woensdag 21 november 2007

Some Basic Stuff as a Warm Up

To begin explaining some things about Autism, I need to first 'review' some basic stuff, like for example the difference between the male and the female brain. This is necessary, because Autism has been referred to as the 'extreme male brain' by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen, because of the way that the autistic mind functions.

Yet, one needs to realize that there are males and females who have autism, and thus it is of great importance to understand how the autistic extreme male brain will interact with the brain of a male and the brain of a female.

The female brain is wired in a different way, it is wired for empathy and this means that the extreme male brain's tendency of the autistic way of thinking will be put into a different kind of use than with male Auties and Aspies. Males in general because of their male brain wiring are more concerned with their own personal advancement, their own career, their own greatness, their own kingdom on earth.

Women on the other hand are more concerned with helping others, teaching others, networking with others, not for personal gratification but for feeling that they have managed to bring forth (give birth to) a better life, a better world, not for the world but for the people. Women want to help people in particular, while men want to help the world in general.

This difference is based on our genetic gender goals: a female seeks a safe nest, a safe place to give birth and bring up her young, this will compel her to create this safe place by making sure that the people around her are foe and not enemies. That is why women are more interested in socializing, networking, creating a group of allies around them that will help them protect her young. After all humans are part predators (meat eaters) but also part prey (we can be eaten by other predatory meat eaters).

Like the female animals of a herd that become sexually available and give birth at the same time to ensure that safety is in numbers is present when the young are born, the same way human females 'network' to create a timing, a perceived safety, for their young. It is common knowledge that if several women live in close proximity with each other, in the same household, their menstrual cycle will eventually become the same. They will become like the female animals of a herb that time their pregnancies and birthing so that it corresponds with the rest of the females in the herd.

This is what empathy is, it the instinct of the herd as a group that cooperates together, it is the HERDING instinct that promotes safety and eventually the survival of the species. Males on the other hand are more concerned of their own personal image, they have to prove to the female that they are worth mating with her and allowing the next generation to carry his genes. Males do whatever they do as a show-off of their ability and talents so they will attract the female's attention. They also have to fight off other males, by for example butting heads with each other like rams do, by proving their superiority to them, and showing that they deserve more than the other male(s) the prize of procreation.

Likewise a male with High Functioning Autism (HFA) or Asperger's Syndrome (AS), is doing whatever he is doing as a proof of their own self-worth, as a proof that they are better than another male (or more intelligent for example), and that they are someone worth mating with. If you look carefully you will see that it is mostly men (with HFA or AS or not) that have gotten Nobel prizes, and NOT that many women. Not because women are less capable, or because their work is less groundbreaking. It is because women are more concerned to benefiting others in an individual basis, than with promoting their self-worth through generalized impersonal non-individualized work.

Men are out for the prize: the honor to allow their genes to exist in future generations. Whether men are aware of that or not it is not important, it is still the underlining motivation to anything and everything they do. With HFA/AS men, because of their extreme male brain coupled with the male wiring of their brain, this need is even more extreme and so are the disappointments if this end is not achieved.

This means that a HFA/AS male that has not been given the opportunity to fulfill that need will reject society all together, will reject the competitiveness, feeling he can't compete with other males and that will he will never find a female (love shyness). A HFA/ASfemale feels more the effects of loneliness as an isolation. It is the HFA/AS female that suffer more from the lack of friends and social networking. Men suffer loneliness because of the lack of a (female) partner more than the lack of friends or a social network.

But there is a catch. Because of their extreme male brain-ness HFA/AS females tend to feel the same need (even if it is at a lesser degree than the HFA/AS male) to prove their self-worth by butting heads. They will do that either with their peers and come across as tomboys, either with their boyfriends and come across as dominant and aggressive, or with their husbands and come across as overbearing and controlling. A female, according to the gender stereotyping of society, is not expected to butt heads with others and when this happens the others are taken back by this exhibition of male aggressiveness.

If the 'others' don't butt heads back, the HFA/AS female will not be able to accept them as equal to her, or better. She will then either see them as 'weak' and needy and take over the roll of caregiver, by acting as a 'mother' or will see them as week and intellectually inferior and manipulate them by becoming a control freak as a means for survival.

Or will find them too weak, needy and intellectually inferior and refuse to mother them, control them, deal with them all together and choose isolation. This last kind of withdrawal can also happen to HFA/AS males, too, who see the people and the society around them as not worth dealing with at all and live a life withdrawn from social contacts.

donderdag 15 november 2007

Science and Pseudoscience

In its original sense, science (from the Latin scire, to know) simply meant the state or fact of knowing, as compared to intuition or belief. The current technical sense of the word, however, refers to knowledge obtained from systematic observation, study, and experimentation.

Now, the thing is that many psychological tests aren’t magic; most of them have been developed through sound scientific principles. In fact, anyone who wants to become a psychologist must learn all the scientific principles of test construction; even if a psychologist has no desire to create a new test, he or she must be competent to evaluate the scientific value of any specific test before using it clinically.

Unfortunately, there are many psychological tests in wide use that are accepted as being scientific just because they are called “tests.” For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Enneagram, often used in educational and corporate personnel settings to assess personality “types,” are based in pseudoscience and psychobabble and have about as much worth in clinical settings as astrology. Any competent psychologist can use intuition to get as much information as these “tests” provide.

