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Dr-David-Banner

Neurotypical (Observations)

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Dr-David-Banner

More recently, I came to ask myself if somehow a negative image of being "neurotypical" has developed over a decade or so. Before going further, if I wanted to define the term, I would simply say neurotypicals adapt better to group dynamics than autistics. It's really just evolution. We are designed to pool all our skills and talents together to move ahead. Ultimately we need a social structure. So, neurotypicals instinctively know how to form part of a collective and how to be understood and accepted. This is all very natural and an essential part of survival. Currently I have a few neurotypical friends I like and admire and learn from hopefully. Many of them have traces of neurotic qualities or may get panic attacks or anxiety. One friend is mostly neurotypical but her kids autistic (high functioning). I don't have close friends as such but do take time to chat - sometimes by phone. I learned to just try and be myself and open up just as I am but only one friend knows about the autism issue. In that case she's a bit puzzled as,.although I'm slow and odd, I'm not shy or anti- social. To the point though, I don't so often differentiate neurotypicals as I used to do since the term seens quite broad and hard to define. I also wonder if the term has become a bit of a cliche. If we list all the various neurological abnormalities from schizophrenia to obsessive compulsive disorder, borderline personality, there was never any specific contrast drawn compared to neurotypicals. Also I guess it's fair to say someone with OCD wouldn't be specifically neurotypical. I suspect the term "neurotypical" took on.a more social meaning during the 1990s and mostly in context of Hans Asperger. Ten years ago I used to have a very polarised view of people and saw myself as autistic in a kind of superior way. This had been inspired by the usual exclusion issues you get at school and work. These days, I changed my perception. I believe "all" people have huge potential. The only disadvantage my neurotypical friends suffer is their lives are more inclusive and active so they lack the time to develop whatever interest they have. I have one friend who has a great singing voice but she has no time to explore her talents.

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Dr-David-Banner

Leaving "neurotypical" aside, Asperger had a terrific and simple formula. He put it down to "individuality". If a person with autism is so individualustic he dismisses all external imput, the autism can be counter productive. Asperger had found some kids were solving maths problems correctly their own way but not always as efficiently as the commonly accepted method. On the other hand, kids with no sense of individualism at all tended to blindly accept all they were told. To succeed you need just the right balance. So, the probable truth is you need to be neurotypical with a "dash" of autism.

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Myrtonos

I have had many experiences of neurotypicals seeming to be fuzzy thinkers. They often seem sloppy or disorderly. And I often don't take very well to a neurotypical person claiming they know something better than I do because of my personal experience and because of other people on the spectrum, such as Temple Grandin criticising the way neurotypical people think.

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Sanctuary

It's certainly true that there is huge variety within the neurotypical population. The problem with "umbrella" terms such as "neurotypical", "autistic", "men", "women", "straight", "gay" etc is they imply that these are homogeneous groups of people all with the same attitudes and experiences. This is not to say we shouldn't use such terms as there are some genuine similarities shared by members of such groups but we should be wary of generalisations. I am definitely against any idea that neurotypicals are in any way inferior or deficient compared to those with autism - that idea is as invalid as the suggestion that neurotypicals are superior. It is certainly true that autistic people have often been treated badly by neurotypicals and that may explain why some with ASD can become hostile to them but that is the wrong reaction. The right response is to challenge poor treatment, not to criticise a whole group. It's also worth pointing out though that autistic individuals sometimes treat others with autism badly. We can exaggerate levels of solidarity and common experiences among those on the spectrum just as we can do the same with neurotypicals. Sometimes these difficulties and poor treatment result from lack of knowledge of a person's situation and the more we take that into account -or just consider there could be underlying issues - the more tolerant and supportive we tend to be. 

