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Autism's Hidden Gifts


Stashed in: Brain, ADHD, Autism, Autism

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Laurent Mottron, a psychiatrist at the University of Montreal who has studied autism for decades, led an analysis last year which suggested that the autistic brain seeks out the kinds of information it “prefers” to process while ignoring materials—like verbal and social cues, for example—that it doesn’t like. Just as many blind people have heightened hearing, Mottron says, the brains of autistic people might be better able to understand numbers or patterns.

What would you give up to be better able to understand numbers and patterns?

I never understood ADHD until a friend described it something like this: I can focus very intently on things that my brain finds "tasty", but things my brain finds dull -- like household chores -- seem fuzzy and not that urgent. So maybe all of our brains do this preferential processing!

We compensate:  When I haven't been paying attention I need to glean clues from my surroundings.  I can hear echoes of the last words spoken, watch facial expressions, sense urgency (or lack thereof).  

You know, like a guy.  :)

Speaking of guys, I totally do preferential processing. 

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