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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Analogy or a Metaphor Or Something

This is not my dad... and my dad
isn't this old... but he does do this a lot when he's
not wearing his hearing aid! 
Last night I told my dad about my upcoming evaluation with Dr. Tania Marshall. I wasn't even going to tell my parents. But I realized that, since the time zone difference between Australia and the US is pretty big, I will be doing my appointment on Skype for two hours between 9 and 11 pm one night, and 10 pm and 12 midnight the next. They might be wondering why. Plus, since my computer is sort of slow, I might need to borrow my mom's laptop. 

My dad, unfortunately, was not happy about the idea. He thought it would be a huge waste of money, especially when I told him that a friend of mine has offered to pay for it. He thought I should decline her offer. He kept asking, "So, if they confirm you have Aspergers, then what? They cure you? Is there some sort of shot or something?"

Um, no, that is not how it works! 

The whole thing seemed futile to him. Furthermore, he pointed out, he thought that having an official diagnosis would allow me to use Aspergers as an excuse. He said, "You're still going to have to do stuff. You can't just not put the peanut butter away and then say you have Aspergers."

Which was kind of a stupid example for him to use. Sometimes I do forget to put things away, but usually small things like a fork. Not a jar of peanut butter. And I've gotten much better in recent years at cleaning up after myself in the kitchen. I've always tried, but might overlook some crumbs on the counter or a streak of grease on the stove, which my mother's eyes zero in on as soon as she walks in the door. I swear, she walks in and immediately scans the area for anything she can gripe at me about. 

But I digress...

I was starting to say something else to my dad. I don't even remember what. But he misheard me. He thought I said, "I am Lincoln." Which makes little or no sense. I rolled my eyes and repeated myself loudly, and he said, "Sorry, I'm hard of hearing, you know." Which he totally is. He is supposed to wear hearing aids but he never does.

Suddenly I realized what a great analogy that was. "Right. So you are hard of hearing. How would you feel if I told you that you just had to try harder to hear people talking? What if I told you that if you stopped focusing on being hard of hearing, and concentrated on acting like you could hear as well as anyone else, you would be able to hear fine? Or that you just want people to think you're hard of hearing, so that you can use it as an excuse to not listen to what people are saying?" 

He sort of laughed but didn't argue, so I went on, "See, you went to the doctor and found out you were hard of hearing, so you know what you're dealing with. You can wear hearing aids to help you hear. I want to have an evaluation to find out what I'm dealing with, and so I can learn ways of helping me do better."

"Yeah, but I don't like wearing my hearing aids. I'm not even wearing them right now," said my dad.

"So what is dumber? Someone who wants to see a doctor to find out more about their disability so they can learn how to do more in life? Or someone who wants to just ignore their disability and walk around not hearing what anyone is saying?"

Then my dad said, "I'm tired. I'm going to bed."

He either realized I was right, or got tired of arguing with me. Either way, I think it is a good analogy for any neurological or mental conditions. I think it makes more sense to find out what is going on and what you can do about it, rather than to pretend nothing is going on and just try to compensate on your own. 

Still haven't told my mom though! That is a battle for another day! 

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