In 2011 I presented a poster to a conference in Wrexham on my research into EEG and autism and how it was possible to determine if someone was autistic from their brain-patterns. This is based on a patent I filed in 2010 which is for a device that uses EEG signals to read people’s brain patters and recommend appropriate behaviour.
A year later a researcher called Frank Duffy had a paper published in BMC Medicine titled, “A stable pattern of EEG spectral coherence distinguishes children with autism from neuro-typical controls – a large case control study.”
Even though I told the journal he was replicating work I had done, they did nothing to right the wrong of Frank Duffy not crediting me for the work of mine that he replicated. By Frank a Duffy copying my work without crediting it that makes Frank Duffy a plagiarist. Does Frank Duffy think it is fair that he is doing this?
Earlier this year someone called Tom Hodder placed a job request on PeoplePerHour asking people to present research of patents and EEG research that would effect his use of EEG in motorbike helmets.
When I notified Tom Hodder of my patent and research he wrote two blog posts. One called “patent troll or just troll? I have definitely been trolled.” and another “irrealis mood as an excuse to talk bollocks“.
In these blog posts Tom Hodder admits my patent is similar to the idea he wanted to take to market. Instead of saying how he wishes he thought of it first, Tom Hodder critiques my writing style and my various identities. Tom Hodder like Frank Duffy might not be as clear as they thought they were. In both cases I should be paid royalties if either uses my IP to assist interaction between people.
The trouble with being an autistic trained in proportionality is not only do you hear the words people say literally, but it upsets you when you work out the meaning of why they said it! I said to someone today how I asked my support worker if she wanted tea and she said “just milk” and I replied how she expected an autistic person to reply, saying “you want a cup of milk then?”
This other person said “you are only saying that because…” – Before they had a change to finish I was enraged because I knew they were going to suggest I was “playing the part.” I think like an autistic person, are they saying I am some how “putting it on” if I act on those thoughts as opposed to restraining myself?
The Human Rights Act implements the European Convention on Human Rights and this gives me freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to manifest and express these.
Criticising me for acting on my autistic thoughts is therefore a human rights abuse!
I was reading an article in The Times recently, titled “May the best man win.” It was naming the different national services for becoming good at Best Man speeches. One that particularly interested me was skillstudio.co.uk.
Skillstudio.co.uk offer one-to-one personal coaching in presentation skills and voice coaching. I have had these, paid for through the Disabled Students Allowance, and they have helped me immensely. Being autistic and having had a mono-tone voice, it took a lot to convince me coaching could help – but it did. I would often ask people why as an autistic person I should have to change my voice simply because I was unable to vary the tones in my voice. I said to people, “You wouldn’t ask a Black person to change the colour of their skin because others didn’t think they wouldn’t fit in would you?”
But the communications coach I got to see helped me with my presentation skills, and one of the first things they helped me do was improve my voice. ‘Voice coaching’ seemed like something that would never work on me. If I had autism, surely it couldn’t change – but I was mistaken.
Voice coaching and learning presentation skills go hand-in-hand – one is always doing both at the same time. When I started my family said they didn’t notice any difference – as they would! But my colleagues at work have been continuously saying how I have improved.
I am getting good feedback in meetings, which are going a lot better than they used to. The speeches I make in public are often complemented on – I have both style and content now! When I hear myself on the radio, I no longer feel awkward. But there is always room for improvement, and I am currently considering the media training and interview skills at skillstudio.co.uk. It is difficult to find one-to-one training for these things, and the fact that their client list includes the BBC means the radio journalists who interview me might have something in common with me!
Overall I think this coaching has helped me in my career – like getting radio interviews and having the confidence to do them, so I think it is going to be on the top of my list of things to do, and skillstudio.co.uk sounds a good option.
My research on autism has suggested there are a number of causes of ‘autism,’ and each are things which cause the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for social skills, to become sub-optimal:
- Post-traumatic stress. Such as a traumatic birth or traumatic reaction to child vaccines. A traumatic experience means ‘phantasies’ (i.e. mental blocks) get lodged in the prefrontal cortex, reducing synaptic connections. It can be reversible.
- Foetal substance intolerance. Such as where a mother drinks alcohol, or produces too much testosterone. This makes the prefrontal cortex more rigid, and its not reversible at present.
