Toni Braxton’s son was not cured of autism and it’s irresponsible for her to say so

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InThisTogether
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17 Aug 2016, 8:51 pm

alex wrote:
nostromo wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
nostromo wrote:
Hate to nitpick but she didn't say he was cured.

She said "has no signs of autism" and that's entirely possible.



Quote:
My son Diezel is off the spectrum

Thanks for proving my point.

She does not have to say the exact words "He was cured" to mean she thinks has was cured. She is presumably NT and presimably does not use exacting language. She came as close to saying those exact words without actually saying them. If a person is on the spectrum he or she is autistic. If the person is not on the spectrum anymore he or she is not autistic anymore. If he or she is not autistic because of some action such as therapy then that action "cured" that person. That is what she is claiming happened. What other interpretation of her words can there reasonably be?

I Disagree. Words are of utmost importance.

Its open to interpretation but I tend to think of "cure" as this illusionary concept of change imbibed by some sort if elixer or procedure. Highly unfeasible. I don't know of Ms Braxtons interpretation but I would suspect that whatever it is it is not the same as the alleged change she is talking about in her son. Her words are important. She claims he is no longer on the spectrum, she claims he no longer shows signs of autism.

I would imagine most people here myself included know he is and always will be autistic and Ms Braxton might even think that too for all we know but she wasnt speaking to that she was speaking of what I am almost certain are diagnostic criteria for autism. Different things. The distinction is subtle but important.
In fact she didnt even go so far as to claim he no longer had autism.

Words matter. They are very important as they convey meaning and intent.

It does irk me when people jump to conclusions and blurt our headlines like this that are misleading.

What a bogus argument.


Actually, I think it is an interesting argument.

I do not know Toni Braxton, nor her son, and I tend not to follow "celebrity" stories, but, if one looked back at my previous post, I can imagine myself saying my daughter "shows no signs of autism" (if I was talking about time periods because she can go days in which this statement is entirely true. And weeks in which it is largely true), but I do not think she is cured. I am not autistic, so I guess I can't use precise speech :wink: , but it would be a conscious choice of words for me. And I do believe my daughter has at least one foot "off the spectrum" in a diagnostic sense, so I might also say that. But I do not think she is cured.

NT people can use language thoughtfully and with intent. It is errant to assume that because someone is *presumably* NT that they are haphazard and imprecise with their choice of words. Nostromos' argument is worth consideration. She may have deliberately chosen the words she chose because they are the best way she can think of to explain her reality (and her son's).

I must also point out, again, that I do NOT think my daughter has been cured, and I am 100% certain that at the time of diagnosis, she was 100% autistic. But I also do not think she would be able to be properly diagnosed at this point based on her presentation today. You are making things much more black and white than they actually are. I also think it is presumptuous for anyone on this board to think they know her son better than she does just because they share a neurology with him. I do not walk around telling parents of kids with ADHD that I know their kids better than they do. I may understand certain realities of their experience better than they do, because I know firsthand what it is like to have an uncooperative brain and executive dysfunction, but I do not know their kid better than they do. If she says her kid no longer demonstrates signs of autism, without *evidence* to the contrary, we must accept the possibility that her statement is accurate. Our speculations are not evidence.


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ASPartOfMe
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18 Aug 2016, 4:21 am

It is Ms. Braxton who made the black and white statement about her sons condition. What I meant by NT's not using exacting language is not that NT's do not think before they speak. What
I meant is spelled out clearly by Alex's example. The vast majority people would interpret somebody made me have sex against my will as somebody raped me. Autistics would have have greater tendency to not interprete rape because the word rape was not specifically used or not understand that a person saying somebody made me have sex agsinst me against my will is another way of that person saying they were raped.

A little backgound about her claim may be needed.
TONI BRAXTON SAYS SON IS NO LONGER AUTISTIC

Quote:
Braxton, 48, said she credits early diagnosis and getting her son into special needs programs.

