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Autism & the Common Man


"Autistic! My child? No way, Doc. You're way off base there. No way my child could be autistic. That's like sayin' I done something wrong or that it come through my blood. Uhn, uhn. No way."

"If you say so, Mr. Jones. But since you haven't the money to pay for treatment, I'm afraid I will not be able to help your son. If he had autism the government would pay for his treatment, but since you say...."

"Hold it, Doc. You say if the kid's got that autism stuff the gover'ment will pay your bill? Hmmm. Well, he's got it ok, that autism thing. Yep, sure 'nuff. You treat him for that."

"It isn't that simple, Mr. Jones. The boy must have a full-blown case of autism. It can't be ASD or a milder form of autism."

"Well, my kid's got it bad. You can be sure of that. He's just as full blown as he can get. You get that gover'ment spending thing for him, and get to work treaten' him."



Lately, after all these years of ignorance, I discover that I am Autistic. I have lived for nearly seventy years believing I was "different" or "crazy." Now I discover that I am perfectly normal, but with an abnormality that is socially acceptable, but only as a sever abnormality.

Let me explain:



During my grandparent's time an "Indian" was not the thing to be. If there was a drop of Indian blood in the family line, it was rejected and denied posthaste. Even many Indian youth denied their heritage and tried to be just as non Indian as they possibly could.

Then came official apologies to the Native American people, and along with that apology came Government support. The tide then changed. Everyone clamored to the libraries, the genealogy sites, the Native American stores and the reservations searching for but a single drop of Indian they could claim for their own. It was now the "thing" to be Indian. Should the tide ebb once more, and "Indian" be deemed socially unacceptable, people will be cutting their wrist to rid themselves of the Indian blood they sought so hard to find.


How much Indian blood does it take to make an Indian? According to Government funding (Cherokee), it takes about one pint more or less depending on your size. Seven percent of your body is blood, 1/16 of that must be authentic Native American, and registered with an Indian agency to be considered for funding. Perhaps your left arm will do, unless you are left handed, then you can give up your right arm.


How much Autism must you possess to be classified "Autistic?" For Government funding, more than an arm I'm afraid.

Autism, and the degrees of autism changes from year to year, and from study to study. It's kind of a pick-and-choose as to who (or whom) you wish to believe. And who you listen to now, may not be the one to listen to tomorrow. An example of this can be seen in a bill being presented to our government at this moment where once again our Politicians hope to break another treaty with the Cherokee Nation and withdraw the funding Tribal Nation has been dependant on so long. Government dependancy is like a spider hanging on a long, thin web: fine until the wind blows a little hard.


No one wants to be a "little" autistic. Autism is a social stigma from which people try to separate themselves. Now, if you have a big social problem, and you can not, or will not change in order to conform to the socially accepted, then autism is a crutch on which you may lean. If you are autistic, the faults you posses are no longer your fault, but are the fault of God, your parents or some other source outside yourself.


I am Autistic. I may have told you that already. But since I am autistic I have a poor memory and may tell you things I have forgotten that I told you. It's not my fault because I am autistic. See how nicely I could work that in? It's great having something to blame for my lack. But of course, to cast the blame for my poor behavior from me, I must admit to having something, or being something not acceptable to the society in which I live. But, since society is so directed toward accepting the unacceptable, admitting that I am, with reason, socially unacceptable, I then become socially acceptable. Two ends that meet, while the broad middle is ignored.


If I was to ask you if you were Autistic, what would be your reply? If you know anything about autism (which until last night I did not), the chances are extreme you will flat-out deny any touch of autism. That is unless you have a social disorder you wish to be seen as socially acceptable. Another reason you might admit to being autistic is if you are receiving government aid for autism, and you fear you might be talking to an undercover government agent trying to catch you off guard and take away your funding.


Are you autistic? Let's take a look at some of the signs of Autism.


Autism:

"Characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication,"


How might a person who has a problem with social interaction and inabilities fit into society? Let's look at some alternate possibilities.

One method a person with a lack of social skills might find themselves in a society that accepts them is to join another group (or start one) of people who have similar social dysfunctions.

In the 50's such groups were Beatniks or Artists and gathered in coffee houses and such places as Haight-Ashbury.

