What did you learn about ASD by reading this memoir?
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Susan Moenkhaus
Susan Moenkhaus
3 months ago

I was intrigued by how the author operated in and succeeded in his chosen life journey. I know several people on the spectrum and this engaging book has given me new insights in how I will interact with them.

Jean
Jean
3 months ago

I saw some similarities with OCD which affects my daughter to some degree, the desire for scheduled day being an important one. His story did make me realize how various human reactions can be to any situation and how important it is to understand that the majority reaction is not necessarily better or worse than various other responses a person might have. Generally his plea is for people to widen their understanding of behaviour and understand that everyone sees the world differently for whatever reason, whether it be due to an illness of some sort, a philosophical belief, an ideaology,… Read more »

Terri
Terri
3 months ago
Reply to  Jean

I agree, it definitely would have been nice to hear more about his parents and his brothers. A lot could be learned from the differences between his autistic brother and himself.
You make an interesting point about the similarities between autism and other disorders, such as OCD. It makes me wonder if part of problem with getting diagnosed is due to the overlap in symptoms between disorders. I like how this book can help people learn to better understand and accept people with other disorders, not just autism. It’s all about understanding and acceptance.

Lisa
Lisa
3 months ago

I liked how he progressed through the story from fighting bullies with bananas to his insight into how he interacted with his own brother. It was so easy to relate to him it made me more aware that ASD isn’t just a form disability but a different way of being. The term neurotypical also made me realize how ASD is just an atypical way of being.

Lisa
Lisa
3 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

I so agree!!

Judith
Judith
3 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

I agree with your thoughts. As a person who is neurotypical but has hyper focused (opposite of ADHD) tendencies it really is only a matter of degree because all of the feelings, insecurities, and awkwardness Michael described in his book are shared by all of us. The more our world can be “we” rather than us and them, the better off we all will be.

Karolina
Karolina
3 months ago
Reply to  Judith

Actually many people with ADHD (myself included) hyperfocus very frequently – it’s actually a symptom. I tend to do it with reading, and embroidery.

Amber
Amber
2 months ago
Reply to  Karolina

I agree. My son has ASD and ADD and he has inability to focus in some things and is hyper focused in others

Lisa
Lisa
3 months ago

I never realized how wide the spectrum of ASD was. I also didn’t realize how hyper focused someone with ASD can become. I feel, or at least hope, after reading this I can be more open to interactions with people with different challenges.

Terri
Terri
3 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

I love that! I think the author would be so pleased to hear you say that as I think that was his hope for the book.

LJ Weber
LJ Weber
3 months ago

Just because you are autistic does not make you any different from others.

Sophie
Sophie
3 months ago
Reply to  LJ Weber

You are so right!! That is sweet of you to say that!!

Nicola
Nicola
3 months ago
Reply to  LJ Weber

I disagree. I feel quite different from others. I know I think differently, I know I communicate differently. But I do not feel that I am abnormal or disabled; JUST different!

Sophie
Sophie
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicola

That is true! We all are different because we were made that way by God! I just thank it is cool that “LJ Weber” would not judge someone because of a disorder!

Sophie
Sophie
3 months ago
Reply to  Sophie

It says in Mattew 7:1 “Do not judge someone so that way we will not be judged” and I thank we should not be judgeing people who are Autistic or who are born with Birth defects! We should accept them for who they are!

Mady
Mady
3 months ago
Reply to  LJ Weber

In fact, I recognize some traits that all humans probably share, though they are less pronounced in neurotypicals such as literal mindedness, prone to be easily embarrassed. Am just staggered by Michael’ courage and nerve – stage fright is a big thing for me.

Sophie
Sophie
3 months ago
Reply to  Mady

I feel you with stage fright! I am the same way! So what I do when I am in front of people I try to make them laugh and feel comfortable!:-) I am a people person so I like to talk! And make people laugh!:-)

Arloeen
Arloeen
3 months ago
Reply to  LJ Weber

This seems a rather broad statement. I do think there are significant differences from the general population, but they do not have to be “bad” differences, just misunderstood responses. Even the author found out things about his own autistic brother which he learned to respond to in a different and more helpful way in order to communicate with him more successfully. I do think their responses to living are rather broad and cannot be easily categorized as well. It surprised me that the author aspired to be a comedian!