"Early diagnosis changes everything. My son Diezel was off the spectrum being autistic, and Suzanne Wright, who unfortunately just passed...she called me immediately and said, 'Get him in this programme, do this, do that'. She's been an advocate and helped me so much," Braxton said.
Our lives have changed. He has no signs of autism. He's our social butterfly... I'm very, very fortunate... He's doing pretty wonderful. I'm pretty proud of him."
According to Autism Speaks, there is such thing as moving off the spectrum



if you believe "off the spectrum bieng autistic" because of intervention means anything else but cured we have absolutely no common ground in which to continue this discussion. I have a hard time believing even the most autistics would not interpret that as a claim of cured.


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18 Aug 2016, 5:57 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
It is Ms. Braxton who made the black and white statement about her sons condition. What I meant by NT's not using exacting language is not that NT's do not think before they speak. What
I meant is spelled out clearly by Alex's example. The vast majority people would interpret somebody made me have sex against my will as somebody raped me. Autistics would have have greater tendency to not interprete rape because the word rape was not specifically used or not understand that a person saying somebody made me have sex agsinst me against my will is another way of that person saying they were raped.

Do you realise that the phrase "forcing someone else to have sex against their will" encompasses any type of uninvited sexual act of which there are quite a number? Do you then understand that rape defines a specific type of sexual activity, and if you equated any type sexual assault specifically to the act of rape you could be wrong. So in contrast to what you are suggesting, what Alex has actually done is illustrated my point that you need to be careful with words and use the correct ones!

And if you are talking about using "exacting language" that doesn't stand scrutiny either because Alex is the one who has started off with what he thinks she meant rather than what she literally actually said.
ASPartOfMe wrote:

A little backgound about her claim may be needed.
TONI BRAXTON SAYS SON IS NO LONGER AUTISTIC
Quote:
Braxton, 48, said she credits early diagnosis and getting her son into special needs programs.

"Early diagnosis changes everything. My son Diezel was off the spectrum being autistic, and Suzanne Wright, who unfortunately just passed...she called me immediately and said, 'Get him in this programme, do this, do that'. She's been an advocate and helped me so much," Braxton said.
Our lives have changed. He has no signs of autism. He's our social butterfly... I'm very, very fortunate... He's doing pretty wonderful. I'm pretty proud of him."
According to Autism Speaks, there is such thing as moving off the spectrum



The quote in caps was NOT what she said either, it was the websites interpretation of what she said similar to what Alex has done.
She did not say "he is no longer autistic" at ANY point.

She said "he has no signs of autism". That does NOT mean the same thing as "he is no longer autistic", unless in your opinion a person who has autism must show signs?
She said he is "off the spectrum", the interpretation of that depends on your understanding of what being on the spectrum means. I'll discuss that below.

ASPartOfMe wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
if you believe "off the spectrum bieng autistic" because of intervention means anything else but cured we have absolutely no common ground in which to continue this discussion. I have a hard time believing even the most autistics would not interpret that as a claim of cured.

Let me point to the handiest definition of Autism Spectrum, the very first hit on google:

"Autism spectrum or autistic spectrum describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders in the fifth and most recent revision of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published in 2013".

So the first definition of Autism Spectrum is one that refers to diagnosis. In my opinion a person can be autistic (i.e. their neurology) and either not have an autism diagnosis (i.e. how their neurology is classified by a third party) or similarly would not receive a diagnosis if examined. Because there is a threshold for such things, right?

I think she did choose her words carefully. It sounds like she has been around so called professionals long enough to know a fair amount about Autism, and to know these things.

I think she was using the term in that diagnostic context as in he would no longer receive an autism diagnosis.
But - I cannot be sure, it's just what I suspect.
Equally possible is that she did mean to say he is cured in her opinion, but we can also only suspect that because that is not what she actually said.

Alex needs to either quote the lady and say what she actually said and criticise her on that, or if he is going to interpret and use different words then at least say "this is what I think" she said.

I think he needs to alter the title because as is indisputable and I can only reiterate - because its staring you in the face - she never said her son was cured.



