The brain of a person of Asperger’s Syndrome does not function like that of a typical person’s brain. I understand this is difficult for some people to understand. But, when you consider the human body, it’s obvious that, although we all have similarities, two eyes one nose, etc, they are actually different. Some function better than others, and the slight differences make a difference. Yes, you can sometimes find a short person who excels at Basketball, the truth is, taller people are better at the game than short people. Some people can eat anything and everything they want and never gain weight, yet others can eat much less and still become over-weight, etc. We are different.
Most people are born with bone structures that, although different in their own way, are correctly formed. Yet there are people whose bones grow crooked. There is a basic structure of the human body, within which there are infinite variables. But beyond that there are many many people whose bodies do not grow as designed. I have scoliosis. It is minor in comparison to some people’s, but it still affects my life.
My spine twists in at least 4 different points, from my neck to my tail bone. My shoulders are offset because of it, my pelvis is offset as well. The padding between some of my vertebrae is missing and the vertebrae have thus fussed together. There’s also a good bit of arthritis on my spine as well. For all of this I cannot walk or run or swim as far or as fast as most people under normal circumstances. Sitting or standing for more than an hour at a time will cause back pain. Throwing a ball accurately or with much speed is difficult. Before I was aware of my scoliosis, I became interested in weight lifting, but I soon noticed that my muscles were developing unevenly, throwing off my posture even more than it was before.
Scoliosis was something I was born with. It was certainly something I did not choose for myself. Asperger’s Syndrome is also something I was born with, and did not choose for myself. Still, there are people who are dismissive about people’s difficulties with life as a result of their brain differences. They admit the defects they can easily see, like physical deformities, but they seem to not comprehend anything beyond that, such as the differences in people’s brains. Those dismissive people say things like “they choose to be that way, they could change if they really wanted to.” Obviously they don’t want to admit that some people’s problems really are beyond their control. I think it has something to do with rejecting the necessity of sympathy. Having to respect other people’s differences often means having to give other people’s needs priority. In the highly competitive culture we live in, sympathy for others is considered a detriment. For this, many people deny the reality that others have to live with. This denial only makes life more difficult for everyone.
I have seen first hand that many homeless people have symptoms of Aspergers, and I credit Aspergers as the main cause of my homelessness. But other’s have responded saying that I am only using Aspergers as an excuse for my homelessness. Among those was the director of the local rescue mission. To him, homelessness is a result of sin. Still, he can’t see anything beyond the sin paradigm. Bad things happen to you because you sin, good things happen to you because you don’t sin. Sure, this is inaccurate, illogical and shallow thinking. But because he has achieved a position of authority, he believes himself correct, his opinion carries weight with other people. He says that because he knows of people with Aspergers who have never been homeless, that Asperger’s cannot be a cause of homelessness. In my next post I’ll answer that posit.