About this blog.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at 24 months. I created this blog to bring meaning to the often-confusing label. Sometimes I have answers. Other times, just more questions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"I was normal, for what I am."

My latest entry in my One Person Book Club is Look Me in the Eye, by John Elder Robison. Robison happens to be the brother of Augusten Burrows, who authored Running With Scissors (upon which the movie of the same name is based). However, Robison is accomplished and interesting in his right. Also: he's a good netizen.

Look Me in the Eye is a great read from start to finish. Parts of it were informative, explaining how an Aspergian thinks. But the bulk of the subject matter is a compelling story having little to do with Aspergers itself, narrated with a strong Aspergian voice. So, more often than not, he shows the reader how he thinks, rather than tells us.

Robison was not diagnosed with Aspergers until he was in his 40s. He writes, of reading about Aspergers:
Just reading those pages was a tremendous relief. All my life, I had felt like I didn't fit in. I had always felt like a fraud or, even worse, a sociopath waiting to be found out. But the book told a very different story. I was not a heartless killer waiting to harvest my first victim. I was normal, for what I am.
This passage left a strong impression on me. My journey has caused me to think a lot about what the label means. I've blogged about what I think the label means in the objective sense, and others have chimed in about how they perceive the label - some positive, others negative. Often overlooked in the debate is what the label means for the individual with the condition. What I gather from the account of Robison and others is that with the label comes a sense of understanding and a sense of community and pride.

And so while others concern themselves with the negative stigma associated with the label, I'm struck by the importance of the label with respect to identity. Imagine if you were ethnically diverse or racially diverse (in a nonapparent way), and your parents never told you to spare you negative judgement by ignorant people? This is, in part, why I think it's harmful to dodge the label.

I thank Robison for his emotional honesty.

15 comments:

rhemashope said...

I love that your blog is always thought-provoking and informative. I recently got a copy of Look Me in the Eye, and it's on my reading list.

Quirky Mom said...

I can't agree more with that perspective on the label. I consider myself Aspie, although I haven't sought diagnosis (yet), and finding the description that fit gave me a sense of relief and identity. It has also helped me to understand some of my weaknesses and to appreciate some of my strengths.

Also, while I'm here, you've been tagged! Come see what it is at my blog.

Laura said...

janeil - the feeling is mutual. :-)

Quirky Mom - d'oh!

rainbowmummy said...

I looooooved his book! By the way TAG you're it! Come and play but only if you want to, it's not the law..well I am pretty sure it's not the law..:0)
prisinor 1 "im here for murder, you?
prisinor 2 "rape, you?"
prisinor 3 " robery, you?"
Laura "didn't play the tag game"
Prisinors 1 2 & 3 all gasp in fear

:0)

Laura said...

oh I'm a badass all right - law be damned :p

rainbowmummy said...

*gasp*

Laura said...

Hey Rainbowmummy, I found your comments from my earlier posts. Yup, you called it right - I was in a dark place. Thanks for your notes. From the sense of communitiy, it's so nice for me to connect with some one like you.

rainbowmummy said...

Laura, I so enjoyed catching up on your blog! Thanks for that :0)Want to come round to mine and have have a coffee! Damn why do you all live in america??

jrandom42 said...

Rainbowmummy,

Reminds me of Arlo Guthrie and "Alice's Restaurant", when he's sent to the Group W bench with all the father-killers, mother-rapers, mother-killers and father-rapers, and when asked why he was there, he said, "Littering", and they all draw away from him.

Laura said...

LOL

Judith U. said...

This book has been sitting on my "read very soon" stack for too long. Thanks for the nudge.

The Cult of Recovery said...

I really want to read this book. Did you know Dan Akroyd was diagnosis with Aspergers in his 40's as well? He said he always knew there was something different about him and getting the diagnosis explained it all.

Laura said...

Hey Cult, get out! no I didn't know that. Funny cause he was geek chic before geek chic was en vogue.

Quirky Mom said...

I <3 Dan Akyroyd. That is all.

Stimey said...

I loved this book too. It was enlightening to me for many, many reasons.