A PERSONAL IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS OF THE
From Survival Guide for People living with Asperger's Syndrome
by Marc Segar
I personally believe that the best key to overcoming
autism is understanding it. It is caused by various biochemical processes
which affect the way the brain develops.
For some time I believed that the brains of autistic
people were structured slightly differently so that there is a greater
tendency for neuronal impulses to travel up and down (literal thinking)
and a lesser tendency for them to move sideways (lateral thinking).
This phenomenon would be spread throughout the whole brain rather
than being local to certain regions. Experiments with neural nets
on computer systems have shown that nets which emphasize up and
down movement of information (like in autistic brains) give excellent
storage of detail but show less ability to distinguish things.
On the much larger and more complex scale of the
brain, this means that non-autistic people are more aware of plot
but autistic people are more aware of detail. Autistic people are
better at logical problems but less intuitive. This doesn't necessarily
mean that autistic people should have brilliant memories, on the
contrary they can often be quite absent minded about certain things.
The heightened sensory awareness and constant recall of extra details,
many of which are unimportant, can be a never ending source of distraction
to concentration and learning skills. It can be especially difficult
to pick up information regarding the culture one lives in, especially
in today's Western society which I feel is suffering from cultural
overload (see general knowledge).
I now feel that perhaps the root cause of autism
is an increased bias towards the re-assessment of previous thoughts
(hence the repetitions and rituals). Consequently the capacity for
intuition and context awareness is reduced.
To assess a social situation, one needs to pick
up on as many clues as possible and swiftly piece them together.
The final deduction is often greater than the sum of its parts.
Also, a difficult thing for an autistic person
is "finding a balance" and this may show its self at all
levels of behavior and reasoning. The ability to adapt to the "situation
continuum" and conform to the surrounding world is, however,
an extremely ancient survival strategy which is most reminiscent
in the social sector of life.
Many of the problems experienced by someone with
Asperger syndrome can feel like nothing more than an unexplainable
continuation of bad luck. The only way you can really make this
feel any less frustrating is to see your problems as challenges
instead of seeing them as obstacles.
I certainly wouldn't want people to think that
just one definition of autism or Asperger syndrome was sufficient
but if I could explain it in just one sentence it would be as follows:
Autistic people have to understand scientifically
what non-autistic people already understand instinctively.
Allan Pease, Body Language, (Sheldon press)
David Cohen, Body Language in Relationships, (Sheldon
Ursula Markham, How to deal with difficult people,
Marc Segar: The Battles of the Autistic Thinker
Dinah Murray: Normal and Otherwise
Continued survival guide WikiBook: Survival guide
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