A Word On Words

A Word On Words

Counting the Ways

Since I’ve been blogging for over a year now, I thought it was time I laid out my position on the various autism-related words I’ve been using. This is also partly in reaction to a post on the Liberty of Thinking blog, and this post on Autism and Expectations, but also in general to all the other posts out there that deal with the language surrounding autism.

You might have noticed that I have employed the terms autism/autistic and Asperger’s interchangeably. That is mainly because they would all apply to me. If I had a diagnosis, it would almost certainly be Asperger’s, or Autism (Asperger’s type) or however the medical authorities in the country where I reside would term it (depending on whether they apply the DSM-V or not). It is also because I don’t want to drive a wedge between the two.

In the aforementioned post on Liberty of…

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The Cognitive-Behavioural Interpretative Isolationism of Autism and Asperger Syndrome – Part 1: What the “Theory of Mind” doesn’t understand about the Autistic Mind…

I too feel that no one but ourselves have any right to attribute a “function label”.


Part 1- What the “Theory of Mind” doesn’t understand about the Autistic Mind

By Romuald Feldmann© FDScMH, LTh(Hons), CertEd,

PgCert Special Psychopedagogy,

PgCert Autism & Asperger’s, QTS

On the back cover of the seminal “Neurotribes” (Silberman, 2015) the inquisitive eye should spot a hidden gem of apocalyptic proportions, basically stating that “the future of our society depends on our understanding” of what autism is. The statement is so powerful and frightening or maybe totally insane, that when I first blogged it, it attracted virtually no likes or comments. I will attempt to better understand why.

Surprisingly for a pathologized, general view of autism, Attwood (2002) mentioned research by Hans Asperger (1906-1980) in identifying “a consistent pattern of abilities and behaviour”.

The battleground becoming contention is therefore seeing and accepting the autism spectrum as a pattern of abilities or disabilities, branching itself further into seemingly endless explanatory theories and…

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The importance of Asperger’s Syndrome as a unique clinical diagnostic category…


Aspergers and Ignorance (2)

On page 1 of his fundamental summary of (Classic) “Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome”, S. Baron-Cohen (2008) lists as “Key Points” the two, overlappingly different subgroups of what has come to be known as the “Autistic Spectrum”.

“Classic autism and Asperger syndrome share two key features:
         -Social communication difficulties
         -Narrow interests and repetitive actions.
 But they differ in two key ways:
         -In Asperger syndrome, IQ is at least average and there was no language delay
         -In classic autism, IQ can be anywhere on the scale, and there was language delay.”

However, these key, common and differentiated features make only for a minimal area of understanding, assessing and living with either condition.

In my opinion, DSM-5 has managed with its promotion of an Autistic Spectrum “umbrella”, to both simplify, but also confusingly complicate the clear understanding of exactly those specifics which could make the lives of neurodivergents, less miserable. Luckily (I hope)…

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Re-thinking things through an Autistic filter

Re-thinking things through an Autistic filter

Autism and Expectations

Since being diagnosed with autism in my mid-30s, I’ve been re-thinking a lot of things.

I’ve spent a lifetime of trying to appear to be the same as everyone else. I’ve been watching. I’ve been studying. Every book, article, overheard conversation, brings me that little bit closer to passing for normal.

I’ve spent a long time thinking about who I ought to be.

And I thought you were all doing it too. Maybe not everyone. Maybe a few of you were in on the secret, but I assumed, as we all do, that the way I see the world is the way everyone does.

Now I know that when I don’t understand you, it’s not that I’ve missed out the rules of the game, it’s that you’re playing Monopoly whilst I’m playing Rugby Union.

It’s not that I’m coming at it from the wrong angle, it’s that I don’t have…

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Embracing your autism (and what happens when you can’t find your tribe?)


I imagine that many of you will have heard this statement… ’Find your tribe!!’ This is a statement that autistic adults – and sometimes kids – are told. The Autistic ‘tribe’ or neurodivergent peer group is a place where you will be accepted. When you find your tribe your sense of autistic pride, self-esteem and value will increase. When you get embrace your autism your whole life will change and you will accept who you are and lots of other good things. Sounds like a very good thing, and this does seem to be what happens for many of us.

But what happens for people who do not ‘find their tribe’? What about people who are  autistic and for a variety of reasons they cannot accept it or be positive about it? What about when your memory of being ostracised and bullied makes you want to keep ‘acting’ and ‘masking’…

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‘Stop caring about what other people think’

‘Stop caring about what other people think’

the silent wave

The title could certainly be construed as advice.  But it’s also a Note To Self.  And it’s one that’s easier recited than actually adhered to.

There’s this Eternal Inner Duel going on within my core.  One side wants to say “screw ’em; who cares what other people think?” and the other says, “but Because The World.  And you have to survive in it.”

Frustratingly, they’re both right, which is likely why neither side has “won”.

The “screw ’em” camp within me has a valid point.  After all, most of my actions don’t affect anyone else, and who cares if I stay in my apartment most days?  Who cares if I wear loose-fitting, casual clothing?  Who cares if I didn’t wash my hair last night?  And a handshake upon meeting someone is simply a momentary gesture, here and gone before you know it.

I’ve done a splendid job of refusing to…

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Week in the Word: Grief and Recovery, Part 3 — Rebuilding after Loss


hanks chapel easter

This is the message I preached on Sunday, July 22,  at Hanks Chapel United Church of Christ in Pittsboro, NC   I hope it blesses you!  If you find yourself in or near Pittsboro, please join us!   Hanks Chapel has Sunday school at 9 AM, with worship beginning at 10 AM, and is located at 190 Hanks Chapel Loop, Pittsboro, NC.

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;

   he inclined to me and heard my cry.

sinking 22 He drew me up from the desolate pit,[a]

   out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

   making my steps secure.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,

   a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

   and put their trust in the Lord.

4 Happy are those who make

   the Lord their trust,

who do not turn to the proud,

   to those…

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(My) autism and restlessness

(My) autism and restlessness

the silent wave

There’s something peculiar about summer, besides the obvious concepts of higher temperatures and the longer daylight hours. There’s an amped-up-ness, a summer zenith opposing the winter’s nadir, a yang running counter to yin.

And everybody “out there”, meaning outside of my apartment, is just a little more yang. It happens every year; I wonder if they notice the pattern?

But patterns are my job. I’m a Systemizer, after all.

I’ve often lived my life with the sensation of being an outside observer, living on the planet but not really in it. Being human without being a member of society. Being a classmate or a family member without being much of a participant.

My lack of social interaction permits me the spare time to notice things others miss, although the medical professionals would rather focus on that which others see that I miss. I suppose I could put the “ire” back…

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