Look me in the eye


I cannot remember if I have mentioned this recently, actually with the state of my memory I am a little surprised there are no duplicate posts on here. Sorry, anyway, I am currently reading Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson. That is what I cannot remember if I have already mentioned.

I am really enjoying it. It is another personal story about what it is like to live with Asperger’s. What is interesting about this man’s story is that Asperger’s did not become standardized as a diagnosis until 1984. John Elder Robinson was born in 1957. The first half of the book details what it was like growing up without a diagnosis. He was called deviant, was told by teacher’s and other authority figures he was a psychopath because he did not display empathy towards others. His father would tell him that no one would ever trust him because he had trouble looking people in the eye.

It is a great read for anyone who wants to better understand Asperger’s. My nephew definitely shares a few of the author’s qualities. Like the author, he has trouble with eye contact. With my nephew being so young asking him to explain why this is would be a frustrating request for him. I am not sure he is advanced enough yet verbally to explain it and even if he is I now understand by reading multiple books by others with Asperger’s that it is not easily explained. To me it sounds like it’s just a feeling, it’s just something they do or don’t do I guess without realizing it. It seems to me that asking them to explain this is like asking me to explain why I always say “You know what I mean” when telling a story. I never knew I did this, it has been brought to my attention by multiple people over the years but I do not realize I am doing it, it just happens. I don’t know why.

I have laughed and cried while reading his story. I could sit here all day long and read journal’s and studies about Asperger’s and I am sure I would learn a lot but it just doesn’t mean as much to me when you take away the human element of it. How better to understand what it is like for someone to live with a certain diagnosis than to hear it first hand from those who do?

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