I'd like to be very honest and say I don't really think a best writing truly exists. Every paper I write I feel I learn something new and have improved from my last, or at least I hope so. Either way there may not be three "best" papers, but I do know that there are indeed three pieces I have written that I feel displayed something very important to me that I would like to reflect upon.
I picked up a book once. I knew the boy’s face on the cover. It was familiar. The boy’s face was from a movie I had admired. The urge to grab this book and hold it in my hands was untamable. So I did. I picked it up with one hand. It was heavy. I never picked up a book this size before, but it was a challenge I felt was worth taking. Just as I began to truly admire the book, it was unpleasantly swiped from my hand. I looked up at the suspect with displeasure. She stared at me with a look that made me feel invisible and unwanted.
She said to me, “You are not capable of reading this book.” At least this is all I could comprehend of what she scoffed at me. She then placed the book back on the shelf. I stood there in disbelief, frozen and heartbroken. A challenge I once thought I could conquer I would conquer no more. Her words not only discouraged me, but it left me feeling broken. I felt like there was something wrong with me. This feeling would haunt me for many years of my life. Although, her words were so simple the evil within them tell an even darker story.
In her class, she would never hesitate to call out on my flaws. There were things that I couldn’t control that she would mock me for. Daily I would question myself and my abilities. Why do I even try? What is the point? I am worthless. I began to accept the fact that I seemed incapable of anything. I felt empty and alone. So when I picked up that book that day, her words scarred me.
As I continued to drown in my emptiness, I began to come to life when I started to reflect my true self through my writing. I would write journals for other teachers not because I wanted to, but because it was required of me. When I began to see the responses my writing made on other teachers I realized I was capable. Teachers would respond to me as if I was analyzing normal aspects of life in ways they never thought of before. I was presenting new ways of thinking through my writing.
I now believe that everyone has the potential to grow. No matter what pain life throws at us. When I began to unravel how my writing can impact others it made me realize that I was capable, that I was not broken. I realized that I have the ability to develop myself and help others. So now when I pick up a book I do not allow my past to stop me from tackling new challenges. No challenge is impossible and we all have potential hidden inside us just waiting for us to unravel. I am capable. I have potential. I just needed to find it.
I really had a deep connection to this piece. It was my favorite piece out of all of the main assignments because not only did I feel I accomplished my intended goal, I also believe that if I did post this piece onto the This I Believe website it would probably (hopefully), help someone. I would prefer to keep it as a personal piece for now, as something for me to reflect on as you can see to the right. Here I want to talk a little more on a personal (journal form) about what this piece means to me. Maybe this can be considered a more personal reflection about myself rather than an overall reflection which you can read to the right.
This piece puts me back into the shoes of the girl I was in middle school, naive, scared, shy, and desperate. When I put myself in that place again I want to change so many things. I want to tell that girl to not let people hurt you so much and to not let the many conflicts that come from social situations to change who you are, but it is too late for that now. Most of all I can clearly remember that day I picked up that book. To be more specific it was a rated R movie that I watched and I didn't care because if you didn't know I really love watching movies. Besides gaming it was a great escape from all the depression I was dealing with. I got tired of watching the same old kid movies over and over so I started to branch out and watch more 'mature' movies. The movie was called Angela's Ashes. Well I loved the movie. I was young so not everything made perfect sense, but it made enough sense to me that it really made me think about how other people’s lives were. So when I saw the book that day I really wanted to read it. I was always scared to read "big books" as a kid. I read a 400 page book (middle school reading level I think) in a week once and after that I was afraid that if I read anything more challenging I wouldn't be able to finish it. Stupid right? I know I was so ignorant. When I saw that book I thought to myself that maybe this time because I loved the movie I could finish a longer book. I got myself to pick it up and when she took it from me and said what she said it hurt me.
