asperger syndrome — a love story

wednesday 27 june 2010

this is the title of a really good book by sarah hendrickx and keith newton (british couple, book published by jessica kingsley publishers)

Though I was not involved in a romantic relationship when I bought and read this book, I found it more helpful in understanding differences between autistics and NT’s than any book I’ve read to date. There are many, many excellent, informative quotes that I’ve highlighted in my copy, but if I gave them to you here I might get accused of stealing half the book. I strongly recommend that interested people actually read this book.

I was continually struck — and pleased — by Sarah’s willingness to make certain allowances for Keith’s autism, and her final decision that it is both useless and unfair to try to turn him into a neurotypical. This awakening came only after much struggle, but I applaud her for finally reaching it. No one at all in my amerikan life has come to such an awakening regarding me, and I envy Keith his good luck in finding her.

Keith also has made compromises that earlier he could not have made. But the more Sarah accepts him as he is, the more willing he becomes to try some small, cautious ways of adjusting some of  his autistic reactions. Kindness breeds kindness, back and forth between two people. Isn’t that something we’re always told? But how often do we practice it, or find it being practiced on ourselves.

Here are some of the multitude of quotes I cling to in this extremely enlightening book:

(sarah) No two people with AS will display the diagnostic characteristics in the same way or the same degree, due to differences in the condition and also in personality, background and many other factors.

(keith) I couldn’t tolerate the process of looking after myself…  I pretty much shut myself off from the world for about seven years.

(sarah) … some people with AS… simply tell the truth and have no concept of whether it is appropriate or helpful to do so. The truth is all and no one can possibly have any issue with it, as it is an inescapable thing.

(keith) Looking people in the eyes hurts. … I just wish for some simplicity in communication… Frankly, I have no friends… anyway, don’t they just disappoint you and let you down?

(sarah) He views much social conversation or small talk as shallow and pointless…

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