Opinion:I have Asperger's; I am just like you
Find a mentor, write and be brave, says one man who has Asperger's syndrome.
December 20th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Opinion:I have Asperger's; I am just like you

Editor's note: Michael Ryan is an assignment producer who works on the CNN.com homepage.

By Michael Ryan, CNN

(CNN) - I am not an expert on Asperger's syndrome. But I am an expert on me, and I have Asperger's.

And attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. And a bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Having all three disorders together is not unusual, my doctor says.

Like you, I get angry sometimes. And, like you, I would never think of channeling that emotion into violence.

There is no direct connection between violence and autism. None. I don't break things. I don't hit my dogs. I keep a small Tupperware container in the house to catch insects so I can transport them safely outside before my cats or wife see them. I don't disparage hunters, but I could never kill another creature. I just don't have it in me.

For the most part, I am just like you, just a bit quirky. All right, a lot quirky.

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. temp

    I am without mental disorders according to the DSM. The author is more like me than they realize because asperger's is no longer classified as a disorder! Stop with the pity party already!

    December 27, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lana

    I raised two kids with Asperger's/Autism. I know this goes against all advice, but this guy agrees with me. I did not allow the school system to label my kids and I am glad. Today they are productive and happy members of society. They are both highly intelligent and hold multiple advanced degrees. They both struggled with school in their teens. They were mocked and ridiculed from grades 1 – 12. What we have to do is stop the bullying and teasing. Yes, I already know this kid did not lash out at his peers as other bullying victims have, but I know he was bullied and that certainly did nothing to help him cope with his issues.

    December 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rocco

      So glad to hear your story and success. Some children are scarred from the ridicule when their differences stand out. So we shouldn't label all of them because a few couldn't cope and used a gun to lash out at society. We also shouldn't label people who own guns and use them lawfully for sport, or entertainment.
      Our culture and society have changed , guns have not.
      Guns are not the problem in our society.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 1111CB

    You are right Mr Bill Lee Joel in 1 respect. Mr Ryan sounds articulate, intelligent, empathetic, accomplished and exhibiting the finer qualities of our human race. Your comment sounds like the other end of the spectrum. You be your own judge.
    And thanks Mr Ryan for telling your story. We need more people who have been marginalized to tell their story in spite of such remarks as Mr Joel. There is a world of ignorance out there. And others need the courage to be themselves.

    December 21, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill Lee Joel

    How do people determine the difference between quirky and crazy...

    Just by giving them sweet sounding names (autistim, asburgers, bipolar) and acronyms (ADD,ADHD,PTSD,OCD )

    HEY! ... if it looks like a fish and smells like a fish...... guess what?

    December 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |