On a mission to raise awareness about tricky disorder

2014-11-21 00:00

DIAGNOSED with Asperger’s ­Syndrome in 2003, Shellique Carby (29) has not let the disability define her.

As the end of National Disability Rights Awareness Month draws near, Carby discussed her difficulties and ­triumphs of living with Asperger’s ­Syndrome.

Carby grew up in Durban and attended a mainstream high school where she found it difficult to relate to her peers and was often bullied and teased until the end of matric.

“It was difficult. People just thought I was a bad person with huge character flaws.

“When I was diagnosed in December 2003, it was a huge relief. I realised my differences weren’t my fault and I stopped trying to pretend I was normal when I wasn’t,” said Carby.

She said through the diagnosis she has learnt to understand and accept herself and know it is okay to be different.

During her primary school years, Carby and her parents were told that she would never make it past Grade 9.

Not only did she pass matric, Carby has excelled in everything she has worked on.

She said that people with Asperger’s generally have a higher IQ and tend to obsess over detail and subjects they are interested in.

Her topics of interest are health, animals and politics and she was made an honorary Ezemvelo wildlife officer.

Carby said she has had a number of articles published and had a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2012.

She has been accepted into University of KwaZulu-Natal to study teaching.

Carby’s goal is to work with people with disabilities and teach them how to cope in a sometimes unaccepting ­society.

She is currently compiling a manual for people with physical disabilities, “but the principles can be applied to people with disabilities in general”.

The manual is a guide to help people to manage and accept their disabilities and can be obtained from Carby via e-mail: dbntomboy@yahoo.com.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Asperger’s is an Autism Spectrum disorder and while it is not the same as Autism, they share some ­similarities.

Not all difficulties are the same among people diagnosed with ­Asperger’s and vary in intensity.

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