People with Asperger's are well known for their ability to focus, their often higher than average IQ's, and for sometimes having savant abilities. ThePeople with Asperger's are well known for their ability to focus, their often higher than average IQ's, and for sometimes having savant abilities. They are often considered nerds or brains because of their intellectual abilities coupled with their social awkwardness. Whenever I've seen anything on TV about Asperger's, it's always about a socially inept genius sort. That seems to be the common stereotype of people who have Asperger's. But imagine if you were diagnosed with Asperger's and had the social ineptness but not the smarts. Imagine that your IQ was in fact lower than average, and that you had great difficulty focusing for very long. Well, that's my niece. She was diagnosed with both Asperger's and ADHD. As one Aspie girl in the book said,
"What really makes me uncomfortable is when Aspie campaigners couch that "leave us alone" argument in the myth that all AS people are super intelligent mathematician science savants and some sort of master race. That makes me feel, as an Aspie who doesn't have any of that, I'm a double fail - I fail at being normal, and also fail at being AS."
My niece is in special education and at least a couple years behind most kids her age. She has difficulty focusing for long periods, and does not like reading like the typical Aspie does. She is not androgynous in appearance or interests like the book's author says most Aspie girls are. My niece is a girly girl who likes wearing makeup and doing her hair. Her favorite color is pink and she loves shopping, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Aquamarine. Her senses do not seem to be easily overloaded and she does not have an aversion to touch like many Aspies. She loves hugs, and can never seem to get enough of them.
What my niece does have in common with "typical" Aspies is lack of social aptitude, literal mindedness, difficulty making friends, anxiety, panic attacks and meltdowns, stimming, echolalia, selective mutism, physical clumsiness,and the need for structure, routine, and predictability.
Due to my niece's dual diagnosis of Asperger's and ADHD, reading a book on Asperger's is sometimes frustrating because a lot of it does not apply to her, and in fact can run counter to her symptoms and personality. I would like to note that I know another person,an adult male with Asperger's, who also has other learning disabilities. It makes me wonder how many other Aspies are out there who have also been diagnosed with other learning disabilities.
I think the biggest way this book helped was in making me realize that my mother and I need to listen to our niece more, and not be too quick to think she's trying to manipulate to get out of things. I think a lot of this has come from perhaps well-intentioned but uninformed counselors and teachers. I also have a better idea of how to deal with meltdowns. I realize that a lot of what I've done might have made things worse. The absolutely new thing I learned was about selective mutism, and I now recognize it in my niece, have relayed that info to my mom, and she now knows not to pressure my niece for a response when she is in this state. ...more
Reading this was like trying to chew through barbed wire, not because it was poorly written, but because of the subject matter. I read it because i wiReading this was like trying to chew through barbed wire, not because it was poorly written, but because of the subject matter. I read it because i will shortly be helping to raise my two teenage nieces, and was looking for help/insights. There wasn't much very revelatory here, but an idea that sticks with me from the book is that girls change from BEING to SEEMING during adolescence, from having an authentic and androgynous experience of BEING until puberty when they become aware of their sexual differences from boys, and start becoming inauthentic and SEEMING while trying to fit what they think their female role should be. So much of the book is about the difficulty that adolescent girls have holding on to their authentic selves when there is so much pressure to be what society tells them they should be. It often comes down to the dilemma of being authentic and honest or being loved. What a choice!...more