Aspergers Syndrome Disability or Difference in Ability

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Asperger's Syndrome is "named after Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger," (according to Wikipedia.)

Dr. Asperger is credited for the discovery this unique quality of life, in which individuals "appear to be blind to non-verbal communication, appear to be socially-rote/non-instinctive, and also appear to be physically-cumbersome" (or walking with a different sort of gait.)

Asperger's Syndrome identifies an entire class of human beings who are so differently skilled from the norm that they are disabled only to the degree that Society defines the word, "able."

In other words, Asperger's Syndrome is arguably only a disability to those who do not have it.  (Being an Aspie can, also, be embraced as a wonderful, new, and exhilarating way to see and to interact with life.)

"Social Blindness" (much like "color-blindness") is only a disability in a Society that deems the ability to read non-verbal cues (or the ability to read color cues) to be morally-required for acceptance into polite society.

(Color-blind individuals are able to get a drivers license as long as they remember the positions of red lights and green lights, and recognize the shapes of road signs and their word meanings. The color-blind do not consider themselves to be disabled, and neither does the "socially blind" Asperger's Syndrome individual, a rule.)

To coin a phrase, "'Non-verbal communication' and 'social skills' are the two riders on the tandem bike of a socially-oriented society."

Lack of these qualities is disabling only to the degree that interaction with others is reduced, making survival-skills minimal without help from stronger humans, who may be forced to "carry" a weaker individual.

Asperger's Syndrome is a disability in a similar manner and to a similar degree that cars are "disabled," when having to drive in blizzard conditions without the aid of "snow tires."

This arguably underscores the comparison between Asperger's Syndrome and Color-Blindness.  When the color-blind individual is given proper instruction in road safety and road rules, then he or she can be just as safe a driver as any color-sensitive individual.

The "socially-blind/Asperger's" individual can learn to be to some degree more socially skilled when taught social mores as a subject in much the same way that the a high-school/college student is taught Civics/Social Studies, Calculus, Botany or Biology, etc.

Aspies will "make the grade" by the same hard work and persistence that leads one to succeed in most areas of life.

When drivers put chains on cars,the cars are no longer "disabled."

When the individual with Asperger's Syndrome is properly equipped for the environment in which he or she lives through education, appropriate medication or dietary adjustments, as well as through the encouragement of those who are closest to each Aspie, then he or she will be wonderfully, uniquely, and designed.

More about this author: Jay O'Toole

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