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Can we fit into our current world?

Look at our diagnosis, and look at the hyper-social world we live in today, even when we have skills and professional accreditation etc, we just cannot fit in.

Could it be that the few of us who are diagnosed with some form of autism cannot cope with the present social needs of the world? Well just look, as per an article I quote from CBC News, Paul Shattuck of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison said "many of the children now being counted in the autism category would probably have been counted in the mental retardation or learning disabilities categories if they were being labelled 10 years ago instead of today." Despite so, the rate of autism still climbed from 9 (2006) to 11, or more, children per 1000 people.

I feel that the era of 'mental retardation', which I, an individual with High Functioning Autism (that is, I have higher-than-normal IQ but I also had significant speech delays), was initially diagnosed with in the past, is long over. Now, I believe, increasingly, the new diagnoses could be people with the old 'Asperger's Syndrome' in DSM-IV. This may still be present in DSM-V, but the new psychiatry standards would be that more likely, people with Asperger's may be grouped together with those with High Functioning Autism.

That's why, these days, the very few INTJs we know are diagnosed as having Asperger's Syndrome, or, in the future, autism.

I am not sure about those with Asperger's Syndrome. However, I can be very certain that smartness comes in multiple forms, and definitely for people with HFA, we may not have the ability to communicate early, as indicated in our significant speech delay. This does not stop us from being really able to change the world - Prof. Albert Einstein, a fellow HFA-er, invented the atomic bomb that ended World War Two. However, it is true that we are really disadvantaged to have the social smarts to navigate around a social world, and an increasingly social one that connect everyone, but us (those with autism).

In addition, in my case, I can't do engineering due to my motor skills (indeed, my mother is much more frustrated than I do, in terms of motor clumsiness), and I am really uncertain of what I can do for a living - because I have no idea what I can do next.

Also, from what I know in my studies currently, we are all going through globalization. We seek one best way for the world to improve. So instead of filling workers in one country to replace the retiring baby boomers, we hire more people from developing countries, while having spare workers to put some baby boomers on early retirement; and then for many countries, it is cheaper to put some people on welfare than on competitive employment. This is a way I see to explain why we have an economic depression: we have a slight bulge in population due to the echo boom from the late 1970's to early 1990's, the off-springs of baby boomers.

The odds are stacked against me and my times. I see little hope. I do not know where I can go next. Now, even my country has so many accountants, I do not know whether I can bag a job after I graduate.

If I do not know my future, where do I know I can go? How can I plan for the future?

This is why, from my personal experience, it is so much better emotionally to live at the moment, than to live for the future. I admit, I have no long-term goals. If I had any, I'd say 'my life experiences robbed them'.

Have you gone through what I went through in life? I wanted to be a firefighter when I was a child, but I can't fight the depression within me. I wanted to be a doctor like my elder sister, but I cannot overcome my autism in getting through the tough interviews. I wanted to be a civil servant (teacher, administrator, government-based urban planner etc.) but look, I was exempted from conscription because I 'don't want to do National Service/conscription'. Thing is, my father claimed, 'the Ministry of Defense doesn't want you either'. I really don't know whom to believe.

This is why it had been a pain when people say they want to even guide other fellow people on the Spectrum 'back to normal'. What is normal? Normal is everything but me.

And as Soup presciently mentioned, we often have interests that cost money. Yeah. She's right. It's my belief, and others' too, that the only way to stop our pain is buying our sorrows away. She's so right, I totally and completely agree with her point.

For those of you who are lucky to find a way you feel comfortable in, and that you can reasonably contribute to society, good for you.

But from my experiences, you have to be careful. I know friends who did electrical engineering and still are jobless, after a few years of graduation from University. So much for professional jobs. Every job in Singapore, a much more collectivist society (but the most dynamic in Asia and hence, the world) than many Western societies, requires some form of conformity. Some can conform. I can, but my records don't, and this worries me.

And saving is not enough - I know a friend who scrimps by having only malted drinks and biscuits to survive on, but he still has no job, due to his skin conditions and some nasty things that happened to him.

