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drgreen19
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04 Jan 2011, 6:23 pm

Hi, I was thinking, a lot of people on the site say Aspies have different neurological wirings. Does that mean Aspie traits are withstanding and cannot be modified through treatment? Also, I was diagnosed with Asperger's and ADD as a kid, but it seems more like a comination of Social phobia and SPD, and while I have Aspie traits, my mode of thinking isn't exactly Aspie, so I wanted to know does the Aspie mode of thinking have something to do with how the nerves are wired and what implications it has for people like me.

Thanks



Last edited by drgreen19 on 04 Jan 2011, 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Jan 2011, 6:29 pm

Neurology is not set concretely. It is possible to change it. That's called 'neuroplasticity'. Most people agree on this. The issue is over how plastic brains actually are, and how to create positive, permanent changes in an efficient manner.


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evilduck
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04 Jan 2011, 6:35 pm

Moog wrote:
Neurology is not set concretely. It is possible to change it. That's called 'neuroplasticity'. Most people agree on this. The issue is over how plastic brains actually are, and how to create positive, permanent changes in an efficient manner.

That's a scary thought. Especially since I myself was diagnosed at the age of about 38. As a child you face better chances of developement in a pure physical fashon brainwise.



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04 Jan 2011, 6:45 pm

There's plasticity in how we use the machinery we've got, but not so much when it comes to changing the machinery.

In neurotypicals, as far as I can make out, something happens early on that connects facial and other gestures to visual perception. This is the foundation for "theory of mind" and all the later socialisation is built on top of it.

It desn't work so well for aspies, It's rumored that early (around two years of age) intervention can reduce the damage, and of course information and training can help a little when we're older, but in general we're stuck with it.



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04 Jan 2011, 7:33 pm

It depends on what you want to change about yourself, and how much. I can act "normal"-ish when it counts, but there's a price.



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04 Jan 2011, 9:18 pm

Malisha wrote:
It depends on what you want to change about yourself, and how much. I can act "normal"-ish when it counts, but there's a price.


Yes, there is a price. It is a pain in the butt.

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04 Jan 2011, 9:24 pm

evilduck wrote:
Moog wrote:
Neurology is not set concretely. It is possible to change it. That's called 'neuroplasticity'. Most people agree on this. The issue is over how plastic brains actually are, and how to create positive, permanent changes in an efficient manner.

That's a scary thought. Especially since I myself was diagnosed at the age of about 38. As a child you face better chances of developement in a pure physical fashon brainwise.


It is scary if you are a pessimist.


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wavefreak58
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04 Jan 2011, 11:17 pm

drgreen19 wrote:
my mode of thinking isn't exactly Aspie, so I wanted to know does the Aspie mode of thinking ...


Can you expand on this? I'm not sure what you mean by the "aspie mode of thinking"


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04 Jan 2011, 11:17 pm

Actually the theory of mind thing is a misunderstanding. The most common test for theory of mind is heavy on difficult language constructions. Give autistic children a non-language-based test and they easily either match or outperform the scores of nonautistic children.


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04 Jan 2011, 11:20 pm

anbuend wrote:
Actually the theory of mind thing is a misunderstanding. The most common test for theory of mind is heavy on difficult language constructions. Give autistic children a non-language-based test and they easily either match or outperform the scores of nonautistic children.


I was surprised by the amount of inconsistency in the entire "Theory of Mind" concept, especially as it seems to be an important part of the description of autism.


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04 Jan 2011, 11:46 pm

Moog wrote:
Neurology is not set concretely. It is possible to change it. That's called 'neuroplasticity'. Most people agree on this. The issue is over how plastic brains actually are, and how to create positive, permanent changes in an efficient manner.


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05 Jan 2011, 12:49 am

drgreen19 wrote:
Hi, I was thinking, a lot of people on the site say Aspies have different neurological wirings. Does that mean Aspie traits are withstanding and cannot be modified through treatment? Also, I was diagnosed with Asperger's and ADD as a kid, but it seems more like a comination of Social phobia and SPD, and while I have Aspie traits, my mode of thinking isn't exactly Aspie, so I wanted to know does the Aspie mode of thinking have something to do with how the nerves are wired and what implications it has for people like me.

Thanks


People with AS can be taught certain social skills, much like one can be taught dance steps, or how to draw, however, there is evidence to support that people with AS do have a common neurological wiring that differs from those with HFA, and those who are considered "NT".

The brain is dynamic but only to a degree. It cannot change radically.

