Saturday, June 28, 2014


If you want to know about gardening, ask a gardener.
If you want to know about mountain climbing, ask a mountain climber. If you want to know about being Asperger, ask an  Asperger.

The Internet is an ocean of trivia, misinterpretation, hearsay, repeated repeats of out-of-context quotes, pseudoscience, bad interpretations of surveys and studies, and information tailored to sell products and services. The Internet is like the mid-Pacific gyre, a vast floating collection of human products collected by ocean currents into a tangle of debris that must be teased apart and reassembled in order to discover the sources of its content.

The diagnosis known as Asperger Disorder is like the gyre - a collection of sometimes contradictory symptoms and behaviors, both vague and specific, negative and tolerable, treatable, but not treatable. Those individuals who are not diagnosed as children, but as adults, face a dilemma. On one hand the diagnosis is a relief: light bulbs go off and illuminate the mysterious tension in the dialog between the individual and society, but the light is also harsh, falling on failed relationships, on bullying and rejection, and on cherished goals that have receded across the horizon while one was simply trying to survive in an alien world. 

The unshakable feeling remains that the Asperger diagnosis reflects a hidden fact of nature: I am different, fundamentally and irrevocably different, and no diagnosis that claims that the Asperger style of brain processing is defective, simply because we are not socially-obsessed, can change the certainty that we embody an equally valid human type.  
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Visual Thinking: Neurotypicals Have No Clue

Neurotypicals have no clue as to how visual thinkers think. This is easily demonstrated. Visual thinking is achieved WITHOUT WORDS. That's why it's VISUAL thinking. Visual thinking therefore takes place without concepts. It's  concrete. Many animals are visual thinkers. To read a description, please go to Post 4/10/14 - Childhood: A Female Asperger Mystery 

1. Arranging concepts graphically is not
visual thinking.

2. Arranging concepts by drawing squiggly lines instead of straight lines is not visual thinking.              

  3. Drawing words instead of using type fonts is not visual thinking.

 Visual thinking starts with the
one-to-one correspondence of memory with visual information. 

Visual perception and visual memory are very old in evolution, and are considered primitive by people who believe that verbal language is superior. However, images are packed full of information about the environment that word language simply cannot duplicate.
Illustration from Don Hoffman, Visual Intelligence 
My experience of 'the world' is predominantly visual. My information processing is unconscious. I didn't have to learn to think visually, it's normal for me. Despite scoring high on verbal aptitude tests, I must consciously translate my visual thoughts into written language; it's easy if I'm talking about objects and processes and not concepts, which can have little meaning. 

Translation from visual to verbal description is exhausting, like having your dominant hand tied behind your back and being told to write a journal entry each day for the rest of your life, and that you are only allowed a vocabulary of  10 words. Visual vocabulary is HUGE and common verbal language is so limited and distant from concrete-visual reality, that communication, is at times, nearly impossible and it's best to walk away.  

Neurotypical language does not describe physical reality, it expresses ideas about reality, most of which are incorrect. 

While necessary for functioning in modern social environments, verbal language has become so nonspecific in everyday use that it no longer connects with anything real; it's devoid of content and meaning. What passes for communication is the repetition of empty phrases and the recitation of supernatural scripts. In visual thinking, the image is the content and meaning.

The social demand to use and respond to verbal-written language has diminished visual processing in modern humans; the process is there, but has atrophied; brain resources are redirected or subsumed by words. Visual thinking was likely negatively selected during human domestication. Evolution has a rule: What you don't use, you loose. Research does confirm that typical humans are very poor at visual discernment and memory. The remnant population for whom thinking is predominantly visual is very small. I think the world had better hang on to us before we disappear.

From Don Hoffman, author Visual Intelligence, UC Irvine 2004.
"This seminar is a highly illustrated and accessible introduction to visual intelligence, informed by the latest breakthroughs in vision research. Perhaps the most surprising insight that has emerged from vision research is this: Vision is not merely a matter of passive perception, it is an intelligent process of active construction. What you see is, invariably, what your visual intelligence constructs. Just as scientists intelligently construct useful theories based on experimental evidence, so your visual system intelligently constructs useful visual worlds based on images at the eyes. The main difference is that the constructions of scientists are done consciously, but those of your visual intelligence are done, for the most part, unconsciously."