You see this teacher didn't like me. I have a lot of social issues. In order to fit in I would always try to talk and be funny and I didn't think about "rules". I got in trouble a lot for talking and I was oblivious sometimes. I also hung out with the wrong crowd and we became "troublemakers". I was always trying to figure out what was the best way to handle a situation. I would just always be there at the wrong times and everything I would do to fix a situation back fired. I didn’t want to get into trouble I was always a goody goodie before middle school. I just didn't know how to handle anything and I became a puppet. I just did things to fit in and so that I wouldn't be alone. I didn’t fit in though. I was never myself. Dealing with all these social issues I guess made me act inappropriately. I questioned "rules". I questioned religious values (I was in a Christian school). I had questions for everything and I demanded answers and explanations that teachers didn't have the answers for. So that specific teacher just thought of me all wrong. She just saw me in the exact opposite way that I wanted her to see me. She thought I was this bad trouble-maker who had an unbelievable hard head. In a way I was, but not to the extent she thought I was. Either way I got isolated from the friends I had because they blamed the trouble making on me. Even then she still associated me with them even when they were isolating me. It was as if nothing I did was ever right for people. I didn't understand anything and it became torture. Not fitting in with my peers and not finding where I belong. Then having teachers look at me so negatively no matter what I did to convince them otherwise. It was depressing because I am sensitive, and I care about people even when they hurt me. I want to be good to everyone and I want them to understand. My goodness was killing me slowly.
This piece doesn’t really go to in depth with the pain and confusion I was dealing with. I honestly was waking up every day feeling I didn't deserve to live. But just as I said in this piece I really began to feel more positive when I noticed the impact my writing made on other teachers I had. I left that school and went to a new one because my parents began to notice my depression. Some of the teachers I had really helped me to open my eyes to the capabilities I really have. I never really got any help from my peers, but the responses I would get from my writing really helped me.
One thing I didn't lose after all I dealt with was that I still to this day care about people. I really do. I just don't know how to express it sometimes. Writing has given me a chance to do this in a way that makes me comfortable. I thank writing so much for this. So when I wrote this even though it has helped me to personally reflect on the hard times I dealt with and how I can overcome my past, I also wrote it so that if I did allow others to see it maybe it would help them to. I don't just want to develop myself; I also want to help other people like me grow as well.
I had two purposes when I wrote this piece. I wrote it to help better myself and to help people who may have been in the same place I was and are still struggling to let go of their past. That was my imagined audience when I wrote this piece. I believe that when I write my pieces on a personal level I can really capture the emotions I was dealing with in a way that can hopefully touch and relate to others. So with this piece I really wanted to grasp something emotional and speak to my audience this way.
As a writer I really think for a while about what I want to accomplish and how. I want to make my audience think. I hate reading something that does nothing for my mind. So why would I write something like that? I want people to read my writing and think about something, anything. I want them to finish it and be left in thought. I am working harder to master this ability in my writing, but I feel this piece does this somewhat. It not only allows the reader to think about my life and how certain things affected me, but it also allows them to maybe think about times in their own lives where they felt like they had no potential. No matter where a person is on their life journey I would want this piece to help them reflect and hopefully help them create an even brighter future. That was my goal when I wrote this piece.
Personally I did this to challenge myself and talk about something that really negatively affected me and to demonstrate to my readers how I plan to use writing as a tool to let go of that negativity and make a better future for myself. I plan to make writing a huge part of my life and this piece, Hidden Potential, is only the beginning.
Intro and Explanation
I decided to take one entire blog post and an excerpt from another because I feel the sincerity within these posts display a lot about my authenticity as a writer. In these posts I open up and allow whoever my reader is to come into my mind as I reflect on particular feelings and events. This kind of sincerity is important to me as a writer. I enjoy reading something that is honest and explanatory. No matter what type of writing an honest and deep point of view, in my opinion is a great one.
Blog Post 1 Possible Inquiry Topic:
There are a lot of different topics I would love to explore and inquire on. The one I am possibly going to choose is a question about Aspergers. There are a lot of things in this world I really do not understand. I like to question a lot of different things. Why is Science so interesting? How intelligent can we create ourselves to be? Are we in control of our own intelligence? Can we be self-made geniuses and prodigies? What does being a nerd or a geek really mean? How do I qualify as a nerd or a geek? Why does the color of my skin justify me being teased for my weight? Why do people form cliques instead of everyone being friends? Why is it so hard to find the right words to say verbally? Why are people like predators to one another? Why do girls have to wear make-up and dresses? Why do they feel inclined too? Why does rap music change people so much? Why do people look up to ignorant celebrities rather than intelligent people like Albert Einstein? Why was being a nerd a bad thing in the past and now everyone acts like it is so sexy now? Why was I so naive and let people hurt me so much? Why am I so nice and not mean? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do bad things have to happen? Why do we have to hurt so much? Why was I stuck in this paradox depression for so many years? The questions can go on and on. That is how my mind works, always analyzing everything. Asking so many questions and getting so few answers. Sometimes I get really emotional and cry because I can't find answers to my own questions. This is ok though. I am learning that some questions won't have answers, at least not yet.
