Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Is it unfair that the military bans all people with Asperger's syndrome?

 Is it unfair that the military bans all people with Asperger's syndrome?

About a year ago, I used to embrace my Asperger's until I read the evil DOD 6130.03 Instruction which stated that ANYBODY on the Autistic spectrum is permanently disqualified from serving in the Armed Forces.

For 8 months, I've suffered self-pity because for me, nothing good comes out of a life with Autism. I have an average IQ, no close friends, no military dream to fulfill, etc.

Saddening that I have to embrace something that crushed my goals and takes away my social skills so I can't have fun.

I do not agree that nothing good comes out of autism.

I just got done reading John Elder Robison's "Look Me In The Eye". A very good book by someone who didn't know that he was an Aspie until quite late in life. I highly recommend it. He trained himself, doing some astounding work in electronics over a wide range of disciplines, later training himself in car repair and specializing in high end cars that most mechanics are terrified to touch.

Website of Author, Advocate, Aspergian, John Elder Robison.

Dr. Temple Grandin is another person with Autism who has made a lot of her life. Although her mother had a diagnosis for her early in life, the official treatments were crap. It was all down to her mother's patience. She is also a published author with several books out on dealing with your Autism and Asperger's.

Welcome to Temple Grandin's Official Autism Website

Her TED Talks should be required viewing.
Temple Grandin | Speaker | TED.com

I love these quotes by her:
Temple Grandin Quotes (Author of Thinking in Pictures)

My favorite:
“What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?

You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”
Temple Grandin, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism & Asperger's

Although maybe this is my favorite:
“I am different, not less.”
Temple Grandin

I've been saying a version of this for many years, without knowing about autism or Asperger's:
“In an ideal world the scientist should find a method to prevent the most severe forms of autism but allow the milder forms to survive. After all, the really social people did not invent the first stone spear. It was probably invented by an Aspie who chipped away at rocks while the other people socialized around the campfire. Without autism traits we might still be living in caves.”
Temple Grandin, Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is a huge collection of traits. People have a mixed bag of them. As someone once said, once you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism. We're all different.

OK, so that was the preamble…

I was in the US Navy. It was -not- a good fit for me. One of the traits I have is that if someone says something incorrect, I correct them. It doesn't matter who it is that said it. In the military, that is very bad unmilitary behavior, except in those rare circumstances when you get lucky and are under someone who appreciates the truth and isn't insecure. Then it can be wonderful.

I've got it a -little- more under control now. Well, maybe not... occasionally someone makes a remark about me being a bit pedantic. I think I could have been better disciplined about it if I’d had some guidance as a child, no diagnosis required.

Screw it. Use your Asperger's, as John Elder Robison says. You may have amazing focus. Many Aspies are tenacious learners. I taught myself electronics, I decided when I was 9 that I had to decide if I was going into a science field or a technology field. I chose technology, and threw myself into learning electricity and electronics.

I remember looking at a magazine article of a Tesla coil project, and thinking, "I'll bet in a year I'll look at this and understand it."

A year later, I remembered that thought and looked at it. I recall thinking "Oh, it is just an Armstrong oscillator with a tuned primary and self-tuned secondary, with two tubes in parallel. These other parts over here are the power supply."

So just do it! Find what interests you, turn your focus on it, and learn it. Use your diagnosis of Asperger's when you apply for jobs, it can be a plus! Aspies tend to be very focused on results, follow rules meticulously, and are very loyal. If a potential employer doesn't see it that way, you didn't want to work for them, anyway.

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