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Science Autism

Wilson Wilson

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I am curious how other autistic members are doing with this coronavirus situation.

Me, my daily routine is little changed. Most of my days are spent alone anyway with only online interaction. I stocked up my pantry early, and will work with what I have. I have no interest in raising my risk profile because I'm out of bread. (Actually, I put a couple bags of tortillas in the freezer, and when they run out, I have masa and a tortilla press.)

I did get some time in this week working outside in the garden. Doing something physical was a really good idea.

I also find myself irritated at the people locally who continue to ignore -- and I mean ignore -- social distancing guidelines. To my way of thinking, their behavior means I'll be cooped up even longer. Today is Friday, which means the grandkids come over for the afternoon and dinner. Nope, we'll be Facetiming.
I've been surprisingly calm. I'm lucky to be in a job where I am easily able to work from home without any hassle. I actually find more comfort in this. Less money spent on trains, don't have to get up as early, more free time due to lack of commute, and I feel much more comfortable in my own home than I do in an open plan office surrounded by people for reasons anyone on the spectrum will surely understand.

I do wish I could go and hang out with my mates like normal though. I'm not totally anti-social and I feel the loneliness. Probably less than NTs but still. I do want to spend time with people when I'm in a social mood.

And video calls give me more anxiety than just meeting people face to face in all honesty.

At least I am trying to make the best of the situation by sinking myself into the stock market situation. Perfect aspie shit it's all data and logic. Perfect time to invest if you're clever about it. Big tech companies in particular will come out the other end of this just fine. Their stock is currently very undervalued, broadly speaking.
 

MountainTrails

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I've been surprisingly calm. I'm lucky to be in a job where I am easily able to work from home without any hassle. I actually find more comfort in this. Less money spent on trains, don't have to get up as early, more free time due to lack of commute, and I feel much more comfortable in my own home than I do in an open plan office surrounded by people for reasons anyone on the spectrum will surely understand.

I do wish I could go and hang out with my mates like normal though. I'm not totally anti-social and I feel the loneliness. Probably less than NTs but still. I do want to spend time with people when I'm in a social mood.

And video calls give me more anxiety than just meeting people face to face in all honesty.

At least I am trying to make the best of the situation by sinking myself into the stock market situation. Perfect aspie shit it's all data and logic. Perfect time to invest if you're clever about it. Big tech companies in particular will come out the other end of this just fine. Their stock is currently very undervalued, broadly speaking.
Sometimes I feel lonely, but honestly that's been part of my life since like forever, so ... shrug. I have few expectations about social interaction.

Yeah, part of my day, a relatively small part but it's there, is spent studying the market situation. I was fortunate enough to see this coming early, and got to the side, but at some point I have to push the chips back in. I'm very comfortable with the IT sector, but feel like there are more bumps and drops to absorb in this very insane market, and I tend toward the funds rather than individual stocks anyway; right now I'm looking hard at the PM sector, as I think it has the potential to get disproportionately interesting. But I'm still mostly pondering rather than acting. I'm old enough that I value caution with my investments highly.
 

MountainTrails

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And I have the opposite reaction to video calls: much more comfortable with them than face-to-face outside the group of people who know me well. I'm self-conscious about the way my eyes dance around when I'm thinking hard and talking, and some people have this pathetic faith in reading body language, which with me gives a lot of false readings to an NT.
 

Wilson Wilson

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And I have the opposite reaction to video calls: much more comfortable with them than face-to-face outside the group of people who know me well. I'm self-conscious about the way my eyes dance around when I'm thinking hard and talking, and some people have this pathetic faith in reading body language, which with me gives a lot of false readings to an NT.
This is interesting because I'm just so used to talking to people IRL I don't think about it anymore, whereas when I know there's a camera watching me I am very aware I'm being watched and I'm conscious of what my face looks like, what my posture looks like, where my eyes are pointing, my fidgeting, basically everything. I'm also just a lot more awkward on phone calls than through text or in real life in general.

Sometimes I feel lonely, but honestly that's been part of my life since like forever, so ... shrug. I have few expectations about social interaction.

Yeah, part of my day, a relatively small part but it's there, is spent studying the market situation. I was fortunate enough to see this coming early, and got to the side, but at some point I have to push the chips back in. I'm very comfortable with the IT sector, but feel like there are more bumps and drops to absorb in this very insane market, and I tend toward the funds rather than individual stocks anyway; right now I'm looking hard at the PM sector, as I think it has the potential to get disproportionately interesting. But I'm still mostly pondering rather than acting. I'm old enough that I value caution with my investments highly.
Loneliness is quite a weird one for me, normally I don't miss socialising enough to feel it, and I enjoy solitude too much to care if I do. But when it's enforced it feels like I'm trapped. It's weird though because I'm just like "I wanna be alone... but on my own terms." 😂

Funds are definitely lower risk than picking stocks. I'm young still so I can afford to take a bigger risk, no retirement concerns for a long while.
 

MountainTrails

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Hoping everyone is well during this challenging time.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/warren...ds-deep-inspiration-to-hope-grows-for-autism/

Medical Cannabis Adds Deep Inspiration To Hope Grows For Autism


WB: Erica, please tell me about yourself? What is your inspiration to our plant? I understand your son has been helped by the healing component of cannabis? Please tell me about this?

Erica Daniels=ED: I am an activist, entrepreneur, author, healthy cook, loud music lover, community educator and mother. After my son was diagnosed in 2007, my life changed and gained new purpose. Since, I have focused on research, education and advocacy of natural health treatments for autism.

Four years ago, my son, Leo, was struggling so with anxiety, OCD and epic meltdowns as a result of his symptoms associated with autism. He was suffering and unhappy almost every day and there was nothing I could do to help him. I considered residential treatment facilities because I could not help him or handle him. It was a very low time as a mother. Instead, I decided to try medical cannabis as a last resort. Within 30 days he went from having debilitating and self-injuring meltdowns 4-6 times a week to only one in 30 days and he was happy. Medical cannabis works for him.

WB: Tell me about what you’re working on right now? What are your six and twelve month goals? Do you have a mentor? Who is it?

ED: I founded Hope Grows for Autism in 2016, a nonprofit aimed at improving the lives of families affected by autism. We work to create and facilitate global research, education and advocacy surrounding cannabis and autism. I quickly learned that education and research without access to appropriate cannabis medicines did not solve the problem. Families could learn about using cannabis for autism but did not have access to any appropriate formulations. In some cases, children were being given RSOs and vape products because that nothing else was available.

In a launch, learn and develop strategy taking in real time feedback and data from the autism community itself, HOPE™ was formulated and launched with autism in mind. The HOPE™ range of products was born out of a partnership I forged to Ilera Healthcare in Pennsylvania to better serve patients with. In a merger, HOPE™ became the flagship product for Zelira Therapeutics opening access to clinical trials and global reach. Although autism was the inspiration for HOPE™ it quickly proved to be beneficial to other chronic conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, neuropathy and others. HOPE™ has since become its manufacturer’s best-selling tincture.

