Jessica Sergeant is a 31 year old living in Ontario with a Masters in Business Administration degree and is currently in the professional accounting certification program. She is passionate about travelling and visiting foreign countries. Since learning about her Asperger’s Syndrome, she is determined and on a mission to raise more awareness about this neurological condition and perhaps write a book about her experiences.
For 30 years, I have always felt different and felt that there was this invisible world surrounding me that I could not quite access.
I am profoundly Deaf and use American Sign Language to communicate. Even though the Deaf community has “included” me, I still felt “excluded” in certain aspects. Socialization seemed to be something that was an art that I have not mastered. There were invisible expectations that I was constantly struggling to meet. People seemed to know “their place” and I was trying to figure out “my place”. Too often I felt like I was the fish in a fishbowl – watching, but not really interacting. Desperate to know what was “different” about me, I asked several of my friends. They all had nothing more to say other than “You’re odd.” or “It is just you. Don’t worry. We accept you.” Armed with the knowledge that I was “different”, I did extensive research trying to pinpoint what it was about me that separated me from others. My search was fruitless and it was becoming hopeless.
It was not until “Lines in the Sand” via the TV series House, M.D. that provided her the answer she was seeking. At the end of the episode, Asperger’s Syndrome was introduced. Since she was unfamiliar with this condition, she researched it online. It was the beginning of her journey knowing that she is on the spectrum. The search for her “differentness” was completed and she came out more confident in knowing her place. A paradigm shift had occurred and she came to the realization that she was faking herself the entire time.
Jessica’s diagnosis of being on the spectrum explained why she had difficulties making new friends. People seemed to come and go in her life. Relationships were difficult to maintain and socialization was a minefield. The constant criticism of her social skills deficit was explained. Gone were the masks that she had put on in order to appear “normal”. Instead of focusing solely on hiding her deficits, she is focusing her energies on increasing her strengths.