger's syndrome is so sad!" with that horrible pitying tone of voice. I didn't say anything otherwise I would probably bore her by explaining it so I walked away.
I don't think it's sad, I mean, it's a brain difference with both positive and negative sides.

What makes people react with pity?


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28 Apr 2016, 10:48 am

Some people probably instantly assume the more or less extreme bad sides of it, so they must think something along the lines of "You must be some kind of social outcast who wishes to be accepted, dwells in a corner, can't make friends despite trying to and who is very weird and has "no life" because of being busy with just one thing all the time".

Mind you, this is just a spontaneous idea based on how I see it often portrayed in media. Considering how much NTs value socialising, they will likely just find it sad when thinking of the above.


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28 Apr 2016, 10:55 am

Sorry if this post is a bit long. This is just my opinion.

The three reasons I think people react the way they do:

1: culture around disability.

Time main model of disability is the medical model. Eg a list of things which are considered wrong or write. This is a hangover from how medicine came out of science.

A better model (and the model adopted in the UK) is the social model of disability. I certainly have impairments (eg, my impaired ability to speak) but those impairments don't have to result in a disability. I become disabled when the environment does not adapt to support the impairment. If I don't need to make phone calls and can do it via email, my impairment does not result in a disability.

When people start to understand the social model of disability, the focus moves away from the person to adapting the environment. Everyone benifits.

2: the media.

The media does not do a good job representing autism. It tends of rely on stereotypes and other short hands. It's getting better but it's a slow change. Most peoples experience of autism comes from media. So it paints a bad expectation.

3: confusing terms.

There are so many different terms (Aspergers, autism, ASC, ASD, autistic) that the terms get really confusing. I identify and autistic, which means something a little bit different to someone who may identity as "has Aspergers". There is no single perspective. (Thought the research in the Uk shows a strong preference towards identity first language).

Hope that helps.


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obsessingoverobsessions
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28 Apr 2016, 11:26 am

Thank you for the clear explanations :D I often have trouble understanding what other people think, so this was very helpful to me!


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28 Apr 2016, 2:55 pm

obsessingoverobsessions wrote:
So today I told someone I think I have Asperger's syndrome and their reaction was, "oh, Asperger's syndrome is so sad!" with that horrible pitying tone of voice. I didn't say anything otherwise I would probably bore her by explaining it so I walked away.
I don't think it's sad, I mean, it's a brain difference with both positive and negative sides.

What makes people react with pity?


Two issues: the title question, and the question youre asking in the OP.

About the question in the OP: "why do folks react with great pity when you tell them you have been dx with asperger's?"

Thats a good question. I have gotten that too.

Its because they think its like getting a dx of (not gonna say cancer) diabetes, or most chronic diseases.

They assume that a dx is tantamount to bad news about a future of suffering that you are gonna have.

If a doctor tells you you have diabetes then that means that youre in for a lifetime of hardship to come that you have never had before.

Laymen in your life dont grasp that if you have aspergers you have already done the suffering part for your whole life- and the dx is just amounts to an explanation for this mysterious suffering you have already had, are having, and already know will continue to have- so a dx is a neutral to good thing. Not at any kind of harbinger of anything to come that you dont already live with.

About the title question: do folks know really know about aspergers?

Are you KIDDING? Do you actually go through life expecting folks to know what "aspergers" is?

A few years ago mom and sis suggested to a therapist I was going to that I might have it , and ...guess what?

My therapist had never ever even heard of aspergers before! She had to read up on it overnight. And this is a qualified psychologist, and this was at least a decade after it had been recognized as an official diagnosis in the USA.

You have to assume folks do NOT have ANY notion of what the term "aspergers" means.



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28 Apr 2016, 3:16 pm

SpacedOutAndSmiling wrote:
Sorry if this post is a bit long. This is just my opinion.

The three reasons I think people react the way they do:

1: culture around disability.

Time main model of disability is the medical model. Eg a list of things which are considered wrong or write. This is a hangover from how medicine came out of science.