Then in the 70's art and poetry became too much of an effort, and coffee too bland, so those who did not fit in carried flowers and formed communes where they smoked pot and performed other such socially unacceptable activities under the name of "Peace and Free Love."

Those people who were not so inclined to total freedom of expression turned to the cults for spiritual feeding. For these such cults as the Children of God and the People's Temple (Guyana) were formed.

And for those who were after the spiritual, but did not wish to be associated with something called a "cult," churches were provided, although in them total freedom from etiquette had to be compromised.

For those who fit into none of the above there were other institutions created and available. One such institution is that of Higher learning where they did not learn about spiritual matters or flowers, but about Monkey Men and Molotov cocktails.

Then for those who wished to totally withdraw into their own world, there was the even higher institution of acceptance called Mental Institutions. But in the 70's the government decided not to support those with the most sever case of withdrawal, and blew on the web that supported such institutions and released these Autistic people into society, many you can see on street corners of the larger cities today.

And for those who have an even more antisocial bent, there are the prisons the which are filling faster than they can be built. This indicates to me that such a form of autism is by far the most prevalent, and the most popular.


Not everyone fits into any of these established forms of retreat. I am one of those. I did not fit into the Hippy nor the Beatnik communities since I was not artistic nor into flowers, coffee made me sick, and drugs was beyond my comprehension.

Nor did I follow the Spiritual route since it required even more social skills and etiquettes than I possessed.

The Schools of Higher Learning was a flop for me because I have such a faulty memory (my having such sever autism you know), and besides I could never catch on to how to mix a proper cocktail. Another problem I was confronted with was, as hard as I tried, I couldn't find record of a single one of my ancestors being a monkey. A couple were horse thieves, but that is as close as I got.

As for Mental Institutions I fit well with their company. But as I said, the government cast out those who held on to such threads. Pardon me while I redo my cardboard sign.


One other avenue of escape exists for the autistic who fits into "None of the Above." That is the road. A road of solitude where the only rules that must be followed are those one makes for one's self. That is the road I have taken. It is where I feel the most comfortable. There is one drawback to such a road, it is a very narrow road that only allows one person at a time to walk it. Only for short distances does it allow room for company to walk beside, and then not hand-in hand.


Autistic:

"Has severely restricted interests."


I am very restricted in my interests. I am interested in this website, my writing, certainly the study of the Bible, art, computers, nature, people, the study of people, teaching, music of all kinds, building things, fixing things, reading, eating, cars, bicycles, hiking, travel: but other than that, I'm not much interested in anything. Severely restricted in my interests. Of course if you are interested in politics, sports, and anything I didn't list, you would readily agree with my diagnosis of myself, that I am severely restricted in my interests.

But, let's see now. Do you know of anyone who is also restricted in their field of interest? Say a car buff, or a health nut, or a movie fan, or a computer geek, or a food addict, or a religious fanatic, or fashion Queen, or a ... But of course that's not the same thing, is it.


Autism:

"Highly repetitive behavior."

This is me all over. When I ride my bike, just watch my feet. It so repetitive it would bore you to tears. It's the same when I'm walking, or when I'm typing. It's terrible. I've tried to overcome this dysfunction, but somehow it is just too much a part of me.

Of course I'm sure I'm the only one with this problem. Computer gamers, dish washers and factory workers and mechanics and secretaries and the like would never be caught in such a situation, nor would puzzle workers or book worms. No, no, never.


Autistic:

"May be prone to committing social faux pas due to an inability to predict the reactions of and understand the intent, needs and desires of those around them."


If there was ever one who commits social indiscretions because of not being able to predict what others are thinking or wanting, it is me. This is especially true around women. I am always mistaking their intents and their desires. But then, I'm sure that is only me. Surely you never experience such "Social Faux Pas's."


Autistic"

"May be negligent of social niceties, like knocking on doors before entering or returning a greeting."


Here is where I fail the test. I am supersensitive to the acceptance and the comfort of others. I will go far out of my way to not step on toes and to "knock on doors" before entering. But the experts see the lack of such as a sign of autism. Interesting: because I see my being overly conscious of pleasing people as being a sign of autism, that is of living in my own little world of reality (which although nor mentioned, seems to be a sign of autism): My reality being that of making sure their realities do not become unrealities by my negligent observance of them.


