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What the heck is a 'spiky profile?'

Autistic spiky profiles and positivity! is about something called "spiky profiles" which is a term I was not familiar with but according to the writer its a common term in the 'autistic community' :) Although I wasn't familiar with the term, it is certainly a concept I'm familiar with"we are good at some things, bad at other things, and the difference between the two tends to be much greater than it is for most other people"from Neuroclastic. Most other people referred to here meaning people who are not autistic and not adhd. The article describes the common autistic traits and describes how that produces the spiky profile using the traits web (there's one pasted below) from Embrace Autism and also goes on to list some of the positive characteristics of being autistic which unfortunately are usually left out of any discussion of autism. It seems we're usually described as a collection of deficits.

Spiky profile or spiky skills profile explains how a person could excel at a very technical job or the technical parts of their job while still being unable to make small talk with their coworkers or make a phone call; or be very creative in one area of their life while being completely stumped about something another person might find easy. Unfortunately one of the worst parts of this is the non autistic people around them will assume the person just doesn't want to fulfill some social obligation or clean up their home or complete other tasks and not realize the difficulty the person is facing. In fact I think sometimes autistic people do not accept these limitations in ourselves and eventually burn out because we push ourselves masking for acceptance.

I think spiky profile also causes autistic people to miss out on opportunities because their boss or teacher may not consider them due to their assumptions based on previous situations i.e if he/she/they couldn't or wouldn't do 'x' they probably don't want to do 'y'.

From Neuroclastic :

"In the workplace, we might be highly competent in certain areas– hopefully the ones central to getting the job done– but bad at networking, bad at office politics, and bad at completing tasks that nobody actually told us we should be doing."

"We are often taken to be “lazy” because we seem to master some things easily, but fail at things many find “simple.” Autistic kids suffer a lot in school because when they struggle with certain tasks or subjects, teachers often assume that it’s from a lack of effort." When I was in grade ten I won the science prize. In grade eleven I failed chemistry. Science had changed into physics, biology, and chemistry and although I did well in two of the three, I was lost in chemistry. The teacher would just drone on and I couldn't grasp the concepts, couldn't keep them in my head. My questions were presumed to be trouble making although they didn't start out that way. Everyone just thought I didn't want to do the work and eventually I got kicked out of class for being disruptive, which, admittedly I was. It really changed high school for me in a negative way.

I also think the spiky profile or spiky skills profile (the term somewhat negative) contributes to the invisibility of autistic people. When society sees someone with skills or competency in one area the assumption is that a competent person couldn't be autistic. Unfortunately many or most people have very outdated views on autism.

Anyway I highly recommend the whole article Autistic spiky profiles and positivity! it also links to another article on the same might have to create a medium account but you can read them both for free. The Neuroclastic article is also very good.

If you go to Embrace Autism you'll be treated to autism as a difference instead of a disorder as in this definition: "Autism Spectrum Difference: A neurodevelopmental difference characterized by alterations in social functioning, hypersensitivity to stimuli, repetitive behaviors, and deep interests—often combined with advanced cognitive & perceptive abilities." Lots of great info on site without the negative spin. Nothing really to do with spiky profiles but it was nice to see a different perspective and I wanted to share that with you.

As always if you're comfortable sharing please do so in the comments below.

I wanted to mention that PEI Autistic Adults Blog has been selected by the panelists at Feedspot as one of the Top 15 Adult Autism Blogs on the web. Click the link and check it out - lots of great blogs on that list.

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