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Thread: Autistic NFs?

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    Aspiring Troens Ridder KLessard's Avatar
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    Question Autistic NFs?

    Since hearing about Dr Temple Grandin, I am completely convinced autism isn't a disability, but a very special gift. What amazing skills these people have!

    We have often heard of NT-like autists (math geniuses, etc.), but are there NF-like autists? My question might sound stupid, I don't know... I have discovered Crabapple is an INFJ autist. Do you know any NF autist? What special gift does this person have? What is it like?
    What is your inner world like, Crabapple?
    Last edited by KLessard; 02-12-2010 at 07:13 PM.

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    Senior Member Cronkle's Avatar
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    I think I've read the definition of an autistic is someone who can't feel what the other person is feeling, can't put themselves in someone elses shoes, can't feel empathy. Doesn't sound like an NF...

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    Aspiring Troens Ridder KLessard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cronkle View Post
    I think I've read the definition of an autistic is someone who can't feel what the other person is feeling, can't put themselves in someone elses shoes, can't feel empathy. Doesn't sound like an NF...
    I know! How is INFJ poster Crabapple autistic, then? What is it like for her? I don't know that they can't feel others' emotions, but they certainly find emotions overwhelming, so they avoid them and talking about them (according to Dr Temple's testimony). She finds human hugs overwhelming, so she's created a machine where she gets artificial hugs (the squeezer). She says she sometimes wished to be held, but couldn't stand it because human emotion is something too intense and frightening for her.

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Autistics are perfectly capable of empathy. They may have some trouble interpreting what behaviors indicate what feelings, but once they are aware, they are capable of as much compassion as anyone. Sometimes more. They can also hold very strong values, etc. I don't know that it's super common, but I don't see any reason that an autistic person could not be an NF.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Senior Member hokie912's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLessard View Post
    Sice hearing about Dr Temple Grandin, I am completely convinced autism isn't a disability, but a very special gift. What amazing skills these people have!
    I'm not sure you really understand autism based on this statement. Being autistic isn't necessarily disabling, no, but autism is a psychological disorder that's immensely challenging for a lot of people. Autism is highly associated with varying degrees of mental retardation, and I'm not sure that most people would consider the problems with communication and social interaction gifts. It's a spectrum and affects people to varying degrees and in different ways. There are people with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Disorder who lead perfectly normal lives. And one person's challenge is another person's asset, I'll definitely concede that. But there are also a lot of people who are significantly disabled by autism, to the extent of not being able to live independently or function in society. I've worked with severely autistic children in the past, and in such cases, autism definitely is a disability.

    So anyway, I know that you meant it in terms of appreciating people for their different perspectives on how they interact with the world, but I did want to make sure that you understand that it's not categorically something thats an asset or even not a big deal.

    Also, it occurred to me that you might be thinking of autistic savants, people with autism who excel in some area such as math or music, since I think Dr. Grandin considers herself one. Savants are comparatively quite rare, with only a fraction of people with autistic disorders showing savant skills.

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Autistics are perfectly capable of empathy. They may have some trouble interpreting what behaviors indicate what feelings, but once they are aware, they are capable of as much compassion as anyone. Sometimes more. They can also hold very strong values, etc. I don't know that it's super common, but I don't see any reason that an autistic person could not be an NF.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Aspiring Troens Ridder KLessard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokie912 View Post
    I'm not sure you really understand autism based on this statement. Being autistic isn't necessarily disabling, no, but autism is a psychological disorder that's immensely challenging for a lot of people. Autism is highly associated with varying degrees of mental retardation, and I'm not sure that most people would consider the problems with communication and social interaction gifts. It's a spectrum and affects people to varying degrees and in different ways. There are people with high-functioning autism or Asperger's Disorder who lead perfectly normal lives. And one person's challenge is another person's asset, I'll definitely concede that. But there are also a lot of people who are significantly disabled by autism, to the extent of not being able to live independently or function in society. I've worked with severely autistic children in the past, and in such cases, autism definitely is a disability.

