Looking back to when I was a confused child, the one thing I remembered was that I knew I was different. I didn’t necessarily have a diagnosis (that I know of) but the word ‘autistic’ was always in the front of my mind. Not really understanding what it meant, I was somehow still scared of people knowing. It was almost as if I thought it was a negative before understanding what it actually meant.
One day in year 4, we were doing a big painting for our classroom wall. It involved a big piece of paper on the floor and a selection of pupils to paint on it, decided by the teacher. Suddenly, my teacher called out my name and said “you’re artistic! You can help paint.” My heart leaped at the word ‘artistic’, mistaking it for ‘autistic’. I panicked for a moment but soon realised that she didn’t mean what I thought. I was able to dismiss the anxiety and do the task in hand.
It has obviously been quite some time since that misunderstanding but it brought some truth to my eyes about how I felt about myself. I knew I wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of being classed as autistic or someone with asperger’s. Even now I feel a bit.. embarrassed by it. Truth be told, I am quite accepting of it. As long as I know what I’m doing. But as soon as I start acting somewhat different, I worry as if I might make people feel uncomfortable.
And that’s where the problem lies.
Society has labelled everything as if there are categories for different types of people, and those who are on the spectrum are suddenly labelled as inadequate or stupid . This gives us a completely wrong name, just because someone has met another person with asperger’s who can’t talk or doesn’t understand a lot of things. And even those people aren’t inadequate. It’s just those people who feel uncomfortable about us or chose to judge us as someone we are not. They’re the stupid ones.
As someone who has had an experience of being rejected for a voluntary position because of having asperger’s, I am greatly offended by how society labels us. The spectrum is so vast that no two people on it, are the same. So to put us in to the same category is like putting a dog and cat into the same category themselves. “Well they do both have hunting instincts and come from a larger animal of their species.” But they aren’t the same.
I have 3 other friends, all who have asperger’s and even my boyfriend has it, and I can definitely say, we are all different from each other. It’s actually amazing how we all have our own little thing. So honestly, I can definitely say that people with asperger’s, are amazing. Particularly because they are loyal. They will not ditch you when they fancy because they aren’t too comfortable with change, it may seem rude but we’re definitely saving you when we tell you that your bum looks big in that dress and if you like curling up in front of the TV because you don’t feel like going out shopping or clubbing, they’ll easily join you on that one.
Just don’t ask us to lie. We suck at that.
Overall, I feel that society has given Asperger’s Syndrome a poor reputation which is mostly based on fear. We aren’t the big, bad wolf, we are just people who need some time and patience.