My ultimate goal is for medical cannabis to be considered a frontline treatment for autism. Families having to wait until last resort or put themselves in danger to try medical cannabis is unjust and unfair.

In the next six months we hope we have legislation in place for autism included as a qualifying condition in all current legal medical cannabis states and in a year to access to appropriate medical cannabis for all autism patients. I will be happy when HOPE™ truly sees no boundaries… no state boundaries, no educational boundaries, no stigma boundaries, no access boundaries.

I have many mentors. I am constantly watching and learning from my team members, business partners, autism families, friends, medical professionals and so on. I will seek out experts in specific areas to guide me and I have been fortunate enough to get a lot of support along the way from some very incredible and intelligent people.

WB: How does cannabis help those afflicted with Autism? What are your hopes for the plant and the alleviation of your son’s ills?

ED: Cannabis, in many cases, eases the outward symptoms of autism immediately while working long-term to repair chronic underlying medical issues associated with autism. My son has been using medical cannabis for 4 years. The initial positive effects such as alleviation of anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity and chronic meltdowns have continued as also I see longer term effects such as improvement in his speech and overall health and quality of life. Considerable research has been done revealing endocannabinoid system deficiencies in individuals with autism. Safety and efficacy research also exists and continues to be done. But these parents don’t can’t for research to be published, they need help and support now.

WB: Do you have a favorite food memory you’d like to share? Do you cook? What is your favorite meal look like? Organic? Biodynamic?

ED: I love to cook, and I love to cook even more with my children. I authored a cookbook in 2017, Cooking with Leo: An Allergen-Free Autism Family Cookbook.

Food allergies are very common in autism, my son has many. I took our family recipes and converted them to be organic, whole food and allergen-free dishes. This way we could still enjoy the traditions that we loved so much surrounding food. Cooking is a great way for us to spend time together as a family and bond over something we enjoy. My favorite part about cooking is sharing the history and stories behind our family recipes and just having some good family fun! Sharing a meal at the table is something we can always continue to enjoy even through uncertain times.

WB: What is your passion?

ED: My passion is learning as much as I can about how to improve the quality of life for families affected by autism and sharing that knowledge to help other families. I love educating and sharing my experiences then converting them into helpful tools for others.

Receiving feedback and messages from families from all over the world nourishes that passion and gives me continuous strength and inspiration. I have been contacted by families who are so desperate they are about to institutionalize their loved one or child with autism. It’s a terrible shame that families have to get to that point to even consider a plant that has almost no side effects, but they have been given drugs with backbox warnings and toxic side effects. Many cannot access cannabis because of some state and federal laws.

Now, during Covid19, we have come to see medical cannabis be considered an essential business. A federally illegal essential business is a different concept to say the least. Further, we have seen a lot of the red tape surrounding many important medical access issues be loosened, including cannabis. I am hoping this will be a lesson to government in how we should be accessing medical care in the future. Less regulations, more health access and choice is what we ALL need. Accessing necessary and appropriate medical and educational services is a great challenge to autism families every day. The National Survey of Childhood Health (NSCH) reports 1 in 36 American children have autism, while the CDC reported 1 in 54 just last month. An autism epidemic either way.

There is no cure for autism. For years I traveled the country seeing specialists and trying countless treatments to try help improve the quality of my son’s life. All with, little or no progress. I found that natural treatments such as diet and medical cannabis have worked best for us and many others. I saw my son come back to life, be happy again and truly enjoy his life through the use of medical cannabis. I have to share that experience with others and offer other families that same hope/ Hope Grows for Autism/ HOPE™. That is what keeps me going motivated every single day.
 

Wilson Wilson

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Good to see medical cannabis for autism is catching on, it really does work imo.
 

MountainTrails

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My over-30 autism support group is kickass. We have social meetings/events, and lately of necessity it's all been Zoom. We got into a conversation about preferences for f2f and remote interactions, and I realized something: online has some advantages for me. 1) I'm less self-conscious about what my eyes are doing. I think that's because they're not as easy to see in that small box. But 2) I realized that I use the image of myself to constantly make microadjustments in my facial expression. I get visual feedback about how I am presenting to others.

And with that introduction ...

https://theconversation.com/researc...allenges-the-way-we-think-about-autism-134053

Research on facial expressions challenges the way we think about autism

Autism researchers are starting to think that autistic and non-autistic faces may “speak a different language” when conveying emotion. This could mean the “social difficulties” often associated with autism may, at least partly, result from differences in the facial expressions produced by autistic and non-autistic people. It means we may need to re-think the idea that autistic people have difficulties with expressing their emotions and instead consider that non-autistic people may have trouble reading them.

The ability to read facial expressions is an essential part of nonverbal communication. If you only listen to what a person says and cannot read what their face is telling you, then you may only have half the story. Just think about a time when you said you were “fine”, but your facial expression said otherwise.

Being able to read someone’s facial expression is crucial for good interpersonal relations. If you cannot read someone’s facial expression, it could lead to social responses that are not socially advantageous, advisable or “correct”.

If, for instance, you cannot read someone’s sad expression, you may not provide reassurance, words of comfort or a hug. And if you can’t tell that someone is angry with you from their expression, you may not apologise for your actions. In both cases, this could lead to less successful social interactions and greater social difficulty.

A two-way interaction

According to the National Autistic Society, autism (including Asperger syndrome) is a lifelong developmental condition that affects “how a person communicates with and relates to other people” and the world around them. Many studies have shown that autistic people often have difficulties reading the facial expressions of neurotypical (non-autistic) people. Historically, these difficulties have been framed as a characteristic of autism that leads to social problems.

Our newly published paper argues that this view ignores that social interactions are exactly that – an interaction between individuals. Since interactions are necessarily at least two-way, it’s important that we also think about how well neurotypical people read autistic facial expressions.

The findings from two recent studies suggest that many neurotypical people find it difficult to read and interpret the facial expressions and body movements of autistic people.

So why do neurotypical and autistic people struggle to read each other’s facial expressions? One reason could be that autistic and neurotypical people produce different facial expressions.

Differences in facial expressions

While researchers don’t yet know exactly what is different about the facial expressions produced by these groups, our review of the literature suggests that there may be differences in the appearance, frequency and duration of facial expressions. Of course, not all autistic people are the same and there will be some autistic people who make facial expressions that are really similar to neurotypical expressions. However, in general it seems that autistic and neurotypical faces may convey emotion differently.

When feeling sad, for example, an autistic person might move their face into an expression that would not be used by most neurotypical people – per the video below. Because this expression is different from what a neurotypical person may expect to see, they might not recognise that the autistic person is feeling sad.

