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By Mindf'Elle'ness · Apr 17, 2020 · ·
  1. Have you stood in the check out lines at the supermarkets lately and noticed the number of headlines that are highlighting famous people that are claiming to be on the spectrum?

    Have you noticed in articles about people on the spectrum how the author uses examples of the high achieving celebrities? Dan Akroyd sound familiar? How about Steve Jobs?

    For the NT reading these articles, they are getting the impression that people with Asperger's specifically, must be geniuses. Hmm, but what about their cousin Beth who sits at home, always with headphones on, won't make eye contact and can't keep a job? She must be lazy because she CLAIMS to be on the spectrum but she's sure not accomplishing what these others are doing.

    I don't know the percentage of people with Aspergers who are high functioning, but I bet it's a low number. The media is doing a disservice to the rest of us that fail at relationships, fail at retaining employment, are under employed, are on meds for depression because we aren't able to cope with the expectations of society...sometimes the expectations of our own families.

    How about this for reality: A reality program that follows 3 people on the spectrum (at least one has to be a woman!), who live in middle America (or Canada, or …), who are low functioning. Viewers need to spend a month inside the heads and lives of these three people and see the lack of understanding and resources and hope there is.

    In my instance, people see an attractive white lady, who's often grumpy but does very helpful kind things for people she's often around (ie: coworkers). Who has kind of a crappy, but stable, full-time job but who has a history of quitting or getting fired for a variety of reasons. Who has gone to school for so many different careers but never stuck with anyone of them due to not having done my homework about whether I was capable (ie: programming) or could financially support myself (ie: travel industry)...just for starters. I haven't had close friends in 30 years, and although I miss having friends with similar interests, I find maintaining friendship now to be frustrating and overwhelming.

    I've never been without hope though that someday, the right circumstance will come around or I'll meet someone with amazing intuitiveness, who will present to me the possibility of finally being at peace with myself or maybe even improve my brain functioning.

    I've been practicing mindfulness for a couple of years now, understanding that it has been proven to help re-wire our brains for the purpose of improving focus, calm and acceptance. I've had some exposure to binaural beats but I need to do more research about it and I hope the fact that I am deaf in one ear doesn't disclude me from benefitting from it. Lastly, governments are enhancing financial help to healthcare in the study of brain sciences.

    My dream is that one day science identifies disabilities in children and cures our brains so that no one in the future has to live a life of marginalization due to a disability of their brain functioning.
    Tefi Riera and Kevin1968 like this.


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  1. Gryphgirl
    A lot of people on the spectrum are either unemployed or underemployed. All the ones I know personally are currently working service jobs. As a rule, when I see autism represented on television, it's in the form of a straight, white male genius. A lot of people on the spectrum are not heterosexual. I am not a supergenius, not super straight and not male. Where are the mothers with autism? The people of colour? The queer people? Where are the "low-functioning" people? Autism is a spectrum, but mainstream media only shows one type of it. It's like instead of focussing on the rainbow of experience, people decide to just look at the colour indigo. I think people would be more understanding of people who don't fit that type if they saw that there were more than just that one type.
    I watched the Good Doctor on TV. On one hand, I was glad to see that it portrayed someone with autism in a professional position, but I was really disappointed at the way he was portrayed. He is a savant and they portray him as someone who almost has superpowers. The message the show gives out to me is that a person with disabilities can be accepted as long as they have superpowers.
  2. Tefi Riera
    Wow.. Uh... Where do I start? I don't know if it is because of my recent diagnosis but I've also noticed the things you mentioned first. When people get to know I am autistic they immediately want me to tell that I am some kind of genius, but I always let them down. I do am very smart and I have some special abilities but that doesn't make me better, I still struggle with many things in my daily life and I have a huge lack of essential skills like socializing or executive functioning. I can be the girl with the noise cancelling headphones rocking in a chair all day and, with a lot of effort on my part, the kind and lovely girl serving coffee to the clients in a coffee shop, with a huge smile on her face and small talk and all of that.
      jumpingmouse and Gryphgirl like this.
    1. Gryphgirl
      I totally understand. I am also that girl.
  3. menander
    It frustrates me that everyone on TV and in tabloids are well connected, wealthy, many opportunites, etc. They never show people who have such difficulties they are autistic and homeless, for instance. A lot of those you mention are just rich quirky people.
  4. Au Naturel
    When something goes mainstream it often loses its real meaning.
  5. Kevin1968
    I think the secret to success (or even just surviving sometimes) is to find out what it is that you are good at and can add value to society/work etc.

    We all have unique abilities and can develop skill sets that when we find the right environment will ;ead us to a productive life. It does mean working hard to both recognise and develop those skills and then identify where they can be used productively.

    “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” supposedly a quote by Einstein though disputed.
    However if you are a fish you need to be where you can swim not in a forest. And if you are a fish stuck on the river bank then you may need to start flapping hard until you get into the water again because you can't be sure the water will rise in time.

    Be the best YOU.
  6. Giraffes
    I can relate to your posting but who want to regonise the spectrum that Autism is? far easier to alknowledge those people who's Autism is a gift and whose amazing talents are due it. I have 'high functioning Autism' and am really great at certain aspects within employment but have a history of being underemployed and of having lost jobs connected to my Autism, my recent boyfriend is in the successful category of a individual who's 'High Functioning' who's Autistic ways are accepted due to his incredible IT skills,this has supported stable employment and a income that is way beyond anything i've experienced throughout my working life. His view of me was that i just needed not to be hypersensitive, egocentri,obsessive and anxious and then i'd be a success like him!!
    I think the peace you need will come from you accepting you and not from anyone else. Until very recently i wished for a cure to remove my Autism believing this would solve my anxiety and depressive episodes i now think that i am the only one that can like and accept all aspects of me including the Autism. I hope you don't think i'm preaching as i truly get where you're coming from and hope the strategies you've implemented help you.
      Gryphgirl, simetra and Kevin1968 like this.