Unifying theorie of autism: Psychology, physiology and biolo

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paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 8:57 am

Dear,

For school I'm writing a paper about autism because I'm in my last year of high-school.
I did research the last 2-3 years and finally I came to the unifying theorie which I'm also presenting in my paper.
My original paper is in dutch and 60 pages long, and like 280 cites + 20 books. So basically you could say I studied whole literature (100, 000 papers) + books and opinion of people + asperger friends + opinion of other researchers.

In my second post I'm describing:
Psychology
third:
Biology
Fourth:
Physiology
Five:
Connections between the levels.



Last edited by paxfilosoof on 01 Apr 2013, 10:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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01 Apr 2013, 8:58 am

Psychology
(Drew Mcpherson, 2006, 2010; Leif eklb; 2001, 2007, 2013; attwood; 2007; Baron-Cohen; ...; Frith; ...)

What Is autism?

Maybe surprisingly for some people, autism is something very common in a wider context.
Many autistic people are NOT diagnosed, and we also need to explain these kind of people.
But when we look at the diagnosed people with autism we basically see this differences, some are not seen other are:

Feature
NeuroTypical
Aspergian

Gluten / Casein sensitivity
None
Sensitive; Opioid-like effects

Social prowess in typical settings
Excellent
Poor

Social prowess in “geeky” settings
Poor
Excellent

Number of friends
Many poorly known acquaintances
Few, but very close

Desire for social power
Large
Small

Voice inflection / tonal variance
Widely varied, even from childhood
Monotone, pedantic (early in life, sometimes continuing later on)

Suceptibility to being taken advantage of
Low
High

Gullibility
Low
High

Literal interpretation, semantics

Uses and understands metaphor and pragmatics with ease
Very literal and pedantic

Honesty
Tactful, Deceptive
Brutally honest

Childhood / Workplace bullying
Is a bully
Is often bullied

Political interests
Very political
Apolitical

Logical reasoning abilities
Poor
Excellent

Verbal communication
Indirect, deceptive, more interested in social contact
Direct, honest, more interested in information transfer

Answering questions
Often answers “why” questions with “what” or “how”, etc
Answers with a semantically literal and true response

Charm
Extremely charming
Lacks panache

Body Type
Ectomorph
Mesomorph

Relative Body Temperature preference
Warmer
Cooler

Dwelling preference
Urban
Rural

Metaphor use
Frequent, with ease
Rare (especially during youth), and often convoluted

Engineering skills
Poor
Excellent

Physical Laziness
Lazy
Industrious

Selfishness
Selfish
Selfless

Eyes
Slitty, closed partway
Open wide

Feeling about socially adept people
Strongly like and respect them
Strong aversion, find them to be untrustworthy

Written communication
Poor grammar and spelling
Impeccable grammar and spelling

Nonverbal communication
Has immediate nonverbal instincts, knows how to “read between the lines”
Has trouble with nonverbal cues, eye contact, and frequently misses unspoken social norms

Social Tendencies
Instinctively Antisocial
Instinctively Social
-----------------------------------------------Examples of traits in people-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, 2 examples of A neurotypical and an aspergian (psychopath, extreme form of autistic traits and neurotypical traits):
The first is an upstanding businessman, always well dressed and very keenly versed in etiquette. This person exhibits traits of selfishness, greed, jealousy, and an unhealthy need for pride, all with serious repercussions for those around him. He is basically a con artist, a thief, a liar, yet he is very charming and people seem to like and trust him instantly. He doesn’t care about other people beyond what they can offer him and he would seriously consider robbing his own mother if she had something he really wanted. He is the perfect salesman. This is an example of a neurotypical psychopath.

