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 Jo Jerome on March 27, 2010 at 8:15pm
Hi Freddie, and you're welcome!
Comment by Jo Jerome on March 26, 2010 at 4:11pm
LOL! You said it Mr. Black! But I promise, no uppage and downage. Not until they pry the internet from my cold, dead hands.
Comment by Jo Jerome on March 26, 2010 at 3:13pm
Have sent word around to a few I could remember!
Comment by Little Name Atheist on March 26, 2010 at 9:43am
I can only remember two others. I'll send them a word or two if you haven't already.
Comment by Jo Jerome on March 25, 2010 at 1:58pm
:-) Yeah, Dilbert is one of us ... and our hero!

Now, how to round up the former members now scattered 'round the site?
Comment by Little Name Atheist on March 25, 2010 at 12:50pm
Love the group icon!
Comment by Jo Jerome on March 25, 2010 at 11:57am
Since I don't plan on deleting my profile anytime soon (or ever), figured I'd take on re-creating the group this time for the sake of permanence.

And alter the name a bit, since the powers that be are talking of doing away with the Aspie label and just lumping us all as "Autistic."
 

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