John Elder RobisonLiving with Asperger’s Syndrome
Living with Asperger’s Syndrome
John Elder Robison has succeeded wonderfully while living with his profound asperger’s syndrome. Enjoy his rare insights and knowledge, which could only be told by a traveler from inside this challenge. This account is imperative in today’s world.
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John Elder Robinson Text Excerpt
At what time did you discover that you were coping with Asperger’s?
John Elder Robison
I knew that I was different from other children right from the beginning. When I was three-years-old I knew I was different because people said so. I resisted being picked up because I was uncomfortable and scared when people would grab me. People acted as if that was unusual. When I was a little older, I wanted to make friends with other children but I never seemed to be able to say the right thing. Those attempts always went wrong.
So I knew there were problems from the beginning, although I did not know what they were. I grew up actually thinking of myself as kind of defective. And I went through life like that until I was forty-years-old and that was when I learned about Asperger’s.
And it was truly a life changing discovery to realize that all along I had not been defective. I was normal for what I am, a person with Asperger’s, which is a neurological difference. it’s a different way of being not a disease or anything.
Can you help me with that definition? It’s a different way of being. What is an Asperger’s person?
John Elder Robison
Asperger’s is a form of Autism. Autism is essentially an imbalance of the different intelligences within the brain.
All of us have different components of intelligence. We have the logical or mathematical intelligence, which is what the average person evaluates when they say “Johnny‘s really smart,” you know, what ever. But there’s also a component of intelligence that drives your body and it is actually a genius in that part of the brain that makes star athletes like Michael Jordan. You have an intelligence that allows you to pull from an extensive library of visual or auditory memories and match those scenes from the past up with what you see today. And finally you’ve got an emotional intelligence that allows you to read or sense the non-verbal communications of people around you. You read their body language, their facial expressions, their tone of voice.
People with Asperger’s have a pronounced deficiency in that emotional intelligence and they tend to have an uneven balance of the other intelligences. We frequently have strong logical intelligence where other things like athletic intelligence may be very weak.
So it can be a different balance among those four. It’s not always one particular constellation of those four for Asperger’s. it’s just a different mix for different Asperger’s people?
John Elder Robison
The one thing that’s a constant is that we have very weak emotional intelligence and imbalances elsewhere. Most often people with Asperger’s have reasonably strong logical skills and, in fact, that kind of gets us into trouble because it’s your logical intelligence that people see.
They say oh you know little Jonny can solve these math problems. He’s really smart. But then if you don’t have emotional intelligence and you say and do totally unexpected or weird things, people are very quick to pounce on you. Because they say you’re so smart, you should know better. You must be tricky or devious or mean.
They’ll tend to blame you where, in fact, it is something you’re totally blind to. That’s really the terrible struggle that many children like me with Asperger’s faced…….
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