Life on the outside: A personal perspective
of Asperger Syndrome
Chris J. Dakin
I am 33 years old, male, and diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS).1 I spend much of my life watching other people do things, while I am sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes I want to do what I see, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I don't understand what I see. It is like watching some strange species on National Geographic TV doing their mating dance. While watching “typical people”, I have come to realize that how I see the world is not the same as most people see the world. I'll try to explain what “life on the outside” is like for me.
Autism is a different way of being, not an inferior way of being. As a person with AS see the same world, but in a profoundly different way. I have a tendency to “mono-focus”. Typical people see a room as if all the lights are on. I see the room as if the lights are off and all you have to see with is a flashlight. You only see a small part of what is in the entire room, the part where the flashlight beam points. The room may have, for example, one piano and 45 desks, but if your flashlight is focussed on the piano, then that is all you can see. You don't see the 45 desks. So you think the room is full of pianos, and no desks. That is autism. I am not seeing different things, I just have a more intense focus on specific parts of the whole. I don't necessarily see things in context or perspective. Classic autistic “stimming”
1 I use the terms “Asperger Syndrome” (AS) and “autism” interchangeably as I view AS as
a form of autism. “Neurotypical” refers to non-autistic people.