Similarly, because the neurotypical person expresses their sadness in a different way from the autistic person, the autistic person might not recognise the neurotypical person’s sadness. In both these scenarios, they might fail to comfort each other and appreciate the response.

Why does this matter?

This means that what have previously been thought of as “social deficits” in autistic people may actually reflect a mismatch in the facial expressions produced by autistic and neurotypical people. This is really crucial as it takes the element of blame away from the autistic person and instead proposes that these difficulties are a product of autistic and neurotypical differences.

There may also be some really promising outcomes of these findings. For instance, in the future, caregivers and clinicians could be trained to “read the language” of autistic facial expressions, leading to a reduction in social interaction difficulties. Since research suggests that autistic expressions may be unique to each individual, these support programmes may need to be personalised to each autistic person.

These findings also have implications for the clinical diagnosis of autism. Currently, Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed via observations of social ability and behaviour by a qualified clinician. Importantly, a non-autistic clinician may evaluate someone as lacking in facial expressions, when, in reality, these expressions are just different to the ones they would produce themselves; a different style of emotional expression is falsely interpreted as a lack of emotional expression.
It may be time to reframe the idea of “social difficulties” in autism and shift away from the idea of “deficit” towards one of “difference” between autistic-neurotypical interactions.
 

mr peabody

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My journey treating Asperger's with MDMA

@Land Rain | Bluelight | 22 April 2020

In the video above I'm finally able to share my journey and experience in using MDMA to help attenuate my Asperger’s symptoms, something that I've waited almost five years to share now because of stigma and due to the culture of the industry I work on. Through the mechanics and elevated state MDMA offers, combined with the power of our brain’s natural mechanism, neuroplasticity, I was able to begin practicing social communication activities, including the practice of putting myself in other people’s shoes to practice empathy, I was able to conquer the multitude of obstacles that I was originally buried in for most of my life due to my Asperger's. While empathy may be something that comes natural to most people, it’s still a practice that needs to be trained, which I missed out on severely when I was still growing up due to the environment I was in (horrible school, abusive online friends, no authoritative mentorship in my life that I could believe in, abusive exes, and bad diets with too much sugar).

While MDMA’s breakthrough in treating PTSD may be well documented at this point, this video aims to address other potential that I have noticed is still completely unexplored. I’m hoping this video can be the start to help point those in charge of researching MDMA that there is at least one, while anecdotal and singular, had monumental and indismissible effects in changing something as neurophysiological as Asperger’s. The amount of change I went through because of this substance from where I started is, to say the least, not normal. Many have told me my changes over these years has been unheard of for them. It was to the point that close friends and family noted the drastic difference. They said it was like seeing a completely different person. Hopefully this also opens up more ideas into MDMA's potential in other benefits outside of what it's currently being studied for. As another example, I can tell you that for one, it also drastically changed one of the most stubborn and arrogant people I’ve ever known to the point that they too are now a completely different person. It has also stopped yet another friend from their potential cocaine and weed addiction, and those sessions with that person were done through long distance video chats because they lived far away. I have also witnessed first hand MDMA, coupled with psilocybin, being able to change a sociopath into one of the most empathetic people I've ever met. There are countless examples that I've witnessed first hand but perhaps the most important one to me is that it has brought a tightly knit group of friends that did not think they could get any closer, even closer.

Studies aside, even just taking all of the understanding of MDMA’s basic mechanisms on a person and it’s method of action (via serotonin discharge, your body’s natural neurotransmitter responsible for modulating several areas of your consciousness, such as mood, empathy, social behavior, and perhaps even more importantly, memory, which can play a role in trauma recall when the right triggers and setting are set), one can begin to piece together possible scenarios of potential inherent to these specific functions. Imagine a world where dysfunctional families have the opportunity to reconcile misunderstandings and lack of communication. Imagine a world where rocky friendships or romantic relationships can find peace in knowing they can finally actually talk without the burdens of each other’s predisposed notions and insecurities of each other. And finally, imagine a world where everyone has been offered a second perspective to be aware that there is not only appreciation to be experienced everywhere in the world, but that there is an entire dimension of empathy of one another that has gone completely undetected and unaccounted for. I can’t picture a world like that to have missiles erected from the ground aimed at each other. And I definitely can’t picture that world to dismiss the damages we are incurring onto this planet’s natural wildlife and overall health.

Hell, I can even imagine that world to have far more inspired scientists, engineers, and innovative inventors as their ambitions are burning from the need to make positive and helpful advancements. It could mean seeing what we would have normally seen in a year like 2200 instead in a year like 2150.

MDMA Supplementation Proposal (as mentioned in the video): http://beyondtheparallax.com/mdma-supplementation/

If it interests anyone, I also found this study that shows repeat intermittent exposure to MDMA provided neuroprotective effects against its own neurotoxicity. There are people better suited to this field than I am but this could explain why my friends and I no longer feel the “hangover” effect after using MDMA, meanwhile we still feel the full spectrum of the experience. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20169...
My friends and I are also really into a healthy diet and lifestyle so I’m not sure how much of it is from that as well. I wanted to share that study because no one has written an article on it that I’ve seen so this potential benefit doesn't seem to be getting any traction in popularity from what it seems. For my friends and I, "losing the magic" is not a thing that seems to exist That said, I am not here to crusade for substance use, rather, I am ecstatic to share what it has done for me and the deeply profound positive results I have witnessed it do to others that I have known in hopes that more eyes can be turned towards it's other potential uses.

Thank you all for watching my video and for taking the time to read what I have shared here. I plan on eventually opening up more about this in the future as well.

 

MountainTrails

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As somebody diagnosed high functioning autism (aspergers), I can say that MDMA and psychedelics have helped me to socialize and feel emotion more appropriately. I still have social anxiety, but I feel that MDMA/psychs have a huge therapeutic impact. I signed up for a MAPS clinical trial for MDMA not too long ago.
Have you gone through the therapy/study or just applied? When the studies were announced, I got excited, but the criteria I saw all required substance naivete, and, um ... oh well.

I'd be curious about your experience/thinking about the emotional stuff. My ability to cry got unlocked somehow, for example. That might sound stupid or trivial to some, but I felt like that was absolutely massive for me.

As for the social stuff, I believe/think/feel/observe/whatever that I get a greater desire to communicate. Or maybe it's just that the pessimism (not worth the effort, just gonna be misunderstood/not understood, ...) is gone for a while. I'm not sure. But it feels like a more-willing-to-interact attitude that's just there.
 

mr peabody

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Only 3% of individuals with autism receive recommended genetic tests

by Sara Feijo | Brown University | Medical Xpress | 13 May 2020

A study analyzing data from the Rhode Island Consortium for Autism Research and Treatment (RI-CART) found that only 3% of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder reported having fully received clinical genetic tests recommended by medical professional societies.

The results bring to light a dissonance between professional recommendations and clinical practice, the researchers behind the study say.

