I have wondered about autism as an evolutionary adaptation. I haven’t arrived at an answer yet. I haven’t disgarded or accepted the theory, but I do hear it being considered more and more.
What is accepted is that autistic “traits” have, indeed, been genetically selected for in a more balanced way. Traits that are labeled as “autistic” benefit the survival of the human race.
As for understanding the underlying mechanism, there has been a good deal of research done on trying to tease that out and I’m not aware that we have landed anywhere useful. I hope we keep trying.
And I think I hear you saying that we, as humans, would be well served to stop framing autistic traits as a “disorder”. If so, I agree that you are onto something. On one hand, doing so separates and stigmatizes autistic people. On the other, (speaking solely from personal experience) labeling and distinguishing my own daughter as “autistic” gave her access to 5 years of 40 hours per week of therapy that taught her enough skills to function in a world that is not invested (or even interested) in accomodating her. Until we have a more accepting society, I’m not sure there’s any other way.
The good news is that businesses are beginning to recognize that neurodiverse individuals can be critical in sparking innovation and progress in the workplace. Let’s hope we move just as quickly toward interpersonal acceptance, ne’ embracing, of individuals who have unqiue ways of thinking and resist shunning them (us) for the eccentricites that accompany those gifts.
Thank you for sharing!