Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Benefits...on a lighter, more positive note

Time to focus on the Positive Aspects:
I have had enough of the "heavy" stuff for the moment so I scanned the internet and found some insightful information and quotes.
As author Diane Kennedy states, "They (people with Aspergers) are our visionaries, scientists, diplomats, inventors, chefs, artists, writers and musicians. They are our original thinkers and a driving force in our culture."
Hans Asperger, the German doctor who discovered the syndrome,believed that "for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential. The essential ingredient may be an ability to turn away from the everyday world, from the simply practical and to rethink a subject with originality so as to create in new untrodden ways with all abilities canalized into the one speciality."
Dr. Temple Grandin, an adult with autism who became a successful engineer, academic and speaker, believes that her disorder is an asset. She once famously called NASA a sheltered workshop for people with autism and Aspergers. She believes that people with autistic spectrum disorders are the great innovators, and "if the world was left to you socialites, nothing would get done and we would still be in caves talking to each other."
Aspies often have advanced vocabularies, recognize patterns that others do not, and pursue ideas despite evidence to the contrary because they are not easily swayed by others opinions.
They also see the world differently than most people and are able to comprehend multiple levels of the meaning of words and can make fabulous punsters. When told they had to "eat and run,' one Aspie said,"Oh, that makes us carnivorous panty hose."
Many experts relate that Aspies make amazingly loyal friends. They are usually free from sexism or racism. They do not manipulate people but speak frankly and honestly. They are sincere truth-tellers, whose naivety and trusting nature makes them incapable of backstabbing. As employees, they are completely dependable and follow the rules of the job.
Psychologist Teresa Bolick writes,"Their deficits are actually assets as they are unfettered by convention or manners. Aspies help us stay grounded by questioning why we do what we do, why we need to get married and other basic societal assumptions."
Life is what you make of it and how you perceive it. Life is good.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Sense of Humor...Surely You Jest

There were a couple of references, in my todays reading literature, that mentioned humor and I thought I'd share.
Aspies have emotional responses as strong as, or perhaps stronger than,most people, though what generates an emotional response might not always be the same.
And, in the same vein, Aspies are notorious for an extreme or different sense of humor.
Here is a ready example of my current obsessive fixation with, what I consider to be, most hilarious profile pictures on my facebook page.
It all started with someone saying, "Post a picture of you and your significant other"...Well I wasn't about to blandly follow such criteria so i proceeded to upload photos of...Batman and Robin kissing (cartoons), Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, Oprah Winfrey and her "friend" Gail, Dr. Evil and Minime from Austin Powers, (can there really be an Aspie out there who does Not love Autisn Powers and Ace Ventura?) 2 Fembots (beautiful, negligee-clad, blonde bombshells that are actually killer robots), Tom and Jerry and Superman holding Lois Lane. OMG LMAO even thinking about it.
So, now that VD day is over I found a Mona Lisa in a StarTrek outfit that is my current picture.
All this from the woman who cried with sadness when she saw "Charlie Brown" at the theater ten years ago. So sad, picked on, depressed Charlie Brown.
If something tickles Really Tickles me and I can break out into a laugh or grin days later when I think about it. Sometimes when I am driving alone in my car or just walking down the street or an aisle at the grocery store. :)
What is really finding the hot button of what makes an Aspie Really Happy. Its a lot like a cork in a bottle, day after day, after day until...POP and all that suppressed emotion comes rolling and bubbling forth at amazing velocity often infecting, affecting everyone around.
I can't count how many times a friend had to put her hands over her ears, literally, because I was squealing with great delight. Ok, I have seriously learned to tone down my responses but it is still fun to see it in my eldest. Just the other day he received a brand new XBox for absolutely no reason and as a total surprize. He jumped up and down, clapping his hands in sheer delight. It is definitely a moving experience.
Passion...for all their lack of everyday emotional display, if you hit an Aspies emotional hot button out.
I remember not that long ago, when I went to one of my monthly school meetings. And, all along I thought I had been presenting my thoughts and feelings on things when a teacher mentioned something about the students need to do portfolios and I felt as if I practically jumped at the opportunity to express my great dismay at this school-issued requirement. And it felt like every eye in the room was suddenly upon me, the crowd fell silent, and finally one of the teachers said something to the effect like, "Wow, Amy actually has an opinion on something!" Had I been amongst strangers, i would have been heartily embarrassed but I wasn't. Whew. And it was interesting because I really thought I had been sharing opinions all along but in truth, it really was my first definitive, very strong opinion. I had bottled up all my deep, passionate dislike for these portfolios and it just kinda burst forth, at the right time.
I don't know...I guess its a lot like looking over a calm, clear sea and only guessing at the depth and churning of the water below.

