21 April 2013

Misunderstandings and Ignorance

The intention of my blog isn't to go on just about the negatives or challenges of Asperger's.  I want to create a more rounded view showing the positives, but there are some challenges you can't ignore and one of these is the very reason I started this blog - misunderstandings. 

Misunderstandings happen on a daily basis in every walk of life, essentially it is a part of life.  But you could certainly argue that for people with Asperger's or autism misunderstandings happen on a greater frequency, let's face it when you process and think differently to the norm it is likely that this will be true.  But it is not just the misunderstanding that is the problem.
Generally where there is a misunderstanding, whether it leads to confrontation or not, it can be corrected.  Yes...sometimes the damage is already done but repair work can still be started.  In people with Asperger's sometimes this correction or repair is extremely difficult because they might not have the skills to negotiate such a situation.  In my experience these situations are unbearable and everything inside me fails to come out and I accept criticism or other negative consequences when it is inaccurate or unjust.  Either that or I end up feebly protesting to someone who is no longer listening.
Ok so that kind of covers misunderstandings as a result of an action.  However misunderstandings go much deeper than this, I suppose you could call them misassumptions.  By their very nature people with Asperger's or autism are misunderstood or subject to misassumption.  The way they present or appear from the outside can seem strange or even intimidating in some cases.  Such as the child acting out terribly in the supermarket that someone may assume is just a really naughty child when in fact that child is responding to a stimulus that upsets and distresses them.  Whether you know of a person's diagnosis or not there are likely to be behaviours particularly the more direct behaviours like total, brutal honesty that can make others feel uncomfortable. 
Inevitably these misunderstandings are caused by ignorance to the "problem" and maybe a little bit of something you are not used to.  Now I have no problem with people being ignorant to what Asperger's is and in being able to recognise it - sometimes this is unavoidable and it is impossible to walk around diagnosing everyone and having full or partial knowledge on every condition known to man.  People, as well, are concerned with their own lives and what affects them and largely that is ok.  On the whole most people are open to learning about differences.  The kind of ignorance, however, that I do have a problem with is when people who are informed of diagnosis and maybe information on how it affects you choose that instead of being supportive or 'accepting but inactive' to take ignorance to a new level by applying judgement and basically bitching about the way you are - because you struggle to be social.  When my actions are not harmless and to be in these environments is difficult for me, and they know that, I find that distasteful and hard to accept.  You wouldn't trip a person on crutches so why would you make an already uncomfortable social experience worse for someone with Asperger's or autism?  Just because they are not like you?
Of course the other side of the coin are the misunderstandings about the rest of the world and other people that Aspies make.  We try very hard to fit in or adjust to a world that doesn't suit us that well when really it is and should be perfectly fine for us to just be ourselves.  I hope that one day I won't need to explain my behaviours and I will certainly never apologise for them just because I seem a little different...

19 April 2013

Welcome to my blog

Welcome everyone to my very own blog!

I used to think that writing my own blog may be looked upon as really self-indulgent, similar to having your own website but I have come to realise the importance of these spaces on the internet to connect with other people and get your message out.  With some of the plans and ideas I have and want to carry out these spaces are essential.  Having just started my own business and the expense involved in that and creating a website for that I have put off and put off creating my own personal website but now I just can't put it off any longer and I'll get to why shortly.

Ok so that's the website but why the blog??  Well a website is great, it is very structured and packed with information but a blog, a blog is a place that can provide an insight into the way I think, the things I want to achieve and the way I live.  I have Asperger's Syndrome and for a while I have wanted to raise awareness about Asperger's Syndrome and do something to help others with the condition.  And as somebody with Asperger's Syndrome there are a lot of things I find frustrating such as the fact that so many pieces of information are so difficult to access and make sense of, how many people don't have a clue about Asperger's and that so many that do have so much inaccurate information...  And that is just the 'tip of the iceberg'.  I want to do what I can to create a positive change and a blog is a big part of that because this is an insight into me, someone with Asperger's and the way I live and see things.  Of course not all people with Asperger's are completely the same as I am, some will be completely different but I can only comment on my experience of it until I can understand how others experience it. 

My blog is going to cover everything from the heavy stuff when I'm struggling with things through to the good things and even just my take on things happening in the world.  Hopefully I will manage to get one post out a week, I'm not expecting people to be enthralled by and excitedly anticipating my next post, I just want to put it out there because I'm open enough to do so.  I have been lucky that I have had some really good people around me who have helped me tremendously over the last few years, I have achieved some great things in my life already and I want to show that people with Asperger's CAN be successful and CAN achieve when they are given the support they need and an opportunity to succeed. 

So that's my blog up and running, oh and before I forget....why I can wait no longer to create my own personal website and my Asperger's awareness campaign?  Well of course April is Autism Awareness month and the 2nd of April was World Autism Awareness Day.  When on twitter on this day I was inspired by the number of people out there doing things to raise awareness and to make the lives of those on the autism spectrum better.  It got me thinking and I really just couldn't hold back any longer, so here I am!