Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Asperger’s and Invisibility

Asperger’s and Invisibility

by spectrumscribe,

My main and almost only social memories of school, are of relentless ostracism.

The verb ostracize has its origin in Ancient Greece.

  • It was an act of banishment from a city
  • for 5 or 10 years!
  • decided by a vote!

Banishment describes perfectly how I felt for most of my school life.

There are worse things than dying and there are worse things than banishment.


At school I was ostracized by children who knew me.

  • It was personal and spiteful
  • And it wasn’t just the banishment/exclusion
  • There was the relentless taunting, the name calling
  • It was a deliberate, conscious choice

At least the ostracized ranks of Ancient Greece did not have to face their tormentors every day.

But invisibility takes ostracism to a whole new level.


When meeting new people, after the initial pleasantries and tap dancing around, I generally become……invisible.

This happens in work settings.

  • People may exchange pleasantries with me
  • But beyond that they will take no interest in me
  • I won’t be invited to participate in out of work activities
  • They won’t even ask me what my plans are at the weekend

Sometimes this happens immediately.

  • Sometimes it takes a little longer
  • But eventually I find myself in that familiar place, outside, looking in

This isn’t just familiarity breeding contempt either.

The same thing happens at social events and parties with strangers.

  • I’ll find the conversation drifting away from me
  • A bit like a tennis match being played on the other side of the net
  • I’ll also find the group physically drifting away from me too

The difference here is that this is not a deliberate act of unkindness, spitefulness or unpleasantness.

Something else is in play here.

  • This is intuition at work
  • The bringer of invisibility


It’s easy to see that my experiences of ostracism and invisibility are a big driver in my Autism Advocacy work.

Advocates help give people a voice, or a louder voice and make sure that no one is treated as invisible.

This was a big part of my inspiration for setting up the World Autism Project

  • That and my love of maps
  • and other cultures

The Invisible Man

To see the Invisible Man, was an episode of the Twilight zone, which first aired in 1986.

  • Mitchell Chaplin is sentenced to 1 year of invisibility
  • ‘For the crime of Coldness and not opening up his emotions to his fellow citizens’
  • Testimony had been given by Chaplin’s family of his lack of caring and concern for others

A mark is applied to his forehead, signalling to and requiring others to treat him as invisible.

  • Chaplin makes light of this
  • Initially!

To see the Invisible Man (1/3)

See Video:

To see the Invisible Man (2/3)

See Video:

To see the Invisible Man (3/3)

See Video:

Original Page:

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