How I Overcame 5 Stereotypes About Asperger’s

Out of all the words in the English language, one has haunted me my entire life: “freak.” Growing up, I was often referred to as “the freak” or a “weirdo,” and most of this abuse was simply ignored by the adults I relied on to protect me. However, despite it all, I knew that I wasn’t a freak. I was determined to find out what exactly made me who I am and why I was so different from my friends and peers.

Although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, I was fortunate enough to have a school counselor that was able to pinpoint the cause for my unique qualities, and, after testing me thoroughly at age 7, he determined that my “eccentricities” were simply due to a syndrome I had never even heard of up until this point: Asperger’s syndrome.

Despite the fact that many of my family members and school officials took this diagnosis as a bad thing, I started to question whether or not being on the Autism spectrum truly was as bad as our modern society made it out to be, and, years later, I am finally able to proudly say that having Asperger’s is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I am proud of myself and of the many obstacles I have conquered in the process.

What is Asperger’s?

The proper definition of Asperger’s refers to the syndrome as “a developmental disorder related to autism and characterized by higher than average intellectual ability coupled with impaired social skills and restrictive, repetitive patterns of interest and activities.” The truth is that, although many individuals know very little about Asperger’s and the Autism spectrum, every one in 68 American children are born with some sort of Autism.

However, the unfortunate truth about Asperger’s is that adults with Asperger’s are 10 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, and this is primarily due to the fact that these individuals are unable to make lasting connections with other individuals, are unable to verbally address their issues, consistently feel a sense of isolation, or are often repeatedly misdiagnosed.

However, through time, I learned to be myself, grow into my personality, excel in the fields I loved most including art, writing, poetry and music, and become the person I had always wanted to be. That was when I decided that showing other individuals with Asperger’s that their syndrome’s stereotypes did not define them was highly important. From there, I chose to set out and tear down these common stereotypes in order to prove that, although Asperger’s significantly affected my life, it was far from a bad thing.

People With Asperger’s Hate Social Interaction

One of the most common stereotypes people with Asperger’s face is that they absolutely despise social interaction, when, in fact, most of us enjoy it, but simply have a hard time doing it.

Because this is such a major factor and many people feel that individuals with Asperger’s automatically freak out around loud noises and large crowds, one of the first stereotypes I set out to tear down was this one. The first step was buying a ticket to a show in California I knew would have thousands of people there and  to steer clear of anything that wasn’t general access.

At first, it was absolutely terrifying knowing that I would be surrounded by thousands of people but, after being there for about 30 minutes, I was sitting on a table with twenty other writers and artists laughing and actually connecting with people I had literally just met. These people openly embraced me and even asked me questions they had about my disorder which they were too afraid to ask anyone else. In the end, I had opened up to thousands of people and made hundreds of new friends all while teaching them more about my condition and what it actually means for people like myself to be in crowds of that size.

Every Person with Asperger’s Likes Routines and Consistency

When people think of Autism, routines and consistency often come to mind. Although changing up your schedule or surroundings can be a serious issue for people with Asperger’s, I knew that this fear needed to be the next thing to be checked off my list. That’s why I decided in the blink of an eye after seeing an article by an Australian woman who was selling everything and traveling across Australia in her caravan that, with my fiance, I would sell all of our material items that weren’t absolute necessities and travel across America.

By the time we reached Texas, I had already experienced so much and was ready to experience even more. I became an executive pastry chef at a fast-paced restaurant to push myself in a very social environment and joined multiple hiking and caverning groups to face my fear of heights, social gatherings and small spaces all at once. As I checked off each fear, I realized that ‘new’ was a necessary part of any miraculous life.

People With Asperger’s Have A Hard Time Finding Partners

Throughout my entire life, I was told I could do anything, but many people around me doubted that I would ever find love with my disorder. They told me being independent was still an amazing accomplishment and that marriage and love were simply not in the cards for most individuals such as myself. However, being a hopeless romantic, I refused to believe that this was the case.

I believed, and still believe, that there is a special someone out there for everyone. All it takes is simply being yourself long enough for someone to find you. Although many of my first relationships were far from productive or healthy, I soon found a certain stride in simply being unapologetically “me,” and it worked.

From there, I began to teach other individuals with Asperger’s about how to act in dating situations and even met someone who also had Asperger’s, who later became my fiance. This led to me finding that special someone and tearing apart yet another barrier created for me by a misinformed society.

Asperger’s Syndrome Makes You “Stupid” or “Slow”

One of the worst and most offensive stereotypes I have ever faced is the common misconception that my disorder makes me slow or “stupid.” The truth is that Asperger’s actually can be seen in many of the leaders of our modern world, from tech geniuses such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs all the way to creatives such as Edgar Allen Poe and Andy Warhol. In fact, according to recent studies, multiple tech and creative companies have turned to specifically searching for individuals on the Autism spectrum as new recruits due to their dedication, obsessive behavior and ability to retain information in a much more productive way.