Autism spectrum disorder is one of the most strongly genetic neuropsychiatric conditions. Medical professional societies—such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Medical Genetics, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry—recommend offering chromosomal microarray testing and Fragile X testing for patients diagnosed with autism. The tests can identify or rule out genetic abnormalities that could have implications in a patient's diagnosis and clinical care.

The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry on May 13, analyzed 1,280 participants with autism spectrum disorder based on medical records and self-reported data from the time period of April 2013 to April 2019. The participants are enrolled with RI-CART, a public-private-academic collaborative focused on advancing research and building community among individuals with autism spectrum disorder in Rhode Island and their families. The study's goal was to determine the current state of clinical genetic testing for autism in this cohort, said authors Dr. Daniel Moreno De Luca and Dr. Eric Morrow.

Of the 1,280 participants, 17% reported having received some genetic testing, with 13% stating they received Fragile X testing, and 5% reporting that they received chromosomal microarray testing. However, only 3% of participants reported having received both recommended tests.

"I had the impression that the frequency of recommended genetic testing was not going to be very high based on the patients I encounter clinically, but 3% is actually lower than I thought it would be," said Moreno De Luca, an assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, who is affiliated with the Carney Institute for Brain Science, and a psychiatrist at Bradley Hospital.

"A higher proportion has had either test individually, and the proportion of people with chromosomal microarray is higher in recent calendar years, which is a hopeful glimpse for people who are being diagnosed recently and who may be younger. However, this underscores that there is still significant work to be done, especially for adults on the autism spectrum," De Luca said.

In the study, researchers examine possible reasons for the gap between clinical practice and the recommendations from medical professional societies. Age was among the most prominent, as people with autism in older age groups are less likely to be tested. According to the study, adults with autism were generally unlikely to have undergone the clinical genetic tests.

The researchers also found that patients diagnosed by subspecialist pediatricians were more likely to report genetic testing as compared to those diagnosed by psychiatrists and psychologists.

"This paper is really about how you implement clinical genetic tests in the clinical diagnostic setting," said Dr. Eric Morrow, an associate professor of biology at Brown and director of the Developmental Disorders Genetics Research Program at Bradley Hospital. "There is rapid progress from research, and then there's the doctor and health systems that need to translate that to clinical practice. The clinics need to set up more support to educate clinicians and families about genetics and autism. Generally, this is done by genetic counselors who may be rare in autism clinics."

Furthermore, the researchers found that nearly 10% of participants who received an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis between 2010 and 2014 reported receiving chromosomal microarray testing, one of the more modern genetic tests. Compared to those in the study who received a diagnosis in years before 2010, this showed an increase in self-reported testing.

"There is a more hopeful message that conveys that the success in implementing clinical genetic testing is increasing," said Morrow, who is affiliated with the Carney Institute, co-leads the Autism Initiative at the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute at Brown and directs the University's Center for Translational Neuroscience.

Based at Bradley Hospital in East Providence, the team behind RI-CART represents a partnership between researchers at Brown, Bradley Hospital and Women and Infants that also involves nearly every site of service for people on the autism spectrum and their families in Rhode Island.

As a next step, the researchers behind the JAMA Psychiatry study are conducting a separate study to understand in greater detail the factors that could be influencing the rate of genetic testing.

"Challenges can be found on the patient and families side, on the physician side, and on the systemic side with institutional requirements and many other potential barriers," said Moreno De Luca. "We want to address each of those factors independently."

 

MountainTrails

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This one is interesting. It brings to mind the MAPS work and, to me, suggests a mechanism that provides some explanation for those results.

Oxytocin Increases Retention of Social Cognition in Autism
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16904652/
full paper: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/752dc0_e216bb7f133645cb8b5316d5493af36e.pdf

Abstract
Background: Oxytocin dysfunction might contribute to the development of social deficits in autism, a core symptom domain and potential target for intervention. This study explored the effect of intravenous oxytocin administration on the retention of social information in autism.

Methods: Oxytocin and placebo challenges were administered to 15 adult subjects diagnosed with autism or Asperger's disorder, and comprehension of affective speech (happy, indifferent, angry, and sad) in neutral content sentences was tested.

Results: All subjects showed improvements in affective speech comprehension from pre- to post-infusion; however, whereas those who received placebo first tended to revert to baseline after a delay, those who received oxytocin first retained the ability to accurately assign emotional significance to speech intonation on the speech comprehension task.

Conclusions: These results are consistent with studies linking oxytocin to social recognition in rodents as well as studies linking oxytocin to prosocial behavior in humans and suggest that oxytocin might facilitate social information processing in those with autism. These findings also provide preliminary support for the use of oxytocin in the treatment of autism.
 

Wilson Wilson

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My journey treating Asperger's with MDMA

@Land Rain | Bluelight | 22 April 2020

In the video above I'm finally able to share my journey and experience in using MDMA to help attenuate my Asperger’s symptoms, something that I've waited almost five years to share now because of stigma and due to the culture of the industry I work on. Through the mechanics and elevated state MDMA offers, combined with the power of our brain’s natural mechanism, neuroplasticity, I was able to begin practicing social communication activities, including the practice of putting myself in other people’s shoes to practice empathy, I was able to conquer the multitude of obstacles that I was originally buried in for most of my life due to my Asperger's. While empathy may be something that comes natural to most people, it’s still a practice that needs to be trained, which I missed out on severely when I was still growing up due to the environment I was in (horrible school, abusive online friends, no authoritative mentorship in my life that I could believe in, abusive exes, and bad diets with too much sugar).

While MDMA’s breakthrough in treating PTSD may be well documented at this point, this video aims to address other potential that I have noticed is still completely unexplored. I’m hoping this video can be the start to help point those in charge of researching MDMA that there is at least one, while anecdotal and singular, had monumental and indismissible effects in changing something as neurophysiological as Asperger’s. The amount of change I went through because of this substance from where I started is, to say the least, not normal. Many have told me my changes over these years has been unheard of for them. It was to the point that close friends and family noted the drastic difference. They said it was like seeing a completely different person. Hopefully this also opens up more ideas into MDMA's potential in other benefits outside of what it's currently being studied for. As another example, I can tell you that for one, it also drastically changed one of the most stubborn and arrogant people I’ve ever known to the point that they too are now a completely different person. It has also stopped yet another friend from their potential cocaine and weed addiction, and those sessions with that person were done through long distance video chats because they lived far away. I have also witnessed first hand MDMA, coupled with psilocybin, being able to change a sociopath into one of the most empathetic people I've ever met. There are countless examples that I've witnessed first hand but perhaps the most important one to me is that it has brought a tightly knit group of friends that did not think they could get any closer, even closer.

