Nov 1, 2006

Surrounded by Smart Neurotypicals - Now What?

I agreed to be part of the Kalamazoo Public Library's "Read Together Program" in which everyone read the same book and talks about it, does art about it, etc. It might sound a bit odd at first glance, but it is a cool way to get people engaged in thinking through what they read instead of just reading. There is real value in working through the aspects of a books style and writing and its content.

Well, the book is called, "The Mysterious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time." It's about a boy with high functioning autism. I'm on the group because I'm in the ASD spectrum.

Well, I never felt so ASD in all my life. Normally I'm in groups of IT folks, engineers, Quality Assurance weenies, scientists. Instead I'm surrounded by library staff, educators, museum employees, book lovers, and advocates for the disabled. I introduced myself as being in the spectrum and having had fallen into some public speaking.

I worked hard at understanding the body language around me, but I couldn't. I assumed the worst. I'm just some idiot, what am I doing here with the educated elite? So, I tried to keep quiet, but just couldn't. Oddly enough, my ideas were well received, and afterward I was thanked. Also, some one said that they were changing some of their ideas based on one of my comments.

I know full well, that tonight I experienced, like never before, what the books call "mind blindness". I hated it. All of the methods I normally have for guessing or extrapolating what people might be thinking failed me in the rarefied air of the library environment.

I'm really intimidated. I love the arts, academia, and especially libraries.

Now , you might be thinking, this is a public blog, this is all out in the open now. Very true, but I'm committing to keeping a certain level of transparency, so that there is some incite into the Aspie mind. When a new group of people is also a new type of people, it is very un-nerving for an Aspie. I had the urge to leave, to say smart-alek comments, or just to rock back and forth. I did a little rocking when I got home. I repress it so much, but it really does feel nice.

There is really nothing that group of people could have done any better. I was made to feel welcomed, and my comments were welcomed. It will simply take me time to get used to them. In the meantime, I control my urges and filter my comments. In no time I'll fit right in.

I'm stepping so far out of my comfort zone, but i was telling my wife, this is what I'm all about. Helping people. This is it. God has given me Asperger, I want to use it to help others and in so doing bring the Lord pleasure.



1 comment:

  1. thanks Adam, 'the mysterious incident' is one of my favorite novels and i am lucky enough to study it for yr. 12 english this year. Your blog was inspirational.