So I inquire about many things. That is pretty obvious at this point. If you made it this far I truly admire you. My mind can be very hectic at times. The topic I may be choosing is something really personal that I inquire about for many different reasons. I want people to try harder to understand, I want people to know, I want to know, and I want to bring people together so that I don't have to live in this constant paradox anymore.
My topic is why is Aspergers so commonly misdiagnosed? I inquire about this topic because one day I was researching this about this for a school project and my heart and mind stopped. I realized I was reading about myself rather than about a random disorder I had to study. I wanted to cry, but I hate crying and I was in school. So I didn't cry, but I got really obsessed and I researched so much about Aspergers and what it meant. My brother has autism. They say he is low-functioning. So I knew a lot about autism and I always was interested in it. I taught my brother a lot of things. I love him, but I am always afraid to socialize a lot with him. I feel like a horrible sister. All my life I was different. I didn’t understand a lot of social things. When I got to middle school these limitations I had were displayed in a sort of spotlight. I got picked on a lot. At first it didn't matter I thought I was strong. It was daily and constant. It was from people I thought were my friends. I use to wonder to myself, why do you always have to say something bad about me? Why? I just don't get it. I would get really angry. I was so naive and nice I would just shrug it off and drive myself crazy trying to avoid getting talked about. I hid myself in big clothes. I was just depressed. When teachers started joining in on the fun it made it so much worse. I felt horrible about myself. I hated myself. I was very suicidal and if I didn’t have faith I probably would be dead. This all isn't the point though. I couldn't help the way I was. I never met a person in my life who didn't call me weird. I hate when people look at me in that way, but it is almost inevitable. It has been years since the worst times. High school was more of the same, but when I was in tenth grade I realized that maybe I was so weird because I had Aspergers? When I presented this project to the class it made me shake. I was so nervous I thought I would faint. I felt like I was diagnosing myself through a presentation.
In the end, as of now I am a self-diagnosed Aspie. A lot of people would look at me and say, "you aren't an Aspie you are normal." I swear these comments infuriate me, but I stay calm because I am different. Aspergers is a complex disorder. It is a part of the spectrum of autism, which doctors don't know every single little detail about yet. I know I am not like my brother because I am high-functioning. I know I am not stupid or retarded. I feel people do not understand the struggles someone with high - functioning autism goes through. Everyone is different. Many go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Some live great productive lives and others live a life of torment. You know that guy who never talked in class? Everyone thought was weird? Everyone ignored? Then a few years later he decides to go on a rampage and hurt others. Well what a shock. "He was that weird kid who never really talked." Well why didn't you care? Why? Why because he wasn't in your clique? Why, because he was not a cool kid? I think it is really stupid. I remember myself in high - school being so shy and nervous. I was ignored by everyone. I would think something was really wrong with me. When in reality I wasn't doing anything wrong. I just had Aspergers. I was different. Why do I deserve to be alone? Is it because I dressed weird? Is it because I can't find the right words to say? Because I don't like make - up? No, because people do not care. They just don't. People are stupid. Not everyone. I have met some amazing people who in a way saved my life. But the majority just don't care. Maybe if I inquire into Aspergers and why it goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Maybe if I explain why it hurts so much, and maybe if I learn about Aspergers more than I do know and spread that knowledge and try to connect the minds of people who otherwise would just ignore this problem. Maybe just maybe the world can get a little better.
I am sorry for this rant. I truly am. This topic really makes me start to fast type/write like crazy. I feel like I had to stop it early. If you do read this I appreciate it. I have been hiding how I feel about Aspergers for years. I really care about everyone. I really do. That is why I want to learn and write. Hopefully there are people out there on the other end to read and understand. I will not delete this though. I want to keep it here because I felt like I needed to get this out of my head, so why should I delete it?
