Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dealing with Stereotypes

    Most of us have probably come up against stereotypes in our lives. Over time though, and through much experience, we learn that some stereotypes usually aren't applicable to everyone the stereotype concerns. For example, the stereotype that blonds are all dumb. I'm sure you, as I have, come across blonds who are not very smart and others that are very smart. My point is, a stereotype is not necessarily always the truth.
   People with Asperger's Syndrome have a lot of stereotypes that we have to go up against, many of them not so favorable. There are those people who lump us together with autism. While we are on the autism spectrum, we are very, very high on it and not necessarily considered 'autistic'. Many writers get this wrong, and represent Asperger's as a more violent type of autism, which is incorrect, which brings us to another point, representing Aspies as violent. Any developmental doctor can tell you Asperger's doesn't make a person violent, as writers and the media often like to represent.
   If a lot of people don't understand something and cannot see it in themselves, they like to lay the blame at the foot of something different about other people. When that man in Newtown, Connecticut, shot those poor children, many in the media quickly jumped to conclusions that the shooter must have Asperger's, when, in reality, the shooter was never confirmed to have Asperger's and several leading professionals say he probably did not. Just because we are different and sometimes even loners does not make us violent or insane, it just means we are different.
   People say things all of the time that are not true. Just because they say them doesn't make them true either. I am not going to sugarcoat it, Aspies, there are a lot of barriers for us to conquer and stereotypes that are how many in the general public. However, we are the future, and we can change things. We can show people that Asperger's isn't autism, and we are not violent or stupid, but rather we are different. We see the world from a different angle and can show the world how it can be made better if they just look at it differently. How can we start? You already have. You're changing your family and friends' perspective of what Asperger's is because you show them what it truly means to have Asperger's: to be truly liberated from being normal and yet wanting to show everyone else our world so they, too, can experience the wonder we feel. That is what it truly means to have Asperger's Syndrome.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On Being Different

  For those of you who have ever watched Disney Channel, I want to call to mind a Disney movie series from a few years ago. The Halloweentown movies centered around a girl named Marnie Piper and her discovering her abilities as a witch and constantly saving her grandmother's home, called, you guessed it, Halloweentown, where all the creatures of Halloween live the rest of the year.
  It's a really good series to watch around Halloween, but that is not why I bring it up. In the first movie, simply called Halloweentown, Marnie's mother, who is against magic, is arguing with Marnie's grandmother, who is a witch for magic. Marnie's mother demands to know why she won't leave the children alone so they can lead normal lives, and Marnie's grandmother replies with a quote I will never forget: "Oh, being normal is vastly overrated".
  I could not have said it better myself.  If you look around at other people who claim to have normal lives and actually take a peek into their lives, you will notice a pattern that reoccurs very often. People who are 'normal' usually have very flat, dull, and boring lives. They are average, need nothing and have zero drive to do anything in their lives. They have nothing and nobody to really care about except themselves, which is actually rather sad.
  Aspies, on the other hand, have something. We are vibrant, and truly live life to the fullest. Due to the fact our lives are a little bit harder than most, we have drive, some might even call it a need, to succeed. For those who are kind to us, we care about them and love them fiercely, even though we might not always show it. We inspire, we create, and we change the world every day just by being a part of it.
  No, we aren't normal, thank heaven we are not. We have things and people we care about and the drive to succeed and change the world as we know it. Without Aspies, the world as we know it today could not possibly exist. So people claim being normal is better, I ask you, how has 'normal' revolutionized the world? Believe me when I say I truly and honestly believe in the old and cheesy Disney movie quote "Being normal is vastly overrated."