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Adults with Asperger's: Enough with the Negativity!

“I’m so tired of hearing all the negatives about Asperger’s. Those of us with the disorder are often on the receiving end of prejudice – and often misunderstood. It would be nice to hear something positive for a change!”

I agree wholeheartedly. There are significantly more positives associated with Asperger’s (high-functioning autism) than negatives. And the general public does seem to focus on the negative stuff.

For example, people on the spectrum allegedly (a) talk forever without pause about their favorite topic; (b) say things in conversation that are inappropriate, divergent or tactless; (c) respond violently to frustrating situations; (d) fail to read others’ standard body language; (e) are not good at small talk, especially intimate bantering; (f) dislike establishing eye contact; and (g) can’t do things that require social interaction …just to name a few.

The truth is that SOME Aspies have SOME of these traits. To say that ALL Aspies have ALL these traits is just plain stereotyping.



Indeed, there are certain features of Asperger’s that people with the disorder can use to their advantage. Here are just a few (and there are many more that I could add to the list):

1. Exceptional Global Insights: Many people with Asperger’s possess the knack for finding unique connections among multidisciplinary facts/ideas that allows them to create novel, rational, and important insights that other people would not have reached without them.

2. Rational Decision Making: Their ability to make logical decisions and stick to their course of action without being influenced by impulse or emotional responses enables them to navigate effectively through tough situations without being yanked off-course.

3. Internal Drive: Rather than being swayed by social pressure or fears, social convention, or the opinions of others, they can hold firm to their own purpose. Their exceptional ideas often thrive – despite the pessimism of others.

4. Self-Governing Thinking: Their willingness to consider unpopular or strange possibilities creates new options and opportunities that can pave the way for others.

5. Ability to Live in the Moment: The “typical” individual often fails to notice what's in front of his eyes because he’s distracted by social cues or random chitchat. However, the Aspie tends to truly focus on the sensory input that surrounds him (e.g., he may see the beauty that others miss). In other words, he has achieved the ideal of mindfulness.

6. Intense Focus: Many people with Asperger’s have the ability to focus on one objective over long periods of time without getting sidetracked, which enables them to accomplish large and demanding tasks.

7. Seeing Past the Bullshit: Their ability to recognize and speak the truth that is being "conveniently" ignored by other people is often crucial to the success of a project or business venture.

8. Passion: Many Aspies are truly enthusiastic about the things and ideas in their lives. They often take the time, imagination, and energy necessary to master their area of interest – and they persevere even when the going gets tough.

9. Attention to Detail: Their ability to remember and process small details without getting lost or overwhelmed gives them a unique advantage when solving multifaceted problems.

10. 3-Dimensional Visioning: Their ability to employ 3-dimensional thinking gives them a distinctive perspective when designing and creating solutions.

