As dramatic as it may sound to some, the challenges aspies face can lead them to have countless reasons to give up on themselves and their lives. This can often lead to thoughts of suicide and attempts, too many of which are successful. Bullying, grave misunderstandings, absent and abusive relationships of any kind, long-term unemployment, and mental illness are all common reasons why suicide occurs among aspies.
Aspies often tend to keep quiet about their troubles, typically under the belief that no one will truly understand what they experience; not only in a given environment, but also in their mind. Therefore, even though an aspie appears happy and productive in their life, they can still anonymously harbor difficult thoughts and emotions; sometimes until it is too late.
Cultivating healthy long relationships can be difficult for everyone, whether they be romantic or platonic. This important life skill becomes a special challenge for those with Asperger’s who can often have trouble making and keeping connections. However, there are ways in which the Aspie can learn to actively create beneficial companionship.
All of these habits do not come naturally to everyone and should be learned in order to create the best relationships.
Read Reese Eskridge’s 25 key lessons about companionship:
People on the spectrum struggle to understand the meaning of non-verbal social cues. Unfortunately, this can be very hazardous when it comes to inter-personal relationships, especially those of a romantic nature.
I used to think I had a chance at a relationship with someone as long as they didn’t flat-out reject me. What I failed to understand was the non-verbal cues, i.e. not returning phone calls, not being receptive to conversation. But while these things may not come easy to the Aspie, they can certainly be taught.
Once you have written your “one-minute commercial” and are confident telling others about yourself, it is time to start building your network. What is a network? A network is any friend, family member, mentor, teacher, or professional that can help you in your quest for employment. Building a network takes time, but can be extremely beneficial.
Most people get jobs, because of someone they know. New employers usually feel more confident when they hire a person recommended by someone they know. Hiring a new employee is expensive so they want to go with someone, who others can personally attest to their skills.
So, who should be in your network? What is the best way to go about creating a network?
A life with Asperger’s in a neurotypical world is, not surprisingly, difficult. Aspies must overcome countless necessary challenges that have to do with three big categories of stimuli: environments, the brain, and relationships. Unfortunately, aspies too often face unnecessary challenges; terrible burdens on their already heavy shoulders.
Any kind of imbalance in or between the three big categories usually stems from and causes isolation. Isolation is a primary example of trauma to an aspie, regardless of age, traits, or background. Isolation primarily encompasses the relationship factor and its damaging effects on the brain, the psyche. This isolation can cause the aspie to become petrified of their environments.
While waiting during a flight delay, Dr. Temple Grandin who is well known for her inventions with livestock handling facilities, best-selling author and advocate on behalf of those with Autism, granted me her time over the phone today. Among the myriad of topics discussed was her strong recommendation for me to read today’s headline published in USA Today. The headline reads: AUTOMATION IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE ECONOMY, BUT MAY ALSO BE ITS BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY. Temple went on to say that for those with a specialized interests, who embrace robotics, artificial intelligence and automation may find themselves in a good position within our future workplace.
Within the USA Today article, Bill Brennan, audit transformation leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, states that he is now hiring employees with backgrounds in science, technology and engineering. “We need those individuals to help us as we get into data analysis, analytics, data security, cloud computing. The future employee is going to have a combination of those skills,” Brennan said.
A robotic arm removes a section of wire from a computerized two-dimensional bending machine before carrying it to an automated welder at Marlin Steel in Baltimore, which has embraced automation to remain competitive with foreign manufacturers. (Photo: Jasper Colt, USA TODAY)
Dr Grandin said this article is a must-read for anyone on the Autism Spectrum or with Asperger Syndrome for many of these job availabilities will match their skills set. Upon her encouragement, we’ve posted the article for you to read below.
Many colleges and universities require undergraduates to live on campus, especially during their freshman and sophomore years. “Residence life” (calling on-campus living environments “dorms” is considered a faux pas in higher education these days) requires students to live as a member of a small, interactive society.
To be an effective and successful member of an on-campus living environment, students are expected to understand and conform to social norms within residence halls. Students are also expected to pull their own weight both socially and in regard to independent living in their dorms.
Though driving with an Autism diagnosis is not for everyone, many do decide to obtain their driver license and go on to live independent lives. Aspergers101 teamed with Dr. Temple Grandin to provide helpful information when considering if driving is for you, or your teen.
Long before driver education, Temple suggests first mastering your skills by practicing on a bicycle (coordination, motor skills). Then tackle driving in a safe remote area such as the country or large parking lot. You’ll begin mastering such challenging tasks, such as multi-tasking, prior to any driving on congested roadways.
One suggestion she has is that before you take a driver education course, you need to find a safe place and practice, and after that, practice even more! Getting the ‘knack’ of driving includes working on your coordination, motor skills, and multi-tasking which all come into play when learning to drive, even more so for those on the autism spectrum.
I’ve encountered a lot of people who hold me on the same expectation level as people without Asperger’s (ie, “normal” people). I don’t want to be treated too differently, but the general analogy is that if I’m a square block, I’m not going to fit through a circular hole.
The first step to any sort of progress is for parents to admit that their kid has ASD; same with employers and teachers. They have to be made aware of it and accept it. Unreasonable expectations come from ignorance or even ignoring the truth, which puts stress on everyone and is very frustrating to the person with ASD.
By Nikki J.
Aspie Artist Nikki J. is the creator and artist for “AuTalkz.” We are proud to display her insights into life on the spectrum by way of comic strips. You can see more of Nikki’s work on deviantart.
Aspergers101’s Samuel Allen receives the TCASE (Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education) 2017 Student Success Story of the Year Award! This annual award precedes the keynote speaker at the largest TCASE Conference in America. It is awarded to a student who has succeeded after graduating High School with the assistance of Special Education.
Sam attended NEISD in San Antonio Texas and graduated Ronald Reagan High School in 2013. In spite of an Autism diagnosis, he is driving, working, and currently attending college toward a degree in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems. Sam says “having Autism/Asperger Syndrome is not a weight…but offers a pair of wings in which to soar.”
Esped.com sponsored the presentation with an award toward his education. It is the contents of his speech that merits posting. Within the allotted 15 minute period, Samuel takes the massive audience (over 1,000 educators/administrators in attendance) through his elementary, middle school, and high school years as a student with special needs. There was not a dry eye in the room when Sam recalled how one teacher’s note made the difference from feeling ‘disabled’ to knowing Autism was a powerful gift.
(Note: This video includes the introductions, Sam’s speech begins at the 4:11 mark)
We congratulate Sam and all students enrolled in Special Education, their parents, and most certainly the educators who all work together toward a student’s graduation. The road is often rocky met with trials of testing programs that remove the obstacles often found with a special needs child. However, if all factions are working together, Sam is proof that special needs can mean success, and sometimes that success is found in graduation.