The second stereotype doesn’t fit in to society quite as well. He is a strange man who wanders around wearing colours that clash and clothes that look like they are from the 50’s. He has strange mannerisms and speaks in monotone most of the time. He acts friendly enough and graciously raises his porkpie hat to every passer by, saying “Good day to you fine sir”. Most people find him far too creepy and weird to even respond to his pleasantries. He may have genuine goodwill towards others, yet few would invite him over for dinner. Most people don’t trust him and wouldn’t even buy a newspaper from him. If you got to know him, however, you’d realize that he is so generous that he would give you the shirt off his back if he thought it would help you, even to his own detriment. He is willing to sacrifice immediate pain and suffering, his own and others, for what he views as the greater good. This is a problem because not everyone agrees on what is the greater good. Another big problem with him, is that he often says things which, while true and accurate, are hurtful to the feelings of others. He fails to see how white lies are any better than blatant ones. He has no recognition of the reality of how his words affect the emotional suffering of others, and quite possibly doesn’t even care. He is tactless and impolite. He is an autistic psychopath.


It is possible to move back and forth on this spectrum throughout one’s lifetime. Spectrum values are by no means permanent. In fact, they usually fluctuate wildly throughout a person’s life time, and even sometimes within the same day, week or month. Certain factors may shift a person in one direction or another. The most abrupt changes in spectrum value occur due to changes in a person’s state of balance. For instance, severe abuse will usually create an imbalance in someone, especially a child which will tend to shift him towards the psychopathic ends of the spectrum. This is mainly because of the desperate coping methods needed to survive temporarily. It is hard to learn empathy for others when your primary concern is staying alive and avoiding harm. Later in life when these coping methods are no longer needed, the individual still uses them, though they are unwarranted and inappropriate. The problem is that during childhood, adaptation to circumstances is quick and easy. Later in life, most people have more difficulty adapting to new situations. They seem to become “set in their ways”, and so it is harder to recover from the prior experiences and fit in to new circumstances.

Just the act of hanging around individuals of similar spectrum value will gradually shift a person towards that spectrum position. For instance, if a neurotypical hangs out with aspergians for long enough, he can become “aspergated”, which basically means that he has shifted towards the aspergian spectrum. Likewise, aspergians who live with neurotypicals for long enough eventually pick up their traits and habits, learning to use pragmatic communication and the power of politics better. This also works with animals. Have you ever noticed that pets eventually begin to behave like their owner?

---------------------------------------------Neanderthaler Homo Sapiens Sapiens-------------------------------------------

The differences are white/black because Homo Sapiens Sapiens and Neanderthalers were white/black eons ago.
The human race originally evolved as a race of predators. It used to be that in ancient times there were both homo-sapiens and neanderthals on the earth. The neanderthals were more intelligent than homo-sapiens, with a larger brain mass. The homo-sapiens, however, were fairly intelligent and capable themselves, and had violent, predatory tendencies. The neanderthals were a peaceful, community-based race who genuinely displayed the cultural traits that are considered ideal by today’s standards. True group co-operation and sharing was their lifestyle. Homo-sapiens, however, being as violent and ruthless as they are, saw differences in the neanderthals, and fought them. Racism was born, and the homo-sapiens managed to actually genocide the entire neanderthal species.
Now that thousands of years have passed since then, the human race is still undergoing an evolutionary process. This past evolutionary history is the reason why most people today are neurotypical. Ironically, there is now a shift towards more aspergians being born, which is making the human race more and more like the neanderthals that were killed off so many eons ago.

Today relationship autistic-neurotypical:
There can be a lack of empathy in both directions, because of the erroneous belief that others are fundamentally similar to ourselves. The old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” definitely does not apply. This would only be true for two people at the exact same position on the psychological spectrum. No wonder there is so much confusion and mistrust in the world. A better adage might be “do unto others as they would have you do unto them”. Naturally within this is the implication that we must first know how others wish us to treat them. Neurotypicals seem to be born with an innate understanding of how their words affect the emotional state of others. Aspergians seem to lacking this, but are better at understanding the fairness of actions. These strengths can be leveraged to help in one’s life path, but an overall understanding of the effect of both words and actions is important for a balanced social existence.

