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|Meet Me Halfway - Page 2|
However, the old anxieties about getting into trouble either in the classroom or the broader community never completely went away. To this day, I am frightened if a teacher raises his/her voice or threatens punishment. I also worry about being unable to keep up with class assignments, and then fret about getting into trouble. A constant phrase of mine during rushed week-day mornings is, "I can't find my homework. I am going to get detention!" Of course, I know that is not true—and even if I did get a detention once, would it be the end of the world? Of course not! At moments like these, I try to do a "reality check" on myself. I will say to myself, "What happened the last time you forgot your homework? It will be fine!" While I expect to face obstacles in the future, especially regarding anxiety, I expect I will compensate for these differences by my ability to self-advocate.
I know AS makes it harder to understand certain social rules (e.g., that any teacher has authority over any student in any school environment). Frequently, when I miss social cues and inadvertently offend someone, I worry whether that person will be angry and act "mean and powerful" toward me. On the positive side, however, AS makes me scrupulously honest, very loyal, and sensitive toward other people I feel are being mistreated.
Despite my difficulties, I do not wish to be cured of AS, but wish more typical people would meet me halfway. While I think my close relationships outside my family will be reserved for those with AS or other special needs, I would like to have day-to-day relationships with more typical people without undue conflict. In other words, to cure AS would be to rob me of my sense of being. Rather than wishing that I were cured, I wish that non-special-needs people would try to understand people with AS and make a greater effort to reach out to them.
Nathan Weissler, 16, lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. A student at the Sulam School of the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington, he's a public speaker and has published several articles on the topic of inclusion and his own experiences. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at email@example.com, or at www.psychotherapynetworker.org. Log in and you'll find the comment section on every page of the online Magazine section