Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sensory Diversity, Brains, and Judeo-Christian Myth

Does the Autism Spectrum make any sense?

I want to spend some time on sensory sensitivities, because I believe that the myriad confusing symptoms that are considered to be diagnostic of Asperger's are the RESULT of a different sensory reception and processing scheme than is present in so-called normal people. The unusually broad array of behaviors and thought processes used to diagnose Asperger people is internally contradictory and inconsistent. Also, these symptoms are unequally distributed among individuals diagnosed as Asperger. A grab bag of 'suspicious' or unwanted behaviors is being used to diagnose an increasing array of new disorders without looking deeply into the origin of such disparate symptoms. Dozens of characteristics are  grouped as a spectrum more from convenience than evidence. The range of possible drivers of behavior is left unknown, and therefore facts that might untangle the mess and lead to a better understanding of developmental diversity in our species remain hidden.

An analogy: A panel of experts decides that having a pain in the neck is pretty much the same as having a headache, so neck pain is swept into a Headache Disorder spectrum. Regardless of how many, or which symptoms the individual may or may not exhibit along this spectrum, he or she is then told that the problem is a defective brain. There is no cure or treatment, but a person can be trained to act is if no pain exists. The CAUSE of the headache (or neck pain) is ignored. The pain might be traced to a brain tumor, allergies, or whiplash, but no differentiation is made.  
The sweeping conclusion that diverse humans can be categorically removed to a "disordered" space reflects a dominant religious attitude that a male god made man in His likeness, therefore there is only ONE God-given correct set of thoughts and behaviors acceptable in human beings. Note that the "disordered space" by definition includes females, and any person authorities designate.  Too many experts and scientists have this conceptual structure embedded in their work and don't even realize it, but cultural ideas taint their assumptions and therefore their conclusions. The insistence that Homo sapiens is the ultimate human, divinely inspired and separated from the animals by a towering barrier of supernatural origin, is only recently being challenged in anthropology and evolutionary science. The supposedly rock-solid line that was drawn by religious males over two millennia ago, which divides "sub-humans" from a self-designated Supreme Man has wrecked the lives of millions of human beings. 

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