ASD

Oct. 16th, 2010 12:56 am
delta_mike: (Default)
[personal profile] delta_mike
This interview with Ari Ne'eman was good reading on the subject of providing support for people with Autism-spectrum conditions. For a chap of 22 years, he's surprisingly articulate, and rather good at explaining things in ways that my brain can synthesize rapidly.

In particular, I read the line, There are a lot of social rules that we don’t understand, and tremendous consequences inflicted on us for violating them, and nodded knowingly.

The reference to Temple Grandin was also great -- I'd stumbled across her book, Animals in Translation, a few years ago, and devoured it. It was fascinating, and helped me understand myself.

This is because I have traits in common with some people on the Autism spectrum: I think visually; I'm sensitive to bright lights, and sound, and -- as anyone who's ever tickled me -- probably touch, too. I have a highly systemizing mind. I was generally poor at handling social interaction -- I understood computers better than people. Bullying in school was a problem.

Somehow, somewhere along the way -- perhaps through brute force trial and error -- I've developed a better model of people, meaning that I'm now typically as good as most neurotypical people at understanding and inferring other people's mental state. I have social skills!

But they took a long time to develop -- towards the end of undergraduate degree and beyond -- meaning that I now feel that I missed out on a huge range of social opportunities I didn't understand.

I've never been diagnosed with an Autism-spectrum disorder, and thinking about the concept now, I'd be worried about acquiring that particular label. I wouldn't even call it a disorder; merely a specialization.

But it's only just occurred to me after all the discussions here that I can reasonably describe myself as 'not neurotypical', too.
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