First Person — 8 Minutes

How Aspergers Affects Our Lives

First Person — 8 Minutes

How Aspergers Affects Our Lives

Scott and William share their experiences with Dr. Gwynette.

Scott and William discuss strategies for dealing with uncomfortable social situations and describe how autism has affected their relations with their families.

Dr. Gwynette: Hello, I’m Dr. Frampton Gwynette, from the Medical University of South Carolina. Welcome to the Autism News Network.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re really privileged today to be joined by-

William: I’m William.

Dr. Gwynette: … and-

Scott: Scott.

Dr. Gwynette: These gentlemen have been kind enough to offer their time today to speak with me and hopefully teach us a little something about coping skills with relation to autism.

Dr. Gwynette: First I’ve heard this word and I wanted to ask William because I heard a new word recently, it’s called dip. William, what does it mean to dip?

William: To leave the room or the place or the building.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. Do you… Does that mean leave the room slowly like a snail or?

William: Get out of there really fast.

Dr. Gwynette: Get out of there really fast. Okay, cool. You mentioned that there are certain situations where you just dipped out of a place. Can you give me an example?

William: Well, generally I can see when it’s about to get bad and for me when it’s going to affect me, I get out of there really fast. If it’s not going to me, I just sit there and watch it.

William: Like when there is family drama, I just watch it.

Dr. Gwynette: In your house, can you give me an example of what family drama would be?

William: Well, my mom talks a lot of crap about a lot of their family members, they talk crap about her. Everybody is fighting over the inheritance, yada yada, yada. Everybody’s mad. My mom isn’t going to help take care of my grandma, this and that, all sort of bullcrap.

Dr. Gwynette: Generally it would be family members having a discussion or a disagreement.

William: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

William: It’s like everybody isn’t in one room having a discussion about this family drama, it’s all happening behind everybody’s back, but everybody knows what’s being said.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you. Got you. Scott you were alluding to earlier in the pre-interview conversation we had about some conflict that you’ve experienced in your family. Can you tell us just generally about it? Not too specific, but also tell us how you deal with that.

Scott: Generally I avoid a lot of my family, a large portion of my dad’s family mainly. But for the most part, I am in touch with family that wants to be in touch with me and better if they accepted my autism.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, and we all talked about how some family members get it when it comes to autism and the others just totally don’t. I heard one family member say, “Autism, is that a real thing?”

Dr. Gwynette: Even doubting if it’s a real thing. What would you guys say in response to that?

Scott: Absolutely.

William: Generally I think that is true, but most people, they just don’t care.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. You’ve also perceived in the past that family members feel like you might be different or what was the word they used?

Scott: Weird. Strange. Unusual.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Which you’re not?

Scott: No.

Dr. Gwynette: No. But that’s something that a lot of individuals with autism often hear from family members, unfortunately. Does that make… is that likely to make you feel alone or isolated?

Scott: But without a doubt, it does.

William: When I was younger, maybe, but now I just don’t care.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. You mentioned before, William, that you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t care what people think about you. Can you give us some more… elaborate on that a little bit?

William: Well…

Scott: Do you let it go in one ear and out the other? How do you deal with it?

William: I just don’t care what they just think. When I was younger, the smallest thing would just set me off but I just learned to not let my Asperger’s control my life. I control it. It doesn’t affect me any in any big ways anymore.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, cool.

Scott: Basically I’ve just learned to avoid the family members that have not accepted me and I do really just talk to the ones that do and I’m still best friends with my cousin who we’ve been best friends since I was six, at least.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s awesome. He understands some of the struggles?

Scott: He was the first one to get me to sleep over somebody else’s house.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow, that’s a big thing when you’re a kid.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Scott: Because I was terrified of going to somebody else’s house. I had never done it before.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Scott: I was just strange and unusual for me.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure. A lot of anxiety.

Scott: But he helped me get through the night and I went on to sleep over. I’ve gone on… I have gone away to college. I do say a little bit at home with my parents, but that’s due to other problems in my own life.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, exactly. It’s always great to have family members who are supportive. William in your family, are there some members who understand and who had been of support for you?

