"It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential." ~ Dr. Hans Asperger

"The Way of a Warrior is to establish harmony." ~ Morihei Ueshiba O'Sensei, Founder of Aikido

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Welcome to my new blog.  I am a 27 year old autistic graduate student that's decided to join my brethren who engage in advocacy and blogging.  My official diagnosis is Asperger's Syndrome.  This is often described as "mild" or "high-functioning" autism, but there are problems with such labels.

There is immense variability in the expression/symptoms of autism (both in kind and degree).  The clinical term 'Autism Spectrum Disorders' (ASD) presumes one continuous, ordered dimension of variability that, frankly, I think fails to describe the reality of the situation (see above quote by George Box).

I honestly believe autism is a multi-faceted condition (you're born with) that arises from the neurological structure of the brain.  As a statistician, I am interested in identifying and measuring the multiple underlying attributes so we can design and evaluate treatments/therapies tailored to the specific needs of every autist.

Autism brings many challenges but there are also strengths to be found.  For instance, I have a very high IQ, an excellent memory, hyper-focus and attention to detail which has served me quite well scholastically.  I am not of the camp that views autism as a sickness to be "cured."  I support neuro-diversity, i.e. the belief that autism, dyslexia, and many so-called disabilities are natural variations of the human mind.  The renowned autistic advocate/author/professor Dr. Temple Grandin has said, "The world needs all kinds of minds."

Another inspiration to start this blog is my passion for martial arts.  Specifically, I practice Aikido which is often translated at "the way of the harmonious spirit." Ai - joining, unifying; Ki (a.k.a. Ch'i, Qi) - energy, mind, spirit; Do - the way, the path.  Someone who practices Aikido is called an aikidoka.

We don't really fight or hit back in aikido.  It is a defensive art where we use the attacker(s) momentum to throw/control/restrain them.  It was founded in the 1920s-30s by Morihei Ueshiba (called O'Sensei for "Great Teacher") who combined his martial training with his philosophy of compassion.  He believed attacking only prolongs the spirit of conflict so he developed an art where you can defend yourself without harming the attacker.

"To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace."

Videos on the practice and history of aikidohttp://goo.gl/4Zskx  http://goo.gl/H6VF2

I'm really fascinated by O'Sensei's philosophy about conflict and harmony. It recently occurred to me that this could be a good approach to autistic advocacy; which we all know is full of conflict. I took the words Autistic (which originally referred to withdrawal into the self) and Aikido and combined them to get the name of this blog; Autistikido.

I hope for this blog to be a forum to share my thoughts, observations, philosophies as well as be an educational resource to dispel ignorance and misconceptions.  There are a lot of great bloggers and resources already out there so I have posted links to their works (see right-hand side).  I can respect that readers may have differing opinions but I ask that you be respectful.  If you have a burning desire to attack me or make hateful comments, please save your energy and go somewhere else on the web.

1 comment:

  1. BK, great start! I agree with your comments about autism being way too complex to reduce it to a "spectrum" or other labels that imply degrees. I look forward to further discussions, and welcome to the blogosphere!