Autism is COMPLEX.
This means it involves many levels of things going on all at the same time
These include behaviors, brain, molecules, genes, and more.
If you think of a zoom lens, you can zoom down to the tiniest levels or zoom out to the largest levels. If you think of a crowd you can focus on one person or on one person’s face or you can look at the surging movements of the whole group.
From a complex systems point of view, no one of these levels always happens BEFORE the others. They are all facets of the same complex reality.
Every moment of our lives we are simultaneously behaving, cultural, thinking, sensing, perceiving, neurally processing, whole-body beings with countless molecular, chemical and biological processes going on all at once. Autism has facets at all of these levels. This makes it complex.
COMPLEXITY, “BOTH/AND” AND SYNERGIES
The premise of this website, that many different perspectives can make sense at the same time, is based on this model of complexity: each level operates with its own dynamics and you can interact with each level on its own terms. At the same time, the other levels are also “doing their thing.”
From a systems point of view, changes in one level can ripple through other levels. So the levels are not completely independent — they are interrelated. But no one level totally determines any other level, either.
CHALLENGES OF DEALING WITH COMPLEXITY
Here are some questions that have different answers for different people:
Does any one thing cause all the other issues?
Are different parts of autism related or are they just together by coincidence?