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TitleA Survival Guide For People With Asperger Syndrome (Marc Segar, 1997)
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Page 1

A survival guide for people with Asperger syndrome

Marc Segar

April 1997 Edition

Getting the best from this book
Looking on the bright side
Body language

Eye contact
Tone of voice
Dress sense

Distortions of the truth
Misunderstandings other people might have about you

General knowledge

Humour and conflict
Sexually related problems and points about going out

Nights out
Chat ups
Personal security
Rape crisis

Finding the right friends
Keeping a clean slate
Coming clean
Living away from home

Using the phone

Jobs and interviews
Travelling abroad

A personal in depth analysis of the problem
Further reading

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A survival guide for people with Asperger syndrome, by Marc Segar

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As far back as I can remember, I have had intricate thoughts and ideas which have

made me unique.

As a young child in early primary school, I used to spend most of my time just doing my

own thing and not really making much sense to people. My ever-intriguing thoughts and

ideas were locked up in my head and I couldn't communicate them to others.

When I was seven years of age, I got my diagnosis of autism in a form which is now

known as Asperger syndrome. It was not that long afterwards that I was moved into a

special school called Whitefields in Walthamstow, London where for the next eight

years I received specialist help, most of which came from a joyful, high spirited woman

called Jenny. Not long after starting this school my family and I became involved in a

family support group called Kith and Kids in which I am now a regular volunteer and

work-shopper, always keeping active and creative.

At the age of fourteen I changed over to a school called West Lea in Edmonton where I

was eventually able to take my GCSE's in which I did well. My recognition as being a

worthy candidate for GCSE's was predominantly won by the French teacher, Mr Cole to

whom I am very grateful.

At seventeen I was able to begin at the sixth-form in Winchmore where I worked hard

on my A-levels but managed to turn myself into a serious target for the other students'

teasing and torment, but it was also at this time when I first began learning how to stick

up for myself, also realising that there were many unwritten rules about behaviour and

conduct which everyone else knew except me.

I was then accepted by the University of Manchester to do a BSc in biochemistry which I

have now completed. I began university under the same life long illusion I had always

had of thinking that making a new start meant no more teasing to deal with. However,

my social status in the first year was appalling and I spent a whole year living in a flat

with seven other blokes, myself practically in complete isolation.

In the second year I ended up living in a house in Fallowfield where there happened to

be three friends and two free spaces. I ended up there completely by random. I became

best mates with Nick who ended up filling the extra space. He is a rebel through and

through and has since taught me many of the tricks of the trade which I have needed on

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A survival guide for people with Asperger syndrome, by Marc Segar

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situations you may decide to disclose absolutely nothing at all, hoping they will

lose interest. Alternatively, you can simply NOT take it seriously and laughingly

give them ridiculous exaggerations of what happened.

• Some men find it difficult to understand that the very idea of boosting their own

egos by collecting memories of sexual liaisons with as many different women as

they can is insulting or degrading to a woman's ego.

• Many people, in all honesty, find their first experience of sex disappointing.

Nights out

• The best reason for having an evening or a night out in a pub or a night-club is to

have a good time and talk to people.

• You will probably have a much better time if you have a night out with friends

rather than if you go out alone.

• On a night out, the rules regarding body language become more important.

• Be careful with your gaze (unless of course, you are talking with someone). If you

look at someone for too long they will probably notice you out of the corner of

their eye. This may cause them discomfort. They might then tell their friends

about it and become secretively unfriendly towards you. This is especially true

about men staring at women.

• Some people can be very polite to you but be rude about you behind your back.

If you want a clue as to whether or not they really like you, see the rules on eye


• If you have been invited to a party, it is often best to turn up at least half an hour


• It is good to have a bath or a shower before you go out.

• It is best not to be the first on the dance floor, even if you can't see anything

wrong with this yourself. This doesn't mean you can try and persuade someone

else to be the first.

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A survival guide for people with Asperger syndrome, by Marc Segar

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• If you are at a nightclub and it is difficult to join in a conversation with people

because of the music being too loud, then you might be one of these people who

are better off in pubs or parties at people’s houses.

• If you like drinking alcohol because it makes you more sociable, one or two pints

are probably enough. Try not to drink to the extent that you make a spectacle of

yourself because you might very well cause people to lose interest in you or to

take advantage of you.

• Most people do NOT think that smoking is cool; so don't think about taking it up

for this reason.

• If you go to a party at someone's house, there might be cannabis going around.

Cannabis comes under many different names including gear, dope, weed, grass,

pot, draw and marihuana. It is usually rolled up with tobacco into joints or spliffs.

If you feel a need to join in with this walk of life, bear in mind the many risks and

know that it can make you less sociable while you smoke it. Also, drugs might

affect you differently to how they affect other people because your brain

chemistry will be slightly different.

• Be very careful where and when you talk about illegal substances, because they

ARE illegal.

• NEVER buy illegal substances off the streets, it will almost invariably be a con

and the people selling them might take it the wrong way and get violent if you try

to be friendly with them.

Chat ups

• If you decide to go out with the thought of pulling or asking someone out in mind

then the following tips might help you but it is essential that you first read the

chapters on body language (especially boundaries, eye contact and dress

sense), distortions of the truth, conversation, humour and conflict and sex related

humour. It would be best to have in fact read all the points in the book leading up

to this one.

• Chatting someone up is traditionally said to be the man's job but these days, it is

not uncommon for the woman to take an active role.

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A survival guide for people with Asperger syndrome, by Marc Segar

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Many of the problems experienced by someone with Asperger syndrome can feel like

nothing more than an unexplainable continuation of bad luck. The only way you can

really make this feel any less frustrating is to see your problems as challenges instead

of seeing them as obstacles.

I certainly wouldn't want people to think that just one definition of autism or Asperger

syndrome was sufficient but if I could explain it in just one sentence it would be as


Autistic people have to understand scientifically what non-autistic people already

understand instinctively.

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A survival guide for people with Asperger syndrome, by Marc Segar

Pag 53


Allan Pease, Body Language, (Sheldon press)
David Cohen, Body Language in Relationships, (Sheldon press)
Ursula Markham, How to deal with difficult people, (Thorsons)

We are very grateful to Marc's parents for their help and support in getting his work the

wider audience it deserves.

Marc Segar's tragic death in 1997 at the age of twenty three filled those who knew him
and his work with grief and dismay. We felt his death cheated us of the inspiration we

had come to expect.
Despite the brevity of his career Marc's thinking was already beginning to play an

important part in the development of our understanding. We miss him.

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