12 February, 2010

Topic sentence-->mission statement

Of course I was reading about the DSM on Wikipedia, and found out about a new diagnosis called Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. This sounds pretty much like a description of the ways that I think ASD impairs my ability to get stuff done. I'm not saying that I was misdiagnosed with ASD and really have SCT; I have some ASD symptoms that aren't included in SCT. I guess SCT-ish stuff can be part of ASD, as with Sensory Processing Disorder.

As usual, it makes me feel weird. If this blog had a topic sentence it would be "I'm super high-functioning but not like those other high-functioning people." I know that saying high-functioning is considered really offensive etc., but I feel like I need to use a word to describe what I'm like, and I'm not saying it as a judgment on other people. I think that judging people for their "functioning level" is one of the most hateful things you can do. What I'm trying to say is that I currently get by without services for my ASD, and expect that I always will. I got some services when I was a kid but I would have gotten by without them. Things would have been worse but I think I would still have been able to go to college and eventually make friends, just slower. I feel like the worst thing that could have happened to me would have just been that my life up until the age of eighteen would have been shit and I would have entered college as a very frightened person who self-injured a lot. But I would have entered college, is what I'm trying to say. (By services I largely mean going to a small private school where a lot of kids had learning disabilities and outright bullying was rare. It's hard to explain to people if I was in special ed because I don't think of my high school as a special ed school, but it kind of was, and it helped me a lot in terms of learning some methods of doing homework and talking to people.)

Anyway, I feel alienated by the word "Asperger's," because as I've previously mentioned, I feel more comfortable with the labels developmentally disabled or developmentally delayed or PDD-NOS. I am more high-functioning than the stereotypical person with Asperger's; I can sometimes talk to people without them noticing anything, I have satisfying friendships, my special interests are not that intense and not at all apparent (I think--I manage this by reading blogs and forums about them instead of trying to have conversations about them). The areas in which I'm not high-functioning are not stereotypical Asperger's problems of being an obnoxious nerd.

This is why Francisco Hernandez Jr. has (somewhat creepily) become an iconic figure to me, sort of the mascot of this blog. What happened to him has to do with getting overwhelmed and retreating and fading out. This is what happened to me for the first few months that I was writing this blog. I just called it "I'm somewhere else" because I was studying abroad, but then it ended up being a description of my mental state while I was abroad. A persistent, sometimes fascinating, sometimes horrible absence. I can't remember if I posted this at the time, but at one point I kept wearing the same jeans long after they needed to be washed because I was too depressed to work up the energy to change them.

I'm not active and odd. I'm passive and odd. And I'm not really as odd as I used to be.

I am excited about the DSM V because I feel like they describe a kind of ASD that can actually fit me.

Because I feel so alienated from the mainstream face of Asperger's, the topic sentence of this blog can be further developed into a mission statement, which is "Just because a lot of people are making dumb movies about people with Asperger's, and just because someone thinks we're good at making rocket ships, or whatever, doesn't mean that we're actually that different from other developmentally disabled people, or that we don't owe them anything."


  1. Whenever I hear the word "sluggish" in psychological use, I associate it with the term in Russian defectology (and politics): "Sluggishly progressing schizophrenia".

    Hope you will see My Name is Khan. I think it will be a game-changer.

  2. oh, yeah. that actually sounds like it's going to be great.

  3. to add: I don't know that much about it. but it seems like something that will portray a person being discriminated against because of his ASD and his ethnicity, right? movies like Adam are about how crazy/interesting/sad/exotic/funny people with ASD are. so it sounds like My Name is Khan is going to be social model, instead of like "some people with Asperger's are sad, no one knows why."

  4. Well, I'll find out when I see it next week (if I see it next week, I mean).

    It was great hearing about it on FWD/Feminists with Disabilities, but I had read the Khan man's Twitter some months ago.

    Khan already has a very nice wife in the movie.

    I can see the difference all right between Adam and My name is Khan.

    In the latter it will be part of the story and part of him.

    I am SRK: the Twitter

    I cry when I see some of the man's tweets.

    Very modest, honest, direct and personable.