William: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Good and people you can count on?

William: I guess.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Yeah. Well, another thing that I wanted to just touch on before we finish up, William, before you said autism is only bad if you think of it that way. What did you mean by that?

William: They’re going to be as… Like all things, there are good parts and they’re bad parts. The bad parts it maybe anger explosions, most people don’t care, but it’s also a good thing you see the world in a way that other people don’t.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

William: If you learn to control your Asperger’s, you’re just like a normal person.

Dr. Gwynette: Absolutely. Of course. Scott, you were kind enough to share that your history of working at jobs and some of them only lasted like an hour and a half.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Can you describe some of the challenges you’d had in the workplace and what the boss didn’t understand or didn’t help with?

Scott: Basically some of them just flat out don’t understand the slow process and the one boss that I had, the longest running boss that I had was Carquest. The second longest was I had a job that lasted a whole month and ended up getting fired because I didn’t understand the fact that the battery was in a hidden location on a car and jumped started it backwards and ended up damaging wiring harness.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Then you probably felt bad about that.

Scott: I felt horrible. I offered to pay for the wiring harness. Instead, they just chose to say, “Take a hike.”

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. It’s not like you didn’t know what you were doing, you were very knowledgeable about cars. It’s just that they didn’t understand that maybe you approach things different way.

Scott: Yeah. They sent me to a car that I looked at and went, “This is Japanese car. I don’t know much about them.”

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, yeah. because they are very specialized.

Scott: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: You’re a big car guy.

Scott: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Scott knows a lot about cars and often produces content about vehicles and so forth. Well, very good. Gentlemen, thank you for your time. Did you have anything else that you wanted to share before we wrapped up?

Scott: I’m good.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, good to go. I just wanted to give one shout out to my main camera man, Patrick.

Patrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Gwynette: Thank you very much, sir.

Patrick: Hi.

Dr. Gwynette: Thank you for watching. There’s Patrick. Thank you for watching the Autism News Network.

Patrick: Oh. Oh my hand.

Dr. Gwynette: There you go.

Patrick: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: So long.

Dr. Gwynette: Hello, I’m Dr. Frampton Gwynette, from the Medical University of South Carolina. Welcome to the Autism News Network.

Dr. Gwynette: We’re really privileged today to be joined by-

William: I’m William.

Dr. Gwynette: … and-

Scott: Scott.

Dr. Gwynette: These gentlemen have been kind enough to offer their time today to speak with me and hopefully teach us a little something about coping skills with relation to autism.

Dr. Gwynette: First I’ve heard this word and I wanted to ask William because I heard a new word recently, it’s called dip. William, what does it mean to dip?

William: To leave the room or the place or the building.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay. Do you… Does that mean leave the room slowly like a snail or?

William: Get out of there really fast.

Dr. Gwynette: Get out of there really fast. Okay, cool. You mentioned that there are certain situations where you just dipped out of a place. Can you give me an example?

William: Well, generally I can see when it’s about to get bad and for me when it’s going to affect me, I get out of there really fast. If it’s not going to me, I just sit there and watch it.

William: Like when there is family drama, I just watch it.

Dr. Gwynette: In your house, can you give me an example of what family drama would be?

William: Well, my mom talks a lot of crap about a lot of their family members, they talk crap about her. Everybody is fighting over the inheritance, yada yada, yada. Everybody’s mad. My mom isn’t going to help take care of my grandma, this and that, all sort of bullcrap.

Dr. Gwynette: Generally it would be family members having a discussion or a disagreement.

William: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay.

William: It’s like everybody isn’t in one room having a discussion about this family drama, it’s all happening behind everybody’s back, but everybody knows what’s being said.

Dr. Gwynette: Got you. Got you. Scott you were alluding to earlier in the pre-interview conversation we had about some conflict that you’ve experienced in your family. Can you tell us just generally about it? Not too specific, but also tell us how you deal with that.

Scott: Generally I avoid a lot of my family, a large portion of my dad’s family mainly. But for the most part, I am in touch with family that wants to be in touch with me and better if they accepted my autism.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, and we all talked about how some family members get it when it comes to autism and the others just totally don’t. I heard one family member say, “Autism, is that a real thing?”

