Asperger’s Awareness Portrait 2

Asperger's Awareness Portrait 2.

Asperger’s Awareness Portrait 2

It’s been a very long time, but welcome to second in the series of AA Portraits, in which we look at how those with AS are perceived by wider society. Today it is Charlie, a Forty-Eight year old Artist from South-West England. He has a stepson with AS. All opinions voiced in this entry are of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the organisation.

My knowledge of Asperger Syndrome is that it is part of the autistic spectrum. We are all on the spectrum to a varying degree.
I would assume that the typical person with AS would not engage socially. There would be a lack of eye contact, not engaging socially, perhaps walking with their fingers outstretched and droning on about Bus Tickets (laughs). I think hundreds of people have autistic traits, particularly people working in shops. To be honest, of you caught me offhand, I would think of people with Autism as being humourless and emotionless. Desperate children who can’t be touched, who show no emotion and are basically robotic. That’s the perception that is given out, anyway.
I now realise there was a boy at school who was autistic. He was a sort of savant; he had an amazing memory for Hit Parade Gang that went back to the beginning of time: you could ask him what was number one in May 1968 and he would tell you. He was also an epileptic. And he had a beard; he was like a little old man when he was seventeen (laughs). Back when I was a teenager, there was a man who worked in the train station. He could tell you almost all of the train timetables across the country: all the way to Edinburgh and things like that. He was slightly odd, he wouldn’t touch people even when handing their tickets out. But he was incredibly enthusiastic. When they sold off South West Trains, they got rid of him. He lost his job and seemed to lose his purpose. I still see him around now, he’s sort of homeless. It was very sad and still is very sad.
My stepson has Asperger Syndrome. He was always different, not nerdy. He was very loveable in his eccentricities, everything sort of fitted together. There was no challenge in living with him, he was just who he was. I didn’t really connect him to any kind of learning difficulty.
I definitely have Autistic traits as I understand them. I have arranging habits: cutlery, furniture and lining up geometric objects.
I used to think there was a model behaviour for everyone, but now I don’t. Partly because we are all on the Autistic Spectrum, which is what I’ve come to believe: everybody seems equally odd. I definitely see what I imagine to be Autistic traits in all men: perhaps being the only boy in six children, I’m naturally suspicious of male behaviour. All male behaviour, for me, seems to point towards, well… because I’m not used to male company, the autistic side of masculinity seems obvious.
What is the first thing you think of when somebody says Asperger Syndrome? Numbers

AA Portrait: 1

Welcome to the first blog in our AA Portrait series. We are asking people of all ages and abilties what their views on Asperger Syndrome are, and are displaying some of their testimonies on this blog. Over the next few weeks we hope to uncover some interesting views and questions. We are trying to display as many diverse views as possible, so no opinion expressed in these posts necessarily reflects the opinion of AAP UK.

Mal is a 25 year old public health volunteer. Originally from India, she has now lived and worked in the UK for 3 years. She has had no previous experience of Asperger Syndrome.

All I knew of Asperger Syndrome before this was through newspaper articles, almost exclusively to the UK. In India, Autism is barley an issue: awareness is very low. There was a boy in my school who was given learning support, but that was paid for by his family. I’m not sure if he was autistic or not, but he had communication difficulties and was quite slow to process information. His social skills were also impaired. I would not say he was excluded, but he was not part of our social group, largely because he couldn’t take part in games lessons. He had a teacher beside him in lessons, and he did fine academically. He was my only direct experience of a learning disabilty.

In the UK, it appears that AS and Autism are very big issues. They appear to be highly stigmatised conditions in schools, and parents only appear to get significant support when they campaign for it. It seems that wider society is very ill informed about the issues around AS, and learning disabilties in general. Having said that, I think the UK has helped raise awareness of the issue through campaigns.

My understanding of the Asperger Syndrome is that it is part of the Autistic Spectrum. I effects people in the way that they relate to each other and themselves. I imagine they would be introverted and would not be very comfortable with certain tyoes of intimacy, such as a handshake or a hug. I know that some people with AS can have a very high learning capacity, but can also be socially awkward. I’m not sure I would really class it as a disabilty, more a different way of perception. I always assumed that Asperger Syndrome and Autism were the same thing and I’m surprised to learn their is a difference.

