I had to take some time to digest what I heard and read before deciding to share my feelings about it. The “it” that I am referring to is singer Susan Boyle’s recent announcement that she has been diagnosed with Asperger’s.
My initial reaction was that having another prominent person reveal the diagnosis will help continue to develop awareness of Asperger’s and autism. I hope that I am right.
But I had another reaction, one that was unexpected, when I read the story more. It wasn’t so much that Ms. Boyle revealed her diagnosis, it was a quote that was attributed to her.
“Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself.”
My issue is with Ms. Boyle referencing having something “wrong” with her. That is a patently false statement (though I doubt that was Ms. Boyle’s intent).
Being diagnosed with Asperger’s, or any type of autism, is not a signal that something is “wrong” with a person. I reject, and have done so continually on this blog, the notion that people like Ms. Boyle and like Kaitlyn have something wrong with them because they have Asperger’s.
Is it wrong for someone, and from here on out, I will be referring to Kaitlyn since I do not know Ms. Boyle, to be extremely bright, devoted, caring, and focused? I don’t think so. Does Kaitlyn sometimes drive Amber and I crazy with her obsessions (currently American Girls)? Yes, but we embrace each obsession and are fortunate that Kaitlyn even lets us in in the first place. Are there times where Kaitlyn amazes us with her compassion? Absolutely; like on Thanksgiving, when we went around the table and said what we were thankful for and she led with “shelter,” making the rest of us take a step back for a second and reassess what we are thankful for, all while realizing that it may not measure up to what a seven-year old came up with off the top of her head.
I have no doubt that Ms. Boyle has faced numerous challenges in her lifetime, and she will continue to do so. Her diagnosis will explain so much to her, and hopefully allow people to be more understanding of her. But I can assure you that there is nothing “wrong” with her.