Dr. Gwynette: Even doubting if it’s a real thing. What would you guys say in response to that?

Scott: Absolutely.

William: Generally I think that is true, but most people, they just don’t care.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. You’ve also perceived in the past that family members feel like you might be different or what was the word they used?

Scott: Weird. Strange. Unusual.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Which you’re not?

Scott: No.

Dr. Gwynette: No. But that’s something that a lot of individuals with autism often hear from family members, unfortunately. Does that make… is that likely to make you feel alone or isolated?

Scott: But without a doubt, it does.

William: When I was younger, maybe, but now I just don’t care.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. You mentioned before, William, that you’ve gotten to the point where you don’t care what people think about you. Can you give us some more… elaborate on that a little bit?

William: Well…

Scott: Do you let it go in one ear and out the other? How do you deal with it?

William: I just don’t care what they just think. When I was younger, the smallest thing would just set me off but I just learned to not let my Asperger’s control my life. I control it. It doesn’t affect me any in any big ways anymore.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, cool.

Scott: Basically I’ve just learned to avoid the family members that have not accepted me and I do really just talk to the ones that do and I’m still best friends with my cousin who we’ve been best friends since I was six, at least.

Dr. Gwynette: That’s awesome. He understands some of the struggles?

Scott: He was the first one to get me to sleep over somebody else’s house.

Dr. Gwynette: Wow, that’s a big thing when you’re a kid.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Scott: Because I was terrified of going to somebody else’s house. I had never done it before.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

Scott: I was just strange and unusual for me.

Dr. Gwynette: Sure. A lot of anxiety.

Scott: But he helped me get through the night and I went on to sleep over. I’ve gone on… I have gone away to college. I do say a little bit at home with my parents, but that’s due to other problems in my own life.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, exactly. It’s always great to have family members who are supportive. William in your family, are there some members who understand and who had been of support for you?

William: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Good and people you can count on?

William: I guess.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Yeah. Well, another thing that I wanted to just touch on before we finish up, William, before you said autism is only bad if you think of it that way. What did you mean by that?

William: They’re going to be as… Like all things, there are good parts and they’re bad parts. The bad parts it maybe anger explosions, most people don’t care, but it’s also a good thing you see the world in a way that other people don’t.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah.

William: If you learn to control your Asperger’s, you’re just like a normal person.

Dr. Gwynette: Absolutely. Of course. Scott, you were kind enough to share that your history of working at jobs and some of them only lasted like an hour and a half.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: Can you describe some of the challenges you’d had in the workplace and what the boss didn’t understand or didn’t help with?

Scott: Basically some of them just flat out don’t understand the slow process and the one boss that I had, the longest running boss that I had was Carquest. The second longest was I had a job that lasted a whole month and ended up getting fired because I didn’t understand the fact that the battery was in a hidden location on a car and jumped started it backwards and ended up damaging wiring harness.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Then you probably felt bad about that.

Scott: I felt horrible. I offered to pay for the wiring harness. Instead, they just chose to say, “Take a hike.”

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. It’s not like you didn’t know what you were doing, you were very knowledgeable about cars. It’s just that they didn’t understand that maybe you approach things different way.

Scott: Yeah. They sent me to a car that I looked at and went, “This is Japanese car. I don’t know much about them.”

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah, yeah. because they are very specialized.

Scott: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: You’re a big car guy.

Scott: Yes.

Dr. Gwynette: Yeah. Scott knows a lot about cars and often produces content about vehicles and so forth. Well, very good. Gentlemen, thank you for your time. Did you have anything else that you wanted to share before we wrapped up?

Scott: I’m good.

Dr. Gwynette: Okay, good to go. I just wanted to give one shout out to my main camera man, Patrick.

Patrick: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dr. Gwynette: Thank you very much, sir.

Patrick: Hi.

Dr. Gwynette: Thank you for watching. There’s Patrick. Thank you for watching the Autism News Network.

Patrick: Oh. Oh my hand.

Dr. Gwynette: There you go.

Patrick: Yeah.

Dr. Gwynette: So long.

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