-----------------------------------------------------------Psychological and biological spectrum------------------------------------------------------------

For the sake of completeness, here are the set of axes that make up the entire psychological vector space from which the 1-dimensional psychological spectrum is drawn:

*Attention Distribution (AD): Monotropism vs. Polytropism. Low attention distribution is monotropism. High attention distribution is polytropism.
*Monotropism is the ability to focus on a single task at the exclusion of all else. It is a general way of thinking that often occurs in autism and asperger’s and makes it difficult to read non-verbal cues while simultaneously in verbal conversation, but makes it easy to concentrate on a single task to a very deep level of understanding.
*Polytropism is the ability to focus on several tasks, activities or stimuli simultaneously. Polytropic individuals find it easy to have several overlapping conversations with different individuals simultaneously and to read non-verbal cues while speaking and listening all at the same time. Polytropic individuals have a difficult time focusing their whole attention towards a single task for long periods of time.
*Selfishness (S): Dishonesty used for the purpose of personal gain is a hallmark of selfishness. The opposite of selfishness, selflessness is when one sacrifices personal gain in order to help others.
*Intelligence (IQ): Intelligence is defined as the ability to accumulate, store, retrieve and use knowledge in theory and practice.
*Empathy / Ethics (EQ): Empathy is a level of understanding of individuals other than oneself. Generally it is easier to understand individuals who are similar to oneself than to understand individuals who are dramatically different in terms of their core values and principles. Ethics is a manner of behaviour in practice which demonstrates a high level of empathy towards others.

The simplified 1-dimensional psychological spectrum as defined in the first chapter roughly flows from low attention distribution and selfishness approximately linearly towards high attention distribution and selfishness. Intelligence and empathy are low towards the ends of the spectrum, and high near the middle of the spectrum. As was noted by Dennis Gabor in his book “The Mature Society”, there is a correlation between IQ and EQ, so I am simply extending this observation with my own about attention distribution and selfishness. It is difficult to visualize, but imagine a segment of an upward spiralling helix inside a more complete four-dimensional vector space. Trying to visualize this should make it clear as to why I simplified it into a 1 dimensional line.


Neurotypical Psychopathy********************************************************************************Autistic Psychopathy
********************************(---------- Neurotypical -----------)(------------ Aspergian ------------)**************************

2 new definitions:

Psychological Spectrum Value (Position): A loosely-defined quantitative measure of where on the psychological spectrum a person falls at a particular point in his life. Psychological spectrum value can change throughout a person’s life, particularly during childhood, as a result of social conditioning.

Psychological Spectrum: A scale used to measure a person’s underlying character which is based upon a combination of their instinctive tendencies at birth, and their accumulated wisdom and empathy and communication styles. Individuals who are near the ends of the spectrum tend to be unbalanced and lack empathy. For instance, someone can be “too selfish” or “too selfless”. Both extremes cause problems. A healthy existence is to maintain balance between the needs of the self and the needs of others.

Biological Spectrum Value (Position): A loosely-defined quantitative measure of where on the psychological spectrum a person falls at birth. Psychological spectrum value can change throughout a person’s life, particularly during childhood, as a result of social conditioning. The biological spectrum value is dictated by genetic inheritance. By looking at the bloodlines of relatives, or better yet at a newborn child’s behaviour can help to gauge an individual’s biological spectrum value.

----------------------------------------------------------------ADHD, schizophrenia, ...---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Their are alot of "disorders" in the DSM.
Some are types of "autism", like ADHD.
Other are imbalances of neurotransmitters like: Bipolar disorder and Compulsive disorder (both more common in autism, but not only ...)
Why? autistic people have generally more imbalances when they're diagnosed, that is just obvious...

-------------------------------------------------------------------Conclusion-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Their is a biological and psychological spectrum. The biology explain some differences; fair in actions and monotrpoism for example.
But when an autistic person grow up in a family of let say not fair in actions, he/she can eventually learn to politics and how their words affect other people emotions (by making white lies etc.).