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Dr-David-Banner
20 hours ago, Myrtonos said:

 

I did go through a prolonged period of anger or competitiveness with the conception of neurotypicals as not particularly tolerant, in any way. This resulted from a childhood of exclusion, ridicule, poor grades and so on. These days I no longer blame neurotypicals although I do think the system let me down. Had there been some recognition of the condition, I could have had specialised teaching. I did notice that gradually I started to understand more about the consequences of autism and it seems a lot clearer. For example, there is one friend I sometimes help out and she'd explained what she wanted me to do. Although my long-term memory is awesome, my short term memory is chronic. So, when I asked her again, she sincerely believed I was winding her up. A lot of people are aware I have high-functioning interests but can't fathom why I act kind of stupid. They think it's a put-on. So, to this day, I haven't managed to get around these obstacles.However, I did become more aware of what it is I do that bewilders people. I feel I learned to step out of myself and look at the big picture as well as observe normal people. I hope to try and drop the concept of polarising the situation as myself (in one corner) and neurotypicals in the other. There is this great story by Bruce Lee where a martial artist goes in search of a book that contains the secret to total knowledge. What he found was a book full of mirrors. Each page was a full sized mirror. So, he found himself. You may find a brief google on the childhood of Jiddu Krishnamurti interesting. He was evidently a bit of an odd-ball but the teaching was quite interesting.

 

 

 

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Nesf

Any term that gets used a lot to describe a certain group of people is likely to become a stereotyped cliche at some point, but the biggest danger as far as I'm concerned is when a them vs. us kind of mindset is created. This is contrary to the spirit of acceptance that the neurodiverse community strives towards.

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Dr-David-Banner
9 hours ago, Nesf said:

Any term that gets used a lot to describe a certain group of people is likely to become a stereotyped cliche at some point, but the biggest danger as far as I'm concerned is when a them vs. us kind of mindset is created. This is contrary to the spirit of acceptance that the neurodiverse community strives towards.

I am pretty skeptical such a community could ever genuinely exist. I do recall, though, someone called Roger Price who first hit on the basic idea of neurotypicals and an emerging diverse group. This was after he once met David Bowie and chatted..The result was seventies TV series called The Tomorrow People. In that series normal people were called "Saps" as in "homo- sapiens". The kids in the show were "homo-superior". They were a new stage in evolution. I am sure Bowie must have debated The Indigo Children with Price (children with autism who had experienced spiritualist phenomena). So my bet is there is a social-cultural background to the divisions between neurotypical and neurodivergent. That seemed to reinvent itself in the early 1990s. I do not know in what context "neurotypical" was used in psychiatry. As Sanctuary stated above, it's problematic to apply labels to people generally as so many individuals deviate from general normality. My own friends are clearly not autistic but one has facial tics, another panic attacks and so on. Sometimes I use "neurotypical" to imply normality but I now try to consider what precisely I have in mind. I try not to equate being neurotypical as being just one kind of identity. 

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Nesf
7 hours ago, Dr-David-Banner said:

As Sanctuary stated above, it's problematic to apply labels to people generally as so many individuals deviate from general normality.

Yes, and I agree with this point. Everybody, whether neurodiverse or neurotypical, is on some kind of 'normality' spectrum.

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Dr-David-Banner

Perfect example: The Beatles. Famous quote by John Lennon was that no Beatle would have made it alone. Paul was too soft, George too quiet and John lacked girl appeal. Ringo was enticed to replace the old drummer. Even George Martin stated The Beatles were only awesome together as a rare mix of different talents. John, I view as definitely having strong autistic traits. He did terribly at school. He dreamed and was a deep thinker. He flew into huge rages. He had myopia. He slept very late and physically inactive. Paul stated it was hard to understand John on a normal basis. However, Lennon did have a strong, captivating personality so communicated successfully with people, on stage or off. In my book all this boils down to the "dose of autism" geniuses need. Just enough and not too much. So, The Beatles did what neurotypicals do best and produced collective musical brilliance. On the other hand, Brian Wilson as a lifelong schizophrenic, knocked out hit after hit for The Beach Boys. In my opinion (and Paul Mcartney) Brian's God Only Knows was all around a phenonenal song. Paul actually sang it with Brian on stage and I have this theory Paul wrote Penny Lane with God Only Knows in mind. 

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