From Rainman to Rainmaker: A Presentation of Jim’s Journey and Rapidly Advancing Technologies: Integrating Proven Behavioral Therapies with Emergent Measurement and Testing Advances Will Result in Transformational Progress in Autistic Individuals
Date of Submission
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
John J. Pitney, Jr.
© 2016 Richard P Zajac
The autism treatment status quo was reviewed and accompanied by a narrative contextualizing past and present progress with my younger brother Jim’s journey with the condition, sharing proposed next steps for bettering the current state of affairs in the space. The impetus for this piece was to share in the lessons of Jim’s life thus far and the revelations of those who have supported him, as well as to determine ways to create more impactful, lasting change in the limited window of early intervention therapy whilst empowering individuals on the spectrum to optimize for their skills and talents rather than just simply mitigating the downsides of autism spectrum disorder. Feedback as to how to improve the prevailing course of treatment: (education and therapy) was solicited by leading experts in the fields of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Electroencephalography (EEG), and autism more generally in the context of politics, insurability, and savant syndrome and splinter skills. The advice of the various vertical experts were synthesized and distilled into a new proposed course of treatment which were submitted to all respective experts for further feedback and review prior to publication. It was discovered that there is significant feedback to suggest that the prevailing wisdom that splinter skills and savant syndrome are found in a small minority of individuals with autism spectrum disorder may not be true and that further research is warranted that would implement the new proposed course of treatment and attempt to unlock the talents and gifts of these individuals consistent with the success we encountered raising Jim. While our methods were resource-intensive and conducted manually with many hours of intensive in-home therapy, there is significant feedback to suggest that a technology-driven approach to reforming autism treatment would achieve same or greater results with far fewer resources in the near and long term. By unlocking the greatest minds of our society (the majority of savants have historically been autistic) to take on the greatest challenges of our time, we can rapidly accelerate the progress of humanity and exponentially better the trajectory of society’s future at the global scale.
Zajac, Richard, "From Rainman to Rainmaker: A Presentation of Jim’s Journey and Rapidly Advancing Technologies: Integrating Proven Behavioral Therapies with Emergent Measurement and Testing Advances Will Result in Transformational Progress in Autistic Individuals" (2016). CMC Senior Theses. 1344.