The Gift of a Disability

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Aspergers syndrome is part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder. This syndrome was discovered by Hans Asperger, a German behavioral scientist who studied many people who were brilliant, but didn't like social engagement. Aspergers syndrome -- just the name of it is material to have the severity of the disability taken lightly. When pitched from a whole, Aspergers, to a large percentage of the population, is a god-given gift. The fact of the matter is, the cons outweigh the pros, especially for a teenage adolescent, such as myself.

According to the Aspergers institution, people born with Aspergers have a naturally higher intellect than others. One lovely pro to Aspergers is that I've had opportunities that I would have never had before. I am also to understand larger concepts than others could my age. I remember back when we were learning about the constitution and the three branches of the government. My mind would simply paint a picture in my head that looked like a chart, that I could refer too at any time. Whenever the class would explore a new concept or go further into the puzzle that is our government, questions or confusion would overwhelm the classroom. The day we learned about the checks and balances of the government, there was a line in front of the teacher, and then in front of me for questions. Looking back on all that I was able to understand, and that words and puzzle pieces fit together in my mind, the intellectual boost of Aspergers is a nice perk.

Despite these advantages, I must hear “Robert, you are weird.” Or “Robert, you creep me out” more times than I care to mention. This is because the flip side of Aspergers Syndrome Disorder (ASD). Aspergers in retrospect, is not knowing where the “line” is in social gathering. For example, when I was younger, I had a girlfriend named Jenna that I was quite fond of. I humored her and kept her pleased through indirect communication, but when we would meet face-to-face I'd creep back into my shell. She terminated our relationship a few weeks after it started because I was too "awkward" to be around. Due to having trouble with interaction with others, most ASD people tend to keep to themselves, I on the other hand, seek conversation. I often ponder to myself, is it because I’m too stupid to realize I’m making a fool out of myself? Or am I strong enough to deal with the ups and downs and still seek a friend. Many a time, I found myself hating my very existence, because I always messed up. Mother always taught me that first impressions were key, but how could I make a good first impression, when I’m still learning how to control my tongue? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words, if dealt with correctly, can be a stepping stone to a better me.

There are many people who have left their mark on the world who did have Aspergers. William Gates, chairman of Microsoft, has released to the public over the years that he has been diagnosed with Aspergers in the past. Also many historians believe that Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein both had ASD due to all the stories about their constant irritation with others and that they kept to themselves when doing work. These men had the world in the palms of their hands in their prime. They were able to influence it and change things for the better of mankind. Einstein, Newton, and Gates also shared the obsession trait. People with ASD often obsess over certain subjects, and like to expand on it. I had many troubles learning how to control my obsessions so I could focus on other subjects that required tending too, and I'm sure these genius's did too. Success is more likely with Aspergers when one is to grow older, but in their childhood, it is equivalent to a living hell.

As much as I hate admitting it, I did plan a suicidal escape route. I was going to tie a rope around my fan, fasten my neck around it, and merely kick over a chair that I was standing on for leverage. However, due to the loving support from my family, especially my sister, who I have mistreated on more than one occasion, I know that I could make more of an impact on the world than just becoming another statistic. I knew I had friends that cared about me, and were watching my back all the time, but the way I made them feel sometimes was overwhelming. I was always good at sensing other people's emotions or feelings. I could never explain why, I just always could tell by body language and tone of voice. The moment I said something that shouldn't of been said, everyone's facial expressions would instantly change, and body language would shift in a heartbeat. Even though they would forget about it and just continue talking, I wouldn't let it go.

Everyone always says I'm to hard on myself, and that I need to loosen up. I kick myself for something I can't help, I get angered when someone finds me awkward, and I snap when someone interrupts my thinking process. Even though I know I will never be free of Aspergers, I know it will benefit me in the near to mid future. Aspergers is like a flower I guess, if you nurture it, and learn to help it grow, it blooms into a breathtaking piece of art. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words if dealt with correctly, can be a stepping stone to a better me.





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raeee said...
Apr. 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm
This was soooooo touching and inspiring. You're an amazing writer. Keep it up! (:
 
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