What Kinds of Beliefs are overrated? One of the most significant issues against the Aspergers Community is the high number of stereotypes that surround it. Many are obvious and some are not so obvious. Such stereotypes typically arise from well-known people and situations, such as Adam Lanza and the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings.
The reason for these negative beliefs is that the general population makes up their own stories and opinions that are spread via the media or by word of mouth. Unfortunately, the mass media is too often the only place where the majority of society receives any information regarding Asperger’s Syndrome and those who live with it. As a result, people make snap judgments, rather than take time to put forth the real effort to educate themselves.
Thus, ignorance in the form of false rumors, stories, and beliefs is toxic and contagious to anybody inside and outside the Asperger’s Community. However, ignorance is not a simple excuse. Everybody has the responsibility of truth and knowledge, regardless of the divides between different communities. If this issue did not exist, Aspergers101 would have one less critical reason to exist.
Here are some of the more overrated beliefs that surround the Asperger’s Community and how to dispel them:
1. It takes social skills training for an aspie to truly learn to excel in social situations.
This is not exactly true. In fact, social skills training can be somewhat impractical because it is more conceptual and less experiential. These lessons might not be detailed enough to attribute to various contexts, rather than just the one presented during each aspect of training. On top of that, it is much easier to look at a paper or demonstration by another than it is to indulge the real emotions, sensations, and difficult thoughts of unplanned, non-strategic interpersonal engagement.
2. Too many factors impede an aspie’s concentration. Therefore, they cannot drive, finish homework, or manage a busy or productive schedule.
It is an unfortunate reality that aspies and their parents and teachers still believe in this sweeping generalization nowadays. More accurately: concentration on one particular thing is often difficult for the aspie unless it is the subject of an aspie’s intense interest. Obliviousness still plays its role somehow, and this creates danger in some situations.
Thus, danger or perceived danger creates for intimidation and over protectiveness. The good news is that there are many aspies who demonstrate mastery of the varied skills that require appropriate concentration. Instead of simply believing that the aspie is incapable of something due to a weaker ability to focus (at first), the aspie must use faith plus determination to reach goals, even if they take baby steps.
After all, the pursuit of attainable and realistic goals becomes a habit for both success and independence. Before the aspie knows it, they will do any given task effortlessly without the need for emphasis on concentration.
3. An aspie learns at a slower pace. Therefore, they will not fare as well in school or college.
First of all, not all aspies process information at a slow rate. In fact, many aspies can encode, store, retrieve, and apply information at faster rates than most. Even with these differences in neurological phenomena, the aspie certainly can excel if educators consistently present information in a manner that allows their brain to function the way it ought to function.
The fundamentals of brain functionality vary by individual. Each learning profile deserves use AND accommodation in order for the aspie and the school to achieve the best results. In addition, the aspie can still do well in school, even in relatively toxic environments without significant accommodation and with pressure factors.
Using fierce determination against all odds, the aspie can always come out on top or near the top of his class and his personal dilemmas as they walk the path to school and life success, regardless of pace.
4. Aspies are unlikely to succeed in relationships because there is too much to detect and to learn in them.
Indeed, relationships are, by default, difficult for any aspie, especially in their formative years. The aspie’s main challenge lies in picking up on various cues as the statement above suggests; particularly social cues. In order to pick up on such cues, the aspie can examine different kinds of relationships from a conceptual standpoint and in a secure place.
More specifically, there are websites, such as Relationship Rules and Askmen , among others from which aspies can extract information with some guidance from family and true friends. Thus, if the aspie gets into an argument or other bad situation, they can use that knowledge to their advantage.
Provided how complex any relationship truly is, it is always simpler to break down one aspect/situation at a time and commit to taking personal and interpersonal responsibility at ALL times. Plus, the learning experience in relationships is best viewed as one of the many versions of experience that make them worthwhile and enjoyable to the point where the aspie feels uplifted by their friends, partner, and other acquaintances.
5. Aspies are inflexible overall. They will not change their current lifestyles for the better, no matter how that applies.
This is another preposterous sweeping generalization. Even aspies who are largely rigid and inflexible can change any part of themselves, whether it is at their own discretion in accordance with their changing interests, or with extrinsic motivation, encouragement, and insistence. Factors in an aspie’s life, such as travel, close companionship, and extracurricular activities, all have the power to change an aspie’s interests enough to grow as a person.
Travel allows the aspie to take in new sensations and sights. If the aspie discovers their liking, this will compel them to want more of it and to travel more to do so, even if that means sacrificing their current strong interest.
Next, a close friendship is something that every aspie deserves and desires. In order to maintain that friendship, the aspie will likely learn to appreciate their friend’s interests, rather than solely their own. After all, a strong bond often begins with a strong, mutual interest in something.
Finally, extracurricular activities in which the aspie learn new skills in structured environments enable the aspie to developmentally grow in almost every way. An example of this is Boy Scouts. Parents who have Asperger’s children in Boy or Girl Scouts always take pride in their kids’ increasing ability and willingness to attempt new tasks and step a bit further into the unknown.
These are five of the countless overrated and stereotypic beliefs by which both members and non-members of the Asperger’s Community abide. They serve no good purpose other than to show people how NOT to live. Otherwise, they suppress the better belief that aspies have more potential than they or anyone else realizes.
If there is one thing to take away from this, it is that everybody must keep learning and keep educating in order to dispel these fallacies. We must re-paint the Asperger’s World picture using bright colors of knowledge, wisdom, humanity, peace, and freedom.
By Reese Eskridge
Reese Eskridge is a Production Technician with Fairville Products who is passionate about working in the sciences (biology) and wishes to take his work experiences further into the fields of Educational Neuroscience; Science Fiction; Freelance Writing; Disability Advocacy; Public Speaking; Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Aspergers101 is proud to offer the insights and perceptions of the talented Mr. Eskridge to our team of bloggers as he is a great example of living life on the spectrum to it’s fullest!