Since about the age of 7, my brother has been diagnosed with a mild case of Asperger’s Syndrome which has recently been renamed as ‘High-functioning ASD.’ But not too long before that diagnosis he was told to have high-functioning ADHD. A lot of people think that being labeled with a syndrome or a disease makes them different in a negative way, but from what I’ve experienced my brother is one of the most social and pleasing people I know. Sure, he has a hard time understanding and picking up social cues but that doesn’t affect how nice he is to the people that are nice to him.
From my brother Owen’s perspective he says, “When I get taught, I get taught the same things as others, but don’t understand the same way as others. I look at things in a way of how they can be improved, rather than the cosmetics of it.” He adds, “I look at how things work, instead of how they can be used.” From what I’ve heard and been told by my peers and perceived from tv shows is that most of the people without such syndromes feel bad for those with them, they think that being ‘normal’ must be better than having ‘some sickness.’ Owen explained to me, “I find it more of a blessing than a curse, because I come up with new inventions all the time. I entertain myself with the ways something works and what I can make out of it, it’s my first priority.” I’m so lucky to have an up-close experience with someone who thinks so much differently than I do every single day. I get to receive inside intel from the very mind, scientists are still boggled by.
When my brother was first diagnosed, he was disappointed in himself because he wanted to be like everybody else. He was disappointed because he’d now have a label, but he was glad that he was diagnosed so he could get the resources he needed to better articulate how he felt and to better understand the material he was taught at school. It’s been an experience for the whole family to watch him grow and change to be better, since he knew what exactly he had to change about himself, for example he always had a hard time sharing and picking up social cues. He was very repetitive and was always restless. Now he is able to sit still as needed, and is more than happy to share almost 100 percent of the time.
If you’re feeling down about having a label, don’t feel so bad about yourself because you’re the same person you were even before your diagnosis, unless you’ve changed for the better. Think about that the next time you wrongly accuse yourself of being useless. And even if you are useless (which I doubt) there’s nothing wrong with becoming useful. Maybe you could become useful by sharing a topic idea with me? My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Savannah Ashley is a local middle schooler who has an enthusiasm for mountain biking, rock climbing, writing, art, science, sports and animals. One day she hopes to be a forensic scientist. She started writing for the local newspaper to spark an interest in the minds of adolescents. She has taken part in 4-H for a total of five years in the past. She knows what loss feels like and she can accept it. You can expect articles that include news and any other information broken down in a way to make parents more comfortable to let their kids read. She hopes for you, and other readers to enjoy what she has to offer, and that you share her articles with those who may be interested. You can contact her at any time with questions or comments at: email@example.com