Autism (ASD) & Neurodiversity
What do we mean?
We are all neurodiverse - it would be a boring world if we were not!
It is generally accepted there are five types of brain.
Balanced brain: If you have the Balanced Brain Type, you’re likely to be focused, flexible, and emotionally stable. You’re one of those people who shows up on time, follows through on promises, and copes well with life’s ups and downs—even with global pandemics.
Spontaneous brain: The Spontaneous Brain Type tends to be creative, out-of-the-box thinkers who would rather do things on the spur of the moment than have a set schedule. You may struggle with a short attention span, distractibility, disorganization, and impulse control problems. These people are often adrenaline junkies—think of firefighters, for example, who are more likely to run toward a fire than away from it. Unfortunately, a longevity study found that “Don’t worry, be happy” people die the earliest from accidents and preventable causes. This type is often seen in people with ADD & ADHD.
Persistant brain: People with this brain type are like a dog with a bone. You tend to be strong-willed, don’t take no for an answer, and think it’s your way or the highway. With frontal lobes that work hard, you’re always on alert, so in a crisis or pandemic, you go into overdrive. When this brain is overactive, it also means you can get stuck on negative thoughts, which can be associated with anxiety & depression as well as OCD.
Empathetic brain: Having the Sensitive Brain Type means you tend to have great empathy for others. On the downside, it means you can be deeply impacted by frightening news and distressing social media posts. Many people with this brain type struggle with moods, can feel overwhelmed and are likely to have lots of automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). You’re a glass half empty type who tends to see doom and gloom in our future. Being highly sensitive can make you more vulnerable to depressive disorder, addictions and possibly bipolar.
Cautious brain: If you have the Cautious Brain Type, you’re likely to feel anxious, which typically makes you more prepared. People with this type tend to have such busy minds that it’s hard to relax. In stressful situations, it’s common to have trouble sleeping or to experience physical symptoms from anxiety, such as headaches, muscle aches, or an upset stomach. You may be so anxious about what’s going on that you watch the news constantly for the latest updates, but this just fuels your anxiety. You typically follow the rules and are more vulnerable to anxiety, panic attacks and substance misuse.
A "neurotypical" person will have a mixture of all 5 types and hence is classed as neurodiverse.
A person with autism though will usually show a spiky behaviour profile and so one of these brain types will tend to dominate.
This begins to explain the saying "If you know one person with autism, you only know one person with autism".
The fact is, these are all "normal" brain types and have evolved over thousands of years and has allowed us as a species to diversify, specialise and so "invent" solutions to common problems. One brain type may see a solution whereas it simply wouldn't occur to another.
Genetics has proved this with only small genetic differences being found and in line with normal evolutionary differences.
What this means is that if autism is identified as being a predominance of one particular brain type, this is all within the normal limits and so to class autism as a "disorder" is misleading and shows a basic misunderstanding.
Autism has been described as possibly the latest software update to our brains in the last 10,000 years and as autism is being seen as possibly an advantage when it comes to invention you can begin to understand why our brains are evolving that way.
To find out more about this, come to our FREE launch event on the 30th April at 18:30 BST.