Day 44: The ABC’s of Discrimination: I will not be made to feel ashamed of Aspergers!

Many of you know that I’ve held off on describing what I experienced recently while I was a student in the counseling program at the local university. I believe waiting  was a beneficial decision.

Today, I have arrived at a place of closure, over the events that have transpired. I cannot say I am at peace, but I am definitely thinking more clearly and feeling more centered than I have in weeks.

I believe now I have the capacity to share my experience with clarity and without undertones of self-pity and pain. I share primarily to expose the discrimination that can occur towards individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. Please keep in mind I was a successful teacher for many years, earning the highest marks, and that I was never subjected to unjust criticism or unsolicited advice. No one knew I had Aspergers when I was a teacher. Not even me.

Yesterday I met with the Dean of Education, whom I found to be forthright, careful, and kind. She listened patiently as I lamented about my experiences with the professors. I cried for the entirety—a good thirty-minutes. Because of the position she holds at the university, there wasn’t much she could offer in terms of condolence or her opinions.

She did state, in so many words, that the group of professors heading the counseling department at the university tend to have “their views,” but that their views don’t represent everyone, of course.

Their views meaning the family system theory view.

Their views meaning: Asperger’s Syndrome is created and perpetuated by family members’ words, actions, subconscious drives, and by family dynamics. In other words Aspergers is not the result of brain functioning, environment, and/or genetics.  And Aspergers is definitely not a different way of looking at the world or high intelligence. Aspergers is a syndrome created by family members.

I can’t see myself striving in an environment where close-minded teachers are compartmentalizing individuals based on their own narrow and biased theories. Where they are desperately lacking in current theories and personal accounts regarding Aspergers. Where they have no interest at all to know how Aspergers manifests itself in individuals. Where I wasn’t once asked: What’s that like?

A place where I was queried by a licensed mental health therapist with a PHD in psychology, my professor: “Are you happy you have pronounced to the world your brain and your son’s brain are broken?”

A place where I was told that I had “likely manifested my own Asperger’s Syndrome in order to be closer to my son.”

A place where I was accused of taking my child to a psychiatrist, “so you (I) can put him on medication and not have to deal with the real issues.” (Not that it matters, but my son isn’t on any medication.)

A place where I received the following email from a professor after I professionally disputed a grade, because I was very aware the professor had not kept accurate records of student work: “Another faculty concern is tone and professionalism when communicating conflict. This is very important when requests are made both here in school and in your future work. You yourself, if you become a counselor, will need to remain calm and non-defensive in dealing with many clients who are upset and dysregulated.”

She prefaced this email with the assumption that since I had told her I had Asperger’s Syndrome that I was open to any of her advice.

There is more I could share, but I think this paints a clear picture.

In leaving the university yesterday, I carried away two of the dean’s statements:

1)   Based on everything you have told me I think it is best you don’t continue in the program.

2)   It is probably best if you don’t tell professionals you have Aspergers. It’s not the appropriate environment. They aren’t your therapists.

I am left perplexed and unsettled. I am concerned that this faculty will continue educating hundreds of counseling students. I am concerned that the dean is not instigating change.

And I have been turning over and over in my mind why Aspergers is something I was cautioned to hide.

Yes, I understand that by telling my professors I had Aspergers that I was treated differently, some would conjecture harshly. But is the solution for me to remain quiet and in hiding?

Is that what minorities have done in the past to be heard, to be seen, to achieve fairness, equity, and justice?

Is Aspergers such a widely misunderstood condition that I should retreat in shame?

This morning I came across this comment: “My son has just been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. My husband and I both sadly agree that we would rather that our son have diabetes.” (Paraphrased from a comment found on an online chat room.)

How is keeping my Aspergers hidden going to help this ignorance?

