All I can say is thank God for the theatre. My parents signed me up for an amateur theatre group when I was 11; in hindsight, they may have done it because of my Asperger's (I was diagnosed around 8 or 9). I never looked back, and am now forging a career as a professional stage manager.

Theatre was my safe haven all through my teen years. I had a horrible, horrible stutter until I was about 16. The only place it went away was on stage, when I was acting. Acting and role playing were my social teachers. I can hold my own in a social setting today, although it still requires effort and I still have to work hard to reign in my tendencies to suffocate new friends that I've made and talking too much about theatre, the New York theatre scene in particular (yes, even among actors).

It also was completely freeing because theatre allowed me to develop social skills while still being myself. Theatre people, especially actors, are well-known for being some of the most accepting people on the planet. They will accommodate pretty much anything, including all of my little tics.

I'm lucky enough to have grown up in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, which has a surprisingly active theatre scene, so I am rarely out of theatre-related work for long periods of time.
I really don't know how I would cope with my Asperger's were it not for the theatre. If you're an Aspie teen or twenty-something, or a parent of an Aspie, aged seven through twenty-odd, you should consider doing (or enrolling your child in) theatre. It just might change your life. I know it changed mine.
heyitsgarrett heyitsgarrett
26-30, M
Jul 7, 2015