Home > In Their Own Words > In Their Own Words – An Aspie’s Dream

In Their Own Words – An Aspie’s Dream

This “In Their Own Words,” is written by Aaron Likens from St. Louis, Mo. Likens is the author of “Finding Kansas: Decoding the Enigma of Asperger’s Syndrome.” To find out more, check out his blog here.

I want everyone to know that for the most part, I am happy. It is my dream that people learn this. I may have some challenges, but I am not defective. I don’t deserve or need your pity and am happy being me.

There are times when the world tries to get me to fit in, and sometimes I try, but there are other times when a social situation may be too much for me. I have had situations in the past where I have been called weird or odd for trying not to fit in. It is my dream that the world begins to not only know about us on the autism spectrum, but begins to understand us.

We have a lot to learn from each other. I look at, sometimes completely perplexed, how two random people can have a conversation. I know others look at me, completely perplexed, when I get excited about a random fact that I recall about auto racing, or when I have the ability to learn some new obscure facts. It is my dream that the world comes to realize that socializing can be difficult the same way it would be for you to recall minute details from the 1992 Indianapolis 500. We are the same, but different.

It is my dream that I never have to apologize to again. This can only come from understanding. Being on the spectrum isn’t something to look down upon! Yes, it has its challenges, but it has its blessings. Each person is unique. Let’s cherish the uniqueness and not look down upon it. In my mind an apology like this is reserved for something really horrible, and I don’t see it that way. I hope, and dream that, eventually, all will see this.

I dream what everyone else dreams about. I want to have a full, productive life. I want a family, a career, and the ability to live my life to the fullest. Some people seem to think that an autism label is the end and that to dream such things is a waste of time. No dream and no person is a waste of time. Yes, we may need to work harder at some things, but if we’re not given a chance then how can we succeed? There is so much potential in a mind on the spectrum, but if not given the chance how can one dream of the things that I dream about?

Finally, my biggest dream is a day where the word autism doesn’t draw a repulsive reaction for those who aren’t affected by it. Autism has to be one of the most misunderstood conditions, but understanding is coming. I haven’t had to debate someone on what autism is for quite some time. When I say “asperger” people don’t think of a food item or Olympic venue (sad, but true!). Everything in this world started as a dream, and my dream was already started by countless of people before me and I hope I can do my part in fulfilling it. I know I am not alone in my dream. All of us can do some part in educating some one; whether it is a school, politician, or a random person in a grocery store. I feel the world is listening and is open to learning about us. In all reality there isn’t that much that separates us; we’re all people, we all have dreams, and for us on the spectrum we just have different traits. We have feelings, we can be scared, and most of all we just want to be understood. This is my dream.

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

  1. September 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Insightful post. As an individual with Asperger’s and one who works with thousands on the spectrum, it’s imperative we hear the voices of those who are living this daily, not the opinions of those who think they understand it! Understanding will come when the professionals begin to LISTEN to what those on the spectrum are saying and are teachable by those who may not have the letters behind their names, but have tremendous first-hand experience in the first person!
    For more insightful posts on autism spectrum issues, check out our blogs at:
    http://autismsupportresources.blogspot.com and http://friendfeed.com/help4autism

    • Laura
      September 19, 2010 at 12:12 am

      Thank you for the links to other sources for blogs and help, Laura. Thank you, also, for talking about your work to help we family members know all we can.

  2. Danielle W.
    September 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Very nicely written!! My Daughter is autistic too, but I DO NOT treat her any differently than I do my younger Daughter or any other child/person. I too believe that everyone deserves a chance & should have dreams! Without dreams, what is the point? When I was in school, I was razzed about talking to the learning disabled children. I stood up for them & in the end……….the other children started talking with them too. I explained that they’re just like everyone else. They too just want to fit in & have friends/people to talk to. Maybe that’s why God gave me my Daughter because he knew that no matter what, I would always stand up for her & try to make people understand.

  3. September 18, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Good tidbits for others off the spectrum to hear. I have long given up on the world of humans and social stuff – at least for now. I do have ideas over having a autism diagnostic center – very unique one. But that’s just an idea.

    I agree that understanding will come when the professionals are ready to listen to us. It seems like thats futile, as all health practicisioners get mad at me or turned off just because I am pointing something out they don’t know.

    Likens has some really good goals. And both Laura and your organization, Liken are probably doing a world of amazing things, such as your documentary Laura.

    My goal or dream is to crate a disablity camp in the mountains or climb Mt. Everest for autism. Those are my dreams – the ones that will continnue and state that even though we give up sometimes, “giving up” isn’t a permanent option.

  4. September 18, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Aaron will be on a panel with Dr. Temple Grandin at the United States Autism & Asperger’s Association World Conference in St. Louis the first weekend in October. His book, Finding Kansas: Decoding the Enigma of Asperger’s Syndrome has been compared to Grandin’s Emmergence

  5. Laura
    September 19, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Thank you so much for your post, Aaron. My grandson was diagnosed PDD-NOS last year. He is only 2. He and his 5 year old sister live with me. Their mother, my daughter moved here with them after a divorce.

    I noticed that he didn’t talk and wouldn’t turn his head when I called his name. I knew he could hear, because when I turned on Spongebob Squarepants and he was in the other room, he came running. Anyway..a year later, and many tests, we are here with a diagnosis. I love him so very much. We have an ADA therapist come here 4-5 days a week to work with him. He has also been accepted at a PPCD class at the same elementary school that his sister goes to for kindergarten.

    Aaron, I want so much to know what he feels. I want to know what not to do, and what TO do. I watch him sometimes when he is playing, and I want to be in that place. He is happy, very happy. He smiles, laughs and “talks” all the time.

    If you can tell we grandparents and parents and siblings what you all feel, see, hear, think about, etc., that would help more than any doctor could.

    It makes me feel better to know that you are happy for the most part. It makes me happy to know you have dreams…I want to know Crede’s dreams. I don’t care if he has to sign them, although I pray he will talk some day, I care what he thinks.

    He is a special little boy. I love every single thing about him. I just want to know how I can help him be the best he can be.

    Thanks again Aaron. God Bless you for being so generous in sharing, and helping all of us.

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