Monthly Archives: March 2017

#Autistic canaries in the neurotypical coal mines – World Autism Week

Aspie Under Your Radar

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Woo hoo! World Autism Awareness Week is now officially underway. It goes from today till the 2nd of  April, whereupon Autism Awareness Month picks up and rolls on through the month of April.

So, yeah, big trigger warning for lots of us.

A lot of folks say that we don’t need autism awareness, we need autism acceptance. I think we need both. People outside the neurodiversity community are so woefully behind the times, so vexed and misled by inaccurate, flawed, harmful, dangerous information about this “epidemic”… I’m fine with all the awareness we can get.

‘Cause we’re not there yet.

Not even close.

There’s always that talk about how autism is a source of suffering, and I’d just like to say a few things about that. Autism is NOT a source of suffering. Our environment is — sensory and social.

The obnoxious scents. The…

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Second of Asperger’s Ten Traits – Overwhelmed Innocence

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“2) We are innocent, naive, and honest. Do we lie? Yes. Do we like to lie? No. Things that are hard for us to understand: manipulation, disloyalty, vindictive behavior, and retaliation. Are we easily fooled and conned, particularly before we grow wiser to the ways of the world? Absolutely, yes. Confusion, feeling misplaced, isolated, overwhelmed, and simply plopped down on the wrong universe, are all parts of the Aspie experience. Can we learn to adapt? Yes. Is it always hard to fit in at some level? Yes. Can we out grow our character traits? No.”

Used with permission from @everydayaspergers. Originally published in Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s, as The Ten Traits.

It’s so complicated to write about one’s self, as it feels like those haunting times when belittled and patronized, you were forced into believing that standing out is never outstanding, that the biblically endorsed parental beating you were about to receive -again- was “justified” by your “gullible stupidity” in believing that the worthless toy you traded your brand-new toy for, it’s of equal value… And your attempt to save yourself by honestly saying that your “friend” told you so, just increased the number of blue stripes on your butts…

There you were, 11 years old, not really understanding why your maths teacher keeps slapping you and calling you an idiot for not understanding his lessons, unimpressed that you’ve found faults in the theory of a finite universe, which you can’t mathematically explain, but asked the simple question: “if this line would be the end of the universe, what’s the other side of the line made of?”

Because it’s hard to believe that your “best friend”, whom you’ve just saved from his self-destructive path, offered him a share in everything you had just to see him fulfilling his potential, finally left with your spouse, taking your apartment as well…

One of those days you suddenly realized that life on this planet sucks, and your only true “friend” lives right there, within the walls of your uniqueness, and the “us and them” has been irreversibly reduced to “me, and I don’t care who else”.

(to be continued…)

First of Asperger’s Ten Traits – Extreme Intelligence

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Driven, probably by the systemising neuro-biology of my brain, I’m constantly looking for an organised understanding of facts, where “the three…”, “the seven…” or “the ten…” somethings, constantly attract my semantic mind. On such a fortunate occasion, I have found Samantha Croft‘s -now former- blog, Everyday Asperger’s.
In her new website‘s own words, “Samantha Croft, autistic writer and artist, […] a former schoolteacher, with a Master’s Degree in Education (special emphasis on adult education and curriculum development), […] has been published in peer reviewed journals, been featured in autistic literature, and has completed several graduate-level courses in the field of counselling. Some of her works, especially The Ten Traits, have been translated into multiple languages.”
Now it is exactly The Ten Traits, the subject of a ten-post series, through which I am hoping to better understand the “Ten Commandments” by which my mind attempts to understand and process an oftentimes avalanche of stimuli. Even though the blog’s main title is “Asperger’s Traits (Women, Females, Girls)/February 10, 2012” I have found its applicability in my -male- case, around the more than satisfactory 99% which provides the necessary reassurance for a general applicability.
Samantha has kindly agreed to my humble enterprise, for which I am forever grateful.

“1) We are deep philosophical thinkers and writers; gifted in the sense of our level of thinking. Perhaps poets, professors, authors, or avid readers of nonfictional genre. I don’t believe you can have Asperger’s without being highly-intelligent by mainstream standards. Perhaps that is part of the issue at hand, the extreme intelligence leading to an over-active mind and high anxiety. We see things at multiple levels, including our own place in the world and our own thinking processes. We analyse our existence, the meaning of life, the meaning of everything continually. We are serious and matter-of-fact. Nothing is taken for granted, simplified, or easy. Everything is complex.”

