The Secret Language of Aspies

by Kirsten

I think we have to do something about the mainstream definition of Asperger’s. Seriously, bullet points like lacks empathy and inability to read nonverbal cues and theory of mind limitations make us sound inhuman.

We aren’t.

Saying Aspies don’t have these abilities at all is like saying a Spaniard is mute because he can’t string sentence together in English.

It’s a different language, people.

For example, the other day at little Yoda’s school, an autistic boy* walked by me with an expressionless face as his aide led him into a magic show on campus. I had to fight tears. Why? Because I could tell that he was about 45 seconds from a meltdown and the magic show would traumatize him. None of the other adults around noticed. 45 seconds later, he ran out screaming and self-harming, his stunned, neurotypical (NT) aide running after him, the onlooking adults writing it off as a random act of autism.

I can practically communicate with Aspies telepathically. Empathy. Body language. Theory of mind. I have them all. With Aspies. I just stumble with NTs. Just like NTs stumble with me when I have to haul ass out of the grocery store because Kenny G is playing. Or when I go bonkers because someone gently strokes my forearm (no light touches!). Or when my face goes deadpan because I’m losing my shit.

Aspies and NTs just don’t get each other. We speak different languages. We need Esperanto.

Since the real genius and eloquence on this blog always presents itself in the comments section, I turn to you for supporting evidence, readers! Or arguments. Those are always good, too.

* This autistic boy is a veritable animal whisperer and is fluent in some extraordinarily empathetic silent animal language that I can’t even begin to access.

About the Author: After 36 years of wondering why she was so quirky, Kirsten recently discovered that she’s quirky in the clinical sense. She has Asperger’s. She blogs about the horrors and joys of daily life in a world where most people aren’t wired like her. Because if you, too, are wired for life on some distant, unknown planet, you probably need to commiserate. And you definitely need to laugh.

This post first appeared on Kirsten’s blog, quirky and laughing, and is reprinted here by permission.

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6 thoughts on “The Secret Language of Aspies

  1. Short, sweet, and to the point. I love it.

    There’s so much there. Now, with so many teachers carrying around clipboards, it’s a gonna be even harder to find.

    Damn.

  2. Heather says:

    Magic show? WHAT the heck were they thinking?

  3. Ashmire says:

    Agreed! Here’s my own story along that line (may need to sign up for a free forum account to read it): http://www.spectrumites.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=1589

  4. Wendy says:

    This is so interesting. I have had many arguments and debates with people about how outbursts do NOT happen “out of the blue” – just because we don’t catch the signals before the outburst, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In some cases, the debates were good and I think I was able to convince people to think about it. In others I was just shut down as a clueless parent.

  5. codeman38 says:

    This is something I’ve been noticing for a while now as well– I ‘grok’ other people on the spectrum, connect with them empathically, in a way that I do not with non-autistic people. It really is like two completely different, mutually unintelligible dialects of body language.

  6. Went yesterday to CDC/Atlanta to hear John Robison talk (for free…no Autism Speaks fundraiser this time.) My 18 year old son Ben has read his book, “Be Different”. I recognize him, and tell Ben. Robison says, “You want me to sign your book, to personalize it?” “Yeah”, Ben says. The only words they exchanged.

    For Ben
    A fine fellow Aspergerian
    GEEKS RULE!
    JER

    I tweeted something about AUT-DAR, you know, the Aspie equivalent to gay-dar, the ability of gays to see it in each other. I didn’t come up with the name, but it is a recognized phenomenon. Robison caught it. In his talk, he told of parents complaining, “I don’t know where he gets it” and how he had to hold his tongue from saying, “It’s obvious to ME where it comes from.”

    Codeman, Grok is an appropriate term, too. We are all strangers in a strange land.

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