I have been active in health care causes. One area of concern has been autism awareness. Yesterday, I was asked if I would speak at an autism conference. At first, I was delighted to be asked. I know being a celebrity, I have a busy schedule, and it is an imposition on my life to care for others. Yet, I perform charity work for the reason all celebrities go out and help others: for the publicity.
My initial delight at this public relations benefit for my career was I was then asked if I could speak on my personal experiences as a person with Asberger Syndrome. There was one slight problem with my agreeing to do this. I don’t have Asberger Syndrome
This request quickly filled me with two panicked thoughts. The first thought was: Is this was people think of me? Have people been telling each other I have Asberger Sydrome, when I don’t? Does this mean people may have actually been treating me more nicely than that ordinarily would have because they think I have Asberger? Is the reason many people avoid me or shy away from me or, let’s be honest, discriminate against me in a variety of ways because they believe I have Asberger Syndrome?
Who started this rumor? How long has it been going around? How widespread is it? Since Asberger Syndrome has only been brought to public attention in recent years through the media, what did people think of me before they thought I had Asberger Syndrome? What do people think of me who don’t think I have Asberger Syndrome, and what did those who think I have Asberger Syndrome think of me before they determined I have Asberger Syndrome? Do people around me think there is something “different” about me?
Then, I had a second frightening thought: Do I have Asberger Syndrome and don’t know it? I looked at the symptoms. People with Asberger Syndrome tend to be unable to empathize. Well, just because, as a celebrity, I don’t care about the people beneath me, I don’t think that doesn’t mean I can’t empathize about them. After all, if they can’t pay for the projects that involve me, that will mean less money for me. So, no, I have the ability to empathize.
Another symptom of Asberger Syndrome is difficult with writing ability. That symptomI have had all my life. You readers will probably note that. This is something I have known my entire life. I will think one word but write another one. That happens frequently. The problem with proofreading is I can look at that wrong word and still see the word I thought I wrote. If that is a symptom, well, maybe I do have something. I used to think it was a form of dyslexia. I have been telling people for years I have dyslexia. I can tell that even from my childhood books where I wrote my name Noel instead of Leon. . Or, maybe I was really into Christmas as a child. Of course, I was really impressed with I wrote Yksvokiahct instead of Tchaikovsky.
Other symptoms of Asberger Syndrome are high sensitivity to light and sound. Not true. I love a Pink Floyd concert as much as the next person. Living in New York City during my Broadway stardom days, the noise never bothered me. Plus, there was the tuba player who lived in my building, and I never once complained about his practicing. For the record, I still have no idea how his mangled tuba wound up in my trash bin.
I am light sensitive, but I was also told that is common for people with blue eyes. Only someone told me my eyes are really gray. Or bloodshot. Is bloodshot a color?
In sum, that is my experience in living with Asberger Syndrome. I didn’t know I have it. I don’t know if I do. I am not yet certain if I should be insulted that people think I have Asberger Syndrome. Yet, being without empathy, I don’t really care what they think, so there.