One For The Aspies

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While this blog is not specifically about autism, it does follow my life. And I am autistic.

I would say I have Asperger Syndrome, except that the DSMV eliminated the term this year, in favor of “autism spectrum disorder.”

I liked Asperger’s just fine, thank you very much.

It seems I’m not alone. More and more, I’m meeting other talented creatives who have “found” themselves on the autism spectrum, launching a journey to unpack their identity, heal the wounds of a once-inexplicably “different” childhood, and leverage autism as their new secret for success.

If you’re one of those creatives, or you know one, here are some of my favorite resources:

Books

Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergerian | John Elder Robison
A celebration of the “superpower syndrome” and advice on how to leverage it for your advantage.

Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger’s  | John Elder Robison
A poignant biography of one boy’s journey with Asperger’s.

Aspergirls |Rudy Simone
Some call this book “depressing.” I find it both honest and liberating in its exploration of being a female with AS.

Asperger’s Syndrome & Anxiety | Nick Dubin
For all those who, like I do, struggle with constant anxiety, fear, and panic attacks that are (largely) unfounded.

Coming Out Asperger | Dinah Murray, editor
Thinking about telling family and friends? This collection of seasoned Aspies weigh in.

Asperger’s On the Job | Rudy Simone
This book seems to be written more for folks who are less-than-high functioning AS. But even those who “pass” as normal will find great tips.

The Gifted Adult | Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
Aspies, you may not feel like an everyday genius, but I guarantee you’ll recognize yourself in Jacobsen’s fantastic guide to extraordinary living.

Bloggers

Musings of an Aspie | Cynthia Kim

Autism Women’s Network | Guest authors

Brazen Careerist | Penelope Trunk

Now if somebody would just write a book about Asperger’s and the creative life . . .

Maybe I’ll do that sometime.

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12 thoughts on “One For The Aspies

  1. People have called Rudy Simone’s “Aspergirls” depressing? I found it incredibly thoughtful and enlightening! And yes, people with Aspergers can be extremely creative – when you see the world in a different way, art is approached with fresh ideas. Another very useful book is Tony Attwood’s “The Complete Guide to Asperger Syndrome.” While Asperger’s is no longer a diagnosis in the DSM-V, that’s just in the US. Many researchers, like Attwood, are in Australia and the UK, and I don’t think the diagnosis is going away there anytime soon. Best wishes to you on your journey!

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by! Regarding “Aspergirls,” I’ve mostly heard that feedback from neurotypical parents who feel that the book’s honest discussion of some realities of female life with AS might depress their teenage AS daughters or come off as a “bleak” prediction of their future. Personally, as an Aspie I value “straight shooting” in conversation almost more than anything else — so I didn’t find it all depressing but rather very helpful. And yes, I agree; Attwood is another great author! His research helped me when I first began investigating AS. Maybe I should move to the UK or Australia? 🙂 Thanks again for taking time to reach out.

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  2. Thanks for this greatly inspiring post. My daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of 18, she is now 21. We live in the UK and the term Asperger’s is still used.

    The thing that holds my daughter back is her crippling social anxiety for which, after 2 years of battling, I have been able to find an Asperger psycologist for her who is helping undo all the damage other ‘professionals’ have done because they haven’t understood Asperger’s in any shape or form.

    My daughter is very creative, intelligent, bright and articulate. I have always believed that she will have a fulfilling life and no longer feel invisible in society.

    I’m so glad that I found you from Seventh’s reblog 🙂

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    • Sherri, thank you so much for sharing your and your daughter’s story! I know first-hand how crippling that social anxiety can be . . . and how hard it can also be to overturn the thoughts others plant in our minds about who we are and what our capabilities may be. Yet it can be done.

      I’m excited for what’s on the horizon for your daughter! My biggest piece of advice would be: “Make your creative voice heard, no matter how scary it may feel. You never know when or how it will inspire someone else.”

      Also, I’ll be launching a series of posts here (upcoming) on how steampunk and the whole notion of cosplay in that genre has helped me a lot with social anxiety. Sometimes taking on another persona can help you find your real one, too. Blessings to you and yours!

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      • Many thanks Lisa, I do so appreciate this!

        Funnily enough, my daughter went through a stage where she was obsessed with Japanese Manga and Anime and also with cosplay. She even attended a few cosplays in London. She has always liked to take on these other personas.

        One thing she would love to do is acting but she feels that she just can’t cope with anything at the moment and she stopped going to cosplays a couple of years ago. We still have a room full of all her outfits!

        She role plays with online video games at the moment and has many online friends which she enjoys but her sleeping pattern is pretty nocturnal. She is an amazing artist and she still does her art on the computer so yes, it is so important for her to ‘make her creavitve voice heard;! I feel that she could inspire many. She does also have a few blogs (not WordPress) and she also enjoys those.

        I look forward to reading your posts on cosplay but I’ve not heard of steampunk so I’m curious about that!

        Blessings to you too Lisa, lovely to meet you 🙂

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      • Hey Sherri,

        I can identify with all this. 🙂 I think we Aspies go through cycles with how much outside interaction we can handle. For awhile we get brave and try everything in sight … and then we have periods of struggle (or at least, introspection) and withdrawal. For myself personally, I find online interaction (just like this!) to be really stable and fun for me, because I’m better with words than I am in person.

        I’m so glad your daughter has creative outlets! I used to teach writing at a college near my house, and I had a few students with autism who spent most of their waking hours on creating artistic products that were truly fantastic — yet their parents (and hardly anyone else) truly understood the depth of their talents or took time to read the bulk of their work. Your daughter is blessed with a parent-advocate like you.

        As for steampunk — yeah, it’s a lot of fun. You could call it “Victorian science fiction” — making futuristic gadgets with Steam-age technology. It might be just a phase for me, but at 30, I’ve learned myself pretty well, and my obsession with history and fantasy keep coming back … so I think this obsession is here to stay for awhile. 🙂

        Blessings, Sherri! Do stay in touch.

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      • Ahh, thank you so much Lisa, I really appreciate the time you take to reply, you are giving me great insight.

        So that’s what steampunk is, I had no idea! I will tell my daughter all about it. She loves Victorian anything 🙂 History and fantasy…yes, that is definitely something that she loves too!

        I love your philosophy of creativity and as I said before, I am really looking forward to reading more of your posts, I certainly will keep in touch as I am now following you 🙂

        Blessings to you Lisa, so glad I met you 🙂

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    • That’s awesome! If you see Rudy in the near future, tell her I’m very grateful to her for putting her voice out in the world. As for autism as a clearly different way of looking at the world — I agree. Often when NTs express pity of some kind (most of it well-meant, of course) regarding my “differences,” I really want to say, “Actually, i feel sorry for YOU not seeing the world my way.” 😉 But if I’ve learned one thing about social situations … it’s to NOT say everything I think. LOL. Still, I think the world would be a better place if we all acknowledged that some people are born to fly on a differently-engineered plane, with a different dashboard. After all, how much fun would it be if we were all alike?

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