On an autism forum that I’m on, there are certain questions that tend to get asked over and over and over again. So I figured I’d write my own answers to some of those questions here.
1. Do you think I have/my kid has Asperger’s?
Nobody online can diagnose you or your child. You can give a list of symptoms and people can tell you if it seems like ASD or not, but ultimately you are going to need to go to a professional. ASD has a lot of similarities with a number of other things that would need to be ruled out. Your best bet is to do some research yourself and talk to people who do that kind of thing for a living.
2. Can people with ASD lie?
Yes. Or, more accurately, it depends. Many ASD people have an internal sense of morality that is far more real to them than anything external, and will stay true to it very strictly. However, whether or not that sense of morality includes “do not lie” will vary from one person to the next.
3. Can Aspies change?
I’m never sure what this means, or what people mean when they say “an aspie can’t change, ever.” I mean, that is a very absolute statement. In general, yes, we can change. Personally, my religion, my political beliefs, my sense of morality, and other such things have all changed significantly in my life. On the other hand, things that are directly related to my ASD are very unlikely to ever change, and they must simply be lived with and worked around.
4. Can you cure autism by socializing more?
No. You cannot cure autism by anything. Telling someone with ASD that they simply need to “go out and make friends” is incredibly unhelpful, as one of the main problems is an inability to do exactly that.
5. Do Aspies have a sense of humor?
Yes. Or, more accurately, Aspies have senses of humor at probably close to the same rate that NTs have senses of humor. Personally, my humor tends to be extremely literal (some people have called it “dry”) but it definitely exists.
6. You aren’t like this other Aspie I know. Are you sure you have Asperger’s?
I have actually gotten this one directly, though in a much less polite form. There is a saying: “If you have met one person with Asperger’s, you have met one person with Asperger’s.” AS has a huge amount of scatter, and a huge range. It can present very differently in one person to the next. People with ASD have just as much variety and individuality as everyone else, and it is very wrong to assume that we don’t.
7, 8, &9. Do Aspies know that other people are people? Do Aspies care about other people? Are Aspies sociopaths?
I put these three together because I consider them all related. There is currently research out there about ASDs and how they impact things like a person’s ability to have empathy or something called Theory of Mind. Sometimes people think that this means that Aspies must not realize that other people are people, or that Aspies do not care about others, or even go so far as to think that Aspies must be sociopaths (Aspies lack empathy, sociopaths lack empathy, Aspies must be sociopaths!). Unfortunately, this is a misinterpretation of information that may not have been presented very well. It’s true that I have difficulty figuring out what other people are feeling; however, I do care very much. I also have difficulty figuring out other people’s motivations (which might be a theory of mind thing, but I’m not sure), however, I do recognize that other people are people.
If you have questions, I’d love to see them!