Sunday, March 25, 2012

No Way José

Having Asperger Syndrome is not a shameful thing, any more than having diabetes or epilepsy. It simply ‘is’.  If Steve were to lose his sight or hearing he would have to learn a different way of living. Having AS has had the same effect on his life. And ours.

“I remember the relief my husband felt when he finally had a name for his eccentricities.  He was delighted. It lifted a burden to finally discover that he was not a freak and not crazy… But the fact remains that there is nothing wrong with [him].  Their [Asperger] brains just function differently.” 

My husband’s initial diagnosis was made by a trained and fully accredited doctor who specialized in Asperger Syndrome. Steve did not share this with me immediately as it took him a while to process the diagnosis and believe it himself. He has since had a second and even third diagnosis from totally different doctors who had no previous contact with any of his other doctors. All three diagnosis' were independent of each other. Steve still works with the last doctor who diagnosed him. He has accepted his Aspergers.

My family and our friends have been supportive. Steve’s family is a totally different matter. We have sent books and articles to them as they don't have medical degrees, nor any type of training in Asperger Syndrome. Their response has been polite, but firm, denial. It hurts me when they hurt him. 

And it’s too bad. Steve is not ‘broken’. He is not ‘damaged’. He is not ‘defective’. And most of all he is not ‘crazy’. His brain just works differently.

I am thankful that I’ve been given the chance to be Steve’s helpmate. We married ‘for better or for worse, until death do us part’. Steve is a brilliant man who has daily living challenges that most of us can’t comprehend. Would his family deny blindness or diabetes if he had those conditions?

I do know that Steve is now thankful for his diagnosis, and for being in our family. We love him just the way he is! He has a great support group that he meets with. He is able to recognize his own strengths and weaknesses. He works at staying in his own comfort zone in family life and at work. He says that he is relieved that I can help him with social situations that confuse him.

As for his family? Well, all I can do is shrug and laugh at their obstinence.  Everyone has the right to their own viewpoints and opinions, but in this age of tolerance and diversity it is hard to comprehend their attitudes. They are the ones missing out on a wonderful guy. 

We are blessed by his presence in our family.

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