And then there is the classic Rorschach test that uses inkblots to assess a person’s inner psychological experience. Several methods for administering and scoring the Rorschach have been developed, and although some of them are surrounded with a considerable amount of published research, it would be surprising if any two independent psychologists could administer the Rorschach to the same person and achieve identical findings.

Similarly, tests such as the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which asks a person to tell stories about various pictures of social interactions, and the Draw-A-Person and House-Tree-Person, which ask a person to draw pictures, are not usually objectively scored and give results of questionable validity.

In the end, then, psychological testing can, in some ways, be both valid and reliable; yet, in other ways, it often does not achieve much more than an impressionistic evaluation of a person. And often the science and the pseudoscience are quietly mixed together in one “scientific” report, but will never admit that anything that is considered pseudoscience had anything to do with the outcome.

In other words, means beyond the clear-cut scientific ways are being used-as they are an integrated part of any human being, since we instinctively know that we sometimes 'sense' things that can't be explained in any other way, but these means will not be given any credit! How fair is that?

Now, let's think that it is psychologists, clinical psychologists to be exact, that are the ones that not only study autism, but have created tests to diagnose autism, Asperger's syndrome and other conditions on the autistic spectrum. If we take into account that these scientics are neurotypicals studying a non-neurotypical condition, it is obvious that they will study it, and measure it and create tests to diagnose it according to the neurotypical brain's parameters and scientific principles.

It almost feels like having an inuit design clothes for the inhabitants of Africa while never having been to Africa. Do you think the clothes will be appropriate for the African climate? Do you think that the tests to diagnose autism are appropriate to the way the autistic brain works?

woensdag 14 november 2007

The Binary Code of Existence

The words 'Binary Code' became widely known because of the internet and the computers. Yet, the binary code is nothing new. Everything in the universe exists because of a binary code, a duality, which can be easily understood as the two sides of ONE coin.

What if everything that exists in the whole universe, began as ONE that became two while still remaining one? If we think of a coin, it is ONE coin, yet it is also two; two sides, each representing one part of that one coin. The coin cannot exist without BOTH of these sides; neither can each side exist without the other. The coin and the two sides form an inseparable unit.

Or think of a magnet. It is one magnet, yet it has a positively charged side (+) and a negatively charged side (-). No matter how small the magnet is, it always retains the two opposite charged sides. The magnet, the positive side, and the negative side are like the coin: three that are one that is two.

It takes a little bit of thought to realize how complicated and yet how simple this is. The three that are ONE that is actually two. To be able to grasp this concept of the three being one, while is the one is actually two, needs a bit of an open mind, a way of thinking that is able to step outside the 'box' of today's science, because science will insist that three cannot be one and one can never be two. Yet, a coin exists as much as a magnet exists to prove that even if this seems impossible to exist, it does exist. It exists all around us, while science has gone to great lengths to disregard this fact and make us believe otherwise.

If you are able to allow your mind to step outside the box of today's science, then you are ready to step into the true world of the Autistic mind. Enter at your own risk. It might get a bit confusing, but I will try and keep things as simple as possible.

dinsdag 13 november 2007

An Introduction

In the last 20 or so years science has been trying to explain the phenomenon that is called 'Autism.' After all these years and a lot of research that takes place all around the world in an attempt to solve the puzzle, explain the enigma, and understand the origin of this so called disability, science is no where near in understanding what Autism is.

The main reason is that science, simply put, does not have the ability to 'see' all that Autism is. Today's science is based on facts that can be measured, research that can be dublicated, and refuses to accept anything beyong the obvious and tangible. That is why it took Psychology so long to find a place under the Sun of Science, Psychology was not tangible until it could prove things through research, through MRI's, through tangible methods and measures.

When Science first appeared, it was very different than what it is today. Astrology for example was seen as a science together with astromony, philosophy and mathematics went hand in hand, as did medicine with religion. Somehow our ancestors understood that the world is not based ONLY on tangible things, but also on things as thought, intuition, even mystery and a bit of magic.

Today, we have scrapped away anything that cannot be witnessed, recorded and measured in the way we understand the world through science. Religion, intuition, mysticism, and magic have been discarted, rejected. Yet, when you ask most people they will admit they have a soul, that they have intuition, that they believe in coincidence, in luck. These things can't be measured either, yet they seem to play an important role in our lives.

Why is science then rejecting them? Why is science so afraid to acknowledge that there is more out there than what we can see, and measure in the physical world?

Could it be that the answer to the phenomenon called Autism lays in the realm that science can't acknowledge? Is it possible that the Auties and Aspies out there know but don't share what they know out of fear of being ridiculed by the established scientific world?

There is only one way to find out. Challenge the scientific world, by offering it the answers it seeks, and explaining how these answers can be ALSO measured in such a way for science to understand and accept.

This is what this blog will attempt to do.

Explain things in the same way our ancestors did, by coupling the logic and the intuition to solve the mystery of Autism. Because only by coupling these two, a solution is possible. Autism is the key to understanding the shortcomings in the way Science has scraped away of all the magic that our Universe contains and has retained dry data.

If you are a sceptic, then maybe this blog might allow you to see things from a different perspective. If you think you already know it all, then maybe this blog is not for you.

I am not a scientist, I am a person with Asperger's Syndrome who is making an attempt, an effort to explain from inside out what Autism is, what it does, and how it does it. That is all.