Do you like having an autism spectrum disorder?

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AceofPens
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23 Feb 2019, 8:07 pm

Prometheus18 wrote:
There's no arguing with someone who thinks greatly developed concentration ability is a fault any more than there is with someone who believes intelligence or bravery are, but here I go anyway.


You're right, a "greatly developed concentration ability" is a great trait - but most autistics don't have that in a positive sense you refer to. The number of autistics whose concentration skills exist in that sweet spot where it's beneficial but still well above NT standards is vastly dwarfed by the number of those who either lack the hyper-focus trait or have it to the degree that it is harmful. There are very few Temple Grandins in the world.

I wrote:
Most Aspies only have hobbies and interests on par with those of a NT but tell themselves that they are different. They're not.


you wrote:
What evidence do you have for this? Given that almost every reputable autism researcher in the world takes the opposite view, the onus is on you to give us a reason for your view.


Autism researchers are not always looking at Aspies exclusively in their research, they are looking at the collective body of autism sufferers. Truly excessive and narrow obsessions are quite common among those who are lower on the spectrum. I referred specifically to Aspies, however, in my post because they are the ones who always claim to make productive use of their special interests (lower functioning typically do not), yet their obsessions are rarely narrow by autistic standards and are much more comparable to NT interests in severity. By the standards I've seen held by Aspies, a significant majority of millennials have special interests (in shows, celebrities, etc).

It stands to reason that autistic traits should be distinct from NT traits. How can "special interests" by Aspie standards be an autism trait when it does not impair their function or affect their behavior but is instead a source of a few hours' recreation or a productive career? What makes it different from a NT pursuing a hobby or academic career? Unless a special interest is unquestionably distinct from NT behavior, I don't think it can be categorized as an example of hyper-focus.

you wrote:

I agree that the lack of social skills in itself is a slight fault, but more than made up for by everything else. There is no real use for social skills in today's world than to talk rubbish to idiots. Social skills are overrated. There is, on the other hand, ample use for gross intellectual and concentration ability.


You make this claim as someone who does not have social skills. We do not, as we often say, have the code book for finding meaning in the exchanges of NTs. We are not built to appreciate them. But just because we can't see it and benefit from it doesn't mean that those exchanges are useless. It sounds a lot like how NTs say that our narrow interests are useless and so don't understand why we pursue them. They don't experience it, so they don't know why we are drawn. And social skills are vastly important. You are on the wrong side of the research - in many fields of study - when you say otherwise.

you wrote:
I didn't say that nonconformity in itself was a virtue; I accept Bertrand Russell's dictum that nonconformity for its own sake is as insipid as conformity for its own sake. What I meant was that "aspies" can see through the ridiculous guile that makes up so much of conventional social intercourse. This, whatever its genesis, is a strength and not a weakness.

The idea of nonconformity as a "defence mechanism" is faintly amusing. The precise opposite is true, as even a few moments' thought about the evolutionary advantages of the herd mentality will convince you.

I don't view autism as a "superpower" or anything else, and parts of it cause me to suffer, but on the whole, it's something I'm more glad than regretful of.



Only those who cannot conform use nonconformity as a defense, because it creates the illusion of having a choice, or having some power over their isolation from the main group, or even some power over the group itself. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em set in reverse. They can't join the herd, and this is the alternative that they have found.

Throughout this conversation, you've sounded a lot like one of those "autism is the next step in evolution" sorts. Look, I'm glad that you feel good about having autism. That's not inherently a bad thing. But I hope that you don't extend that view to all Aspie cases, many of whom have traits that you call "positive" in a way that is definitely not positive. Trying to paint everything in a positive light is rather insulting to those who do not benefit from the "sweet spot" in autism, as well as the NT majority of the human race, which you seem to have a grudge against. The exceptions (I do think they exist) do not free any of us from the fact that autism is a disorder - a disability - and the claim that it is more beneficial than harmful overlooks the vast, vast majority. These traits you promote as defining are not an inherent aspect of autism or Aspergers.


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Trogluddite
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23 Feb 2019, 8:19 pm

Welcome to the forum, Antrax.

Antrax wrote:
Would I be happier with a normal mind? Perhaps. But I could also be less happy.