Last edited by paxfilosoof on 01 Apr 2013, 10:12 am, edited 23 times in total.

paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 8:58 am

Biology


(Markram, Courshesne; Drew macpherson; ...)

-----------------------------------------Over growth in autism---------------------------------------------------
During early childhood brain development, the mind becomes wired to adapt to its surroundings. There are parts of the mind that are already hardwired at birth, but much of it develops in the first few years of life. This happens primarily in the white matter of the brain where connections are made from one brain area to another. It is my contention that the genetic difference in between autistic individuals and neurotypical individuals is that in an autistic there are fewer connections already pre-made at birth. This essentially gives the autistic a bigger “blank slate” to work with in order to adapt to the environment and create connections in response to stimuli during the first few years of life.

Scientific evidence shows that during the first few years of life, the brain development occurring in an autistic is more rapid and encompasses a larger area than any neurotypical. This has advantages since the autistic has the ability to adapt more completely to the environment, but it can also be problematic in hostile environments because the autistic is far more sensitive and far more volatile to change during this period of brain development. This period of childhood development, particularly for the autistic should be treated in exactly the same way as a foetus still in the womb. Any repeated harmful stimuli at this phase will result in major long-lasting adaptations to that stimuli, which could be problematic later in life.

----------------------------------------------Differences autism and neurotypical brain--------------------------------------------

Question: Look at the reaction of the faces when talking about a special interest?

Innovations in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology have allowed the structure of autistic brains to be compared to that of a neurotypical brain. This is pretty exciting because it demonstrates some key differences. Before I get to talking about what those differences might be specifically, let me explain briefly the technology which allows these differences to be detected.

The technology used to perform these measurements is called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). This technique allows measurement of the anisotropy of tissues. What does this mean? In human tissues, there are often patterns whereby tissues have individual fibres which tend to travel in a parallel direction next to one another. This is common in muscle fibres and oftentimes in certain areas of the brain known as white matter.

A good analogy to understand this concept would be looking at the internal structure of a tree. There is a grain to the wood which travels in a certain direction. Alternatively, perhaps a more apt analogy for the brain would be to look at a bundle of cables which are all grouped together and travelling from one location to another. The brain has many bundles of this sort in the white matter deep within the centre of the brain.

Let’s compare the brain to a computer network. The brain has grey matter on the surface which is analogous to a bunch of computers. There is white matter beneath the surface which contains numerous long strands of neural fibre, called axons. These axons connect one part of the grey matter to another part to relay information. So this would be like the network cables which connect individual computers together.

In a neurotypical brain there are generally many connections all bundled together between specific parts of the brain. Individual parts of the grey matter tend to activate when performing specific human functions, such as using language, or mathematics and logic etc. This allows different parts of the brain to specialize in certain types of computations. Because of this, medical science has been focussing on examining these individual parts separately to determine their specific function.

What the new studies have shown, however, is that in an autistic brain, the typical bundles of axons which connect specific parts of the brain are not laid out in the usual way that is expected to be seen in a neurotypical brain. So where a neurotypical brain has thick bundles of neural axon fibres connecting certain parts to one another, the autistic brain does not have these. The connections tend to be scattered to a lot of different areas simultaneously.

What some have hypothesized this to mean is that the autistic brain is less well connected compared to a neurotypical brain. This is true to an extent, but I believe an important upshot of this fact has been completely overlooked.

Consider a specific area of the brain, for instance Broca’s area which controls a person’s ability to speak. The connections in a neurotypical brain to this area tend to be mostly to and from the Wernicke area which allows these two specific areas to collaborate and perform their language functions while leaving the rest of the brain to perform other tasks. In an autistic brain however, the connections to Broca’s area are spread out to many different areas of the brain, rather than being primarily to the Wernicke area. This means that in order to engage in speaking, an autistic needs to engage his entire set of cognitive resources. This makes it difficult to focus on other things simultaneously, like the visual field, hearing or other senses. This makes perfect sense, considering that autistics find it very difficult to pick up non-verbal cues when they speak.

