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Asperger’s: Good? Bad?

You hear so often people say “their son suffers from autism” or “what a shame he’ll never be normal”. Both of these make me shudder.

Let’s start with normal. If you think someone should aspire to be normal, you’re not just saying normal is the ideal but you’re also saying that person is somehow less than. Normal is not a state of health, it’s a washer setting. I would never set normal as a goal.

On to the suffering. On my mother’s street there is a young man with profound autism. He is in his mid-20s and my mom knows him because his father takes him on walks every night. The son carries with him a plush toy that squeaks. If dad gets involved in a conversation and the son wants to get going, he squeaks it. He is non-verbal.

My mother, like many others, equates this with inability to communicate and lack of intelligent thought processes. Nothing could be further from the truth. My mother learned this when the young man presented her with a beautiful poem he had written.

I’m pretty sure I know how she reacted, this is a woman who used to yell when speaking to the doctor across the street because he was Taiwanese.

I have a son with Aspergers. He’s almost an adult now, but despite all the coping skills I taught him it can still occasionally interfere with his day. Those little hassles of daily life sometimes seem monumental to him. He doesn’t know when people are being sarcastic or facetious.

He also has an incredible focus and drive I doubt he’d have without the Aspergers. He is very smart, altho he has great difficulty with some things, like math.

He is a kind, gentle person who takes people at face value.

No, my child on the autism spectrum will never be average, typical, or normal. And I couldn’t be happier!