- Social exclusion. Such as where people are bullied or subject to immense poverty, to the extent they are not able to have reciprocal social interactions with others. This is why many people who are stuck on benefits for no fault of their own often get diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, when they are brought to court for things which are no more criminal than stealing paper-clips from one’s employer. It can be reversible.
- Genetic mutation or inheritance. If a person develops autism from one of the above, it can be transferred to their children as a genetic defect. It is not reversible with current science.
I have made autism technologies to help with these. Vois and PARLE can be used to support people with the irreversible kind, and MEDIAT through making use of Vois can be used to help people with the reversible kind. When nano-technology advances it may be possible to use technology that is part of Vois to reverse the ones which are currently irreversible.
In the video above, from the Rainman film, you can see Raymond screaming when his brother, Charlie, turns the hot water on. This was because when Charlie was a baby he accidentally burned him with hot water. He was then sent to an institution for ‘disturbed’ people.
So it is likely that Raymond’s autism was caused by the trauma in his childhood for how others reacted during his accidental scalding of Charlie. So whenever he sees hot water, or hears an alarm because of something over-heating this causes him to become distressed. His mind is able to cope with this stress to a certain extent, as his prefrontal cortex has a ‘phantasy’ (i.e. mental block), which is protecting him from more trauma, like what happened when he was younger.
Raymond’s autism was likely to have been worsened by being in the institution, where he was treated as if he had intellectual impairments and was deprived of the same social interactions people who are part of society would have.
From my point of view, today it should be grossly offensive to say being autistic is either a condition or a disorder. Autistic spectrum condition is now used more than autistic spectrum disorder, which even I used 10 years ago, but things need to move on further.
Being autistic is a social orientation that can be accounted for by someone having above average SQ scores and below average EQ scores. In other words it is a bias towards a certain type of personality.
The only time being autistic equates to ‘suffering from autism‘ is when people in society treat an autistic person less favourably for reasons arising out of their autistic personality traits.
I am calling for so-called autism to be taken out of DSM all together – in the same way homosexuality was. Whilst many autistic people have special educational needs, their autistic personality should not be one of them! It is other people that need to better understand the autistic theory of mind, without thinking their theory of mind is somehow superior!
People with autism are more empathetic than people think. Their rigid adherence to rules – seeing them in black-and-white actually has better outcomes for people in terms of their wellbeing than people who are not autistic who stand by their colleagues even if they are not acting in their customers’ best interests.
Take your typical hospital. If there was serious neglect going on, which broke the rules, an autistic person would whistleblow, and then likely get sacked for being a ‘troublemaker.’ Someone with empathy however would stand by their colleagues, rather than see them punished for not putting the welfare of patients first.
Therefore, whilst some people have the ability to empathise better than autistic people, because autistic people follow the rules, and often have their own ‘moral code’ at the end of the day when all its taken into account, the care of people they are responsible for is higher, because they will have followed the rules that their colleagues show complete disregard for.
So whilst autistic people have less Gross Empathy (before the fact) when all is taken into account they have greater Net Empathy (after the fact) because in the case of hospitals patient care is higher if they follow the rules rather than stand up for their neglectful colleagues.
There are these things called ‘Social Stories,’ which are designed to help people with autism understand how they might offend others. I think these social stories should be used to explain to the people who get offended, who I call empathics who suffer from empathism, why they are making themselves disabled by lacking relationship skills – let’s call them ‘Relationship Stories’ in this case.
You did very well – Part 1
Empathic to Autistic: You did every well with your speech.
Autistic: Yes, I know, I thought I was good.
You did not do your best – Part 1
You did not do your best – Part 2
Empathic to Autistic : I don’t think that was the best speech you’ve ever done.
Autistic: I thought it was the best one ever.
You did very well – Part 2
Autistic to Empathic: I think that was the best speech you’ve ever done.
Empathic: It wasn’t that good.
Autistic: You could be right.
Question: Who is the most disabled?
Is it the autistic person with a ‘physical or mental impairment that has an adverse long term impact on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities‘ or is it the empathic? Should autistic people be ostracised for giving a fair, balanced and accurate account of a situation, rather than be offended at everything anyone says like empathics suffering from empathism do? In all of the situations above, autistic people would not get offended by one another for giving their honest opinion and in fact, the autistic people would be more likely to probe the person giving the feedback empathics find offensive so they know what to do next time.
