Asperger’s syndrome – gone but not forgotten!
Posted August 17, 2012on:
So Asperger’s syndrome is no more, and those of us with this diagnosis are subsumed into the more general Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I don’t know if I’m going to miss being an ‘Aspie’ or not. It’s a bit of a mouthful to explain to folks that you have certain difficulties in communication and social situations due to ‘Autistic spectrum disorder’!
I do know that I dislike labels, as a general rule. However, my own difficulties can be explained very well by this particular label. People like me can come across as very direct, rude, aggressive, even, in conversation, and might look disinterested, bored or awkward in social situations. I have no problem teaching classes, even those that I’m not familiar with (the ‘please take’ ) but I always have a dread of walking into the staffroom or subject base and meeting people I don’t know too well. Conversation starters have always been difficult for me. I also have no problem giving presentations at conferences, but you usually won’t find me at the pre-conference coffee session. I drive around or stay in the car park until just before registration and the start. It’s a very unfortunate situation, but it’s how I cope with strange and unfamiliar places and people. I feel more comfortable being the last to turn up for the committee meeting if its a set of folks I don’t know too well, and even saying ‘hello’ to strangers and shaking hands is a very challenging thing for me!
So if you know someone like me, with the condition formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome, please be a little attuned to some of these difficulties, particularly if we appear to be a bit more direct, or don’t know when to shut up! And don’t be offended if we don’t maintain eye contact when having a conversation. A great description of some typical ‘Aspie’ behaviour can be found here.