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  • Writer's picturePaul

Neurodiversity is my SuperPower

As CTO of Compuware, I was once asked "do you think you have many people on your staff who have Asperger Syndrome?". My answer was "more than you can guess, including myself". I didn't actively recruit people diagnosed with Aspergers but many neurodiverse people are attracted to technology mostly because they are good at it, and we and other technology companies understood that.

I was always aware that I am 'different'. I think in pictures, I play music visualizing it in my brain (oh, the colors), and I write visually, many times not recognizing that I was the author of the words I wrote.

As I get older, I feel that it is becoming more pronounced. I can efficiently do "thought experiments" and once I visualize something, I usually can then go about doing it. I have extreme empathy for animals who act visually (horses, goats, dogs, NOT cats!). There's also a lot of baggage that comes along with it as well, sometimes over-thinking triggers negative visualizations.

I still work and mentor people with similar qualities and I try encourage them to take advantage of the good it brings. There are still a lot of people who do not understand our 'super-powers' and we don't 'fit' into a lot of traditional activities. A good example of this for me is that when I play the piano, I don't just play the notes on the music score. I read it, absorb it, visualize it and then play what I see in my brain. Works great for jazz but doesn't work as well in traditional scenarios. Oh well, there's a lot of neurodiverse musicians to collaborate with.

So, what does this mean on the farm? The first thing I understood was that visual thinking animals look at me and want to understand that "all is well", so the first thing I do when I see them is give them a little wave. They immediately react with calmness and safety. I doesn't help as much when I'm throwing around bales of hay since my mind wanders and gets in the way of 'choring' .

If you're interested, there's a lot of information in books and on the web, such as this:

...and, when in doubt, when you see me, give me a little wave.


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