Autism, Asperger's and Atheism

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Autism, Asperger's and Atheism

It's a language barrier and social barrier that's rough enough to work through without the added ick of religious platitudes. Whether you have it, know someone who does, or are just interested in knowing more, all are welcome!

Members: 54
Latest Activity: Oct 19, 2013

Autism.

It is the hot buzzword, the disorder du jour, but I dare you to find a news soundbite that even attempts to explain what it really is. At its core it's a language barrier. While science is still struggling to map the mystery that is the human brain, Autism definitely appears to be a sort of hearing-impairment (or profound deafness depending on what end of the scale you're on) in those processes that handle empathic communication, reading-between-the-lines, intonation, body-language, facial expressions, and other communication that takes place outside of, in between, through and around the literal words we speak.

But don't take this to mean we lack empathy or emotion, or can't tell when someone is mad at us. It's that a process which, for the Neurotypical (NT) brain, is subconscious, automatic, instinctive, for us is more of a conscious, active process. The NT child automatically reads Mom's face. The Autistic child, to whatever degree, is having to consciously study, learn and memorize which facial expression means what.

Other elements that go along with this language barrier often include hypersensitivity in one or more of the 5 physical senses (now you know why your Aspie coworker really can't stand the florescent lights or particular source of white noise in the office). Autistics tend to hone in on details of an otherwise larger picture, commonly manifesting into our "specialized interests;" self-taught experts on anything from sports stats to music or film trivia, to planes, trains, or a gem collection. Some are savant-level skilled at their area of interest (and in the workplace this can be a superpower advantage when that singular task needs tons of attention). Many Autistics are high-IQ and are often overly logical and objective in conversation. We are Spock or Data to your Captain Kirk or Picard. We are the kids who got beat up on the playground for trying to intellectualize our way out of a fight at the swing set.

Overall, Autism is a marked difference in how our brains take in and process information. For some, it's profound enough to be a true disability. For Aspies or High Functioning Autistics, the 'disability' is because we're outnumbered by NT coworkers, classmates, family members. But don't mistake social awkwardness for lack of job skill. Because we have a hard time with empathic communication doesn't mean we lack empathy. Just because we have a hard time connecting with people at times doesn't mean we don't want to. We appreciate the party invitation and if we turn it down because we're just not up for the exhaustive chore that is socializing-at-a-party, it's not a poor reflection on you. Really it's not! Some days that exhaustive effort is worth it. Some days, not so much.

And don't mistake our impairment in one way of communicating for a complete lack of ability to communicate. In fact, many an Autistic enters professions like mental health, sociology, anthropology. The fact that human communication is more of a conscious effort for us than the NT can actually end up making us very, very good at reading human behavior. We're just seeing/reading/experiencing it from the opposite side of the auditorium so to speak!

Could it be mirror neurons?

Fantastic overview on how mirror neurons work (or don't).

And from the same site, an article refuting the mirror neuron theory.

It's both the beauty and frustration of science; especially in new, relatively unexplored territory!

Discussion Forum

Theory of Mind

Started by Stuart Bechman. Last reply by Steph S. Feb 11, 2012. 8 Replies

In rooting around the internet for information on autism and asperger's syndrome, I came across several references to something called "Theory of Mind".Calling it a "theory" is a bit of a stretch. …Continue

Tags: conclusion, sports, personal, identity, logical

We are the skilled, reliable, loyal employees. So why so hard to hold onto a job?

Started by Jo Jerome. Last reply by Steph S. Feb 11, 2012. 18 Replies

So I've formed a theory - ok, more like an observation - and just bounced it off a friend; woman who counsels parents of special needs kids and thusly is well versed in issues such as Autism. The…Continue

Tags: politics, boss, coworker, office, job

Introversion and Asperger's....amazing overlaps!

Started by Aggiememenon. Last reply by Steph S. Feb 11, 2012. 1 Reply

Read this article and replace the word "Introvert" with "Aspie" and see if it still doesn't hold (mostly) true. …Continue

The dating double liability: Atheist AND Aspie...

Started by Aggiememenon. Last reply by Steph S. Jan 15, 2012. 1 Reply

Let's face it, we're a minority within a minority.  We're already members of "America's most distrusted minority" = i.e. atheists, but on top of that, we're also Aspies on the Autism spectrum.My…Continue

Any other parents of children with autism?

Started by Grace Fitzpatrick. Last reply by Aggiememenon Jan 11, 2012. 20 Replies

My daughters are both on the mild end of the spectrum.  The oldest has more problems socially than the youngest.  We finally got a diagnois for her when she was three.  We tired to get therapy for…Continue

"Temple Grandin" and "Snow Cake."

