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Autism and Neurodiversity

Is "Different Thinking" Dysfunctional?

Autism and Neurodiversity
April 13, 2021 Eddie Renz
colorful graphic about autism and Neurodiversity

A Different Kind of Diversity – Neurodiversity

When I was twenty years old I drove a school bus for students who were differently abled. That was 25 years ago and a lot has changed since then when it comes to working with people who think differently. Driving that bus was both delightful and challenging. But mostly I just enjoyed talking to the students and seeing the world through their eyes. Some of the students had very limited mental capacity, where others seemed to function like most young students. I found that their needs and desires were the same as most humans, they all wanted to be seen, respected, and loved.

In the video below, psychologist Dr. Devon MacEachron challenges her audience to look at learning differences as unique gifts and not dysfunctions or disabilities.  “Neurodiversity is a part of our genetics and our evolution as a species,” she explained.  “The genes for autism and ADHD are not errors, but rather the result of variations in the human genome that have and will continue to have advances for society.”

Love on the Spectrum

There is a dating show on Netflix called Love on the Spectrum that shows the lives of individuals with autism and how they want to date and find love just like the rest of humanity. According to my own therapist and based on my own experience, I’ve learned that often times the reason humans reject something is because it makes them uncomfortable, they have been taught that it is wrong, or they have very little experience with it.

I was listening to The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and one of the characters said, “people only see the truth when it is close enough to their reality.” I believe there is definitely some wisdom in that statement. And that is why I love movies and documentaries that shine the line on complex subjects. When we can engage with content that is outside our personal worldview then we can better understand people and appreciate their differences – not try to make them conform to societal standards.

If you have a moment to watch Love on the Spectrum on Netflix it is funny and heart-warming. Check out a couple of clips from the show below.

Autism and Genetic Predisposition

There was a time when ADHD and Autism were seen as pathologies. Science is now backing up that these variations in the human genome are not diseases or pathologies, but instead, just part of the human race. According to an article in Psychology Today, “We are realizing that autism, ADHD, and other conditions emerge through a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental interaction; they are not the result of disease or injury.” (Psychology Today)

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