First Person Accounts

Nobody can better describe living with an Asperger profile than those who live the experience every day. At AANE, we deeply value the unique perspectives and voices of those we serve and hope that their personal stories can help to foster understanding, generate empathy, bolster respect, and build connection within our communities. These irreplaceable first-person accounts will enhance your understanding of the gifts and challenges of those with Asperger profiles and the strategies that help them to succeed.

Essential Resources: 

Speakers Bureau
Perspectives on Adult Life
Artist Collaborative

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Hiding in Plain Sight: In Our Own Words

Recommended Reading
Hiding in Plain Sight: In Our Own Words Women with Asperger/Autism Profiles Share their Life Stories These twenty stories were sent to AANE in preparation for the March conference regarding women on the Autism Spectrum. Six of these stories were presented at the conference itself; the rest are now being shared for the very first... more

Survival Strategies of a Family on the Aspergers Spectrum

Article
Susan Shanfield wrote and presented this talk at AANE’s Celebration of Community on March 7, 2004.Hi Everyone. What an amazing experience that we women and girls are gathered here together to celebrate our strengths and differences—and I think that we’re making history at the same time. Usually with Asperger’s, the boys get all the... more

Turn Down the Volume

Article
Sometimes going to the mall can be hard. Like one time, when I was in a store, the mall alarm went off. I lost it. I had to find a place to sit and cover my ears tight.The noise rips through my body. The pain is unreal! I lose touch with what is going on. After the noise stops, it takes only a few minutes to pull myself together, but it can... more

The Positive Aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome

Article
Until December 2006 when Dr. Miles Tarter evaluated me, I never knew for sure that I had Asperger Syndrome—but now a lot of things make more sense to me. Many neurotypicals, when discussing Asperger Syndrome, tend to dwell on the negative. As a developmental disability, a form of high functioning autism, AS does have a downside. However, I... more

I am a Survivor

Article
I am a survivor.As a problem child I did not speak until I was four, spent two chaotic years in Kindergarten, an extra year glued to grade 6. In 1946, when I was twelve, my mother took me to Stanford University for an evaluation. The psychologist who examined me declared nothing was wrong, that I would likely outgrow whatever was troubling... more

Married, with Asperger’s

Article
He’s finally trained! My husband of 26 years has scarcely completed a single one of my sentences all this year. Like most neurotypical people, Christopher has a tendency to want to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause. That is not helpful for me!I received my diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS) in 1994, shortly after the birth... more

Elisabeth’s Story

Article
Elizabeth Avery was born in 1965 in Mineola, New York (on Long Island), but grew up in Kentucky. Her father was from England, and her mother from Germany. She had a younger sister and a younger brother. Elizabeth knew from early childhood that she was in some way different from other children in Louisville—and not only because of her atypical... more

Down in the Trenches: My Life with Nonverbal Learning Disorder

Article
My name is Rick Chefitz and I have a relatively unknown learning disorder called Nonverbal Learning Disorder. I also have been given a diagnosis of Asperger's Disorder. Admitting that there is problem is the first step in a long journey of self-discovery, of becoming the best person that I can be. It has been a long road, but at least the 33-year... more

David

Article
David likes to make people laugh: he performs a very convincing imitation of Dustin Hoffman’s deadpan delivery in the classic Hollywood film “Rainman.” “Rainman,” in fact, provided David’s only image of an autistic person when, three years ago, he learned that he had “symptoms consistent with Asperger’s Syndrome.”His... more

Bruce Carley’s Story

Article
Bruce Carley shares the view of many that his story is inspirational, although he prefers not to see it overblown. Bruce has an absolute acceptance of himself, his talents and his interests. He is himself, a uniquely talented individual who frankly states his opposition to the notion that people should be labeled, compared or steered into any... more

Michelle Knight’s Story

Article
Michelle related her inspiring story to me in a Starbuck’s in Belmont. We meet here at her suggestion. Michelle is giving up her Saturday morning and driving in from her home in Acton to tell her story. This in itself seems to me remarkable for this shy, unpretentious, youthful-looking woman. However, Michelle is a goal setter, who sets her... more

Successes and Struggles of the High School Experience for People with Neuro-Differences

Article
This article is the outline of a talk Stephanie Geheran prepared and delivered at a meeting of the Pathways Parent-Faculty Program at Brookline High School. Their mission is to educate, inform, support, and help students, parents, and faculty to prepare for and make smoother transitions from the K-8 schools to the high school.Steph also... more