In my experience & education (raised conservative Christian, took quite a few courses that focused on the history & how the theology was "guided", etc.), it didn't come from science. The moral judgement of disabilities being good or evil AFAIK stemmed from the long held belief that God is perfect; Adam was created in his image. Everyone since was further from God's Grace (ie perfection in every way) and the more someone varied from the ideal representation of God (or by proxy, Adam or Jesus) the further they were from Grace. Others who stray from that model of "perfection" (as historically determined by the white male Europeans @ the top of the Church hierarchy) are people with dark skin, women, those of mixed sex development and of course, people with disabilities. It's only in the last 50 years that the idea of a physical difference = some moral shortcoming has faded from our culture (though some are trying to bring it back).


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28 Apr 2016, 3:51 pm

Lot of people view disabilities as a tragic thing so they feel pity for someone with it. Then when they do something normal like everyone else, people see them as a inspirational and even parents will brag about their disabled child doing an accomplishment and everyone makes a huge deal out of it than they would with a normal child doing that same thing. In a way they are inspirational but for other people with disabilities and for parents of special needs kids because they can see the positive and have hope and not feel so down.


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28 Apr 2016, 4:20 pm

I met a lady who had an Aspergian granddaughter. Not knowing that I also have Asperger's, (now I just say Autism since the DSM removed the Asperger's diagnosis before I got my DX) she said to me, in front of her granddaughter and in front of her daughter or it may have been her son's daughter, I don't know which, but it was the child's mom, "I pity those people." You should have see her face when I told her I also had Asperger's. Then she argued with me about me having it. Then once she accepted me having it she came out the the oh so common, "Then you must be so high functioning." I just about exploded after that.


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28 Apr 2016, 10:19 pm

NT people have very little of an idea about what aspergers and autism spectrum disorders are. Even less so than depression, in my experience. How are they supposed to know something that they've never felt?


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28 Apr 2016, 10:32 pm

It's because they see it as a horrible disease that's worse than cancer that needs to be cured.


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28 Apr 2016, 11:57 pm

When most "ordinary" NT people think of autism, they think of some pathetic child off in his/her own world, non-verbal, babbling incoherently or else silent, staring out in space, not relating at all to other human beings. I started life out that way, but with some early intervention, I began to speak and relate to some people, usually adults that I knew. So many people thought that I was "cured" of autism, which at that time, was thought to be an "emotional disturbance."

I actually swallowed that definition. This all happened in the fifties/sixties. I'm a senior citizen and now I know that autism is a neurological condition, not a mental disturbance. I found out from a qualified doctor that I'm still as autistic as I was when I was very young and non-verbal. Unfortunately, many people are as ignorant as I used to be.



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29 Apr 2016, 12:55 am

Who can know what motivated that person to say that. Maybe in their experience someone having Aspergers was a tragic affair. Maybe they saw a video like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDGvquzn2k

Would an opposite type of reaction like "That's good news" or I'm so happy for you" make any sense?
I personally don't really expect anyone to understand autism. Just like there are conditions and disabilities which I don't understand.

I have a cousin who is only 3 years old, and my parents suspect he might have Aspperger's, based on their experience being around kids who have it. To be honest, I hope he doesn't. And if I am told in the future it was discovered that he does, my reaction will be something like, "I am sorry to hear that".

Autism is a tricky field. It's not purely tragic like having something like schizophrenia. But it's also not something I would wish on anyone.



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31 Jul 2018, 9:58 pm

I heard everyone calling Asperger's syndrome a disability.

It's not.



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31 Jul 2018, 10:01 pm

Short answer is no. Long answer also no.


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31 Jul 2018, 10:13 pm

The other day I saw a book written in the 1950's by a "psychologist" who very strongly believed homosexuality was a horrible neurotic disease that needed a cure and that gay people were evil and narcissistic, and even for something written in the 50's it was terrible.

Now it's like that with Asperger's. Nothing in the world has changed. Most neurotards have no clue whatsoever what Asperger's is, and even if they did they wouldn't care because they're bullies, and so *they're* the ones who have zero empathy or emotional intelligence. :x



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31 Jul 2018, 11:22 pm

Um, is anyone even responding to my comment?