Updated: Jan 21
I, myself, am a self-diagnosed autistic. I scored well above high-functioning on all of the diagnostic criteria or "markers" (structure of language used for this piece) that are often considered present in autism. Some people consider it an insult to call oneself "low-functioning." I don't mind; it's what was assigned to me at birth and there's no reason to fight it now.
As far as disabilities go, like many, mine is pretty selective about where I feel its disabling effects. When making friends with neurotypicals (neurologically typical people), they tend to forget my disability exists because we're able to get along reasonably well and also enjoy one-another's company. Unfortunately, it becomes apparent to them too late for things to go back to the way they were. I have a disability and you have a disability – autism or something else – so we can't be friends.
Although my disability hurts me a lot socially sometimes, it's also been a great help in other instances. In one area being autistic has been very useful: psychedelics. Psychedelic drugs are those that create psychological effects such as the perception of "expanded consciousness." The most common psychedelics are lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, DMT, MDMA, 2C-B, pharmaceuticals like ketamine and dextromethorphan, and others. When I say psychedelics, like most drugs, it's not the household name ones people think of (e.g., LSD) but all of them (really).
Now words like "drug" and "psychedelic" may invoke images in your mind that are rather negative. You may associate these things with hippies, dead heads, raves, or whatever they're called now; you might consider them to be dangerous because of their illegality. Some stereotypes about drug users include: they don't know what they're doing; they go crazy; they'll stop at nothing to get their high; they'll die if left unsupervised... Those are just some examples. Turns out many stereotypes about people who use drugs are just that: stereotypes.
There is a misconception that people who use drugs can't tell when something's wrong with them and they will die if left unsupervised. These two things couldn't be farther from the truth about psychedelics. In fact, you could say psychedelics honor their "trips," give them a chance to prepare for a bad trip, and even prevent a bad trip. How? Well, many psychedelics allow you to "let go" of your ego or hold on to it, similar to how some meditation techniques work. If you're having negative thoughts while hallucinating (whether its mild or intense hallucination), you let go of your ego and realize these thoughts aren't real; soon after, you're back to being your normal self.
Psychedelics are also anti-addictive drugs; it doesn't make sense for them to be addictive because they kill cravings & take away interests in things (or thoughts) that were previously interesting; if you take psychedelics again after this, there won't be any cravings present in the first place.
Psychedelics are helpful with disability too. Sometimes my disability makes me feel restricted in my mind, like there's a glass box around it that keeps me from expanding my thoughts to greater potential. On psychedelics, I'm able to go outside of this box and expand into spaces that shouldn't be physically possible for me to get into and understand that they're still real and very much accessible by everyone else who has ever tripped before. I can see what goes on behind the scenes of our reality and learn about myself while doing so. Even when I'm not "tripping," I can think about what happened during my psychedelic sessions and achieve the same results without drugs! There's no limit to how long I can think about these things and no limit to how much my disability helps me understand.
Psychedelics help me a lot more than disability hurts, it's only fair for disability to help psychedelics too. Psychedelics have taught me how to let go of my ego and expand my mind, they've helped me understand myself better, they've opened up new realities for me that were previously impossible for me to imagine without drugs, and I would recommend them to anyone looking into expanding themselves even if they never had disability before.
All people are born great, autistic or not. Their ability to make the world happy is incredible; frankly, it's infinite. Autistics are no exception. They can be successful in their lives and careers, like everyone else on this planet.
It is OK for an autistic person to be him or herself (which is extremely important here). Why? Because being oneself means being one's true self—and that self can have genius. There's nothing wrong with autism because autism isn't bad at all!
Many famous people throughout history were assumed to have had some form of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which they never received a diagnosis for, most likely because ASD wasn't recognized during their time period as what it is today. Some of these people include: Nikola Tesla, Sir Issack Newton, Thomas Jefferson & Wolfgang A. Mozart.
It is necessary to find out what gifts an autistic person has in order to let a person's superpowers shine. For example, a study done by Dr. David Trembath revealed that autistic children have exceptional spatial awareness—they can perceive the world differently from neurotypical people (people who don't have ASD).
He states: "What we show is that [autistic children] are able to orient very quickly with little or no movement at all… When they look for very small objects on a cluttered table, they are able to orient much better than typically developing children."
David goes on to clarify exactly why autistic children have these special powers: "It was always thought that autism is associated with really poor movement abilities… what we are seeing here in this research is that it's not the case at all. In fact, they can do movements very quickly and almost without error."
Thus, by recognizing the strengths of an autistic person, you're effectively recognizing their superpowers. There are various ways in which neurotypical people can help people who have ASD gain confidence in their extraordinary abilities. Like Nikola Tesla once said: "If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration."
The following are ways to help people who have ASD (or any other disorder, too):
Be positive, patient and understanding throughout the whole process
Don't assume that an autistic person has something specific; allow him, her or they to discover what he or she is interested in
Do not force an autistic person into socializing if he/she isn't comfortable with it; let him/her/they socialize when he or she wants to socialize
Allow him/her/them to take breaks when needed
Speak slowly and clearly
Encourage your child's interests
Help your child initiate new friendships
Provide opportunities for supported employment
Study up on ASD
Remind your child that he or she is loved by you
Celebrate milestones, no matter how small they are
Don't make assumptions about what an autistic person can do; it's more beneficial to discover what he/she/they can do on his/her/their own rather than forcing him/her/them to do something and risk losing confidence in abilities
These twelve ways work for any person who has a disorder: whether autism, ADHD, dyslexia, depression, epilepsy, etcetera! Just because someone doesn't have ASD doesn't mean these actions won't help them—they'll just help the person with ASD more directly.
Autistics having special abilities is nothing new. We've always known about it, and now we're starting to look into how this benefits neurotypical people (including the autistics themselves). It's time that autistics become more socially accepted. Autism doesn't have to hold anyone back anymore; it can be a stepping stone—or even a launching pad!
There are so many famous autistic people throughout history, yet only few of them are recognized for their gifts. For example, Thomas Jefferson is believed to have been diagnosed with ASD by modern-day professionals. This historical figure created "hieroglyphics" similar to those used by Egyptian priests. Not only that, but he was also able to speak several languages fluently for his time period. That's just one example of how ASD can be beneficial to the individual. There are many more people who have been diagnosed with ASD throughout history, yet there are few achievements attributed to them because of their disorder.
So please, do not judge someone without knowing what they're capable of. You don't know for sure that an autistic person cannot succeed in life! The most important message I want you to take away from this article is this: Autism is not a disease—it's a gift! Not all autistics are geniuses or savants, but the potential is there—all you need to do is help us grow into our full potential by encouraging our interests and giving support when necessary.
Being different isn't bad at all; instead, it's something to be celebrated. If you're neurotypical, think of autism as a superpower that someone has—and not just any superpower: a superpower that does good and helps people! Autism is not a curse; it's a blessing. I know most of you who read this blog will not treat me or my peers differently. You'll just be more understanding about autism, and that's all I ask for.
Thank you so much for reading this article. I hope it has changed your mind about autism—I know it definitely has changed mine. Please share this with all of your friends and family. It's time for this conversation to take place in our society; after all, isn't that the goal of this blog?
...[cale soars off into the abyss]
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