The Oedipal mother?

Both my parents (don’t forget my twin sister) have helped me tremendously by encouraging me to achieve goals that were previously impossible in my eyes. Mostly by saying (almost always indirectly) that I should never use my autism as a justification/excuse for not being able to do something. When I made my transfer from special need education to a regular high school, I didn’t really fit in and I remember I thought it was really strange for me that a lot of my classmates didn’t obey the rules (I still find it strange).

Abandoning your positive traits

At present, I am studying to be a high school economics teacher and I have about three months left before getting my degree (hopefully). When I chose to enter this bachelor, you could say that I probably didn’t think hard enough about the career/work I would get myself into. I didn’t, to be honest, and I regret it (partly). When I was in high school myself, I loved explaining/teaching my fellow classmates in economics class when they were struggling. But I was very naïve when I didn’t think about the other part of teaching to high school students. The part where you play as a cop and where you have a lot of social contact with students, but also with fellow teachers/colleagues.

Everybody lies

We all know the famous Dr. House line ‘Everybody lies’. I love that line, because it’s true, it’s the truth. But the truth is also that we can be really careful about using the lie for short-term gratification. When you read a book about autism, you’ll probably encounter a part that will say something like; ‘autistic kids/people will tell you like it is, the truth’. Well, why is that? Lying is a common phenomenon amongst human beings. It seems to play a role in making social interactions run more smoothly (Jaarsma, Gelhaus, & Welin, 2011).

The development of social skills goes in contrary to telling the truth.

That isn’t to say that you should predicate on the idea that ALL your social interactions will go “smoothly” when you lie. The factor that plays a big role in lying, is the social one. You could say, why is this a problem? Immanuel Kant would agree with you. The opposite of truth is falsehood: when it is held for truth, it is called error — Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). The development of social skills goes in contrary to telling the truth.

“You’re perfect as you are”

I am not a particular fan of this message. I get the positive intentions behind the message and I’ve heard it a lot of times by other people but also seen it been told to other kids/teenagers. From my own experience, it [the message] gets used a lot at special need schools to kids that don’t usually fit in that well. (Un) fortunately, I can tell you that you are not perfect, probably not in the least. I’m saying this in the most optimistic way (I’m not an optimistic person by the way, but you’ll get this one for free).

Two weeks of lying to yourself, corrupting yourself.

You could say, I’ll change myself in a way that I’ll fit in, in a way that I’m just like the people that judge me for being a little different. That’s a negative change I’d say. It’s the same as being the student that writes his paper in a way that the teacher will like it. The authenticity gets lost because you’ll write something 60 people before you also wrote. I’ve tried it when I was around 15 years old. I tried to make jokes that others made, getting bad grades just like the other classmates, hanging around classmates that other people also liked, etc. It maybe worked for a week or two. Two weeks of lying to yourself, corrupting yourself.

Confronting the unknown (un)willingly

Finally, I would like to talk about friends. Like I told you at the beginning, I’ve changed from regular schools to special need schools and I did this a few times. Besides that, I went to some kind of boarding school for one year and a half, because living at home was too hard for both my parents and me. When I was 17, I moved back from Peru (long story) to the Netherlands. I still had one year of high school left, so I could get my high school diploma. I was put back on the same regular school that I was in before I emigrated. This time I didn’t know anyone.

A BA in general economics, studying psychology at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Previously written for Areo Magazine and Merion West

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