Friday, June 8, 2012
Alex Ong: Should we be kinder to him?
It was clear to me the media didn't understand and I shouldn't be surprised. However the write up of the encounter has many of the features you would expect from somehow who has Asperger's Syndrome.
I feel very sorry for him. He is clearly highly intelligent even if he had done badly in school.
He also asked for the public to empathise with him, writing, "Do any of you really, truly know what it is like to be in my shoes? Really?".
Of course not. His strength is also his gravest weakness. His high functioning autism means that he appears normal often enough to pass off as there is nothing wrong with him. What people do not see is the turmoil that often goes on beneath the surface.
If TNP had understood this better, they would list Asperger's first because it was obvious to me that was the primary cause.
If you understand Alex's affliction as some of us working with autism do, you would naturally be far more understanding to him. If you have no knowledge or experience with autism, I don't blame you. The key takeaway for people like Alex is to know that they cannot change the environment to suit themselves, and the greatest difficulty is each sufferer needs to create his own coping strategies and most important to find a safe environment where they can recover and recharge their batteries.
You can't cure Asperger's Syndrome but you can learn to cope with it very successfully. The best "cure" I have come across is the Gospel of Grace. Unfortunately it is rarely used. Just human nature.
We are becoming increasingly good at identifying and helping people with autism but quite poor with those who are high functioning like Alex who often fall through the cracks. Yet among this group are some of our greatest geniuses and we don't have enough of them. We would be much poorer if we did not have Isaac Newton, which most probably had Asperger's Syndrome. The incidence of Asperger's Syndrome is unusually high among scientists, artists and Askenazi Jews.
Consider Alex, his writing skills is quite unusual given his very poor academic record. Alas, this is not peculiar among those with the syndrome. I wouldn't be surprised privately Alex feel that he can make many contributions but his family misfortune and sheer bad luck had tripped him up. This young man needs more help than condemnation.
A last minute addition, a short YouTube clip on Asperger's Syndrome
Found, Part 2 of 3 and Part 3 of 3
Update: March 9, 2013
Posted by PengYou at 2:42 PM