Having a person with Asperger’s in your life can have a profound and positive impact on your beliefs, perceptions and expectations. The Aspie’s unique way of thinking is often both refreshing and enlightening.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…  My 20 yr old son is the MOST amazing person I've ever known. It has been my greatest pleasure, guiding him through life. He makes me laugh, teaches me so many things (ridiculously intelligent) and is always there for me, when I need help (very kind) He's the best guy to hang out with (witty & cool) I wish life was easier for him, and that he could see himself through my eyes, and know how utterly incredible he is.  I adore him, just the way he is...  :)
•    Anonymous said…  My grand girl is amazing ,I love having conversations with her  ❤she always tells me exactly how she feels . and loves a joke or a laugh
•    Anonymous said… Aspergers is not a disability, it's a gift.. Everyone with Aspergers is CONNECTED... Autism was discovered in 1944, around the same time 6 million Jews were slaughtered... Aspergers was discovered in 1981, the same year I was born.
•    Anonymous said… Being married only half a year, you might want to save your post and read it again 40 years from now. Then I think you might have greater understanding of what others have shared. Just a thought...
•    Anonymous said… Boy get this a lot. I'm a mum and drive and been a carer for mum but still get negativities back at me. My children grown fine 2 are autisic and my daughter not. I no I done my self proud but only my kids seen that. I'm aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Having an Aspie in your life may be positive IF they aren’t your spouse or child. The traits that make them special also destroy the soul of the people closest to them. 28 years married to one.
•    Anonymous said… I agree! My 11 yr old is fine his diagnosis Also! But when it's meeting time at school I hear nothing but negativity... 😠
•    Anonymous said… I agree, my 12 year old daughter is fine with her diagnosis!! It does always seem to be the negatives people focus on in life in general. It’s sad.
•    Anonymous said… I am so proud of my daughter. She worked really hard to overcome the obstacles that were preventing her from being able to read and when it finally clicked with her she took off running. Her teachers all brag on her and tell me what an amazing influence she is on the other kids because she actively participates and shows a true joy of learning. She is a natural artist and when given free reign to express herself on her chosen medium (her skin) she makes the most beautiful drawings! She sings, draws, computes, writes stories, wants to be a leader and an activist. She may have some obstacles, but she has many more strengths.
•    Anonymous said… I feel them, especially with all this streotype culture going around while most being so busy therefore not having enough time even for a second subsequently which gets worse there are people poorly educated about people with Autism because they fail to understand that people with Autism have a mind of their own!
•    Anonymous said… I know that my boyfriend is the first man I’ve dated that can communicate with me in a way that really registers with me more than anyone else. When there is an issue, he is direct, spells it out in no uncertain terms and makes sure that I understand what is going on. As I sometimes have difficulties with relationships and communication due to my own psychological issues, I am grateful to him for this blunt honesty each and every time.
•    Anonymous said… I see Aspergers as a blessing and a gift that I wouldn't trade for anything. I love that I'm a Aspie and glad to finally have been diagnosed (at age 53). I have only one purpose in calling my Aspergers a disability and that is to get the medical, mental, and financial, help I need (which I can't get if there is "nothing wrong with me"). The only reason for that is having finally fallen apart (long long term Autism burnout) from having been forced into the life of a neurotypical since my birth.
•    Anonymous said… I see patterns where others see only chaos.
•    Anonymous said… I️ tell no one, and nobody even notices, yet everyone loves my personality and says how funny I️ am to be around. I️ excel at work and have never been reprimanded, The sad truth of it is that had they seen the label instead of the person their opinions would have changed
•    Anonymous said… I truly feel you. I hope in the future there is a dating site strictly for aspies. I think my wasband would sign up.
•    Anonymous said… I'm the same. I struggle in the social side of life (and therefore to get jobs) but once there I ignore all the banter in the staffroom and just get on with the job.
•    Anonymous said… IMO, our world needs people with aspergers. My son is so smart and pragmatic. He's a natural problem solver. Thank God for people like him, because we surely have plenty of problems that need solved.
•    Anonymous said… January 26, 2016. I met the man of my dreams. He definitely has aspergers and was diagnosed at a young age. In his heart he cares about people, wants to be a wonderful, providing husband/stepfather, and he is doing just that. We were married June 4th of this year, he is amazing. I really hate when people stereo type and categorize based on a diagnosis. Everyone is different, just because you had a shitty experience doesn't mean everyone else will and that you should preach that no one should date an aspie.
•    Anonymous said… Like most things in life, I find it's a very mixed thing. On one hand I have frequent nightmares and can get overwhelmed by too much perception coming in all at once.
•    Anonymous said… lol my son is so unique and interesting!
•    Anonymous said… Memory stronger than an elephant
•    Anonymous said… My 12 yr old often astounds me with his knowledge of odd facts and trivia he's absorbed goodness knows where. He also loves the cats and is so loving with them. He has fantastic hand/eye co-ordination. I'm always learning something about their view and take on the world, and their quirks. I feel like I've just scratched the surface and yet I know them the best.
•    Anonymous said… My 17 year old son is amazing! He's our gentle giant!
•    Anonymous said… My 23 yr old is funny, and loves her cats like they were her children. She's really good at ordering bookcases full of books. She can be blunt but very perceptive. Her problem solving often comes in totally from left field, I love that about her.
•    Anonymous said… My DS 12 has an excellent eye for detail. And different ways of solving problems.
•    Anonymous said… My husband has the benefits and I wish I were more like him in some ways. His Aspie traits are minimal but just enough to cause me occasional frustration and loneliness. I only wish he had as much interest in understanding me as I do him.
•    Anonymous said… My husband is amazing! I love him to pieces and think he and my daughter are the greatest things since sliced bread. There are times when it isn't perfect, but what the heck is? Contrast is what makes it all worth it in the end. So many people questioned how I could be with him, given I'm super spiritual and he's a progressive humanist, I tell them plain and simple, "He's the greatest man I've ever met." My aspie has all the traits listed in the second half of the article. I just wish he could apply that single-minded focus to cleaning the house. Lol
•    Anonymous said… My partner displays only 1 out of 10 of your positive traits but displays all of the stereotypical negative traits.
•    Anonymous said… My partner has Asperger's and yes it can be frustrating at times as I'm sure I can be. I wouldn't change a thing about him. To me, he's perfect. I've read some really awful things about how people treat their Aspie partners. My partner doesn't like being bought presents and I was originally offended but why should I or others try to impose their cultural values on him? I think people need to be kinder. 12 years and still going strong!
•    Anonymous said… Negativity comes mostly from people who are in relationship with some one with Asperger...We are on receiving end of it. Maybe it's a gift to the person that has it, but for those around them , I would say that 70-80% of the experience is negative.
•    Anonymous said… People on the outside are quick to notice what is perceived as a difficulty. Try living on the inside.
•    Anonymous said… Same. Mine is 14 and he's determined, clever, thoughtful, pragmatic, money-concious and polite.
•    Anonymous said… Similar for me - once I realised I didn't have to follow the social norms with my partner, I found I liked being free of them myself! We buy each othrr gifts when we want to, we never have to. And the gifts have more meaning now. It's just one positive example.
•    Anonymous said… This is similar to what I said recently, if I had the choice I would choose to be an aspie every time
•    Anonymous said… This proud Aspie can understand my students because I've been therre! And I'm therre every day!
•    Anonymous said… Um, I’m 24 years in, 5 children and yes, some of that has been really hard. But, a definitive diagnosis a few years ago, the right type of counseling and I have come to see that my husbands traits both positive and negative have changed me for the better.
•    Anonymous said… Ummm....There's many wonderful things i can and do say in regard to my friend but nothing positive comes to mind re the moments i understand as Aspergers...but will stay tuned to this post in hope that there is something.

