Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who Is Aaron Likens?

This week has been an amazing week! On Sunday I watched the Celebrity Apprentice knowing that I would write an article for Autism Speaks. This was my first experience writing an article on a television event, and it was an unique challenge, but it turned out great.

Yesterday I gave my four hour presentation to police officers on "what is autism/asperger" and tips on how to communicate more effectively.

I love doing events or having assignments such as the one on Sunday because it gives me a role. In my book I talk about the "Alias" factor and its importance in my life. Sunday was a breeze because that day I was a reviewer, and yesterday was easy because I was the "author guy who knows what Asperger syndrome is." Then came last night.

Yesterday evening I was exhausted. But more than being exhausted, I was out of "alias" mode. I was myself and being myself is so open-ended.

For you to understand what I am talking about, let me say what exactly this "Alias" mode is. An "Alias" is a role I play. When I flag I am simply the flagman and there really isn't anything personal about it. When I do a presentation I may be talking about myself, but I am doing so from playing a role.

I had trouble at recess in school because of how open ended and chaotic it was. I didn't realize what I was doing at the time, but I knew I had to have some order in my life so I became the kickball referee. Having that position gave me rules to enforce, and rules to live by. It limited the amount open ended events that could happen.

Yesterday evening I was back to being myself. There was no role to play and no set rules in the social structure. I feel powerless in these times because I don't know what to do. I can go from being a powerful talker, to being barely able to muster a sentence by just one change in roles.

These changes are getting easier as my aliases are becoming stronger and lasting a bit after the presentation. Is this what practice does? Am I just learning how to talk, or perhaps becoming a bit more comfortable in a social setting?

I don't know those answers, but I am back to being myself. I look forward to Friday since I have two presentations that day and a nice two-hour drive each way.

Friday night will come and I may go back to being myself without an alias. Who am I, exactly? I'm not really sure. That's why I write.


  1. I'm so glad to hear someone else describe this as this is totally what I do. When having to deal with people, I perform the role. For a limited time, I can fake being 'normal'. I can fake being social. However, it is extremely draining and it doesn't last.

    But I don't feel powerless when I go back to being simply me. When I'm at home, having my downtime, I feel a sense of peace. I don't have to pretend to be what I'm not. I can simply exist as me.

  2. I understand totally what you understand. I have high functioning Asperger's Syndrome as well. I know what it is like to not understand what everyone else has, but my spirituality and my math/science background gave me awareness to better understand life through my ability of patternizing what life has to offer.

    You see I am a hobby writer as well, but my lineage of my past lives and my lineage of my family give me great insight into the world as I see it.

    To me understanding what you term "Alias" is similiar to me as a scientific experiment. I test out to see if something works and if it don't after a while I revaluate it and try to decipher what works and what doesn't. As I better understand what works and tweek it I realize more about life.

    The irony is though my spirituality and understanding life basic questions:

    "What makes me happy; even though I may die tomorrow?"

    "What is my passion in my life (i.e. destiny)?"

    These two questions have troubled me to my very core since I was 16 and now I realize what I want to become. My quest for true happiness and my passion about understanding the keys of the universe to life is my ultimate quest.

    My life is about raising my awareness and my frequency to a higher state so that I can become a better who overcomes my disability and turn it into an ability. That is what I realize now what has happened the past few months as I awoke from my slumber and found what the universe(i.e. Buddha, Allah, Jesus, etc.)

    My understanding of life has helped me overcome who I am and someday I hope to meet with you to talk to you.


    Irontail Mongoose Out

  3. Aaron,

    I have just finished reading your book, "Finding Kansas." I try and read as much as possible regarding developmental disabilities since I am a mother of a son with one and a para-professional, too. It meant so much more coming from you rather than a person who does not have a disability. Thank you.
    You are so special and have this talent of writing. It is awesome how you are forthcoming about your limitations; it is important for everyone to know. My son has always had trouble with expressive language and receptive. As well as being ADHD, with poor attention unless he has an interest, not to mention social misunderstandings, pragmatics. The areas of interest for him are sports and movies. He knows a lot about the athletes and, or actors. This is the only thing he talks about or can carry some kind of conversion. Later, at eighteen, he was found in the likely range to be Asperger’s, too.
    It is so important that you are getting noticed and are advocating for others living with Asperger’s as well as yourself. My son, who is twenty years old, has been recently stopped while out riding his bike by two policemen in their car. They told him to get off his bike, patted him down, and ran a check on him. He was terrified. He like you follows the rules and knows right from wrong, but can be easily misread or has trouble relating things. They apologized afterwards and let him go after they found out he had a clean record and disability, but the experience will forever bother him.
    Please keep up the terrific work writing, and sharing your life story. May God bless you.

    1. AAron

      Finished reading your book. I must say I still don't understand your situation. When you wrote your analogies I had difficultly.

      Do hope you write another book and try to explain more.

      A fan