…with a heavy heart. A friend of mine with Asperger’s syndrome was recently referred to as an idiot by a pastor in her church. A teenager with Asperger’s syndrome that I care about deeply has been called a variety of names by members of his church’s youth group, and that’s just scratching the surface.
What is Asperger’s syndrome? Put simply, it is a developmental disorder that makes it very difficult to interact with other people. It is on the autism spectrum. Its cause has not yet been determined, and there is no known cure. Here are some of the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV:
- marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
- failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
- lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people (e.g., by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
- lack of social or emotional reciprocity
- encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity of focus
- apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
- stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g., hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
I’m looking at the tattoo on my left arm. It references 2 Corinthians 12:9, which says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
I have Asperger’s syndrome, and my left arm is paralyzed. I pray that God will use my weaknesses to help others.