“If language naturally evolves to serve the needs of tiny rodents with tiny rodent brains, then what’s unique about language isn’t the brilliant humans who invented it to communicate high-level abstract thoughts. What’s unique about language is that the creatures who develop it are highly vulnerable to being eaten.” — Temple Grandin
Wallace: After everything she told me, and checking on your excellent record in college, I’m wondering why you choose to drive a taxi for a living.
Donald Morton: At my interview with IBM after I graduated college, they asked me what my plans were, and I said, “Probably go to McDonalds for a 12-piece McNugget and two cheeseburgers, and then do my laundry.”
Wallace: Did they laugh, at least? – Mozart and the Whale, Biography & Autobiography by Jerry and Mary Newport (both have Asperger’s and Mary is also an autistic savant)
Isaac Asimov, John Denver, Jim Henson, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hughes, Andy Kaufman US comedian, subject of the film Man on the Moon , Charles Schulz creator of Peanuts and Charlie Brown, Bill Gates, Dr. Temple Grandin doctor of animal science.
A list of well known identities, seemingly a random list – but not so as these people all have something in common and this is Asperger’s Syndrome.
Very often our perception and judgment of a person is based on what is visible or apparent to us – what we can readily notice.
For many people, the word disabled conjures up images of physical disabilities of the sort which involves visible signs. These seem to be the easiest to understand, are the ones that are most prevalent in the media and therefore are the ones that people are most exposed to. There is also a spectrum of visibility with some disabilities being more obvious than others. Asperger’s Syndrome is but one of these where a person’s disability is not readily obvious, nor might even be discernible to those who might be aware of the condition.
It is human nature to believe that all are “just like me” and so it is assumed that a person does not have a disability until proven otherwise.
“Seeing is believing” is just as true when it comes to disabilities. If your disability can’t be seen, there will be some who think that it simply isn’t there. Some may even come to the conclusion that the person is looking for special treatment or that they want to “get out of” something. People have been told that their assistance dogs are fake, that they do not deserve handicapped parking, or that they do not qualify for help at school, just because they don’t fit the stereotype.
Disability is a matter of perception and ideally, I think, it’s just about remembering that people are different from each other, and that differences should be acknowledged and appreciated.
Note: Why the odd title. The reason is that one name that Aspies like to call themselves is The Earthbound Alien.