Sophie
Sophie
3 months ago
Reply to  Arloeen

It is true! being different isn’t bad! It can change stuff though! I get what you are trying to say Arloeen!:-)

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
3 months ago

I learned that there are many aspects of autism; iI’ve always said that we are all on the autism spectrum to a certain degree. I always learned that I should let my sister know when it is getting to be “too much” listening to her tell the same story for the millionth time. I’m still not sure the best way to tell her, but I learned that it’s better than hurting her feelings by just ignoring her.

Ara
Ara
3 months ago

I learned what the stims are and what they could mean when my partner does them

Deidra
Deidra
3 months ago

After reading this book, it made more aware of looking at things from the perspective of people that are different. I liked the part when he learned to “act” normal, but found that “normal” people don’t utilize the manners to interact with others. I can relate to some of the things he experiences because it seems that Asperger overlaps in symptoms of other disorders. I enjoyed reading this memoir, giving readers a glimpse in the world of someone with Aspergers.

Julie
Julie
3 months ago
Reply to  Deidra

There is a lot of overlap which can cause AS to be overlooked if there are other diagnosis as well.

Nicola
Nicola
3 months ago

I am Autistic. This book made me feel part of a community. I identified very strongly with Michael, having also not started to speak until quite late and having many of the same social problems. For me, however, things were much worse as ASD had not been discovered when I was at school (apart from the stand-in-the-corner sort). To see that a diagnosis made things easier was great.

Sophie
Sophie
3 months ago
Reply to  Nicola

Just remember that you are beautiful just the way you are! And don’t let anyone at your school tell you other wise!

Cindy Cindy
Cindy Cindy
3 months ago

Learned to be inquisitive and not believe hearsay about people who seem different than everyone else.

Sandy
Sandy
3 months ago

I learned there are many types of autism with many different characteristics

Madison
Madison
2 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

I did too! I didn’t relize there where so many different kind of characteristics.

Patricia Windle
Patricia Windle
3 months ago

I really appreciated reading the chapter where the author goes to Boston and has the (outloud) realization that his brother is just trying to connect with him via the Disney tapes. I think that this knowledge that people with ASD are also looking for a way to connect (just like the rest of us, although it is inherently more difficult for them) is invaluable wisdom.

Karolina
Karolina
3 months ago

That was one of my favourite parts of the book, it made me cry! Even with the preface at the beginning where Michael tells us that he doesn’t speak for everyone with ASD, this excerpt really drove the point home. It’s interesting to see that just bc someone experiences something doesn’t make them an expert on it. Really important part of the book.

Jule
Jule
3 months ago

The story of this “Aha”moment was an ,”Aha” moment for me .It is very easy for a person to forget that an annoying repetitive behavior is an attempt to connect.

Ellie
Ellie
3 months ago

The most important thing was probably that with ASD you still feel deeply (emotionally) but not express or show the feelings the typical ways that someone who’s neurotypical. The term “ neurotypical” might be the second most important thing I learned. 🙂

Jennifer
Jennifer
3 months ago

I’m a teacher with Autistic students who I just love! This book made me feel closer to them. I learned that every ASD experience is different. It helps me to understand the need for sensory stimulation.

KJ Dains
KJ Dains
3 months ago

From this book I saw just how similar Michael’s experiences are to an non-autistic person. This shows that they just have different coping mechanisms and doesn’t make them so different from the rest of the world.

Jim Kurchak
Jim Kurchak
3 months ago

I think Lisa has it right in her comment. It wasn’t so much what was different about being ASD, as to how much it was the same as anyone else. As they say, a different way of being. Of course, if the book had been written about his brother, that may not be the viewpoint we are seeing. Such a variation within the spectrum.

Debby
Debby
3 months ago

My youngest daughter, now a young adult, recently learned that she has ASD. This explains so much,and I’ve learned that some of the things I did and said when she was younger, trying to be helpful, actually made her feel more alienated. I noticed early on that she often interpreted things differently from other kids. She would get insulted when there was no reason to, but would not notice when other kids were giving her weird looks or making fun of her. When she would get upset because she thought someone was “being mean to her”, I reminded her that… Read more »

Joyce E
Joyce E
3 months ago

I learned that there are many variants of ASD and individual differences in the afflicted. Even people who don’t have the autistic disorder can have similar issues such as noise sensitivity. I’ve known several people with this problem and I would have never known that they had autism. With the right support and help it shows that they can do well in society. Not all people with autism are good at mathematics.

