Sunday, June 29, 2008

Look Closer.

On a few occiasions, I've taken to telling people in sermons about my Apserger's diagnosis. After church people have come up to me and basically said that I don't look like I'm affected by autism, since they have met people with Aspergers or Autism and well, I am not like them. They guess correctly that I am probably "higher functioning" whatever that means.

When I went to the Autism/Asperger's Support group last month, it was interesting to note that many of the people in the room were more affected than I was. But the fact is, if you spend time with me, I mean really spend time with me, things start to pop out that show me as a little odd in other's eyes.

I am reminded of the movie "American Beauty" with its tagline, "Look closer." The movie was about life in suburbia and how crazy life was beneath the surface. I want to tell others to look closer and you will see the Aspie inside. Or that they take a trip back in time when I used to rock myself or flap my hands, all classic autistic traits. My partner Daniel can tell people how I tend to lack a common sense that others have and that I tend to like predictability and hate surprises. My good friend Erik can tell you about how I can listen to the same songs over and over and over again, to the point of driving him nuts. Or when we were dating, I would spend hours in front of a computer and not always pay attention to him.

The thing I'm learning about Aspergers and Autism in general is that there is no sterotypical person with autism. Some people are severely affected and can't work or take care of themselves. Some are less so and some seem "normal." But we all have autism and it plays itself out in many ways. When people say that autism is a spectrum, it truly is.

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