Michael, Asperger’s and me

In 1983, with my hanky tied up on a stick and  my white cat perched on my shoulder,  I left Swarthmore, Pennsylvania to venture into the world.   My first stop was Hampshire College located in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.

Camp Hamp, as we fondly and irreverently call it.  

That’s where I met Michael John Carley.  At the time, everyone in my motley crew knew that Michael was destined to do great things.  For one thing, he’s a bad ass poker player; and through the hazy eyes of 18 year olds, that’s a sure fire sign of success. Little did we know that he would eventually found an extremely successful peer support group for adults on the Autism spectrum.  More to the point, we had no idea that he was on the Autism Spectrum.   Not a freaking clue.  And that’s the theme that keeps coming up in our side project.  No one knew.

What side project? One of my sneaky plans is to get to know Michael again after all these years, so I volunteered my video production skills and we’re collaborating on a video for GRASP.  For the last couple of days, I’ve been looking at the testimonials of the brave folks who stepped up to participate in our little production.  It’s a treat and a privilege.  It totally rocks.  A great evil plan.

I encourage you to read Michael’s book: Asperger’s from the Inside Out.


2 Responses to “Michael, Asperger’s and me”

  • ‘no one knew ‘ . Just what does that mean ? What did it mean then and what does it mean now ? I hope you took up that question when you did your project .

  • aprogramminglanguage aprogramminglanguage

    Hello Dave,

    In this particular context, I mean that neither Michael, nor those of us who are his peers knew or understood that he is on the Autism spectrum.

    It also turns out, that Michael and I have been talking to people who were diagnosed as adults, and therefor these people spent their childhood where they themselves and the other people around them were not aware of their place on the spectrum. We’ve been asking them what it was like to get their diagnosis, and many people say they are relieved, because with the diagnosis came understanding and awareness. Now, they know.

    People can be unkind to others who look or act or think in unexpected ways, especially children. It is difficult for someone to move forward in life if people were nasty to them as a child. Perhaps it is helpful in the moving forward process to understand that ‘no one knew’.

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