- In my clinical experience I sometimes hear a comment from a person with Asperger’s Syndrome that clarifies an area that had previously been confusing. Just a few simple words can explain a complex behaviour or thought process or provide an insight that is remarkable. This section will include such quotations and I welcome additional quotations from readers of this web page.
When discussing eye contact, Mick said, “I look at an inanimate object. It helps me to think. I can concentrate more if I look at a blank wall but people think I am ignoring them ”.
Caroline writes down her inner thoughts as a dialogue to herself. This is a constructive activity but she can be very critical of herself. The following is an illustration that is applicable to us all. “The worst thing about disappointing yourself is that you never forgive yourself ”.
Guy Perkins has suggested the following quotation from a David Byrne song as illustrating a characteristic of some adults with Asperger's Syndrome:
“When I say something once my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?”
The following quotation is by Geraldine Robertson, a lady with Asperger Syndrome who lives in Tasmania. She provides a vivid description of the school playground.
“They told me I would have friends but the playground was a nightmare of noise and fighting, lying, and cheating and people going fast, all knowing what to do but me. It was like a flock of birds, wheeling, surging, changing direction at a whim, all knowing what to do, and all in unison except for one at the back. Me. I had to watch and anticipate and follow so I was never quite in harmony. Sometimes I got left behind and there are hawks out there. I didn't know how to tell who was a friend.”
If you have attended a seminar or workshop that I have run on Asperger’s Syndrome, you may recall that I have mentioned that my wife’s sister has Asperger’s Syndrome. She has recently sent me her autobiography and I have selected some quotations that I found especially illuminating. I hope that her experiences and thoughts will help others.
“Most of the happier times were during vacations which is why I love ships and trains. (the only times when we would experience these things). These occasions were more secure and stable for me.
As a child and a teenager and young adult I seldom got along well with my peers preferring the company of older adults probably because they are likely to be more mellow in temperament and of course quieter.
The fact is, at the end of the day, if your speech is odd and posture awkward and you’re not even aware of that, only that you know you don’t have the “gift of the gab” then the chances are your face is not going to fit. It’s like the child with glasses or who is fat, but ten times worse.
Longing to make friends, when someone complimented a drawing I had done, I started giving people drawings until someone accused me of bragging- a rebuke I never forgot. I was only trying to win friendship.
A very frightening experience when you discover for the first time you are in world full of people who have no reason to love or even like you and some even dislike you for reasons best known to themselves.
The fact is, no one likes others to know their weaknesses, but with an affliction like mine, it’s impossible to always avoid making a fool of yourself or looking indignant/undignified. Because I never knew when the next "fall" is going to occur, I avoid climbing up on to a "confidence horse’ so to speak.
When I was about seven, I probably saw something in a book, which fascinated me and still does. Because it was like nothing I had ever seen before and totally unrelated and far removed from our world and our culture. That was Scandinavia and it’s people. Because of it’s foreignness it was totally alien and opposite to any one and any thing known to me. That was my escape, a dream world where nothing would remind me of daily life and all it had to throw at me. The people from this wonderful place look totally unlike any people in the "real world". Looking at these faces, I could not be reminded of anyone who might have humiliated, frightened or rebuked me. The bottom line is I was turning my back on real life and it’s ability to hurt, and escaping.
It’s easy to bestow love onto objects rather than people because although they can’t love back they can’t rebuke either. It is a very safe form of idolisation where no one can get hurt.
Because of the way I talk and my dislike of things that are loud people don’t always accept me or often judge me before even knowing me. If people with Asperger’s find it hard to integrate into society and socialise. It could have a lot to do with discrimination on the part of others."
As my wife and her sister, Sarah said, “people will not forgive her for her idiosyncracies”.
David C. Miedzianik
I used several quotations of David's in the book on Asperger's Syndrome and he has a web address - www.freespace.virgin.net/david.mied/index
INTROSPECTION - by Adrian Flynn
Locked in a body that knows how to function,
This mind knows the rules, but not how to speak.
Rehearsed interaction is laboured, but managed,
Learning language and actions, but still feeling meek.
Fragments of knowledge are processed and filtered,
To sift out the right way to smile and to cry.
Emotionally barren and socially awkward,
Avoiding eye contact, mistaken for shy.
Hang on to a pattern, a routine, a ritual,
To feel safe with existence, to know how to live.
Avoid changing backgrounds and unknown encounters,
From anxious to full fearful panics, they give.
All manner of subjects researched infinitum.
Obsessive behaviour is par for the course.
First one then another thing learned to its limits,
All referenced and noted to every last source.
First learning then working, to the exclusion of friendship.
One minded and narrow, to a depth never seen.
A gulf holds me far from the mind of all others.
Confused where I fit in; somewhere in between.