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Sunday, July 5, 2015

For the Autistism Record: Neurodiversity

I just learned about the debate in autism circles over the neurodiversity movement, which as I under is an attempt to be treated as people with differences not a disease or disorder, and that the majority of funding should go to helping people cope with autism rather than seeking cause and cure. Others want the magic pill, or at least an explanation for why they are as they are. This split forms most strikingly between high and low-functioning people on the spectrum. What are quirks for one person is a disability when more exaggerated and accompanied by additional body and communication problems.

As one on the spectrum somewhere in the medium-high range (I get by, but with difficulty and not always so well), I relate to both views. Some traits of autism can be positive, most aren't. I have razor focus but I am obtuse to the obvious, for example. I find that, in a world of "it's who you know", social and communication difficulties can be devastating. Don't get me started on sensory and social over-stimulation and trying to control sudden rage.

The real fight here is for the funding. There definitely needs to be assistance for autistics who need it. There needs to be research as well. The split needs to be more equal. It may be possible to improve many of the difficulties we have without erasing who we are. But until then, we are who we are. We can't change that no more than science.

From Psychology Today


While many with autism and Asperger's Syndrome wish to improve their social skills and cope with life in a more effective way, many are also proud of their unusual way of looking at the world.
The neurodiversity movement, a controversial one, embraces and celebrates the differences and unique abilities exhibited by people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.