I think I am like most others with Asperger’s, in that I see it as something that is a part of me, not as something to be cured. It doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could change some aspects of myself, and I am aware that parents of children with low functioning autism often say they wish there was a cure. As autism is a spectrum, there are some people who have limitations but wouldn’t want to be cured of their autism, and others who have significant limitations or debilitating behaviours or traits; they or their carers would like them to be cured.
I have thoughts of concern if there was a pre-birth cure, so that people were no longer born with autism spectrum disorder. My view is that anything which persists in nature is either something that isn’t detrimental to the survival of that being, and so it isn’t screened out by evolution, or it has advantages to survival. From my studies and my experiences, I feel autism has evolutionary advantages – but to have those advantages, the genes have to be passed on. Some people will be high functioning, and others will be low functioning, but all those who survive will pass on genes linked with a propensity to have ‘autism’, which – for future generations – could be high or low functioning. Those with high functioning autism, I believe play a role in human progress. It doesn’t mean non-autistic people don’t advance humanity; it is just that people with high functioning autism are good at focusing on a task and obsessing about it, and so they make discoveries that others wouldn’t have made, because they wouldn’t have obsessed about that topic in the same way.
Most people who have advanced science have done so through obsessing about a topic and focusing on tasks. They don’t seem to get bored of the task or topic and they can keep at it for years. Non-autistic people could obsess and focus on a topic like this, but most people fill their days with many different elements. I can focus on hypnosis for the whole day; I can miss eating and drinking and sleeping for quite some time without being aware of it. I can also comfortably spend each day not interacting with others. Most people want to take breaks; they get bored or tired of what they are doing, and they start talking about it not being stimulating enough. They want to socialise, whether it be having meals with a loved one or with friends, or going to a party. Many people want to progress in a job or role, rather than to do the exact same job for 30 or 40 years. For many with high functioning autism, behaving in this way comes more naturally.
If there was a stone age society and everyone was doing their role – gathering wood or fruits or vegetables, or out hunting – there could be someone with Asperger’s who isn’t out hunting, is seen as a bit odd and a bit of an outsider, but they have an obsession with how arrows travel through the air, and what makes the arrow go further. This obsession doesn’t get anywhere to start with; no-one is really interested. But then, after years of experimenting and learning and trying different things, the Asperger’s person suddenly finds a combination of wood for the arrow and a way to shape the flint to make it sharp and streamlined; he perhaps adds the idea of a throwing device, able to propel the arrow. Suddenly, this can give the stone age tribe a survival edge. As society has progressed into the digital age, there are more jobs suited best to those with high functioning autism, which is probably why there is an above average number of people with high functioning autism working within the science and maths professions.
Look Into My Eyes: Asperger’s, Hypnosis, & Me by Dan Jones, is available in Paperback and for Amazon Kindle: http://apn.to/prod/1542551196