Monday, September 24, 2012

The NT Way...

There are many phrases that can be used to describe autism.  For example: autism is not a system malfunction, it is a different operating system.  This describes ASD disorders far better than the following phrase: those on the spectrum lack empathy.  While researching a connection between autism spectrum disorders and the highly sensitive person, I stumbled across this site.  It was written by a highly sensitive person who recently helped a number of high functioning autistic college students, who are not unlike me.  I definitely recommend reading it.

The article cited here is called "Epaths on the Autism Spectrum." The writer of that article states her observations about these students and how they compare to those who are NT (neurotypical, those who do not have autism).  She went into this assignment not knowing much about the autism spectrum.  Those autism resources that she referred to for help stated that those on the autism spectrum lack social empathy.  This writer came to the conclusion that this was not the case at all.  She stated that those on the spectrum possess of "hypersensitive" empathy; something that those who are NT have no access to.  She further stated that it's NT individuals who are the ones without social empathy.  I agree with this whole-heartedly.

I am in my last semester of college.  One of my two classes this semester is business law.  I'm learning how to draft briefs for cases and the process of litigation and an overview of the United States court system.  Today, we talked about ethics in class.  The professor brought forward some difficult ethical dilemmas to consider.  They were difficult for me to swallow because of my hypersensitive responses to the ethical dilemmas.  While listening to the discussion about what my classmates would do in these situations, I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I knew that I had to account for my sensory overload and hypersensitivity to emotions. Since my emotional responses to conflict and stress are about 100 times stronger than for most people, the situation that called for an ethical response would be over before my mind could fully process the situation.  I wondered if that made me unethical if I could not act and also if any precedent in the United States court system accounted for sensory overload and hypersensitivity to emotions.

Also, I cannot help thinking that if everyone had "abnormal" autistic behaviors, there would be no need for the legal system.  Those on the spectrum are inherently honest.  I would be lying if I said I was always honest, but in a difficult situation I tell the truth or I don't say anything at all.  In other words, I return to my true nature.  The writer in the article above stated that those NT individuals lack social empathy.  Some people who are NT are convinced that their way is right and the ASD way is wrong.  Is honesty really such an undervalued virtue?  Or is the majority, once again, forcing their beliefs upon a minority? In this case: those who are NT versus those on the spectrum.  We only have to look back at American history to see this trait at work again and again.  If it is human nature to base all others off of what we ourselves experience, taking into account American history and the ethicality of the U.S. legal system, is the NT way really better than the ASD way?

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