The Comfort of Acceptance: A photo story of Asperger’s Syndrome (Part Two)

The video and narrative below are the second in a special series on five individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome as told through the lens of photographer Leah Nash. The project was made possible in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council in an effort to chronicle the diversity of this complex diagnosis of autism, illustrating the challenges and beauty of an unconventional life.

The first installment of this series appears in the current edition of Street Roots, “Catching a snowflake: A photo story of Asperger’s Syndrome.” Look for more of this five-part series in the newspaper and on-line from now through Jan. 6.

Click on the arrow icon on the right to maximize the video to full screen.

By Anna Bauer: The Comfort of Acceptance

Hello everyone, my name is Anna Bauer and I have done this project because I have Asperger’s Syndrome and I want people to understand Autistic people like me. Living with Asperger’s is not easy and I have mixed feelings about my Asperger’s.

What I don’t like about my condition is when I’m not accepted and people refuse to understand me. As a child, people would often pick on me and I was abused because I’m different and some people thought I was mischievous or mentally unstable. Being scolded or disrespected is painful for me. Struggling on my schoolwork due to the lack of understanding is frustrating. Plus I had behavioral problems and I regret that. I am trying to move forward from the past, but it’s difficult because I was treated harshly for years, which scarred my life.

Luckily I don’t have legal problems. Things in general are better and I’m respected and accepted more. It’s nice to be around people who are kind, understanding, and accepting toward me. I want to be someone who is kind hearted and well behaved at all times. I don’t like being mean.

What I like about my condition are my hobbies and interests. Since I was little I had a strong interest in unusual things. As a child I was fond of swimming pools and it was a pleasure to go swimming. I have liked scoreboards and shot clocks since I was thirteen because I like how they work and they’re nicely designed and plus it comforts me.  I currently volunteer at the Beaverton Hoop YMCA as a scorekeeper, which I enjoy. Because I like scoreboards so much, I like working with them. Because I like shot clocks so much, I got my own shot clock from ebay and enjoy spending time with it.

In my free time, I enjoy playing video games, going on roller coasters, being on my laptop and hanging out with my shot clock. For a long time I have liked Super Mario, Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, Disney, and Kirby. Plus I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since fifth grade. I am a student at PCC Sylvania and I am enjoying college.

Right now I appreciate who I am and having Asperger’s makes me more special. It’s great to be unique and creative, especially taking pleasure with scoreboards.

Have a great day and take care. God bless you.

Visit other stories in this series.

Street Roots Asperger’s Syndrome Series:

From Nov. 18th until December 23rd, Street Roots will run a weekly photographic series documenting the lives of five people with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism.

Catching the Snowflake is the first in a special series on five individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome as told through the lens of photographer Leah Nash. See part two, “The Comfort of Acceptance.”

Autism is the fastest growing disability in the U.S. with an economic impact of more than $90 billion. The Center for Disease Control reports that now one in 110 children are being classified with autism spectrum disorders, compared to one in 10,000 in the 1970s, and according to the Autism Society of Oregon, our state has one of the highest rates of autistic diagnosis in the country.

First documented in 1944, many with Asperger´s Syndrome can be quite gifted, but are often socially awkward and unable to make friends. Frequently misunderstood, those affected live in a world of missed social cues and difficult exchanges. Called “little professors” by their namesake, Hans Asperger, who noted their talent of acquiring expertise in specific topics. Those with the syndrome usually want to fit in and have interactions; they simply don’t know how.

The objective of this series is to explore the diversity and complexity that exists across this spectrum, for it is often said that people with autism are like snowflakes — no two alike. This work is especially relevant given controversial revisions proposing to do away with the Asperger’s diagnosis altogether in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the diagnostic encyclopedia of American psychiatry.

As history changes, a record must be kept, these stories must be told. Through the support of Street Roots and the Regional Arts & Culture Council, the goal of this series is to encourage viewers to question their perceptions of both Asperger´s and autism and challenge themselves to gain a deeper understanding of the people behind the label.