Here are more stereotypical views about people with Aspergers:




Mindset of a child


Lack people skills

Only see the world through their narrow point of view

Difficulty expressing emotions


Lack empathy

Come across as know-it-alls

Behavioral problems

Fake their feelings

Poorly equipped to thrive





Here is the truth of Aspergers

The REAL ABC’s Of Asperger’s

These attributes describe some of the wonderful qualities people with Aspergers possess:

A: Apologetic, Admit fault, Avoid superficial conversation, Accepting of quirks

B: Brilliant in chosen field of study

C: Capable, Caring, Complimentary, Creative, Clever problem solvers

D: Detail oriented, Driven, Devoted, Dauntless in Interests, Dependable, Deep Thinkers, Don’t Discriminate, Don’t have hidden agendas, Defend the weak

E: Enthusiastic, Exhibit Exceptional Endurance, Entertaining, Enlightened

F: Fact Finders, Forthright, Forgiving, Free from prejudice, Fruitful

G: Genuine, Good memory for facts and details

H: High-level of Integrity, Honest, Highly Focused

I:  Intelligent, Imaginative, Idealists, Ingenious, Instructive

J:  Justice seekers, Just

K: Knowledgeable, Kind

L: Loyal, Look for goodness and genuineness in friends, Listen without judgment

M: Memory can be exceptional, Memorable conversationalist

N: Not bullies, Not manipulative, Not deceptive, Not game players, Not inclined to lie and steal

O: Original thinkers, Open to new information, Outstanding, Optimistic despite setbacks

P: Puzzle solvers, Pattern finders, Pragmatic, Philosophical thinkers, Poetic, Passionately Pursue interests

Q: Quick learners, Quick thinkers, Question “truths” and opinions

R: Reliable, Regard others for their personhood, Routine establishers, Rule followers

S:  Sincere, Solution finders, Speak their mind, Strength in endeavors, Strong moral code, Sensitive to Sensory Stimuli

T: Talented, Trusting, Think in Pictures, Truth Seekers

U: Unique perspective and outlook

V:  Valiant, Vigilant, Advanced Vocabulary

W: Word interest, Witty humor, Wonderful Work ethics

X:  Non-Xenophobic

Y:  Youthful-outlook, Yearn for truth

Z:  Zestful, Zealous

I don’t know about you, but I think the world could do with a few more people like this!

Please share this page if you are inclined. I don’t know what my role is in all of this is, but I know I won’t stand in silence. I know the difference between right and wrong.

In love and peace ~ Sam Craft

© Everyday Aspergers, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

10 Traits of Aspergers

10 Myths about Aspergers

I am Elephant: Speaking up For Me

The World Needs People With Asperger’s Syndrome By Temple Grandin

61 thoughts on “Day 44: The ABC’s of Discrimination: I will not be made to feel ashamed of Aspergers!

  1. Sam, this is so infuriating! Especially because the dean is so passive about it. It seems that these profs have built careers on their erroneous theories and they are closed to any counter evidence.
    I think it’s point “Q” that snared you: “Questions “truths” and opinions.” Oh, yes! That one has always gotten me in trouble!! 🙂
    Keep on questioning! May the truth prevail!

    1. Glad that you “get” it. Infuriating and so very sad. To think so many uninformed and uneducated professionals are teaching the new breed of counseling. In my opinion, a whole course should be based just on ASD. Great point, with the point “Q”— that’s it exactly. We question the “truths.” Thanks for the support. Much appreciated. 🙂 Sam

  2. I’m so sorry ~Sam~ that you are being treated like this.
    I will keep this in prayer, sending you {{{hugs}}} from England.
    Great post, keep being you…we shouldn’t have to pretend to be what we are not.
    Love and hugs. Lisa. xx 😦

    1. Thanks for the prayers, Lisa. Those are always welcomed and appreciated. I’m over the wall now. Through the muck and mud. Now to use the energy for change and to support others. Hugs. 🙂 Sam

  3. There is so much I want to say, but I cannot get the words out right…at the moment.

    I am so sorry for these attitudes that have been projected toward you. Who do they feel lacks empathy? The good thing is that with these actions you are sharing your voice. You are bringing clarity about the good qualities that we do have.

    Haven’t we hidden enough in our lives? I’ll not accept that my children should hide what others deem as uncomfortable, quirky, odd, or lack of “fill in the blank”. All that you listed as attributes are what I want my kids to see in themselves so they can advocate for themselves and for others.

    Excellent post! I will be sharing!

