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fernando
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05 Sep 2008, 5:09 pm

Intro

In an age when people still thought that Asperger syndrome/autism was something that you are born with, when they were still looking for causes in vaccines and looking for cures in chemical labs, how does one come up with the idea that sitting in a certain way can cure autism? This is the story of the long chain of events that lead to one of the biggest discoveries of the 21st century.

My Father

It starts in the 70s. My father was an aspie, he moved to the big city when he was 15 and had endless social issues. So he became obsessed with pretending to be normal. Early in the 80s he noticed i was turning unsocial too so he tried to drill into my head the idea that i had to behave normal to the point that i started to hate that idea. I became determined to never be social, never make an effort.

Back in the mid 80s my father said (we didn't know asperger syndrome existed) that what we had was anxiety and that anxiety was a mind state, implying that it could be changed just by deciding to change. He must have read it in one of his motivation books. It is of course not true, but he repeated it so many times that the phrase "it's a mind state" got burned into my brain cells.

The Researcher

I started analizing people when i was 5 and never stopped. I was always thinking why did he do that? why did they react like that? Little did I know that all the stuff i was "discovering" had been discovered before and it was nicely arranged in a formal science known as Psychology. I could have saved myself a lot of years if I had read 20 books on psychology when i was a child, but raising my own science from the ground paid off in this case.

One of my early discoveries was that good manners only make sense when you are a social being. If you are unsocial then good manners look weird on you. I decided to avoid them.

The Chameleon

One day in the late 90s i decided i wanted to stop cursing, i started making an effort. It seemed pointless for the first month, i gave up on the second. I made and effort again on the third month and i got it. Then I decided i wanted to keep my keys in my left pocket instead of the right. Same thing happened, impossible on the first month, exhausting on the second and easy on the third. I started making changes to my behaviors just for fun. I became quite an expert in changes, they always took three months. I could even handle a few changes at the same time.

Autism

I started researching autism online on June 21, 2005, the night i self diagnosed as autistic, after reading the wikipedia article. I stopped a week later, there's not much you can learn from web articles, it's just a sea of theories repeating the same arguments over and over with no way of knowing for sure who's right. I became proud of being different, i became even more unsocial than before.

On the following months I tried to stop daydreaming, unsuccessfully, which was weird considering all my experience with changes.

Asperger Syndrome

On late january and february 2006 i met aspies. I re-self-diagnosed as aspie on the night of february 16, 2006 and i began researching almost full time. Unemployed since mid 2004, the only other thing i was doing was my masters.

Now that i had a few aspies around me i started analyzing them, every word they say, every movement, finding patterns in their behavior, identifying small symptoms. I found i can do that online too, analyzing aspies on wrongplanet was basic because online people tell a lot of things real world people never say.

Back then I made two decisions that would shape my research for the next 25 months:
1) Ignore autism, pretend it doesn't exist, focus on Asperger syndrome only.
2) Keep away from modern psychology views, don't read Attwood, Frith, Grandin or any book on asperger syndrome, don't read anybody's theories, go straight to the source, find aspies and analize them myself, create my own theories and disprove them myself, draw my own conclusions.

The First Try

After just over a month of researching Asperger syndrome I realized all the weird things I did, I realized how I looked from the outside. And I didn't like it. Looking at old aspies i saw my future and i didn't like it. I was already getting too old to be in my room all day long. I tried to date an aspie girl and ended up realizing i was too retarded to ever have a girlfriend. I decided to change.

So i did the obvious thing to do, i started pretending to be normal. Late March and most of April 2006 I spent trying to talk more, always looking for something to say, forcing eye contact, begging to be invited to parties, all that stuff. But then i met an aspie who had been pretending to be normal for more than 10 years. This person could hold a conversation for hours... but was still boring and cold. It was obvious you weren't talking to a person but to a made up character. And I kept thinking about the stories i read on wrongplanet from aspies who spent their younger years pretending to be normal and now regret it.

I stopped pretending.

Up to this point, this is the typical story of an aspie. In fact, this is the part where the aspie gets depressed and then starts accepting himself, focusing on the positives of being aspie and proclaiming neurodiversity. But just as depression was about to kick in, my father's words rescued me. "It's a mind state". What if it really was. Nobody had proved otherwise, except for the heritability factor. If Asperger syndrome is a mind-state, it should be modifiable. It was time for a plan.

