My Experience with Aspergers

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ByTheMinLife

My Experiences with Aspergers by Ewan Autism – It’s a word that means many different things to many different people. However, it is important to remember what Autism really is, a spectrum. For some it is a disability that can make them unable to move or talk without great difficulty, and for some not at all, yet for others it can be hard to tell they have it at all, and everything in between. To define Autism perfectly is like asking you to define the length of a piece of string, it’s different for everyone. My particular type of Autism (in my opinion) is not something to be cured, nor harshly treated, its part of what makes me who I am. Aspergers (my type of Autism) is part of my individuality, and if there were some hypothetical pill that would get rid of it, I wouldn’t take it. But why? Well, let me explain exactly how my type of Autism affects me. I have a mental and physical “disorder” called (High-Functioning) Asperger Syndrome (Aspergers), and this can also have different effects on different people, however, generally it hampers social interaction and non-verbal communication. It is believed that Aspergers and some other different forms of Autism (most notably those which are high functioning and therefore more similar to Aspergers) are most likely caused by genetics. This is why it is more usually described as a “disorder” rather than a “disease”. 37.2 million people are believed to have the “disorder” as of 2015; however, it is something that is not regularly talked about. My High-Functioning Aspergers mainly hampers speech, imagination and physical coordination. It gives me a more logical way of thinking, making creativity difficult. In my early years anything remotely unrealistic was almost impossible to think of at length without me just dismissing it. Drawing anything but bikes, race tracks and mathematical equations was difficult. Imagination was thrown out the window; there was no world with spaceships and a massive death star. It took a large amount of pushing from my parents to play outside and to use my imagination to get me where I am now. After years of working on it my imagination is far more diverse and interesting, much more similar to another more “usual” child. My cognitive ability is... changed. Talking is much harder, I would mumble and trip over many phonetics at 4 and 5. I was assigned a speech therapist during my short time at school that would use a piece of wood shaped like a lolly stick to hold my tongue down and help me pronounce my words. While this would help slightly, my Aspergers makes me incredibly sensitive to touch and taste which made the wood feel much worse than it was. I would hate it and cry in my first few sessions, yet I would still be forced to go if I liked it or not by the school. This is not a good way to help a child with Aspergers get over its effects. Gentle encouragement and support in a friendly and calm environment is the only proper way. After my parents intervening and stopping me from going to the therapist I was able to practise at home instead of in a room at school with a stranger. In a comfortable room at home I could practise in a relaxed environment and now I’m able to participate in podcasts with my friends here on BTM, even hosting the MotoGP Podcast. Writing was also difficult, my hand-eye coordination was not the best and the small, gentle hand movements needed to write needed much more work than usual to get used to. Yet, this was dealt with quite well and years of extensive practise in friendly environments have improved it brilliantly. Physical interaction generally is more difficult as well. When a large amount of people and objects are moving, talking and doing things at the same time, I find it difficult to keep track and so I can fall into a nervous and clumsy moment, easily getting upset by the slightest of things. Again, although it can still happen, it’s nowhere near as bad as it can be for some. I also find much more interest in the world of history, statistics, maths and computers generally. I didn’t enjoy playing outside in a world where I could get hurt, yet with relaxed motivation from my parents I found a mix of both, mostly using sports to get me more interested in the outside world. However, social interaction was possibly the most difficult breakthrough. After multiple horrible experiences with constant bullying and the school pretty much ignoring it (including my special needs in general), my parents took me out of school to begin home-schooling. This had huge benefits allowing me to practise many of these difficulties I had in a calm environment. However, this sometimes made it even more difficult to break through social interaction. One thing helped me more than anything other than my parents, the internet. I could talk to people online via the Internet using text chat. It would allow me to make friendships and practise conversation online via social media and online games. Then finally with my fascination with sports like tennis, MotoGP, cycling and athletics I could report live for a certain group called ByTheMinute. It helped my writing, social interaction and all while talking about sports that I enjoyed with other fans. Although I had problems with social interaction, creative thinking and physical coordination of which I still have some problems with and always will, I broke through them in a friendly environment where my individuality was embraced, not put down. My “disorder” also gave me gifts; with a logical brain I have always been fascinated with statistics and mathematics. This has led me to excel in maths, history, human geography and eventually world politics, even joining the Labour Party for my 14th birthday. I love to learn via this huge extensive library of human knowledge that is the internet. I was watching Chris Packham’s documentary on the BBC where he talked about his experiences with his own Aspergers. I decided that for Autism Awareness Week I would write my own on ByTheMinute. Not for praise or pity, but to share my world views to help people better understand the mindset of people with Aspergers. This is something that makes me, me. I want to show that you can break through the things that become a hindrance when you have Aspergers without having to go to speech therapists, harsh special schools or anything similar. A friendly environment, proper support and a good attitude and you can achieve so much. However, in certain countries, some places like those in The United States, Aspergers can be seen as a proper disease. They believe it needs to be cured, that they need to treat children as young as possible and force them to get over their “symptoms”. Meanwhile, some scientists in the USA are trying to find “cures” using brain signals. I feel that as long as you get the care, services and attention you need to deal with the problems the condition can cause, “curing” Aspergers is a bad idea. You would be shutting away possible gifts and personalities from that person. That is why charities like the National Autistic Society are needed so much, so that people do get the services and information they need. When the government is cutting benefits and stopping families from getting the help they deserve, we all need to make a difference. So if you can afford to do so and wish to do so, then you can donate to the NAS via this link: http://www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/donate.aspx

Thank you for reading this article. Autism Awareness Week may be one week, it’s every week for those with it. Thank you again.

Anna Logue

Such a well-written account, Ewan! Thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m sure everyone will find this really informative ☺️

Caroline Dowse (@toongirl83)

Very interesting article Ewan. I really enjoyed reading it. Hope to read more from you πŸ™‚

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