What is autism?An autistic person is, unprofessionally speaking, a person who’s brain is wired differently than the norm. It is not a disease. It is not life threatening. It is not a form of mental retardation. It is not violent. Autism is a spectrum of observed behaviors ranging from mild to severe, and the behaviors that stand out to psychology include repetitive behaviors (like the brain gets stuck on something), communication issues (even if they are speaking), and social issues (if communication wasn’t your strong point, socially you’d have a hard time connecting with people).
Autistic people are very conceptual people who fantasize more about what gravity might look like on a different planet than what culture the people might have on that planet. They do empathize and have a very vivid imagination, and they do often replay arguments and social encounters in their head asking themselves what they could have done to improve the connection, but they don’t understand what makes people like people. They seek different things in relationships than most people.
There’s a spiritual, instinctive thing that occurs when people are dealing with each other, and it just seems your autistic crowd naturally gets misunderstood and are not trusted without given a real chance. The instinct tells you something is off about that person, but it’s not. Underneath the lack of eye contact, weird behaviors, too much attention to detail, narcissistic monologues, lack of small talk chit-chat, and other defiance to playing the socially-accepted reindeer games of meeting people is a real person who cares about the world, who cares about making a real friendship, who strives for peace and love. In most cases, an autistic person will think better of you than non-autistic (no offense to all you neurotypicals out there) until proven otherwise.
Two Definitions of AutismThe best way to define autism is to look at autism from 2 different definitions. One is the DSM version of autism, which is required to obtain an official diagnosis to receive state services and take part in studies. The second is the reality of autism, which includes a large population of the undiagnosed, and does not include a small population who has been misdiagnosed. This is what Autism actually is beyond what the experts think they know. This is the realm where people try to solve the behavior issues via research and understanding of the disorder, and it’s the realm of unknowns and what if’s.
Two Perspectives of AutismTo get a real feel of autism, look at autism from 2 different perspectives. One is the outside looking in. The behaviors displayed by those on the spectrum defined by people who are not on the spectrum is the kind of understanding you will receive from psychologists, the DSM, and parents of children on the spectrum. The second perspective is the inside looking in. An autistic person’s reasons, motivations, and internal mechanisms are not well explained by people who don’t have it. Making false assumptions about an autistic person’s desires or intent can interfere with treatment.
For instance, for years they said autism lacked empathy. It appears that way at first glance, a conclusion based on behaviors, and a great way to describe the behavior to someone who doesn’t have autism in order to identify an autistic trait, but it’s untrue. Autistic people empathize differently, and in many ways, they empathize with people off the spectrum better than people off the spectrum empathize with people on the spectrum.
“I don’t think the worst thing that could happen to me is raising a child with special needs. I think the worst thing is to raise a child who is cruel to those with special needs.”
What autism is not.
Autism is not a disease.You cannot catch the autism from someone. Treating it like it is a disease that needs to be cured offends those on the spectrum because you are basically saying, “The way you think is so wrong, we need to eliminate it from society.” In reality, the neurotypical route is more dysfunctional than the autism way. Imagine a world where people didn’t lie much, and they don’t want to think ill of someone for purposes of ego. Wouldn’t it be nice to argue with someone who instead focused on the topic and objective as opposed to your flaws to discredit your argument? If you want to know what an autistic society would look like, watch Star Trek and check out the Vulcans. That is your autistic society, and Star Trek considered them larger-than-life.
In addition, treating it like its a disease only enables the type of thinking for an autistic person to hate themselves, to not accept autism as part of their life, and to fight their natural urges with unnatural urges in a vain attempt to fit in. There is no cure for autism simply because it’s not a disease.
Autism is not a form of mental retardation.Autism was originally considered a pervasive development disorder, more specifically, a learning disorder. The shrinks always knew your autistic society can learn math, grammar, science, and other academic subjects, but autism SEEMS to be lacking in the ability to adapt to social environments from language to standing still without fidgeting to organizing information the way the norm prefers it to be organized to making friends and keeping friends. The social language of the autistic is a spiritual one more so than a physical one. In the dream world, autism means of socializing is more normal than the physical realm. The reality is, autism’s social methods are more heightened than the neurotypical. It’s on a different plane of existence, and is not as disabling as some would like to suggest. It just means without tolerant people who love unconditionally, a person on the autism spectrum is going to feel very alone in life constantly craving to connect with everyone else.
Autism is not violent.I know a lot of the shooters in the last decade also had an Asperger’s Diagnosis of some sort. That scares some people. To judge all autism that way would be the same to judge the rest of the world based on violent sociopaths. Neurotypicals are much more sociopathic than autism, which seems to be quite the opposite of sociopathy. What happens is violent acts acting through the autistic filter is going to be more in your face than violent acts acting through the sociopathic filter; for instance, the meltdown process.
Violence finds its way in all types of communities and diagnosis. There is no diagnosis that states someone will be violent. All it does is help define the type of violence you are dealing with if the person becomes violent. Do not fear someone just because they have autism. If you want more peace in this world, seek to understand and love all people. Violence usually is the result of people feeling cornered with no way out, no hope of happiness or peace. If you strive to make all people feel accepted, you’ll do more to promote peace than gun control ever could.
Autism really isn’t THAT different. It’s just heightened. It’s more like a superpower that, once harnessed, is a beautiful gift to the world.