Michael asks: What brings you happiness in your life?
Well, it isn’t the number 42. In the end it turns out, at least for me, to be what they always say it is – do what you love, in service to others.
As most of you know, I’ve been asking people to boycott Autism Speaks and their major sponsors such as Home Depot and Toys ‘R’ Us. But I want to know in such matters that I’m making the right stand. As a rule I try to always entertain the possibility that I’m wrong and listen to opposing views with an open mind. But on something like this I feel I need to do a bit more due diligence so in my spare time I’ve been reading through the Autism Speaks web site and materials. Tonight I downloaded a couple of their toolkits. Sadly, I found nothing to dispel my negative views of that organization. To the contrary, the “toolkits” reveal the extent to which the organization’s bias is ingrained. After reading, I’m even more concerned for the welfare of autistics under their treatment than I was before.
Over at her Psychology Today blog, Lynne Soraya asks “How do we make people want to change?” For me the answer is “we don’t”. One of the biggest problems I see today is this epidemic of worrying so much about how to make other people change that we forget to work on ourselves. If we find we can’t persuade people to act the way we want, then we try to use legislation to coerce the desired behavior under the weight of law. But none of us is so good that there’s no room for self-improvement. The one place where we can REALLY make a difference is to improve ourselves. Sure we can influence others but not nearly as efficiently for the same amount of effort.
A few days ago I stumbled across an article describing Kamila and Henry Markram’s Intense World theory of autism (more formally described in their own article). This, to me, was like finding the key to unlock a treasure. Intense World explains so well my experience of autism in a way no theory based on sensory deficiency can. Although I do know there are aspects of human behavior to which I am impaired (face recognition, body language, cognitive empathy), that explanation only goes so far and leaves much unanswered. However, the communication deficits are the most obvious symptom to many people’s eyes and I believe that may be why the Intense World theory can be counter-intuitive. We’ve been trained to look the other way.