If you look for a better compacted definition of the Asperger’s mind, rest assured there isn’t… I mean, one might attempt reverse engineering the above paragraph, perhaps writing a whole chapter of a book based on each statement, but the true genius of it is the elaborate conciseness, encompassing the cause-effect functionality of a neuro-divergent mind, with all the blessings and non-blessings of a misunderstood genius.
And if you may be asking yourself, what or where is my geniality, let me share with you something I’ve learned somewhere I can’t remember anymore, which helped me better understand myself, something which would makes sense mainly to the Asperger’s mind. That “someone” said, that the true genius of the neuro-divergent mind, is not simply finding the needle in a haystack, but to notice the needle before seeing the haystack.
Have you arrived at the conclusion that most philosophies should be re-written as you noticed flaws leaving you wondering why aren’t they studying your works? Was it easier for you to write a metric rhyme poem instead of a nonfictional story? Were you having a panic attack way before your boss finished outlining next year’s strategy for success, because you already saw the imminent collapse, should the team follow their uselessly high-paid stupidities? Were you listening to some prestigious piece of music from a highly-acclaimed orchestra, just to nearly have a heart attack caused by a false sound or faulty rhythm?
The problem isn’t with your “appliance”, but with a world unprepared for our next-gen perception and understanding of it.
Welcome to your(true)self, and start valuing yourself. Trust me, there’s no better judge of yourself than your(true)self

(to be continued…)

The Asperger Individualism

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Throughout my life and modest literary endeavours, I firmly acknowledged the supreme primacy of detail before the whole, for reasons too obvious to state…

Nevertheless, since discovering that I live with Asperger’s on the neuro-divergent side of existence, I realised that the term autism was coined from the Greek autos which means self, as an essentially correct identification of Autism’s core individualism.

Even though I believe that Autism and Asperger’s share common traits (the Autistic Spectrum), I share the position of the ICD-10 as being different conditions, regardless of DSM-5’s arbitrary otherwise statements, which will be discussed in a future post, finding myself somewhere along Uta Frith’s lines which state that “The terms autism and Asperger’s syndrome are therefore not treated as mutually exclusive. We propose that the Asperger individual suffers from a particular form of autism”1 and also in line with Simon Baron-Cohen’s position of the “six major subgroups on the autistic spectrum”2.

Considering therefore what has been said, I would dare to venture onto a hopefully interesting proposal, namely the valuation of Asperger Syndrome as a neuro-biological orientation towards an individual’s self, from the individualistic perspective of reason and objectivism, which all represent core life values for individuals with Asperger’s.

As seen, I have used a valuable quote from philosopher Ayn Rand, about the ultimate value of the individual, without which’s understanding, any attempt to generalize or even categorize, will have lost its whole meaning, because contrary to popular (mis)understanding, the value ascribed to a category is given by the value of its components.

Therefore, the attempt of DSM-5 to “sacrificially” de-identify the Asperger Syndrome on the “umbrella-spectrum” altar, without maintaining its well-established DSM-4-TR and ICD-10 uniqueness, has thrown everything, from individual identities to research enthusiasm, into a futureless fog. Why? Because research is particular, a narrowing down of scientific interest, from penetrating layer after layer of external data, aiming to the core of anything’s functionality. It is a quest from major onto minor, from the majority of what’s obvious, to the minority of what’s hidden. Who are we, after all? Only “another brick in the wall” of someone else’s understanding of who we really are, or like Michelangelo’s unique sculptures waiting to be freed from their marble confinements, intrinsic values to be discovered with respectful touches?

Yes, I absolutely agree, that an individual is the “smallest minority on earth”, with us, individuals on the Autistic Spectrum as an even smaller and even more self-oriented minority, deserving therefore an inalienable right to be listened and maybe understood.

Because unlike Michelangelo’s marble wonders, we have each of us a heart, and a speaking mind attached to it, and if the majority wants to be whole, let it be reminded that it is made of coexisting minorities…

 

  1. Frith, Uta (ed), 1991, Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Cambridge University Press
  2. Baron-Cohen, Simon, 2008, Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Oxford University Press

­(to be continued…)