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Offline stana

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Autism...
« on: 23/11/2007 16:18:56 »
Hey guys. can you tell me a little bit about autism?

thanks!
« Last Edit: 03/12/2007 19:44:22 by stana »


 

Offline kdlynn

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Autism...
« Reply #1 on: 23/11/2007 17:13:34 »
i think it was a mistake
 

Offline stana

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Autism...
« Reply #2 on: 23/11/2007 17:36:58 »
ahhh thats a huge weight off my shoulders. Thanks :D
 

Offline techmind

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Autism...
« Reply #3 on: 23/11/2007 21:03:56 »
Hey guys..i got a really disturbing letter from the local authorty today..Telling me that they were aware i was autistic.
Ive looked it up on wikipedia..and i cant make head nor tail of it.
Can i geta little help off you guys with it?

Well... it could be a mistake. Or a misunderstanding...

Autism is basically a comment on the way the brain is "wired", probably at birth. It has to do with someones' style of thinking. It's not an illness, and it is not going to "get worse".

Bizarrely some personality traits associated with very clever or "gifted" children can also coincide with some of the mild autism characteristics.

My understanding is that there is a continuous spread of "autisticness" going from "very slightly autistic" (mild versions of Asperger's syndrome) to really badly autistic - where the person really can't function properly. The spread is often referred to as autistic spectrum disorder.
The symptoms are many, not always very specific, and doctors struggle to completely agree on them. But often they are about not "fitting in" so well with other people, and being a bit pedantic (focussed overly on small details of things).

From your posts on here I can see that you ask loads and loads of really excellent questions, which show that you're thinking about and analysing the world around you much more carefully than many children your age would. This is ok, and is just the sort of mind you need to become a great scientist or engineer. :)

Now unfortunately a lot of adults, including teachers, won't know all the answers to the questions to the questions you probably keep asking. Maybe they think you're trying to catch them out. Possibly they don't even think some of the things you ask even matter! I'm guessing here - tell me if this is your experience. Some adults can't always cope with too many questions, or they're simply too busy and don't have time. They might think that questions about why there are "always cubey orange bits in vomit" are just disgusting. But it's a very good question. You just have to be a bit careful who you ask, and where and when!  ::)
You're always welcome to ask questions here on The Naked Scientists' forum.  [8D]

Some of the "symptoms" of "Asperger's syndrome" borderline on what is actually quite common among scientists. Whether you do have a mild version of the syndrome, or whether some aspects of your inquiring mind just "tick some of boxes" on the adults' forms I couldn't know.

But, if you're otherwise happy, then please don't worry about it.

It can be hard to imagine, but we all see the world in slighty different ways -- yet we often assume everyone notices the same things as us. To take a silly example, before Christmas last year I went out to a restaurant for a meal with some friends. One of my friend comes back from the toilet and asks "did you see the newspapers on the ceiling?" (newspapers had been "wallpapered" up there!). And I said "No - my eyes were completely jarring from the bright white and jet black tiles all over the walls and floor - it almost made me dizzy". My friend hadn't even noticed the checked tiles. I found this unbelieveable! Then I asked around the table and it seems that most of the guys had either noticed nothing, or noticed the newspaper/ceiling, but I wasn't alone and another two people had been really struck by the high-contrast tiles.

Everybody is individual, and that's what makes life interesting.
The fact that you might be thinking more like a scientist might make you a little bit unusual in a school, but it's also what makes you, you. Don't worry.

Below is a list of some different sorts of skills and abilities - I just made them up. No-one is good at all of them; everybody is better at some than others. And no one set of skills is universally "better" than other. Different skills are beneficial in different situations, and useful in different sorts of jobs.

