OK, on to our topic! One of my Facebook friends suggested that I write about whether I can easily recognize Aspies, whether I know any, and whether I'd have appreciated having a mentor when I was younger. The answers are usually, yes, and yes. But let me explain (because otherwise this post would be way too short).
As far as recognizing my fellow Aspies, I usually can but it does depend. On the surface, when I first meet them, I sometimes can tell if they display some of the more obvious signs--bad at small talk, avoiding eye contact, etc. Of course, being an Aspie myself, this sometimes goes right over my head. You have to be REALLY nervous in a social situation for me to pick up on it, since I'm usually being hyper careful to not make a faux pas and to try and do everything right myself. I have met some people I can peg as Aspies pretty early just from behavior and the topic of their conversation--If I am thinking that I would feel the exact same way and boy haven't I had that problem, I bet this person is an Aspie. On a different level, I have had a few people message me privately and say you know, I've read your blog and I have this and this and this in common with you, and when this happens I react this way. What do you think? Presented with this, it is VERY easy to tell.
Caveat: I am NOT a trained professional. I have never taken a Psych class. I can't give an official diagnosis. But then again, I was diagnosed incorrectly by more than one trained professional over the years. So frankly, I trust myself.
As far as knowing people who are Aspies, I have actually met several on FB through Autism communities, friends of friends, etc. I'm not shy about having Asperger's and those of us living on the Autism Spectrum seem to sort of come together through the glory of social networking. It's nice hearing from them and sharing with them, I am so grateful for my FB Aspie friends! I also have one friend who is also an Aspie, not officially diagnosed, but an Aspie nonetheless. He does not talk about it publicly, so I shall keep his anonymity. I can tell you though that over the past few months he has been a Godsend in that when I am struggling with Aspie induced difficulties and need advice or just need to vent, he has been there. It is SO nice to have someone with this in common to talk with and I am grateful for FB for giving us the forum. We recently had a long conversation that was full of you I do this, do you? Yep. Sigh. Or no, but I do something similar. It's the sort of stuff you almost have to be an Aspie to understand.
As to having a mentor--when I was growing up, if I had known, it would have been helpful. Very much so. If I'd known an older Aspie who had been there and done that in the complicated mess of navigating being an Aspie AND public school AND puberty, well, it would have helped. Then again, just knowing I had Asperger's would have been a very nice then back then. I can only be grateful to my mom for dragging me along as best as she could so I made it out fairly intact the other side. Now, I appreciate the friendship and advice, but I no longer feel I need a mentor per se. With the internet providing knowledge and without hormones shooting willy nilly through my poor body, I feel MUCH more in control. At least most of the time. And when I lose it, well, I have a friend to vent to.
God bless you all,