Studies aside, even just taking all of the understanding of MDMA’s basic mechanisms on a person and it’s method of action (via serotonin discharge, your body’s natural neurotransmitter responsible for modulating several areas of your consciousness, such as mood, empathy, social behavior, and perhaps even more importantly, memory, which can play a role in trauma recall when the right triggers and setting are set), one can begin to piece together possible scenarios of potential inherent to these specific functions. Imagine a world where dysfunctional families have the opportunity to reconcile misunderstandings and lack of communication. Imagine a world where rocky friendships or romantic relationships can find peace in knowing they can finally actually talk without the burdens of each other’s predisposed notions and insecurities of each other. And finally, imagine a world where everyone has been offered a second perspective to be aware that there is not only appreciation to be experienced everywhere in the world, but that there is an entire dimension of empathy of one another that has gone completely undetected and unaccounted for. I can’t picture a world like that to have missiles erected from the ground aimed at each other. And I definitely can’t picture that world to dismiss the damages we are incurring onto this planet’s natural wildlife and overall health.

Hell, I can even imagine that world to have far more inspired scientists, engineers, and innovative inventors as their ambitions are burning from the need to make positive and helpful advancements. It could mean seeing what we would have normally seen in a year like 2200 instead in a year like 2150.

MDMA Supplementation Proposal (as mentioned in the video): http://beyondtheparallax.com/mdma-supplementation/

If it interests anyone, I also found this study that shows repeat intermittent exposure to MDMA provided neuroprotective effects against its own neurotoxicity. There are people better suited to this field than I am but this could explain why my friends and I no longer feel the “hangover” effect after using MDMA, meanwhile we still feel the full spectrum of the experience. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20169...
My friends and I are also really into a healthy diet and lifestyle so I’m not sure how much of it is from that as well. I wanted to share that study because no one has written an article on it that I’ve seen so this potential benefit doesn't seem to be getting any traction in popularity from what it seems. For my friends and I, "losing the magic" is not a thing that seems to exist That said, I am not here to crusade for substance use, rather, I am ecstatic to share what it has done for me and the deeply profound positive results I have witnessed it do to others that I have known in hopes that more eyes can be turned towards it's other potential uses.

Thank you all for watching my video and for taking the time to read what I have shared here. I plan on eventually opening up more about this in the future as well.

I'm gonna do a proper write up for that roll I did last weekend, it genuinely felt life changing, I did it with another aspie, and it was such a crazy magical experience.

Never have I been more convinced in my life that MDMA is a very effective autism treatment. MDMA assisted psychotherapy should absolutely be an option for autistic adults. There is no doubt about this in my mind. I'm sure it is not for everyone, but it should be an option, because it helps so many in such an intense way.

Not trying to say it is a "cure" it's more like a transcendent therapy experience.

Anyone here know the term "masking"? It's a common term in the autism community, basically refers to having to "act normal" by inventing a fake persona all the time. When I had that experience last weekend the mask was completely off for the first time since... I don't even know when.

(Is Mask Off playing in my head right now? Yes, yes it is.)
 

I_Hate_This_Place

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I'm gonna do a proper write up for that roll I did last weekend, it genuinely felt life changing, I did it with another aspie, and it was such a crazy magical experience.

Never have I been more convinced in my life that MDMA is a very effective autism treatment. MDMA assisted psychotherapy should absolutely be an option for autistic adults. There is no doubt about this in my mind. I'm sure it is not for everyone, but it should be an option, because it helps so many in such an intense way.

Not trying to say it is a "cure" it's more like a transcendent therapy experience.

Anyone here know the term "masking"? It's a common term in the autism community, basically refers to having to "act normal" by inventing a fake persona all the time. When I had that experience last weekend the mask was completely off for the first time since... I don't even know when.

(Is Mask Off playing in my head right now? Yes, yes it is.)
I'm very familiar with the term "masking". I've practiced it myself for so long that practically speaking I really don't have a genuine sense of "self". I wasn't diagnosed as being on the spectrum until I was approximately 30 years old. Once I received the diagnosis & researched it the pieces definitely fit. I fall under the category of what used to be called "Asperger's syndrome". Basically I have a high IQ & as a result am "high functioning". I'd done such a good job of "masking" or compensating in some way that a large number of my friends thought that I was "playing the system" when I was diagnosed. :\

I've always adjusted my personality as circumstances dictate. People always told me I was just very manipulative. That I change completely depending on the situation & what result I'm trying to achieve from whatever situation is occurring. I know that I do my best to manipulate situations to end up having whatever result I desire to achieve. To me it just seems logical that one would do one's best to try to attain the result that one desires. Generally speaking "logic" dictates most everything I do. Regardless of whether or not I manipulate things the "masking" itself is something I do by nature. It's not something I'm thinking out as a way to manipulate. I've just never understood or done well with social interactions. So what I've done / do is observe people, culture, etc. & do my best to emulate it. Apparently I'm quite successful based on as I stated many people not believing my diagnosis. 8(

I myself have no questions as to the accuracy. Having studied the subject it fits me to a T. As well as familial connections. Those who really know me didn't question it & were happy that I was finally able to understand the reason behind why so many things were the way they were growing up. I've always been referred to by those I know as a "chameleon". I've been told I completely change my "persona" depending on the circumstances & would say that I agree with that statement. Honestly as I said I don't know if I even remember or really know what I look like without the mask. :\

Now that I think on it I don't know when the last time was that I could "recognize" myself. I've spent my whole life wearing a "mask". At this point it's essentially inherent to who I am. It's just an automatic to adjust to the circumstances. I'm not sure that I'm able to take it off as I'm really not sure what if anything there is underneath. I've thought about it here & there though I usually just push the thoughts aside. I sometimes feel a bit like I'm just watching / listening to myself do things as though I'm on autopilot. It's interesting to see the perspectives of others on the spectrum on the matter. Thanks for posting your perspectives & experiences. :)
Actually now that you mention it & I think on it; it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that other "high functioning" people on the spectrum would use a "mask". Thanks for mentioning it. It gives me an opportunity to think on the subject in a manner I otherwise likely would not have. Considering that as I stated I don't generally interact much with others that are on the spectrum.

