0 Blogging About Autism: Aspergers and Pressure to Get A's

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Aspergers and Pressure to Get A's

Encouragement vs Pressure

Hello I think that it is normal for loving parents to want the best for their child and for their future. I think that some parents get lost in their ability to realize when their expectations are becoming unfair or unrealistic. From what I have read Asperger's means you either have average or above average intelligence and regardless to which of those categories you fall under. It is unreasonable and insensitive for someone to demand you get A results.

I also read that aspies don’t have learning disabilities but they do have learning difficulties. When someone has impairments of any kind often, they are fighting their hardest to be just like everyone else. A child should grow up knowing that their best is truly enough and that no matter what they are loved regardless. I am going to discuss below why the assumption that you should get A’s because you have Asperger's is pretty ridiculous. All opinions written here are just my own and I do not mean to offend anyone.

Stability Can Ruin Ability to Perform at Your Best.
I always did well in school and was top of my class in a few subjects but I was bullied relentlessly by my peers for the differences caused by my autism. I adored reading and loved learning. I loved to receive stickers and praise for work that the teacher found excellent and I worked very hard to always do my best. I looked forward to spelling tests as much as I do now to a cheat meal like a burger or pizza.
I had to leave every school I ever went to and ended up not being placed in the correct type of school until nearly the end of my time in education. Being in the wrong type of schools had a significant impact on my life. I was put in a school full of normal children and I wasn't normal. I was of course eaten alive for this and I endured emotional and physical abuse on a daily basis. I then went home where I had been sexually abused as a child and was being psychologically abused and suffering domestic violence.
I wanted to be a journalist but when all of this was going on, I didn’t see a future because I didn’t believe I would live long enough to have one. Teachers told me journalism wasn’t right for me because I was too quiet and polite and apparently in that profession you had to be loud and in peoples face. I walked past a Christian stall one time when I was visiting somewhere and they asked me to tell them what I wanted and that they would pray for me. I said I wanted to be a journalist but nothing ever came from that prayer. Perhaps had I been in a frame of mind that was more positive I could have pursued it but I wouldn’t have really known where to begin. I am one of the autistic people of the world who does need more support and I am quite disabled by my autism. I had no careers support at that point in my life.
Autism is a spectrum and it affects everyone differently.
A Teacher had suggested admin to me so that was another potential route for me to go down. I did work experience in a housing place and I loved it but everytime I was in the bathroom cubicle I was having a silent panic attack or crying. It was the first place I had been that everyone seemed really friendly and I wasn’t bullied. I was overwhemed by lack of confidence in my ability to do what was being asked of me with every new task.
I also was starting to worry because I had been offered to join people at lunch and I was worried it would turn to small talk or banter. I knew I would not be to make sense of the conversations up and that it would be glaringly obvious that I did not fit in.
My report from the housing place said I had a lovely attitude and was extremely well mannered. The person who wrote it said I was very enthusiastic and willing to do any job or task that was asked of me. She said that “I got on well with everyone and they took a great liking to me.”
Throughout my Report from the school for disabled children there is mentions of me being popular but I never felt popular or safe or even confident. I was in bits on the inside and I couldn’t pick myself up because there were no pieces left to grab. At that point when I would go to the bathroom, I would stare at myself in the mirror so sad and frustrated. I felt like I had disappeared and I was trying to find someone who was no longer there. Why did everyone hate me? I had never done anything to those people and I actually only ever tried to help people and be kind.
At that point in my life everyone was saying I was popular but I couldn’t see it or believe it. People saw a smiley person but inside I was dying and I was going through a hell that I couldn’t even begin to describe. I couldn’t see the nice people and I mean really see them. I knew they were there and I liked and appreciated them but I couldn’t convince myself that they wouldn’t eventually become bullies too.
I had no self-belief or confidence left to draw from I was in the middle of a mental health crisis. That mental health crisis intensified when I lost friends because I couldn’t trust anyone and mistook their kindness for bullying or them trying to control my life.
I had lost my identity and had so much of my abusive brothers words and insults constantly swirling in my head. I also remembered how my dad had put me down and made me change everything about my appearance because he said he wanted to protect me. I started the disabled school positive and feeling hope that I hadn’t felt before but the stuff going on in the background drained the light and left only darkness in its path.
I went to a place that supported people into employment and the man told the person who accompanied me there that I was not ready. In the school for disabled children the careers teacher told us all that disability discrimination was worse than it had ever been and told us to stay out of work for as long as possible.
This was not my intention but having been through hell already I was less than optimistic at the prospect of going through more and perhaps worse. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than what I was already going through. For me autism is very disabling and whilst some people cope better than others my mixed bag of impairments is pretty life altering.
