Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome: Integrating Multiple Perspectives

By Kevin P. Stoddart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21

Asperger Syndrome: Perceiving normality

Peter Jansen

I am a 24-year old Caucasian male with a mysterious condition called Asperger Syndrome (AS). I was diagnosed at the age of ten. As a child, I saw the world through a distorted lens whose refracted images took turns baffling me. A general understanding of the world and human nature has been afforded to me through the medium of the second-hand: books, TV, and movies. If “Life as a Human Being” were a college credit course, I would probably score higher in the pure than the applied sections. I'm hungry for knowledge because I'm hungry for “knowledge-about-life”, but I sense there is a stark threshold where learning about life and actually living are forever divided. I wonder how well I have done in this course so far. The world's greatest teachings say that all reading, no matter how comprehensive, is preliminary. At this stage, more than ever, the applied section of the course, the hands-on, touchy-feely part, deserves the most attention. No one will issue a final mark. There is no in-class help, no timelines, guidelines, rules, or rubrics. On no transcript will a record of the grade appear.


The label

A label, depending on one's viewpoint, can be one of the most stigmatizing things a majority can inflict on an individual. It's the power of the majority asserted over the minority. A label, psychiatric or otherwise, is a convenient short-hand symbol for defining you as a person. I personally dislike it because it reduces the human being in all his complexity and layers of ego structure down to a single thought or concept, expressible in a single sentence or a short paragraph. It's a handy short-cut for knowing those whom you have never met. I don't want to have AS define me as a human being, partly because I don't think any finite cluster of words and ideas ever could.

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