I approached my assessment with a similar kind of pragmatism, having already accepted that at least some of my difficulties might be innate. Nothing that has happened or that I've learned since my diagnosis has really changed that. I have some traits which give me immense pleasure, some which are neutral, some which I think I can learn to manage more effectively, and some which I can maybe only learn to stoically accept. Some of these are autistic traits, and some are dimensions of my personality, and it's not always easy to tell which are which, assuming that there is any practical difference at all. One thing that is for certain, especially for someone as predisposed to ruminating as I am, is that speculating about what might have been can become dysfunctional extremely easily, and is best avoided.


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Knofskia
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24 Feb 2019, 6:47 pm

AceofPens, I agree.

I do not know how symptoms can "cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning" in order to qualify toward a diagnosis and not be a negative. For example, if your restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior (e.g. special interests) are positive and do not impair your functioning, then how did it qualify toward an autism diagnosis? Would you not just have a social pragmatic communication disorder?

My hyper-focus is not a positive trait. It is not about being able to ignore outside distractions when beneficial (e.g. ignoring distractions when hyper-focused on studying); it is about not being able to focus on anything else though detrimental (e.g. ignoring self-care when hyper-focused on studying). Being stuck on a task like that is, at best, frustrating and, at worst, terrifying.


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livingwithautism
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24 Feb 2019, 8:22 pm

No point in hating something that just is.



Dylanperr
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24 Feb 2019, 10:11 pm

livingwithautism wrote:
No point in hating something that just is.

Yes.



EzraS
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25 Feb 2019, 12:14 am

Not particularly. I don't like having autism any more than I like having dyspraxia. But I am accepting of it. Most of the time.



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25 Feb 2019, 1:00 am

It doesn't give me any gifts so there is nothing to like about it.


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AceofPens
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25 Feb 2019, 11:33 am

Knofskia wrote:
AceofPens, I agree.

I do not know how symptoms can "cause clinically significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of current functioning" in order to qualify toward a diagnosis and not be a negative. For example, if your restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior (e.g. special interests) are positive and do not impair your functioning, then how did it qualify toward an autism diagnosis? Would you not just have a social pragmatic communication disorder?

My hyper-focus is not a positive trait. It is not about being able to ignore outside distractions when beneficial (e.g. ignoring distractions when hyper-focused on studying); it is about not being able to focus on anything else though detrimental (e.g. ignoring self-care when hyper-focused on studying). Being stuck on a task like that is, at best, frustrating and, at worst, terrifying.


I have had similar experiences with the hyper-focus trait and, there's usually burn-out waiting for me on the other end of the tunnel to cap it off. It's wearying, even if it is sometimes enjoyable at the onset, and the people around me usually find it obnoxious (I can't say that I blame them, given the mundane nature of my interests). Narrow interests mostly lacking the obsessive quality are much more enjoyable but are also useless except on a personal level.

Like you, I find the application of the diagnostic criteria to harmless or positive traits confusing and frustrating, especially when the different-not-disordered type is pushed as the defining image of autism, ignoring the vast majority of us. I have seen it again and again, especially here on WP. Everyone wants to remake autism in their own image, usually at someone else's expense. This is why the ASD umbrella doesn't work.


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livingwithautism
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25 Feb 2019, 2:45 pm

No, but I mostly accept that it’s the way things are.



kraftiekortie
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25 Feb 2019, 2:46 pm

It's a pain in the tushey----but, like LivingWithAutism stated, we are sort of stuck with it....



livingwithautism
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25 Feb 2019, 2:55 pm

I don’t like to self-pity either.



lostonearth35
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25 Feb 2019, 3:12 pm

People on WP don't have to like being aspie or autistic, but they don't have to say other people who do or accept it are delusional or brainwashed or whatever. :(

I guess homosexual people shouldn't like being gay, either. Why would someone want to be gay when so many people still think they're sick or evil and go around with signs saying GOD HATES F**S? If there was a cure for homosexuality that would be great because their lives would be easier and there would be no problems with them getting married or starting a family. And why do they have parades and public events celebrating homosexual culture when they didn't *choose* to be gay. People should never celebrate or be rewarded for anything they choose to be or didn't work at being, including being black or born female or even the day they were born.

I'm left-handed. It wasn't that long ago (and still is in some cultures), that being left-handed supposedly meant you were cursed by the devil, you were stupid because you couldn't use your right hand, you were a hopeless klutz and you'd die at an early age due to being so accident-prone (from being forced to use dangerous things that were made only for right-handers) and burn in hell for eternity. But instead I'm proud and happy to be a leftie. But no, let's never be proud and happy about our uniqueness ever again. :|