In fact, Washington Post recently wrote in an article, “The individuals who have founded some of the most successful tech companies are decidedly weird. Examine the founder of a truly innovative company and you’ll find a rebel without the usual regard for social customs.”

Due to the fact that I found myself unable to work cohesively in team-oriented workplaces or under set schedules, and didn’t want to resort to therapy and social security disability benefits, I decided that I would use my talents to build my own companies from the ground up. I began looking heavily into careers where you can work from home, to find a position that I knew I could enjoy for years to come and have complete control of my life through it in the process. After searching for quite some time, I found that I could turn my art and writing into companies by simply marketing myself properly, which led to me being able to showcase my obsessions in fun and informative ways all while making money to support myself.

For many people with Asperger’s, working remotely can be something that is terrifying to them as the isolation can be horrendous and traveling can be a pain as well, which is why it can sometimes be crucial to reduce the risks of working alone through having a partner or friend work alongside you or at least travel with you. This is where I was fortunate, because having my fiance meant I was always in good hands. We also took precautionary measures such as using help phones for emergency communications when on the road and buying mobile hotspot devices so we could have internet connections in locations that were often considered desolate in nature.

By doing this, I was able to create lasting business connections, lead a fruitful and spontaneous life, and put those common misconceptions of what I can and cannot do with Asperger’s aside. However, I still faced one more obstacle in my everyday life that was not only something which affected myself but others around me as well…

People With Asperger’s Can’t Raise Children

When I met my fiance, he told me that he had two sons and that being with him meant I would be a part of their lives — and eventually become their stepmother if we ever chose to get married. Since then, it’s safe to say I have taken this job quite seriously and have tried my very hardest to not let my eccentricities get in the way of my parenting.

Whenever the two boys visit, I try my very hardest to ensure that they do everything ordinary young children do, including visiting museums and parks, being a part of sports teams, and going to amusement parks, fairs and other places that would often be considered “too loud” for someone with my disorder. However, for many people with Asperger’s, having children can be difficult due to our sensitivity to loud noises, personal contact and social cues, which means that my abilities as a parent are consistently questioned by people who are unaware of what it truly means to have my disorder.

Furthermore, when the older of the two boys tells his friends at school that I have Asperger’s, he is often met with ridicule about his “retarded” stepmother and asked if he has the same condition himself. Although these things can often get a person down, I recognized from the start that I have to set the example for my stepkids and that my strength is what they will remember in all this as they get older. Therefore, I attend his meetings, I’m at his games, I take him to these parks and I never let him once feel as though he is hindered by the disorder that can sometimes make me unbearably uncomfortable just being at one of these events.

After all, the first step towards a more informed world is listening and understanding. I understand that these children and their parents are misinformed, and I feel sorry for them for not recognizing that. In the process, I try to inform these young children as often as possible so as to stop the cycle from repeating itself time and time again.

These obstacles I have pushed past are perhaps not that great considering the massive obstacles yet to be torn down in our world, but I have always felt that changing the world happens one action at a time, and, hopefully, these actions I have taken are the start of a brighter future for children on the autism spectrum and a more informed society for all of us to someday call home.


Samantha Donaldson is a full-time traveling journalist for boisepulsemusic.com as well as an advocate for Asperger’s syndrome awareness. When she isn’t busy writing articles in the fields she is most passionate about, Samantha loves to spend her time with her adorable deaf rescue pug, Pugsley, and her fiance, Joel, traveling the nation. You can follow her travels on her Instagram.

81 comments

Peggy B
Peggy Byesterday

Noted

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Krystal E
Krystal E1 days ago

hi guys…. This is swagathika
I was having a great love for the past 7 months I know him for 2 yrs he had all bad habbits but wen he got interest over me he left evrythg jus for me and just to be happy
he took care of me like my mother.. I was very much blessed
the problem was I had three family frd (boys)
I am very close to them…. my boy didn’t like me talking to those boys he didn’t tell me tht first he was always afraid that I would leave him… so he kept his fear inside his heart and was worrying a lot.. fa 4 months
now wen I came to know tht he zz hving this feari decided to stop talking with everyone, but my boy is telling me tht he lost his pure love on me.. he is telling me tht he loves me but not like before I begged him very badly… for 8 days I cried and begged him….. v both are very close…. v are mutually into evrythg even sex…. now he zz telling tht he is tired of fear and he can’t be like before frdzz what should I do? what should I do to get him back? plz tell me i found online who help me to get back with my boy again he is back to me again with his real pure love all thank to Dr happy the real spell caster who help me out when i was in pain and tear plz contact him http://happyspelltemple.webs.com/ for more details email.....happylovespell2@gmail.com

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Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 days ago

Thanks for the information

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Lisa M
Lisa M2 days ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M2 days ago

Noted.

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 days ago

Thank you

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 days ago

Thank you

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 days ago

thanks

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Jerome S
Jerome S3 days ago

thanks

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