Unmasking Autism 

Into-Neurodiversity

I am sharing some of my notes from a presentation on Nov. 3 , 2022 presented by Dr. Devon Price of University of Michigan via zoom that I can relate to. – Greg

The structure of the presentation was:
1. What is Neurodiversity? 2. Essential accommodations 3. Social Justice. 

He spoke about his grandfather as the first person he saw with autism traits. He said that he had routines; vacationing at the same place every year, eating out at the same place, and fear of discussing emotions with the family.  

Early in the process of research by Hans Asberger it was found in mostly white males. It was described as an extreme male brain. 
Autism is an internal experience and has sensory needs. 
Autism is bottom up processing, focusing on details.  

People with Asberger’s tend to be highly sensitive which was something people thought I was. They tend to set up systemized social norms, and like me, are very detailed oriented.  

The presentation also covered masking and how it is used to hide the disability, make accommodations, and avoid competition. He mentioned the customer service environment if too fast paced as a suitable job, which I can relate to.  I was underemployed and he spoke about many people with Asberger’s are unemployed. These people are forced to be consultants or contract workers.  It was pointed out that masking causes depression and anxiety.  I deal with these issues too.  Disability is caused by social expectations. If we could just let people accept others with diverse backgrounds we would be a better society.  It was pointed out that it is hard to get disability benefits in the US.  It took me 3 years. Average is 18 months.  

A few of the characteristics discussed that I could related to is: a need for clear communication, a need for defined roles and boundaries.  

Autistic people are likely to be whistle blowers. They are more likely to be honest due to social pressure and conformity. I know being honest at times caused me problems on the job because honesty is not always accepted. Autistic people tend to be agreeable to get along.   

Late-in-life diagnoses can benefit seniors on the autism spectrum

By Riya Anne Policastro

A better understanding of neurodiversity is leading to growing numbers of people over 50 being diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Roughly a million seniors could be living with autism, many of them undiagnosed, if CDC estimates are correct and adults are affected at a rate of 2.21%. 

More conservative calculations suggest there are tens of thousands of older adults in the U.S. who are undiagnosed. 

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