If you'd like to learn more about AS and the underlying neurology, I suggest you go to Google Scholar and type in +Asperger +brain



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05 Jan 2011, 12:58 am

evilduck wrote:
Moog wrote:
Neurology is not set concretely. It is possible to change it. That's called 'neuroplasticity'. Most people agree on this. The issue is over how plastic brains actually are, and how to create positive, permanent changes in an efficient manner.

That's a scary thought. Especially since I myself was diagnosed at the age of about 38. As a child you face better chances of developement in a pure physical fashon brainwise.

Actually no. I'm reading about neuroplasticity now and it says you can change the brain at any age. The old age belief was that the brain stopped developing but actually the more you learn and experience life the more neurons you grow.
The brain is organic. It is continually changing. It's not a machine that can only work a certain way.

Of course I still struggle with my autistic symptoms, as well as ADHD. Maybe it is the way our brain works differently that makes it harder for neuroplasticity to work for us. Still, I'm going to challenge this theory.


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05 Jan 2011, 4:51 am

It's up to the individual whether they want to go through that change, or not. I wouldn't. I'm as stubborn as they come.


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05 Jan 2011, 9:12 am

The thing about neuroplasticity is that it doesn't mean the brain can change in every single way a person could possibly imagine. It just means that the brain still changes past childhood. Even in childhood very few children can "outgrow" all of their obvious autistic traits. And many who have been trained into suppressing them for the first half of childhood (such as through ABA, or through their own personal efforts to "be more normal") have been shown to be in for a nasty shock when they hit puberty and the social demands increase beyond their ability to compensate.

Think of it like this: In a nondisabled person, neuroplasticity means they keep growing and learning. It doesn't mean their brain wiring fundamentally changes to that of another neurological setup entirely. They couldn't use neuroplasticity to make themselves autistic for instance.

Autistic people's brains are almost always the way they are since prenatal times. (As is evidenced by a higher rate of subtle physical features around the head that are normally associated with differences in brain development at specific times in prenatal development.) We, like nondisabled people, grow and learn. Always. Even if we don't always learn the things we most want to learn. Even when we lose some abilities we are still learning others.

But just because we are always growing and learning doesn't mean we can learn absolutely anything we want, or that we fundamentally change our wiring at a deeper level to be more like nonautistic people. Each of us still has our own limitations that are different and specific to each person.

I learned my limits the hard way. I have always had my biggest talents involvesensory-based awareness of the world. But I tried really hard to be one of the idea-based thinkers around me. I made a little progress but that wasn't good enough for me. I poured all my energy into it, and darn the stress and pain, I was going to do this no matter what. And for a few years my mind soared.

But then, it crashed. I tried hard to get it up in the air again but with only modest success. Then I tried again and I succeeded less and less every time. Eventually I had to admit that this kind of thinking is something I could only do a little bit.

But in that time I saw myself as only losing this ability, something else was happening. My best cognitive skill, that of sensory awareness (a kind of thinking in its own right but not one most people would call thought), was flourishing, growing deeper and enriched. It was as if my brain knew what its own strengths were, and it rebelled against my attempts to suppress them and learn something I would never be good at, so that I could learn to excel at what I did best. I'm now grateful my brain knew better than I did.

And I also found that my idea-based thinking is in fact better than it would have been. It's just never going to be my strength. It's possible that if I hadn't tried to learn more of it, my word-based communication would never have taken off and allowed me, however painstakingly, to describe all this. Prior to all this, my use of words was simply imitation of others, not usually communication of my inner life but just imitation of what I thought a person would say in my circumstances.

So I did learn and change, but my learning and changing had limits. I never would have become a nonautistic person. I never would have even become one of the "logical thinking type of autistic people" so common on this forum. I enhanced my skills a little in an area of weakness but it will probably always be an area of weakness.

I am beginning to suspect that neuroplasticity is turning into another one of those myths about the brain. Not that neuroplasticity doesnt exist, but it can't do everything people claim it can. It's taking the place of an older myth that "We only use ten percent of our brain and imagine what would happen if we used all of it?" (In reality we do use all of our brain.) It lends a scientific veneer to the same basic idea -- that our brains are capable of anything if we could just harness their abilities.

But that's never been what neuroplasticity was about. And it probably never will be. We always continue learning, but that learning has limits. Each individual person has a different set of limits. And it is only a very small number of autistic people overall who can become either nonautistic or a really good (and relatively stress-free, permanent) simulation of it. It's the same reason most people will likely never learn the highest parts of math.


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