Once an Aspie Always an Aspie!
The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself
Before l was a ‘diagnosed Aspergian’, l was in fact just another ‘confused Neurotypical’ walking the planet which let’s be brutally honest we all were before receiving our diagnosis or recognition, and more so this is relevant to people like myself – later diagnosis. I am 54 and 2017 marks ten years since recognition and my ninth anniversary of finally understanding where l fitted into my life as an Aspergian.
A few years on from that and DSM-5 would declare me autistic and not purely a standalone Aspergian. Perhaps it IS because l was a later diagnosis rather than a youngster receiving the news that my confused life had purpose and meaning that l steadfastly hold onto the ‘label’ of Aspergers Syndrome or maybe because l am old fashioned and a stickler for detail and ‘correctness’. However many may feel obliged to calling me down on this decision, and say l should be saying l am autistic which l do in truth – l say to people who may wish to know … “I am actually autistic because of my Aspergers Syndrome.”
I am not a label hunter, nor am l specifically brand conscious but each of us, spectrum inclusive or not need to know where we fit in, that we belong, that we have a community or a tribe, that we are NOT alone. It is our human nature to know who we are, and so labels are all important in the personality identification process of choice and selection.
Occasionally people ask of me, which l prefer to be classed as ‘autistic or Aspergian? I always answer “I am first and foremost an Aspergian who sits under the autism spectrum disorders banner, but there is no hash tag for ‘actually Aspergic’, just ‘actually autistic’. So the answer is l am an Aspie and proud!’
Once an Aspie always an Aspie is not a derogatory dig at autists – as l know many autists prefer to class themselves as autists and not Aspies even if they are diagnosed with Asperger’s because it is their choice, and we each in turn must respect another’s’ choice as it is their chosen path to acceptance and respecting themselves. Equally there are many who choose to not be open about their disorder and still walk the life of actually neurotypical with a hint of the wild side!
I am of the philosophy that l genetically inherited my Aspergers and not of the schools of thought that l was vaccinated with ‘autism’ or that l caught it via a ‘rather nasty’ contagion or even more astonishing of l woke up one morning and suddenly l was autistic!!
Many people suggest that Asperger’s Syndrome as a phrase will disappear from the English language and medical terminology and l dispute this. They further suggest that by not adopting the commercial terminology of ‘actually autistic’ l am not being true to myself? Which l am astounded at – NO! I am profoundly astounded with! I am being nothing but me, l above everyone else am the only one who can truly actually be me no one else can be me!
I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and that makes me the Aspie l am, it just so happens – that l also happen to be autistic! And this is where many a confusion steps in. I didn’t jump on board the hash tag of actually autistic with glee, because l jolly well knew who l was before that came into use. But l get it, l understand the connotation behind its use – that when it is seen it is written by a person under the spectrum.
There are trains of thought as suggested that the term l use will fast disappear from commercial usage? I personally don’t think it will – not as long as it’s constantly referred to and adopted by not just Aspergians but by those not on the spectrum – as an example – Tony Attwood – a renowned psychologist and especially known for his work with Asperger’s Syndrome – he doesn’t believe the term will disappear from use, and he too is not alone – other authorities agree.
Aspergians wear their badge with pride; we are not sheep who just follow the flock for the sake of it. The DSM 5 crammed everybody under one roof for its own personal agenda, to ‘make life easier’ for professionals and yet it somehow managed to dehumanise much of the people on the spectrum as well as ostracise those affected.
Actually autistic [the hash tag] awards many with the definition of ‘this is who we are and we are ACTUALLY on the spectrum’, and it again humanises the people. It is the friendly approach, so l am not against that at all – but l am still actually Aspergic.
Who am l?
Proud to be an Aspie, once an Aspie, always an Aspie!
Rory Matier – The Tee Shirt Blogger
Ps: These posts are my views on my autism/Asperger’s, they may not be everyone else’s who is on the spectrum.