Personality: Where Does It Come From?

Personality      Many people on the Autism spectrum credit their Autism for their intelligence and personality.  While they strive for a “person first” attitude from the public, they insist that every fiber of their being is wrapped in their Autism and to separate them from the Autism would alter them in ways that are undesirable and maybe harmful.  I respect their right to their views.  After all, they have ASD and I do not.

At the same time, I question the accuracy of such views.  What are they based upon?  Many people are brilliant without having ASD.  Many people are funny, sweet, adventurous, anxious, depressed, etc without having Autism.  For every autistic trait there are countless other individuals who experience that trait without having ASD.  For every personality trait, there are people who experience that trait with and without ASD.  Since there is no cure for ASD, who is anyone to say how it would affect personality or intellect? 

I happen to think my son is smarter than most give him credit for being.  He is an excellent problem solver when motivated.  He taught himself to read phonetically rather than using “sight” words.  He has an excellent sense of direction.  We can be any where that he has been even once and he knows which direction his favorite eateries and stores are located.  At some point in his academic career, he was given a calculator for math but his new school is teaching him touch math and he has done beautifully…even to the point of being able to do without it for all one digit addition and subtraction and some double digit numbers.  He can’t play an instrument but he loves using his drinking straws for drums.  He even has certain straws that he uses to make certain noises.  He keeps a beat.  He sees me crying and he tries to comfort me.  He is funny.  He will lightly stamp your foot and wait for you to jump and down and say “ouch” and he will do the same if you touch his feet.  He loves to tickle and be tickled.  He is affectionate, freely giving hugs to those in his inner circle.  He is an adreline junkie.  He loves roller coasters, swimming, water slides, and boating. He also loves to travel and see new sights.  He hates loud noises and the other children in his class scare him when they have melt downs.  Finally, he is academically lazy. Some might try to convince me that he is all of these things because he has Autism.  I say they are wrong.

You see, my son’s personality is this unique and delightful blend of me and my husband.  Alex has all of my spunk, passion, and attitude but he also has his father’s charm…making him much more likable than I am.  I happen to think my husband is brilliant.  He has tested out of classes he has never studied.  His math skills far outweigh my own (which I admit isn’t that hard to do) and he has  lost none of it in the more than 20 years he has been out of school.  He can play a few musical instruments.  He has an excellent sense of direction.  He has also always been academically lazy.  Both my husband and I love to travel and have inner adrenaline junkies.  We love swimming, water parks, and roller coasters.  I don’t care for boating but my husband enjoys it. I also have problems with loud or repetitive noises.  Some bother me so much that I find myself doing whatever possible to leave the environment.

Each of my son’s most endearing traits can be directly traced to either myself or my husband.  Even some of his less endearing traints such as trying to sneak his way of school work or being stubborn can be traced to us.  Neither of us are anywhere near being on the spectrum.  Knowing that much of my son’s personality can be traced back to us makes it difficult for me to believe that if a cure were available, it would change the very foundation of  who he is.

My son has a lot going for him and alot working against him in life.  I hope that when he thinks of himself, he thinks of himself as more than his diagnosis.  It would sadden me if he was so wrapped up in a word that he thinks that one word is all that defines him and without it he wouldn’t have a life worth living.

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0 thoughts on “Personality: Where Does It Come From?

  • August 17, 2009 at 6:29 pm
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    If your looking to teach a child sight words, try playing a board game called Er-u-di-tion. 
    This award winning game helps children learn to read, spell and understand the most common words in the English language while playing an entertaining board game. 
    Cards are categorized so children of all reading levels can play together!

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  • August 11, 2009 at 8:54 pm
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    I’d be really grateful if my brother was one of those kids who sat in the corner screaming and not throwing his own fecal matter at us, or ripping up the carpet, peeling up the wallpaper or biting his therapists. He doesn’t do that anymore because I gave up my childhood and we sacrificed everything we had to give him what he needed to be happy. He’s the happiest kid I’ve ever met.

    Yes, he could have those traits with or without Autism, but they are very characteristic of a person with Autism.

