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: 56
Latest Activity: Nov 12

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 Marc Draco on April 8, 2011 at 11:54am
WTF? What privacy? This is the Internet - and we're aspies not Gary Glitters FFS!
Comment by Jedi Wanderer on April 8, 2011 at 9:45am
Apparently there had been another group with identical interests, and the founder of that group shut it down citing privacy concerns, hers and "ours". I'm a little suspicious of this. We are all aware that our activities on Nexus may be monitered, for example by searching through google (or if we are not, we all should be!). We have all decided that either we don't care or that having this site and these kinds of groups is an overriding concern. She is apparently asking the founder of this group to shut it down as well, or so I gather from the tone of her "plea". I implore Jo not to shut it down, and I hope all the rest of us will do the same. I too have provacy concerns, and will be hurt if not devastated if my activities on here get noticed by family or friends of family. But this seems like a problem which needs to be addressed to google. Perhaps there is a way we can get Nexus material removed from google so that our activities aren't completely open to the unwelcome eyes of religious fanatics?
Comment by Jo Jerome on October 1, 2010 at 10:18pm
Ok. My NT-Aspie Universal Translator is totally broken today.
Comment by Jo Jerome on July 14, 2010 at 11:34am
Hi all - Sorry I've been so absent. A) Going back to college has taken up large chunks of what used to be Internet time. B) I modified my email folders and didn't realize all the A/N alerts from this page were being shunted to a different folder. All this time I thought the group was just really quiet!

@ Fred - Thanks for the link. It's been posted here a couple of times and I should have done it sooner but I've modified the Autism overview above to reflect it.

@ Tom Pandelare - Welcome to the hermit club.

;-)
Comment by Little Name Atheist on July 11, 2010 at 5:21pm
Fred, I haven't met any people who have AS who are vegans or vegetarians, but I do believe they exist.
Comment by Tom Pandelaere on June 30, 2010 at 9:50am
I have of late been extensively tested by the Autism Research Centre of Mons University, and am awaiting the results in a couple of weeks. There is definitely some level of autism in me, but the question is to which degree.
I am a hermit and I like it.
Comment by Jared Lardo on June 23, 2010 at 12:34am
Vaccines and Autism; a concise introduction to their lack of a connection:

Comment by Jo Jerome on May 20, 2010 at 1:16am
Bradley - Interesting!

What I like about Science Daily is that they aren't the least bit afraid to post opposing articles to their own articles.

The mystery remains then just which wires are crossed. Tricky, tricky animal, the human brain.
Comment by Bradley Cunningham on May 16, 2010 at 11:05pm
Mirror Neuron System Functions Normally in Individuals With Autism

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2010) — A team of neuroscientists has found that the mirror neuron system, which is thought to play a central role in social communications, responds normally in individuals with autism. Their findings, reported in the journal Neuron, counter theories suggesting that a mirror system dysfunction causes the social difficulties exhibited by individuals with autism.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512125219.htm
Comment by Jo Jerome on April 26, 2010 at 12:35pm
Welcome all!

Sandra - for me, I always had issues with the logical fallacies of Theistic belief, but it was also obvious that god/religion/christianity is what 'normal' people engage in. I wonder now if our need for routine played a part in my resisting reason for the sake of 'playing along.'
 

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