Autistic:

"They may be overly trusting or paranoid of strangers"


Now here I've really got to give it to the experts. They have their posterior covered from every direction. Must have been written by a politician. If you are afraid of strangers, you are autistic. If you are not afraid of strangers, you are autistic. I got to admit, this is definite evidence that I am autistic.


Autism:

"Generally want to develop social relationships and are actually able to build relationships with peers through social skills training."


Here again they have their rumble seat locked tight and camouflaged. They are: "Able to build relationships with peers through social skills training." Can you imagine that. The socially unacceptable who have learned to be socially acceptable. Now, considering this, how can one tell the difference? And since it is a learned trait, and since every child is taught "social skills training," how can I tell if my social skillfulness has come about from my training or by being other than autistic? Once again, I must claim a seat on the Autism bus.


Autism"

"Can be taught how society works by using virtual reality simulations to learn about the complex rules of society."


Wow!! Good ol' computer games. What would we do without them? Here I've been thinking all this time those games were a problem of today's youth. But now the experts say they are teaching the children (as well as the many adults who use them) social skills. Of course all the games I have seen advertised are teaching how to steal cars and get away with it, to kill and to maim, and to throw Molotov cocktails. But then, I guess that's cheaper than going to college to learn those things. And again, I suppose that is what "normal" society is about nowadays seeing what is in the movies and on the news. But then, I'm autistic. What do I know?


Autism:

"Learn stereotypes by observing their parents' actions, such as locking car doors when in certain neighborhoods."


Again I have to say: Wow! How do these brilliant minds come up with this stuff? I'm sorry to say the information I have doesn't tell us how "normal" people learn to lock car doors in rough neighborhoods (my being a paranoid autistic I even lock my car doors in safe neighborhoods. But what do I know? I'm autistic, or did I already tell you that?) I thought everyone learned from their parents and others around them. It seems to me that kids left on their own, even the finest of them, will likely grow up like Sabu in Jungle book, or the kids in Lord of the Flies. But then, I'm not educated so I don't know any better.



Society dictates our thoughts and behavior. If you are a typical American you eat beef. Beef comes from cows.

Hindus (traditionally) do not eat beef. Beef comes from cows. To a Hindu that cow is his ancestor. Should the traditional American convert to Traditional Hinduism, suddenly that slab of beef on the plate before him becomes his ancestor.

Now, because of your new social outlook, you will stand right next to that skin and bones cow and starve to death, both you and your family. Yet, as far as you know, in your next life you will be that skin and bones cow.


Left to ourselves, we have no society to which to conform. When we are in a society, we learn to conform to that society. Should we decide not to conform, or are unable to conform, we are not admitted into that society in which we find ourselves. An example of this is anyone who travels from country to country. Little mistakes in judgment, or habits that are totally acceptable and even expected in one part of the world can get you ostracized, or even killed in another. One traditional example of this is the "ugly American" who feels he is above conforming to the norms of societies other than his own. We have had Presidents as well who have not heeded the advise of their advisors and have suffered diplomatic difficulties from the lack thereof.



IDIOT-SAVANT


Idiot-Savant is an archaic term for those people who are autistic, but are also highly skilled in one or more specific areas. Usually this term applies to people who's IQ is below 20. The largest majority of people hold an IQ (Intelligenz-Quotient in German developed in 1912) of between 80 to 120, with the median being 100. Some of the factors that are used to judge a person's IQ are the parent's IQ, and heredity. I for one would hate to be judged in such a vital area by my parent's rather than on my own abilities or lack thereof. But then, I'm Autistic or have I told you that already?

As with Autism this quotient has varied over time, and is different from one study to the next. Like in so many other areas, the "experts" are always changing their minds, and arguing against one another, yet they expect you and me to take on faith all they spoon-feed to us. This can also be seen in politics, the media, and weather reporting.


There is a group around called "Mensa" for the exceptionally high IQ's of this world. To join Mensa you must have an IQ in the top 2 percentile. This is about 132. The originator of this organization (a British lawyer by the way) had an IQ of 148, putting him quite well up there amongst the top. I wonder what score he would have allowed in Mensa had his IQ been 122 or below?

Some of the members of Mensa might surprise you. Here are but a few:


Scott Adams - cartoonist, creator of Dilbert

Isaac Asimov, - author of I, Robot.