The Difference Inside Me

Article
Throughout my life it has been a struggle everyday to find that one point, where I could feel comfortable and pleased with myself. Where I would know the functions of the world and who I truly am as person, and be “normal.” Though I have never reached that point yet, I have a lot to show you about the life of someone who has Asperger’s, so... more

Aaron Levinger’s speech for having AS to a class of 4th Graders

Article
Hi, my name’s Aaron Levinger. I’m twenty-one years old, and I was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, or AS, in middle school – maybe around seventh grade. I want to tell you a little about my experience. Today you’ve heard a little about Autism Spectrum Disorders such as AS. You might be wondering what causes them. Nobody knows... more

Learning to Love Yourself

02/02/2017
As somebody who has lived with Asperger’s Syndrome for almost 48 years, I have experienced more than my share of trials and tribulations. I have been bullied, both physically and verbally, more times than I can recall. I have heard people say unsavory things about me and ridicule me to my face... more

The Self-Discovery of One Aspie Woman

11/09/2016
I had always thought of myself as a sensitive and independent introvert who had found her way after an anxious and lonely childhood. When I hit 40 years old, something shifted – so many of my peers had reached the traditional milestones of marriage, children, home buying, etc., none of which I... more

A Spectrum Son’s Tribute to His Mom

10/26/2016
On September 1, 2016, my Mom lost her long, hard-fought battle with dementia and passed away to what I hope is a better place than where she was during the final years of her life. If she is where I hope she is, it is very well-deserved by virtue of the kind of person she was, how she touched so... more

Christian Tsetsos

Video
Christian shares what school was like for him growing up with Asperger... more

The AANE Community

Video
The AANE community share their... more

AANE Disclosure Conference 2015: Afternoon Keynote

Webinar
Gina and Kate Gallagher share their experience with... more

In Our Own Words

Video
Adults with Asperger profiles talk about their experiences and... more

Parallel Play Book Talk

Video
Tim Page, author of Parallel Play, discusses growing up with Asperger Syndrome and making his way in the... more

Reuben: Beyond a Definition

Video
Reuben and his family talk about what it's like living with an Asperger... more

A Sensory Story with David Levitan

Video
David Levitan shares what it's like growing up with sensory... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 4 of 4)

Video
Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 (This... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 1 of 4)

Video
Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 (This Video) Part 2 Part 3 Part... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 2 of 4)

Video
Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 Part 2 (This Video) Part 3 Part... more

Perspectives on Adult Life: An Adult Panel Discusses Living with AS/ASD (Part 3 of 4)

Video
Adults share their experiences of growing up and living with Asperger profiles.Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 (This Video) Part... more

Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Second Edition

Recommended Reading
Author, Educator, Musician, Internationally acclaimed speaker and autistic adult offers so much more than the traditional autobiography. Drawing on personal and professional experience, Stephen Shore combines three voices to create a touching and, at the same time, highly informative book for... more

Autism-Asperger’s and Sexuality: Puberty and Beyond

Recommended Reading
Many people on the spectrum never get "the talk" from their parents, and suffer from "information deficit." This book goes a long way toward filling in the gaps in their knowledge. It takes a candid look at aspects of sex and relationships as they apply to people on the autism spectrum:Learn... more

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s

Recommended Reading
Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had... more

Parallel Play

Recommended Reading
In 1997, Tim Page won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism for his work as the chief classical music critic of The Washington Post, work that the Pulitzer board called “lucid and illuminating.” Three years later, at the age of 45, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome–a form of autism... more

Elijah’s Cup: A Family’s Journey into the Community and Culture of High Functioning Autism and…

Recommended Reading
In Elijah's Cup, Paradiz tells the powerful story of her family's struggle with her son's condition, one characterized by social awkwardness, literal-mindedness, and a fixation with particular subjects and interests.Elijah's Cup offers a refreshing take on autism from the perspective of civil... more

The Autism Spectrum and Depression

Recommended Reading
For people with Autism profiles, the stresses of coping with a world that seems alien to them can often lead to depression.. Written specifically for adults, this ground-breaking book offers accessible and sensitive advice on how to manage depression and make positive steps towards recovery. Nick... more

Asperger’s From the Inside-Out

Recommended Reading
Michael John Carley was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at thirty-six-when his young son received the same diagnosis. This fascinating book reveals his personal experience with the confusion associated with this condition-and offers insights into living an independent and productive life. Former... more