{maths and science}
{computers}
{reading maps, identifying landmarks}
{sports}
{English and poetry}
{spelling}
{noticing mistakes in things}
{analysing things}
{telling jokes and comedy, or acting/drama}
{having big radical ideas}
{imagination}
{foreseeing how a social situation is likely to develop/unfold}
{inventing detailed solutions to very specific problems}
{painting and art}
{good with hands - eg sculpture}
{good with hands - eg metalwork/woodwork, DIY}
{good with plants - "green fingers"}
{good at cooking}
{comforting someone who is sad}
{breaking up an argument and calming people down}
{running a business, making money}
{chatting, random conversation}
{making friends easily}
{managing lots of things at once}
{being able to ignore lots of things and concentrate really hard on one thing}
{getting people to do them work or favours}
{organising an event or process}
{bold and fearless - eg security guard}

Life is all about finding out what things you are good at, and what things you enjoy, and making the most of them. It's also good from time to time to try things which don't come so naturally, or which are a challenge. You can get some nice surprises.
« Last Edit: 24/11/2007 01:28:35 by techmind »
 

Offline techmind

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Autism...
« Reply #4 on: 23/11/2007 22:31:16 »
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_spectrum_disorder

Quote
Behaviorally, certain characteristics identify the autism spectrum. The type, severity and/or number of autistic traits present determines the severity of autism in the individual. These autistic traits may be beneficial for some disciplines like science, mathematics, engineering and computer programming. Some autistic individuals might show a marked proficiency in rote memorization which may help learn the foundation of these subjects; however, the exceptionally good aptitude (in these subjects) of high functioning autistic spectrum persons may be due to their ability to readily identify patterns and apply them consistently to new situations outside of established knowledge or teaching. These savant skills, although popularly considered to be a major part of autistic disorders, are evident only in a small fraction of autistic individuals, with estimates of the fraction ranging from 0.5% to 10%.[7]


There are so many different versions or degrees of autism, and much controversy over it
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_in_autism

Quote
As autism became recognized as a spectrum disorder, it lead to the recognition of 'high functioning' autistics. Presumably highly intelligent people with autism may have been more common than once imagined.

There is considerable anecdotal evidence that autistic individuals once thought to be mentally retarded have later been identified as very intelligent. Sue Rubin, writer of the film Autism Is a World was believed to be mentally retarded until age 13, after which she was tested to have an IQ of 131.

Characteristics observed by some studies as being associated with gifted children at least appear to be analogous to those of autistic children:

Some studies suggest that gifted children are more than twice as introverted as their peers.
Gifted children have been characterized as having obsessive interests, preferring to play alone, and enjoying solitude. They are also said to have prodigious memories and show intense reactions to noise, pain and frustration.[10]
According to some reports, gifted children have a higher-than-average propensity to allergies.

The above might help you understand why (correctly or mistakenly) you might have been given this label. It's not any kind of disease, or illness, or allergy - and it's not going to get worse.

If overall you're happy in your life (everyone has ups and downs) then there's nothing to worry about. If on the other hand you are having any particular difficulty -making friends for example- then some help may be available to you (you can be taught some tricks to help).

Talk to your parents (especially your dad), or a teacher you get on well with; they probably know you best.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: 24/11/2007 01:15:57 by techmind »
 

Offline techmind

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Autism...
« Reply #5 on: 24/11/2007 01:47:15 »
stana, you've asked some brilliant questions, but I've just noticed a pattern which concerns me slightly.

In amongst all your other questions, in recent months you've asked about:
 when your muscles stop growing
 about creatine (used to boost muscles)
 what you can do to make yourself "ill" quickly in order to avoid going to school
 you've also commented that you've been "hit where it hurts"

Maybe I'm imagining things, but I get a hunch you might be being bullied.
This shouldn't happen, and no-one deserves it.
It is no excuse, but nor is it unusual for smart kids to be bullied.
Please, if my suspicion is right, talk to someone who can help. Don't let it upset you or make your life miserable.


It's okay to be geeky (they even sell a T-shirt that say "I love my geek"). The bullies might not understand, but without smart people who do you think would design cars and aeroplanes and computers and massive flat-screen TVs and run the banks etc etc.? Part of growing up is learning to understand your individuality, and being confident of who you really are.
« Last Edit: 24/11/2007 01:49:48 by techmind »
 

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