I borrowed this format from Professor Bainbridge, who I think got it from a Sports Illustrated columnist. Anyhow, I like the format.
10 things I think I think
1. Many children on the fringes of autism are orchid children, as described by the Drs. Eide and this article. I.e., they have a unique sensitivity to their environment, but will thrive if they have a "supermom," as the article explains.
2. I suspect the increase in autism rates may be related to an increase in "discords" in our society -- features of our culture that are poor fits for our biology. As Professor Grinde explains, increasingly, more of us are like zoo animals kept in a habitat not well suited to our species.
3. I suspect that sensory processing disorder can lead to autism, because our minds are nothing BUT sensory perceptions and memories of sensory perceptions. If you have never had any sensory perceptions, upon what would you build a consciousness?
4. I don't think it's a coincidence that high numbers of deaf and blind children have autism. I realize it is probably not exactly a causal relationship there, but still.
5. I think that there are ways in which it is almost as if my son is partially deaf and blind, even if his organs are functioning. (And of course deficient in other sensory perceptions as well.)
6. I suspect that the multitude of autism interventions all have a few core things in common that explain their success, and that a critical piece of it is that they all do something to address issues with selective attention.
7. I suspect that to "learn something" -- i.e., to make a memory -- you have to have 2 things linked to together, but they have to be coincident in time somehow. Coincident in time as YOU experience it. It's like there is a "console," and the 2 things must manage to show up on that console together, at the same time, so they can be stored as a chunk. If you're pavlov's dog, it's a bell and ... I dunno, the smell of food? The tate of food? satiation? But if they don't make it into the console at the same time, there's no link, no memory, no "learning."
8. I think/suspect/wonder/plan to investigate: if your gamma waves are off, then signals from different neurons are no longer coordinated properly in TIME, so that things don't show up in the console together. And some of them never show up in the console, because they get lost in that moment when we fall out of consciousness (which for a typical person is supposedly a half a second; for an autistic person, query how long that is?). I.e., Pavlov's dog never heard the bell, or maybe he heard it 30 minutes before he ate.
9. I suspect there is not so great a difference, if indeed there is any, between the most simple conditioning (i.e., pavlov's dog) and what ultimately becomes our most complex thoughts. I think we start with simple associations, and they grow and grow and grow. exponentially.
10. I think meditation enhances gamma waves because it improves selective attention, and autistic people have weak gamma waves and poor selective attention because ... well, which came first? the chicken or the egg ...
OK, I guess I can't stop at just 10 ....
11. I think the gamma-wave issue means that autistic individuals are LITERALLY out of synch, as in their neurons are not being coordinated in the rhythical, timed manner that enables the accurate perception of the universe.
12. You have to have an accurate (more or less) perception of the universe to build abstract representations of it and upon it.
13. This gamma wave business has something to do with inhibitory neurons, and I think they may influence not only the ability to filter out background "noise" in sensory perceptions (i.e., enable selective attention) but also impulse control.
14. I believe, because I have to, that the Drs. Eide are right that impulse control can be taught, learned, practiced, and that inhibitory neurons can be exercised and strengthened. I think that's what meditators are doing.
15. I think that it could be extremely important to know how this mechanism got off in the first place, because there is obviously a physical component going on here, and it it could be any one of hundreds of things. Chemical things. As in ...
16. I think it's time to see a neurologist. And a DAN! doctor.
Thoughts on Newtown
4 years ago