Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Look From the Boundaries

This is my first time blogging. I'd considered it before, of course, but never really gotten involved with the whole so-called blogosphere.

Then I started reading Michelle Dawson's blog. Then I found Amanda Baggs's.

Each of them is brilliant in their own way. I don't always agree with their opinions, and I've noticed distinct blind spots in each of their writing.

That, of course, is just another way to say that I probably understand a few things that they don't. It doesn't matter; they understand things that I don't, which is a large part of why I follow their blogs. It's part of the fact that we're different people. Similarly, they can express some things far better than I ever could. It is my hope that I'll someday be able to express certain things better than they can.

We also have different philosophical orientations in certain regards. This, too, is part of being different people. It has no impact on the fact that I hold a deep respect for each of them.

I'm not entirely sure why I finally decided to start this blog.

Well, that's not entirely true. I could name a number of reasons. I'm just not sure which of them finally pushed me over the edge.

That said, I suppose that I should introduce myself. My name is Alexander Cheezem. I'm twenty-six (nearly twenty-seven) years old. I live in Weston, Florida. I graduated from Clemson University on May 11, 2007, majoring in psychology and minoring in East Asian studies. I'm currently attending Nova Southeastern University as part of their BCABA/BCBA certification program and completing a clinical practicum in behavior analysis at the Mailman Segal Institute. I will discuss both of these things at length later on.

I'm also an Aspie.

To use the linguistic forms that the parents' groups like to insist on, this means that I "have Asperger's syndrome".

Most Aspies that I've met, however, dislike that way of expressing it. The same goes for auties (or autistics), people who "have autism".

There's a fairly simple reason for this. Autism - or Asperger's syndrome - is both highly pervasive and highly ego-syntonic.

Simply put, they're labels attached to a part of who you are. You cannot separate the "autism" from the autistic. You cannot separate the "Asperger's" from the Aspie.

Many parents' groups want a cure. Very few Aspies or autistics want to be cured.

This results in a rather substantial conflict, one that becomes readily apparent when reading any number of sources. I've linked to two of them already in this. Simply viewing the comments on any number of Michelle Dawson's blog entries is a pretty good way to get a crash course.

In this blog, I will avoid "person-first" language when referring to Aspies and autistics. The reason for this is simple: it's the form preferred by the Aspies and autistics themselves.

I have, however, gotten rather off-topic, an artefact of the fact that I'm writing this in the middle of the night, when I probably should be sleeping.

I intend for this blog to cover my opinions on a number of issues relating to autism and the so-called "autism spectrum" (which includes Asperger's syndrome). I will probably cover a great deal of what I'm learning about in class, my practicum experiences... and so on and so forth.

The title of this blog comes from the fact that I stand somewhere between two groups, the autistic population (defined here as the group of people who are autistic) and the neurologically typical population (defined here as those people who aren't "on the autism spectrum"). As such, I have occasional insights into each group that members of the other group lack. I also lack understandings of each group that members of that group typically have. Both groups are often strange to me.

On the other hand, I've often been amazed at how little insight into NT behavior NTs themselves have, so it's a toss-up. I may have insight into either group that they themselves lack.

1 comment:

  1. Alexander,

    I had a minute and wanted to come back and start reading your blog from when you began it. I'm looking forward to working my way forward in time. :-)

    No big surprise that so many NTs have so little insight into themselves, or there wouldn't be so many psychologists! As Jung said, we all have shadow selves. Even though mainstream academic psychology has left Jung behind, the idea of not being aware of how many of our decisions are impacted by things like the affect and availability heuristics and confirmation bias has grown and the research on how we perceive and how we learn is endlessly fascinating. :-)