Asperger’s: Fighting the Diagnosis

Asperger's SyndromeOne key feature of someone with Asperger’s is impaired self-awareness. They simply do not see the world the way others do, and consequently they cannot see themselves as others do. When someone points out something personal to someone with Asperger’s, they may put up a wall of protection.

Most people with Asperger’s syndrome have a distorted self-awareness. They may worry about things excessively on one hand but on other end of the continuum be unaware or oblivious of things that are quite important.  Their perception is all out of balance. They may understand that they are different, but they don’t understand how or why. Because people with Asperger’s tend to be intelligent, they believe they should be able to think their way out of their problems.

Asperger’s presents differently with each individual, and while there is a list of common traits, not all will apply to any person. When I encourage new clients with possible Asperger’s to look at a list of the characteristics of the syndrome, they will inevitably be drawn to all the items on the list that don’t apply to them. Owning the traits is key for the person to make progress, and it takes time and gentle professional guidance to help make this happen. One way of doing this is to ask him or her to focus on one characteristic at a time. This is often less overwhelming and easier.

I often defer an actual diagnosis of Asperger’s, instead honing in on specific aspects of the syndrome. By addressing things in this way, I can diminish the resistance while helping the person become more self-aware.

While seeing oneself in a new way is difficult for most humans, it is much, much more difficult for people with Asperger’s.  Change is hard and the neurology of Asperger’s works against self-awareness and any type of change.