This book is well written and a joy to read.

Heyhey
Heyhey
3 months ago

This was fascinating…“Or maybe it was the fact that I didn’t talk until I was nearly three. Then, when I finally did, I spoke exclusively in movie quotes. I was obsessed with movies from a young age and didn’t discriminate in my tastes: I’d quote everything from Casablanca to The Country Bears. I didn’t really understand the words I was saying—I just liked the way they sounded.”

Reader1
Reader1
3 months ago

This was insightful and relatable, “Having autism is like having too many tabs open on a computer. Or more accurately, it’s like trying to surf the web without an ad blocker. Every time you click on something, another window pops up.”

Ellie
Ellie
3 months ago
Reply to  Reader1

Yes, that was such a spot on description.

Lisa
Lisa
3 months ago

I learned how challenging it can be for individuals with ASD to make and keep friends.

Sadie
Sadie
3 months ago

I learned that sometimes it’s okay to lighten up and just TALK about things like this. This topic doesn’t have to be serious 100 % of the time. (As long as you are being respectful and mindful of people’s feelings about it)

Michelle
Michelle
3 months ago

I enjoyed hearing one person’s perspective and I want to be careful not to make his experience a blanket expectation for all with ASD. It was great just to relate to this one person’s story and, if anything, expect to have the same relatability to others with ASD.

Ria Dhake
Ria Dhake
3 months ago

I learned a lot through this book. One of them is that autistic people aren’t really that different from us, just wired in a different manner. Another thing I learned was how to relate to an autistic person in general and make them feel at home.

Katie
Katie
3 months ago

One huge takeaway from this book for me is that young people with ASD are capable of doing everything that their typical peers are, just in their own way. Michael was able to find his career path, navigate public transportation, be the lead in a play, and many other things that neurotypical individuals do. While Michael needed some support to be able to accomplish these things, he did not need to be singled out and treated differently to do so. For example, he was made to take manners/etiquette class, which actually made him seem more different than his peers. This… Read more »

Lisa parker
Lisa parker
3 months ago

Learned about there ways to look and relate to everyday life.

Mary lowery nelson
Mary lowery nelson
3 months ago

I work for a state agency that processes medical information, and have come across many doctors/hospitals/therapists reports regarding ASD. I also have co-workers with this diagnosis. I am by NO means a medical professional, I only have some familiarity about that which the author wrote. Nonetheless, I was interested in his description of his family’s dynamics, and the genetics behind his and his brother’s diagnosis. The fact that his parents did not have a diagnosis other than OCD and perhaps ADD further interested me considering that two of their 3 childten were diagnosed with varying degrees of ASD.

Mary lowery nelson
Mary lowery nelson
3 months ago

I learned that within one family, the degree of ASD can vary greatly among fami,ly members. Logically, that would make sense, not every child with that diagnosis in a family would encounter the exact same issues.

Connie Tolman
Connie Tolman
3 months ago

My husband is autistic. I diagnosed him for my sanity. He’s 66 and that was 8 years ago. I read everything I could get my hands on. This is the best step by step instructions how to interpret him. I guess I was pretending he wasn’t really autistic but he is. It’s not bad. That’s why I love him but as he gets older and now has a bad heart, it’s really difficult. I loved the chapter explaining why his brother kept waking him up all night because that’s what he does and it seems so rude. We’ve made it… Read more »

CMN
CMN
3 months ago
Reply to  Connie Tolman

Hi Connie, I’m an Autistic woman married to an Autistic man, you will be shocked to hear we have two Autistic daughters. 🙂 I just wanted to say with no ableism that I understand the joys and challenges of that type of dynamic. I spend a lot of time helping all of these people regulate their emotions and working with my husband to include the perspectives of the other members of the family and it is a lot.

Alayna Abravanel
Alayna Abravanel
3 months ago

I learned about the articles of the book…

Alayna Abravanel
Alayna Abravanel
3 months ago

I think it was good. And I would like to have a discussion about the class.

Bonnie
Bonnie
3 months ago

The book reminded me of the extreme range of manifestations of ASD. This book will help me be a better volunteer when I work for our theater’s “sensory friendly” live productions.

Diane Jackson
Diane Jackson
3 months ago

l learned people with ASD have many hurt feelings and good feelings, but they can’t always express them easily. This can causes their reactions, or no reactions, to be misinterpreted that they don’t care.