Such tunnel vision is expected if we see no hope in ideas that give us hope in real life.

Comments

Paul Shattuck of the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison said "many of the children now being counted in the autism category would probably have been counted in the mental retardation or learning disabilities categories if they were being labelled 10 years ago instead of today."

This... that's exactly how society changes in a more dynamic way and the tools to diagnose don't adhere to this same dynamic. Though I think that "mental retardation" is a strong descriptor. But I think it's fair to state there are growing severe impairments to be seen if you look at different timeframes even as small as say 10 years.

I've been grinding my mind about 2 blog articles about society and these social dynamics... if my mind is less cloudy (hopefully today) I'll write those out and post them on AC.
 
Well, social dynamics today just label almost everybody into a catch-all term, 'autism'.

We are not just diagnoses. We are, like other Auties and Aspies, people too!
 
Well, social dynamics today just label almost everybody into a catch-all term, 'autism'.

Supposedly so... I think society is advancing too fast in some areas and a majority of people have a hard time keeping up with this. No wonder people can't function in the way intended. Without research and trial and error testing we've become testing subjects just for the sake of technological advancement
 
So as technological advancement leaves us behind, do you think returning to simpler days, with less material goods and more supportive people around us, will help us as a whole? :)

Also, you might have known already, we used computers less powerful than iPads to send men to the Moon. It's not just technology, it could be the people, right?
 
I don't think that giving up everything will help us... that's the big problem. Advancement, especially the way we do it now is a one way process. Imagine; we'd burn all books and we go to digital only. It's hardly a reversible process. Since you'd have to rebuilt the foundation of something all from scratch again. And actually, look at wikpedia and the way we use our information. It's not that far off of just cutting out entire notion of books since everything is linked.

I'm not too convinced people actually can wield this (and in the future; more) power.
 
The power of the digital media?

If there is anyone who can be able to wield this power, I hope it is one of us. We know how to synthesize information, and share with others. This makes us more adaptable and more able in a digital world, especially when the world needs it.
 
At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I am not so sure that this move to digitalize everything is a good thing. What happens when the power goes out? Or technology changes so that what was stored can no longer be accessed? What will be there for future historians to read and decipher?

My company has gone through several computer systems. One of the very earliest was something called a CPT which was actually more of a dedicated word processor than a true computer. The data was stored on 5-inch floppy disks. When the VAX system came along the CPT's were put into storage along with the disks. Came the day when we needed to access some of the CPT data for some reason. We were unable to for the simple reason nobody knew how to work the bloody thing anymore. FORTUNATELY we had hard copies of the data and so we were able to scan them into the current system and work with them that way. It wasn't perfect, but if we hadn't had the hard copies we would have been up the you know what creek.

How much knowledge is being lost to future generations? Letter writing is a vanished art. I just got done reading a delightful book comprised of a series of letters written between two women, one a Unitarian and the other a Catholic on the eve of Vatican II. It's called "Mind if I Differ?" Could such a book be written today based on e-mails? These blogs we compose--how long will they last? Who will be reading them 10 years from now let alone 100?
 
Spinning Compass:

Digitizing everything may not be a good thing. We now have better technologies, but more gridlock in decision making (i.e. standoff in federal budgets, gridlocked coalition governments etc). A possible way out could be the reversion of our world to where we don't have the luxury of computers, Internet etc.

I do not know whether emails will last. However, it does seem to me that something lasts when it's printed. Perhaps there will be a few emails and blogs printed out as books - but they will have to be edited.
 
The doomsday survivalists say the government in the US is recording all computer electronic communication transmissions. This is Email, Facebook, Twitter, all the others. There are printed manuals explaining how to record and recover the information, how to build the equipment needed, how to operate the equipment. The potential for the indefinite survival of this collected data is excellent. Indefinite in this context means anything from tens of years to thousands of years.

The bad news is that the Government intends to sort and strain this data for the purpose of identifying persons whao are considered a threat to public safety, who are engaged in criminal or other unlawful activities, any and all other activities or promulgation of ideas that the Government Agencies doing the winnowing might consider worth pursuing.
 

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Geordie
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