Derek Keith Barbosa - rapper (under pseudonym Chino XL)

Bobby Czyz - boxer, former two-time World Boxing Association Cruiserweight Champion

Jodie Foster, actress.

Charles Ingram - Quiz show cheater

Mell Lazarus - cartoonist, creator of comic strips Miss Peach and Momma

Scott Levy - professional wrestler

Nicky Piper - boxer

James Woods - Emmy Award winning actor.

Marilyn Vos Savant - listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under "Highest IQ".


Now you might very well ask me why I would include a list of "Geniuses" under the heading "Idiot-Savant." And it would be a very good question, and one I am certainly willing to answer. Did you check out the occupations of the world geniuses? A Rapper, boxers, wrestlers, actors, cartoonists?

And did you notice the name of the last on the list: "Savant"?


"Idiot" I don't have to tell you what that means, but I will anyway since I love to show off. It is someone with an IQ under 20, which would place them on the opposite extreme of Mensa.


Below is another list. Check out the occupations of these.


Jedediah Buxton, UK savant calculator

Tony DeBlois, U.S. blind and autistic musician

Temple Grandin, U.S. designer of humane livestock facilities

Leslie Lemke, U.S. blind musician with brain damage

Hikari Oe, Japanese developmentally-delayed composer

Kim Peek, U.S. savant with a photographic or eidetic memory, developmental disabilities and the inspiration for the movie Rain Man

James Henry Pullen, British deaf "Genius of Earlswood Asylum"

Matt Savage, U.S. autistic music prodigy

Orlando Serrell, U.S. savant who can recall the day of the week (as well as what the weather was like) for any day since the day a baseball hit his head.

Henriett Seth F., Hungarian autistic savant with multiple autoimmune disorders, poet, writer and artist

Daniel Tammet, UK synesthete mathematics and language savant

Gilles Trehin, French autistic artist and creator of the fictitious city of Urville

George Widener, U.S. autistic savant, artist with calculator and calendar skills

Blind Tom Wiggins, U.S. blind and mentally handicapped pianist in 1860s


As you can see, this last list consists of what is now called "Autistic-Savant" rather than the archaic "Idiot-Savant" (Savant meaning "Learning" in French.")


We have geniuses who are boxers, cartoonists, wrestlers and rappers. We have "idiots" who are pianists, mathematicians, memory experts, writers, composers and designers. Does this perhaps give you food for thought?


Both lists are far from intensive, but I believe you can see that it is highly suspect when we place labels on people, especially when those labels are given by those in high and respected, therefore listened to positions. What is even worse is when we judge ourselves by the labels placed on us by these so-called experts and limit ourselves accordingly. The greatest advances in all areas have been made by those people who refused to listen to experts. Let us not judge ourselves, nor others, nor what is right and wrong by the dictates of society, nor by the experts.




Note and disclaimer


My purpose in this study is not to discredit those who have legitimate forms of autism. It is clear that there are those who have, to one degree or another, an actual dysfunction or even damage to the brain outside their own ability to control. My purpose is to show that we all have problems in this area that we hide from while castigating those with real problems. Each and every one of us is only capable to function in the society we live because of training and conditioning, not by our own superior abilities.

A second reason for this study is to show how we tend to accept the arbitrary dictates handed to us, from sources we know nothing of, in order to understand what we are told. Because of the vast array of information modern man is confronted with daily we can not be expected to search out the "truth" of every matter. However, because we can not investigate all we are presented with, we tend to investigate none that is before us. We only check out in detail that which slaps us in the face. For instance, if we are presented first-hand such illnesses as stroke, Alzheimer or cancer, that issue becomes foremost in our mind. And this is as it should be. But there are many things acting on us day-by-day like an unknown cancer that is killing us which is being ignored. These issues are what I try to investigate and present an upsetting view to those who will listen. I say: "Upsetting" because I do not want what I say to be taken as "Truth," but as a possibility that requires further consideration.


In this same regard, I have only presented here a very superficial view of Autism. In fact it could well be called a "distorted" view. I have used this view to present my purpose, which is to look deeper and more honestly at ourselves and less critical at others; and to reexamine all you think you already know.

Anyone seeking information on Autism should totally disregard all they have read here, and look to reliable sources, of which there are many.


Tumbleweed

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