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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Problems at the Voting Booth, Aspergers and Elections

I just returned from voting. There was one, single question on the ballot:
"Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in Manistee Area Public Schools, Manistee and Mason Counties, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed .95 mills ($0.95 on each 1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 3 years, 2012, 2013 and 2014, to create a sinking fund for the construction or repair of school buildings and other purposes authorized by law; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the mileage is approved and levied in 2012 is approximately $$488, 063?"

Really, this is the exact wording. I was positively stymied. Usually, Partner and I go over ballot proposals together, before voting day, so that I know which ballot box to check. With our recent weekend of traveling, we never got around to actually discussing election day.
I was in quite the quandary. I sat and read and retread the proposal, first quickly, then slowly, then one sentence at a time. I didn't understand. There was an oscillating between, "okay, I'm pretty sure this is what it means, so I vote this way", to "omg, every vote counts and what if I am wrong?"
Of course, this inner dialogue was peppered with, "Can I ask someone, one of the election workers, to clarify for me...and how would I word my question so they would understand my dilemma?"
Yup, I sat at the voting booth for a number of minutes, trying to figure it all out. I was wagering whether I should gamble and guess my vote or take the ridicule risk of asking someone to clarify. I finally decided on the latter.
So I formulated my introduction and question. "I am slightly autistic and I don't understand this ballot. Does voting yes mean that taxes will go up and more money will go to the schools?" The election worker was visually stunned. I'm quite sure that she had never had a question clse to this one. She took me aside and started reading me the proposal verbatim, word for word. About half-way through, I stopped her and said that I have read all the words, but I do not understand them. Then I repeated my question about taxes and school money. She had to think a minute, probably regarding the morals and ethics of her election job duties and rules. Finally, she answered my questions. Whew.
I returned to the voting booth and voted my conscious. Now I will spending various parts of my day rewinding this whole election fiasco to figure out how to prevent such stress again. I will look at ways that would have made the situation easier, ie, talking to someone beforehand and reading a copy of the proposal before election day.
Sigh, this is just one example of the everyday stressers that take place in my Aspielife. I feel better now that I can put words to some of my challenges. Little things are big things. Be kind to your local Aspie.