This month is the start of Autism Awareness Month in Australia and Autism Queensland's annual Go Blue for Autism campaign. In my research to do a blog on this topic, I came across an article which looked at Asperger syndrome completely differently and it made so much more sense to write about it in this format than in the typical diagnostic format.
The majority of people have some idea of Asperger syndrome, and if not they can certainly reflect on the characteristics of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. Just to refresh your memory, Sheldon plays a scientific genius who works at a local university and shows several characteristics typical to those who have Aspergers, such as attention to detail, repetitive actions and a lack of social skills. I realise that I am just postulating on whether or not the Sheldon character has Aspergers, regardless the show’s popularity has brought a level of tolerance and appreciation for Sheldon’s character. I have to admit that I love and watch The Big Bang Theory and am quite fond of Sheldon’s character. One of the biggest reason why people seem so drawn to Sheldon is that he comes across as absolutely brilliant. The characteristics that I love about him is he is who he is and doesn’t pretend to be someone he isn’t. He’s just his own unique self! That is something to admire.
There has always been speculation around other prominent figures, and recently self-advocate Dr Temple Grandin mentioned that she believed Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein shared characteristics of Aspergers, Much like Sheldon, these two geniuses are seen as brilliant minds that also have issues with social interaction.
Sheldon, Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein show us that anyone with a dream, with or without a diagnosis of Asperger's can aspire to obtain a job you love, be in a healthy relationship and live an independent life. These people show us hope that this can become a reality.
Even though Sheldon may seem different, anyone with a profile like his should be treated with respect and tolerance. Because the wide spectrum of autism includes many truly unique individuals. Their stories should be celebrated much like those of Sheldon, Albert and Steve.
My message in this month’s blog is one of respect and tolerance