What I Believe as a Teen With Asperger's
by Jared G.
I am one of many people in this world who are born with a disability that cannot be seen. To my parents I am exceptional; to my siblings, I am annoying. I am not that different; I love model trains, train and video games, and World War I/World War II documentaries. I hate chores and like most teenagers would agree that school can be a drag. I do not have an obvious physical disability, so I’ve found most people are less empathetic towards someone like me.
I have Asperger’s syndrome. I am 14 now. Not even I can explain it; it just is. I do the best I can in school, at home, playing piano and the trumpet. I love Taekwondo as a discipline; it helped me recognize how to control my behavior — how to step back when I was being bullied. I push myself to be a good person. I break myself down because I wish I could fit in. But no, no more. I am me. I am loved. I am enough.
Others can’t see my struggle and it’s hard to ask for what I need because others have already decided for me: 1) what they believe I need or 2) what they think is best for me. If only people would listen; it’s hard to be understood. Sometimes I don’t think I’m any different from other teenagers; we kind of all struggle to be understood, but yeah, it’s a struggle, emotionally and intellectually. If only others could see that I have so much to offer.
There is always that one person who is treated differently because they have a psychological condition. They were born with it and they can’t control it, so I don’t understand why people treat them differently. I believe that no matter what disabilities people have, they should be treated equally.
I have Asperger’s, and have several common traits of the condition such as laughing at inappropriate times, being interested in certain topics, and having trouble fitting in/socializing/making friends. Being awkward, being impulsive, fidgeting, obsessive behavior, and the list goes on. This affected me a lot even though it may not seem like it would. I was only interested in trains, so I was made fun of most of my life. I laughed too often, so people thought I was weird. I wasn’t the best at socializing, so that contributed to not having many friends. It was like this for a long time, and still somewhat is.
We moved recently. I thought I could start fresh; less bullies, more friends, new reputation. Turns out I was wrong. After a week of being the new kid, I had already been bullied and I only had a couple friends. Although they didn’t know I had Asperger’s, I did act very different around people. Eventually people found out and increased their insults because they knew I was emotional and couldn’t strike back. I can not stand when people are insulted and made fun of because they have disabilities they were born with and cannot help but have. Quite a few people in this school are guilty of making fun of people with disabilities. For example, a fellow friend and disabled student here is a cool person, but it’s kind of hard to see that through his condition, so people make fun of him.
I would like to encourage kids of my generation to be more kind to each other. I would like to shed a light on autism and disabilities so others can see we are OK to have as friends. We may not be tough on the football field, or deal with social events well, but we are dependable friends. Our brains are wired like a maze; we have all the components other people have, but we just have to challenge ourselves and find different ways to move forward through the maze. I say to others: be more kind, help your fellow peers, be less critical. When someone is struggling, think about how good it feels when someone comes to help you when you least expect it. We are all trying to fit in. We are all trying to figure life out. Why do some people try to make it so hard on others?”
Getty image by Bodnarchuk.