    1. Thank you, Angel. It took me three plus weeks of processing to get to the point I could even share the words. And I didn’t share all of it — like the witness claiming she couldn’t remember any of the harsh words the professor said, when she had approved a letter I had written outlining the details. I have her emails…but didn’t pull those out. Then she was my study-partner, which was just terrible. As I lost all trust in her. Exactly….who lacks empathy? Not us! Thank you for saying, “Haven’t we hidden enough!” Yes, we have. I want to add more words to the list, more and more. People with Aspergers are brilliant beams of light. We should call ourselves Bubbles! Brilliant, Understaninding, beams of beneficial, energy and strength…or something like that. Thanks for your support. You are wonderful. 🙂 Sam

      1. Oh yep…you did didn’t you…giggle.
        “Brilliant Understanding, Beams of Beneficial Light Energy and Strength!”
        I think you should…it’s wonderful.

      2. Oh! How funny the other day when I wrote a poem about losing child-likeness I also had one come to mind about bubbles! I haven’t finished it yet.

        “People with Aspergers are brilliant beams of light.” LOVELY!

        You are wonderful too and thank you for sharing all you do! 🙂 Ha ha I rhymed and didn’t mean to. (Oh, no that rhymed too. Ok, quit it Angel!) Now I am going to send bubble vibes ~o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o~ with tips of love beams. Hee hee

  4. Do they really believe that “Family Dynamics” causes Asperger’s? If so, then they do not deserve you and you will never change them so I would not waste any more time or energy trying. There are others out in the real world of science that you can learn from and communicate with.

    1. I believe the professor believes this, based on how he treated me and how he bludgeoned me with his theory for 10 minutues straight (when all I did was inform him of my diagnosis). Beyond what they believe is the fact that they had no interest in learning about a person with Aspergers point of view beyond the medical manuals. What an opportunity that had with me—a trained teacher with ASD to teach them about Aspergers. I never offered, of course, as I was ostracized early in the game. Yes, I will seek out others with compassion and open-mindedness. Thanks for your comment. 🙂 Sam

  5. Dag nabbit!! I am pissed off. How dare they do that to you…to anyone. OMGoodess. You are so right Sam. This is an atrosity that is happening way too frequently. How in the world could they have said those things to you. Your work ethic and history speaks for it’s self. This really leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth for almost all professionals in this field. And it’s not just them it anyone. Ignorace is not bliss it “sucks rocks!!” We need to rally together and stand up against this crap. Instead of feeling down about this jack holes we need to better utilize our energy to see how we can combat this kind of behavior.

    1. You get the award for the most supportive comment! Yep, my sentiments exactly. I didn’t go into detail about how the professor said many of these things to me after class, right to my face. Thank you kindly for your words. I can tell you “get” it. I agree. We do need to rally and be heard. Hugs ~ Sam 🙂

  6. and my blog today…. “out with the old, in with the new” even they at some point will be pushed to raise their level of consciousness, they won’t have a choice.

    Still, sorry to hear of this news – such bad form!

    Hugs L x

    1. I hope so! At this point, we are both at a bit of a loss. She does soooo well! Still she is not accepted. She is full of nothing but kindness and wants nothing more than to have friends. It breaks my heart.

  7. I am so angry, and so many thought are bubbling that I cannot begin to express them. Each time I try to start, more come to mind. The compartmentalizing that occurs in the university setting where the pressure to publish breeds unreasonable political loyalty to an idea despite evidence is notorious, shameful, sad and backwards.
    On a related note, I found a line graph by my wonderful child with autism. It was labeled friendship, and had “time” along the x-axis. A realistic looking trend line climbed to a single data point, then sharply and in one fell swoop declined drastically below the x-axis and all the way off the page. The sole data point was labeled, “i said i had autism.”

