Niamh McCann – TEDx Talk TRANSCRIPT
What do you think when you hear this phrase: “He bent over backwards”? Or this: “She was on the ball”?
What you probably didn’t imagine was this. Or maybe this. The English language is full of colorful expressions, metaphors, slang, and we use these in the conversations that we have every day.
For 99% of the population, it’s a comfortable means of communication. For the remaining 1%, however, all that colorfulness is not only uncomfortable, but extremely confusing.
And not only because people bend over backwards or are on the ball, but because a simple wink can have different meanings in different contexts.
And sometimes, a friend will say something to another friend which sounds like an insult, but it makes them laugh instead of cry. Who are these people who see funny pictures of flexible men or who can’t understand sarcasm?
These people have a condition called Asperger’s syndrome, which is a type of high-functioning autism.
Now usually, when I say “autism” and I ask people what they understand by it, they tell me it looks something like this, your quirky genius type, stimming, bouncing, flapping, rocking, or my personal favorite: restricted interests.
Yes, it is true that there are people with Asperger’s who display these traits. It is also true that these are only stereotypes and a small part of the entire picture.
If Asperger’s were as easy to spot as this, then there would be no problem at all in diagnosing it. Unfortunately, Asperger’s, like life, is far more complicated. And if you’re a girl with Asperger’s, things get even more tricky because all the diagnostic tools that professionals use were designed to spot Asperger’s in boys.