On being half autistic 2019.0117Rev.2019.0129 DRAFT

A boy routinely rocks and bangs his body against walls and furniture; He cries at the touch of a few water drops, stuffs paper in his ears to muffle sounds, and rises up on his toes when walking; He speaks like a little professor; His nicknames include The Brain and World’s Foremost Authority; Physically and socially awkward, practice at fluid motions and ordinary conversation brings him little skill; He is consistently among the last chosen for team sports; People remark at his poor eye contact; He has a focused, persevering interest in mechanisms like flying machines, electronic devices and, later, brains.

The forgoing is a description of me as a child, as sketched in the first edition of Dragon Puzzle Story. Later I matriculated in a PhD program in psychology and brain science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but soon left when my inborn nature asserted itself. With that background I was able to see that I had in my makeup a profound streak of infantile autism. I went on to co-found and co-chair what became one of America’s oldest non-profits dedicated specifically to the interests of adults on the autism spectrum. Today I describe myself as "half autistic", or "half-assed autistic" if you prefer. Even in youth I was able with effort to hide my autism, and now years of zazen allow me to tunnel out of what was for me a terrible prison. The Real Boy portion of my name proclaims this emergence, and the intention to continue being born.

I am apparently an odd hybrid of extreme-autistic and extreme-gregarious (or as I should say, sparse-adapted and dense-adapted) types, with the gregarious part making an appearance only later in life.