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So I got some “legal” type papers in the mail the other day, you know the ones where you have to fill everything out in block letters, black ink only, filled out under the light on a waning moon.
 
To complete it to the companies satisfaction the form also requires that two people witness my signature.
 
Big deal really…..except I hardly know two people yet in my new home town let alone two people who I would feel comfortable asking to witness my signature.
 
So why do I have to know these people, surely I can just go to a police station or the local doctors/pharmacists to get a witness, only that would be admitting my solitude and make me feel even more pathetic than I already do.
 
So why can’t I ask the few friendly, nice, lovely people who I have become acquaintances with?  Why does it feel so odd to ask them?  I know they would, it’s not like they are signing away their first-born, just witnessing my crazy piece of scribble on a page.  Why does it make me feel odd?  A loner?  A bit of a sad case?  A Nigel No Mates.
 
Maybe by reaching out and asking for such a simple thing, people will realise how isolated you can be as the new face in town, maybe remind them of what it was like and encourage them to reach out?
 
Or maybe, like me, they’ll just find me a little bit sad.
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That’s how I’d describe my friends reaction at someones suggestion that her son might have Asperger’s.

She was so completely shocked, still is, the idea had never occurred to her and who was this woman to make such an assumption (the school psychologist as it turns out, not necessary an expert in the field).

I on the other hand was completely shocked that she was shocked, surely all the signs were as clear as day, how could he be anything but someone with Asperger’s.

Then she asked “why can’t he just be the smart kid who is a bit awkward with his friends” and I immediately feel guilty.

Why do we have to label people, kids in particular.  When I was growing up he would have been referred to as ‘the brainiac’, ‘a nerd’, ‘that weird kid’.  Today he has asperger’s or sits somewhere on the autistic spectrum, not just somewhere to the left of centre but somewhere where as a society we can box him, collate him and put him aside to analyse later on.

Granted the idea of ‘labelling’ does have benefits in allowing access to programmes or funding designed to help both the “sufferer” and their family, but it’s the desire to ‘label’ that has my friend worried.

That and the unknown.

Hopefully by doing some research she’ll learn that asperger’s can actually be a gift, some of the brightest minds of our past and present would all comfortably sit somewhere on an autistic spectrum, or have “aspy’s” as I’ve heard it so casually refered to.

But I now ask myself, (still in disbelief that she appeared to have her head so deeply buried in the sand), what is it I don’t see that is so plainly obvious to others.

And do I, blinded by either lack of knowledge or fear or even just plain ignorance, want to see it, or would being told be like getting my head yanked out the sand to the oncoming glare of headlight

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