Blog Post 5 Journal Excerpt:
A Journal Excerpt talking about a time I fought against conforming.
“I have a staring problem I really do, but sometimes I just find it so intriguing to look at people socialize, something I can’t do. I mean maybe I can understand people better when I watch them, right? I watch this boy in my high school a lot. I find him adorable, but not because of his looks, but because he hardly talks and he just doesn’t seem to care anymore. I mean the fact that he doesn’t care isn’t what I find adorable, but his awkward quietness really hits deep. He reminded me of myself. No one really talked to me unless they had to. I wanted to reach out to him, be his hero, and be his friend. Why do I always care so much? That is why I always get hurt. I just really care about him. I know it is weird, but I feel he deserves attention. Everyone just ignores him as if he doesn’t even exist. Why do other people not care? I hate seeing people in their stupid cliques saying “Oh I understand that you are 'blank' I will be there for you.” Yet someone who clearly needs someone they all ignore. Why? I don’t get it. I don’t think I ever will. So I told myself I won’t conform and just ignore him because everyone else is. I will talk to him. Then I remembered that I am extremely shy and it is hard for me to even socialize. I felt intimidated. I felt fear like no other, but the urge to not conform took over and one day at lunch I saw him sitting by himself. I walked over to him trying to keep myself from shaking. I sat down next to him.
“Hey,” I said trembling a little.
“Hi,” he said blankly.
I can’t remember everything I tried to say to him because I was fighting to keep the conversation going (which I hate doing because it makes me feel bad), but I kept at it. I wanted him to open up to me somehow. I didn’t want it to feel like it was all for nothing. Then I asked him, in hopes that he would answer with something I could start a conversation with.
“What do you like to do for fun,” I said trying to keep my eyes on him even though I wanted to look away.
“You don’t do anything for fun, like video games?”
“So what do you do at home?” I was afraid I would sound weird prying, but I was worried. Did he really mean nothing?
I felt horrible. I felt like I failed. I couldn’t get anything out of him. I looked away and tried to calm myself. I wanted to stim so badly by shaking my leg or something, but I held it back.
“Well if you ever want someone to talk to, you can talk to me.”
He looked at me and I looked at him and I looked into his eyes, deep into his eyes. Nothing was all I saw.
I walked away in defeat and I thought to myself. What is he dealing with? Where is his pain coming from? What brought him to this point of nothing? The next year he was kicked out of the high school probably for failing every class because he never did any work. I remember looking for him at the beginning of the year, just to see if he was ok. I never saw him. Then I knew I really was alone. I hoped he was ok wherever he was. I hope he smiled somewhere. I hope that somehow I helped him. Why do I care so much, because now it hurts. It really hurts.
For the curious soul:
For further information on stimming read on –
The term "stimming" is short for self-stimulatory behavior, sometimes also called "stereotypic" behavior. In a person with autism, stimming usually refers to specific behaviors such as flapping, rocking, spinning, or repetition of words and phrases. Like anyone else, people with autism stim to help themselves to manage anxiety, fear, anger, and other negative emotions.
More info here
With this first piece I express my emotions and feelings about my possible inquiry topic. I am trying to express what is driving me to write about this particular topic as well as explain what constrictions I feel I might have because of the immense emotional attachment to the topic. In the end I feel I successfully found equilibrium with my final project. I was able to hold back my strong emotional feelings and equalize it with subjective and objective approaches to the topic. I really am satisfied with the final result as I will talk more about below, but what I am really trying to say here is that I feel these pieces are important because they demonstrate a mixture of where I was, how I felt, and what I wanted to accomplish brilliantly. For instance I demonstrate in Blog Post 1 where I was and why I am motivated to create this project. Then in the excerpt from Blog Post 5 I confront one of the major issues I talked about in my Inquiry project "conformity". Here in journal form I talk about a time I personally felt the urge to go against conformity. I feel this really displays the depths I am willing to go as a writer to really help my readers to understand where I am coming from and where they can fit in. I feel that I should use any form of writing I can to allow the reader to grasp the intense feelings I am trying to speak to them. Here I use emotions expressed in a blog and journal form to do this. I feel that as a writer it is great to show this authentic point of view to readers. I don't always expect every reader to care because this approach can be very risky, but when a reader does care and they read it all and challenge themselves to understand, I hope that they will be grateful I opened up the way I did.
