Updated: Jan 21
As many probably know, there is a huge side to autism which most people don't see. It is called Asperger syndrome and its modern version, high-functioning autism or HFA.
The autistic spectrum is incredibly large, with no two people being alike in their neurodivergence. Here are some facts about the spectrum that most people are unaware of:
- The majority of autistic individuals are visual thinkers (70%) rather than auditory (30%).
- Most people with autism have an IQ around 100 or above, but not always - most importantly they are able to think outside the box. This means that many highly intelligent nonverbal autistics may be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia because of their ability to construct unusual art forms.
- Many autistics feel the same way about themselves as many neurodivergents do: they feel alienated or disconnected from society, unable to fit in or behave like everyone else. However, their intelligence and natural talents - such as beautifully illustrating what they see in their minds eye, writing poetry and prose which is often very successful at expressing their thoughts and feelings, creating echolalia-like lyrics that flow into a song which explains how they think or see things (this can also be done by autistic musicians), and much more - give them the ability to forge new pathways for humankind instead of just living on the fringes of society all their lives.
It was not until recently that people started noticing the positive side of the autism spectrum and we started seeing autistic people all over the world doing things that would shift the paradigm. They are already (and have been) celebrating their neurodivergence in many ways and showing off their gifts and talents in the new digital world.
Their ability to construct unusual art forms & forge new pathways for humankind is tremendous.
Let's explore the autistic world and celebrate another day in a bright new world.
- Akiane Kramarik is an autistic artist who has created breathtaking art pieces of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna & more! Some paintings she created are included in this article.
- Temple Grandin was the first high-functioning autistic person to receive a PhD at Colorado University in Animal Sciences. She's also made outstanding contributions to Animal Welfare.
- Jacob Barnett was diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome when he was two years old. He was able to do things that no one else could do - read books on advanced calculus before he turned five and write computer programs by age 10. He has since been studying Physics at Princeton University under the mentorship of Professor Kane (the youngest professor ever hired there).
There are many, many autistic people like this and we can look forward to seeing more and more of them. We will also see autistic people creating their own communities around the world - such as AutCraft in Australia (my home country) & Neurodivergent Natives (NDN) in the UK, which serves as a safe place for autistic individuals to connect with each other and explore who they are without judgement or pressure from society at large.
The two founders of NDN also created 'Autistic Not Weird', a blog that discusses autism and gives advice on how to deal with it in today's neurotypical world.
If you're an autistic person yourself, go check out these forums and join them! You'll be glad you did.
They are also working on a book of written work, poetry & insights from autistic people themselves! So far there are some lovely pieces in there already.
This is just the beginning of the enhanced neurodivergent community that's emerging - and I can look forward to many days where more individuals like these will step up to the plate and show their skills & talents to the world with pride. Neurodivergence is incredibly large, with no two people being alike in their neurodivergence. Here are some facts about the spectrum that most people are unaware of: - The majority of autistic individuals are visual thinkers (70%) rather than auditory (30%), meaning they think mainly pictures or images instead of sounds (more common sense now?!) - Many autistic people are also left-brained (logical, analytical), whereas neurotypicals tend to be right-brained (creative).
- Some female ASD individuals were diagnosed with Autism later in life because they mimic social behavior very well. However, once you get to know them better, you'll see that their true colors shine through! They just prefer to act like everyone else around other people so that they don't stand out and feel different.
- The average person has 100 trillion neural connections in their brain. Meanwhile, autistic individuals have far more than the average - around 150 trillion! Imagine what we're capable of doing with our brains when you think about it like that.
It's like an entire new world full of possibilities and information is opening up to us every day as neurodivergent people (more common sense now?). NeuroPositivity is an organization aimed at helping those on the spectrum learn how to connect with each other better through different types of communication, such as visual ones (like sign language & keyboard shortcuts - super helpful) and social ones (such as teaching people with autism to respond to emails properly).
They also host lectures on all sorts of topics, such as how autistic children can be better understood by society at large. A lot of these seminars are free for the public to attend! As an autistic person attracted to science myself, I'd recommend attending their seminar about neuroscience in medicine if you're interested in that sort of thing.
Neurodivergent Katelynn is a fantastic blog written by an autistic girl who retired from her career as a special education teacher due to becoming more disabled over time. However, she still contributes articles every now and again about what it's like being neurodivergent in today's world.
She also shares articles about coping with sensory overload, interesting things found in her art & craft supplies and talks about the different types of stimming she does for self-soothing purposes or to help herself focus better on work or personal projects.
Sensory processing disorder is very common amongst people on the spectrum, so if you struggle with loud noises, bright lights or itchy fabrics - then that's totally okay! You are not alone by any means. It will take time for autistic people to heal from all the stress they've endured within their lifetime due to society's ignorance towards them, but by coming together as a community now - I truly believe we can make this world a better place for our own sake.
Autistic, not Weird Forums: