How Asperger’s Syndrome is Like a Checkered Flag

A checkered flagToday’s blog is going to use the most traditional of all things in Motorsport, the checkered flag, as a concept to describe Asperger’s.

The thing about the checkered flag is that it’s so contradictory. In the top corner is one color and if you go just far enough you’ll reach another, but then keep going and you’ll be back to where you started and so on and so forth. What does this mean? My experience in having Asperger’s is one of stark contrasts and it gets tiring. Here’s what I mean…

I want to be part of the social world but the social word tires me.

I want to be part of a team but I often can’t see the concept of teamwork.

I have extremely good sense, especially when it comes to hearing, but I often wish I could turn it off.

I want to be alone but being alone is extremely isolating.

I need to be perfect in things that I do but there is no satisfaction at achieving perfection.

I can give some incredibly witty remarks but often miss out on when someone is being witty.

I want to make sense of the world but often the more I know about things the scarier the world is.

Being in my Kansas is awesome but I often wonder what life is like out there.

I yearn to be normal but normal seems so boring.

I can do some things great and many things not so great.

Hard things come easy and what is easy to most comes at a high degree of difficulty to myself.

I want to care about others but allowing myself to feel is overwhelming.

I want to tell others what they mean to me but expressions of any kind are paralyzing.

Do you get the idea by now? It’s a constant struggle to be wanting both sides of the coin; to want something but to know if I had it the results would be just as difficult as living without it. Living with Asperger’s, at least for me, is living a life full of contradictions.

Aaron Likens on a sailboatAaron Likens, author of Finding Kansas: Decoding the enigma of Asperger’s Syndrome, and the National Autism Ambassador for Easter Seals, has spoken to over 80,000 people at over 900 presentations and has given to the world a revelation of how the Autism Spectrum Disorder mind works. His willingness to expose his inner most thoughts and feelings has unveiled the mystery the Asperger’s mind. Join him on his journey from hopelessness to hope.


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  1. Victoria Hicks Says:

    My 7 year old son is on the spectrum. I have nothing in common with him. Not one activity to use as a segue to reach him, no common ground. Your analogy of a checkered flag helps me understand I need to make more effort to be in his world, rather than him in mine. I’ll share this with the other family members and support people. This might be why he gets so frustrated with himself when he can’t remember stuff he does on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts.

  2. Gail Engel Says:

    Thank you for this. My 11 year old is so hard to figure out. I had no idea what he was feeling and how to deal with it. HUMM! I guess he is feeling the same! Maybe we can work harder at figuring it out together.

    Thank you,

  3. Jefferson Young Says:

    Thank you so much for your comments. I am learning about and from my 12 year old son some of the experiences you describe.

  4. Patrick B. Says:

    Many children who have autism go through these same feelings as they grow up and become adults, then struggle with them as adults for years afterward. They want to be a part of society, but society just doesn’t seem to connect right. Thank you very much for sharing your feelings!

  5. Andrea Peabody Says:

    Great explanation!! My daughter is 24 and tells me these feelings or thoughts constantly and I mean constantly!! It’s like every thing that happens is a checkered flag. I never thought about it like that before and I don’t think she has either.i am going to have her read your article. She will love it I hope.

  6. Gloria Mathewa Says:

    As a parent of a 38 year old thank you for this information. I get so confused when I help him. He wants to go to the store but then changes his mind. He says what he needs but when being provided with it seems to sabotage himself and changes his mind. I never understood.

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