    And actually there is a relative cure to autism through therapy to where the Autistic symptoms go away. I know a little boy like that and he acts almost normal, just very reserved and a little awkward. 

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  • August 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm
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    @RedHedRenegade@xanga – Since you have met countless people with ASD (as have I), I would think you would understand that it is a spectrum disorder.  I fully understand and accept that my son has Classic Autism (also known as Kanner’s Autism and Infantile Autism).  I fully understand that while there are many treatments, therapies, and educational models that help…there is no cure.  I accept that.  I accept that each child with ASD responds differently to the various approaches to teaching.  I have met children who have displayed more symptoms to a greater degree of severity that my son has and those children have made so much progress that you would never believe they were once toddlers, sitting in a corner screaming all day.  Their progress is not evidence that they do not have ASD.  I also know that my son is not one of those children.

    Autism is so much more than a pure social disorder.  While communication is a HUGE component to ASD, motor skills, muscle tone, cognitive skills, sensory integration disorder, etc are also aspects of the disorder.  If it were purely social, it would be more in line with personality disorders.

    What I do not accept is that because he has autism, he has no preferences as to where to live, work, or play.  What I do not accept is that he doesn’t have a mind of his own.  I have no idea where you get that I was boasting about how my son breaks your idea of an ASD mold.  I used acceptable aspects of personality and showed how they were not exclusive to Autism and he could have all those personality traits with or without ASD. 

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  • August 11, 2009 at 2:20 pm
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    thanks for the apology but, autism real true classic autism, such as what my brother has, where he can’t tell you what he wants, he cant tell you if he has a headache, he doesn’t understand the concept of having friends, money, time, he’ll never be able to drive a car, is nothing but a social disorder.

    Still, parents boasting about how their children stray away from the autism stereotype through a blog, or that like this woman said get the stereotypical qualities from them, drive me insane. I’ve heard it, I think literally a thousand times, and it just is not true. What it is, is it’s parents not wanting to accept the reality that their child is disabled.

    My mother went through it with my brother, and two different aunts and uncles went through it with two different cousins, and honestly I think I know more Autistic people than I can count.

    And the whole snobby taxpayers and government programs thing when you have an autistic child like my brother, there’s really no choice, and it doesn’t matter because he doesn’t know the difference anyway.

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  • August 11, 2009 at 10:46 am
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    @RedHedRenegade@xanga – I went back and reread your comment.  I did misread it, and I apologize.  To say that autism is a social disorder is a very broad generalization.  There is so much more to autism than that. 
    But, back to the topic at hand…I have a brother with autism, too.  While I am sure that taking away the autism would change him, I don’t think he would love fishing any less, or watching videos, or driving the family truck around the property. 
    My son also has autism.  Like the subject poster, I don’t think that if the autism were taken away it would take away any of the endearing or frustrating qualities my son exhibits.  While I admit that dealing with autism everyday can be overwhelming, that is not why I want to see a cure.  What most people that don’t want to change their sibling (child, parent, etc.) don’t think about is that person’s future happiness.  I would like to see my brother and son make their own decisions in life about where to work, live, and vacation.  I would like to know, without a doubt, that they don’t have to rely on snobby taxpayers that only want government programs when it suits their needs.  I can’t fathom you (or anyone else) not wanting the same for your brother.

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  • August 11, 2009 at 2:44 am
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    @CleetusLiquor@xanga – You should go back and read my comment.  “Autism does not make people smart as you said” when I said that I was agreeing with her. As if to say, you are correct Autism does not make people smart but…       I must have left out a comma or something.

    Kids naturally take after their parents, even if their adopted.

    My brother has classic autism, honestly if he did not have autism he wouldn’t be the same person, and I would never change him.  No, your struggles do not define who you are, but autism is a SOCIAL disorder. Your personality is who you are socially. That’s all I’m saying.

    And I’m really sorry to whoever wrote this post that this guy/girl is deciding to pick fights over one of the most debated and misunderstood disorders….ever.

