Saying you have AS - making yourself an easy target?

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21 Jan 2009, 4:23 pm

ed wrote:
I may be in a unique situation. My employer has to know about my AS, because my sense of smell is so wildly extreme that I have to be in a fragrance-free area. I have a MySpace page. There are really only two groups of people who are going to be interested in it: you Wrong Planet members, who obviously already know about my AS, and my many, many friends (whose names generally escape me :lol: ) who I see at Max Creek shows. I feel so stupid that I can't remember who they are, and can't make small talk, that I want them to know it is because I have a handicap in that area, and don't mean to seem rude or unfriendly. I do so much for them (nowadays posting old Max Creek shows to the Internet Archive or posting my photos from a show to my website) that they are always glad to see me, even if I am a jerk. :D

This is what I posted on my MySpace page:

Quote:
I'm a 64 year old male with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Among other things, this causes massive distortions in the five senses. My sense of smell is grossly exaggerated for fragrances (perfume, cologne, after-shave, smelly soaps, flowers, etc) and cleaning products, so severe that it is diagnosed as an allergy. I also have problems with the smell of alcohol, which is why I don't drink.
It also means that I am socially "clumsy" (to say the least!) I don't know how to make "small talk," but if you get me talking about any of my passions, I can bore you to death! :) I can't remember names and faces, at least until I get to know the person very well (This is particularly embarassing at Max Creek shows, where everybody knows me :) And I can't look other people directly in the eyes, probably the most consistent symptom of Asperger's Syndrome. If it appears that I am, I'm really looking you in the mouth, which seems to be good enough for most people :)


People don't need to know about your AS because of your sense of smell. They can know you have a good sense of smell without knowing the label.



AmberEyes
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22 Jan 2009, 4:23 pm

Sadly, bullies will try and exploit any perceived differences/weakness they find in other people.

All they need is an excuse.
If they can't immediately see an excuse, they'll pester you until they invent one.

I've lost count of the numbers of people with disabilities and differences which aren't their faults be harassed and called names by other people. The intolerance I've witnessed is disgraceful: it's as if the bullies have no respect for human life at all.

Sometimes it's best to keep quiet, but even then...



Sea_of_Saiyan
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22 Jan 2009, 4:44 pm

I've told a few of my close friends that I think that I have it and linked them to the Aspie Quiz, which they all got a good laugh out of. Other than that, I don't see what the point would be in publicly exploiting it.

It's very anger-breeding when people make fun of others for their disabilities, as I most recently saw at my last psychology class where a middle aged woman was laughed at for the way she stared/stimmed while reading off a group report.



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23 Jan 2009, 4:43 am

AmberEyes wrote:
Sadly, bullies will try and exploit any perceived differences/weakness they find in other people.

All they need is an excuse.
If they can't immediately see an excuse, they'll pester you until they invent one.

I've lost count of the numbers of people with disabilities and differences which aren't their faults be harassed and called names by other people. The intolerance I've witnessed is disgraceful: it's as if the bullies have no respect for human life at all.

Sometimes it's best to keep quiet, but even then...


I don't tell anyone about my AS,
but i have noticed that same conduct. if bullies can't see a difference to pick on they will just make one up.



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24 Jan 2009, 10:10 pm

AmberEyes wrote:
marshall wrote:
There might be other reasons not to tell people though. It doesn't really make sense to me to tell anyone unless there's a clear advantage to them having that knowledge. In most cases though people don't really understand what the condition is so it's quite pointless to tell them.


Yes.

There's never been any clear advantage for me, so I usually keep my mouth shut.
Telling people would actually be social and occupational "suicide".
I might as well walk around with a giant arrow above my head.

And they usually don't believe you anyway and think that you should "just get on with things".

Where I come from, some people still think that it's contagious and only little boys who repeatedly stick their hands into the deep-fat fryer can have the condition.
At the word "syndrome" or "autism" most people want to run or avoid the subject altogether or discuss far worse cases in depth and not listen to me.

If I do tell people, my close friends and relatives say that "I'm better than that", I "can't possibly have it" because the doctors were "deliberately lying to me"; that it will invalidate all my achievements and everything I've worked so hard for; that there's nothing "wrong" with me at all and I'm just deliberately attracting attention to myself; and that I "shouldn't label" myself; and that I shouldn't let "them" (doctors professionals etc.) win and that I should just "forget about it" because they are all "wrong".