The Proof

Now i don't like attempting the impossible so first i needed to prove that asperger syndrome is a purely mental thing. I came up with two bits of "evidence":

1) I always had trouble explaining to people what asperger syndrome was because most of the symptoms are things all NTs do sometimes. I made a list of symptoms i thought were only present on aspies and as i researched more and more that list went shortening. The last symptom i thought was exclusive of aspies was the rocking back and forth. The day i saw for the first time an NT rocking back and forth, my theories crumbled. Turns out all symptoms are present in NTs. I took it as the first proof that it is a psychological thing.

2) A thing happened years before in school. I was beat up daily by bullies, but there was one day when i got really pissed off and i surrendered my body, i stopped protecting myself, i let the guy beat me up openly while i stared into his eyes. I wanted him to feel my hate through my stare. Back to 2006, i realized that i am capable of sustained eye contact when i'm angry. I analized more and i concluded that emotions wipe out aspieness. When an emotion overtakes us, all symptoms of aspieness disappear for a while, all of them. This was my second proof.

I still wasn't sure, until the third proof happened. I always felt an awful sensation in my skin when somebody touched me, kind of like being burned but without the heat, as if they had some kind of acid in their hands, combined with a tickling sensation. I wanted to analyze this feeling better so i took a girls hand and put it in my arm and started moving it around. I FELT NOTHING! A few trials more proved that all those awful sensations only appear when i'm not controlling the hand that touches me. When i'm in control i just feel the warm flesh on me, the way NTs do when touched. There was only one possible explanation: my mind was making up all those sensations, there is nothing wrong with my skin, sensory issues are a fabrication of the mind, asperger syndrome is mental.

It is now may 2006 and I decide to take advantage of my experience with behavior changes for this project and so the master plan is born.

The Master Plan:

"Identify as many symptoms of aspergers as possible and for each one, create an exercise to stop it". But there was a special restriction, which i believe is the reason the cure hadn't been found before me: I still didn't want to be social, i just wanted to be normal, confident, unweird, kind of a non-aspie loner. So i focused only on the non-social related aspie behaviors, i made no effort to talk more, to make eye contact, to be emotional. Most cure researchers focus on fixing the social issues. I ignored all the symptoms that involve other people. In fact one of my exercises was "Stop talking", designed to make me proud of who i am as a non-social being. The restriction had a nice side effect: it allowed me to run my exercises in the comfort of my room, no need to try weird stuff in front of people.

A Hundred and one Exercises

I don't know how many exercises i designed, but they were surely way waaaaaaay more than 20 and maybe close to 200 altogether. To make matters worse, i didn't stop with my initial list of symptoms-exercises, but i kept researching and adding more exercises as i identified new aspie behaviors. Also I started adding exercises for things that were clearly not caused by aspergers, things i just felt like changing. The list would have looked a bit like this:

Symptom: Aspies keep their eyes half-closed
Exercise: Keep my eyes wide open all day long

Symptom: Aspies have a monotone voice
Exercise: Learn to sing, to move the tone of my voice up and down

Symptom: Aspies stretch their lips to the sides when smiling
Exercise: Smile like an NT, bend the corners of my lips upwards

Symptom: Aspies daydream too much
Exercise: Stop daydreaming, keep my mind blank all day

Symptom: I grab the wheel with just one hand while i'm driving
Exercise: Grab the wheel with both hands

Symptom: I look at the floor when I walk
Exercise: Look ahead

Symptom: I walk too fast
Exercise: Walk slow

Symptom: Aspies move with straight robot-like movements
Exercise: Move with grace, use round movements

Symptom: I am always preparing for my next movement
Exercise: Make pauses between movements

...and so on.

The Finding of the Cure

On the morning of saturday 22, july 2006, i noticed a new aspie behavior, spent days analyzing it and once understood, I did what I was supposed to do, I designed an exercise to stop that symptom. At the time it looked like just another stupid exercise in my long list of stupid exercises, I didn't know it back then and I wouldn't know it for 1.6 years more, but I had just designed the cure to autism. It was august 2006.


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Warsie
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05 Sep 2008, 7:34 pm

^^^^

Quote:
Symptom: I grab the wheel with just one hand while i'm driving
Exercise: Grab the wheel with both hands


erm, non-autistic people do that too...


Quote:
Symptom: Aspies move with straight robot-like movements
Exercise: Move with grace, use round movements


supposedly I was that way in 8th grade graduation rehersal.....

also when I do 'fluid' movements sometimes it's odd, as in me turning around like a spaceship, walking while turning (sometimes)


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Callista
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05 Sep 2008, 8:15 pm

Will there be anything left of you?