    1. Thank you. Thank you. Your words about the university setting is spot-on and well said. What a beautiful example of the chart your child made—so brilliant, truth-filled, and true. What a lovely mind. I am sorry she/he had to experience this. ~ Sam:)

    2. ActNow – that bar graph made me so sad. It feels like it should be in a comic strip somewhere. Your daughter sounds like a very smart kid, even if her peers don’t realize it yet. Fortunately, some time down the road, she’ll encounter wonderful people who that friendship line goes exponentially upwards at that datapoint instead, because those friends will recognize her amazingness, and go out of their way to make things good for her. 🙂

  8. I am new to blogging and would like to use bits of your post in a post I want to make about disclosure (i plan to tell about my daughter’s line graph in the post as well). First, may I? And second, do you happen to know how I am supposed to cite? Or, more importantly, how would you like me to cite you should you grant me permission?

    1. Thank you. Yes, you may. There aren’t any steadfast blog rules. I know cause I spent a day researchng and wrote a post on blog rules. LOL
      What would be nice is if you included a link to my blog and put my words in quotes. You can use the name: Samantha Craft or Aspergers Girls. That is kind of you to ask. Some people ask permission; some don’t. I think it is nice to ask, or let the person know. All blogs are copyrighted, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people. I’ll be curious to read your article. I think sharing that graph is brilliant. So nice being in touch. Chat soon. 🙂 Sam

  9. Wonderful! I will do it (AND find your post about blog rules, too!). My daughter has autism, and the more I read, the more I wonder if I may be an undiagnosed Aspie. She has been through so much already trying to deal with the NT world. Blogs like yours help us both through it.

    1. 🙂 Lovely to know I’m helping in someway. More and more Moms are discovering in fact they are Aspie. Hugs to you. Enjoy blogging. I’ll pop over soon. 🙂 Feel free to join our facebook group. It’s nice and small. 🙂

  10. These people are just so wrong about Aspergers they should all be sacked! Family dynamics and also psychoanalytic theory (as followed in France) have nothing to do with autism – full stop – what is wrong with these people!!! Maybe they need therapy for their denial of the truth. You on the other hand are completely right and also have every right to be upfront about having aspergers. Keep up the fight – great post.

    1. Merci Beau Coup! (Did I spell that right?) I took French some 25 years ago. I learned how to say the line: I only eat vegetables, when I traveled there. The only sentence I can say correctly in French. lol Yes, Full Stop is Right! Thanks so much for agreeing. I’m glad now I shared this. Huge relief in releasing the burden I’ve been carrying on my shoulders. So many kind people, like you, offering comment and support. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. TY! 🙂 Sam

  11. Oh my God Sam what is “broken brain”!!! is it what happens when an apple falls on head and you say “Gravity”!!
    wow people really amaze me to no end….with their inability to accept every one around,low on tolerance,low on patience,fighting over small petty things and then they come up with wonderful remarks about aspergians….
    one of the moms asked me i heard you daughter is mental?( first i thought what the hell is mental)
    and then i asked her back why is your daughter not…oh how sad not to have brain
    I lovemy daughter not cos she is my daughter but because she is the most sensitive,understanding,talented adorable girl and i couldnt have asked for more if i was given a list of things to choose for my child.
    i wouldnt have had her any other what if we have different set of problems…what really matters is how well you cope with them and what you do with your hurdles..
    you are so amazing Sam ,…Bravo to you the way you are handling things
    hugs and love 🙂

    1. Wonderful comment to read as I head off to sleep. (Well finish that George Clooney movie first.) You are equally amazing. I love your spirit. Your daughter is so very blessed to have you as her mother. She chose well! I always look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. So sorry about the “mental” comment—how awful. Your daughter sounds so lovely. I bet she is beautiful inside and out. TY for the Bravo.
      Much love to you 🙂 Sam

  12. I cannot imagine the scope of what you have gone through Sam. Your experiences at University are tragic examples of how those who make the rules continue to perpetuate the dogma of closedmindedness, intolerance and segregation. It all makes me want to expose them and make them accountable for their prejudices and ensuing consequences thereof. Thank you for sharing your mind blowing saga. We can, and WILL change the world, one mind at a time. Biggest hugs and prayers for you all who have been, and will be guided by your brave efforts into this uncharted territory. Namaste’

  13. Beautifully and brilliant list of all the positives. But I’m so sorry that this has happened to you. Is wrong on so many levels and you deserve so much better.

    I sincerely hope that this gets the right end result xx

    1. Thank you. A beneficial end result…well one end result was I started this blog. That makes me thankful and happy. Also, I understand deeply the experience of being discriminated which enables me to connect at a greater level with others. For that I give thanks. The other end result…I hope people with Aspergers will live in a world where they are accepted and loved unconditionally. I wish that for everyone. For me, that would be the “right” end result. Though, I know what you mean, too…Some accountability on the university’s part and change is in order.
      Thanks for the comment and the read. Hugs Sam 🙂

  14. I just stumbled upon your blog, and I wanted to say…..I am absolutely shocked that you received that kind of treatment!!!! I have Aspergers and used to work as a School Psychologist. When I was in graduate school everyone knew that I had been diagnosed with ADHD (at that time), and my professors actually started making powerpoint handouts for classes I was in because otherwise my hand kept popping up for them to repeat stuff (I do NOT process auditorily well at all)! Actually most of the accrediating organizations for graduate programs LIKE to see student populations with disabilities! By the way, I do LOVE your post…particularly your ABCs! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your words. Your graduate teachers sound wonderful. I expected my professors to open their arms and invite me to give 5-minute presentations in each class on Aspergers. Their behavior makes no sense to me. Thanks for the comment. Look forward to hearing from you, again. ~ Sam 🙂

    1. So sweet. I see why they call you “Smillingsunshinegirl.” Although, I used to think it read: Smilings–Unsunshine–girl (lol). Then I figured it out, because my brain is so silly. Thanks for the cheer! Much needed and appreciated. ~ Sam 🙂

  15. Oh gosh, I am so sorry that you experienced this from your University, I am in utter disbelief that you were treated this way 😦 being told that they were not your therapist ??? what the??? you were not saying they were!!! whatever happened to facilitating empowerment, self-determination, person-centred, holistic intervention, respect for individual differences, intervention reflects HOPE, encourages and promotes a person’s responsibilty, strengths based, a committment to social justice and barriers to a person’s participation being addressed, . . . .surely if they are going to train students to adpot these basic principles of recovery and well-being, they should be afforded towards their students and each other 😦 still very ashamed of their actions. . . . stay strong, keep speaking, do not be silenced, one drop of water at a time, combined makes a giant waterfall xxxxx

    1. Exactly! You get it. What if I was blind or deaf and approached them? You said it perfectly. So glad I’m out of there. Thanks for your powerful words. Thanks for the support. Love the giant waterfall image. Hugs ~ Sam 🙂

  16. Do you have any disability laws?
    Over here, the UK, they would be subject to the Disability Discrimination Act and the Human Rights Act.

    Wishing you all the support you need.

  17. I can totally understand your pain and frustration. I am dealing with this right now on a public school level for my son who is in 2nd grade. He is struggling so much, and the school is treating him as tho he is a behaviour problem. 😦 He has a teacher who just doesn’t get it. I was told he has to “just suck it up and do the work”. So you are not alone. ((HUGS)). Thank you for sharing, and when you regain your strength, fight. It was not fair you were judged based on your disability.

    1. 😦 So sorry to hear. Very common story with the teacher not “getting it”, and it so breaks my heart. ((HUGS)) back to you. That is a very hard place to be in. Thank you for your support and comment. ~ Sam

  18. I am so shocked, that I am wordless.

    I cannot believe an educational institution would take such a stance. It seems so, B.F. Skinner.

    I am outraged and I am sad.

    I applaud you for taking the time to write such a professional and forthright account. I hope that you get some justice, for all of us on the spectrum who choose to disclose.

    Thank you very much, Sam.

    1. Thanks for the sympathy. I’m wiped today after writing and processing that post. Your words mean a lot. Thanks for the applauds–I’ll take those 🙂 You are so very welcome. Thank you for your courage in blogging beautiful prose from the heart. 🙂 ~ Sam

  19. My God: Such inexcusable, sad, and ignorant behavior on the part of the college, the dean, and others there. I am very sorry that all this has happened to you, Sam. Whether or not you disclose having Aspergers should be totally up to you and nothing that anyone else should tell you to hide. Please stay strong! —George

