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Asperger’s and Neurotypical People – What do they have in common?

People with Asperger’s Syndrome and people who do not have Asperger’s Syndome, (the majority of people) have among other things, one major thing in common that, I think, is way too often over-looked and that really matters. We need to be much more cognizant of this one major thing in common that spans all differences between those who have Asperger’s (AS)  and those who don’t, referred to as Neurotypicals (NT’s).

So, what is this one major thing that we all have in common, whether AS or NT? No one is normal. That’s right. NT people often look at people or think of people with Asperger’s as not normal. Well, guess what, people without Asperger’s or in comparison to those with Asperger’s as a group are not normal either.

If we shift our way of thinking about differences so that we are not thinking about them in polar opposite black and white ways, then perhaps we can make some in-roads to understanding by more or less leveling the playing field within what it means to be human. We don’t need to judge. In fact, those that do need to judge are insecure about something inside of themselves.

What is we turned this paradigm of NT = normal and Asperger’s = disabled or not normal around to say that Asperger’s = normal and that being an NT = abnormal. Think about it for a minute. Why? Well because for those of us that have Asperger’s Syndrome, it is normal. How we view the world, the way that we think, even some of the social lostness we may experience, is normal for us. Many with Asperger’s think it quite abnormal and maybe even to the point of silly that NT’s like to chit-chat on surface levels about things repetitively talked about whether you know someone or not. To NT’s this is a social thing. To people with Asperger’s the purpose it serves, if there is one, makes no sense. It is not logical. We don’t have a need and for many not desire to be engaged tha t way.

What is all NT’s had to feel judged for what they want, need or desire socially even i ncluding the surface-type social nuance chit-chat that society deems “normal” because the Asperger way of seeing that that small talk as without purpose and therefore lacking in meaning became the social “norm”. Imagine what that might feel like if you are an NT?

Just today I witnessed a neighbour shovelling a lot of snow away from her vehicle as was another neightbour. She and the other neightbour spoke briefly a few times in what seemed like small talk. I was clearing out my driveway and was reminded of how I just don’t feel the need for that type of communication. Do I do it sometimes with some people, yes, but that’s only because beyond what it feels like to me or doesn’t mean to  me it is a “social convention” that the NT majority ascribes to.

Then along came another neighbour, apparently new in our complex, who was passing by where I live and where this neighbour was digging her car our of the snow, he was on his way to the garbage dumpsters. She engaged him in small talk, strangers, yet needing and wanting to talk as if they knew each other. He engaged back, though less enthusiastically it seemed. They yacked for a while. I don’t know what about as I wasn’t paying attention. She talked more than he did. He seemed to want to go and then he must have said something to that effect. I was aware as he was going to passing by me again on his way back to his place, that I turned my back so as not to be engaged in this stranger on stranger, strange small talk.

Well, suddenly I hear, “Good morning!” All nice and friendly. It felt awkward. I was in a middle-ground no-win of sorts. I didn’t want to engage or be engaged in small talk but there he was, and I did pick up the friendly tone and so I said, “Good morning” back as I turned to face him. He then said, “Wow, you’ve got quite the job ahead of you there” referring to all the snow I had to shovel off my driveay including the big huge pile left at the bottom of the driveway by the snow plow. I just said, something back, like, “Yeah sure is a lot of snow.” He resplied, “That’s for sure.” and luckily with that he went on his way and our small talk was done.

No big deal. Doesn’t hurt. But from my Apsie perspective, what was important about that? What was the purpose of stating the obvious to a stranger, me replying with the obvious and then nothing? Herein lies a difference.

However, this difference does not make my NT neighbours normal and me abnormal but one does get the sense of such judgment, in various ways, quite often.

People with Asperger’s are just expected to keep pushing out of what is normal for them to be NT-like for NT’s. Okay, sometimes, sure. But really, why do we have to do this? Is there not some middle-ground understanding that we can achieve wherein each of us takes some responsibility for our differences without judgment and wherein we realize we have one thing for sure in common, neither a person with AS nor an NT is normal.

Normal is a construct that when tried to be applied in reality or real working terms of engagement does not equate to meaning anything objectively. Only in subjective comparison that usually includes judging difference as opposed to accepting it can there be any meaning derived in terms of the construct of normal which is at best a construt without an objective application that it can meet with in the course of what it means for  people with differences to be going about life the way that they see fit.

© A.J. Mahari – February 9, 2013  – All rights reserved.

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AS - Executive Dysfunction

Executive Dysfuntion is, in my opinion and experience, a different way of functioning.