The Literal

Oh, in perusing the latest Aspergers Internet material, I came across the most perfect example of how an Aspie takes things literally:
When a teacher asks a child with Aspergers, "And did the dog eat your homework?", the child will remain silent if they don't understand the expression, trying to figure out if they need to explain to the teacher that they don't have a dog and besides dogs don't generally like paper. the child doesn't understand what the teacher is asking, cannot infer the teachers meaning or the fact that there is a non-literal meaning from the tone of voice, posture or facial expression, and is faced with a question which made as much sense as "Did the glacier in the library bounce today?" The teacher walks away from the experience frustrated and thinking the child is arrogant, spiteful and insubordinate. The child sits there mutely, feeling frustrated and wronged.
I found this to be a fairly good example of the literal thinking of Aspergers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Greatest Movie in My World...

I simply adore the movie, "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" and would highly recommend it to all. Not only is it free of violence and cursing, which is why I thought I enjoyed it so much in the first place...but it very accurately portrays Aspergers from four different points of view!
There are four main characters; Eric, the 10 year old boy, who makes friends with squirrels and an occasional adult; Mahoney, the frustrated genius who can't quite tap into her great potential; Henry, the Mutant, the socially awkward adult businessman, who learns how to play and connect; and Mr. Magorium, the aging inventor, comfortable in his own odd, quirky ways and quite prophetic!
Oh, how I adore this movie. From the first time I saw it with the odd, brightly colored, graphics in the opening credits, I knew this was something very special and highly unique. And I was cautiously optimistic, as I watched and somewhat in awe...could this really be? Why haven't I heard of this movie before? Why isn't everyone talking about it?
The first time I watched, I could easily identify with the boy, Eric, as he struggled to make friends and was ostracized at every turn. He could connect with adults who were similarly unique but not children his own age. His mother tries her best to help..but she endlessly worries about his inability to make friends.
And then there is Mahoney, the female character, played by Natalie Portman. She is a frustrated, oh, so frustrated composer, who knows she is destined for greatness, that she is so much more than a store clerk. Her character was rather difficult for me to watch, at first. Because I feel that same frustration of being trapped and unable to express the magic that is within.
On to Henry, affectionately known as "the Mutant" because he is an accountant. He never once balks at being called Mutant...probably because he does feel like an alien. He tries so hard to be helpful and to make his affections known but is stymied at every turn. He is afraid to connect and has no clue how to play. (One of the typical Aspergers dilemmas that I must address at some point. Aspies simply don't know how to play as children or rather, with other children) And Henry tries so very hard. He finds people that he would like to get to know better and finally figures it out!
Ahhh, Mr. Magorium...a stranger, more likable character has never before been seen. Right away, I was drawn to him. He is quirky, dressing in odd, colorful clothes (do you see the appeal, here? :), going against the mainstream, questioning authority or, the social norm and living his own life as he darn well pleases. And he is a kind, gentle, very wise soul.
Oh, the wisdom in this movie...I found quite profound!!!
And it is so pleasant and enjoyable. One of the few times that I have seen aspects of myself and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I have watched this movie a few dozen times and will surely view it a few dozen more.
It is uplifting, makes you feel good inside and actually gives me a little tickle just to think about.
This is my bestest, most favorite movie of all times!!
Zach Helm who wrote and directed it, is a genius and hopefully, probably an Aspie to be proud of!!! Thank you Zach Helm!!!
Rent this movie, buy it, see it...and tell me what you think!!!! :)