  20. I want to say something encouraging here. I usually do, but your post hit so close to home I am on the verge of tears. I was told recently on my 2nd ever and last visit to a therapist that I could not have Asperger’s because I did not look odd to her.
    I am 42 and I will tell you I am odd but you learn to hide it. Regardless, I’d like a little help. I am finding medical and school professionals can be the worst. and no help… just pills.
    I have found that the only people who understand Asperger’s are Asperger’s themselves. I have regreted telling the few people I have told. I feel discriminated aganist. My daughter who was diagnosed 3 years ago regrets being “tagged” at school by the other kids, everyone knows and they stay away. I have recently “outed” myself and now I am going back into hiding.
    I am sorry to hear of your experiences. I feel for you. This world is crazy and they need us. Thanks for sharing. You are a brave soul.

    1. Strawberryindigo ~ Now I’m on the verge of tears. Why are all these professionals so ill-informed, non-compassionate, and appearing clueless? Where are their hearts? I feel like the world of therapists and the like are being over-populated with Grinches. I know there are some with good-intention, but they continue to say harmful words. I had a similar experience when I questioned a therapist a couple years age. “You sound like you have a lot of traits, but you don’t look like you have Aspergers. You’re talking to me easily enough, and composed, and even have eye contact.” I have very little faith in therapists now. Thank yo so very much for sharing your heart! Much love to you Darling! ~ 🙂 Sam

  21. I am stunned. These responses are so anachronistic I don’t even know where to begin. Do these people honestly believe that Asperger’s is psychosomatic? You manifested your Asperger’s to be closer to your son? I really don’t even know where to begin with this. Don’t they ever read Time magazine? CNN? Seriously – who is publishing anything about the family system theory? Or are these people just citing their PhD program text books from 50 years ago? I’m so baffled.

    I hope with all my heart that you sue & take this to the media.

    1. I agree. Seems backwards to me, entirely. The professor is in his late 60’s. I’m not sure what my next step will be. My “witness” is keeping her mouth closed. Although, I do have some emails she sent me after the incident. Thanks for your comment and support. I hear you! Hugs ~ Sam

  22. Unbelievable! This just p’s me off to no end. Let’s replace Asperger’s with “race-of-your-choice”. It’s just indefensible that this would be an attitude manifested anywhere in a college-learning environment. Why does this not surprise me for Washington state, where I grew up? Ridiculous and unforgivable.

    I now get what you were talking about. Prejudice is just that. It stems from ignorance and bigotry. Yet, the irony of it all is that of all people – these are the ones who SHOULD understand and should forge the way. **smh**

    When you are confronted by a situation like this, it all comes down to whether you want the fight. Do you want to spend years being subjected to more of the same by others, in public, repeatedly for the potential of someone somewhere understanding to further the cause? In a way, you must either choose to suffer (martyr-like) to further a cause or let it go for peace of mind. Or like you have here – post about the idiocy in the hopes that someone will see it for what it is. Whatever your choice, no one should judge anyone like this ever. Of course, I’m part of the choir (not that I read all the comments above – but I assume so). I wish the choir had more voices.

    1. Excellent comment. Bravo! You are correct. Big irony! Exactly, I don’t want a fight, but definitely want to make a change for the better. Your comment helps make a difference. Perfect words: idiocy, bigotry, prejudice, unbelievable, indefensible…you are spot on! Thank you for being part of the choir. We are getting more and more voices. Thanks for singing loudly! Appreciate your time and energy. ~ Sam 🙂 (The FB group is much better now, by the way. Lots of great people. Of course, Murphy’s law might occur, if you come back…lol)

  23. omg…i can’t express enough how badly i feel about that “broken brain” thing from that mental health therapist you mentioned, Sam…the more it fires me up to make Asperger’s known to everyone…and i mean EVERYONE, regardless of gender, color, profession, etc. 😦 😐 like any other kind of descrimination, i think it’s because of ignorance…the fact that other people are uninformed…hoping that we can have more and more people on board to help spread the word…this is a very good read, Sam…sorry to hear about what you went through…{{{{huggss}}}} i will share this on my wall…

  24. B is for beautiful. (My honey is a Aspie and he is beautiful.)
    F is for fun. (My honey is the most creative fun person i know as well as the most intelligent.)

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