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Autism Spectrum – Home

Autism is of a range of mental-health challenges collectively termed, “neurodiverse”. Autism identifies a type of operating system (function) and hardware architecture (form). The old ‘pathology’ model defines autism in terms of ‘differences from neurotypical’ perceived as negative ‘from the neurotypical point of view’. The Social Model of Autism looks at these differences from a strengths and abilities view-point. I [author] see a [my] neurodiversity diagnosis as a label identifying the correct software and user manual for a mind, rather than a label on that mind.

By example, my autistic mind can hyperfocus and achieve work in hours that normally would take days. My autistic mind can find patterns and apply polysynthetic associations and learning (I learn fast and find connections to other applications through internal understanding rather than rote learning – seeing how ‘this’ could also explain or be applied to ‘that’, despite being seemingly unconnected).

I [author] AM autistic – I do not HAVE autism. Autism is a term describing the hardware and operating system of my mind. Autism does not define me. Understanding my autism enables me to play to my strengths, laugh at my weaknesses (and work on them), but most of all, frees me from having to pretend to be what I perceive others want me to be – called masking; the source of so much anxiety, depression and disassociation.

In this section, you will find resources to better understand your operating system, or that of a loved one. Become a student of this subject, but seek understanding rather than knowledge. I suggest brutal self-honesty when reading or watching the information in this section. For most of my life, I was undiagnosed because I masked so well I even fooled myself. Unrelenting self-observation and self-honesty will make this process go much easier and far more smoothly. 

Personal note: The day I realised my diagnosis was one of the best days in my life. I was able to look back at my life with new understandings of “what-the-heck-just-happened” moments of social miscues, and other things that previously left me mystified and believing there was something wrong with me. The real problem is I wasn’t trying to run the right software, and didn’t know how to work my operating system efficiently; attempting to conform to the neurotypical template inherited from society and school.

Autism is a spectrum term, meaning manifestation of autistic aspects of the personality and behaviour varies wildly from one person to another. One of the more common experiences to autistics is that of social awareness and the fluidity of interpersonal communication (neurotypicals read non-verbal cues to the direction of a conversation, many on the spectrum do not do this well). I [author] was very social, described by others as an extrovert, and have a close circle of real friends (most are neurodiverse). I DJ’ed in the 80s, and have been in multiple roles requiring close teamwork to succeed. These may not be “typically” autistic to most people; but they are to others on the spectrum. 

The movie, “Rainman” was well acted by Dustin Hoffman, but his character represents only a single, stylised version of the most identifiable traits of difference in autism. As Dr Tony Attwood says [paraphrased], to know one person on the spectrum is to know one person in a spectrum.

Please explore the list of resources below for more information: