A quick glance at the graph of my strength and challenge areas clearly disproves the popular concept that high functioning means minimal ASD challenges. I max out at a 10 for anxiety and have multiple challenges at 9 such as emotional processing, black- and-white rigid thinking, and inability to understand non-literal parts of communication. On the other hand, in the highly visible areas such as eye contact, real time communication, dress, and appropriate vocal tone and body language, I show little to no challenge and perform on or above the typical norm. The conclusion most reach is I talk like a neurotypical, I act like one, and I converse and engage like one, therefore, I must be a neurotypical like them. Being seen as a neurotypical when your brain operating system functions in neurodiverse territory is the Curse of High Function, Autism’s Uncanny Valley.
The world I see and function in is quite different, even alien. I have many autistic traits that surface based on the situation. Given the chance, I will talk about my interests without noticing you died from boredom. The idea of considering what others may think or feel as input to a decision is not a thought which occurs to me. Instead, I embrace the numbers and facts. Most challenging of all, I can be pushed into a slow build meltdown in multiple ways. My meltdowns are not pretty. Large amounts of anger and foul language spills out. I have learned, this behavior is a major employment mistake. Violating unstated acceptable behavior and can even fall under companies’ workplace violence rules.
To correct this harmful misconception, I propose the Neuro CloudTM concept of Neurodiversity to replace the distorting continuum view. In the Neuro CloudTM concept, we look at any given trait in a 3D sense. Consider the Neuro CloudTM as the universe of all the range of traits humanly possible. It is filled with clouds of confetti & glitter of all shapes and sizes interacting and intermingling with each other. These clouds are the representation of the full range of each traits frequency and intensity. The Neuro CloudTM model allows for any combination of traits for any particular person. This is much more constructive then the low, high continuum where specific traits are expected in only particular segments of the linear spectrum.
“The conclusion most reach is I talk like a neurotypical, I act like one, and I converse and engage like one, therefore, I must be a neurotypical like them.”
The neuro cloudTM breaks the continuum view by showing the traits associated with ASD and neurodiversity do not increase and decrease evenly, but instead can express in any combination of trait and intensity. These traits are distributed among all human and appear in the neurotypical population usually in a less dominant form. In the same way a neurodiverse, autistic person like myself can have neurotypical traits.