I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience. (y) I personally haven't consumed MDMA (though I preffered MDA IIRC) in a decade or so. When I was younger (way before my diagnosis) & lived in Arizona for college I partook of the substance on IIRC approximately a bi-monthly basis for a few years. The frequency varied more than that but on generally speaking. I don't recall how it effected me socially. That period of time in my life is a bit of a blur. I tried to make up for my lack of social skills with an overindulgence in drugs & alcohol. I don't believe I consumed MDMA without combining it with other substances. Either way I don't recall all that well what impact it may have had on me. I recall that I enjoyed it but not that many specifics. If I had gotten my diagnosis at a much younger age I things would have gone very differently. I know a lot of my actions in my youth were predicated on the fact that I didn't understand the differences between myself & the "average" person. The knowledge that I was on the spectrum would have been useful as I know that since diagnosis I've been able to reflect on past actions & understand them to a much greater degree. Regardless the past is the past. When it comes to dealing with the past that's a whole different mechanism. ;)

To answer your question though; yes I'm familiar with the term "masking". I'm not sure how common the term is in the community as I don't really interact with the community. Outside of a few people on here (such as yourself) that have mentioned they are on the spectrum I don't believe I've interacted much with others on the spectrum. Anyway I just realized the time so I better take my verbosity down a notch & wrap up my time on Bluelight for the moment. Once again I'm happy for you that you were able to "unmask" so to speak. :)
 

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Wilson Wilson

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I'm very familiar with the term "masking". I've practiced it myself for so long that practically speaking I really don't have a genuine sense of "self". I wasn't diagnosed as being on the spectrum until I was approximately 30 years old. Once I received the diagnosis & researched it the pieces definitely fit. I fall under the category of what used to be called "Asperger's syndrome". Basically I have a high IQ & as a result am "high functioning". I'd done such a good job of "masking" or compensating in some way that a large number of my friends thought that I was "playing the system" when I was diagnosed. :\

I've always adjusted my personality as circumstances dictate. People always told me I was just very manipulative. That I change completely depending on the situation & what result I'm trying to achieve from whatever situation is occurring. I know that I do my best to manipulate situations to end up having whatever result I desire to achieve. To me it just seems logical that one would do one's best to try to attain the result that one desires. Generally speaking "logic" dictates most everything I do. Regardless of whether or not I manipulate things the "masking" itself is something I do by nature. It's not something I'm thinking out as a way to manipulate. I've just never understood or done well with social interactions. So what I've done / do is observe people, culture, etc. & do my best to emulate it. Apparently I'm quite successful based on as I stated many people not believing my diagnosis. 8(

I myself have no questions as to the accuracy. Having studied the subject it fits me to a T. As well as familial connections. Those who really know me didn't question it & were happy that I was finally able to understand the reason behind why so many things were the way they were growing up. I've always been referred to by those I know as a "chameleon". I've been told I completely change my "persona" depending on the circumstances & would say that I agree with that statement. Honestly as I said I don't know if I even remember or really know what I look like without the mask. :\

Now that I think on it I don't know when the last time was that I could "recognize" myself. I've spent my whole life wearing a "mask". At this point it's essentially inherent to who I am. It's just an automatic to adjust to the circumstances. I'm not sure that I'm able to take it off as I'm really not sure what if anything there is underneath. I've thought about it here & there though I usually just push the thoughts aside. I sometimes feel a bit like I'm just watching / listening to myself do things as though I'm on autopilot. It's interesting to see the perspectives of others on the spectrum on the matter. Thanks for posting your perspectives & experiences. :)
Actually now that you mention it & I think on it; it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that other "high functioning" people on the spectrum would use a "mask". Thanks for mentioning it. It gives me an opportunity to think on the subject in a manner I otherwise likely would not have. Considering that as I stated I don't generally interact much with others that are on the spectrum.

I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience. (y) I personally haven't consumed MDMA (though I preffered MDA IIRC) in a decade or so. When I was younger (way before my diagnosis) & lived in Arizona for college I partook of the substance on IIRC approximately a bi-monthly basis for a few years. The frequency varied more than that but on generally speaking. I don't recall how it effected me socially. That period of time in my life is a bit of a blur. I tried to make up for my lack of social skills with an overindulgence in drugs & alcohol. I don't believe I consumed MDMA without combining it with other substances. Either way I don't recall all that well what impact it may have had on me. I recall that I enjoyed it but not that many specifics. If I had gotten my diagnosis at a much younger age I things would have gone very differently. I know a lot of my actions in my youth were predicated on the fact that I didn't understand the differences between myself & the "average" person. The knowledge that I was on the spectrum would have been useful as I know that since diagnosis I've been able to reflect on past actions & understand them to a much greater degree. Regardless the past is the past. When it comes to dealing with the past that's a whole different mechanism. ;)

To answer your question though; yes I'm familiar with the term "masking". I'm not sure how common the term is in the community as I don't really interact with the community. Outside of a few people on here (such as yourself) that have mentioned they are on the spectrum I don't believe I've interacted much with others on the spectrum. Anyway I just realized the time so I better take my verbosity down a notch & wrap up my time on Bluelight for the moment. Once again I'm happy for you that you were able to "unmask" so to speak. :)
I can relate to a lot of what you've said here! I was diagnosed at a very young age and was told early on too so I always knew I had a condition that made me different, and while this was helpful to know and meant I could get more support in school etc, it didn't make things easier when it came to interacting with peers. Much like yourself I just observed what people around me did and tried my best to copy it so I could fit in.

At first this was very crude, over time it got better, and at the moment I've kind of struck a balance where I can act "normal" enough (without really thinking about it) that I can blend and have a social life, but at the same time am just weird enough to come off as "eccentric" and fun. At least this is the balance I strike most of the time. It takes a certain type of person to like me, but when they do, we tend to get close.

It still causes problems though for example this morning I'm in a bit of an argument with my girlfriend because all I do is rattle on about my special interests (mostly drugs, I keep it well hidden I know) and she gets bored. Well she never told me that before, she's always telling me she loves how passionate I get when I talk about things and likes to listen. I guess at times it gets a bit much though.

But I don't really know what to do with that. And she gets upset because she thinks I can only talk to her properly on drugs. Because as I said above I can take MDMA and open up with emotions, or even just take some benzos to let some of my barriers down, and I can take my mask off a bit. And she likes how I am like that but I think she takes it personally when I need substances to do it. I've explained to her it's not anything personal it's just how I am, I cannot really handle emotions normally. But she expresses emotions very openly so I think she just doesn't understand.

Anyway, whatever, enough about that. In my uni years I was much the same as you basically just trying to numb myself out because the environment was so fucking stressful and it was so many things all at once. I was living with like 10 strangers, they were loud and up all night, I had to get used to a whole new routine, learn where my classes were, get to grips with the work, deal with the deadlines, etc etc etc... I am honestly surprised I made it past the first year.

Probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for the fact this was back in the era of readily available etizolam from RC sites. You best believe I was on that shit. Suddenly things got easier. And thus began a benzo habit to deal with an incredibly stressful situation I felt forced into. Whoopty doo!

I began masking big time at uni, more than ever before, and have found it difficult to stop ever since because now almost everyone I know is used to me being like this. So if I were to unmask around those people they'd think something was wrong because I have "regressed" or something, not really realising that all I'm doing is covering up my natural behaviour for their sake.

In this respect the lockdown has actually been a blessing, because finally I can unmask a lot more. It's great for me. I think a few months of being able to unmask naturally may very well have been what made that roll such a powerful experience for me as well. Like it was already slipping off, the Mandy just let it slip all the way.