“I don’t have autism when I’m alone”: An auto-ethnography of a brain-computer intervention for reducing social impairmentOctober 14th, 2012 by Jonathan Bishop
Below and abstract for a special issue of Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice on ‘Autism and Society’.
It has long been a held view that “autism” causes people to have poor social and emotional functioning. Through an empirical auto-ethnographical investigation this paper presents evidence to the contrary – that it is poor social and emotional skills that cause ‘autism’. This paper sees autism as a social construction of social-behavioural traits (SBTs) that are undesirable by people who lack a ‘theory of mind’ of what it is like to be autistic.
On this basis, having predominantly autistic SBTs is only a disability when others treats one less favourably because of it. The paper shows there are a number of different medical conditions that can create the various symptoms from which a social construction of autism can be created. Through applying a brain-computer intervention that changes the effects of traumatic memories in the prefrontal cortex, it shows the symptoms of autism can be reduced, but that to “cure” it requires society to change and not the person with autistic SBTs.
The paper also supports the practice of using auto-ethnographical approaches in which a trained researcher can develop new interventions for conditions they have, by observing changes in them as objectively as is possible.
My name is Jonathan Bishop – I’m autistic. This means when I am alone, I don’t feel lonely. This means I like eating the same things each day, wearing the same type of clothes each week, and being interested in the same things for longer than people who are not autistic.
I have social skills, but they are different from people who are not autistic. For instance, people who are not autistic need to get to trust people before they are friends with them – I can instantly talk to people I have never met, as if I have known them forever. I also have excellent communication skills when it comes to my specialist interests. For instance, I can speak or write passionately about them to people of all ages, abilities or any other background. I am also a good long term friend. While some people will only be friends with others if they are nice to them, it is easy for me to like them be offended by others, but unlike them not result in me wanting to lose them as a friend. So as long as the next time we meet this friend is cordial with me, then they have a life long friend in me.
Each day I come across stories of how scientists have found a new cause for autism or a new cure. The fact is, however ‘autism’ is caused, it is not a problem being autistic. Whether it is a neurological difference in the prefrontal cortex as I believe, diet, genes, or whatever others believe, the fact is being autistic is a legitimate personality type. One might like to think of it as being extrovert when it comes to ones interests and abilities, but introvert when it comes to wanting to socialise, have parties etc. But even this is too simplex a description, as some autistic people might enjoy the challenge of organising parties or learning about different people and their uniqueness as human beings. I for instance am a computer scientist, but am only interested in the human side of computing – called human-computer interaction.
So because there is nothing wrong with being autistic, I have started a campaign. An expert in ‘autism,’ called Simon Baron-Cohen, has a theory that autistic people have an ‘extreme male brain’ (PDF). This means our brains make more use of the skills typically found in men, that those typically found in women. On that basis not all people whose sex is that of a man are 100% male, and not all people whose sex is that of a woman is 100% female. You might like to think that autistic women are more male, and autistic men are even more male. Being an autistic woman may not mean a woman is less female, in some cases such women may be gifted with both male and female personality strengths.
If you are autistic and proud to be autistic, I would like to suggest you join my campaign for ‘autism pride’ by doing one or more of the following:
- When you read a scientific article on a website that suggests it is important to cure autism write in the comments section if they have one: “I’m autistic. I’m more male than you – deal with it!“
- If you are on a message-board where people are criticising people with autism, write in a reply, ”I’m autistic. I’m more male than you – deal with it!” and then link to that photo above, usually by typing: [url]http://i959.photobucket.com/albums/ae72/jonathanbishop/Campaigning/AutisticMoreMale.jpg[/url]
- In any other way that you can express text, write ”I’m autistic. I’m more male than you – deal with it!“, or link to or upload the above photo. If you are on a platform with tags, be sure to tag it: autismpride. If you click on the photo above it should appear in a new window for you to easily access and download it.
What are social skills?:
- It is a social skill to be able to have your beliefs challenged without thinking you have to change them or expect others to change theirs.
- It is a social skill to be able to have conversations with anyone without mistrusting them due to lack of familiarity.
- It is a social skill to be able to tell people the truth if it would harm them not to do so.
- It is a social skill to be able to share your enthusiasm for your interests openly with others and be able to speak to people from all backgrounds about it.
My name is Jonathan Bishop. I am autistic. I have all the above social skills which most people without a diagnosis of autism do not have!