Lisa D. (chaoticidealism) wrote,
Lisa D.

Reply to "Aspie Superpowers and Teenagers"

Reply to "Aspie Superpowers and Teenagers".
I'm seeing the same phenomenon as the guy who wrote the blog post above: Aspie kids (and probably some adults) are pretty eager to declare themselves superior. Most of their lives, the world has been telling them they're inferior; and they're sick of it. So, when they discover it's OK to be an Aspie, they begin to swing the other way, showing off their talents, telling the world that they are not just equal, but better. Consider the parallel to the women's rights movements here, and the civil rights movement. Both included quite a lot of people who, sick of being called inferior, declared themselves superior instead. There's quite a lot of precedent for this kind of thing. Aspie teens who brag about their talents (and I've done my share of bragging) are doing a mild version of that same thing.

But the Aspie superpower phenomenon really does have a basis in fact--though it doesn't make us superior.

You really can't ignore the fact that the brainpower we'd use for socializing is definitely being used for something else, though... and that easily results in abnormally high skill levels. Superpowers? Not really; there are neurotypicals with similarly high levels of talent. But look at the Asperger's population, and I'm pretty sure you'll find more talented individuals than in the general population--if, of course, you ignore the general population's social talents. The Aspie brain is skewed off the norm in various areas, trading big-picture thinking for attention to detail--which, if you looked only at how well one notices details, could certainly be considered a special talent. And of course there are skills that compensate for Aspie weaknesses; many of us have very large vocabularies, which I believe compensate for the lack of nonverbal communication (you can say things more precisely with "big words", so you don't have to use tone of voice, speed, and gesture to communicate those nuances).

"Aspie superpowers" are very real. Talent like that exists all along the spectrum, and more often on than off it. To assume that you are better than others because you possess them isn't right, though; just because your brain's good at one thing doesn't mean you're good at everything--by definition, if you're autistic, you're not. And to assume that you're better than non-talented autistics is even worse. If you say it's talent that makes autistic life worthwhile, you're saying a lot of awfully mean things about people who don't have talent. Autistic life is worthwhile whether or not you have those talents.

Aspies are way too used to having to justify their existence. "Yeah, I have Apserger's; but look at my 1337 math skillz!" The thing is, you shouldn't have to do that. You should be able to say, "Here I am; I'm human; that makes me worthwhile; and anybody who doesn't agree with that can go take a hike." 'Cause that's the point of autism rights, isn't it?--that we're human, and have got the right to be who we are, talents or no talents.
Tags: asperger syndrome, identity
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