One of the set texts for my PhDI is on systems thinking, which has just pointed out something to me that I have always known but not understood:

‘We are complex systems – our own bodies…every person we encounter, every organization, every animal…is a complex system. We have built up intuitively, without analysis, often without words, a practical understanding of how these systems work, and how to work with them.(Meadows, 2008: 3).

And herein lies the difference. Neurodivergent people have never had this luxury. I have never had this luxury. My whole life has been an exercise in deliberate, conscious systems analysis in the absence of intuition, particularly regarding human systems. And so, by accident of design, I have become very good at systems thinking, often better than neurotypical people.

This article talks about this concept. I do have some problems with this article and it focuses on the sensory domain rather than human systems analysis, but it at least says the thing. And of particular note, it says this thing, regarding neurotypical people engaging in systems thinking:

‘For most of us, this is a hugely demanding task, we have to think hard, learn quick and look and look and look.’

And there it is. It is a hugely demanding task for autistic people too – except we don’t ever get a break. Cruelly debilitating, gorgeously mind-blowing.


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