I'm gonna go have a shower and get set down to write out a full report.
 

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‘Given the right circumstances, being different is a superpower’ - Greta Thunberg, outside the White House.


Is my autism a superpower?

by Joanne Limburg | The Guardian | 3 Nov 2019Shares

Greta Thunberg, Chris Packham, Jack Monroe and others credit their Asperger’s with giving them the focus to get things done. Here, poet, writer and ‘autist’ Joanne Limburg wonders if the condition has helped her, too.

When I heard Greta Thunberg say that being different was a superpower, I had to replay her saying it. Several times. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at 42 and, seven years on, I’m still far from sure what that means. Are those of us with autistic spectrum conditions disabled or different? Are we, by definition, deficient human beings, or are there compensations that come with our condition? Are there any circumstances in which autism could be considered, not merely an acceptable difference, but a superpower?

Thunberg’s comment some two months ago was her robust response to commentators who had sought to use her Asperger’s to discredit her, claiming she must be a nave puppet and calling her a “weirdo” with a “monotone voice.” She wrote: “I have Asperger’s, and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances – being different is a superpower. #aspiepower.

As a fellow autist, I find myself stuck in the middle of these two incompatible views: on the one hand, autistic people are disturbed, naïve individuals who are incapable of knowing their own minds or speaking credibly; on the other, autistic people are superhumans with a preternatural ability to see the truth of things and to articulate it without equivocation. The world would be better without us; the world would be lost without us.

Food writer and campaigner Jack Monroe, too, has written that learning to harness her own autistic traits has enabled her to see them “as a kind of superpower.” Novelist Katherine May is more ambiguous: “My autism brings some things I really value – the flood of words I experience, the ability to fixate on a subject and burrow deep into it, and an intense relationship with the natural world. But there are other bits I’d get rid of. I break things and hurt myself all the time; and I hate the way that I don’t remember faces and so come across as rude.”


‘Would non-autistic me ever have had the focus to persevere in the isolating,
all-consuming business of writing?’
-Joanne Limburg

Charlotte Moore, who has written about bringing up two autistic sons with high support needs, told me: “I don’t see my sons’ autism as a disability, exactly. In the right environment, they can (and mainly do) lead happy, healthy lives. So I prefer the word ‘difference’ to ‘disability’.” She continued: “Can autism be a superpower? Probably, yes, in a few cases – some autistic people do have extreme abilities – but the popular belief that all autistic people are really geniuses isn’t helpful to parents or carers struggling with autistic people with no speech and self-harming behaviours, meltdowns or sensory overload.”

When I received my own diagnosis, I wanted to find out what it meant. I learned that Asperger’s syndrome is a controversial condition, sometimes set apart from other forms of autism. Since 2013 it has no longer been recognised as a stand-alone diagnosis in the United States, now falling under the umbrella term autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but it still is in the UK.

The opposing views of autism – disability or difference – may owe their origins to two different models of autism outlined by two different psychiatrists. On the one hand, there is Leo Kanner’s autism, first described in the US in the late 1940s. It is characterised by repetitive movement, little or no speech and high support needs. On the other hand, there is Asperger’s syndrome, named after Hans Asperger, the child psychologist and eugenicist who published the first definition of the condition in 1944, describing the children he encountered in his clinic in wartime Vienna as “little professors”. He famously said: “It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential.”

For a long time, it was the Kanner view that prevailed. Autism was considered a severe disability – and a rare one. Then, in 1976, the British psychiatrist Lorna Wing coined the term Asperger’s syndrome and a new group of patients – mostly children, overwhelmingly male – began to receive this diagnosis. Autism is no longer considered rare. According to the National Autistic Society, just over 1% of the population is autistic. Other estimates are higher.


Learning to harness her autistic traits has enabled her to see them ‘as a kind of superpower’ -Jack Monroe.

Although Asperger’s syndrome is no longer recognised in the United States, there are people who have grown up with it as their identity and they are sticking with it. Others have abandoned it in favour of the broader ASD. Controversy over Hans Asperger’s possible involvement in the Nazis’ eugenics programme led some to drop the term. Many, like me, use autism and Asperger’s interchangeably. I usually define myself as “autistic,” because I don’t recognise any essential difference between myself and non-speaking autistic people.

I tried to figure out what autism might explain in my own life, including some of its negative aspects. I’d had long experience of depression, anxiety and OCD. Had they arisen directly from a glitchy abnormal brain? Had they come about as a response to the adverse life experiences that accompany any difference, or might hypothetical non-autistic me have had them, too? And what about the more positive aspects? Would non-autistic me ever have had the focus or determination to persevere in the financially insecure, isolating, all-consuming business of writing?

I have always loved words and books. At the age of three, I would take my whole library to bed with me. My mother described me as a “not very childish” child, who preferred to talk to adults rather than other children. When I was nine, a teacher read a poem I’d written to the class, and I decided then and there to be a writer. That was a rare happy moment at primary school. Like many parents of autistic children, my parents found themselves with a child that mainstream education refused to accommodate. Their solution (not one open to everybody) was to re-mortgage the house and send me to private school. For my parents, my autism, literally, came at a great cost.

If I picture myself at Thunberg’s age, I see certain similarities. I was idealistic, passionate about what I believed, blunt in the expression of my ideas. I was uninterested in makeup or any other aspect of what my mother called “making the best of myself”. I was a vegetarian, because two years earlier Morrissey had said that meat was murder. I didn’t go in much for what people think of as normal teenage socialising. Instead, I pursued my own interests – and I pursued them single-mindedly.


An audience of one: comedian Hannah Gadsby finds it easier to speak in public than in private.

My passions were writing, the Beatles and feminism. I read my way through the Women’s Studies section of Edgware Library, and passed The Female Eunuch round the sixth form at my all-girls’ school, to raise the consciousness of the sisterhood. I announced to my mother that I was not going to go to university, because to do so would only mean following a patriarchal curriculum. Mum told me to stop being so silly. I went to university, but I took Greer and De Beauvoir with me.

So that was how I was 33 years ago: intellectually curious, idealistic and articulate. I could even be funny sometimes, but I was also intense and sullen, with few social graces. Asperger’s wasn’t available to me as a diagnosis in the 1980s, but people found other words for me. They said “moody” and “difficult’ or “thinks too much.” I still find it painfully difficult to maintain a conversation with more than one or two people at once. I have to overcome a wagon-load of inertia in order to clean my teeth, wash and dress. On a bad day, it seems to me that everything I have managed to do as an adult – earn money, find a partner, raise a child – has only been possible because I have learned to suppress my autism.