This final version of my project kind of correlates with the processing above which I think is great. I chose the form of a written paper because to me this is the best form I can express myself in. I am satisfied with how the final version of this piece came out.
The Misdiagnosis and Undiagnosed cases of Aspergers and co-occurring conditions, disorders, and issues:
What is the true objective?
What is conformity? Conformity is a lot more complex than the average American cultural norm. In fact conformity truly “implies a conflict between an individual and a group that is resolved when individual preferences or beliefs yield to the norms or expectations of the larger group” (Morris, and Maisto 473). Real conformity would be defined when someone's actions falls against their own sense of ethics in order to fit in some way. Although conformity isn’t at all the true objective at hand, it should shed some light onto the topic. The need to conform dwells within many of us in this world. It has the ability to blind us and as a result allow us to lose focus on the true objective. This alone can bring up many ethical and social issues which has the potential to complicate the lives of many people. Diagnosing people with Aspergers seems to cause a lot of controversies and debates. Sometimes it even seems as if there is so much emphasis laid on the diagnosis alone that helping someone isn’t even the main issue anymore. Issues with conformity can complicate the lives of those with Aspergers and co-occurring conditions, disorders, and other related issues, because when people prioritize conformity even when it may be morally wrong they would rather put themselves first, which can cause a lot of harm to people dealing with these particular issues.. When is the line drawn between the need to conform and the need to care for each other?
Journal Opening: Why am I not able to conform?
“I sat there on the floor in the hallway, staring into a place I felt I could never be. It was far too loud, far too crowded, and worst of all the feeling of loneliness in there would be way too strong. A boy I saw often walked past me and he looked at me as always. My body tensed the usual way it does when I become awkward. He looked as if he wanted to come over and talk to me. I tried to prepare myself because if I didn’t I wouldn’t know what to say. His group of friends came by and grabbed his attention, and his glances became less frequent. Eventually him and his friends were gone and my eyes slowly found themselves in the room I could never be. The Lunchroom.”
The basis of diagnosis for Aspergers is very complex. There are different criteria used in order to help make an accurate diagnosis, but even today many children, teens, and even adults can be misdiagnosed or not even diagnosed at all. Since Aspergers Syndrome is on the Autism spectrum which makes it one of the many autism conditions, the range of possible behavior and personality traits that help pin-point diagnosis correlates with many other conditions. Since there are so many possibilities and not as many answers “diagnostic confusion can increase individual and family burden and can cause families to seek unhelpful therapies or join the wrong support groups (Fitzgerald and Corvin). It is clear that the diagnosis of Aspergers and many other co-occurring conditions is complicated, but maybe because the diagnosis of Aspergers is looked at so subjectively many issues are allowed to arise and the true objective is overlooked. So then we must ask ourselves, what is the true objective of and how are we going to get there?
Journal Excerpt #1: PhD Therapist Visit
“My heart raced as I stepped into the door. I had made it here at least, but now the next step was me coming to terms with what I really feel. What would she say? What if she turns me away? I had been holding it back for so long. It was time to just let it out. It was time to be honest.”
‘I’m here to tell you my story; I think I have Aspergers…’
Aspergers can be so commonly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed is because “there are many characteristics for Aspergers, but one thing that goes unnoticed is that there can be a secondary diagnosis clouding the picture” (“My Aspergers Child” 1). Since we know this and the fact that “the symptoms of Aspergers are similar to some symptoms of some other disorders” (“My Aspergers Child” 2), it prompted me to start to look at other ways we should analyze and approach this kind of dilemma. Sure, as we advance in diagnostic technology we will better be able to diagnose these particular types of conditions, but that won’t change the fact that there are many people out there who have questions and that need proper support. Since this is the case what should the true objective really be?
