Synaesthesia and Autism Aren’t So Different… – #365papers – 2017 – 68

#365papers for March 9, 2017

Ward, Hoadley, Hughes, Smith, Allison and Baron-Cohen, and Simner, 2017, Atypical sensory sensitivity as a shared feature between synaesthesia and autism: Nature Scientific Reports.

What’s it about?

Autism is often accompanied with sensory hyper- or hyposensitivity. Synaesthesia (the perception of one type of sensory input from a different type of stimulus, like colors for text) is also a sensory sensitivity. Studies have shown that many autistic people are also synaesthetic, but the two sensory experiences so not always co-occur.

This paper assesses the degree of similarity between autistic individuals and non-autistic synasthetes compared to neurotypical, non-synastheic controls.

It turns out that synaesthetes and autistic individuals are most similar in “attention to detail” which is in part related to why many autistic individuals also possess savant characteristics like amazing memories. Continue reading

My Autistic Son Called Me From His School, and It Was Sweet

Any parent knows that horror you feel when the phone rings and it’s from your child’s school, especially when it’s during school hours. This is even worse when your child is autistic and prone to violent meltdowns. What horrible thing has happened, and how quickly must I pack up and head there?

This afternoon as I was in the classroom getting ready to teach when my phone rang. It was the school. I braced myself for the worst and answered the phone. I expected to hear the voice of the principal, or of my son’s teacher.

Instead, I hear, “Hi Mom.” Continue reading

#VisThnk – #Autism and Thinking Visually – Join the Conversation

Among the things I find most fascinating about the minds of those with Autism (in particular, I’m thinking of my experiences with my own son) is how thinking actually takes place.

Some people think in words, in complete sentences. Their thoughts are ordered and linear.

Well, ok, maybe they don’t. I don’t know. I only know how I think. Continue reading

Autism and Fun with Literalism

It’s hard to know what to do when someone you love is given a diagnosis of a ‘problem’ that you don’t understand well. There’s always some relief in having a diagnosis, because it’s simply easier to deal with something you can name.

Autism is one such diagnosis. Oh, the horror of finding you that your child or someone that you love is autistic. You’ve seen Rain Man. You’ve heard what they’re saying over there at Autism Speaks. It’s a death sentence. It’s institutionalization. It’s the end of the world. Continue reading

The Gifts of Autism

I live with autism.

Not in myself, but through my son, who was given the diagnosis of PDD-NOS a few years back. His autism is considered ‘high-functioning,’ which poses all sorts of challenges.

You’d think it’d be ‘better’ than being ‘severely’ autistic, but the problem is with high-functioning, his autism is invisible. When the stims and other autistic tendencies arise from an otherwise ‘normal’ kid, eyebrows are raised and sometimes we get scowled at in the I-could-raise-your-kid-better sort of way. Continue reading

This is Autism

There’s been an uproar of late over comments made by the co-founders of Autism Speaks suggesting, among other things, that autism is this terrible burden to parents and families that tears them apart. That autism destroys the care-givers of the autistic. That somehow, there must be a cure – or something – because what’s going to happen when these three million autistic children will grow up one day and can no longer have the support of their schools or their parents? The whole discussion ignores the fact that not all who might be labeled as autistic are children.

It ignores a lot. Continue reading

If I had a million dollars…

I’ve been participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for over a year now. The end result is that I’ve written approximately one blog post per day for the entire last year. That’s a lot of blog posts!

For November, NaBloPoMo is sending out a bunch of daily prompts. Actually, they always do this, but not usually by e-mail. The prompt for last Friday was this:

If you found one million dollars in the morning and had to spend it by nightfall, what would you do with the money? Continue reading