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18 Aug 2016, 2:01 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
It is Ms. Braxton who made the black and white statement about her sons condition. What I meant by NT's not using exacting language is not that NT's do not think before they speak. What
I meant is spelled out clearly by Alex's example. The vast majority people would interpret somebody made me have sex against my will as somebody raped me. Autistics would have have greater tendency to not interprete rape because the word rape was not specifically used or not understand that a person saying somebody made me have sex agsinst me against my will is another way of that person saying they were raped.

A little backgound about her claim may be needed.
TONI BRAXTON SAYS SON IS NO LONGER AUTISTIC
Quote:
Braxton, 48, said she credits early diagnosis and getting her son into special needs programs.

"Early diagnosis changes everything. My son Diezel was off the spectrum being autistic, and Suzanne Wright, who unfortunately just passed...she called me immediately and said, 'Get him in this programme, do this, do that'. She's been an advocate and helped me so much," Braxton said.
Our lives have changed. He has no signs of autism. He's our social butterfly... I'm very, very fortunate... He's doing pretty wonderful. I'm pretty proud of him."
According to Autism Speaks, there is such thing as moving off the spectrum



if you believe "off the spectrum bieng autistic" because of intervention means anything else but cured we have absolutely no common ground in which to continue this discussion. I have a hard time believing even the most autistics would not interpret that as a claim of cured.


I showed that article at a ASD support group, and everyone said their interpretation of it was Braxton's kid is NT now.

Toni can get her next 15 minutes of extended fame by back pedaling on her statement, "Well, I never said he was cured." and play the wronged warrior mommy card.

*insert near fatal eye roll here*

ASPOM, I'm with you on this one.



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31 Aug 2016, 5:25 pm

Early intervention can do a lot to help kids on the spectrum, but what happens when they hit the teen years, which are difficult even for normal kids? Remember, at that time they are also going to be dealing with hormonal changes, and more social complications, as they go through those difficult teen years. Then there is the transition to adulthood, another difficult time. For some that means going off to universities, or to a job, and to all the new stresses at these places. There are less services available to help adults on the spectrum, so those entering adulthood are bound to run into problems that they may not be able to get help with. Then there is the issue of adult romantic relationships, for those interested in that. It can be very hard, or even impossible for some on the spectrum to find someone they can get along with, well enough to make a go of it.

You can't say a child on the spectrum is "cured" until they have gone through all of these things, and managed as well as normal people. You also can't say they are cured, because they still have the same brain, with the same neurological makeup, as before the "cure."

Some of us on the spectrum manage to learn enough coping methods, and learn them well enough, to manage well in the normal world. Many are even able to pass as normal, sometimes on purpose, but often because their condition was never diagnosed, so they don't know why they are different. Unfortunately, many on the spectrum aren't able to manage well in the normal world.

I am glad Toni Braxton's son is doing well, but she is mistaken about him being cured. However, I wish them both well.



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08 Sep 2016, 4:09 pm

some kids can be miss Dx with autism becuse they have a severe spl iusses an maybe some other things that can look like autism an have simular behavior .those may look like recover kids .but anyone with any intelligence
knows you can't recover from a disability you are born with @@@@ .my dad would get told oh try this or that when I was younger to cure me .my dad say I could wave a magic wand over her head an get the same reuslts .
then it sad some parents are so desperate to help there kids be HF .not accepting that .no matter how much help they get some will never be any diff then they are :(


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12 Sep 2016, 7:43 am

what infuriates me is the fact that people don't want to understand that autism is not something you can cure, like chill people. keep in mind i'm posting this with only having read the first page of comments but. shrug.

i strongly believe that autism is on a spectrum. maybe this kid just moved to a different part of the spectrum? i mean yeah, i don't know this kid, but from an outsider's perspective, i don't think he was cured. at all. i know that it hurts my feelings when some of my friends think that a cure for autism is possible, even if they mean it in the kindest way. i can't begin to imagine how this kid's relationship with his mom is if he's accepting of his autism diagnosis.

i don't know too much about autism, despite having asperers,having not researched too much. but i do think this kid might have just shifted or is acting differently to please his mom.



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12 Sep 2016, 7:53 am

Autistics who are 'cured' are just good actors. It pleases the NTs to have us perform like trained circus animals to appease their feelings of guilt and disgust about what we are.