    So anyway, I know that you meant it in terms of appreciating people for their different perspectives on how they interact with the world, but I did want to make sure that you understand that it's not categorically something thats an asset or even not a big deal.

    Also, it occurred to me that you might be thinking of autistic savants, people with autism who excel in some area such as math or music, since I think Dr. Grandin considers herself one. Savants are comparatively quite rare, with only a fraction of people with autistic disorders showing savant skills.

    I'm aware of that, thank you for your insight. Please share more if your have anything else to say about it.

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    Feelin' FiNe speculative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokie912 View Post
    Also, it occurred to me that you might be thinking of autistic savants, people with autism who excel in some area such as math or music, since I think Dr. Grandin considers herself one. Savants are comparatively quite rare, with only a fraction of people with autistic disorders showing savant skills.
    Also, not all savants are located on the spectrum. Some had accidents, etc. that are unrelated to autism.

    I don't know; I've run across quite a few (insert whatever term is politically correct this particular second) people and they seem extremely NF and not NT at all to me (think Special Olympics). Of course, I don't know much about this area so maybe I'm getting my spectrums crossed or something...
    "How can I be, all I want to be,
    When all I want to do is strip away these stilled constraints
    And crush this charade, shred this sad, masquerade"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGeq5v7L3WM

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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Autism is broadly defined -
    The main signs and symptoms of autism involve problems in the following areas:
    * Communication - both verbal (spoken) and non-verbal (unspoken, such as pointing, eye contact, and smiling)
    * Social - such as sharing emotions, understanding how others think and feel, and holding a conversation
    * Routines or repetitive behaviors (also called stereotyped behaviors) - such as repeating words or actions, obsessively following routines or schedules, and playing in repetitive ways
    Intelligence can vary as can severity of symptoms. IRL, it can look like anything from being relatively normal, but possessing a group of weird quirks to being profoundly mentally handicapped, non-verbal, and having to wear a protective helmet because of habitual headbanging.

    Some are geniuses and/or savants. Many are neither.

    My own two high-functioning sons are above average intelligence, but not, to my knowledge, geniuses. They are better than the average kids their age at math and logic, but not OMG!!! amazing.

    My older son had some problems in elementary school because he wouldn't play along with the 'we hate girls' activities typical of boys his age. He knew it was garbage and unfair and he wasn't about to pretend otherwise, even if it made him a target. When we had a discussion about defending himself when necessary, he told me he absolutely would not fight back to protect himself. He's kind of a pacifist by nature, I guess.

    My younger son is convinced that insects and slugs, etc have feelings and should therefore be treated humanely. When he learned that their neurological systems did not allow for a whole lot of stimuli, he still stuck to his guns that they had emotions and that, even if they couldn't feel pain the way we do, they wouldn't want to be hurt or killed.

    I don't think either one of them are NFs, but I would consider those sentiments expressions of compassion/empathy/internalized values -- whatever you want to call it.

    Also, Temple Grandin's primary occupation is designing feed lots and slaughter houses in ways that will cause the least distress to the animals that go there. She believes they don't really mind dying, but some of the ways these places are normally set up terrify them and that better designs can not only reduce those fears, but make the jobs of the people that work there easier and safer. A person lacking values and empathy would probably not make this her life work. (Hope I didn't mess that up too bad. Been awhile since I've read her books).
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

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    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Yeah.. something that has been bugging me about this topic but that I haven't really put my finger on until just now is the idea that a person with compassion and who feels deeply is necessarily an NF. My VERY NT husband can be abrupt and businesslike, has a bit of a flat affect to his speech and may in fact be a very high functioning autistic person himself (it does run in families, they told us at TEACCH that a lot of people they test came in first to have their children evaluated). But he's also one of the kindest people I know, with an amazing capacity for compassion, though like cafe says he has a hard time deciphering what facial expressions correlate to what feeling.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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