Asperger's Syndrome makes me significantly different from you. It is in some ways unfortunate that I have only just discovered this. I have often been baffled by you, but I thought it was your fault not mine. It makes it harder for me to imagine what it is like to be you, to guess how you are feeling, to imagine what it is like for you to hear, to make music and to work with others. Partly because you are different to me, and partly because my weak Theory of Mind, that ability to project oneself into another person's point of view, is part of that difference. It also might make it harder for you to understand my perspective, because it is not necessarily what you expect.
In some areas, especially sensory distortions, I know that I have "odd" experiences because some of the symptomology of autism seems to come in waves - experiences change over time, and I recognise them as different or unusual. On the other hand I assumed that everyone had what I now refer to as "aspie moments". But there are some aspects to my experience that are "everyday" for me - so "normal" that I would never have thought to share them and I am continuing to discover just how different some of those experiences actually are. As someone recently pointed out to me "you don't know what you don't know because you don't know it's there to know".
It is instructive to look back at some of the music and writing from my pre-diagnosis life because as this represents pieces created "in innocence". I was partially aware of difference, but did not know what those differences were. Since the diagnosis, and especially as I have been engaged in this research from that time, I have been acutely aware of my compositional practices and how the traits of autism are manifesting. Some of these older pieces appears in the Music Room, and one that seems to tell its own story is Real Life written in 2002 and sung (badly) by me for the purposes of a demo. It is one of the very few recordings of my own singing voice.
- Video Complexities: People are much more complex than I thought possible.
- I'm alright ...: Asperger's can be quite successfully "hidden" from the world at large through the development of coping strategies. There is a cost however...
- Eye Contact: On some occasions an unexpected emotional connection occurs, and can be overwhelming.
- What's mine is mine ...: Joint attention impairment may be a link in the autistic ToM chain.
- Colours and Images: The images have been chosen very carefully to enhance the text that they are associated with. They each mean something quite particular to me - they carry "baggage".
- Evoking Anxiety: Are evocative autoethnography and an impairment in empathy an impossible combination?
- Discovery, Epiphany, Catharsis: How do you feel when you don't know what you feel?