Being an actor just leads to burnout. The NTs gain the benefit, but there is no benefit to the autistic and it just leads to anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation and resentment. Autistics know they're acting, but can never tell anyone. I suppose it's like 'being in the closet' although society doesn't mind gay people now and they're allowed out.

I wish we could be this lucky :?


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12 Sep 2016, 9:16 am

Quote:
Braxton, 48, said she credits early diagnosis and getting her son into special needs programs.

"Early diagnosis changes everything. My son Diezel was off the spectrum being autistic, and Suzanne Wright, who unfortunately just passed...she called me immediately and said, 'Get him in this programme, do this, do that'. She's been an advocate and helped me so much," Braxton said.


Perhaps I am completely misinterpreting things but I can only read what I see and what I see is that she said "My son Diezel was off the spectrum being autistic." She said this to describe his condition before he went onto the program. So perhaps Diezel was never actually on the spectrum in the first place, perhaps he simply showed some autistic patterns of behaviour initially but not enough to be statemented? Hence the program that he embarked on was able to effect some changes. It's difficult to tell because I have no idea who either she or her son are but I do know that her use of the phrase "My son Diezel was off the spectrum being autistic" is poor grammar and open to misinterpretation.


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Last edited by Jute on 12 Sep 2016, 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

autti34
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12 Sep 2016, 9:52 am

for some toddlers an litte kids that get EI they can become almost nt an end up with mild signs .for others no matter how much time an therapy an so on some will be the same .i no .i have friends who are the same as when litte .
my parents told me I was one of the kids that wasn't doing as well as everyone else .it hard for mom an dad .thry kept plugging g away taking me were ever they though something would help .they were told .i would proubly have to be put away .an told all these things I never be able to do .but my mom say one year it all started to click an I became HF .not HF like my aspie friends but HF for me .i can use the coumputer .thst has set my mind free .an many other things they were told I never do .but trust me other can still tell I have a disabilty .


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16 Sep 2016, 10:00 am

Does she say anywhere HOW her son was 'cured' of autism? I mean using what method/cure? I have looked at a couple of articles but see no specific information on this.

I see that she was a spokeswoman for Autism Speaks, which I would treat with extreme caution, considering what I have heard about them through my various reading.

I recently saw a presentation by a boy who says he was autistic but has managed to conquer it by learning the methods for fitting in, I will not link it as he seems a lovely boy and very fragile, and trying so hard, so I think not a subject for any criticism. However my gut feeling was that he had learnt how to jump through hoops, he had somehow been trained to behave 'normally'. I found it chilling. Having read the chapter on ABA in Neurotribes, it seems to me that there are many parents who cannot perceive or admit that there are fundamental problems with our society, and how it approaches diversity, and in preference will force their children to change. Isn't there a popular (among some) saying; "the ends justify the means"?



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16 Sep 2016, 10:11 am

I had awfull aba when younger A lot of it make you feel like you have to say yes an stuff .but also cuse a lot of angizty to by the time I became HF I stared to feel like a dog .it really hit me when I took my dog when he was a puppy to dog class it was like omg this is aba for puppys .i think some litte kids may have a severe speech dealy an stuff an seem autustic an then get help start speaking then they think they are cure .but other wize dosnt hapoen .sone may learn to control behavior .but as much as I think I'm doing good when out .people no I have a disabilty an I don't care .istill get help .but they way they treat us isn't right


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16 Sep 2016, 12:40 pm

My son had a late start in his development. He didn't talk at all as an infant and he was so quiet and he barely spoke a word as a one year old and some other things doctors noticed. He was only labeled as having a developmental delay and language but now he is as NT as he gets now and he is talking very well. My two year old is doing a lot more things than her brother did at this age. I see a huge difference in their development.

Some NT children get a late start in their development and then they catch up and are "normal" now. I am sure some of them get diagnosed as being autistic and then they "grow out of it." But what happens if a kid grows out of it by their teen years or late childhood or pre teens, then what does that mean? Does that mean they were slow in developing? Just immature?