Post your comment below…

Is Your ASD Partner a Jerk – or is it a Deficit in Reciprocity?

“Why is my husband (autistic) such an inconsiderate jerk?”

Unfortunately, people with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are often accused of being inconsiderate, selfish, uncaring or insensitive. It’s a cross many of these individuals have to bear.

The main trait associated with of Asperger’s and HFA is the problem of human connectedness. The term used to describe human connection is “reciprocity.” This refers to a person’s ability to engage others in a way that makes them feel connected. People with Asperger’s and HFA often lack reciprocity to one degree or another. 

For example, they may (a) seem either distant, stiff, or in other ways unconnected; (b) have difficulty reading subtle gestures and facial changes; (c) have difficulty interpreting subtleties in language, such as irony or sarcasm; (d) not read or respond as most people do to small changes in body posture or gestures; and (e) have difficulty maintaining eye contact in social conversations.

Some people with Asperger’s and HFA not only “seem” detached, but come across as being uninterested in having relationships with others. For example, they may (a) wish to connect with others, but simply don’t know how; (b) lack empathy; (c) have very little interest in the feelings and experiences of others; (d) have feelings for others, but can’t convey those feelings effectively; and (e) have difficulty deriving pleasure from connecting with others, learning about them, talking with them, or sharing experiences.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

At first, the “neurotypical” (NT) partner may see the “Aspie” as shy, quiet, stiff or withdrawn. As the NT begins to talk with the Aspie, it may appear that he or she responds robotically, has a monotonic voice, appears rather eccentric, and/or lacks warmth. There can be a sense that the Aspie just isn’t there when he/she is interacting with the NT partner (e.g., may seem overly interested in his/her topic of conversation and not the NT partner’s interests, may not know when to stop talking, may not know what to do when someone has finished making a point, etc.).