There is a benefit to having interconnections to many different areas of the brain instead of just between two specific ones. For instance, when an autistic focuses on performing a certain specific cognitive task, he will be engaging more grey matter resources simultaneously than a neurotypical can. As a result, he will appear to be more proficient at the task and be able to contemplate more aspects about that task simultaneously than a neurotypical could. The neurotypical may be using only the Broca and Wernicke areas to speak, but the autistic is using more cognitive resources to perform the same task. So his pronunciation, grammar and proper use of dictionary definitions tend to be far more precise than most neurotypicals of similar intelligence.



Last edited by paxfilosoof on 01 Apr 2013, 9:54 am, edited 3 times in total.

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01 Apr 2013, 8:58 am

Physiology


The brain of autistic people have less white matter in bundles but more grey matter (process units of the brain, cell bodies neurons).
What do we expect?

Intense world theory (2007, 2010) explain the plasticity and reactivity of the autistic brain: More plasticity and reactivity.



Last edited by paxfilosoof on 01 Apr 2013, 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 8:58 am

In conclusion:

*Psychology:
a) monotropism, more gray matter and less white matter
b) Selfless, fairness of actions, sharing stuff, ...
c) Look at the table with the differences
*Biology + physiology:
a) more processing units, gray matter, less connected part - part (for example broca, wernick), more white matter "random connections -> more use of gray matter.
for example: Jacob barnett, Mark zuckerberg and many others use more gray matter in speaking; using hands and gestures for example when explaining something, ...
consequences: An autistic person who do not recognize that someone is bored of his topic of interest when talking (no visual and broca area together like in neurotypicals).
b) smaller minicolumns -> more reactivity and plasticity



Last edited by paxfilosoof on 01 Apr 2013, 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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01 Apr 2013, 9:02 am

I am unclear why you have posted this. I cannot see your question or point. Please explain.


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paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 9:06 am

I just want to share it, and maybe people who're interested can have comments :D



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01 Apr 2013, 9:12 am

OK, now I see you have edited to add the list of information into the 2nd post which previously just said "res" in it.

Why do you say an autistic is a psychopath? I do not agree.

The remainder is some sort of questionnaire but has some incongruent parts I do not see as having any connection (to autism e.g. "slitty eyes" and body types)?


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paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 9:13 am

Wait I'm working on it.
It doesn't make sense at first. But you'll see the connections.

If you want more details read: http://bo.lt/4lgry



paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 9:48 am

Psychology part is done.



paxfilosoof
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01 Apr 2013, 10:04 am

Okay You can give comments!! !!



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01 Apr 2013, 11:03 am

I will not have time to focus on it till I get home from work, but I will read it then.


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01 Apr 2013, 12:39 pm

A few random observations:

Quote:
Childhood / Workplace bullying
Is a bully
Is often bullied


That Autistic children are more likely to be bullied does not mean that you can accurately characterize Neurotypicals as bullies. Some are, but most aren't, at least in my experience.

Quote:
Political interests
Very political
Apolitical


I think you'll find plenty of political people with Aspergers. And there are great numbers of Neurotypicals who aren't political at all.

Quote:
Logical reasoning abilities
Poor
Excellent


There are plenty of Neurotypicals with great abilities at logical reasoning just as there are plenty of people with Austism or Aspergers who have far poorer abilities at logical reasoning than they imagine.

Quote:
Eyes
Slitty, closed partway
Open wide

I doubt that anyone who is sensitive to bright lights are going to have open wide eyes when going outside.

I know that when I go outside without dark glasses or am exposed to bright lights, my eyes become very thin slits to reduce the light to tolerable levels. I also keep the overhead lighting in my office to a bare minimum. But then I don't know whether or not I'm on the spectrum.

Those are just a few examples. There are plenty more in that post, for example "Body Type", "Relative Body Temperature preference", "Dwelling preference", "Engineering skills", "Physical Laziness", and so on.

The "2 examples of A neurotypical and an aspergian" should probably be completely reworked.