Journal Excerpt #2: The Setback
“As I told her my story my body became stiff and I began to slightly tremble. Never before had I ever spoken these words before to someone this way. I was afraid she would use my words against me, I was afraid I wouldn’t say it right. After I was finished speaking I dragged my eyes up to hers only for a little while. I was fighting tears. I didn’t want her to see me cry, not her, not anyone. Then her next few words would set off an array of emotions not even written words could explain.”
‘I don’t think you have Aspergers, you can speak really well.’
When some of us need an outlet, a place to find understanding and solace, we reach out to the wonderful world of the internet. There we can find so many different communities and resources that can help us define and understand who we are in this complex world. The symptoms of Aspergers that seem to correlate with other conditions can range from, “being naive and trusting, social confusion, difficulty in conversing, extreme shyness, lack of dress sense, not understanding jokes or social interaction, unusual and obsessional interests, and many others” (“My Aspergers Child” 1), but the difficulty of understanding and diagnosing Aspergers and disorders within the Autism spectrum in general is that these symptoms come in a range of severities making it sometimes even harder to notice the symptoms. The symptoms can be even more overlooked when they are in a very mild state, but this doesn’t make these autistic traits and issues any easier to deal with. No matter how mild or severe these issues sometimes force these individuals to find solace and understanding over the internet and when they find it, they may be led to believe they can have all sorts of conditions. People with these issues may also, “have difficulties with communication, self-expression, and social interactions, and may be unable to easily share or describe their feelings” (Harchik, and Solotar 1). All these conflicts relating to Aspergers and similar conditions make giving a proper and accurate diagnosis a lot more unreliable which emphasis to why our true focus and objective should be on helping these individuals with their specific issues rather than always trying to force a specific or “perfect” diagnosis. Of course an accurate diagnosis can truly make an impact because “the sooner children, teens [and adults] with Aspergers and co-occurring conditions get an accurate diagnosis, the sooner they can begin to receive effective treatment that will help them lead happy, productive lives” (Harchik and Solotar 1), but when the chances of a misdiagnosis can result in some harmful effects, I believe that gives some motive to explore better ways to handle this situation.
The symptoms, especially if they go unnoticed, can often lead to social isolation, academic and learning issues, bullying, depression, and even suicide. The most common way it can affect someone’s mind is that the questions and confusion they have relating to the issues they are dealing with never gets the proper answers and explanations, so they are left confused and forced to continue life without a general understanding of their symptoms. This never be allowed to occur. Diagnosis is important, but should it be the main objective? The true objective should be to help any and every individual no matter what subjective thoughts may arise.
Dr. A Ruth Baker mentions very knowledgeable information which adds to my proposition when she talks about a few thought-provoking topics. Baker mentions how being at the high end of the spectrum or “Aspergers and Beyond” (Baker 1), can almost make an individual feel invisible because “an autism diagnosis is either overlooked altogether or discounted as their condition appears so ‘mild’ ” (Baker 2). Does it really matter how mild the condition is if the symptoms cause distress? Baker also mentions how autistic traits that do not exactly continue to fall under diagnostic criteria can still cause problems for the individual causing them to reach out to autism communities for answers to their questions. Baker points out:
Journal Excerpt #3 Confusion and Frustration
“I felt as if all the steps I had taken had been broken down. I thought I was on my way up. I thought this would be the answer. So many questions kept bouncing around in my mind. Where was I now? Without the diagnosis I was hoping for? How can they help me when they think that I am just dealing with mild anxiety? It is more than that! What about all those times I was confused? What about all those times I didn’t understand? What does all that mean now, nothing? So many questions…when will it ever end?”
The sociological term AC embraces both autistic individuals (those with a formal diagnosis anywhere along the spectrum) and cousins (those with autistic features but no formal diagnosis) as distinct from NT (neurotypical) which refers to non-autistic people. Those without formal professional diagnosis may also be termed self-diagnosed peer-confirmed (if their self-diagnosis has been validated by other people on the spectrum. (Baker 2)
What does this tell us about the importance of a formal diagnosis? If people have autistic features or anything similar and are searching for understanding whether there has been a formal diagnosis makes no difference. The real difference truly begins to rise when a person is able to have a better understanding of why they deal with the problems they face.