In conversation with an Aspie, the NT may find himself/herself asking most of the questions, waiting for obvious follow-ups that don’t occur, and otherwise doing most of the work in the exchange. The Aspie’s frequent robotic language and responses “seem” to suggest that his or her partner may as well be inanimate.

It’s not just a question of an inability to read social cues – there is an output problem (i.e., not knowing how to engage and maintain relationships with others) and an internal problem (i.e., he/she has no labels for feelings, and social/emotional information is confusing, undeveloped, absent, or not valued).





All too frequently, people on the autism spectrum seem not just disconnected, but preoccupied with one or two subjects that they may talk about endlessly. Some may even become upset when others do not share their enthusiasm for a given area of interest. There is a kind of immaturity (or fixed developmental delay) in which the feelings, interests, needs, perspectives and thoughts of others just aren’t important to them (or so it appears).

The simplest conversation among NT individuals is kind of a social dance – a flowing exchange of words, nonverbal cues and appropriate responses. Because there really is quite a lack of tolerance in society for not being able to engage in this kind of social behavior, an Aspie can soon become grist for the gossip mill and find himself or herself ostracized for ambiguous reasons.

So, this is why some people with Asperger’s and HFA can come across as jerks: their lack of reciprocity. I’m not saying Aspies never behave like jerks – some do. But in most cases, they are not trying to be an asshole, they simply struggle with connectedness-skills in the social arena.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the NT partner to think that his/her Aspie partner “should be able to do better” … “should try harder” … “has the ability to improve, but simply doesn’t want to” …etc. This, too, is a cross that people with Asperger’s and HFA must bear.




Resources for Neurodiverse Couples:

==> Online Group Therapy for Men with ASD

==> Online Group Therapy for NT Wives

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples 

==> One-on-One Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism  

==> Online Group Therapy for Couples and Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder

 ==> Cassandra Syndrome Recovery for NT Wives


Comments:

•    Anonymous said… Before I knew my son was an Aspie, I would actually ask him why he was being such a jerk  😞. Now I know why! It is normal for him.... sigh
•    Anonymous said… Deficit in reciprocity...perfect wording!
•    Anonymous said… Does anybody know of a good treatment center in N.Y. Florida or N.C.my son is Aspie but has too many traumas.
•    Anonymous said… He is able to show affection to his family and friends giving them compliments but when it comes to me he can’t say he loves me or show spontaneous affection. It’s hard if you are a NT that is affectionate and craves affection. He seems disconnected.
•    Anonymous said… I divorced one....it was difficult but stayed with my son:Aspie
•    Anonymous said… I hope if my grandson ever gets married it's to someone familiar enough with Aspergers that she never calls him names for behavior that is typical to his disorder.
•    Anonymous said… Love this. Thank you.
•    Anonymous said… Mine can be from time to time but I am sure I can be an ass too lol....my 22 year old son is very difficult generally
•    Anonymous said… Mine is a jerk now but wasn't at first, but not just to me, to all he interacts with. Very low empathy or none, just found out he has BPD and OCD apart from AS but was much better until 2 years ago then he started taking Keppra for his epilepsy and something changed in his behavior. Even he has noticed and tells me that something doesn't feel right in his mind and has more insomnia too but the neurologist won't change his prescription..  :(
•    Anonymous said… Mine was a Jerk! Lol
•    Anonymous said… So interesting...having a child with ASD sure makes you look at the world and others in it in a different perspective! God makes all of different some days it is a blessing...some days it is not  :)
•    Anonymous said… Some have to be reminded to reciprocate. Others do a good job of it.

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