Please join us as we give a voice to those that often have none.

Leah Nash is a documentary photographer based in Portland. More of her work can be found at www.LeahNash.com.

The project was made possible in partnership with the Regional Arts & Culture Council in an effort to chronicle the diversity of this complex diagnosis of autism, illustrating the challenges and beauty of an unconventional life.

13 responses to “The Comfort of Acceptance: A photo story of Asperger’s Syndrome (Part Two)

  1. Sharon Genasci

    I have known Anna since she was a small child. I have always found her so interesting and affectionate. She has many gifts to share with those who know her, including her passionate loyalty to her friends and family. Our community is much stronger when we recognize and value the gifts that Anna and others with Asperger’s bring to our daily lives. Thank you Mary and Anna.
    Sharon Genasci

  2. I’m Anna’s twin sister, which I also have the same condition with her. Anna is not just my twin sister, but also my best friends. When you are a twin, the relationship between you and her is very different than if you were from a single pregnancy. Anna and I support each other. We are very understanding of each others interests and needs. Anna has alot to offer to those who need insight, because her story is an amazing one. She is a very special young lady. We talk all the time, and we don’t get tired of talking to each other, whether it’s on the phone or messaging. I luv you Anna,

  3. Anna,
    I have enjoyed your project so much! You have done just an awesome job with it. I have learned from you and enjoyed you so much! I love your sensitivities and kindnesses you display. You are a wonderful friend!
    Laurie Trybom

  4. Hi Anna, Rachel sent me this article and video about you. It is AWESOME!! Great job!! We open our Wilson High School women’s basketball season on Tuesday, Dec. 6th. We would love to see you there. Take good care, “Rollercoaster”. Coach John Dunn

  5. Anna, I am Aunt Bette’s friend. I remember you from the day we presented Bette with her Quilt at Friend’s Meeting in Eugene. I love hearing about you and your wonderful successes and interests.
    When you were a child you seemed infused with Light and joy. I loved watching you.
    Life does seem to get easier for us as we move into adulthood. I’m glad it is for you. Keep writing! There are now some wonderful books by folks with Asperger’s. I look forward to reading yours! Love, Ruth

  6. A lovely video, and an excellent essay. The commentators seem to be addressing you, Anna – because your personality comes through so strongly in the voice-over. I learned some new things about you! But most of all, it is so nice to hear your voice again – as well as your mother’s voice, which I’ve listened to so happily for years.

  7. This is a beautiful expression of a beautiful person. Congratulations for sharing your story with us! Margaret Theisen, Full Access, Eugene, Oregon

  8. Pingback: Catching the Snowflake: A photo story of Asperger’s Syndrome (Part one) | For those who can’t afford free speech

  9. Lisa Fruchtman

    Hi Anna,
    Congratulations on this story! It is very nice to see and hear how your life is, since we saw you on our visit to Portland two summers ago. We’re especially glad to hear that you are enjoying school and have found a nice community at church. Now that you have told you story maybe you will want to write some more! We are proud of you.
    Love
    Lisa and Norman

  10. lion enjoys its kill

    Simple joys- been too long!

  11. Pingback: The man I am: A photo story of Asperger’s Syndrome | For those who can’t afford free speech

  12. Hi Anna,

    I have been traveling for a few months and got behind in my email. Now
    I’m in Vietnam teaching English and catching up. I got the loveliest
    Christmas present last night when I opened the video you made with your
    mom and leah. Your honesty and directness are hypnotizing. How
    you’ve come to grips with Asperger’s is inspirational to all of us who
    have much more minor challenges. Yes, as a writer myself, I encourage
    you to write a little (or alot) every day. I bet you have some dynamite
    poems in you that will coming flying out.

    It’s been great fun knowing you since Mary first brought you back to
    Santa Monica all those years ago. I always enjoy your visits and
    wish we saw each other more often.

    A big hug and love from,
    Randi (in your mom’s women’s group)

  13. Pingback: And Then He Claims a POYi Third Place … « Prison Photography

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