An adult with Asperger’s Disorder offers some tips on how people with that high functioning form of autism should be treated.
Asperger’s Syndrome is a fairly unique disability in that while the person who has it may look “normal”, his social and communications skills are crippled due to this disorder.
Because the “aspie” suffers from traits ranging from a difficulty making friends, to having an obsession with routines and reacting badly when they unexpectedly change, to saying and doing inappropriate things without having any idea they are inappropriate, people tend to misunderstand him and are annoyed by his idiosyncrasies, choosing to be intolerant even though the aspie often can’t help what he – or she – does.
I know this is so because I have Asperger’s, and have thus suffered from different individuals being intolerant of me and my unintentional actions throughout my life, disliking me because of something I cannot help.
Recently I got the idea to make a list of how people with AS – short for Asperger’s – ought to be treated as well as strategies for tolerating folks with this developmental disability, which is essentially what AS is. As aspies are oftentimes difficult to deal with because they seem so clueless in their social behavior, I know that the things I’m about to suggest may not be the easiest to do.
However, while no one is advocating any special treatment of this population, if these tips are followed it will go a long way toward the AS sufferer feeling better about himself (or herself), as loneliness and depression are common side effects in aspies.
So without wasting any more time, here are five suggestions on how those with Asperger’s should be treated by those who don’t:
1. Like anyone else who is different, whether due to race, religion, sexual orientation or disability, DO NOT JUDGE. As the mother of Temple Grandin, the livestock expert who’s a high functioning autistic, told her in that HBO movie, “You are different, not less.” Just because one’s an aspie whose social skills are not as good as neurotypicals – those without any disabilities – does not mean they should be judged and condemned by society.
2. Though it may be a difficult thing to do, one should at least attempt to see the aspie’s good qualities and emphasize those in their interactions with them. The aspie’s talents and expertise in whatever subject or topic they are into should be encouraged and celebrated, rather than seen as strange and a turn-off as is oftentimes the case.