On the bright side… (part 4)

Continued from part 3

This is the fourth and final post in this series. This time, I will look at part D of Attwood and Gray’s aspie criteria, which I’ve listed below. I encourage you to read the full article,  The Discovery of “Aspie” Criteria.

D. Additional possible features:

  1. acute sensitivity to specific sensory experiences and stimuli, for example: hearing, touch, vision, and/or smell
  2. strength in individual sports and games, particularly those involving endurance or visual accuracy, including rowing, swimming, bowling, chess
  3. “social unsung hero” with trusting optimism: frequent victim of social weaknesses of others, while steadfast in the belief of the possibility of genuine friendship
  4. increased probability over general population of attending university after high school
  5. often take care of others outside the range of typical development

I’d like to take a closer look at 2 and 3 here. Aside from the visual accuracy mentioned in #2, these two are connected by a deep determination to keep going, even while struggling. In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that my left arm is paralyzed and listed some of my accomplishments in spite of my physical limitations. I ride a motorcycle and type more than 80 words per minute. I’ve also played volleyball, gone white-water rafting, and even changed diapers. I would hope that these accomplishments are sufficient proof of that “can do” attitude we all appreciate. I would also hope, in light of this evidence, that those who see me struggling socially could believe that I’m truly doing my best. I want you to know that I truly believe we can be friends, but it takes effort on both sides.

Near the end of their article, Attwood and Gray tell us that here is “the opportunity to make new friends; a chance to consider those who may seem comparatively awkward, but decidedly more honest and genuine.” I invite you to take this opportunity.

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3 Comments

Filed under About Asperger's Syndrome, Aspie strengths, Relationships

3 responses to “On the bright side… (part 4)

  1. Kristen

    I took that opportunity 11 years ago and have never regretted it. In fact, I’m a better person because of it. You have taught me a lot about friendships and relationships, even though I’m the one that finds friendships more easily to come by. Too many take the easy road and walk away from relationships when they get “difficult” or if an issue arises. Aspies are not difficult to be around nor are they bad friends. Just like any relationship, they take time, energy and require communication and understanding. Wouldn’t we all appreciate that in any relationship?

  2. I took the opportunity 20 years ago and it saved my life. But as Kristen said any good and lasting friendship or any relationship takes time, energy, understanding, and above all communication. And if you take this time you will find that Aspies make the Best Friends.

  3. I find that I have difficulty making new friends and when I do make a friend, the friendship does not usually last. I have one friend that I have had for over 3 years. She is much older than me (by 14 years) but I have always felt I was on the same maturity level as she, at times. I believe people give up on me too easily. I can keep a secret, I am honest, I speak my mind, I care and love despite how the world views that person, I have never judged on one’s outward appearance, yet I cannot connect with anyone. I try my best and still fail to see what I am doing wrong. The ones who have befriended me in the past slowly stopped being my friend and ignored me, leaving me without a reason as to why. I am trusting so I am often used by others as well, which is slowly making me more cautious around others and less open to making new friends because of the reoccurring incidences. I have been used by my peers in school to edit papers and help them with homework or comprehending assignments. After the course was through, they ignored me and behaved as though they never knew me. I am still hurting from this, though it has been some time. I would hear them snicker yet never knew what or whom they were giggling about. It is possible they were laughing at me, but I am unsure as to why. My keen interests also play a key role in me not maintaining or making new friends. Another reason is I always fear I will say the wrong thing or not know what to say, especially when it comes to comforting others. I am lost every time as to what to do. If the upset individual is a child, I will coddle him or her but adults (and teens) are not young children. Understanding facial expressions, interpreting tone of voice, detecting sarcasm (because I take things literal about 80% of the time), and many idioms elude me. I have to search the meaning of them online in order to comprehend it. It is annoying at times. I have learned, recently–yet sadly, that it is far easier and less frustrating for me, as well as others, if I ask whether something was a joke or sarcasm. Steven, my boyfriend, is helping me with this and will usually tell me whether someone meant what he/she said as a joke or whether he did. It makes conversations much easier.

    I know this is becoming lengthy…

    A few days ago, I decided to take a small step (though it was a major one for me) and try a new restaurant. If anyone knows me well enough, that is not an easy step for me to make. I never think about crowds or the anxiety I will feel in them until I am there. The anxiety and over stimulation comes without warning to me. I ordered my food to go and left as soon as I received it. If anyone knows how to make circumstances such as this stop, I would greatly appreciate it. It affects my education at times, mainly when taking a new course, entering a new classroom, or having a new teacher. I usually keep with the same teacher which makes school less of a challenge–not learning wise but change wise.

    Carlyle, I enjoy reading your blogs. I wish my family members were willing to read them. I believe if they wanted to, they would be able to interpret how I think and my language. I just want them to listen and understand, as I do everyone else. Thank you for creating this, my friend.

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