But that’s not to say I see no advantages. Like Greta Thunberg and the comedian Hannah Gadsby, I find public speaking easier than casual conversation. In her brilliant Ted talk, Gadsby asks how she can be so good at something – talking – she knows she is so bad at. The answer is that standup has none of the pitfalls conversation brings for autistic people. When she is on stage, Gadsby does not have to listen as well as speak, she does not have to figure out how to respond to what she hears, she does not have to do all the exhausting parallel processing that an autistic person has to consciously engage in during everyday conversation. She has figured out what she wants to say and she can just say it, without distraction or interruption. Perfect.

And I can add from personal experience, that when you have to perform almost every time you interact, performing in front of 1,000 people isn’t very different to performing in front of three. To a non-autistic person, who finds conversation easy but public speaking unnerving, this may well look like a superpower.

Another trait that we have on our side is the intensity of focus with which we pursue our passions. Chris Packham, naturalist and environmentalist and ambassador for the National Autistic Society, explained how the strength of his sensory response to the world around him enables him to “engage with the natural world with greater clarity and ease.” Packham said that from an early age, he could “see things which others couldn’t in nature.”


From an early age he could ‘see things which others couldn’t in nature’ -Chris Packham

There is a third trait associated with Asperger’s syndrome that Packham shares with Thunberg and which makes them both such effective activists. It is a certain moral single-mindedness, sometimes pathologised as “rigidity of thought,” but at other times framed more positively as “a strong sense of justice.” Thunberg has spoken of her ability to see things “in black and white” – for her, this is not rigidity, but clarity. Autistic people, in general, feel the pull of the truth more powerfully than we do the pull of fitting in. We are not inclined to accept reassurance that has no facts behind it.

Sometimes I do pretend to accept it. I’ve changed since I was a teenager: softened, become more pragmatic. It makes me easier to get on with, but when I watch Thunberg, I wonder what I might have done if I hadn’t spent so much energy learning how to smile when I talked.

I asked Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: the Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, whether he agreed with Thunberg. “Autism,” he said, “is a disability that can have advantages in the right situation, and with the right support. Greta’s intense focus and disregard for others’ opinions of her are ‘superpowers’ in that they help her ignore the fossil-fuel industry’s lies, take on the facts of climate change, and organise her peers to change the world.”

Perhaps we can change the world, if we don’t let it change us too much. Packham has suggested that: “Humanity has prospered because of people with autistic traits. Without them, we wouldn’t have put a man on the Moon or be running software programmes. If we wiped out all the autistic people on the planet, I don’t know how much longer the human race would last.”

At the same time, there are some autistic people who see no advantage in it, and would gladly take a cure. There are some parents so desperate to believe in a cure that they put their faith in bogus treatments, sometimes with terrible consequences.

So, what do I have – a disability or a difference? I asked developmental psychologist Professor Uta Frith the question: “Both points of view are valid and should be respected,” she told me. “We might avoid confusion by dividing the spectrum into subgroups, but where the boundaries would be is far from clear. We need more research to tell us what autism really is.”

There’s no telling where the boundaries are between a person’s autism and the autistic person. As far as I can tell, everything I am, I am autistically. If you took the autism away you would take me with it. And, regardless of whether autistic people have superpowers or not, when the world gives us the support we need, we thrive, and give the best of ourselves in return. You’ve not seen the best of us yet.

 
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Wilson Wilson

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Very interesting article. I hate Greta (just cuz I hate any XR doomsday puppet) but I do respect her for saying what she did about her autism and giving a public positive message.

Considering a virtually universal symptom of autism is obsessive "special interests" these can very well be "superpowers" in my view.

If you take a bunch of hyperfocused autistic nerds who fixate on very specific topics, and put them all in one place, you would get... well, you would get Silicon Valley.

These are just my own speculative armchair diagnoses so take this for what it is but I do believe people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are aspies. I mean look at them in interviews. Look at how they act and speak and live their lives. Idk it's just that usually we do have a "radar" for sensing our own kind and they both set it off big time for me.

George Hotz (aka geohot) is definitely an aspie imo. Again it is a speculation on my part, but literally, watch an interview with him and tell me he is not autistic. He speaks super fast and in great detail about very specific topics, knows basically everything about those topics, is crazy fucking smart at those things because he spent his whole life learning them, he doesn't get along well with others (see his history working in Silicon Valley), his voice is monotone and the volume is all over the place, and just his whole body language and facial expressions and everything... I know it when I see it.

And that guy geohot was the first guy to unlock the iPhone, made multiple jailbreaks, first guy to hack the PS3, and now runs his own company making self-driving car software that works off a phone. Literally you plug the phone into the car and it drives the car. And it works at least as well as any of the big car companies with budgets in the billions. And he runs that shit out of his garage.

He talks about that here, and again just look at how he acts in the interview and see if you pick up on what I do:


You can also watch him code on Twitch livestreams, the guy is a crazy good programmer. I am convinced he is a legit genius with an IQ >140.

But then you watch interviews and see his social skills and you will see what I mean. He is the kinda guy who would go on a date and spend the whole time talking fast and loud about his latest software project.

Full respect to that man, he's someone I looked up to since I was a teenager, and if you look at his IG he has pics of himself in a Ferrari which could be rented but given how good he is at hacking and how much money even one good zero day is worth, I don't doubt he is wealthy enough to buy one, a hacker as good as him is probably a multimillionaire which is why he can afford to beef with Silicon Valley and do his own thing. And he is only a few years older than me.

Anyway in conclusion yes I absolutely think it can be a "superpower", basic logic you take someone who is super obsessed with something from a young age to the extent they dedicate their lives to it, they will end up better at that thing than pretty much any NT. This is so often applied to technology (not always, I know, but very often) and when you live in a world dependent on technology suddenly you are not only gifted but making some money.

Society as it stands right now needs us, if Autism Speaks succeeded hypothetically in "curing" autism who do they think will make all the technology? Lmao.
 
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schizopath

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But I don't really know what to do with that. And she gets upset because she thinks I can only talk to her properly on drugs.
Properly with a hint of too much, Id say.

George hotz iq? 160+. He seems to be an prodigy.
 
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ashwolf22101

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Have you gone through the therapy/study or just applied? When the studies were announced, I got excited, but the criteria I saw all required substance naivete, and, um ... oh well.

I'd be curious about your experience/thinking about the emotional stuff. My ability to cry got unlocked somehow, for example. That might sound stupid or trivial to some, but I felt like that was absolutely massive for me.

As for the social stuff, I believe/think/feel/observe/whatever that I get a greater desire to communicate. Or maybe it's just that the pessimism (not worth the effort, just gonna be misunderstood/not understood, ...) is gone for a while. I'm not sure. But it feels like a more-willing-to-interact attitude that's just there.
I have not gone through it yet, I simply applied. Waiting to hear back. It said I was eligible and they will let me know if I was picked.

Congratulations on your progress!!! I am too sensitive, so crying was always something I was able to experience. However social ques and social anxiety are more my problem. I did MDMA a few days ago, and I definitely feel more social-able. It's like I go out of my way to socialize now.
 
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