Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Numbers and Functioning

I have, over the last nine-and-half years, being asked what life is like having Asperger's Syndrome. All I can say is I don't know what life is like not having it. It would be interesting to live a month as a NT, and then switch back, just to see the differences between the two. However, I am, as of yet, unable to do that, so I can't tell you what life is like having AS. This is all I know and it is all that I have ever known.

Another thing that I have always known is that the higher the amount of people around me when I am doing something, the more I struggle. When I have to interact with a great deal of people at once, my behaviour deteriorates and becomes erratic. I always fare better when there are less people around me. This is not because I am wilfully obnoxious or anti-social, but because I like to focus on what I am doing. I can become confused when a lot of people are around me at once.

That was one of the primary reasons why, though I didn't particularly like or enjoy my time at Junior School, I fared a great deal worse when I went to Secondary School. If there had been say, six hard-working, friendly and helpful pupils in a class, I would fared a lot better. It has been one of reasons why I have found it difficult to hold down a job, and is primarily one of the reasons why I don't go to functions or why I dislike parties. I also don't like fuss. My choices in life are I either do something that requires concentration and don't speak, or I speak and then bugger it up. Get it right and be accused of being rude, or get it wrong and be sociable.

NT's function on a multi-channel system. I function on a single or low channel system. Neither is right. Neither is wrong. Aspies are Aspies. NT's are NT's. However, I admit I prefer a multi-channel system of functioning. It can be a damned nuisance when you have my operating system. Trust me.

Imagine that you are a building with a PBX (private branch exchange) and you have, say, twenty lines to handle calls. But other buildings around you have as many as thirty or forty lines at their disposal. And your building is one of the 1.5% of the properties that has this call-capacity problem. You will be unable to handle all the calls that a 40-liner can handle at any one time, even though it may only have 25 incoming calls at that time. It has 15 lines free for information transfer outwards. The autistic person is like the 20-liner, in that there is this reduced capacity for information transfer in both directions which means that communication is difficult.

In life, I can be forgetful. This isn't because I am particularly absent minded or in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, but because there are that many things going around me at times. On Tuesday 13th October I went to the gym. That was the final time I ever go with shorts that don't have covered pockets. I lost my locker key and though the manager opened it with a master key, I felt a bit of a Tw*t. Another problem occurs with me. When I am engrossed in something, everybody and everything else almost becomes irrelevant.

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