by Patrick Ridge
My childhood, upon mature consideration, can best be described as catastrophic. I won’t go into the details, and I have heard of children less fortunate than myself, but catastrophic is an apt word taken all in all. The aspect which most stands out for me today is the way my experience was shaped by my borderline autistic condition, Aspergers Syndrome. I will refer to Aspergers as AS for the sake of brevity. For my purposes AS is best described by the phrase “standing behind the door when the instructions were passed out”. After some thirty years have gone by and I have developed some mental and emotional “tools” to compensate for my condition, I can specify a little better what the differences, the symptoms are that created this condition, but for a child of ages five through thirteen I was quite unclear on what was different about me. The effect was that everyone was behaving in a manner similar to each other, as though responding to cues that I was not receiving. Today I know that this is a form of brain damage, neural scarring that has eliminated certain parts of my perception enjoyed by most people. Those parts of my perception that are missing have to do with understanding social cues; the problem is thus reduced to its elemental form.