Suzana Herculano-Houzel

I have dysfunctional days

Closed for inventory Somedays, I might as well wear a sign that says that. I’m inside my own head – and happily so, mind you. It’s just that pulling me outside of my own mind to engage with the external world seems to require an extra effort that.I may not have that day. I’m not […]

I don’t know when to stop

Another transatlantic flight, another six hours of non-stop work. Tied to a chair, with no options but to go to the toilet or grab something gluten-free from the tray served as a meal, with no emails, internet, messages, students or dogs and cats around my desk wanting attention, I write very well. What else is […]

Anxiety, constant bane of us autistics

I can tell you what it is. I can’t tell you why we have it. Yet, anxiety is a common feature of people on the autism spectrum. Anxiety is a physiological and mental state of readiness as the brain expects to have to deal with a problem – even if the problem for now only […]

Observations from an autistic neuroscientist on twitter

When a disability is a superpower Bombastic news to start the new year: it’s been four years since I found out I’m autistic. Please spare me the “nice” or “flattering” comments like “gee, you don’t look it”, or “but you look so normal”. Functioning in the world of normals, or “neurotypicals”, takes a lot of […]

Why did it take me so long to realize I was autistic? Because I am autistic, duh

…and it’s all the more telling that it took me FOUR YEARS after my diagnosis to realize that the reason why I didn’t realize sooner that I was autistic was exactly because I was autistic. Let me explain. Autism is characterized by sensory hyper- OR hyposensitivities. Most commonly, the hypersensitivities are visual/auditory/haptic (fancy for “touch-related”) […]

Acting as another requires self-suppresion

I wrote here recently that the brain in a creative state stops self-policing and lets itself be carried away by its own baggage accumulated throughout life, freely forming and discovering new associations between the elements, including memories and emotions, in its repertoire. The products of our creativity are therefore highly personal – this is guaranteed […]

Yes, I have special needs!

What a wonderful thing to recognize that I like to joke that autistic adults like me need adult supervision, but it’s great when we remember to take the joke seriously. A particular problem with autism is that part of the constellation of characteristics is a lack of self-awareness about one’s own emotional state: others notice […]

On how I found myself on the spectrum

Frankly, what made me discover that I was autistic – or “Aspie”, as I like to put it – was my seemingly ever-growing talent to piss off my then-husband. Unwittingly – without even trying. Actually, it seemed I could piss him off exactly by trying to not piss him off. My son had been reading […]

No, everybody is NOT a little bit autistic

Are you “normal”? Probably yes, and for a very simple reason: mathematically, about 90% of the population is “normal” for every characteristic that can be quantified. Being “normal” doesn’t imply anything good or bad; the term simply denotes that the distribution of that characteristic in the population is bell-shaped, with 90% concentrated near the mean, […]

Not a little dark: REALLY dark

We always hear that it’s important to sleep in the dark: “It’s so your eyes can really rest”, “it’s so your brain knows it’s night”, “it’s so your body can relax”. Silence is also important, for similar reasons: “to quiet the brain”. Hence the bedroom separated from the rest of the house, the electric lights…...

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