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19 Sep 2016, 12:11 pm

somanyspoons wrote:
EJ Brown wrote:
I always find it interesting when others begin to doubt the things we know about our own children. If a child has cancer and recovers, others cheer him on and sing the praises of the determined parents. With autism recovery coming out the other side is met with very different results. Without knowing the child or the parent they are ostracized and perfect strangers begin to speak up as to the impossibility of it all. We have been told from the day our children were diagnosed that recovery is not possible, we should stop hoping for it because it will never be. This is a lifelong illness, settle in because your child will never get better, I am here to tell you I know recovery is possible, I have seen it not once, but twice and soon I will see it for the third time. A decade ago I had three children on the spectrum and today I am left with just one and he is fighting his way back every day.

If a child recovers from a disease like cancer, he or she is free of symptoms, we cheer and know that all the hard work payed off. Cancer is a tangible, measurable, medical illness, we can see the positive results with MRI's and blood tests. Recovery from autism is not something we can gauge with blood tests and X-rays, so if we can't quantify results then it must not be possible. If an autistic child after years of treatment is free of symptoms the parent is considered delusional. If the absence of symptoms is undeniable then we move on to the only other logical solution that it wasn't autism in the first place, a misdiagnosis. I have heard it many times before and I know what I see,the truth is right in front of me, the removal of symptoms, which has resulted in recovery. I tend not to read posts online because they tend to regurgitate the same old song and dance, what we have heard for years-autism is not an illness that a child can recover from. What if it were possible? What if your doctors were wrong? What if your doctor was just telling you it wasn't possible because he didn't know how to fix it? What if we started listening to parents who have come out the other side and stop vilifying them when they tell you the progress their child has made? What if instead of no and never we begin to look at those who have made it out the other side and begin to believe it. I know that what Toni Braxton says is true and my fear is that her interview will render such a backlash that she will take her son, her typical son and leave us forever. What we need right now, more than ever is a voice for recovery. We need more people who have come out the other side to speak up. When my children were first diagnosed I put away the journals that said never and started reading stories from the real experts, the parents who lived the life I was entering and was led in a different direction with their inspiring stories of recovery. Let Me Hear Your Voice by Catherine Maurice and A Real Boy by Christina Adams were two of my favorites and a great place to start if you want to read about all that is possible. We need to start listening to those who may have an answer instead of shutting them down because we think we know better, perhaps parents are the ones with the answers, after all we are the ones with the vested interest in our children's recovery, we have the most to gain or lose, so why would we doubt another parent and what they see before them? I fear that Toni Braxton will fall into oblivion not because her son hasn't recovered, I am sure he has, but instead because she won't after a while think it is worth it spending her time fighting the uphill battle of justifying what she knows with millions who aren't willing to listen to the fact that perhaps she is right, perhaps recovery is possible and if you just take the time to listen and have an open mind you may see it as well.


You want more listening? Then listen. I am one of those kids. I was diagnosed in the early 80's with various learning disabilities. I was put in special education classes. I was told that I would never go to collage. I was kept out of science and art classes because "you're not going to need those" in order to make room for more remedial classes. I was an under-the-desk crier. I hid under that desk every day, rocking and crying, until they forbade me. Then I hid in the closet, the bathroom, anywhere to get small and quiet. I never got recess but I didn't care because recess was a horror show. At home, I stayed in my room in the basement alone, pretending I was on the Battlestar Galactica, a game I never once shared with another human being. Aspergers was not in the DSM at the time and I was verbal (and somewhat hyperlexic,) so my diagnoses did not include Autism, but they included plenty.

And then around 13 years of age, everything changed for me. I had the growth spurt that most 13 year olds have. Internally, I began to understand how to use my "special interests" and intense internal world to assist me in being with the outside world, instead of just keeping me away from it. (I imagine being friends with the people I know from TV shows and let them give me advice on socializing. Its weird, but it works for me.) From my parent's POV, years of interventions were finally taking hold.

