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Thursday, 21 January 2016

Asperger's and making the most of our differences

I’m reading The Rosie Project at the moment (only on chapter 3 so far but I highly recommend it – it’s brilliant if you want to see the world (and the rest of us) from the perspective of someone with Asperger’s and be able to laugh about our differences – sometimes that’s our best weapon!) As I say, I’m only on chapter 3 but already it’s done a lot in my mind to redress the balance between us (NTs) being right and those with AS being wrong – we’re different: we see things differently, we react to things differently (if we react at all) and therein lies the challenge. We want our AS partners to connect with us, to see things our way. But, actually, by embracing our differences and working as a team to each other’s strengths and weaknesses, could we be the perfect partnership?
I don’t know. It’s a question I’m asking myself too. And I know there are all kinds of hurdles and misunderstandings and frustrations to work through. I also know that, sometimes, like when your AS partner ignores a question or someone’s greeting because he’s zoned out, that Asperger’s is at odds with the world and that, if an aspie wants to build relationships and function well in society, they need to adapt – even change, to a certain extent.

But, at least sometimes, can we combine our very different traits to get the best out of a situation? Take The Rosie Project.

It’s such a breath of fresh air after serious, factual, self-help books that I read some of it out to Ethan – the best part of a chapter. And somewhere, in the middle of the chapter, was a reference to a hot January evening.

I recall briefly (we’re talking a split second) wondering about this as I read that line and surmising that the author must be being sarcastic (as evenings clearly are not hot in January). I, even more briefly, recognised that the sarcasm didn’t really work and was out of character for the narrator of the book but didn’t dwell on it and was onto the next sentence without a second’s hesitation. I had to stop a couple of times during my reading to inform Ethan that ‘this was a funny bit and did he ‘get it’?’ since his face showed no understanding, connection or hint of a smile. He, somewhat exasperatedly, confirmed that ‘yes he did get it and yes it was funny and he was enjoying it, could I please carry on.’ When I reached the end of the section Ethan’s response was: 
‘Is it set in Australia?’

‘Yes,’ I replied, bemused. ‘How do you know that?’ (‘and why is that insignificant fact the one thing you’ve decided to pick up on?’ I thought but didn’t say)

‘Because he says about it being hot in January.’

‘Ohhhhhh,’ I said, the penny dropping, ‘I knew it was set in Australia and still didn’t realise that’s why it would be hot in January. I thought he was just being sarcastic.’

Ethan looked at me scathingly, ‘No. Why would he be?’

Why indeed? The bloke’s got AS for goodness sake! But maybe other details that wouldn’t have made sense to me through the course of the novel now will, thanks to Ethan and his penchant for seemingly unimportant details. We make a good team!


  1. Hi Laura, thank you again for sharing. I look forward to 'the book and the movie' - whilst at times living with a partner with AS is absolutely infuriating, there are perhaps equal times, when they are the most sincere, loving and tender. If you're ever in London or planning on a day away from the family, it would be great to meet you and introduce you to other women, who 'figured' out their men, late in the relationship whilst having 'an idea' that they 'did things differently' and 'didn't communicate or connect emotionally' on some levels. 'My' ex aspie 'un-diagnosed' - wrote me the tenderest letter, that made me cry (8 years ago), it was filled with so much of his heart and head (not mushy), and then about 3 years ago, he stopped texting me because I made a sarcastic remark about his text messages being a 'template' - he was HIGHLY offended and has never text since. He did actually state that he would NEVER text me again. Aspies are true to their word! It often makes me smile when I think of how hard he has made his communication with me. All the best for the routine next week. Maureen

  2. Just finished reading the Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. Both are great, and a good reminder of the positive traits of Asperger's as well as the difficulties. It's good to be reminded of the positives after a difficult week in reality with AS husband and son.

  3. Really loved your blog. Have been searching for one like this to follow. Humorous, balanced and up building. It helps to be able to share the pain and loneliness while at the same time we learn from each other how to cope. We can then comfort each other, encourage, give hugs and support. I get so tired of explaining to others about my husband's condition but most of the time, people says he acts normal. He knows how to hide his deficiencies while in public but in private, he displays the full spectrum of his autism.

  4. ThAnks so much for your posts. I finally feel that someone understands how I feel. It can be a lonely world being married to an aspie even though they are lovely. Keep up the posts!