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aspergian_mutant
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05 Sep 2008, 8:22 pm

You know what the problem is with finding the god damn cure?
how do you know its not just evolution at work, helping us adapt to the changes in our world and society.
right now we are the minority, if its evolution at work eventually we may be the majority.
unless we as humans take control of our genetics and keep them suppressed from change,
then eventually we may all die out.



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05 Sep 2008, 8:32 pm

You're talking about natural selection, right? The way isolated populations of a species will select for the genes that make them better for their environment? Because I don't think you mean new mutations...

Aspies aren't any better than NTs, really; it's just that we seem to be very specialized for certain environments. NTs are generalists, and could survive passably just about anywhere... I don't think Aspies will ever replace NTs. We might become more numerous because AS becomes less and less of a handicap as technology becomes more and more prevalent; but Aspies by themselves wouldn't be as good as NTs at holding a society together.

I do think that as time goes on, humanity will become more neurodiverse. Three factors: One, in many areas we can now afford to feed people who can't contribute yet. That means that traits that could be useful in specialized environments get preserved. Two, the neurodiverse are starting to become part of society again, rather than being put in institutions. And three, the aforementioned technology, which allows us to communicate and gives us the tools we need to adapt.

Those things mean that neurodiversity will survive. The extreme specialization of society means that it will probably increase. The more diverse the minds in your society are, the more specialized the jobs those minds can do, the roles they can fill.

Where do NTs come in? They're specialists, too, in one way: Human relationships. In the presence of diversity, the NT could tie together all those separate groups of specialized people, become the communication specialists that tie an interconnected society together.

You won't see this today. If it happens, your grandchildren might see the beginnings of it... the genetics are already there; we don't need mutations, just selection.


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aspiartist
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05 Sep 2008, 8:40 pm

Your profile says your neurotypical so that explains that. But if you did in fact ever have any autistic related condition, you wouldn't have devised such notions as you have here. You pretty much described in detail your own neuroses. Had you ever been a child with an autism related condition, then you would have understood and known the difference. You at least have it right. You're neuotypical.



patternist
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05 Sep 2008, 8:43 pm

How do you know you're not just masking the symptoms?



lightening020
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05 Sep 2008, 8:43 pm

so what was the CURE? ....you said you found the cure/.......what was it?



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05 Sep 2008, 9:52 pm

Callista wrote:
I don't think Aspies will ever replace NTs. We might become more numerous because AS becomes less and less of a handicap as technology becomes more and more prevalent; but Aspies by themselves wouldn't be as good as NTs at holding a society together.


I would think a larger population the society has, the more likely it is to survive as there would be enough people to fill all the necessary things that they are specialized in and technology would fill in the rest-which said AS people would help on..

Not to mention the society arguably would be less aggressive, oppressive, elitist and stratified, etc...


Quote:
Three factors: One, in many areas we can now afford to feed people who can't contribute yet. That means that traits that could be useful in specialized environments get preserved. Two, the neurodiverse are starting to become part of society again, rather than being put in institutions. And three, the aforementioned technology, which allows us to communicate and gives us the tools we need to adapt.


As long as the mainstream doesn't force their will and pull genocide by 'curing' autistics and pulling blatant laws that say they can't reproduce-or worse sterilize them....

Quote:
Those things mean that neurodiversity will survive. The extreme specialization of society means that it will probably increase. The more diverse the minds in your society are, the more specialized the jobs those minds can do, the roles they can fill.


hmm... hopefully.. It also depends on the social mores and the like...and stuff like Oil Peak, economy, etc.


Quote:
Where do NTs come in? They're specialists, too, in one way: Human relationships. In the presence of diversity, the NT could tie together all those separate groups of specialized people, become the communication specialists that tie an interconnected society together.


hmm...

Not to diss 'em or anything like that, but there are autistics who can get all the social nuances, or are interested in them as an obsession-for example I'm thinking of going into poli sci, sociology or something related as Im too p**** with math to try power engineering and am decently knowledgeable on some parts of sociology and the like. I hope to improve on that, etc...

..wait was that bragging? I'm far from the best and still a noob arguably

EDIT: phrased it differently nao...

EDIT 2: couldn't the neurodiverse peoples work together by themselves anyway?


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Last edited by Warsie on 05 Sep 2008, 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lionesss
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05 Sep 2008, 9:58 pm

lightening020 wrote:
so what was the CURE? ....you said you found the cure/.......what was it?


Yeah I second that, I am curious, not that I want to be cured but.... I am curious as to what you have found :)


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05 Sep 2008, 10:01 pm

If you've discovered it then please advertise it as a CHOICE.


