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Rudy Simone in San Francisco

By Steve Silberman
Posted:

Rudy Simone is a writer, jazz singer, and stand-up comedian in San Francisco. She’s also a proud member of an often-misunderstood minority-within-a-minority: a woman on the autism spectrum — or as she prefers to call herself, an “Aspergirl.”


Unlike autistic author and animal-behavior expert Temple Grandin — whose life was the subject of an acclaimed HBO biopic starring Clare Danes — Simone wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her 40s. Diagnosis in mid-life is common for women with Asperger Syndrome. Often highly intelligent and articulate, they’re able to mask their social deficits while leveraging their ability to focus intensely into achievements in school and the workplace.


Simone had a relatively happy — if eccentric — childhood, but when she hit adolescence, the social tide seemed to turn against her, washing away most of her friends. Suddenly, her trusting exuberance and hyper-focus made her weird in the eyes of her peers, and a convenient target for bullying and abuse. One day, Simone’s chief tormentor at school brutally beat her in front of a cheering crowd of older kids. Humiliated, the 12-year-old Simone stopped singing and laughing in public.


These problems intensified as Simone got older. She abruptly walked out on jobs, apartments, friendships, and relationships when things didn’t work as planned. Sometimes the people that Simone left behind when she burned a bridge would tell her there was something “wrong” with her, but she could never put her finger on it. She didn’t feel wrong. Instead, she felt like the world was wrong — a place designed to make other people comfortable, but not her. (Spectrumites sometimes call this feeling “Wrong Planet syndrome.”)


Read in Full:  http://blogs.plos.org/neurotribes/2010/10/27/im-right-here-rudy-simone-on-life-as-an-aspergirl/


Aspergirls cover



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