Monday, March 17, 2008

Have Hyperfunctioning Neuromediocrity - Will Travel

Someone under the handle "abfh" left and interesting comment that said they knew someone who really hated emails - that thought that his coworkers were "too lazy to walk down the hall to have a conversation."

This got me to thinking about the frequent neurotypical need for in-person interaction in order to conduct business.

It reminds me of a comment that I once heard - "If I could travel I could make twice as much as I'm making now."

Generally speaking, in any given group of professionals, those who travel the most are the highest paid.

Why should this be the case?

Well, I suppose the easiest explanation is that it's generally considered the case that the "mirror neurons" in people with autism spectrum disorders are somehow impaired. Much like a blind person sometimes developing much more perceptive hearing, people on the autism spectrum often develop very strong abilities in OTHER forms of communication - 100+ words/minute typing abilities, etc.

But in the neurotypical I get the idea that certain things aren't "real" to them unless they're presented in person. And they don't seem to be sometimes all that much interested in the technical aspects of whatever is being presented to them. They seem much more interested in how the person presenting the material "projects".

Neurotypicals get obsessed with the STRANGEST things - as the creator of the Dilbert comic strip has often pointed out, certainly it can be the case that some management positions are only available to people with a certain style of hair. I've also observed that there can develop an almost obsessive concern with clothing, and particularly SHOES with these people.

Now, you really can't get around true in-person contact to do REALLY big deals with neurotypicals, but, perhaps, for some applications, people with autism spectrum disorders could make use of technology developed for the hearing impaired.

Now the hearing impaired have this really neat service that's just been developed in the last couple of years where the hearing person talks over the phone to an interpreter who translates to and from sign language via a webcam type interface.

PERHAPS we ought to give it a shot one of these days that a person with an autistic spectrum disorder (and I know just the person to try this :) ), would communicate via keyboard with a trained neurotypical person who would send a web-cam image to the intended recipient ADDING all the "appropriate" body language, etc. Yes, there would be some danger of the neurotypical interpreter injecting some of their own information, but, there is certainly a similar danger with sign language interpretation. Plus the notion of course that all translations are commentaries.

Such a set-up just MIGHT allow a great many people to be productive among the neurotypicals who aren't currently ...

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