As I mentioned in the attachment that I added to the end of the video of last month’s meeting, we didn’t finish all of the material due to the great dialog that was generated, as well as the fact that just about everyone had to leave early. I also felt that I didn’t do as good of a job of pointing out the specific social skills issues that stem from our executive functioning impairments. It’s not that the information I did provide wasn’t good and very beneficial, its that I don’t feel that it really address the bigger subject of social skills.
Therefore, I redid my PowerPoint slides of that section so I can present the information that I feel needs to be shared. Nevertheless, instead of being an amendment to last month’s presentation, it ended up becoming a reboot. I’ll leave the original on line because it went into greater detail about the foundational issues that were discussed prior to the section on “Executive Functioning,” while this “reboot” concludes with the solutions that I couldn’t get to in the original because I ran out of time.
“I’m wired differently, here’re all the things I can’t do,” is not a recipe for successful interaction with anyone (believe when I say I tried that method and it failed me miserably) nor any other endeavor that we might under take. Although society may make us feel like we were “born on the wrong planet,” that doesn’t make it true, nor does it give us the self-confidence that we need to succeed any anything, especially social interaction. In fact, the entire mentality is self-defeating.
Success for Autistics/Aspies in any area, including social interaction, requires a root level understanding that builds our self-esteem and self-confidence. How do we accomplish this, with a “holistic understanding of Autism/Asperger’s.” That means instead of defining us by solely by our weaknesses, we need to also need to give our strengths their just due. Just as a blind person compensates by developing a more acute sense of hearing, frontal lobe impairments result in Autistics/Aspie result in a greater reliance in other areas, resulting in superior abilities in those areas.
Another way that this discussion of the neuroscience of Autism/Asperger’s is going to be different from what’s typically presented is that I won’t be teaching trigonometry to kindergarteners. I came up with this analogy to explain to Dr. Woodruff why conferences designed to educate parents and Autistics/Aspies should simplify how Autism/Asperger’s is explained to them. We also need to focus more attention on what will allow us to devise strategies for dealing with struggles that we face today, rather than solutions that science MIGHT provide us 5-10 years from now.
For those who aren’t familiar with Dr. Woodruff, he’s a neurologist who works at the about 2011-14. During that time, he donated all of his knowledge to anyone who Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale who attended Autistic/Aspie meetings for personal reason from wanted it. I soaked up everything that he had, that was within my ability to comprehend, like a sponge. He examined the material that I’d come up with prior to our meeting each other and completely overhaul several portions of it. Everything that I share on the subject of the neuroscience of Autism/Asperger’s has his endorsement as to being consistent with consensus view of scientists at the time he assisted me in developing this material.