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Roger N. Meyer "...of a different mind "
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Roger N. Meyer

Copyright 1998

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     [The following is an email post to a member's question to a whole discussion list's membership.]


     Yes, Karen, there are.


     A number of individuals on other lists, all with AS, have indicated that as adults, they have selective mutism.  A number of us literally don't have the words at certain moments.  We remember such experiences as children as well, especially when exposed to an overwhelming environment or event.  The fact that a child or adult has selective mutism does not mean that we fail to respond to or absorb the experience.


     Many parents report how their children have an excellent memory of an event long ago, or will recall a recent event with pictorial clarity and attention to details easily overlooked by others.  These may be events where the child showed no outward response or reaction at the time.


     Many non-AS women describe their undiagnosed but likely AS spouses as emotionally and verbally unresponsive men who display a lack of ease in conversation with silence bordering on mutism.  It is frustrating for them and their neurologically unaffected children to encounter this phenomenon day in and day out.


     Flatness of affect?  Yes, perhaps.  Again, this is in the eye of the beholder.  The AS person is often inwardly seething, enraged, confused, bewildered, hurt, or otherwise in "a different world" than the observer.  Affect is, by definition, an interactive term.  When AS persons fail to respond in a way others describe as empathetic, reciprocal, mirroring, interactive, or with emotion, that does not mean that as AS persons we feel nothing.  We are not as wooden a sounding board as appears at first blush.  For this reason, if for no other, more AS adults are insisting on the right to describe ourselves in our own language.


     For the artists, musicians, writers, and other creative persons among us, we use those non-spoken modes of expression with the same objective in mind.  Because these expressions are also as universal and unique as speech, we hope for similar understanding by others.


     As individuals, we can only "speak" for ourselves, but it is important that others not on the autistic spectrum truly understand what we say.  While we do not expect agreement with our logic, we do request respect, and careful, continued attention to the message behind our expression.



Copyright Issues


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