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05 Sep 2008, 10:45 pm

He hasn't, unless he's found a way to crack open his own skull and change the shape of his brain.



1Oryx2
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05 Sep 2008, 10:56 pm

Dude...autism afects the brain.

I've seen images of autistic brains vs. NTs.




Schultz and his colleagues at Yale have studied a brain region called the fusiform face area, which they believe is involved in "storing social knowledge." MRI studies show that this area, which normally lights up when a person processes faces, is impaired in autistic individuals.

The amygdala, known as the emotional center of the brain, appears to be less active in autistic people than in others. When an autistic person views images of emotional faces, for instance, the pathways that normally light up remain dark.

In a brain region known as the prefrontal cortex, certain areas are known to play a role in empathizing behaviors. These areas become more active when a person is figuring out what people are thinking or feeling. MRI studies have shown that in autistic people, the prefrontal cortex is less active in these tasks.

The autistic brain is, on average, larger and heavier than a normal brain.

In 1999, Baron-Cohen and his colleagues found that autistic individuals reading facial expressions had less activation in the front part of the brain -- and no activation in the amygdala -- compared to others, who showed a lot of activity in both regions.

Nerve cells in one region of the brain, the superior temporal sulcus (STS), light up when another person (or animal) looks at you. Ordinarily, connections from the STS to the amygdala are activated when a person tries to understand what's going on in the mind of another. In autistic people, this pathway may be missing or incomplete.



http://whyfiles.org/209autism/4.html this is the site that above info came from

And it affects everyone's brains so differently that everybody's autism is sortta like a fingerprint...

It's nice that you've found a way to cope, but autism isn't just symptom deep, it's also what causes those symptoms in the first place.



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05 Sep 2008, 11:27 pm

In a neurodiverse society, NTs would no longer be typical. Sure, autistics can and do connect with each other, but they're not specialized to do so. NT would be one specialization among many. I seriously doubt they would vanish, even though they might eventually be in the minority.

Quote:
I would think a larger population the society has, the more likely it is to survive as there would be enough people to fill all the necessary things that they are specialized in and technology would fill in the rest-which said AS people would help on..

Not to mention the society arguably would be less aggressive, oppressive, elitist and stratified, etc...
Society needs its generalists, people who can do multiple things and connect with people in more than one field. The way things would work out, I think NTs would stick around--they're the most efficient way to provide the connection between niches. They might be in the minority, though.

I seriously doubt that society would be "less aggressive, oppressive, elitist, and stratified". Autistics are just as capable of prejudice, aggression and elitism as anyone else. I've seen enough internet flame wars to make that very obvious. I've seen prejudice leveled at NTs that's every bit as bad as what the worst NTs feel against us, and I've seen a great deal of verbal aggression that probably didn't explode into fistfights only because you can't do that through a computer.

I'm not saying autistics are horrible, bad people. Just that they are no better than anybody else. If the violence, hatred, and elitism are different coming from us, you can bet the difference will be in style, not quantity.


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06 Sep 2008, 1:08 am

Symptom: Aspies keep their eyes half-closed
Exercise: Keep my eyes wide open all day long

Wait, is having your eyes only half open a symptom of autism? My eyes only open about half way. It looks something like this:

Image

It has been referred to as 'sleepy eyes', 'bedroom eyes', or 'allergy eyes'. I didnt know that had anything to do with autism.



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06 Sep 2008, 2:28 am

Callista wrote:
In a neurodiverse society, NTs would no longer be typical.


hmmm....how to get there; lol war of demographis...lol

Quote:
Society needs its generalists, people who can do multiple things and connect with people in more than one field.


autistic people can do that as well; people have several obsessions often....


Quote:
I seriously doubt that society would be "less aggressive, oppressive, elitist, and stratified". Autistics are just as capable of prejudice, aggression and elitism as anyone else. I've seen enough internet flame wars to make that very obvious.


heh....heh...heh...heh..

Quote:
I've seen prejudice leveled at NTs that's every bit as bad as what the worst NTs feel against us, and I've seen a great deal of verbal aggression that probably didn't explode into fistfights only because you can't do that through a computer.


the internet is serious business, flamewars lol.

Then again they started it so :P

Quote:
I'm not saying autistics are horrible, bad people. Just that they are no better than anybody else. If the violence, hatred, and elitism are different coming from us, you can bet the difference will be in style, not quantity.


how so? Hmm...I wonder if it'll end up like Yugoslavia or something...


...then I'm mumbling and out of it and this is in the future


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