Welcome to The Neurotypical Website.
There are few websites devoted to validating the experience of neurotypical (NT) carers of family members with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Asperger's Syndrome) (ASD). The most famous website telling the truth about these unrecognised experiences is FAAAS Inc (Families of Adults Affected by Asperger's Syndrome) which was founded by Karen Rodman, Director. Millions of neurotypical family members whose loved ones are on the Autism Spectrum have for too long been silenced in their attempts to be heard by experts and professionals as to the difficulties of their lives living with family members with ASD. Many of the family members with ASD remain undiagnosed until late in life. This website is another voice supporting neurotypical's efforts to be acknowledged.
Neurotypicals are defined as having reached the normal developmental milestones which people achieve as they progress through life. Educationalists use these developmental stages as a basis for producing curriculum documents and making their classroom activities relevant to the ages and stages of their students. These developmental stages cover social, emotional, intellectual, biological and mental areas. They are well documented and completely accepted by science, medicine, law and education.
Autism Spectrum Disorders (including Asperger's Syndrome) are characterised by a failure to achieve many of these essential developmental milestones. This causes those with ASD, to have extreme difficulty in coping with much of life's rich offerings: NT's use around 80% non-verbal communication to navigate through life. This non-verbal communication is accomplished as a result of achieving the appropriate developmental milestones. It is innate and automatic for NT's. ASD uses intelligence alone to navigate life's path and as a result many with ASD learn to mask their difficulties and role play their way through social situations by copying competent NT role models and relying on prompts from their NT social guide. Others choose to opt out of society.
It is now being acknowledged there are is almost as many females on the Spectrum as are males and a recent South Korean study showed 1 in 38 children were on the Spectrum.
Neurotypicals who interact daily in a family, on an intimate level with someone with ASD will find great difficulty in understanding why they are unable to have a complete relationship with their spouse or partner with ASD. This causes the neurotypical to experience feelings of grief, anger, fear and loneliness. Frustration and unhappiness results because they would dearly love to be able to have a normal life with their companion. This situation is no-one's fault. It is differently wired brains attempting to interact on a deep level. This can never work. Just as a child cannot understand adult concepts, then different developmentally wired brains cannot fully interact.
Unfortunately, because these interactions go on inside homes, unseen by the wider community, it is very difficult for the NT to explain what is happening in their home and to be believed. Experts and medical professionals, who do know, are reluctant to speak out about this dilemma because it is extremely hard in a caring society to single out and appear to criticise a particular group because of their differences.
There are many support groups and educational services for those who are on the Autism Spectrum, but very few places for their NT carers, spouses and partners. We hope that this site will help expand understanding of this hidden, unrecognised situation by giving information, validation and support to those NT's in relationships with people with ASD.
As ASD is genetic there are children born into these families with sometimes unexplained "differences" which increases the difficulties for the neurotypical parent, compounding their emotional stress about their loved ones. Naturally, there is a negative impact on the neurotypical who lives with someone on the Spectrum, which, unintentionally arises out of the developmental deficits of ASD. This impact is being called Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome (OTRS) and is characterised by fear, anger, depression and feelings of loss of a sense of reality. The neurotypical finds their previous spark and joie de vivre has deserted them: if they leave the relationship their spark for life often returns.
Traditional counselling for couples or individuals does not work when a neurological disorder is involved. The deficits of ASD prevent counsellors from making inroads unless they have a complete knowledge and understanding of the way these deficits will impact on how their client with ASD perceives the world. The masking ability of those with ASD must be taken into account by the counsellor and the neurotypical family members must be consulted about conditions at home. A full picture of the family dynamic cannot be obtained in a clinical setting unless the family is considered as a system. Neurotypicals above all need education about the disorder they live with daily and information about the impact of this disorder on them.
Society, medicine, law and education need to be fully aware of the implications of this unique neurological, developmental disorder called Autism Spectrum (Asperger's Syndrome) to make sure that appropriate interventions and treatments are available and also that the neurotypical family members' valuable experience and insight is heard. View the articles and see which books we recommend neurotypicals read. Updates will be occurring regularly.