Journal Excerpt #4 Reassurance
“After many hours of thought I reached out to the community I once confided in for understanding. They understood my disappointment and allowed me to grasp the concept that one professional’s diagnosis doesn’t make anything set and stone. Then I began to question the importance of her diagnosis. Does her diagnosis have to stop me from getting the help I so desperately need? I still had questions and even though I was afraid of the answers I may get, I had to know.”
If in certain autism communities other people who have not been formally diagnosed can still find answers and solace why can’t the same care be taken in a more formal approach outside of autism communities? Although there are some autism communities that are very accepting, people within these communities still hold questions about the accuracy of diagnosis. In a WrongPlanet forum post, a user poses a very honest question about the possibility of misdiagnosis of Aspergers:
I believe many are misdiagnosed because both of these are prerequisites to having AS according to the DSM-IV. Many who claim to have AS, however, claim to be unable to drive, unable to cook, or even have trouble dressing themselves. Many also claim to have a language delay, which goes against the AS diagnostic criteria (WrongPlanet)
Not only does his question stir up a lot of debate and questions, it also causes people to think that maybe they don’t even have Aspergers or anything at all. Considering that Aspergers usually coincides with many other conditions, it truly speaks a lot about how the idea of proper diagnosis and possibility of misdiagnosis really affects people’s mindset. If there wasn’t something bothering these particular people, they wouldn’t have reached out for an online community in the first place. What is it about a diagnosis that makes people question and debate so much? Do the specifics really matter that much or does the way you handle the issues you have truly matter?
Journal Excerpt #5 A Second Chance
“Here I was at the office again. My parents still don’t know the real reason I wanted to come here, but does it really matter? Today I get to meet my official Therapist. After my experience with the doctor I am not really sure how this will go. Something is telling me not to worry too much about that previous diagnosis. Something is telling me to keep going. I hope this something is right.”
As individuals we all want to conform and to fit in. We want to excel at our careers and make great friends and this is normal, but when conformity is allowed to create an ethical issue I believe it becomes a different story. If we all learn to understand and care about the struggles that an individual might be dealing with maybe we can help make their lives a little bit easier. When is the social isolation of people dealing with these issues going to be considered wrong? Why does the person dealing with these issues have to be the one who needs to change and “fit in”? When does it become ethical to be open and understanding to people who deal with different struggles than you do? Can true altruistic behavior still exist? A lot of these questions leave me begging for answers, but they only clear the surface of the true objective. Baker considers the issue of whether or not to diagnose a patient dealing with these issues and the many ethical issues that arise when professionals have to answer this question for themselves. She states how, “another reason given by professionals for not diagnosing at this end of the spectrum, is the wish to be scientifically precise” (Baker 6). This brings up an issue of ethics because what is a professional’s true objective supposed to be? A caring professional should think through the issue less subjectively and instead of thinking of their own scientific preciseness, they should be thinking about how to really give the patient the help they specifically need. Which is more important, conforming to the perfect idealism of a professional or allowing the patient to have a better understanding of what they are dealing with? Even if an accurate diagnosis is far out of reach, it would be better to explain to the patient the different possibilities of diagnosis and the kind of research that is being done out there rather than leaving them with nothing. Maybe give them an outline of the different disorders and conditions that might be able to explain their problems, but it would be unethical to inaccurately diagnose them or leave them in a mist of confusion and questions.
Journal Excerpt #6 Progress
“I don’t know for sure if I have Aspergers or if I am just some gifted individual who forgot how to socialize, but either way I am progressing. I have learned not to worry too much about what the diagnosis is. My therapist and I have agreed on this. She has been helping me to improve in every way. I have a long way to go and it is a long and scary road ahead, but I am a lot farther than I would have been if I didn’t come back. I am glad I did.”
In this world today there are many individuals struggling with Aspergers and many other co-occurring disorders and conditions. There are even gifted kids who sometimes can get misdiagnosed with Aspergers, but they may have many of the same co-occurring conditions as well. When it comes down to it no matter what the diagnosis is whether there is none at all or whether or not it is wrong or right, the internal struggles that develop with these issues are still there hiding under the surface. Although proper diagnosis of all these conditions should be one of our main goals as individuals in this world our true objective no matter who we are should be to care and understand one another. Our true objective should be to help one another deal with the issues that develop relating to Aspergers and co-occurring disorders and conditions. I challenge you to think differently when you are faced with someone who acts differently than you do because you never know what they are struggling with on the inside. We cannot let the complexity of these conditions cause us to look at the misdiagnosis and cases that go undiagnosed so subjectively that we overlook the true objective at hand.
