In this episode, I feature Joel Bethke who has Asperger Syndrome. Joel just started middle school last year and has dealt with bullying and taunting by his classmates. To help with this, Joel decided to write a paper about who he is to share with his school last November to come out about his diagnosis. Joel's paper is highlighted in the video and below:
Joel- This is a paper about me...
I really like to play on the computer, mostly Garry's Mod. I have 3 cats, a dog and a bunch of fish and I really like animals. I really love Jolly Ranchers. I have a great memory and I like to learn new things. I'm just a regular kid, but you may have noticed that something about me is a little different. My doctor says I have Asperger's, which is a kind of autism. I'm not sick. I'm not contagious. My brain is just 'wired' differently. It's like it has a short circuit; sometimes it's on, sometimes it's off, and sometimes it misfires.
I have to think about a lot of things that I do, things that other kids can do without even thinking about them, so that takes more time for me to figure out. It can be really hard for me to explain what I mean, or understand what someone else means..
When I start saying something it's really hard for me to stop until I finish the comment or statement.
Sometimes I can act a little weirder than I am - I don't know when to quit - I can't change gears very fast from one thing to another, or from one thought to another.
My hearing is extra-sensitive. It's like everything is either too loud or not loud enough, so sometimes I make noises because it helps me to feel better. I don't know why. I just do.
I don't mean to make people uncomfortable when I get too close or when I look at them too long - I'm working on not being clumsy and not getting in people's personal space.
I like things to stay normal - change is hard - I don't really like surprises - little things can bother me, like noises and movement.
I'm trying to learn how to act right and be a friend, but I have a hard time getting along with other people.
If I ever offend you, you should tell me right away because sometimes I really don't know when I've done something upsetting or silly. Please be patient with me while I keep learning.
My Asperger's does not make me any less special than anybody else, but it also does not make me more special, just different. If you ever have any questions about Asperger's, you can look on-line, or it's perfectly okay to ask me! The more I talk about it the more I figure it out. If I don't know the answer I'll find it out and get back to you on it!
Thank you for listening.