In my novels The Birdcatcher and Skol, and in The Shyness Guide, I’ve said that I think shyness and autism are both usually natural. I've also suggested that, in some people, they may be connected. This perception of them isn’t supported by any research as far as I know. But when I was a boy … Continue reading Autism and Shyness | Are they related?
Long before I learned about autism, I was thinking about it. From the beginning I was a loner – when I entered school at 5 yrs old, I didn't keep to myself by choice, I did it by instinct. I was completely unable to have friends. As Chris Stone says in my novel The Birdcatcher, … Continue reading Autism | Could it be simple after all?
Nothing about shyness bothers non-shy people more than the reluctance of shy people to talk. "What's the matter with you? Speak up! Be assertive! Stop hiding from us!" - that's their common refrain in workplaces, at school, etc. Why are social people like that? I think it starts with their instinctual need for communication. Never … Continue reading Rescuing Shyness | Resist the hostility of the social world
Words are not the same thing for those of us on the spectrum as they are for other people. From the time I entered elementary school as a small boy, I was very conscious of this. I couldn't put my thoughts into words then, but fifty or so years later I managed to do it … Continue reading Autism and Words
Here is some interesting new autism research. The website Spectrum News (spectrumnews.org) reports on the findings of neuroscientist Baoji Xu at the Scripps Research Institute in Florida re microglia, a protein in the brain that they say 'prunes' excess synapses in the brain. They engineered mice to overproduce a protein called EIF4E that is essential … Continue reading Autism | Mice and Microglia
In her 2008 book, Autism – A Very Short Introduction, psychologist Uta Frith discussed the "weak central coherence" theory. This is related to the tendency of autistic people to focus on detail. Walking through a forest an autistic person will see the trees and things on the forest floor – ferns, horsetails, fungi, insects, tiny … Continue reading Autism | Weak Central Coherence | Who can’t see the forest?
Recently I re-examined the 'Big Five' personality traits. This was in a 2007 online article by psychologist Nathalie Nahai (A Large-Scale Personality Research Method, also published in the 2017 anthology, Know This, edited by John Brockman, published by Harper Perennial and the Edge Foundation). They aren't new. The idea began in United States Air Force in … Continue reading The Big Five Personality Traits | Where did the introverts go? What about autism?
Some years ago I discovered that there was no website devoted to solitary people. So I created one and called it Loner's Highway – my previous blog that concentrated on the nature and life-experience of loners. But most loners are shy, and I began to regret leaving other shy people out, so I returned to … Continue reading Loners | Introverts, or ‘auties’ on the spectrum?
Yes, this is the new title of this site. Though I'm still fond of 'Shy Highway', the title I've used since 2007, my interests obviously are too far-ranging. Since I was a boy entering school, my view of the world around me has been different from that of anyone I've met. That wasn't always positive. … Continue reading Alternative World |New perspectives on autism, shyness, literature and history, psychology and science, life, the universe and everything