I was falling apart on the inside and this ruined life on the outside. It is fairly difficult to become stable if you are a nervous wreck and constantly break down crying every time someone speaks to you. I still do break down crying sometimes but I try my best to control it After diagnosis I have less break downs outside but I have more inside my home where people can’t see.
The instability in my life was a consistent pattern throughout and whilst some people might want to tell me they know people who have been through similar things and coped better than I did. I would like to first congratulate those people on being strong enough and ask you not to shame me or anyone else in my situation because I or they weren’t.
I am an extremely sensitive and caring person. In amongst all of the chaos I had gained so much weight I was almost 20 stone. I now weight 9 stone 2 and I have been on a slow and consistent path to try to get on my feet over the period of time since diagnosis. I have been trying to recover from multiple traumas and I am beginning to realize that I probably never really will. All I can do is keep on trying and hope for the best but before diagnosis and the support that followed, I did not even have hope. I also have been trying to come to terms with a late diagnosis of something that was severely impacting me but that I had not got a name for. I always blamed myself for the communication problems caused by autism because I didn’t even know I had it.
It has taken me years to begin getting back on my feet and lots of support following a late autism diagnosis at 26 years of age and also the help of a group that specifically supports people with autism for me to be able to start studying again.
In one of the worst schools I was having severe panic attacks and half way through each day I had to be sent home because my heart rate was racing and I was shaking like a leaf. I am only just on the path to getting my life back on track now 30 years later.
Solid Ground
Whilst parents are supporting their kids to a bright future full of happiness and stability, they should make sure the ground beneath that child's feet doesn’t feel like a never-ending earthquake. All forms of ASD can have an impact on people's life in different ways. Sometimes it can cause problems with executive functioning, ability to complete the simplest of tasks, repetitive thought patterns and behaviors, perception problems caused by problems with social cues and processing speeds, problems with flexibility in thoughts, low self-esteem, difficulties in ability to form and maintain any kind of relationships and that can bleed over into ability to maintain working relationships too.
This is not an exhaustive list though and everyone is impacted differently. Aspies need safe and solid ground on which to build on and sometimes they might need a lot of reassurance too. Their self-esteem can be extremely low and they might need a lot of support and even help with contacting people. I personally am frightened of people out in the world and I need to see that I am safe above everything else.
Words of Encouragement
“I love you regardless of what results you get”
“I am so proud of you” said even if you get a lesser result than was expected.
“I know you did your best”
“Just do your best”
“You might not have aced the test but you have so many other wonderful attributes to offer to the world.”
“You are not defined by an exam result”
“I want you to have the best life possible so work hard because it will pay off in the future.”
“You are so intelligent and you have so much to offer the world. You don't have to be good at everything just find the things or thing that you are good at.”
“I am going to help you find out what your good at”
Discouraging Words
“You have Asperger's so you have to get A’s.”
“All the other kids with Asperger's are intelligent so you must be too.”
“you will be letting me down if you don’t get the results, I expect from you.”
“You will be letting yourself down if you don’t get the results, I expect from you.”
“Your future will suck if you don't get an A”
“How will this look to other people? If you get bad results you will bring shame on our family”
“Your Brother or Sister got such good results why can’t you?”
Pressure and Mental Health
The different types of pressure mentioned above can have a lasting impact on the mental health and self-esteem of children. If you feel like your parents will be angry, disappointed or perhaps even stop loving you altogether based on your result then you are not the problem.
If you are up all night exhausted and anxious as to how your parents will react to your result this could have an impact on your result because you will be too tired and worried to focus properly.
Parents who want their children to do well in school should create the environment in which it can happen. My parents were very encouraging in regards to school but my home was not stable and I never felt safe. Schools also need to work on making school a safe place for autistic children and to stamp out bullying. Parents of non autistic children need to teach their children kindess and understanding towards those who are different.
Attaching Expectations of Good Results to a Disability
It cannot be fair to compare disabled people to other disabled people and assume all aspies or autistic people are Einstein. If you are one of the aspies with low self-esteem these sorts of expectations could have a crippling impact on your mental health. In my honest opinion they are not being fair to you and they should be proud of you regardless of your result because you are likely to always be doing the best you can and that is all we should really be asking of anyone. People with Autism and Aspergers often have been through quite a lot and could tell you about quite a lot of interesting and painful experiences they have endured. A lot of us have also been rejected a lot and been quite literally pushed out of society and education so please speak with kindness and realize that we are doing our best.

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