The more you learn about autistic brains, the easier it is to understand autistic behaviors. So, here’s a brief intro to autistic neurology!
MISSING WHAT OTHERS CATCH
In autistic brains, some neural pathways are weaker. This can make it harder to notice implications, expectations, facial expressions, and body language.
CATCHING WHAT OTHERS MISS
In autistic brains, some neural pathways are stronger. This can make it easier to notice errors, patterns, sights, sounds, textures, pain, and beauty.
FOCUS ON DETAILS FIRST
Autistic brains tend to gather details before drawing a conclusion, and we’re less likely to jump to conclusions based on intuition alone. This often makes us less biased, but worse at figuring out what others consider relevant.
FOCUS ON ONE THING AT A TIME
Autistic brains naturally slip into intense focus, not shifting quickly from one thought to another. This can be pleasant and productive, but also makes it hard to multitask or face interruptions.
EVERYTHING IS MORE INTENSE
(Intense World Theory)
Autistic brains take in a lot of information at once, especially sensory information. This can feel overwhelming and difficult to process. Autistic movements are often an attempt to help our bodies feel more grounded.
EVERYTHING IS MORE SURPRISING
(Predictive Coding Theory)
Autistic brains make fewer predictions about what will happen next. We take life as it comes, and it often comes too fast to handle. Sometimes we react in ways that anyone would under stress. Plans and routines reduce that stress by making life more predictable.
This is only a summary of various theories that have helped me to understand autism. It’s not a summary of my whole book – at best, it borrows from half of chapter 2 and part of chapter 9. In the rest, I explore what this framework looks like in practice, and how it’s helping me to build a beautiful life.