I saw this article today about a gal describing her life as an Aspie, and I was reminded again how little I really know about my opinion on autism. In particular, this paragraph made me resignedly smile:

I also have intensified senses — touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound — so I am attuned to lights, noise, textures, and smells. In a “busy” environment, I will eventually go into sensory overload and my mind will go blank. When this happens, I have to “go away” mentally for a brief period to regain focus. When I “return,” I have to piece together what occurred while I was “away.” The additional mental processing I must do to function every day is fatiguing, and I don’t handle “ad hoc” very well. Being asked to respond quickly in the midst of all this other processing is difficult, sometimes impossible.

So, if I pretty much wrote this exact thought-process a week ago, does that make me an Aspie also? I doubt it. Though I think it’s interesting that most auties have sensory issues. Is it a sliding scale neurologically? A chromosomal crap-shoot timed with some sort of external trigger – toxic or otherwise? Possibly. It seems a lot people assume that’s the most logical scenario. .

I think part of my eternal reticence to discuss autism is the fact that there is that large school of thought that it is some sort of toxic damage, obviously mostly correlated to vaccines. And despite my holistic philosophies, I just can’t endorse that fully. I see the irony (if you can call it that) that I’m against vaccines but don’t necessarily believe it’s a direct causation; at least not how I categorize ‘autism’. But that’s because I really think in the future there will be a demarcation in the diagnoses. Whether it will actually ever get this openly acknowledged I don’t know, but I think there will have to be a time when people being diagnosed will be either ‘autistic’ or just ‘toxic’, regardless if the presenting characteristics are similar.

I know at least one little guy that I believe is absolutely vaccine and environmentally-toxic, but I don’t think he’d genetically be diagnosed. I can’t really tell you why, other than what I know of human physiology (and what his mom has told me in passing about his health and history) and an instinct I have. I just think his eyes seem.. cloudy, for lack of a better explanation. I know that sounds like corny hoo-doo, and maybe it is. I don’t walk around peering at people to guess how unhealthy their body is. But the fact is sick people often look sick. So, whatever. And in that case, I’d love to send them to a naturopath to detoxify, but it’s not my place, and everyone has their own beliefs. He seems to be a fairly happy kid; who am I to judge his quality of life? Shrug.

But like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think Jack is ‘toxic’. Sure, we could live a healthier lifestyle, but by-and-large he’s a healthy fartknocker. And aside from that, there is no mistaking that most of his quirks can be seen in me, and more specifically, his grandpa. Autism experts would lurve Jack’s bloodline.

Regardless, given the coincidence that I am invested in both natural living and autism, I’m often the go-to for opinions or education, which is both validating and humbling. It would be a lot easier if I did belong to the genetic vs curable camp, because I have a host of research on both. Unfortunately I don’t think it breaks down that cleanly, which, ironically again (?), sort of sums up the difficulty that can come with navigating autism.

So I guess this is my yearly admission that I have zero idea. And the further along we go, the less I have the urge to discover, which is bad timing considering autism is the new hot topic. But, I do like the tangential press on vaccines. I mean, even if I’m not wholly convinced by the recent ruling by the government, I wholly support it – if it means more education.

The truth is that it has crossed my mind in the past that maybe Jack is my segue into gaining credence on both sides of the vaccine-discussion fence. It’s a pretty strong shield to carry when very few people will argue with me either way.

It’s OK that I don’t know everything – I know enough. 😉