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  • August 11, 2009 at 12:53 am
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    This is an awesome post!  Knowing some autistic people myself, I would say that they have their own personality.  When a cure comes out, let those who want to sit behind their diagnostic walls look through their stained-glass windows!

    @abilene_piper_lg@xanga – For someone with an self-proclaimed above average IQ, your grammar sucks!  In your case, your mean-spirited intent of proving someone else wrong show that your personality is totally built around your Asperger’s Syndrome.

    @RedHedRenegade@xanga – You should go back and read the post.  She never said that her son is smart because he has autism.  It is just not what she said… 

    “Some might try to convince me that he is all of these things because he has Autism.  I say they are wrong.”

    I agree that everyone possesses traits on the autism spectrum.  This does not mean that everyone has the possibility of becoming autistic.  Those traits just happen to be part of the spectrum.  Just because a bushel of fruit has some apples in it, doesn’t mean that it is a bushel of apples.

    I am NOT sorry to say that YOUR comment proves just how stupid people can be, especially those who “know many many Autistic people”.  I would think that they would know a little more about it.  Something tells me (and it’s not empathy!) that you are NO ONE to question someone else’s intellect.

    I don’t expect a couple of you to get that last joke…

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  • August 10, 2009 at 7:17 pm
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    I am sorry to say, okay no I’m not, that your post just proves how stupid some people can be. Autism does not make people smart as you said, but everybody possesses traits on the autism spectrum. Everyone. What classifies a person as “Autistic” is possessing a certain number of those traits. So basically everyone has the possibility of becoming Autistic either at birth or over time.

    And I know many many Autistic people, and they DO NOT, credit Autism with their intelligence. Autism sucks. But, for some strange reason I have a feeling your son didn’t get his “intellect” from you.

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  • August 10, 2009 at 9:39 am
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    In Genesis 1 of the Bible, God says, “Let me make men (& women) in my image.” So I believe our personalities are all parts of God’s personality. (that is, of course, the kind, loving ones, not the sinful ones)

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  • August 10, 2009 at 9:16 am
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    personality comes from life experiences, depending how you were treated by others when you were younger. Whether it was friends, peers, family and etc… It can impact yourself. Also by what you see and hear. Personality is what or how you react towards others and see things in life. And also becomes how or why you are the way you are today.

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  • August 10, 2009 at 2:51 am
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    Personality comes from a blending or not of nature and nutture.

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  • August 9, 2009 at 11:15 pm
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    I missed being diagnosed in the 60’s (no spectrum then), but see a psychologist now for help with social deficit.  My perspective is that I SURVIVED my childhood well BECAUSE of the way my brain works.  I am writing a paper on how I have survived having a serious chronic illness so long without hospitalization because I’m (my brain) so tuned in to every little bitty bit of nerve feedback in my entire body, and I’m like Mr. Spock figuring things out.  I take charge of what I believe in because I’m not easily swayed by emotions or others’ opinions.  In these regards, yes, being on the autism spectrum has lent a very big hand in me being the person I am.  And I don’t care to disentangle myself from that.  I’m fine with it.  I think the whole ‘see me beyond the autism’ thing is a reaction to so many people typifying and compartmentalizing and generalizing autistic people into behavioral boxes.  Make sense?  No offense to anyone, but Jews and Blacks and so many other groups of people in this world have been compartmentalized and begged the world to see past that.  Is this any different?

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  • August 9, 2009 at 10:47 am
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    great post…my young nephew has aspergers and now that i think about it a bit, he’s probably more like his parents than his little brother that doesn’t have it hmmm…

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  • August 9, 2009 at 12:13 am
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    I don’t know, but I’m nothing like either one of my parents or the rest of my family. I’m abrasive, brash, somewhat self-centered, but I have a 160+ IQ. 

    My parents have average intelligence at best, are nice and loving people for the most part (except to me, their apostate son), and are a lot more concerned about others than I am. 

    I don’t know where else other than Asperger Syndrome from where my personality might come. By using your logic, I should be an altruistic, bleeding heart person. I’m not. I’m just the opposite. 

    Reply

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