When I do tell people in confidence such as counsellors, there's really nothing they can do anyway. They just tell me to "express my feelings" or that I'm "on a journey". When I tell them about my past their jaws drop with dumbfounded bewilderment and they openly admit that they aren't experienced enough to deal with me.

They give me no practical advice or clear coping strategies or helpful step by step courses of action.
Nothing.


I agree.
and then there are those that see before them an aging woman that is asking for help that should rightly go to the children, for they are the future and I am, apparently, the past. I have already done what adapting I am going to do, and besides, no one knows how to reach me, anyway. Panicked and desparate parents will be far easier to string along in pricy appointments for years.

Merle


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buryuntime
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24 Jan 2009, 10:28 pm

I've been kind of worried about this. I suddenly left public school, didn't tell anyone so I just kind of vanished. And I'm going to be attending again soon, but with accommodations or perhaps even an aide if the school can provide it. And I KNOW I'm going to bombarded with questions about why I have these now and why I'm back... and I really don't walk to talk to any of them because none of them'll ever be my friend.



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24 Jan 2009, 10:29 pm

I don't offer information unless it is relevant to a conversation, so it is a rare that I inform anyone.

That said, I don't particularly care whether they do or not. I've met very literal/gullible neurotypicals and very literal/gullible aspies; I'm rather irritated by both and pretty certain I don't qualify as literal or gullible. Subtext is not only obvious to me, but very stimulating.

I'm sure I'm vulnerable to quite a lot of forms of abuse, but I'm confident that being cheated isn't one of them, and I think the others are unrelated to Asperger Syndrome.


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25 Jan 2009, 12:53 am

buryuntime wrote:
I've been kind of worried about this. I suddenly left public school, didn't tell anyone so I just kind of vanished. And I'm going to be attending again soon, but with accommodations or perhaps even an aide if the school can provide it. And I KNOW I'm going to bombarded with questions about why I have these now and why I'm back... and I really don't walk to talk to any of them because none of them'll ever be my friend.


when I was your age, anytime any girl 'left for a while' and came back, the gossip was she 'went to visit Aunt Florence' which was code for 'went to the Florence Critterden home for Wayward Girls (and Unwed Mothers).' At least you don't have 'that' to live down.

Merle


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MegaAndy
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25 Jan 2009, 5:54 pm

Dokken wrote:
i just tell people i'm a pirate

this reminds me of when i had extra time with an exam i had recently and as a reply to why i made an inside joke to the person about coming second in a race once :lol:



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25 Jan 2009, 5:56 pm

I don't mention it outside of family and online AS forums.



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25 Jan 2009, 7:11 pm

I recently told a coworker, and he actually said "it wouldn't surprise me if you said you have autism, my sister is AS, and I show some traits, but not enough for a diagnosis." Followed by me specifying that it was AS I had, and we ended up talking about that because it was a really slow day.



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25 Jan 2009, 8:47 pm

I impulsively told a coworker - she was transfering to another office - and she just lit up like a Christmas tree with smiles and grins! Seems her daughter was recently diagnosed on the Spectrum and it meant so much for her to see someone all grown up and supporting herself. I was humbled that it was so little for me to do that meant so much to her.


Merle


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25 Jan 2009, 8:51 pm

Greentea wrote:
So how do you go about the world telling people you have AS? Isn't it risky to inform that one is easily cheated?

I tell people on a need-to-know basis, and because I consider myself to be almost normal this is rare.



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25 Jan 2009, 9:19 pm

My family knows and my partner knows, other than that I judge it on a case by case basis. I'm certainly not ashamed to have AS, but there are situations where it is advantageous for people to know and the opposite is also true.



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25 Jan 2009, 11:18 pm

I think people that don't accept me for having AS, aren't worth knowing at all. I get sick of keeping my AS from people. Some people know, but they don't like hearing about it.
It's not like I'm going to tell everybody I meet, but I'd like close friends to understand it.



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26 Jan 2009, 2:47 am

Yes I think by telling strangers you have AS it informs them that you can be exploited more easily. And that also you probably live alone so would be easier to steal from or rape.

That's why I think people who go out in public and announce that they have Aspergers in news articles or at ASD conventions are absolutely stupid.

My own experience is I've told people I know only to have them suddenly start treating me completely different than they used to. I've witnessed this most recently in an older friend suddenly trying to tell me what to do and take control of my life as if I was her child.