Personal story about adults with Asperger's syndrome and whether you should let others know about it


People on the autism spectrum often need to decide when or whether to tell other people about their condition, disability, way of 'being', or whatever you feel comfortable calling it. There are definite advantages to letting someone know you are an 'aspie' or 'autie'. A person inclined to compassion will then be a bit more accepting of our tendencies to appear aloof, arrogant, unemotional, uncaring, obsessive, distant or inappropriate at times.

Friendships require more openness to let them grow, and revealing you are on the autism spectrum will eventually be normal as your guard comes down. Of course, the problem is that the way we are often means that the friendship might not develop that far, or even get started! What a conundrum. Keep it quiet and just appear to be weird, or tell them up front and remove all doubt if they are narrow-minded bigots.


think twice before telling them

There are many misconceptions about Autism and Asperger's syndrome in the community. Some may automatically link it with an intellectual disability or mental illness, disabilities that many people also have misconceptions about. Some auties and aspies have found people who have reacted negatively, avoided them, or been sympathetic rather than understanding.


Personally I just seem to muck it up every time, and I'm not a good judge of character to boot! So my strategy is to talk with a trusted friend or family member about the right time to reveal things. Sometimes they have met the person and give me tips on whether to say something or not.


The same goes for work. I've had a range of jobs over the years and eventually figured that telling my boss was a good move. And sometimes it was. He or she would be more understanding, make some accommodations and I'd last a bit longer than I would have otherwise. But there was one boss who wouldn't even listen and made things so unpleasant for me that I had to leave. Since then, I found out that I could have raised a legal fight that would have had him dancing to a different tune, with the threat of a lawsuit based on discrimination against people with a disability and not carrying out workplace accommodations!


coping with rejection

Feeling rejected is very normal, but how we respond to this is important. Where possible, I try not to get pissed about other people’s fear, misconceptions and lack of understanding. I just focus on the things I like about myself and don't allow my self-esteem to be based on the reactions of those around me. I have to admit that if the tables were turned, there's no reason I wouldn't act the same way. It's not as if I'm a saintly character who would act differently to a socially awkward emotionally-distant person!

Learn from unpleasant experiences with others. I don't mind changing parts of myself to some extent if I engage with the world a bit better, so I rehash what happened with a non-aspie friend. She normally figures out pretty quickly what I did or said (or more importantly didn't do or say!) that drove the other person galloping for the horizon.


Sometimes I wasn't listening, or was too opinionated, or raved too long about my favorite obsession (clock collecting if you must know) Dwelling on rejection, anger and sadness for too long will only drags me down and makes life more difficult. How we choose to respond will have a huge impact on how we feel in the long run.


Close this personal story on Asperger's syndrome and whether to tell others about the disorder

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Should we tell others about having Asperger's syndrome? An aspie's personal perspective on the issue.