All right, welcome to this third lesson on considerations of the autistic mind. If you’ve got first-hand experience with autism or ADHD, you know that this can be challenging and often misunderstood. It can be a back-and-forth of trying to understand each other or trying to make sense of why this person is so reactive or so overloaded.
But it’s important to remember that both with autism and ADHD, the experience is different for everybody, and that these people often need special handling, treatment, or considerations, methods, and processes to function.
We covered some of this in the last two videos, talking about the Amygdala and talking about the language centers. In this video, we want to hone in on another neurological difference that changes everything, which is more of a blessing than a curse this time, more of a solution than a problem.
It’s the way that the mind has become able to compensate for the changes or the restrictions that we talked about in the previous two videos, the underactive Amygdala and the underactive language sounds.
So those with autism and ADHD tend to think in pictures. You know, everybody can think in pictures, but this is overthinking in pictures. This is where in order for us to remember something, we need to create a model in our head and be able to manipulate that model. Otherwise, there’s no connections between anything and nothing has any relevance.
Excuse me, you’ll find that the best way to help an autistic or ADHD person is by saying, “Why is this relative?” And the reason for that is that research has shown that those with autism and ADHD tend to have exceptional activity in their visual cortex, not normal, exceptional. And that’s the part of the brain responsible for processing and creating visual information.
So this heightened activity allows those with autism and ADHD to process and remember information visually much better than neurotypical. They can take all of what they’re receiving and make a picture out of it, make a scene, a vivid scene that affects everything. This is why one seemingly disconnected piece of information might be the mystery of their universe, right?
But the visual cortex isn’t just responsible for processing visual information. It also plays a key role in memory, spatial reasoning. For example, those with autism may have or even ADHD may have a strong ability to remember the layout of a room or the location of objects. You may know somebody who says, “Yeah, go into this room, in this corner, in this drawer, back left, under this, right.” They were, everything is a map, it’s a map from here to there, whether it’s a physical thing or a virtual thing like time or energy management.
They may also have an excellent ability to remember detail and be able to recall that with great precision. Same reason, right? So why are pictures more effective for those with autism and ADHD in terms of memory and understanding? Well, one theory is that the visual cortex is more highly developed in those with autism and ADHD to compensate for the Amygdala and the working memory and the language center deficiencies, right?
This allows them to process and remember information that’s visual more easily, allows them to categorize things as visual, allows them to map relationships. That’s what visual stuff is. So this is also one of the reasons why those with autism often excel, ADHD people too, right? They excel in creative hobbies that require visual thinking, such as music or drumming or art, and they excel in things that have a regular pace.
A regular pace allows the detail of that picture to be the same, to be consistent. So there’s this question, right? How can we communicate with somebody with a hyperactive visual cortex? We can use concrete specific language instead of saying something like get the thing from the place or can you get this from the kitchen? You could say please bring me the red mud from the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet or you could have a special name for each thing that you have so that they can map that name to where it is physically.
This can also help somebody with a hyperactive visual cortex understand what you’re saying because you’re providing the detail that maps to their vision. We also want to try using gestures or hand signals to supplement the words. While spoken language may be less effective for somebody with a hyperactive visual cortex, non-verbal communication such as gestures or hand signals can be important, but we don’t want to overdo it because remember, these language centers also don’t work as well.
So it’s a careful balance. Checking in frequently is really important. Does this make sense? Or do you have any questions? Pausing and giving their space to be able to resolve these open loops and to be able to resolve confusion and to be able to resolve contextual meaning is critical.
It’s really important that we understand and embrace these changes. Otherwise, what we’ll find is that the expectation of what we want from a person with autism or ADHD and the reality of what they’re experiencing are completely different. And if we move forward with that, it’s often called ableism, right? We want to help people with these conditions thrive, which is only gonna further society and individuals. If we don’t take these things into account, we’re not gonna be helping them.
So I hope that these videos are helpful and I really, really hope that you are learning why and how the autistic and ADHD mind is different. So we’re gonna be wrapping that up in our next video. We’re gonna be bringing all of this together and I hope to see you there.
Part 3 of this course explores the unique ways of thinking and expressing that individuals with autism may need to develop to cope with the challenges that come with their neurological differences. The emotional responses of individuals with autism may be highly unregulated due to these neurological differences, which can make it overwhelming for some individuals with autism to constantly experience the level of frustration they feel at their most stressed-out moments. This is why individuals with autism may need to develop unique ways of thinking and expressing themselves to cope with these challenges. The course will provide strategies and techniques for individuals with autism to develop their own ways of thinking and expressing themselves, such as through art, music, or other forms of self-expression. Additionally, the course will discuss how therapy and counseling can be beneficial in helping individuals with autism to express themselves and cope with their unique challenges. It will also provide guidance on how to support the self-expression of individuals with autism and how to create an environment that fosters self-expression. The course will also provide suggestions for further reading and resources that can help individuals and their caregivers better understand and support the unique ways of thinking and expressing of individuals with autism.