RSCN4428 WSWhenever I do a post here about autism, I get four times as many visits as I do for anything else.

That’s a bit odd, when you consider that autism is supposed to be a rare condition.

In the past I’ve tried to avoid the autism debate. It’s so full of dissension, misstatements, and misunderstandings. But lately I can’t help it, I’m getting more involved.

What are my qualifications? Just that I consider myself autistic.

Psychologists and psychiatrists warn you against self-diagnosing yourself. Being in your own body and mind from the time you were born apparently isn’t enough for you to have an opinion about who you are.

In my own case though, I’ve also spent 40 years in the personal injury claims business, where I had to read psychological reports every day.

Some of those reports involved claims that were headed for trial or arbitration. Since companies wanted my opinion of their prospects in those disputes, I sometimes read those reports over and over, comparing them with the contrary reports filed by the claimant’s lawyer, sometimes to the point where I almost had them memorized. I learned a few things along the way .

Besides that though, when you watch psychologists and psychiatrists in the personal injury arena, not just disagreeing with each other, but often denigrating each other sarcastically, you get cynical about the accuracy of professional diagnoses.

So I defend the right of anyone to decide whether they think they are autistic.

Oddly enough, in shyness studies psychologists routinely ask people to declare whether they consider themselves shy or not, and then treat the responses as significant.

In my case, as a boy I was never assessed for anything, maybe because there were few psychologists in the working class town where I grew up. Teachers worried about me, but I don’t think they had any idea how to deal with a boy who couldn’t have friends, or refused to have friends. Since I managed to get through school and hold jobs for a few decades, no one has ever suggested that I be assessed, and I see no need for it now.

Anyway, I intend to write more about autism/ASD in the future. Why shouldn’t the Shy Highway also be an alternative path for anyone who thinks they might be autistic?

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