In the most recent decades autism rates have grown rapidly from the triple digits of the double digits. Though no discovery has been determined, billions of dollars have been invested in finding a cure for autism. All the while a wad of finances have been put into creating new services and supports for individuals with autism and their families. What is more is that autism has been looked as a disability and a label by society. In the midst of society people with autism are seen as people who can’t live meaningful of fulfilling lives unlike their peers. Last but not least there are those who live on the autism spectrum who believe that some with autism can while others can’t. Although I do agree that intervention and other classes on social skills are highly important I disagree with the modern views of autism and how it needs to be cured because it is a defective disease. Being that this is “Autistic Pride Day,” one can argue that I am entitled to my own opinion. Therefore I say that autism paints a very different picture than the portrait of common media.
While many argue that autism is a disability, countless others have argued even further that autism is not a disability but a different way of thinking. In a recent book “The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed,” Dr Grandin pointed out that she thinks completely in pictures rather than word based. For instance if you say a word like ‘stop light’ Grandin will run a google photo search in her mind and associate those photos to the word and give you a logical reasoning; Grandin & Panek (2013). She declared:
Autistic Brains aren’t broken. My own brain isn’t broken. My circuits aren’t ripped apart. They just didn’t grow properly. But because my brain became fairly known for its various peculiarities, autism researchers have contacted me over the years to put me in this scanner or that. I am usually happy to oblige. As a result of these studies I’ve learned a lot about the inner workings of my brain.
For those who know Grandin’s amazing thinking have not only earned her a doctorates in animal science as a college professor but also earned her a career in agricultural engineering as well. Concurrently, various studies and testimonies have been given that one with autism does not only think in pictures. Countless others have seen mathematical patterns which have allowed them to create geometrical shapes in the form of origami while other pattern thinkers can see entire laser shows in their head such as a close friend of mine who also works as a software engineer. Meanwhile word base thinkers don’t see pictures of patterns but rather absorb loads of information on movies, books and even sports. These types of minds can describe the whole plot of a movie or quote the every line perfectly. Finally visual thinkers, like Temple Grandin often associate pictures with words like ‘Steeple..’
Withal, I haven’t been able to create origami yet I do find my own mind to be rather interesting. First and foremost my mind is somewhat similar to fictitious character Sheldon Cooper. By this I mean that I hold an eidetic or photographic memory. Naturally I can recall events and details as far back at as the age of 2 which was during 1984. By the same token my eidetic memory also works as a source of information based on location or objects. For example, if I am taught about a certain fact at a certain place of shown a specific object, I will seem to forget about those facts until I am either as the location or shown the specific object that I will spit out all of the stored information on that fact. By the same token I learned that I may be a pattern thinker in learning that I have an easier time understanding the language of mathematics along with seeing invisible lines in my head. For example, if there is a wall in front me and I speak loud enough to produce an echo, I can see a green laser like line bouncing between the wall and I. Lastly, when I see fireworks, I can associate the noise and the actual firework with the word “Spark” or if a cat if walking I think of word “Walk,” repeatedly four times. Though I have many more interesting ways of seeing the world, I feel that these examples hold sufficiency.
While autism has seemed to become more prevalent today, many have often wondered if it has always been around but was never detected until recently. What is more is that experts often wonder if Albert Einstein, was on the spectrum himself. In an online fact sheet for autism and Asperger’s, it is said that, “People claim that Albert Einstein was a loner as a child, was a late speaker, starting only at two to three years old, and repeated sentences obsessively up to the age of seven.” One of the key factors that plays a huge role in autism is speech delay. It was also said that Einstein carried a limited interest in math and science along with looking up to his spouses to play the role of a parent due to his repeated patterns of forgetfulness; Autism Spectrum Disorders Fact Sheet (2008). All the while there are rumors that Steve Jobs was on the autism spectrum. It was said that Steve Jobs like had a lack of empathy for the thoughts and feelings of others by being blunt to others around him. He was also known for his limited types of clothing based on brands and close attention to details that experts today believe that Job had Asperger’s Syndrome; Wood (2014). Be that as it may neither public figure were remembered for their quirky behaviors and absent mindedness but for the brilliant works that each poured their heart and soul into.
Finally, I have learned that as the autism community has learned to embrace difference, one can be taught to focus what they can do and ignore what they can’t. As someone who is on the spectrum myself,I recently grew fed up with the word “Disabled” and replaced it with the title “Human Detour System.” This simply means that one can build on their strengths and work around their own weaknesses. Another way to look at the human detour system is taking a longer but fulfilling road to success. Be that as it me, I have done exactly just that.