I was a F-ing success story. I went from a remedial/special education track in middle school, to the honors track in three years. I graduated high school with honors and an AP class under my belt, and went on to earn my undergraduate degree from a competitive school, and then went on to get a graduate degree, too. People love this sh-t. They eat it up. Not a dry eye in the house if I tell it right.

I'm not the kid anymore. I'm a 41 year old adult. And I'm here to tell you. I wasn't "cured." I didn't "grow out of it." I learned to cope. And that's great. But I'm 40 now, and I was so busy being good at being a teen-ager that I missed out on learning the things that I need to learn as an adult in her 20's and 30's. Most specifically, how to work in a social environment where I'm the boss, not the student, or where I have to deal with parents of my students (a weird kind of 1/2 boss, 1/2 employee situation.) And most painfully, how to be in intimate relationships.

I learned the things they wanted me to learn in elementary school. That success is real. I'm not "faking it." But I'm not cured!

I need help with adult things and we don't give help to adults with stuff like this. And part of it is because of BS like you are posting here. Just because your kids matched their childhood lessons, doesn't mean that the job is done. It doesn't mean that there is no more need. You're going to launch those children into adulthood, thinking that everything is A-OK. Because that's what they've been told. It's this giant myth that if we can just provide this great childhood experience, you'll be perfectly equipped for adulthood. But someday those kids will have trouble in graduate school, or they will get in conflict with a boss, or they will have a hard time finding a romantic partner, or they will have a child and feel overwhelmed. And they are going to feel lost, and its going to SUCK for them to go through what I had to go through to re-claim that part of myself that was really struggling. To remove the story that I "recovered" and to really accept that I'm still different.

Parents and teachers need to stop this self-serving non-sense about curing their kids of their differences. And to get away from the idea that their kids will need the same skill set in the work place than they do as kids. Its very different being an adult. There will be new challenges. And that's OK. But your kids need to hear that that's OK. Telling them that they will not have the challenges that many autistics have because they are doing well with childhood skills is harmful. Heaping all this praise on them for being "normal" is setting them up for a life of not embracing their differences.


Somanyspoons, thank you for this, it's honest and direct. And it all sounds right, and realistic to me, as the mum of an autistic kid who's doing really great, with no 'symptoms' at all right now (I mean, meltdowns, or withdrawal).. we've had to adapt, and I think it's done us all good as a family. Yes, I can imagine that also later in life there will be obstacles and moments of feeling really overwhelmed and frustrated (necessarily more intense if you're someone who feels things so deeply). All I can do at this stage is make as sure as I can that he's as self-confident, and self-motivated, and happy and well-balanced as possible, that he knows how to recognise allies and avoid situations and people that he can't deal with - and know that it isn't his problem, but theirs!

'Normal' - pah!! I've no opinion at all of that. When I was told by some friends at my kids' previous school that I should take my son to a psychologist to teach him how to 'fit in socially' I'm afraid I answered hotly that I was bloody glad he didn't fit in, when from where I was standing they were a bunch of back-stabbing, bribing, blackmailing conformists (BORING!!)

Happily homeschooling now with a very mixed international bunch.. we've got a surprising amount in common though (mostly a high level of tolerance, flexibility and a great joy for living), and have found some friends for life :)



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19 Sep 2016, 12:15 pm

Colorou wrote:
Different Brains. Different Problems.
It's just different brains. There is no cure. We need diversity in order to evolve, neurodiverse brains think differently and excell at life in ways Neurotypicals do not and vice versa. Humans love to freak out over people that are "different". So what we have a sensitive nervous system and get sensory overload. I also see a lot of my traits as survival strong instincts. We need to embrace Autism and push for mentors hip programs for people on the spectrum. We learn by observing not sitting in a classroom. We all need something different, we all offer something unique to the World when we try.

I don't know about you but I feel like I'm f*****g awesome and intelligent in a special and rare kind of way that draws a lot of cool people to me. :heart: I'm offended people think it's a disease or can be cured. This is neurodiversity. For all we know the high functioning aspergers brain is what we a re evolving to. A sign...of you will :twisted: :P :jester: :mrgreen:


Colorou, yes yes yes! Agree 100% :D