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The Best Autism Experts

21 Dec

Simon Baron-Cohen, Eric Courchesne, Nancy Minshew, Tony Attwood, Jed Baker, Brenda Myles. These are the autism experts of today. They have researched etiology and treatment efficacy, written articles and books, and presented at conferences. They are sought out for their facts and opinions. They have dedicated their lives to understanding the world of autism. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to you that I’d love to be on that list some day. Such esteem would mean that I am respected and have seemingly worthwhile opinions to express.

Their opinion, like my opinion, is the product of the neurotypical skill of perspective-taking. We believe this skill gives us the ability to step into the shoes of others and understand what they feel, why they feel what they feel, and everything in between because we share a common human experience. I wonder, though, if this common experience extends to the spectrum. Is it naive to think it is? Or, is it arrogant to think it isn’t? Are an NT’s life and an autie’s or Aspie’s life that different? That similar? I could argue both sides, really, but I think that the answer lies somewhere in between — both similar and different. Similar in the ways that all humans struggle through and enjoy every day life. Different in the ways that make humanity so frustratingly amazing and amazingly frustrating.

The spectrum life and the NT life are separate but equal.

I am a student and always will be a student in the world of ASD. I will never be an expert, no matter how much I’d like to, because that title and honor applies only to who don’t have to take off one pair of shoes to don another. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t stop trying to put on those shoes because it is that process that teaches me, causes me pause (and sometimes pain), and helps me realize that many times those shoes fit perfectly.

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2 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2010 in ASD in the Grand Scheme

 

2 responses to “The Best Autism Experts

  1. Berisha

    November 2, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Autistic people try to put themselves in other peoples shoes all the time. Why not, its human nature? Its more difficult perhaps because most people are not Autistic and therefore think and feel somewhat different. Most Autistic people have been trying to figure out how NT people think since day one, while most NT have not been trying to figure out Autistic people, which is understandable. I would say for me that trying to put myself in other peoples shoes is something I do quite well precisely because I don’t really read body language, and so like a blind person has better hearing I have stronger empathy. Instead of just reading what people feel on their faces I basically have to guess how they feel from what I know about them. Sometimes I am pretty good at it, I can analyze a persons situation pretty deeply in order to try to understand what they are feeling. Also I can just ask someone, how are you feeling, of course you don’t always get an honest answer. I am definitely gullible at times and get lied too and taken advantage, but better to be a trusting person and occasionally be dissapointed than to never trust people. I don’t think a lot of those experts especially Simon Baron Cohen have much empathy for their supposedly empathy deprived subjects. There is a massive amount of arrogance their, a sort of “colonialist” mindset.

     

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