The Complete Guide to Getting a Job for People with Asperger Syndrome: Find the Right…

Recommended Reading
Finding a job is a confusing and anxiety-provoking process for many individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. This practical “how-to” guide describes exactly what it takes to get hired in the neurotypical workplace. Every aspect of finding employment is covered, from defining strengths and... more

Developing Talents and Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism

Recommended Reading
The authors take an in-depth look at entrepreneurship. Using real-life examples, they point out that many of the unique characteristics of individuals on the autism spectrum that lend themselves well to entrepreneurial ventures. The book explores many unnoticed aspects of Vocational Rehabilitation... more

How to Find Work that Works for People with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
The Ultimate Guide for Getting People with Asperger Syndrome into the Workplace (and keeping them there!) Hawkins guides readers through the process of gaining employment, from building a supportive team, addressing workplace challenges, to securing an appropriate post. The book includes practical... more

Asperger’s on the Job: Must-Have Advice for People with Asperger’s or High Functioning Autism and…

Recommended Reading
Up to 85% of the Asperger's population are without full-time employment, though many have above-average intelligence.Rudy Simone, an adult with Asperger's Syndrome and an accomplished author, consultant, and musician, created this insightful resource to help employers, educators, and therapists... more

Gendervague: At the Intersection of Autistic and Trans Experiences

Article
June 22, 2016 From the National LGBTQ Taskforce Blogtags: autistic, genderqueer, health care, LGBTQ, mental health, trans I’m an autistic activist deeply invested in queer politics, and I’ve managed to fumble my way around without ever developing a conventional understanding of gender. Growing up, everyone around me assumed I... more

Married, with Asperger’s

Article
He’s finally trained! My husband of 26 years has scarcely completed a single one of my sentences all this year. Like most neurotypical people, Christopher has a tendency to want to finish someone’s sentence when there is a pause. That is not helpful for me!I received my diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome (AS) in 1994, shortly after the birth... more

On the Transition to Adulthood

Article
As I look back on my teenage years and early twenties, some themes emerge in my transition to adulthood. I gradually took on more and more responsibility for my own welfare. Because it was gradual, I never felt overwhelmed. I was also able to get advice from others to help me at various points. This advice helped me immensely. Unfortunately, there... more

Seek Alternative Routes: AS at 75

Article
In the year 2002, when I was seventy-one years old, I read a book review in the Times Literary Supplement (London). The author of the biography under review speculated that his subject might have suffered from Asperger’s. I recognized that the symptoms enumerated also applied to me. After further research, it seemed intuitively obvious to me... more

Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook

Recommended Reading
This practical manual will enable people diagnosed with AS and high functioning autism to deepen their understanding and appreciate their value as working individuals. Through step-by-step self assessment, the reader is encouraged to engage actively in a self paced exploration of their employment... more

Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety: A Guide to Successful Stress Management

Recommended Reading
Many people suffer from feelings of stress and anxiety in their everyday lives. For people with Asperger Syndrome (AS), this stress can be particularly difficult to manage. On a daily basis people with AS must fit into a world that seems totally foreign to them and this can increase feelings of... more

Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum

Recommended Reading
Edited by Stephen Shore, Ask and Tell aims to help autistic people effectively self-advocate in their pursuit of independent, productive, and fulfilling lives. Ask and Tell is unique by being the first book to speak to the twin issues of self-advocacy and disclosure for people on the... more

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
Girls with Asperger/Autism profiles are less frequently diagnosed than boys, and even once symptoms have been recognized, help is often not readily available. The image of coping well presented by AS females of any age can often mask difficulties, deficits, challenges, and loneliness. This is a... more

Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to…

Recommended Reading
At some point in nearly every marriage, a wife finds herself asking, What the @#!% is wrong with my husband?! In David Finch’s case, this turns out to be an apt question. Five years after he married Kristen, the love of his life, they learn that he has Asperger syndrome. The diagnosis explains... more

Review of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

Article
NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman is, to put it in the simplest terms, the definitive history of scientific and popular knowledge of Autism in the western world. After a brief introduction detailing how Silberman became involved with journalistic accounts of autistic people and the scientific studies pertaining to them, the book opens with a... more

Don’t Mourn for Us

Article
This article was published in the Autism Network International newsletter, Our Voice, Volume 1, Number 3, 1993. It is an outline of the presentation Jim gave at the 1993 International Conference on Autism in Toronto, and is addressed primarily to parents. Parents often report that learning their child is autistic was the most... more