I’m a firm believer in Walt Whitman that “The Road of Excess Leads to the Palace of Wisdom”. That we need people to believe in extreme points of view and follow them whole-heartedly unabashedly to their ends. It gives us the wisdom and insight into that idea to its fullest extent, even if its also unabashedly untrue.
There is a place for these opposing points of view in a Stress-Model or “Peripheral Minds” Model, where we can acknowledge that taking the average and assuming it was the healthiest “normal” was a mistaken assumption. We can then use that knowledge of the diversity of the periphery as a new individualized model of what makes one healthy. Devise healthy approaches to learning and growing individualized to the subsets of this diversity. We can create the world of accommodations and appreciation for the uniqueness and unique needs of those on the spectrum. And we can look at the way toxins and early life stressors can create dysfunctioning and hyper-reactions to our environment. There is truth to be found on both sides. We can find a middle ground in a new framework. Incorporate the moral high ground of the neurodiversity movement with the science of how the environment may be tweaking the Peripheral Minds into greater struggles. We can make a difference to those on the spectrum having the disabling side-effects of information-overload that comes with environmentally pushed (stressed reacted and adapted) systems. I believe we can do this and create a better world, if we make the shift to a model that makes sense of the evidence.
Silberman and I share some similar frustrations with organizations such as Autism Speaks. While Steve’s frustration, which he vocalized in an article in the LA Times and they replied, is that they spend their money purely on fruitless research endeavors (causes-cures) and not on individuals on the Autism Spectrum (such as myself). My frustration is a little different, I don’t think organizations are implementing the correct framework for the causes to be plugged into. For that they need to use the “initial conditions” of the diversity of thinking types and neurobiological information processing, the Peripheral Minds as the initial conditions.
We Need Unity
All of these organizations mean well and intend good things for people and parents on the spectrum and for the community at large. And we could not be where we are today without ALL of those voices, points of view and resources. But its time to make the shift so we can begin to ask the right questions in the right landscape, find better answers and address the major issues and hurdles we have faced and to face them together.