Wednesday, 18 April 2012



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Have you ever seen the original ‘Star Trek’? If you have you will remember the character Dr Spock. Dr Spock was famous for the line “that is illogical captain” usually uttered when some form of human behaviour completely mystified Dr Spock and he could not grasp the logic behind the act because most of the time there was no logic to grasp. But although Dr Spock is pure science fiction just how much of his behaviour is actually science fact?
Since the original Star Trek the study of human behaviour has moved forward immensely in many different areas particularly in the areas of developmental conditions which include the conditions Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Now as many of you know I have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome so I can offer an insight into what it is like to be at the extreme of logical living in an illogical world.

So how does this affect me? Well for a lot of the time it does not affect me. When I am at home studying university work or doing housework or shopping being logical is not a problem. This is because I can plan and structure my activities on my own in my own logical way and analyse them as I go along with having minimal contact with other people. For someone with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) this in many ways is an ideal way to live life because daily life can be structured in the unique logical manner that the individuals mind-set operates in and time can be taken over tasks so that the need to analyse every single little detail can also be satisfied.

The problems arise when people who do not have an ASD become involved in the Autistic person’s life. Obviously this cannot be avoided. There are many people in the world who have not got an ASD to avoid and too many situations in life that cannot be avoided in order to make life more comfortable for the person with an ASD.

But how can being logical present so many problems to the individual with an ASD? Surely everybody has problems understanding logic at some point and everybody behaves in an illogical manner from time to time. Why would this behaviour cause an individual with an ASD any more problems than an atypical individual?

Understanding what an ASD is, is the first part of the puzzle. Having an ASD very often means your feelings, emotions, behaviour and understanding of people and society are at the very extremes. Imagine extreme sports. People jump out of aeroplanes for fun, but some people jump out of aeroplanes attached to a bicycle, on a skateboard or even naked. Living with an ASD is very similar to extreme sports except that you have no choice whereas the person undertaken extreme sports does.

So for me an example is I may meet up with a friend who then says that they would like to meet up again and soon. No time and date is set though. So in my mind-set it is entirely logical to wait a day and contact the other person and discuss a time and place to meet.  However when this does not happen is when I start to have problems. I start to analyse the situation in great detail wondering if I have done anything wrong and if so what? How long is long enough? How soon is soon? Are they busy? Do they really want to meet up? This and a million other questions go through my mind as I analyse the situation and try and apply logic to a situation that is largely illogical because human nature is unpredictable and illogical.

But however much I try to see it in a different, illogical way my mind will not let me and I go back to trying to analysing the situation, putting a structure to it and applying logic to it however unsuccessful it may be. It causes me endless problems, sleepless nights, life can stop at that point, but how do you change the way your mind works from being extremely logical to understand and appreciating illogical thought? For me it is very difficult. It is very hard to change the way your mind is wired up and just as difficult to change your mind-set however much you would like to. I have come to appreciate my abilities and to make the most of them. However I still have problems which although getting easier to cope with and understand can still cause my life to go on hold whilst I deal with them in my own very unique way.

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