I think people are freewired to the idea of ‘normality’. We are so glued to thinking in a certain way, to accepting certain types of behaviour, that being empathic to someone who behaves differently is not going to be our first choice. I also believe that people with simmilar interests tend to stick together. I’m pretty tolerant of most types of behaviour, but the one thing I can’t toleratre is agression. It was interesting the other day to see a passenger on the tube acting completely hysterically because the train had been delayed; another passenger had to tell him to calm down. I wouldn’t class that as normal behaviour, and I have no idea if that man had AS or not.

In terms of myself having autistic traits, I would say that I have definitely been in situation were I’ve felt awkward or behaved in a way that other people may find strange. Usually, if someone says something odd when I’m talking to them, I’ll ignore it and it will pass: however I could imagine myself talking on a single subject for up to two hours (provided I was given fifteen minute breaks). When I was younger, I used to watch television for hours, but that was primarily because I was bored which I suppose is a little obsessive, I wouldn’t do it now unless it was a social situation.

What is the first thing you think of when somebody says Asperger Syndrome I’m afraid to say that the first thing that comes into my mind is the vegetable Asparagus.

Getting Started with our First Project – AA Portrait

Getting Started with our First Project – AA Portrait.

Getting Started with our First Project – AA Portrait

Hello again,

AA Portrait is progressing in leaps and bounds, and we are very excited. The first blog in the series should be ready in a couple of weeks. Watch this space, and we hope you are as enthusiastic as we are.

We want to do two things with this project: firstly, to make it as inclusive as possible. We are getting all of the opinions, ideas and experiences we can, not only from Asperger and non-asperger, but from young and old, professional and non-professional, those who live with AS everyday of their lives and those who have barley heard of it. By getting such a diverse view, we can focus on our second priority: perception of Aspergers. We have put together a series of questions and points that will give a unique insight into how Aspergers is perceived, and how people with AS perceive themselves. Here are just some of the points and questions that we are asking:

Do you feel that there is a ‘normal’ way to behave?

Do you consider AS to have certain characteristics?

Would you, as a person who does not have Aspergers, consider having a relationship with a person with Aspergers, or vice versa?
Do you view people with AS as a significant minority?

Putting the  questions such as these (and many more)to these two different groups of people will give an insight into different aspects of Asperger related behaviour. So, from both AS and non-AS perspectives, we want to hear you answers to these questions., So get in touch with us via our e-mail.

Happy Thursday 🙂

Tom and Aastha

Be a part of the AAP UK Team!!

Exciting Opportunity!

AAP UK Logo
We are looking for a few people to come and work with us to get the project up and running. Ideally, we are looking for between two and three people who will help us with day to day running, and can help plan future projects and events. This is an ideal opportunity for anyone wishing to gain experience in event management or day to day charity admin. We are also looking for people who have experience of working with individuals with AS. If your interested, get in touch with us at aaprojectuk@gmail.com .

Things to Come…

Hello and welcome to our second blog entry 🙂

Rain is bucketing it down outside so, with only cupcakes to look forward to, we thought that it would be a good time to get started on telling you a little bit more about what were about and what were planning to do.

Asperger’s  Awareness Project UK is something that we have been thinking about for a long time. Time and time again, AS is described as a ‘disability’, a ‘condition’ or‘impairment’. In our opinion, this is unhelpful and untrue.  We want to explore and celebrate Asperger’s as a unique form of experience.  AS is a relatively new condition in the grand scheme of things, and huge amounts of it have barely been documented.  We want not only to celebrate the diversity of Asperger’s and its potential, but also raise awareness of its relationship to so called neurotypicals. The areas of discovery are boundless.

For our first project, we want to emphasise community and diversity in relation to AS. So we want to hear from all of you. If you have AS or not, we want to hear your opinion’s, thoughts and experiences of Asperger’s.  Whether it’s your experience of relationships or friendship  with  people with AS, or you feel the media misrepresents AS, or if you just have very strong opinions about it, then tell us. We aim to collect all of these experiences and create a unique portrait of Asperger life.

Get in touch with us by e mailing aaprojectuk@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you soon.

Aastha and Tom

Co-founders