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“Brein bedriegt : autisme en normale tot hoge begaafdheid” – Peter Vermeulen.

July 16, 2017 book review, autism
Dutch book about people with autism and a normal/high intelligence.

"Brein bedriegt." - Peter Vermeulen.

This is an easy to read, but informative book.

Peter starts his book with a bit on the history of autism and its diagnosis (currently described in the DSM-5). He states that even now, with all the research that has been done, there is still a serious problem with both under- and over-diagnosis of ASD.

He then goes on to say that what people typically associate with autism, are in fact comorbid problems (e.g. low intelligence).
In fact, autism is about having a differently wired brain. It has nothing to do with intelligence.

Autistic people perceive the world as a collection of details (stimuli) which then have to be distilled into a useful image. Non-autistic people ‘get the image for free’, but miss out on the details.
Communication/socialization is another well-known problem. Whereas most people know intuitively how to do this successfully, autistic people have to think things through.

As such, it is not surprising that most autistic people have low energy levels and suffer from stress and anxiety. Many are also depressed.

Most ‘high functioning autists’ (people with normal to high intelligence), have developed into real masters of camouflage. They do this not to deceive, but to stay afloat in society, and lead as normal a life as possible.
Typically, they have become so good at this that society starts treating them as ‘normal’ and expects them to ‘do as others do’. What can’t be seen, mustn’t exist.

So, what used to be called ‘Asperger’, or ‘a light form of autism’ is not a ‘light’ problem at all. Trying to blend in comes at a very high price (energy) and will often result in a burnout.