“So when I think of the progress I have made I can’t help but imagine how there are people out there who are still struggling to deal with this stuff all on their own. I want to be there for them, but I can’t be in thousand places all at once. I can write though and I will and I hope that one day their eyes will reach my writing and they won’t feel so alone anymore because I know that loneliness is a scary place to be sometimes…”
These are extra journals that allow for further emphasis and explanation for what it is like to deal with issues like Aspergers and other similar and co-occurring conditions
“I was extremely happy! My body was jumpy. I was socializing and being silly. I hadn’t done this in a while at least not like this. I probably shouldn’t have been doing this while the teacher was “teaching”, but I wasn’t aware of my surroundings, just at how silly I was being and the attention it was drawing. I didn’t understand how my actions were wrong until the teacher yelled at me and told me to go outside. I started to piece together my actions and I felt horrible. I stood out there waiting for her to scold me and she stepped out and stood in front of me.”
‘ Do you take medication?’ she asked me.
‘No!’ I said in a voice I had no control over. That question offended me because immediately I began to analyze my actions over and over obsessively. How does what I did mean there is something wrong with me?”
“I sat in the bus next to my friend and I got a tap on my shoulder. I turned curiously to see one of the older kids laughing at me. I was confused because I wasn’t aware of anything funny. I tried to understand, but I couldn’t. Then the other boy called me a monkey and threw a bottle down at my feet and ordered me to pick it up. Why was he calling me a monkey? He was the same skin color as me. He laughed when I ignored his command and I felt enraged, but I did nothing, but stare at him trying to understand. He started calling me weird and many other names, and even though I tried to be strong on the inside I was weakening. I slowly looked over to my friend sitting next to me and she just stared at me and said and did nothing. I sat there until the harassment was over. Even though someone was next to me I still felt lonely.”
“I walked into the cafeteria following my friend and she stopped and looked at a group of kids then looked at me.
‘Why are you always around me?’ she said.
‘Because I am your friend?’
‘Still you don’t have to always be around me’
‘But you are my friend who else am I supposed to be around?’
Then I thought about it. I thought about what her facial expressions meant and her obvious signs I couldn’t read. The answer was definitely not her.”
“In high school I learned that I was really good at analyzing. I was able to analyze every group of kids and I would try to figure out which group of kids would be easier for me to fit in with. Well I am out of high school now and I never found that group really, but I realized that it looks like hard work to fit in. I don’t know if I ever want to.”
I chose this piece because I finally have learned to accept it as it is. I am finally satisfied and this really has helped me grow as a writer. I struggled preparing this piece because I was afraid of how it would turn out. This is an ongoing conversation of course, but I didn’t want to really come off on any sides, I really just wanted to bring people together and really bring attention to the “true objective”. I feel as an actual member of this situation through personal experience and with research I was able to find a good way to approach this conversation. It was very hard for me as a writer at first because I kept trying to decide how I would organize my thoughts, emotions, and feelings toward this topic without going to far or making it appear as if I am ignorant or think diagnosis is stupid. I am neither of those. I found it hard to figure out how to really get my point across without losing the power in my message. As a writer I overcame this as I read and learned more about my topic. I saw many forms of writing and it made me think about how I use many forms as a technique to solve my small dilemma. So I decided that I would mix the factual and knowledgeable voice of my paper with the personal and mental journal excerpts. I was hoping that with this mix of objective based thesis and subjective mind based journals I would hopefully be able to capture and succeed at my main objective with this piece. I feel with this piece I really challenged myself and although I do not feel this piece is perfect in any way I am satisfied with how it came out. I want to though work on improving my techniques as a writer so that I can learn to be more confident when I tackle other difficult pieces like this one. As a writer growth is my main objective and with this inquiry project and The Curious Researcher, I really feel a lot more confident. I learned a lot about the thought process and steps involved of making a successful inquiry project and I plan to use what I have learned to not only inquiry about much more topics of interests, but mainly to develop my writing skills.