Sandy
Sandy
3 months ago

I am enjoying learning more about the world from an autistic persons standpoint. I’m just starting the book, but learning so much!

Yeggy
Yeggy
3 months ago

The gamut of ASD behaviors is astounding. I’m constantly amazed that my/our perception of “normal” is so biased. I think it is important that all behavioral disorders are recognized and respected.There is something to learn from all humanity, not just the sanitized models we’ve been exposed to through our chosen modes of virtual experiences. My favorite part was when the author recognized his little brother’s way of communicating was the exact behavior that annoyed him the most and then he was able to find joy?, acceptance?, in his interactions with his brother. “What we do NOT know is infinitely more… Read more »

Janet
Janet
3 months ago

Ways of interacting with people may differ, and sensory perception can be overwhelming

Trinidy Schmidt
Trinidy Schmidt
3 months ago

I gained more insight into stimming and the literal factor, which I had some knowledge to prior.

Karen
Karen
3 months ago

With so many different manifestations of ASD, it’s wonderful to have insight into one person’s experiences. As a retired educator, I would have loved to have this resource during my career. It seems that definitions continue to change as we study ASD and learn more about how to respond to those with it. Neurotypicals learn to appreciate that differences should be championed!

Debra Guidorini
Debra Guidorini
3 months ago

insight that the horrors of middle school and high school exist for everyone. Things we have to accept as adults apply to those on the spectrum and those who love them equally.

Penny B
Penny B
3 months ago

That being ASD has nothing to do with how intelligent one is or isn’t. The author is delightful and a brilliant mind. Reading about getting naked because of the hyper-feeling of the clothes was unbearable made me think to not be judgmental about a toddler I know who at home is always just in a diaper. The moms have no idea why their child hates wearing clothes. But since the child is autistic, it makes sense to me. And gives me hope this non-talking child will blossom into a self-sufficient adult.

Shava Nerad
Shava Nerad
3 months ago

I didn’t learn much about ASD from the book because I’m aspie, myself. But I felt a real kinship with the author. It was inspiring.

Kolleen
Kolleen
3 months ago

I learned that ASD is a disorder which can affect everyday life for those afflicted with it. It, however, like other of life’s problems, can be overcome with humor and positivity.

Madison
Madison
3 months ago

One of the most interesting things I learned from reading this book is how much individuals with ASD can be extremely different from one another. I am an Educational Assistant and work with kids with ASD all the time but this book truly expanded my understanding of the extent of the ‘spectrum’ of this disorder. I found it especially interesting how Michael described that it was difficult understanding and jiving with others with ASD because the spectrum of behaviours, quirks, special interests etc is so different from person to person. Often the kids that I work with are unable to… Read more »

Charles Wang
Charles Wang
3 months ago

Interesting to learn more indepth about someone with ASD. Usually I’ve only seen small snippets in a fictionalized life.

Suzanne
Suzanne
3 months ago

As a social worker I have done much study and research about autism. Nevertheless, I found some of the analogies used by the author helped me understand how a person with autism thinks and communicates. It gave me practical ways to communicate better with someone on the spectrum – very helpful!

Ana
Ana
3 months ago

I learned much about Michael’s experience (so far) living with autism. He is funny. I enjoy it.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
3 months ago

No matter what experiences we have,both positive and negative, the recognition that we are not alone is what always impacts me although at times I do not see it. Communication is key. The recognition of behaviors that are meant as ways of communicating, as Matty did, made me realize that some of the behaviors in my own children (NT) may have been ways of reaching out to me when I felt they only wanted me for a specific action or need. ASD ,NT or other life circumstance necessitates all of us, when possible, demonstrating empathy and understanding. Many of us… Read more »

Maria
Maria
3 months ago

I learned that ASD was not well recognized when I was growing up (I graduated from HS in 1972) although there were classmates who were probably on the spectrum.

Mirrani
Mirrani
3 months ago

I have some familiarity with ASD, as I have taught children on the spectrum, but it was insightful for me to see Autism from the perspective of someone on the spectrum.

carol
carol
3 months ago

It was informative to see the differences among people with ASD. Michael and his brother represented opposite ends of the spectrum.

Mo Dilks
Mo Dilks
3 months ago

I already knew a lot about autism. Michael puts the information in a clear and easy to understand form.

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