I am aware that the TV show Glee portrayed a self-diagnosed Aspie (someone with Asperger) as someone using this as an excuse for being a jerk. Not only could this not be farther away from the truth, this is extremely harmful for everyone, the ones that are Autistic, both with Asperger, self-diagnosed Asperger and all in the Spectrum.
We already face a serious problem of discrimination, abuse and bullying. We need the media to show support, not to discriminate us even further.
Using the fact that it is self-diagnosed doesn’t make it okay.
Self-diagnosed people don’t invent things. It’s not all in their heads, it’s a reality, not everyone can get a diagnosis, not everyone wants one and not everyone needs one. It doesn’t mean they don’t have Asperger.
Getting a diagnosis is not easy. There are several reasons why, some of those are: if you are a female, if you are an adult, if you live in a place were Asperger is not known, you don’t have the money or like me all of those, you face a serious problem if you want an official diagnosis (I have an unofficial professionally confirmed diagnosis and I’m looking for someone to make it official if you must know).
Many have problems with mental health professionals. I had problems with some that stopped me from getting the official diagnosis.
I suffered a lot of bullying and discrimination and couldn’t even finish school properly. I can’t go to college because of fear and now even more doors are open to make this kind of problem more common.
Like I said before I live in a country were Asperger is not well-known, but shows like Glee are. People here take what they see on the television as reality, the first thing that they are going to see is that people with Asperger (and all in the Autim Spectrum) are jerks, and self-diagnosed Aspies are people looking for excuses to be rude and hurtful.
Anyone can think on the results of this kind of publicity: more children and adults suffering discrimination, abuse and violence. We don’t need this. People die from this, people kill themselves because of this. You might think this an exaggeration, that we shouldn’t take TV characters so serious, but the reality of things is that the media has a lot of power and people believe what they see. This was not funny and the results are not funny, making jokes of people with disabilities and of a stigmatized group is not funny.
I do hope for an apology, for research in the future and responsibility in this matter.
Alicia Lile blogs from Brazil at Moonlit Lily.
Asperger, Self-diagnosis and the Media appears here by permission.
[image via Flickr/Creative Commons]