Started by Jo Jerome. Last reply by Aggiememenon Jan 11, 2012. 3 Replies

Just finished watching "Temple Grandin." First and foremost Claire Danes TOTALLY needs an award. It's one of those performances where you completely forget who the actor is and just get wrapped up in…Continue

Tags: Cake, Sigourney, Weaver, Snow, Grandin

Temple Gradin (The Movie)

Started by Grace Fitzpatrick. Last reply by Aggiememenon Jan 11, 2012. 8 Replies

For those who don't know her, Temple Gradin is a woman with autism who grew up in the 50s and became very successful in the cattle business.  She went on to write a number of books about autism and…Continue

So, does Autism increase one's resistance to the religion virus?

Started by Jo Jerome. Last reply by Aggiememenon Jan 11, 2012. 17 Replies

Simply put, we tend to use more prefrontal cortex to compensate for our lack of instinctive/empathic communication. We tend to be more objective, more logical, more likely to require evidence before…Continue

Comment Wall

Comment

You need to be a member of Autism, Asperger's and Atheism to add comments!

Comment by Aggiememenon on January 11, 2012 at 11:20pm

Special shout out to Stuart Bechman, AAI prez...I can't describe how happy I am to know you too are one of us.

Comment by Aggiememenon on January 11, 2012 at 11:18pm

So glad to have found this group on A|N;  I joined A|N in my pre-diagnosis days...have long been an atheist; Only recently realized I'm an adult male of 40 with Asperger's.

Comment by Steph S. on December 24, 2011 at 2:45pm

Comment by Steph S. on December 22, 2011 at 11:37pm

Thanks I have severed communication with this abusive person.

Comment by Steph S. on December 22, 2011 at 8:16pm

Ok, that is what I suspected. Thanks for answering my question.

Comment by Stuart Bechman on December 22, 2011 at 7:59pm

The only condition I know where people have a difficult time controlling themselves from saying untactful, hurtful things is Tourette's syndrome, which can involve involuntary facial tics and other bodily movements but has absolutely nothing to do with Asperger's or autism.

Comment by Steph S. on December 22, 2011 at 7:24pm
Sk8eycat - your sister has Aspergers? I have a question for you then. I know someone who is very untactful and says hurtful, sometimes harsh things to others. This person then claims that Aspergers is the reason for this behavior. Is this true? When I told them them were being hurtful they said there was nothing they could do about it because of their condition.
Comment by sk8eycat on December 4, 2011 at 7:07pm

I think my 67-year-old sister has always been an Aspie.  NOT "high-functioning," although she has something like an eidetic memory, she had trouble keeping up in school, mostly because of social problems.

 The only friends she has had for the past 40+ years are her fellow Jehovah's Witlesses...she was not raised in that cult.  We seldom went to church at all when we were kids, but starting when she was in her early 20s, they kept coming around, talked to her, paid attention to her (or pretended to), so she joined them.  She is obsessed with the buybull, particularly the Old Testic...Testament, and anything to do with the WW2 Holocaust. She can go on about Hitler for hours whenever she has a chance.

She lives with me, and sometimes I just want to run away.  I'm not very empathetic anymore, either.

So, am I allowed to come in here and ask questions and complain/whine when I need to?

Comment by Alona Naga on April 12, 2011 at 8:29pm
@Dustin Mark Rogers
Yea man I am right there with ya. I have lost jobs cause my idiot boss thought I wasn't paying attention. When in fact I already knew the shit he was trying to teach me. ugh.
Comment by Dustin Mark Rogers on April 12, 2011 at 7:18pm

i am not quiet sure about the empathy claim, when i am in a conversation i usually am watching and studying the talkies face and body for clues about what the conversation is actually about and how i should respond. i am aware i am doing this and cannot stop. this habit appears to me, that i am not so much appealing to empathy but to body language when in a conversation or watching the news, and/or attending/viewing a lecture. As i have been doing this my whole life it seems as though people believe i am in a daze or not listening to them but i can repeat the entire conversation and past conversations if they so choose, which has affected my life for the worse. besides never having a girlfriend as well as having very few friends, i stick out in social situations which hinders my ability to actually enjoy any type of social situation. This leaves me alone in my apartment quarantining my self off from the general public which makes my life a living hell. the only truly good thing about it seems to be that i have more time to read and study what ever i currently choose to be interested at any given time.

 

I am wondering is there anyone else going through this same situation? 

 

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