Quote:
There can be a lack of empathy in both directions, because of the erroneous belief that others are fundamentally similar to ourselves. The old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” definitely does not apply. This would only be true for two people at the exact same position on the psychological spectrum. No wonder there is so much confusion and mistrust in the world. A better adage might be “do unto others as they would have you do unto them”. Naturally within this is the implication that we must first know how others wish us to treat them.


I think this is a quite interesting view. You might have something there.

Quote:
The brain has grey matter on the surface which is analogous to a bunch of computers. There is white matter beneath the surface which contains numerous long strands of neural fibre, called axons. These axons connect one part of the grey matter to another part to relay information. So this would be like the network cables which connect individual computers together.


Actually, there are axons in the gray matter as well as the white matter. The axons in the white matter are myelinated which gives them the ability to propagate a neural impulse over large distances and very rapidly. It is the myelination that is white, not the axons. The axons in the gray matter are necessarily shorter, but then they only need to extend into the dendritic trees of nearby neurons instead of those in other parts of the brain.

Quote:
The brain of autistic people have less white matter in bundles but more grey matter (process units of the brain, cell bodies neurons).


A neuron is a single cell that includes the cell body, the dendritic tree, and the axon. Every axon, whether in the white matter or the gray matter, is a part of a neuron.

By the way, it has been suggested that Autism is not a single disorder, but a collection of overlapping disorders that are labeled Autism when seen together.



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01 Apr 2013, 12:58 pm

Read AGAIN what I posted. I never said these traits were universals...
Second, read this book: http://bo.lt/4lgry

"The brain has grey matter on the surface which is analogous to a bunch of computers. There is white matter beneath the surface which contains numerous long strands of neural fibre, called axons. These axons connect one part of the grey matter to another part to relay information. So this would be like the network cables which connect individual computers together."

I never said that grey matter are only the bodies of neurons. I said grey matter are analoguos of a bunch of computers. And this is true.
Of course grey matter also excist of axons (shorter). For example Neocortex excist of 6 layers of neurons ...



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01 Apr 2013, 1:20 pm

You did say that they are "very common". Just picking one of the cases as an example, the bullies when I were a kid were a small minority of the neurotypicals. I'd hardly call that "very common" at all.

Perhaps a change in wording is appropriate on that as well as the realization that because "X" may be a fairly common trait among the Autistic does not necessarily mean that the opposite, "not X", is the case for neurotypicals.

By the way, there is one thing that may be worth noting here. It has been suggested that Autism is not really a single condition, but a collection of a number of separate related conditions with often overlapping symptoms. For example, research indicates that the brain structures involved in speech in those with Autism who exhibit problems with language is different from the same structures in those with Autism who do not exhibit problems with language.

As many have said here before: "if you know one Aspie, you know only one Aspie" (or something like that).

Thanks for the link. I'll take a look at it.



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01 Apr 2013, 1:39 pm

eric76 wrote:
You did say that they are "very common". Just picking one of the cases as an example, the bullies when I were a kid were a small minority of the neurotypicals. I'd hardly call that "very common" at all.

Perhaps a change in wording is appropriate on that as well as the realization that because "X" may be a fairly common trait among the Autistic does not necessarily mean that the opposite, "not X", is the case for neurotypicals.

By the way, there is one thing that may be worth noting here. It has been suggested that Autism is not really a single condition, but a collection of a number of separate related conditions with often overlapping symptoms. For example, research indicates that the brain structures involved in speech in those with Autism who exhibit problems with language is different from the same structures in those with Autism who do not exhibit problems with language.

As many have said here before: "if you know one Aspie, you know only one Aspie" (or something like that).

Thanks for the link. I'll take a look at it.


Yes, you're quoting attwood.
"If you've seen one aspie, you've seen one aspie"

Of course many autism exist. Some are genetic disorders.
But for most of the people it is a genetic difference which is demonstrated by the psychological differences.
Second, bullying is a very common thing in neurotypical persons. I would suggest more than 50% with my own experience.