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Center for Solution-Focused Training 
Therapist training, supervision, organizational consultation, and therapy

Joel K. Simon, LCSW, ACSW, BCD

 

THE PERSISTANCE OF DIAGNOSIS

 

(Recently, I received the following letter. Identifying information has been either altered or deleted. I don't think any further comment is necessary - Joel)

 

I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, and ever since that day, life was never the same. No one really cared about who I was until the diagnosis. The next thing I know, all the kids who bullied me in school are nicer to me, and the family has been on my nerves ever since.

They started watching programs about Asperger's and trying to get me to watch them too. They started buying and bringing me books about Aspergers or written by people with Aspergers (I got one for Christmas years ago that I have never even read one page and never will). They started introducing me to people with Asperger's. Heck, whenever my sister introduces me to someone new, it's always the same. "And this is my brother. He has Asperger's."

I have been living on my own for the past four years. I've got a part time job, do several volunteer jobs, and even have my own business and am working to be a writer. Yet the family still won't get off my back and leave me alone and neither will several other people! The worst is my sister who still won't stop interfering even though I'm now an adult! Recently, my case manager suggested that I tell all my co-workers that I have Aspergers, something which does not appeal to me. By now, people like her and my sister have crossed the line into interference! People are even calling me "special". To me, special is slang for "disabled", which I'm not. And I've had it of being labeled as disabled!

Nothing seems to work with these people anymore. I have proven thousands of times that I am not hampered by Asperger's in any way. I can cook and clean up for myself, I work hard, and have made quite a name for myself in town. Yet people still insist in a way that I am "disabled". People call Asperger's a disability even though I don't consider it one. I have told these people that it is not the most important part of me nor is it the only thing that makes me who I am. Yet when I told my case manager this and that I don't like it when she brings up the subject that I have Asperger's, she actually accused me of being confrontational!

I have spent half my life having it lived for me and I'm sick of it. I'm sick of people constantly accusing me of bringing up the subject that I have Asperger's, even though all I'm trying to do is make a point about it and that it was being diagnosed with it that changed everyone's attitude toward me. They've even accused me of taking it for granted and using it as an excuse which is absolutely not true. What gives these people the right to interfere in mine?

All I want is to be treated with equal respect as a normal person. I want people to stop treating me differently. I want people to stop calling me special. And I want people to stop interfering with my life and just let me live my own life. Yet nothing I tell these people works.

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