“Asperger’s Syndrome is infectious.”

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In 2 min, Tony Attwood gave more credit to the idea that we should not have kids… should not work beside “normal” populations… and called us infectious. 

Tony Attwood has rarely been a good proponent of Autistic adults being in relationships with his giving credence to the “Cassandra Phenomenon”. Or by his distinctive choice to not leave the FAAAS advisory board. Or many of the other things that have been said about us in relationships.

However, in the link that was shared today on my Facebook stream, Attwood has done something that damages not just Autistic adults in relationships, but in parent roles, especially the men among us.

Oo-oh. Yes, Al.
(question by Al was whether children could exhibit AS if their parents are AS, but not have AS themselves.)
You’re spot on there.

Um.. Asperger’s Syndrome is infectious. The more you live with or work with Aspie people, the more Aspie you become. *chuckles*
So… to a certain extent in the family, it’s a survival mechanism of the neurotypicals. ’cause quite often the Asperger’s characteristics, especially in a father, can be the dominant force in the family. And sometimes you have to fall into line and you have to adopt the same pattern of less social life, rigidities, and those sorts of things to survive. Now, what we find is, though, that when the children go and visit other families with their friends, um, they say, “Wow. This family is totally different. There is a different atmosphere. There is a very different routine. I feel quite comfortable here.”

That is something I did in my childhood, um, I would visit other families and my mother would say “Anthony, you’ll wear your welcome.” And I didn’t know because I wanted to be in a normal family.

So, um, in some ways, I think what you have is someone who can be different and true to their neurotypical self at school and, um, at other people’s homes. But when they go into the Aspie household, they almost put the Aspie mask on to succeed in that environment.

So we talk about those with Asperger’s Syndrome faking it in a way and putting on a mask. Then the children in that environment may also do the same to be able to create an atmosphere at home of cohesion to accommodate the Aspie characteristics. So very interesting question.

I’m sure that I don’t need to add anything here, but I will anyways. The idea that it’s a survival skill for children of Autistic parents to “act Aspie” is a poor characterization at best. Children will undoubtedly pick up characeterstics from their parents by nature. However, using the term SURVIVAL SKILL means that they cannot survive without picking up those characteristics.

Not to mention, it’s quite possible to have many of those characteristics innate in the child of an Autistic parent due solely on genetics. It works in reverse as well, or else you wouldn’t have Broad Autism Phenotype for parents who exhibit some traits but are not Autistic themselves.

Also to note, a lot of children crave to be at others home not because of having an abnormal household, but due to the fact that it is something different from their norm. My dad was an alcoholic, so I often preferred to be at someone else’s home. HOWEVER, the same can be said of friends of mine, my brother and sister who lived in typical households and came over to ours.

And while my quote from above can be taken in many different directions, and not even necessarily to how it was used, the fact remains that Mr. Attwood chose to use that statement and others to suggest that our “behaviors” rub off on others.

I can think of other ways that this is damaging, but I’d be able to go on for hours if I were to post all of them. Please feel free to comment. (And always remember, I reserve the right not to post your comments if I feel they are inflammatory due to this being a safe environment for those of us who live with these fallacies daily.)


***If you catch a mistake in my transcription, I do apologize, just let me know!

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